A hospital technician accused of causing a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis C last year is set to plead guilty in New Hampshire federal court in exchange for a prison term of 30 to 40 years.
A plea agreement filed Monday says the deal would allow David Kwiatkowski (kwiht-KOW’-skee) to avoid criminal charges in Kansas, Maryland and Georgia.
Kwiatkowski is accused of injecting himself with the painkiller fentanyl using stolen syringes, then replacing the drug with saline before the tainted syringes were used on patients.
The Court may agree to hear one or more abortion cases in its next term. For the most part, these cases have their roots in the Republican landslides in the 2010 midterm elections. At the time, those electoral victories were largely portrayed as being based on economics; the Tea Party was often described as almost libertarian in orientation. But soon after new state legislators took office it became clear that social issues, and especially abortion, were among their highest priorities. In state after state, those Tea Party lawmakers passed new restrictions on abortion, and as the restrictions have taken effect challenges to them have started to work their way through the courts.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, nineteen states passed forty-three new restrictions on abortion in 2012—on top of ninety-two restrictions passed in 2011. The most recent changes came in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. A Guttmacher report states that the restrictions were in four general areas:
Mandating unnecessary medical procedures. The best known of these practices is requiring an ultrasound before any abortion, so that the woman is compelled to listen to a fetal heartbeat. Eight states now require these ultrasounds.
Increased regulation of abortion providers. These rules, notably strict in Michigan and Virginia, require abortion providers to have hospital-like facilities, while leaving other, similar outpatient institutions untouched.
Hospital privileges. Three states—Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee—recently added requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Limits on later abortions. Louisiana and Arizona have banned abortion after twenty weeks, and other states are weighing similar restrictions. In a law scheduled to go into effect this summer, North Dakota effectively banned abortions after six weeks.
Good luck on the national stage with goobers like Brownback and Kobach leading the pack. There are days like this when being from Kansas is a very distinct embarrassment.
As we detailed yesterday, dozens of states are considering bills that attempt to nullify federal gun laws. One such bill became a law last month in Kansas. It exempts “Made in Kansas” guns from federal regulation and makes it a crime for federal agents to enforce federal law.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently wrote to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, saying the law is “unconstitutional,” and that the U.S. is prepared to sue Kansas to prevent the state from “interfering with the activities of federal officials.”
Now, Brownback has fired back.
In a letter to Holder yesterday, Brownback wrote: “The people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will. It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so.”
Local news reports have highlighted an estimate from Kansas’ attorney general that defending the new law in court could cost the state $225,000 over the next three years. Attorney General Derek Schmidt did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Our office has received more than 300 emails and calls in the last two days from Kansans and Americans from around the country thanking the governor for his response,” Brownback’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, wrote in an email. She also cited the many favorable comments on the governor’s Facebook page.
Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped draft the new law, also released a response to Holder’s letter. “As a former professor of constitutional law, I ensured that it was drafted to withstand any legal challenge,” he wrote.
Republican radicalism thrives here in Kansas, the reddest of red states, and within our state, in the reddest counties, and our brand of red-state radicalism does not bode especially well for the future of rural Kansas.
The antics of Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who represents many of the state’s rural residents, threaten the federal spending on which these Kansans heavily rely. And Gov. Sam Brownback’s perilous experiment in eliminating the state income tax has placed state services in jeopardy and eventually will push more school funding onto property taxes, driving the high property tax burdens of rural residents even higher. Curiously, voters in the reddest counties of Kansas cheer the loudest for both Huelskamp and Brownback.
Recent news stories in the Kansas City Star and the Boston Globe highlight the hypocrisy of red-state radicalism. The Star found the fiercest critics of federal spending also were big-time “takers” of federal spending. The Star focused on Sumner County, part of the Wichita metropolitan area, and reported in 2010 “the U.S. government spent roughly $189 million in Sumner County, almost $7,900 for every man, woman and child who lives here. That’s an estimated 40 (percent) to 50 percent more, on average, than each county resident paid in federal taxes.”
The Globe reporter traveled to Hodgeman County in rural southwest Kansas and interviewed residents attending a public forum for Huelskamp and later at a downtown coffee klatch in the county seat of Jetmore. Those interviewed applauded their congressman for saying “no” to federal spending and refusing to compromise on spending even with leaders of his own party. His obstinance got him booted from the House Agriculture Committee last year, leaving Kansas without a representative on the committee for the first time in memory.
