Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: April 2011

GREAT BEND, Kan. - If you get your news from E! Television, you may not want to read any further. What I have to say could upset you: Many Americans of today are focused on trite political issues. Not many people know that President Obama has:

  • created Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,
  • given 90 percent of households a tax cut,
  • given 12.2 billion dollars to the "American's with Disabilities Act,"
  • extended benefits to federal employees in same sex partnerships,
  • created a voluntary disclosure of White House visitors for the first time in U.S. history,
  • promoted social responsibility through creation of,
  • created a national database of volunteer opportunities,
  • signed new START Treaty - nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia,
  • provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB,
  • launched to track spending from the Recovery Act, provide transparency and allow the public to report fraud, waste, or abuse,
  • provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America's Veterans,
  • signed the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids -- 4 million of whom were previously uninsured,
  • signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system,
  • established Credit Card Bill of Rights, preventing credit card companies from imposing arbitrary rate increases on customers,
  • passed tax cuts for up to 3.5 million small businesses to help pay for employee health care coverage,
  • passed tax credits for up to 29 million individuals to help pay for health insurance,
  • now requires health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care,
  • increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act,
  • lifted restrictions granting Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island,
  • eliminated subsidies to private lender middlemen of student loans and protect student borrowers,
  • significantly expanded Pell grants, which help low-income students pay for college,
  • signed financial reform law allowing shareholders of publicly traded companies to vote on executive pay

I can guarantee every American does know about President Obama's birth certificate conspiracy.

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

WICHITA, Kan. - A few committed students from Wichita State University took it upon themselves to organize a rally in support of Planned Parenthood. They were compelled to do so as they watched the recent national and state attempts to defund the organization that is often the only access point to obtain low cost reproductive health care for many low income college students and other low income women within their community.

Shanna Kay Crowe contacted me and asked me to speak at the rally. I accepted and was inspired to see so many men and women across all spectrum of age, gathered to voice support for this important organization. Local media covered the event and gave great exposure to this great cause. Several people commented on the speech I gave, so I have included its text below.

Enjoying Tea Parties

tea-party-2.jpgSALINA, Kan. - Last week brought the universally disliked "tax day," the deadline to file federal income taxes. But not to despair, the occasion has also been greeted in the last couple years by a new phenomenon, Tea Party rallies.

As citizens weigh their decisions on whether to attend these kind of gatherings, they will want to consider several factors.

First of all, to enjoy these events, people will need to leave their knowledge of history at home.

This movement was named "Taxed Enough Already" because its acronym allows the group to evoke the memory and emotions of the Boston Tea Party. However, looking closer, the modern movement is misnamed.

A Peak Into the Future

SALINA, Kan. - Vowing to fight voter apathy Kansas City-area attorney Chris Collibash announced his candidacy this morning for the office of Kansas Secretary of State, the state's chief elections officer.

In an announcement before a huge crowd of supporters Collibash stressed the need to take measures to increase voter turnout. "Many Americans have fought and given the ultimate sacrifice for this the most sacred right of citizens in a democracy. And as we speak and freely gather here today we have soldiers on duty in foreign lands safeguarding this right."

Professionally Collibash is an immigration lawyer. He has spent the past decade assisting immigrants, frequently individuals of modest means, with their efforts to seek legalized status and/or citizenship.

Saying that voter turnout in recent years should embarrass all Kansans he pledged to engage all citizens in a search for ways to boost the numbers of voters who regularly go to the polls.

Dr. George Tiller
WICHITA, Kan. - Apparently anti-abortion fanatic Angel Dillard can intimidate and threaten Dr. Mila Means. A federal judge maintains that Dillard's violent rhetoric is really not all that threatening and thus is political speech to be protected.

History should not repeat itself in Wichita. For too many years public officials allowed threatening mailers, violent rhetoric, confrontational protests and other abuses to be hurled against Dr. George Tiller. This protected speech escalated until Dr. Tiller was murdered. One would hope that those same public officials would have learned how words can be the trigger to physical violence. As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. stated: "Freedom of speech is not absolute." Dillard's irresponsible speech leaves little doubt that her words were not loaded with bad intentions.

WICHITA, Kan. - Now is your time to stand up and rally to keep a public service alive that provides affordable healthcare to women and men. It's time to speak out on behalf of maintaining healthcare services that bridge economic disparity. Please come and participate in the support of funding for Planned Parenthood!

When: Saturday, April 23, 2011, 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Where: The rally begins at Planned Parenthood (2226 E Central, Wichita, KS 67214). We will march to the Central and Hillside Intersection at Wesley Medical Center (550 N Hillside Street, Wichita KS 67208).

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - Where they began to die was a beautiful country. Their bodies were strewn in a ragged line across the prairie, enveloped in the lovely, sinuous sandstone hills of central Kansas, the "Smoky Hills," snow-spackled, windswept, and impassive.

The march was a flight of terror, propelled by fear that their enemies were in close pursuit. The few ponies not broken down were mounted, as was the custom, by men, the women and children left on foot. As they advanced, the dead were left in the wake, succumbing to the cold and exhaustion and hunger.

