Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: July 2012

BASEHOR, Kan. - I'm a somewhat reluctant subscriber to the Wall Street Journal.

I say "reluctant" because the tenor of the paper has changed now that it's under control of Rupert Murdoch, et al. Reading the Opinion and Editorial pages, I fume, snort, yell, laugh, shake my head, and occasionally nod my assent. Thank goodness for my unused frequent flyer miles that I regularly trade for a WSJ subscription, otherwise I couldn't bring myself to purchase it.

On July 20 David Wessell, economics reporter for the Journal and one of the rare voices of reason among the Journal's regular staff, took a fact-based, relatively dispassionate look at where we are with federal government spending. He has a book titled Red Ink that will be out tomorrow.

Without further comment, I'd encourage folks to read his short piece and then consider his book.

Pride in Our Ride

SALINA, Kan. - This city is not the center of the universe.  But it is a regional hub.  And it's the place where recently an unlikely outcome, well, came out.  

That is, the Salina City Commission voted 3-2 on May 14 to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people to its non-discrimination list.   It and the death of our first, famous, woman astronaut have made our city and state an important universal, not just regional hub.
Sally Ride, astronaut and former spouse of Steve Hawley, the astronaut who claims Salina as his hometown, just came out -- in her obituary.  

Ironies echo to the heavens.  Sally Ride, the first woman to play a crucial role in our search for greater knowledge of the universe, was herself unknown in a basic personal sense. While she escaped the bounds of earth, our knowledge of her was buried under it.  Sally Ride rode a rocket clean out of this world, but could not come out of the closet. 

MANHATTAN, Kan. - On July 23, 2012, over 50 people attended the Kansas Citizens for Science's candidate forum for the Kansas State Board of Education, District 6, at the Manhattan Public Library.

Candidates participating in the forum included: Usha Reddi and Carol Viar, Democratic candidates, and Deena Horst, Republican candidate. Harry McDonald, President of the Kansas Citizens for Science Board of Directors, served as moderator for the forum. McDonald solicited questions from the audience and after general introductory statements, began addressing the questions to the candidates.

The audience had a broad variety of questions: school finance, science standards, virtual schools, comprehensive health education, vouchers, and more.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - I first met Usha Reddi some 13 years ago, when I was a PhD graduate student at K-State's College of Education and she was working on her ESL endorsement as she entered the job market after being a stay-at-home mother.


Reddi has lived in Kansas for over 20 years. She arrived here when her former husband came to teach and conduct research at K-State. She is the mother of three children, all of whom went to Kansas public schools. Two are now pursuing medical degrees at the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City while her eldest is finishing his graduate degree in social work at Columbia University. It was during her children's education here in Manhattan that she became a school volunteer and discovered her love for working with children.

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - We Americans are a can-do people, surrounded by technological wonders that allow us to detach ourselves from nature. Here I am writing this in air-conditioned comfort while outside the thermometer tops 100. I have already lived longer than most people did before the Industrial Revolution, and I am pain-free because a surgically implanted titanium brace keeps my lumbar discs 4 and 5 in line. My longevity - and my mobility - are owing to technological success.

Still, our problem-solving culture can have a down side, and that is a certain coldness to people experiencing tragedy. We are "worshipers in the church of the machine," writes historian Loren Baritz about American culture. But machines have no feelings -- they know nothing of guilt, heartbreak, loss. When people face terrible suffering there is no deep well of American cultural wisdom for them to draw upon. People do find houses of worship that suit their needs, but even these islands of spirituality are influenced by the larger society. Often neither the sufferers nor those around them know what to say or do.

I was forced to think about this cultural helplessness recently when in a short period of time two terrible things happened to acquaintances. One was the suicide of a teenaged child; the other, the accidental drowning of a guest at a pool party.

healthcare-reform.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - How did we get into the mess we are in? What mess? Moral decay, mid-east conflict, national debt, financial collapse, illegal residents, unemployment, racial tensions, and on and on. You add your own concerns to the list. We have passed the point of no return. Really?

When you listen to the conservative news networks, it sounds like it has all fallen apart since Barack Obama became president. When you listen to the liberal news networks, it sounds like the G.W. Bush administration was and is responsible for all of our woes. When you listen to the 'religious right,' it's the infidel liberals, and when you listen to the progressive left, it's the bigoted religious fanatics.

Political Insanity

COLBY, Kan. - Diane Wahto wrote, "I don't know how we end this insanity, but end it we must."

We end it with visions and dreams. Most all mechanical inventions are the result of someone's vision or dream. Just someone saying we need this or that doesn't build it. Observing that we need something better (ideology) doesn't produce something better. The psychology of positive thinking has its place, but reality says it take initiative and action to make things happen, or prevent things from happening.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansans will have an opportunity to make sense of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act at the third annual community forum on health care on August 2nd at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium beginning at 7:00 pm. Janet Witt from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) will be the featured speaker at this year's event.

The Affordable Care Act envisioned an expansion of Medicare to insure the uninsured but the court decided the federal government couldn't force state to expand their Medicare program, even if 90% of the cost of expansion was going to be paid by the federal government. This has lead to a string of Republican governors saying they won't implement the ACA, including our own Governor Brownback.

My Way or the Highway

Diane's article in May, Which Way I Fly Is Hell, was a good one.

"Sam Brownback and the right-wingers are doing everything in their power to ensure that Republican moderates will be voted out of office in the primary election, which means that Brownback, and by extension, his Koch handlers, will be able to declare open season on those of us who depend on state funding for our most basic needs." (more here)

We all are dependent upon government funding and oversight of society, including Brownback and the Koch brothers. Without stable government Brownback's political agenda would be in jeopardy.

healthcare.gifGREAT BEND, Kan. - I dream of a world where facts are checked before inaccurate information is spread. Where people don't fan a flame, just to get a reaction. I dream of a world where people are honest, and interested in politics, not just a 30 second sound bite.

The Supreme Court decided this week President Obama's health care plan is constitutional. (Yes, Rand Paul, the Supreme Court decides what is and what is not constitutional)

Hours after the decision was made, Facebook was flooded with inaccurate cartoons and portrayals of the health care plan. Perhaps the one that is most misleading is the one that states, "President Obama, Congressmen/women, and Senators are exempt from this plan." They are not exempt from holding insurance. This is not an opinion, it is a fact.

Money in our Electoral System

SALINA, Kan. - It must have been the title of the book that caught my eye. I've always enjoyed wandering through bookstores and their stacks of hidden treasures. One day in Rio de Janeiro years ago I was indulging in this favorite pastime when I came across a book entitled Fidel & Religion, by a Brazilian priest named Frei Betto. Maybe its odd title was too intriguing to pass up, and I bought it.

The book was the result of conversations that Betto had with the Fidel Castro over a couple days in Havana back in the mid-1980's. It didn't change any of my negative impressions of Cuba from a previous visit, but the work did offer interesting insights into the Cuban leader's thinking.

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

June 2012 is the previous archive and August 2012 is the next one.

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