Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Human Rights: October 2010


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."

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 ...

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.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Human Rights: September 2010. The next archive is Human Rights: November 2010.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Human Rights: October 2010 section.

The previous archive is Human Rights: September 2010. The next archive is Human Rights: November 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

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