Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: August 2010

A Bright Future Ahead

GREAT BEND, Kan.- A recession is a scary time, everyone feels insecure with employment, family members loose jobs, our standard of living is threatened. The Great Depression of the 1920's was no doubt a very dark and dismal time in America. We were not sure where the country was headed, and those who were sure, did not have a very positive outlook. I just finished reading, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan, a fantastic tale about the dustbowl.

I have always been interested in that time period, the time period of the great depression. Growing up in a small town, back in the sticks of Michigan, I was required to ask my Grandmother about it during a school project. I expected some piece of history I had not known about my family and their survival through the depression. Instead my Grandma had a simple answer. She stated, "We did not even know a depression had happened, we were always poor. The depression never left up here."

Thinking Outside the Recession

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - It's easy to become discouraged listening to the litany of bad news about the economy. This is particularly true if your information is coming from the rant radio crowd. One can imagine Limbaugh at the point of wetting himself as he gleefully reports the latest figures.

However when listening to the figures relating to declining home purchases it struck me that this could be considered a very positive indicator.

WICHITA, Kan. - The following was distributed on the Kansas Equality Coalition email list today:

Dear Friends, as many of you know, one of our Equality Coalition members, Dan Manning, is running for Kansas House of Representatives in Wichita. Originally from southern Georgia, Dan is a West Point graduate who served for 8 years in the US Army before being discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Dan has since made Kansas his home and directed his passion for serving our nation in to a campaign to serve in the state Legislature.

Dan's opponent is long-time incumbent Brenda Landwehr. Landwehr, a notorious far-right conservative, has been a vocal opponent of equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgendered Kansans. Since February, she has used Dan's sexual orientation to stir up her constituent. She has gone so far as to use language that Dan was told was "too offensive" to repeat.

This weekend, the homophobia and name-calling took a dangerous and criminal turn. Dan arrived home from work on Saturday to find a death threat attached to his front door...

Community Bridge Begins New Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Community Bridge, Manhattan's alternative to talk radio, is now entering its fifth year on the air with another season dedicated to informing the public debate on issues of interest to Kansans. Photobucket

When I started this program in June 2006, it was mostly to provide some balance to the other talk shows on KSDB 91.9 and commercial radio in the Manhattan area. Every talk show was presented from a rabid right-wing perspective.

For over a year, the K-State's Progressive Coalition had been trying to get a moderate to left of center show on the air waves, but were blocked by the executive staff of the station. Only after a talk show host had had a guest who on air referred to the film "Brokeback Mountain" as "bareback mounting" and used other expletives to describe gay and lesbian people, that resulted in a formal complaint being filed with the FCC, did space become available for an alternative to the toxic talk of Rush Limbaugh wannabes.

Community Bridge began with one goal: to provide community with quality programming from a progressive point of view. To that end the show has worked hard to inform the public debate and provide listeners with content that is not available on other local stations.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - As I watched Raj Goyle's TV ad "Mailroom," about America exporting jobs overseas, I knew it was happening. Goyle was piecing together the old coalition of Wichita area voters who elected Democrat Dan Glickman to the Fourth District Congressional seat in 1976.

It's about time. When Glickman was defeated in 1994 by State Senator Todd Tiahrt, the blue collar voters, especially the culturally conservative ones, abandoned Glickman in droves. "When he voted for NAFTA and helped export our jobs overseas, I knew I couldn't continue to vote for Glickman," said one grizzled aircraft sheet worker. Eighteen years later, Raj Goyle is reminding those working class voters why they voted for Glickman in 1976, and why many rejected him in 1994.

In his 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter With Kansas?" marvels about Wichita, a natural hotbed for working class Democrats, going Republican in 1994. Democrats allowed it to happen, and Democrats such as Raj Goyle are going back to what works.

WICHITA, Kan. - Saturday at the Wichita Hyatt, in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people  at Demofest, State Rep. Raj Goyle, candidate for Congress representing the 4th District, signed a pledge promising to work to strengthen and protect Social Security. The event came on the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signing the bill into law.

Now some political pledges are primarily  symbolic, but some have real consequences and mark dramatic political differences. This is just such a case. Goyle's opponent, Mike Pompeo and the leadership of the national Republican party have Social Security in their crosshairs.

