Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: April 2012


The 'Threat' of Foreign Doctors

WICHITA, Kan. - People of a certain age often find their conversations turning to ailments, doctors, medical tests, and drugs they have to take to deal with those ailments. I suppose that is to be expected when often the highlight of a person's day is going to a doctor's appointment or for an MRI. The water aerobics class at one of the Wichita YMCAs is full of people around my age. We are retired and while most of us are relatively healthy, we do have minor health issues that we often discuss in the locker room after our workouts.

I have a minor heart problem that is easily managed by a couple of fairly inexpensive drugs. Years ago, my family doctor referred me to a cardiologist. It was then I met Dr. Farhat, a young, red-haired man who came here from Lebanon some years before and started his cardiology clinic with several other doctors of Lebanese birth. Dr. Farhat is a soft-spoken man who treats patients gently and with respect. He explains what's going on with my heart in detail, even when he's running behind because of an emergency he's had to deal with.

A Starting Point for Dialogue

BASEHOR, Kan. - Conservatives have no monopoly on a "this is the way it should be" approach to life. Progressives certainly are no strangers to telling others how the world should be. My main point, expressed much more eloquently by Jonathan Haidt, is that progressives seem more open to asking questions, exploring new ideas, and challenging the status quo than conservatives are. And that conservatives seem more willing to engage in ad hominem attacks or Frank Luntz-type word play (death panels, traitors, socialists) when they decide they can't refute fact or scientific evidence.

When I was a freshman in college, my first scientific method professor hammered into us that there's no such thing as "proof," and that if a scientist used that word then, well, he really wasn't a scientist.

We Can Excuse the 'Dumb' Animals

COLBY, Kan. - Some may think I apparently never have had time for substance. But, even as far back as when I was a little fellow subject to Dad's intolerance of my opinions, I have always kind of felt like the world was entitled to my opinions, right or wrong.

Republicans and the religious right: " see the world in black/white, right/wrong, either/or, yes/no, my-way-or-the-highway terms."

That isn't to say the Dems are always tolerant and open, but in today's society the liberal left are far more tolerant of differing opinions and acceptance of the equal worth of their fellowman, irregardless of their religious or sexual orientation and opinions.

Historically, the established Christian church has lost nearly every argument with science. That doesn't negate the Bible's authority. It only proves that man sometimes ignores his finite knowledge and assumes he knows what, when, and how God created and thinks 'having dominion' means he has infinite knowledge.

Basehor, Kans.--Read The Republican Brain on the Republican Brain and laugh, weep, or scream.

For an even more nuanced approach, something that conservatives in general and Republicans in particular don't seem very capable of, watch a video of Jonathan Haidt's work.

As Justice Learned Hand once penned, "The mark of a free man is that ever-gnawing inner uncertainty as to whether or not he is right." And Julian Huxley, "To become truly adult we must learn to bear the burden of incertitude." This idea seems to be almost anathema to conservatives, who see the world in black/white, right/wrong, either/or, yes/no, my-way-or-the-highway terms.

Decision Time in Topeka

Bare-knuckled political battles over redistricting have set the stage for some high drama when the Kansas Legislature returns next week. Governor Sam Brownback has led by example, bringing Washington D.C.'s brand of take-no-prisoners partisanship back to the state capitol. House Speaker Mike O'Neal has joined with the governor and dropped all pretense of statesmanship while moving aggressively to gerrymander legislative districts to ensure conservative Republican dominance of Kansas politics during the next decade.

Joe Collins Shared What He Loved

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - Kansas lost a remarkable and gifted person this year with the death of Joe Collins. I knew Joe as Kansas's foremost frog and snake guy, the author of Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles in Kansas. But he was much more than that. Amazingly, he created an illustrious scientific career for himself without ever graduating from college. He skipped the whole credential thing and simply started doing science. He published the first of his scientific papers when he was just 19; he was later to author over 300 articles and 28 books and co-author the Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. In 1996, the governor of Kansas proclaimed Joe Collins "Kansas Wildlife Author Laureate."

Joe's career is an object lesson to young people who think they have to choose a boring field because it pays well and is therefore "practical." Sometimes just doubling down on what you love can be the most practical thing of all!

Joe's love of wildlife started early. As a little boy in Ohio, he spent as much time as he could with turtles, reptiles, and amphibians. Every day seemed filled with wonders as he learned more and more about his shelled, scaly, and moist-skinned friends. It hurt him, therefore, when he noticed something horrible about his own species: Behind the wheel, some people swerved to hit turtles on the road. Little Joe devised an ingenious revenge. He put the road-killed turtles back together but filled the shells

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This is an archive page containing all stories published in Kansas Free Press in April 2012. These are listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive and May 2012 is the next one.

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