Hodgeman County might provide a useful prism for viewing federal spending in rural Kansas, as more than half of the state’s 105 counties have fewer than 7,000 residents.
It seems like every time the Sunflower State pops up in my news feed, it’s for something like this: House Bill No. 2366, a proposed law that would make it illegal to use “public funds to promote or implement sustainable development.”
Kansas, the place where I spent my formative years skipping school to go fishing in farm ponds, is populated with thoughtful stewards of the nation’s breadbasket. It also has a habit of turning reason on its head. The state famously dropped evolution from its educational curriculum in 1999, along with the age of the Earth and the history of the universe, for good measure.
Now the state’s “Committee on Energy and Environment” is proposing a law that would prohibit spending on anything that won’t set Kansas on a course to self-destruction. House Bill No. 2366 would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development,” which it defines as: “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”
If this definition sounds familiar, that’s because it was lifted verbatim from what’s commonly referred to as the Brundtland Report, one of the seminal documents in the modern practice of sustainability. The Brundtland Report was the product of a four-year commission set up by United Nations member countries who were increasingly concerned that the world’s resources were being squandered and its environment spoiled.
This is heartening — you don’t often see climate change stories from local newscasters and Gary Lezak does a great job of outlining many key facts in his news segment at KSHB TV.
Hopefully we will start to see more local journalists take this subject up because climate change is already impacting local economies in big ways. Forget about the storms, the droughts, and the floods for a moment — the documented 1.3 degree temperature increase is causing heavy economic impacts through higher air conditioning bills in most states through much of the last decade. It’s only a marginal amount each month but if you add up those increased cooling costs for everyone over the decade it’s billions or trillions of dollars.
The video segment is really good, please click out to view it here.
The topic of global climate change can be controversial. But the fact is, the Earth is currently warming up.
Average temperatures have climbed 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit around the world since 1880, according to Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. There are many questions from here, like: Is this warming caused by man, or is it just a natural cycle? What will happen if the warming continues? What impacts will it have on society or the environment? Is there anything we can do about it?
The past year has brought a lot of unusual weather to our region and the nation.
• Superstorm Sandy: The late season hurricane turned hard into the New Jersey shore, unlike any hurricane on record, and became part of a bigger storm that produced 4 feet of snow in West Virginia - a hurricane and a major snowstorm at the same time!
• 102 days later, another Superstorm struck the same region - this time a blizzard bringing 25 to 40 inches of snow to New England.
• Last year, the United States had four times as many record highs as record lows, and it was the warmest year by far in U.S. weather history.
• Kansas City continues to experience an exceptional drought.
• The lowest amount of snow in Kansas City’s recorded history last winter came after two of the snowiest winters the previous two years.
Maybe the climate has already changed, or we are just now experiencing this change right before our eyes.
Why this is important: State GOP introduces teach the climate controversy bill
At ground level there is nothing out of the ordinary about the former Atlas E missile base in Dover, Kansas.
But delve below the surface and beyond the military detritus and you will soon discover a subterranean wonderland.
Ambitious Edward Peden spent 12 years converting the bunker into the place he now calls home.
Where once there was a cutting-edge missile ready to be deployed at the height of the Cold War, there are now homely rugs, sofas and even a few bongos.
The former schoolteacher purchased the 37 acre site in 1983 for $48,000, converting one third of the 18,000 square feet silo into a living space for his family.
When he initially drove out to investigate the area, near his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, most of the concrete tunnel labyrinth was flooded with rainwater.
Comment: Everyone needs a hobby!
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
A Russell County high school teacher uncovered what is being called a terror plot when she found a misplaced journal in the classroom. Authorities rushed in discovered the beginnings of improvised explosives in the house of Derek Shrout, 17.
Police said he calls himself a white supremacist and he wanted to harm other students.
Classmates said they noticed a change in the suspect’s behavior in the weeks leading up to his arrest.
Shrout moved to Alabama from Kansas a year ago with his military family now stationed at Fort Benning. The Russell County sheriff says Shrout was active in school and on the same day he was charged with planning a racially motivated attack on students, he was in the guidance counselor’s office discussing his transfer credits.
“At first through JROTC, he was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing,” said senior class president, David Kelly.
Kelly was also Shrout’s battalion commander in the school’s JROTC program. His friends said with the way he was acting around the school, they’re not surprised he got himself into trouble.
“I saw that he was taking it more serious than anything, he started getting real deep into it, and he had a little group of people doing it with him. S