Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Attending to business

In the continuing flow of feedback, Joe C. from Allentown, Penn. writes:

"I love the fact that Tony Ridder is paying to post Jerry Garcia lyrics on the Internet."

As do I, Joe, as do I. But not every day can be an homage to a legend -- much work remains, and there's no better time to do it than now.

The results are in, and Kris Kobach edged Adam Taff in the 3rd by a hair over 200 votes. Taff has until 5 p.m. today to decide whether to ask for a recount, but said he'd support Kobach if the 38-year-old former Ashcroft adviser is indeed the winner. After a bruising campaign in which Kobach spent a quarter-million more than Taff, Kobach's now looking to incumbent (and lone Kansas congressional Democrat) Rep. Dennis Moore, who has conducted clinics on how to divide and conquer Republicans every two years since 1998. But every two years the district gets a little more Republican, and Kobach has one heckuva resume.

A little catchup here -- John Kerry and John Edwards did appear in Lawrence last weekend, but they didn't stop there, by decision of train conductor. To make up for the slight, Edwards came back and stopped in Lawrence on Sunday, drawing heavy local and national press. Edwards said the backtrack was worth it, despite Kansas's deep-red reputation.

"For all those politicians and pollsters who say, 'Wait a minute, why are you taking one valuable day to come back to Kansas to campaign? Kansas is a red state,' " Edwards said. "To John Kerry and I, there is no red state, there is no blue state, there is only one United States of America."

So there you have it -- Kansas is important to John Edwards. But committees chaired by Kansans may not be. Republicans are making an issue of Kerry-Edwards attendance at Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. It's not getting a lot of ink right now, but both Democrats have used their experience on Intel -- Kerry from 1993-2001, Edwards currently -- to tout their credentials fighting terror. But they aren't getting any perfect attendance awards. Background info says the candidates could clear the whole matter up by volunteering to release their attendance at open and closed hearings, which are normally off-record due to the committee's secretive nature. Don't bet on it.

And in one final note, another milestone of sorts -- not Jerry Garcia, but maybe more important. After more than 20 years, tomorrow is the last day of Wichita work on the Boeing 757.

"We know there's something new that will replace it eventually," Boeing sheet metal mechanic Todd Shoemaker said on a break from installing floorboards in the fuselage last week.

We'll keep our fingers crossed.