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Mike Pompeo Plays Bigot Card

Pompeo illegal,racist billoard 2 WICHITA, Kan. - In August, Republican candidate Mike Pompeo was embroiled in a controversy when his official campaign tweet recommended "a good read" that attacked Democratic candidate Raj Goyle as a "turban topper." Pompeo apologized, sort of. Pompeo claimed that a staffer had inadvertently linked to the wrong story." Goyle, a second term state representative, is the son of Indian immigrants. While a some experts pointed out that the Pompeo denial lacked creditability, it was generally accepted.

Now, just days before the election, the Pompeo campaign has a new electronic billboard which proclaims "True Americans Vote for Pompeo." Not only does the billboard uses bigotry, it is apparently illegal.

Nepaholla Dreams (Part One)

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - It beckons. An ancient Kansas holy site west a couple of hours or so. Come pilgrim, join me for a visit. We'll do a day trip, we'll journey to Nepaholla.

At Manhattan we get on Highway 24, driving on over to Tuttle Creek Boulevard, moving up the Big Blue River Valley. Just past the dam of Tuttle Creek Reservoir, we ascend into uplands. On the right are the Blue Hills, a land of trapezoidal mounds deeply etched by tree-lined creeks and ravines draining east toward the lake. We turn west toward the town of Riley, passing through gentle folds of agricultural land interspersed with pastures. Just west of Clay Center we cross the Republican, known as the River of Geese by the Kanza Indians. At this point we enter the sandstone hill country forming the eastern edge of the Smoky Hills. Whereas the Blue Hills projected repetitive, geometric lines, this hill country, though mostly gradual inclines and gently arced mounds, surprises with pockets of buttes, saddles, high ridges, and cliffs stippled with outcroppings of rugged, ferruginous rocks.

A Melancholy Season

snow.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - There is nothing that stirs up the soul of my inner child like the first snowstorm of the year. I eagerly polish up my snowshoes, look out the windows and flip through television stations to make sure it is still going to make it.

The hope of a day off of work or school, and no where to go is very alluring. There is nothing better than being snowed in with a deck of cards.

The delight of waking up to the first few feet of snow on the ground is something that can't be put into words.

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - Since the possibility of an industrial wind operation in Ellis County, Kansas, became a real possibility, I have been among those who have been very concerned about placement of these 400 feet tall tower and blade assemblies. The experience of a significant number of people living near industrial wind operations elsewhere has been a bad one. Though many people are not affected by the audible noise and the inaudible low frequency waves of pressure, a significant number of people suffer health problems from living too close to a turbine.

Warren Zevon, to my knowledge, though he commented on US foreign policy, werewolves, and headless Thompson gunners, never got around to singing about industrial wind turbines or the election of 2010. Of course, he died of cancer in 2003; maybe we shouldn't hold it against him.

But his prayerful plea, "Don't Let Us Get Sick," which continues with "don't let me get old / don't let me get stupid, alright," seems designed particularly for the election of 2010. Stupidity seems to be more infectious than H1N1 this year, and in Ellis County, at least, there do not seem to be enough doses of the vaccine to go around.

HOBOKEN, N.J. - I could make a long list of things I am disappointed about with Obama. His vigor in challenging the most venal aspects of the Bush administration, the wars, the torture, the Big Brother spying, the coddling of corporations and banks, has fallen way short of what his soaring rhetoric during the campaign might have led us to expect. I could go on and on, but that is not the purpose of this article. In a few days election day will come and we are facing an onslaught of sadly misled and manipulated Tea Partiers, funded, driven and brainwashed by billionaires intent on rolling back democracy and establishing unchallengeable corporate control over our country. These poor Tea Partiers are people with legitimate complaints and problems whose populist fervor has been channeled by cynical and sophisticated propagandists into supporting the same corporate powers who have marginalized them in the past and are intent on pushing them even further down if they consolidate control over the House of Representatives.

HAYS, Kan. - Article Four of The Kansas Bill of Rights, Constitution of the State of Kansas: § 4. Bear arms; armies. The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Constitutional Amendment Question Number One, Ellis County General Election Sample Ballot: A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Excerpt from the Explanatory Statement provided by the Sample Ballot: "...A vote against this amendment would provide for no constitutional right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose..."

US Constitution, Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed..

The above references are necessary to the commentary I feel compelled to provide.

I Remember

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Here's a really good video from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, a diverse union representing workers in industrial construction, repair, and maintenance; manufacturing; shipbuilding and marine repair; railroads; mining and quarrying; cement kilns; and related industries. You may hear its members refer to themselves as blacksmiths, forgers, ship builders, cement workers, stove workers, metal polishers, or numerous other job descriptions. With its national headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, the member-supported organization unites over 235 local lodges throughout North America, endeavoring to improve the lives and lifestyles of its members.

DODGE CITY, Kan. - We do, indeed, have some outstanding candidates on the political scene in Kansas. I cast my advance ballot yesterday for Democrats Tom Holland, Lisa Johnston, Alan Jilka, Dennis McKinney, Chris Biggs, Steve Six, and Republicans Sandy Praeger and Sally Cauble. I admire their courage, leadership, and willingness to serve. Nevertheless, I have been reluctant to write this year.

