Drought: We Can Learn from Job

Out here on McDowell Creek there was a beautiful snowfall a few days ago, rain the next day, a cloudburst last night, and now fog today. While runoff is gathering in puddles, our hope is growing: Maybe it won't be a drought year after all.

"A drought has a long tail," my neighbor told me back in 2012, the summer without rainfall. "We're not out of it yet," he told me when the rains came that fall.

He was so right. Even though we had some good rains in 2013 and above average snows this February, we have also had, just about every day for at least three years now--wind.

In preparation for leasing our pastures to a cow-calf operation, we checked our ponds. We were shocked! Our black lab Deci walked right across pools that not too long ago we couldn't reach the bottom of, not even with a canoe paddle stretched straight down. Our prospective renters were people we wanted to work with, but we had to tell them no. Our ponds were just too low.

In fact, all of our water sources--seeps, springs, McDowell Creek itself--are looking puny. The likely culprit--that constant wind. It must be causing evaporation that's greater than whatever amount of precipitation we receive. Things just keep getting dryer and dryer.

So we might be in for it again this year. We dread the thought of lack of water--what it does to soils, plants, animals, and people.

But if it is another dry year we have to recognize that it's part of the package of living on the tall grass prairie.

You don't get the one without the other.

A recent article in the Wichita Eagle cited a U.S. Census Bureau study that said, "More people have been leaving Kansas than moving here over the last four years, new Census figures show." From 20010 to 2013, Kansas had a net population loss of almost 10,200 people.

Some of that loss can be blamed on the recession that hurt the economy all over the country. However, as the economy has rebounded, one only has to look at the policies put into place by Gov. Sam Brownback and the merry band of extremist Republicans in the Kansas legislature. Those folks have put everything from the Kansas public education system to preserving Kansas wildlife in peril. Along the way, they have worked to pass laws that would take away local control on everything to gun restrictions to votes on gambling casinos.

Sanctimonius Censorship

"Bare Brained Idiocy", or is it Bare Breasted Phobia?

"A teacher who takes a field trip to the state capitol and suddenly notes the bare breasted woman in the artwork in the rotunda can be accused of recklessly exposing students to nudity.
Think it's far-fetched? The lead proponent of this legislation is the American Family Association in Kansas which has been leading an effort to force the removal of a sculpture of a bare-breasted woman from a public arboretum in Johnson County, going so far as to successfully petition to impanel a grand jury on the issue."

Are those folks worried about my losing control of my inhibitions and assaulting someone or are they worried that they won't be able to control their own libido when exposed to such tempting visual reality?

It's all Eve's fault. She took a bite of the apple and seduced Adam into tasting it. That account of man's fall from grace has plagued man's relationship with his fellow human beings and God, since time began.

Beautiful is beautiful, whether it is a naked rose petal or a naked human body. God created both and endowed man with the ability to see that beauty. I envy the artist's ability to portray that beauty on canvas or stone.

Bare-Brained Idiocy

In the Kansas legislative session that has included such crazy antics as the House passing a bill to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the name of "religious freedom," a sonogram on the House floor, and consideration of bills to end no-fault divorce, to send tax money to private schools, including those run by religious institutions, and a bill spelling out how far an adult can go in applying corporal punishment on a child's bottom, it should be no surprise that SB 401 has reared its crazy head.

SB 401, which has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, "removes from public, private, and parochial schools the defense of literary or artistic merit or significance when someone accuses the school of exposing students to 'offensive' materials." This information, from the Kansas NEA's Under the Dome newsletter, lets teachers know what they would be in for if they used instructional materials such as Michelangelo's David, materials that exposed children to nudity or language that some consider offensive.

Extremism isn't the answer

Where is the middle?

I'm glad we don't find as much attack on Christianity, here on KFP, as we do on so many other liberal and progressive sights. The extreme religious right are not in the majority in our society, or even in the majority of our Christian groups.

We find bigots and extremists in both the Christian groups and the anti-Christian groups.

I will not be coerced by either group. My faith is not threatened by the zealots on either side.

no comprehendi

No Sam won't ever understand women!

Does he understand himself? Is he in favor of education? If so, how does he justify cutting funds? How is the system going to double kindergarten hours with diminished funds?

Does he understand our system of government? Independent courts are hard to come by, if one branch has authority to appoint them. Does he only think the courts should okay his perception of fair funding?

Does he understand responsibility? Women are responsible to deliver babies, but society isn't responsible for the culture and environment? We'll protect that fetus until birth and then it is the woman's responsibility thereafter. Cut off all those freebies and she'll learn.

He will invite the corporations to take over agriculture and move the profits out of state. Those corporations will deal directly with manufacturers and suppliers and bring in labor on a seasonal need. Does he know or understand what makes a community a community?

Will Sam Ever Understand Women?

Gov. Foot in Mouth Disease, otherwise known as Sam Brownback, did it again, this time in his Jan. 15, 2014, State of the State address. It seems he still has no clue about women and reproductive choice.

During a speech at Butler Community College in April 1999, Brownback, then a senator, said, "You can see a real impact in the abortion policy we've had in this country. We have a lot fewer people out here. You can see we have a lot fewer workers coming on board."

I was at that speech, during which he also exhorted the high school students in attendance to have a lot of children. (Do we really want teenagers to be thinking along those lines before they've finished their education and found a way to support themselves and a family?) I asked Brownback why he was putting the problems of Social Security of the backs of women. He said he wasn't blaming women. However, he didn't make that comment at any other stops on his Congressional tour.

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley executive and former editor of The American Conservative magazine, is among the most eloquent in his championing of a ballot initiative to increase the California Minimum Wage to $12/hour. His argument makes a great case for making $12/hour the Federal Minimum Wage.

A couple of pull quotes from the interview with an NPR reporter:

What we're talking about is a massive system of hidden government subsidies for these low-wage employers where they can shift the costs of the workforce over to the taxpayer. I think businesses should stand on their own two feet and have to pay their workers instead of forcing the taxpayers to make up the difference.

Wal-Mart is America's largest low-wage employer. Three hundred thousand Wal-Mart workers average about $9 an hour. All Wal-Mart would have to do to cover a $12 minimum wage is raise their prices by 1.1 percent one time. The average Wal-Mart shopper would pay only an extra $12.50 per year. People wouldn't even notice the price hike.

Full article here.

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