Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Policy: January 2011

Will Your Retirement Funds Be There?

social-security-lock-box.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - We can't trust our luck. The attacks that have been waged against the Social Security program, from its conception, have been relentless. We read daily the charges that Social Security: was bad from the beginning; has ruined the economy; has made welfare a way of life for the elderly; is plunging us deeper and deeper into debt. We have been lucky that the system has survived the distortions that have gone unchallenged, for the most part. It is time we challenge those distortions before the lies have been told so many times that people begin to think they are the truth. Don't trust your congressman to protect the Social Security System without hearing from you.

Trust. What does that word mean? If you have a good thesaurus, you might be surprised at all the synonyms and associations or combinations of words that imply trust. For the purpose of this article, I choose to use the following definition; something (as property) held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).

TOPEKA, Kan. - KOSE Executive Director Jane Carter responded to the amendment reducing salaries and wages of state employees by 7.5 Percent with the following statement:

"The membership of the Kansas Organization of State Employees (KOSE), as well as every state worker who has dedicated their careers to public service, are disappointed with the news coming out of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday.

"As the amendment offered by Rep. DeGraaf passed out of the House Appropriations Committee, cutting the salaries and wages of state workers by 7.5% through June 30, 2011, I thought of the already underpaid and underappreciated state employees who do the people's work every day--clearing roads, providing care to the disabled and vulnerable, protecting our neighborhoods, and keeping our state running. How are these workers going to make ends meet now after it has already been determined that they are severely underpaid?"

TOPEKA, Kan. - State services were left absent from the State of the State address. Most saddening is how thousands of state workers may lose their jobs. KOSE Executive Director Jane Carter responded:

"In Governor Brownback's State of the State address the services of the state of Kansas and the employees who provide them were left in the cold, which is harsh considering these single digit temperatures!

"Governor Brownback spoke about hope and opportunity for all Kansans, but then disparages the very services which pull Kansas through good times and bad, and that give many of our citizens hope and opportunity every day. Waste in state government was addressed in the State of the State and KOSE has worked in a bi-partisan fashion to flush out waste and fraud. However, eliminating unfilled positions is a slippery slope that jeopardizes our state hospitals, correctional facilities, and state agencies. "

Arizona's Vitriol Has Kansas Roots

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." - Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, 01-08-2011

vit·ri·ol: something highly caustic or severe in effect, as criticism

GIRARD, Kan. - In the wake of the shooting rampage in Tucson Saturday, there is as usual, a national introspection, a search for understanding, a search for root causes and contributing factors. This is a common response. This is how we strive to make sense out of the senseless.

The discussion has quickly turned to national figures, who, during the hotly contested midterm elections of 2010, used the language and symbols of guns and violence. Sarah Palin has become the target of her own language with the cross hairs of criticism now focused directly on her. Palin is not alone. The symbolism of violence in political discourse has become commonplace.

Peace Versus Profit

I like to point out that it is easy for war mongers to be war mongers as long as other people are doing the sacrificing. At least people arguing for peace aren't expecting other people to suffer if they get their way." -- John Page, Gulf War Veteran

WICHITA, Kan. - One of the earliest accounts of an anti-war demonstration is found in Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Written in 411 BC, the play is a humorous look at the quest of one woman, Lysistrata, to end the Peloponnesian War. The protest is two-pronged. What most people remember of the play is that Lysistrata rallies the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until they end the war. More crucial to the success of the protest is that the old women of Athens take over the Acropolis, the site where the state treasury is stored. This of course means the military will be unable to fund the war they're fighting.

The Peloponnesian War lasted from 431 BC to 404 BC, a long war by anyone's standards. The word "Lysistrata" means "Army-disbander" in Attic Greek and, while the women's war protest was only a fiction, the play gives voice to resistance to never-ending war. More importantly, it shows the inseparable relationship of economics to war. Wealth from tribute and land holdings, as well as access to the sea and to silver mines kept hostilities alive for almost thirty years between Athens and Sparta.

HAYS, Kan. - Many thousands of raucous Americans roared, clapped, and sang, holding placards high above their heads - signs with simple but powerful messages. Hope. Change. I could see the hunger for hope and change in the eyes of the people that day.

I was in Invesco Field in Denver in 2008 as Barack Obama accepted the nomination of his party for President of the United States. With my much coveted 'floor access' press pass, I stood right on the field with fabulous freedom to move around and view the stands filled to the brim with enthusiastic people.

Through my camera lens, I witnessed the sparkling eyes, the tear-drenched cheeks, the exuberant hugging. Even members of the press corps danced and swayed. Those were the heady, hopeful days of 2008.

These are different times.

Flexing the Feminist Muscle

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Fighting for women's rights, particularly the right to choose, can be a lot of fun in Kansas. It's something that all of us bra burning, non leg shaving women love to do. In fact, it was just recently that the 'femi-nazis' in the state gathered together. It was a great time. We practiced witchcraft, played with our Ouiji boards, and talked about how we could use "Obamacare" to euthanize our great grandparents. We adjourned for a short pillow fight, and then discussed evil penises over tea. After it was over, we drew sticks to see who would get to be on the front lines for our causes this year. The winner, of course, would get to be called "baby killer" the most over the next legislative session.

You can only imagine the excitement felt by the one who is left holding the coveted longest stick (no pun intended, of course). This sounds like fun, right?

To be a feminist in Kansas requires a "thick skin" (although a sense of humor also helps). That extra layer of "toughness" is needed to deal with the stereotypes that are projected upon us. Often, it's not much short of a battle to deal with the absurdities thrown at us. There is always a counter to our cause.

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 Policy: December 2010. The next archive is Policy: February 2011.

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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 Policy: January 2011 section.

The previous archive is Policy: December 2010. The next archive is Policy: February 2011.

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

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