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Campaign Baloney

WICHITA, Kan. - According to the Wichita Eagle, Congressman Mike Pompeo is announcing an 'America Flies' aviation campaign.

That's right. Pompeo seems to think Americans need to be educated about what an indispensable asset aviation is for Wichita and America as well.

Yes, just after Boeing stuck it to the people of Wichita and has run out of Dodge with its Tanker deal, Pompeo has shown real political courage by reminding us how much we rely on the aviation industry for jobs and the need to bow down and prostrate ourselves to the gods of aviation.

This "I love airplanes and flying along with my congressional job" campaign, is an about face from last week's performance of outrage and protestations. Pompeo, along with other politicians were lined up like jilted lovers.

What China's Progress Means

SALINA, Kan. - First impressions are lasting. And mine was very positive. In November I had the good fortune to be part of a group from Salina that traveled to China for ten days. After a fourteen-hour flight from Los Angeles we arrived at the Beijing International Airport and stepped into another world. Inside the spacious terminal everything was sparkling. The pristine scene contributed to our sense of excitement as we contemplated the adventure that lay ahead of us.

By now I've had time to reflect on the many experiences of our trip. And as I try to sum up my sense of this rising power I keep coming back to the feeling I had when I first arrived.

The Kansas Free Press is honored to occasionally publish illustrations created by our friend, Angelo Lopez. He is a consummate artist, political cartoonist and muralist. Angelo also writes and is a regular contributor to KFP's sister publication, Everyday Citizen.

Turn this page if you'd like to read Angelo's very interesting essay about his inspiration for drawing this cartoon.

Nepaholla Dreams (Part Four of Four Parts)

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - I think a term useful for rediscovering the sacred in the Kansas landscape is liminality. The liminal is related to a sensory threshold that, like all boundaries, both separates and joins worlds. Liminal places in the Kansas landscape are present, interstices amidst the monoculture fields and development grids. These places can still be found because the land and water, up to a point, are resilient, as are our minds and bodies. From way back all of us, humans and more-than-humans, are wired up for liminal experiences.

Now I'm going to go a bit autobiographical on you. In 2009, I floated the Nepaholla River (aka Solomon River) in a canoe from the Waconda Lake Dam to the Nepaholla's mouth at the Smoky Hill River near the Solomon, a small town located between Salina and Abilene. The trip, actually a series of trips, starting in May and concluding in mid-November, covered 172.4 river miles. Here's what I want to share with you:

  • During the hundred hours or so I was on the water I saw a total of six people: four solitary fishermen, one wood-cutter, and one farmer checking his irrigation equipment.

'Unconstitutional' Scream du Jour

OLATHE, Kan. - Well, they're at it again. The "unconstitutional" crowd. Mike Huckabee is the latest demagogue to find something unconstitutional. (Do you ever get the feeling that these "unconstitutionalists" are former communist hunters who've lost their enemy and are creating a new one out of whole cloth? Don't they have lives? Don't they have anything better to do?)

Now Huckabee is ranting about the TSA's mandatory full-body scan or alternative enhanced pat down. Challenging President Obama to have his immediate family go through the procedure, Huckabee says,

"If it's OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won't feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy."

I fly a lot. I don't like the scanners and I don't like the pat downs. But this isn't a constitutional issue.

Nepaholla Dreams (Part Two of Four Parts)

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - So we're back in Manhattan ready for another road trip. This time we head east on Highway 24, cross the Big Blue River, its Kanza name Man yinka tu hu u dje', and as we approach the sales barn on the right, we salute the site of the Kanza village of Igaman-sabe', Euro Americans called it the "Blue Earth Village," occupied by the entire tribe from about 1800 to 1830.

After leaving the Blue Earth village the Kanza split into at least three village bands, remaining fractured until their occupation of Kansas ended in 1873. A few miles east of Wamego we come to Vermilion Creek on which Hard Chief's village was located from about 1834 to 1845, the Kanza name for both the creek and this village is Tce xu'li'n.

Nepaholla Dreams (Part One)

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - It beckons. An ancient Kansas holy site west a couple of hours or so. Come pilgrim, join me for a visit. We'll do a day trip, we'll journey to Nepaholla.

At Manhattan we get on Highway 24, driving on over to Tuttle Creek Boulevard, moving up the Big Blue River Valley. Just past the dam of Tuttle Creek Reservoir, we ascend into uplands. On the right are the Blue Hills, a land of trapezoidal mounds deeply etched by tree-lined creeks and ravines draining east toward the lake. We turn west toward the town of Riley, passing through gentle folds of agricultural land interspersed with pastures. Just west of Clay Center we cross the Republican, known as the River of Geese by the Kanza Indians. At this point we enter the sandstone hill country forming the eastern edge of the Smoky Hills. Whereas the Blue Hills projected repetitive, geometric lines, this hill country, though mostly gradual inclines and gently arced mounds, surprises with pockets of buttes, saddles, high ridges, and cliffs stippled with outcroppings of rugged, ferruginous rocks.

The Lessons of Santiago

SANTIAGO, Chile - I don't suppose I'm unusual in this regard, but I often feel that traveling is the only time I feel really alive. Back home embedded in the rules and routines of life, captured in a web of entanglements, obligations, bills to pay, forms to complete, deadlines to meet, habits to maintain, bores to honor -- it can suck the life right out of you. But when I'm traveling I feel like Jesse James on the run. I know they're going to catch up with me eventually, but at the moment I am two steps ahead of them. I am free.

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - For over twenty years the Kansas Sample Festival, organized by the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation, has provided attendees the possibility of being immersed in Kansas culture. That tradition continues May 1st and 2nd in Leavenworth's Ray Miller Park, 4201 South 4th Street, as vendors from across the gather for the 2010 Kansas Sample Festival.

The opening ceremony for the Festival takes place on Saturday, May 1st, at 9:00 a.m. This ceremony provides an opportunity for Kansas communities to show their stuff and prick the interest of those in attendance about the possibilities that lay just beyond the entrances to the various exhibition tents.

The tents open Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. On Sunday the exhibitions open at 10:00 and close at 4:00 p.m. Admission fee is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for child aged 7 - 14. Weekend passes are also available at $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children.

The 2010 Festival is breaking all previous records with over 320 exhibitor registrations received to date representing over 150 Kansas communities. Exhibitors include Kansas municipalities, attractions, entrepreneurs, and entertainers. These will be spread throughout the park in colorful tents on a wide open grassy field shaded by old trees in Ray Miller Park.

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