For Phill Kline, it really is all about the children. Right?

Great White Father 

For Phill Kline, it really is all about the children. Right?

Cripes. The Strip has to hand another one to the Kansas Crusader, Phill Kline!

Our attorney general, who this meat patty also likes to think of as the Spinish Inquisition, will no doubt find a way to describe in creative terms his most recent offense against any Kansan who isn't exactly like him. That is, white and uptight.

Kline recently inserted himself in the contentious battle over school finances, which had finally reached a settlement (for this year, anyway). Under pressure from the state supreme court, lawmakers had reluctantly agreed to a $148 million increase over the $142 million boost already planned for the upcoming school year. Specifically, the new hike would help address some of the longstanding gulfs between better districts and crappy ones (which, naturally, tend to serve minority students).

Time and again over the past six years, the state's courts have slapped the Legislature upside the head, telling it to figure out a way to level the playing field for the state's schools. For decades, legislators (most of them white) have found creative ways to earmark special funds for which (wink, wink) only wealthy, white districts ever seem to qualify. This time around, even with intense pressure to end the shenanigans, lawmakers once again tried to push through a creative scam that would have helped only the wealthiest 17 districts generate extra cash. The plan would have allowed the districts to raise additional taxes simply because houses there were more expensive than in other areas.

John Vratil, a Leawood Republican senator who was a key supporter of the provision, tried to convince this tenderloin several months ago that it was necessary for the rich districts to have the extra money because, he said, it's harder to attract teachers to high-income areas than to crumbling urban schools. (Shya right.)

It didn't surprise this chuck roast that the Kansas Supreme Court saw right through that whopper. When the court approved the Legislature's $148 million increase last month, it put the kibosh on the high-priced-housing provision.

But who can the wealthy white folks in Johnson County always rely on? That's right -- it's Phill Kline to the rescue!

Last week, Kline filed a motion demanding that the Supreme Court lift its stay on the high-priced-housing provision. Like other conservatives in the state, Kline objected to the court's daring to tell the Legislature how to raise and spend money.

Funny how Kline and the conservatives lawmakers who squawk so loudly about the court's activism never address the needs of the people actually affected by the drawn-out battle: the state's schoolkids.

But wait: Hasn't Kline told us again and again that children really are his main concern?

That was what he assured us earlier this year, for example, when it was revealed that he'd subpoenaed the medical records of some 90 women who'd had abortions at two clinics in 2003.

Kline claimed until he was blue in the face that he wanted the records because he was really pursuing statutory rapists who had made young girls pregnant.

This tenderloin was among those who found that line a bit hard to swallow.

The Klinester, you see, is an anti-abortion extremist, and his actual job as attorney general apparently bores him to tears. So instead of chasing after political corruption or white-collar crime, he uses his position to advance his personal religious jihads. In this case, he argued that he wanted the private medical records not because he wanted to scare the crap out of Kansas women who might consider having an abortion (heavens, no) but because the records involved underage women and he was really after the identity of the men who had raped them.

(Of course, the fact that only three of the 30 women whose records Kline sought from one provider, Planned Parenthood, were underage didn't stop the spinmeister from using this excuse.)

In other words, Phill Kline doesn't want us to think he's doing everything in his power to destroy a woman's right to choose in Kansas. No, he's really doing everything he can to protect the children.

Which is exactly why our crusader looked like such a dumbass when the bizarre news from Nebraska hit last week.

Surely you heard about this situation. A 22-year-old Nebraska man, Matthew Koso, has been criminally charged in that state for having sex with an unnamed 14-year-old girl. Koso and his adolescent chippie had been doing the nasty since the girl was 13; apparently concerned that the impending birth of their child might set off some alarms, the couple tried to throw off law-enforcement types by getting married. Trouble is, Nebraska won't let a 14-year-old girl get married. So where did Koso and his child bride abscond to?

Why, naturally, they came to that haven for child-diddlers, Phill Kline's Kansas.

It turns out Kansas case law allows girls as young as 12 to get hitched. (Yeehaaaaw! Pack up the kids, Alma, we're gonna get the little ones hitched!)

Naturally, Kline's office threw up its hands and said it doesn't set the state's laws but only enforces them.

This chuck roast sees things differently. Kline might be shrugging off the state's hillbilly-marriage statute, but we see an opportunity for our mighty morals crusader. Phill, here's your chance to prove that it's really the welfare of young girls that you care about and not simply leading religious crusades against abortion or tilting against judicial activism.

With girls so young able to tie the knot here, we hope you'll launch a major new investigation of young brides through marriage-license records.

The tough part will be determining which girls younger than the age of consent but old enough to be Kansas brides were despoiled before their wedding nights. But we figure you'll find a way.

You always do. -- as told to Tony Ortega

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