These are the facts...

This Is the State That Jack Built

DODGE CITY, Kan. - Do you remember the nursery rhyme of your childhood: "This is the house that Jack built?" It went on to explain how everything was all connected and caused the next step to happen, closing with the final phrase, "This is the dog that bit the cat that chased the mouse that ate the cheese that lay in the house that Jack built."

Well, I guess that almost explains how our house in Kansas got built (the Kansas House of Representatives, that is).

If you read No Requiem for the Useless earlier this week, you know my view of how the Federal Reserve segment of our national structure operates to manipulate the financial management of this country. As the nursery rhyme suggests, there is a next step; the corporations take the dollars so generously given by taxpayers by making sure they don't lose the companies don't lose those through taxes. So, "This is the corporation that pays no income tax to the federal government." Fill in almost any name here -- like GE who didn't pay any income tax last year on its $14 billion profit and yet filed for a $3.2 rebate.

Here I must mention that on March 1st this year, the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $600 million from the IRS budget for the remainder of 2011, and more in 2012. They, of course, want to cut IRS expenses. Never mind that for every dollar spent by the IRS for audits, liens, and seizing property from tax cheats, we get ten dollars. That's a pretty good rate of return, I think. But it also means corporations have to spend more to hide corporate cheating.

No Requiem for the Useless

man-counting-money-300px-best-size.gifDODGE CITY, Kan. - Let me make this very clear. I am not planning to memorialize somebody or something I never believed in at all. I will not praise "Old Middle of the Road." I never liked him anyway. I am glad if he is really as dead as they say he is.

"Good Riddance!" I say. Our wise Texan friend, Jim Hightower, always says there is nothing in the middle of the road except yellow stripes and dead armadillos anyway. Nevertheless, if one more person tells me that what we need nowadays is more central thinking, less radical left or radical right, I may scream.

What I believe we need is a stronger voice that shouts loudly of the causes we espouse on behalf of people! The center has been so thoroughly moved to the right that anything not spoken with high regard for corporations is now considered "left-wing." It is time to bring back the debate so once again OUR voices can be heard.

The majority of our people apparently believe the lie that this nation is broke; that we have no money. Therefore, we must make slashing cuts in all our "entitlement" programs.

This nation is not broke! Our money is simply in the wrong place - in the pockets of corporations and their billionaire CEOs. Can we prove it? Of course we can. If we read and share the information that is plentiful from dedicated research. Here is my first case in point...

The Politics of My Uterus

TOPEKA, Kan. - Dare I say it? Uterus. According to the Florida assembly, it's a four letter word.

Across the nation, the word (and the body part) has increasingly been made the government's business. Recently, it's the Kansas government's claim to ownership of my baby making parts that makes me livid. This year alone, our state saw it fit to introduce several abortion related bills.

Public Servant Attacks Public Radio

SALINA, Kan. - Growing up in a small town near Hays, I thought I lived in Western Kansas -- that is, until I came to teach at Garden City Community College. Driving west through Great Bend, my wife complained softly of the distance: another hour to grain-elevator Kalvesta; yet another to big-town Garden City, pop. 13,254 (now 27,000 plus).

Wide-open spaces seemed wider yet as I worked my summer job with the Soil Conservation Service.  Most days, nearly an hour's drive was our minimum to reach Finney County farmers.  Plains stretched from horizon to horizon, interrupted only by the occasional farmstead, tree, tractor, or cattle herd. Isolation was easy to come by and difficult to overcome.

There was no public radio.

That is, until two young, ambitious Garden City grads, Quentin Hope and Malcolm Smith, came back with high hopes and a big idea -- creating an area public radio station.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Over the weekend a friend of mine dropped off some strange but comical legislation going through committee in the Kansas Senate. The bill turns into a piece on guns, but begins out as a pretty vague and comical piece of legislation.

Senate Bill No. 149 states, "(Kansas) reserves to the state and people of Kansas certain powers as they were understood at the time that Kansas was admitted to statehood in 1861. The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people fo Kansas and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861."

Through my erroneous laughter I fantasized of a world where these state senators outlawed federal legislation since the year 1861.

WICHITA, Kan. - During the summer of 2008, two women, Lynn Stephan and Barbara Chamberlin, had a conversation in which they shared their frustrations at being liberals in a conservative world. Their conservative, right-wing friends assumed everyone was in agreement on issues that came up for discussion at social events. Stephan and Chamberlin spontaneously decided they'd "love to meet some women with like ideas," in Stephan's words.

"Let's do it," Chamberlin said. "Let's bring together who we know and see where it goes." They followed through and each of them came up with names of women who might be interested in such get-together. They then asked those women to contribute more names. Thus, the group known as The Group was born.

The list of participating women grew from forty to 225 in four months. Seventy women came to the first meeting. Those women stood up and talked, expressing ideas that they had never felt free to talk about before.

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This is an archive page containing all stories published in Kansas Free Press in April 2011. These are listed from newest to oldest.

March 2011 is the previous archive and May 2011 is the next one.

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