Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: July 2010

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - This November when voters head to the polls, they can choose a candidate who has demonstrated determination and desire to represent all people. Party politics aside, Kansans have a rare opportunity to send the first U.S. Senator with a doctorate in education to Washington.
Dr. Lisa Johnston

Lisa Johnston stands out among Democratic hopefuls for Tuesdays primary with a strong voice and message, as demonstrated repeatedly while traveling throughout Kansas.

There is no doubt Kansans, like so many others, are bushed from years of war, a sinking economy, and tax breaks for the wealthiest. Now, our "intelligent" elected leaders are playing high stake games in D.C. as a tool to make one party look bad for lack of accomplishment while real American's suffer further obstructions.

The reality of years of failure has set in motion a desire in voters to give incumbents the old heave-ho and replace them with commonsense politicians who will work to restore this country to its roots of greatness. The problem is, some are eager to throw out the politicians who have worked for eighteen short months and have made already a huge impact in gradually pulling our country out of recession.

Remembering Iggy Donnelly

SHAWNEE, Kan. - A few years ago, on a liberal blog that I frequented at the time, I met an interesting fellow from Kansas. He told me about a Kansas blog for progressives that he had started and suggested that I check it out. At the time I remember thinking, "Wow! A progressive blog in Kansas? That's great news!"

The fellow's nom de plume was Iggy Donnelly. I was intrigued by the name alone. So I checked out the blog, Prairie Populists and Progressives and found both a home on the web, and friends. Iggy and most of the other bloggers on PP&P hail from the Wichita area. To find progressives living in Wichita was amazing. If I felt like a Martian living on Pluto, imagine how they must feel, I thought.

As a transplant from the east coast, I had never thought of Kansas as my home. Home had always been back east in Philadelphia, although it had been decades since I lived there. I had never felt a sense of belonging in Kansas, mainly because of the prevailing political and religious leanings.

Politics of Conspiracy

elephant-on-his-head.jpgWICHITA, Kan. - Conspiracy theories have always been part of politics; 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, Deathers, and John Birchers are the most recent. The question I have is, "When did kook conspiracy theories become mainstream?"

Are mainstream candidates like Kris Kobach and Tracey Mann parroting birther talking points because they themselves are birthers or because that's what the zombie masses on the right want to hear? The birther movement is either as Colorado Republican senate hopeful Ken Buck stated that the birthers are a "bunch of dumb-asses," Or, the whole birth certificate, citizenship question just far right wing code, for, "Oh my god we have a black president," and they're just smart enough to know that screaming that ends what ever shred of credibility they have.

Either way its sad to see politicians sucking up to the racist and or stupid wing of the Republican party via the birthers. And the Hutchinson News rightly rescinded its endorsement of Tracey Mann after he espoused birther views.

kansas-state-capitol-2.jpgHAYS, Kan. - Today, the Kansas NOW Political Action Committee announced its endorsements for the candidates running in the 2010 primary and general elections. Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator of Kansas NOW, explains, "These endorsements indicate the PAC's approval of candidates who are, or promise to be, leaders in promoting NOW's issues, or candidates whose voting records, if they exist, demonstrate this support."

Kansas candidates were asked to respond to 7 survey questions and provide comments. The PAC's survey questions addressed issues such as gender equality, access to reproductive health care and legislation reducing violence against women.

Once the surveys were tabulated and reviewed by the KS NOW PAC Committee, decisions were made to endorse 45 Kansas Democrats and 11 Kansas Republicans. For the complete list of endorsements, click here.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Extremism scares people. Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater scared the bejesus out of Kansas voters in the 1964 election, and the state went Democratic for President with LBJ. That's the last time Kansas turned blue in a Presidential election.

46 years later, many Kansas Republicans are frightened again by their own party. It's simple arithmetic, really. Kansas ranks #2 among states in percentage of Republicans, but Kansas is not even in the top fourteen states in "self-identified conservatives." Stated differently, there are a lot of moderate Republicans in Kansas. And almost all the Republican candidates this summer are not only ignoring moderates, but agitating them.