There are many stories that need to be written in this time frame just prior to an "off-year" election. I have tried to help with the election by manning the local Democratic headquarters, making phone calls, putting out yard signs, donating dollars, making speeches for candidates, and finally casting my ballot. I suspect many who read this have done likewise.

So, why do I hesitate to write about this year's election activities. Why, indeed?

We Have Some Really Good Men in Kansas

HAYS, Kan. - Will Rogers was quoted as saying once, "We have plenty of confidence in this country, but we are a little short of good men to place our confidence in." Well, not so, this year, Mr. Rogers. We have plenty of good men in Kansas.

Voting for Oletha

WICHITA, Kan. - I will vote a straight Democratic ticket on November 2nd. I will be voting for Democrats Raj Goyle, the 4th District Congressional candidate, Tom Holland for governor, Lisa Johnston for U.S. Senate, Steve Six for attorney general, Chris Biggs for secretary of state, and Dennis McKinney for state treasurer. I will also vote for Ponka-Wi Victors, who is unopposed in the 103rd House District. I haven't met Victors, but she's a Democrat and is highly regarded by Delia Garcia, my long-time representative, so I will vote for her.

One person stands out for me among all these excellent Democratic candidates, though. That person is Oletha Faust-Goudeau, who is running for the 4th District seat on the Sedgwick County Commission. Oletha is now my state senator. Previously she was the representative from the 84th House district, the district that neighbors mine. Even though Oletha didn't represent my district, I would often call or e-mail her, asking for a vote that supported education or other issues important to me. She almost always listened to my requests and when she didn't, it was because she had good reason to vote otherwise.

GIRARD, Kan. - My name is Cheryl Hudspeth and I am running for Congress in Kansas' 2nd Congressional District against Rep. Lynn Jenkins. I have plenty to say about Rep. Jenkins' abysmal record of pretending to represent the interests of this district.

In the days since the Republicans released their 'Pledge to America,' I have been sifting through reviews and checking facts. Not that there are many facts in the Pledge, there aren't. No, it's more like reading a comic book. Much is implied or left to your imagination, as your eye is pulled to large iconic images. The words are familiar, patriotic and reassuring, pulling at our desire to for a more solid foothold in an era of rapid change. That is were it begins. But, if the 'Pledge' is enacted, where we end up is quite a different story.

Jerry Karr for State Senate

EMPORIA, Kan. - Let me make a personal endorsement for a friend. I've known Jerry Karr for 5 years. I've dined at his home and I've herded escaped pigs on his farm (true story). He and his wife Sharon are close friends. I've had the privilege to meet most members of his family.

In fact, I can say that you won't find a more honest, hardworking and dedicated public servant than Jerry Karr.

Perhaps nothing conveys his dedication more than his willingness to take on this 17th District senate race in the first place. A bit of background on that issue will illustrate my viewpoint.

WICHITA, Kan. - Behind in the polls and rightfully being lambasted as the opportunist and nitwit that she is, Christine O'Donnell is now claiming God is on her side, and pulling for her to win in her bid for the U.S. Senate seat from Delaware.

And, not only does she have the moxie to claim God is on her side, but the gall to ask people to pray to God for her victory. I guess God can't do this all alone and needs the prayers of humans to bring her victory. One could argue that if O'Donnell really had faith, she would not need to beg others to pray on her behalf.

I sincerely doubt God has anointed O'Donnell to succeed in her bid for the senate but if that is the case, then I can only reason God is trying to inflict pain and misery on the citizens of Delaware and I would be highly offended by God's interference if I lived in that state.

Vote for Progress

WICHITA, Kan. - As I listen to the radio and television ads it makes me wonder what really drives someone to support a candidate. I keep hearing ads that throw out buzz words like conservative and liberal, tax cuts and big government. Hearing these ads does nothing for me. It doesn't help me to decide who I will vote for at all. I believe that if this is how someone decides who to vote for then they shouldn't even bother.

We need to seek out candidates who understand there is more to enriching the lives of Kansans than assuring tax cuts I support the candidates who support human rights and adequate funding. We don't need robots whose only goal is to cut budgets and hamper progress in our state.

A Season of Prairie and Politics

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - What a fall it has been! One blue-sky day has followed another, with the warm sun calling us to spend as much time as possible out-of-doors and the cool nights making a couple of blankets feel just right. The prairie grasses are still billowing on the inland sea, still tall after a season of good rains. They are ghosts of their summer selves now, but zany ghosts that form wild chorus lines in the autumn winds and wear madcap colors -- ochre, umber, lavender, red, brown, gold, and rose. Who could experience the Flint Hills in the fall and not be moved?

I have different emotions about the political season. There are some candidates, Republican and Democrat, whom I am proud to support, such as Larry Hicks, Ben Bennett, Tom Moxley, and Chris Biggs. But other aspects of our politics make me sick.