WICHITA, Kan. - How much religious freedom do we Americans really believe in, especially if a particular religion has a history of intolerance, brutality, and flying jumbo jets into highly populated buildings? Do we take a second look at the First Amendment's protections regarding religious liberty to check for an asterisk that excludes protecting "bad" religions from "good"religions? We have reached the dilemma of wanting religious freedom for ourselves, but not so keen on protecting religions we view as openly hostile to Americans and our culture.

Let's be honest. Every since man first felt the need to set up gods to explain the physical and metaphysical world religions have not exactly ushered in Nirvana. There is also no question that people have performed selfless acts in the name of God to help others BUT, and there is always a BUT, religion seems to be a giant web that has trapped us in an endless cycle of fighting or hating one another. How can we awaken from this limbo of purgatory?

If we are going to allow religion to be part of society and I don't see how we can possibly stop people from wanting to believe in just about anything- including the Madonna appearing on a grill cheese sandwich, then there has to be a system set up to protect us from people who take their religion way too seriously.

Duty and Debt

HAYS, Kan. - A former commander, under whom I served in 1973 and 1974, has become, over the years, a very good friend. The bond is secured by the fact that we shared a friend, now deceased, of "best friend" stature to both of us. Colonel P____ and I correspond frequently. In a recent message to him, I reminisced as to how indebted I am to him for certain actions he took on my behalf prior to my departure from his command in Korea. He replied to the effect that no one is "indebted" to someone for simply doing his duty. He stated, in effect, that his two major interventions on my behalf, thirty-six years ago were warranted and deserved, that it was his duty to intervene, and that not only I, but the Army, benefited.

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - It is hard to get out of a gilded cage, and that's what we Americans live in when it comes to fossil fuels. We like the cheap food and transportation that fossil fuels provide, and we take for granted the availability of inexpensive products made of plastics and other oil-derivatives. We can't imagine living without comfort and convenience, and so all too often we prefer to see only the glitter, not the bars.

But for many people in the world, the hard iron is all too visible. This discrepancy between what we see and what others see is the subject of Julia Baird's recent essay in Newsweek, "Oil's Shame in Africa." Baird quotes CUNY School of Law professor Rebecca Bratspies: "Problems associated with oil production are usually invisible to those of us who consume vast quantities. We don't see how dirty it is. [The recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico] is a more extreme version of daily events in Nigeria, where the oil companies have had a complete and total disregard for the environmental implications of their actions." According to Baird, what the Nigerians have gone through has not been deemed newsworthy in the West.

Hair Forty Years Later

LAWRENCE, Kan. - "When the moon is in the second house and Jupiter aligns with Mars..." The music swelled from the wispy opening notes to the raucous crescendo of "The Age of Aquarius," and the tribe of actors, high school students or those just out of high school, sang and danced around the stage in a colorful weave that celebrated the age of peace and love.

This, the last show of the summer for the Lawrence Arts Center Summer Youth Theater (SYT) pulled me back over the forty-two years since I'd seen Hair the first time, a Broadway touring company performance in Chicago in 1968. My granddaughter was in the SYT production. It was to be her last performance for SYT and I didn't want to miss it. Also, I wanted to see how the play held up.

trickster-funny.jpgWICHITA, Kan. - By now, you've probably read that 4th Congressional Republican candidate Mike Pompeo was caught using Facebook and Twitter to promote a vile, racist, religiously bigoted blog attacking Democratic rival Raj Goyle.

The rest of the story is that this attack on an opponent's religion is nothing new for the Kansas GOP. Pompeo's campaign made the mistake of being crude, early, and traceable.

A little over a decade ago, Sam Brownback showed how this sort of dirty trick should be done: with a wink, late in the campaign, and with deniability.

First, to bring you up to date on the recent controversy...

Roasting with the Drouth

rooster-morning-unhappy-sun.jpgCOUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - "Yesterday the wind was very high, and the stronger it blew the hotter became the temperature," reported the August 18, 1860 Emporia News. "It felt exactly as though emanating from a heated oven, and most fortunate was he who could find comfort in any place. At three o'clock the thermometer stood at 110 degrees in the shade!"

The country was blasted by hot, withering winds several times in the summer of 1860: "We had on Monday last," a Topeka newspaper reported on July 14, 1860, "the severest storm of wind ever known in this country. Its ... severity, lay in its temperature, being heated almost to suffication. Penetrating every crevice, it was impossible to escape, entirely, its baleful effects."