All conservatives are Republicans, but not all Republicans are conservatives. And those moderate Republican candidates are going to make a comeback next Tuesday.

multiculture.gifGREAT BEND, Kan. - Most white people in America are apprehensive of angry black men. Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball. Sidney Poitier broke the color line in Hollywood. And Barack Obama broke the color line on the Presidency of the United States. And all three of them did it by keeping their cool.

Jackie Robinson was a terrific baseball player. But that's not why Dodger G.M. Branch Rickey chose him to be the first black in Major League Baseball. Robinson was a UCLA graduate, and an Army veteran. But Rickey would not sign him until Robinson agreed NOT to fight back at the inevitable racism. "Are you asking me to be a black man who doesn't fight back?" asked Robinson. "I'm asking you to be a big enough man NOT to fight back," said Rickey.

HAYS, Kan. - Researchers have now found that the destruction of old bone during normal skeletal regrowth - a process known as resorption - is necessary to maintain a healthy level of glucose in the blood. We now know that the skeleton plays an important role in regulating blood sugar. The finding, published in Cell, is important because it may lead to a greater understanding of how to treat both diabetes type 2 as well as osteoporosis.

This study has further illuminated how bone controls this process.

family-around-ill-child.jpgHAYS, Kan. - Even though literature suggests that promoting active patient involvement in care may improve doctor-patient communication and clinical outcomes, in November 2009, a report published by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggested that most patients are dissatisfied with the way they receive results of tests and want more access to information in their medical records, specifically, detailed, lay-language results from the tests. (Patients Want Faster Access to Better Medical Records)

Technology has placed vast amounts of medical information literally a mouse click away. Yet what often may be central - a doctor's notes about a patient visit - has traditionally not been part of the discussion. In effect, such records have long been out of bounds.

Now in a new report in the July 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers speculate about the risks and rewards of making clinicians' notes transparent to patients.

girl-and-doctor.jpgSALINA, Kan. - Patients often receive inappropriate care when their doctors fail to take into account the patients' unique or individual circumstances, so says a new study performed by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the VA Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care.

The study of physician performance is the largest ever to be conducted using actors presenting as patients in doctors' offices.

Physicians did quite well at following guidelines or standard approaches to care, but not so well at figuring out when those approaches were inappropriate because of a particular patient's situation or life context. Physicians need to understand why a patient is failing, for instance, to control their asthma, rather than just increase the dose of the drugs they prescribe.

Specific issues - such as the lack of health insurance, the need for less costly treatment, or difficulty understanding or following instructions - must be recognized when making clinical decisions. Inattention to such issues leads to what are called "contextual errors" in patient care.

Paying Tribute to the Sleeper Below

kaw-nation-seal.gifCOUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - When on the evening of July 16, 1861, Judge J. H. Watson observed several Indian graves on the brow of a hill overlooking the Cottonwood River and Middle Creek in western Chase County, he proceeded to desecrate them.

"These [the graves] are formed by piling up stones over the dead body," wrote Watson. "On removing a few of these, I perceived the moldering bodies of the once proud savage, an old rusty tin cup, and the decayed remains of what was once a bow and arrow."

Because the Kanzas had encamped in this area the previous winter, it is likely these were the graves of their tribesmen. And the violation of Kanza graves by white people was not uncommon.

senior-citizen-nursing-home.jpgMANHATTAN, Kan. - On March 23, 2010, after a year of partisan fighting, President Obama signed into law a bill that reform the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system. Known as the H.R.3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this legislation will expand health care coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans through a combination of cost controls, subsidies and mandates. The cost of this reform is estimated to run close to $848 billion over a 10 year period. The cost is to be fully offset by new taxes and revenues and would actually reduce the deficit by $131 billion over the same period.

One thing for sure is that an abundance of disinformation about this legislation is streaming out of the Right's propaganda machine. In an effort to provide the public with tools to separate fact from fiction about H.R. 3590, the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice (MAPJ) will host an informational Health Care Forum on Monday, 26 July, from 5:30-7:00pm at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.

stephene-moore.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - I recently received notification from the State Democratic Party that Stephene Moore was holding an opening reception for her campaign headquarters. I clicked on the link and was directed to a website that contained additional information. Curious about her platform, I surfed further to her campaign's official website but couldn't find any specifics about her policies.