It makes me almost physically ill when politicians stir up hot-button issues rather than discuss problems realistically. They make people think politics is simple -- a matter of angels and demons -- rather than what it usually is -- a mix of complexities, contingencies, and unknowns. Right now there are politicians demonizing "illegal aliens," Muslims, gays, "the regime," and of course the President himself in ways that don't connect up with practical solutions to any defined problems. Rather, the rhetoric is all about status -- an invitation to voters to join a virtuous "us" against a dangerous and degenerate "them."

The public is welcome. Admission is free.

Manhattan, Kansas. Monday, October 18, 7:00 pm. Kansas State University. Spooner Hall, Student Union.

Lawrence, Kansas. Tuesday, October 19, 7:00 pm. Kansas University. Alderson Auditorium. Kansas Union.

Hays, Kansas. Wednesday, October 20, 6:30 pm. Fort Hays State University. Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center

BOGUE, Kan. - As those who've followed my writing here know, I've written often about global warming. I've been dismayed at the doubt and confusion among the masses -- not to mention the irrational anger among those who see it all as politics.

A courageously unsigned response to my previous column asserted that a "high level inquiry" had found the IPCC findings provided "little evidence" for its claims of global warming. My critic then warned, "Oh, my god, here comes Hooper with his spin, spin, spin."

I took a look ...

EL DORADO, Kan. - Are inmates at the El Dorado Correctional Facility being discriminating against due to their secular/humanist views? Inmate Robert Richardson believes this is the case and began speaking out and asking the secular/humanist community for help. I was asked by another group to have the Great Plains Chapter of AU review the situation and see if we could help resolve the conflict.

Mr. Richardson explained in his letter that inmates are allowed a privilege referred to as "call out" time. This time is reserved for like minded individuals to come together and hold discussions with one another. Mr. Richardson wanted permission for a group of inmates who are secularists/humanists to have the same opportunity for "call out" time that religious inmates enjoy. However, "call out" involves a special form that must be filled out [IMPP10-110] and approved by prison officials who are apparently not inclined to allow anyone but Christians their freedom of beliefs when it comes to call out time.

PhotobucketMANHATTAN, Kan. - Kenneth O'Keefe was on board the ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 when Israeli commandos attacked the ship and killed nine of its passengers. The following is an excerpt from O'Keefe's written account of what happened, and his reflection on the limits of non-violence. O'Keefe spoke at K-State University on 5 October. The lecture was sponsored: the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice, K-State Amnesty International, and K-State Departments of Philosophy, and Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. The podcast of his speech is available below.

I have for many years understood that we, people of conscience, are the true holders of power in this world. Frustratingly, however, we have largely relinquished that power and failed to reach our full potential ...

Boon? Or Bust?

SALINA, Kan. - "Boon!"  was the headline for Tim Unruh's Salina Journal piece Sunday, Sept. 26.  It laid out how Clay Center (and Herington, Junction City, Abilene, and many others) are laying out the welcome mat for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

Count the benefits:  Bud's Tire service sales tripling, with guaranteed overstock buyout/bailout; referrals for boat sales, doctors, and dentists; full restaurants; swelling campground rentals; pipeline spouses as public service volunteers; pump station/power generation cash cutting Clay Center's electric rates "up to" twenty percent; six million dollars for a 14.5-mile transmission line; and most heart-warmingly, 1,000 charity bucks from TransCanada and 500 from the pipeline company for Clay Center's Orchestra, which just lost funding from the Kansas Arts Commission. 

This headline's more accurate, long-term: "Boondoggle!"  These transient benefits last only till November -- with potential damage to our land lasting at least a hundred years, perhaps far longer.  Or, there's "Boom!"  And later,  "Bust!"

We Are America

uncle-sam-with-poor-woman-in-street-300px.jpgSHAWNEE, Kan. - Unions aren't perfect, so we should do away with them. Government isn't perfect, so we should do away with it.

This kind of Black/White, simplistic thinking that is neither constructive nor helpful in solving the crisis-point level problems that this country faces today needs to stop. The kind of thinking that still considers America to be a place where, if you work hard and apply yourself, you can get ahead in the world no longer applies to our situation. The America where we used to be able to work hard, pay our bills and still afford to send our kids to college; the America where a child could expect to work hard and move ahead of his or her parent's economic status; the America of opportunity and justice, industry and ingenuity where a good idea could be brought to the marketplace, benefiting the inventor and the consumer; this America is the one of yesteryear, not of today.

This America has been destroyed along with the American Dream. And it's time for the little people to turn from denial and admit that the dream is dead.

Where Has "Pink" Gotten Us?

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Sunday's edition of a local paper was tainted pink. The paper was not alone in color. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I've seen displays of pink water bottles, pink soaps, pink duct tape, pink towels, pink fountains, pink chairs, etc. What is the purpose of this? What has "pink" ever solved? Nothing. Frankly, I'm sick of seeing so much pink. I'm ready to see a cure. While I don't have anything against pink (it makes a great color for nail polish), I fail to see its relevance to breast cancer.

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

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