Those working outdoors were driven inside by blinding clouds of dust, farm animals were "completely prostrated by it," and young shoots of fruit trees were "literally burned by this terrible wind."

TOPEKA, Kan. - We have received the latest numbers from the Kansas Secretary of State's office for the August 3rd primaries. Even though all counties have reported in, these results will not be official until certified after the state canvass. These numbers were last updated at 11:17 a.m., August 4th.

United States Senate (D)
Precincts Reporting:3316 of 3316
Candidate Votes %
D-Robert A. Conroy 7,777 10%
D-David Haley 15,582 19%
D-Lisa Johnston 25,420 31%
D-Charles Schollenberger 19,226 24%
D-Patrick Wiesner 13,358 16%

United States Senate (R)
Precincts Reporting:3316 of 3316
Candidate Votes %
R-Tom Little 10,099 3%
R-Robert (Bob) Londerholm 8,163 3%
R-Jerry Moran 160,624 50%
R-Todd Tiahrt 144,231 45%

United States House of Representatives 001 (R)
Precincts Reporting:1323 of 1323
Candidate Votes %
R-Jim Barnett 24,649 25%
R-Sue (Holloway) Boldra 7,709 8%
R-Marck Cobb 1,727 2%
R-Tim Huelskamp 34,112 35%
R-Tracey Mann 20,763 21%
R-Rob Wasinger 9,145 9%

United States House of Representatives 002 (D)
Precincts Reporting: 825 of 825
Candidate Votes %
D-Cheryl Hudspeth 9,945 44%
D-Thomas Koch 8,022 36%
D-Sean Tevis 4,536 20%

United States House of Representatives 002 (R)
Precincts Reporting: 825 of 825
Candidate Votes %
R-Lynn Jenkins 40,951 57%
R-Dennis Pyle 30,736 43%

United States House of Representatives 003 (D)
Precincts Reporting: 599 of 599
Candidate Votes %
D-Stephene Moore 16,539 78%
D-Thomas Scherer 4,661 22%

United States House of Representatives 003 (R)
Precincts Reporting: 599 of 599
Candidate Votes %
R-Dan Gilyeat 2,510 4%
R-Dave King 810 1%
R-Garry R. Klotz 1,841 3%
R-Patricia Lightner 26,276 37%
R-Jerry M. Malone 2,059 3%
R-Craig McPherson 2,607 4%
R-John Timothy Rysavy (Rez) 1,602 2%
R-Jean Ann Uvodich 1,908 3%
R-Kevin Yoder 31,706 45%

United States House of Representatives 004 (D)
Precincts Reporting: 570 of 570
Candidate Votes %
D-Raj Goyle 16,971 80%
D-Robert Tillman 4,285 20%

United States House of Representatives 004 (R)
Precincts Reporting: 570 of 570
Candidate Votes %
R-Jim Anderson 10,166 13%
R-Wink Hartman 18,125 23%
R-Mike Pompeo 30,700 39%
R-Paij Rutschman 1,575 2%
R-Jean Kurtis Schodorf 18,943 24%

To see all of the state and federal races in Kansas, click here for the full page.

charles-schollenberger.jpgWICHITA, Kan. - I don't ever remember so many choices in the Kansas Democratic primary as we have this year.  There are contested races for United States Senate, Secretary of State, and the 4th Congressional District.  There has been a lot more heat and dollars spent on the GOP side, so the information for Democrats to make an informed decision has been hard to come by. For what it is worth, here are my personal recommendations.

US Senate: Charles Schollenberger is the candidate who has taken the most progressive positions on the issues.  Schollenberger, so far as I can determine, is the only candidate to openly support unions and the Employee Free Choice Act.

uncle-sam-with-poor-woman-in-street-300px.jpgPRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. - I feel very fortunate. I look at some of the more unfortunate people in our society and think, "There but for the grace of God go I." I am so thankful that I have had people delivering that grace to me in my life.

Forty years ago, as a young man, I did some very stupid things. I ended up in Federal prison. I could have easily lost my way, but I had friends and family who stood by me and helped me find a better way.

I was lucky; I had friends, family, and a farm to go back to. I remember so many acts of gracious kindness by those who welcomed me back. I had parents who loved me without question. I got a golden second chance at life.

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

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