What I did find was a lot of discussion of Mrs. Moore's desire to incorporate Republican ideas into her approach to governing. While bipartisanship is admirable, given the current state of Republican Party obstructionism on the national level, I doubt she'll find too many Republicans who are willing to offer more than the mantra of tax cuts as a panacea to every problem, foreign and domestic.

Safe, Legal and... Rare?

WICHITA, Kan. - I don't know who first used this phrase in relationship to abortion, but I do remember the first person I heard say it. It was Bill Clinton who, in 1992, said he wanted to make abortion "safe, legal, and rare." He even went so far as to call abortion a "tragedy." (How he would know this is a mystery, having never experienced the procedure himself. He should visit the web site I'm Not to find out how real women feel about this issue.) Since then many nominal pro-choice, mainly male, mainly Democratic candidates for public office, including Pres. Obama, have use this mantra to deal with the scary issue of women's reproductive rights.

Celebrate our Country

old-glory-forever.gifGREAT BEND, Kan.- The Fourth of July represents our country's independence and is a great reason to celebrate with friends and family. It is also a great time to think about positive ways to make our country better.

We have the freedom to make our country better in non-political ways. Volunteerism! Big Brother/Big Sister gives people a connection with youth in the community that need a positive mentor in their life, someone they can count on; Meals on Wheels give back to seniors that have given so much to our community already; homeless shelters (40 percent of homeless have veteran status), serving meals once a month, volunteering within the shelter, supplying the shelter with needed items; cleaning up garbage around a river; helping out a neighbor that needs help. The possibilities are endless, all that matters is putting in work to make our country a better place.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - State Senator Tim Huelskamp's new TV ad claims he's a political outsider. In the ad, he brags about being booted off the "Ways and Means" committee by fellow Republicans. At the time in 2003, Huelskamp told John Milburn of the AP that he was booted because "I'm not a team player."

Giving Huelskamp the benefit of the doubt, he may have been simply repeating what his Republican superiors told him as they showed him the door, not admitting that he is not a team player. But there seems to be almost universal consensus in the legislature that Huelskamp is hard to get along with.

LAWRENCE, Kan. - This piece was written by Lawrence NOW chapter convener, Ashley Barnes. Jana's life continues to inspire the young activists and advocates of the future. Thank you Jana. We miss you.

Two years ago today Jana Mackey, a Lawrence-area women's rights activist, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, a man known to have a history of domestic violence. She was a law student at KU, a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women, and a volunteer advocate for sexual assault victims. I never met Jana Mackey but her legacy resonates within the community - the impact that Jana left on the Lawrence community is readily apparent and her tragic story only accentuates the necessity of her efforts as a women's rights activist.

Kari Ann Rinker, Kansas NOW State Coordinator, came to my class and spoke of Jana's story and about the organization that her parents started in her honor - 1,100 Torches. 1,100 Torches is a simple organization, challenging people to get involved in their communities via volunteer service - essentially, it is a massive, community-wide, call to action.

My call to action was becoming involved in the Lawrence chapter of NOW which has just been reinstated. Jana was very involved in this organization and as I thumb through old files and paperwork, I have seen notes she made, and I wonder just how this tragedy could affect one with as much knowledge on the subject of domestic violence... How could this awful thing happen to someone my age and from my community? The answer is, sadly, simple - it happens far too often.

WICHITA, Kan. - A new ruling by the Supreme Court states the right to bear arms is a fundamental right. Really? Why just a gun? Should we then have the right to bear a sword? An Uzi? A taser? Why not?

According to various philosophers and political leaders we have certain natural rights. Thomas Jefferson famously referred to these rights as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When it comes to liberty we especially value freedom of speech and conscience since we are born with the capacity to develop reasoning skills and communicate.

Thus we consider it our right to have the freedom to say, think, and write what we believe as long as it does not pose an immediate threat to public safety. To deny or suppress the innate right to reason and communicate would violate our very nature as humans. Right?

But do we really have "natural rights" or are those rights just ideas we have determined in our minds as something we desire?

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About This Page

This is an archive page containing all stories published in Kansas Free Press in July 2010. These are listed from newest to oldest.

June 2010 is the previous archive and August 2010 is the next one.

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