TOPEKA - The Great State of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013, after a long and difficult battle with extremism that became markedly more aggressive in 2010. The struggle left the state so weakened it could no longer fight against the relentless attacks by the fatal disease.
Kansas was born on Jan. 29, 1861.
The state is preceded in death by fair taxation, good highways, strong education, family farms, a good public parks and wildlife system, open government, neighborliness and belief in helping each other out, freely elected public servants, and political moderation.
Kansas is survived by widespread poverty, low-wage jobs, high property taxes, pollution, poorly educated children, outmigration and rural depopulation, foreign land and farm ownership, lobbyist-funded legislators, chronic mistreatment of the disabled, a maniacal hatred of government and children who dream of living anywhere else.
During its early years, Kansas played a pivotal role in the Civil War by staking out a strong progressive stand against slavery. Despite repeated raids from border ruffians, Kansas held firm to the belief of free men and free soil.
Throughout its life, Kansas often aligned with leading progressive causes.
William Allen White, one of the state's most notable residents, once wrote that "if it's going to happen, it happens first in Kansas." That once was true. Kansas was the first state to ban the Ku Klux Klan, and the first to elect women to public office - one as mayor and another as sheriff.
It was the birthplace of the populist movement, rising as farmers and ordinary people grew weary of the Gilded Age politics of the late 1800s and early 1900s that favored investment interests over those of landowners and laborers.
Kansas was a leader in public education, with one-room school houses dotting the plains. A full 12 years before it was a national concern, Kansas established child labor laws that restricted employment of children in potentially dangerous industries.
In the 1950s, Kansas laid the path to civil rights for African-Americans with the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case - the first in the country to rule against a policy of segregation in public schools.
Despite its compassionate nature, Kansas proved to be a state teeming with inventiveness, ingenuity, determination and a savvy sense of business.
Cessna, Beech and Stearman helped establish Kansas as a center of the aviation industry. Coleman launched an international company from Wichita that became a household name. Pizza Hut and White Castle - two iconic eateries - both got their start in Kansas, and the man who helped establish the American automobile industry called Kansas home.
Kansas' history is filled with vibrant, dynamic people. Settlers who claimed land once described as a desert and turned it into the world's garden; immigrants who came by the train-load and brought with them the hard winter wheat that germinated the state's prosperity. Throughout the years, Kansans endured drought, grasshopper plagues, depression and fierce weather, yet its people worked to hold tight to their land and the belief that there was goodness in Kansas. In spite of those hardships, the state produced world-renowned artists, writers, inventors, business leaders, astronauts, even a president.
Kansas was a strong-willed state whose hands were calloused enough to turn up the hardest sod and tender enough to calm a crying child.
Despite its strength and vitality, Kansas couldn't survive the influences of outside political machines that sought to use this fertile ground and its people as a test plot for an ambitious political experiment.
The elections of 2010 and 2012 brought the poisoned pill that would bring about Kansas' untimely end. The first election seated a governor who tossed aside Kansas' storied history and replaced it with a vision of his own design. In 2012, record setting campaign contributions from out-of-state donors financed the defeat of those moderate Republicans who had spent the last of their political careers keeping Kansas alive.
One by one, the things Kansas had spent a lifetime building were dismantled, until the state was rendered as empty and uninviting as it had been in those early days when the first settlers eyed its endless expanse.
Along the way, the state's defenders - the farmer, the laborer, the property owner and the shop keeper - stood mute and passive, hoping for a day when the state would spark back to life, as it had always done before.
They remained silent too long.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Policy Institute, or Americans for Prosperity all in care of Gov. Sam Brownback, Office of the Governor, Capital 300 SW 10th Ave. Ste 241S, Topeka, KS 66612-1590.
Jason Probst is news editor at The Hutchinson News. Email: email@example.com.
They don't. We don't know our nation's history. Case in point, from Facebook yesterday:
J. Marion Sims is called “the Father of Gynecology” due to his experiments on enslaved women in Alabama who were often submitted as guinea pigs by their plantation owners who could not use them for sexual pleasure. He kept seven women as subjects for four years, but left a trail of death and permanently traumatized black women. Anarcha was one of the women Sims experimented upon. A detailed history of this monster is in Harriet Washington’s book, Medical Apartheid.
Sims believed that Africans were numb to pain and operated on the women without anesthesia or antiseptic. The procedures usually happened this way.
Black female slaves who were guinea pigs would hold one subject down as Sims performed hysterectomies, tubal ligation, and other procedures to examine various female disorders.
Sims also performed a host of operations on other slave populations. The following excerpt details his “practice” on enslaved infants.
Sims began to exercise his freedom to experiment on his captives. He took custody of slave infants and, with a shoemaker’s awl, tried to pry the bones of their skulls into proper alignment. Link:
Declaring, "Let's get started rebuilding America," President Obama promoted a merger of tax breaks, loans and private investment to generate money for projects.
This is long, long overdue, even if we all ignored this recent report: The latest national report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers this month on the state of bridges, roads, power grids, rail networks and other systems showed that the country’s grade had actually risen for the first time — but to a D-plus from a D.
I've been writing on this for some time, both here and on our Missouri Senator's home Facebook pages, in an effort to get some money for widening, improving and updating Interstate 70 from East Missouri and St. Louis, all the way across the state to Kansas City and the Kansas border.
It needs it badly, it's unsafe, it's narrow, it would be good for families and personal travel as well as business and business travel. It would create jobs for the region. There's just everything good about it and we need it sorely, as I said.
So, now, we wait.
We wait for the Republicans to come out against it.
Well, hey, it was proposed by this President, wasn't it?
"The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern peoples is their national debt ... The national debt has given rise to joint-stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage, in a word to stock-exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy." ~ Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1 (1867)
One day, when we get away from all the patriotism in this country and confusion of Capitalism with
patriotism, Karl Marx will be viewed with the respect he more rightly deserves.
The event includes tasting stations, silent auction and a "Hall of Fame" wine silent auction. The bottles will be signed by JJ's owner Jimmy Frantze. They include:
1.5 of Verite Le Desir 1.5 l of Cardinale 3 liter of Murphy Goode Cabernet 1.5 of Murphy Goode Liar's Dice Zin 1.5 of Edmeades Zin 3 liter of Freemark Abbey Cabernet 6 Liter of 1999 'Luce' Super Tuscan 750 ml 1999 Gaja Barbaresco 'Sori San Lorenzo", Piedmont, IT 3L 1989 Sean Thackrey "Orion" Old Vines Rossi VIneyard, Napa, CA 1.5 ml Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley vintage TBA 750 ml bottles from the 2011 vintage: Siduri and Novy Wineries, donated by Adam Lee and Dianna Novy Lee 3L Cambria Chardonnay "Katherines Vineyard", Santa Maria Valley, CA 3L Cambria Pinot Noir, Santa Maria ,CA 3L Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and many more
Saber! will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. with a special program at 7 p.m.
Participating restaurants and chefs include: Craig Adcock (Jude's Rum Cake) The American Restaurant Bluestem/rye The Broadway Cafe Café Sebastienne The Capital Grill Coaches Happy Gillis Carter Holton Jasper's The Jacobson Le Fou Frog Local Pig Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions The Rieger Hotel, Grill & Exchange Room 39 Starker's Restaurant
All money raised will be donated to the JJ's Staff Assistance Fund managed by Country Club Bank.
"Whatever issue you may be most concerned about -- climate change, widening inequality, declining real median wages, rising poverty among the young, the soaring costs of healthcare, bailouts for Wall Street, the sprawling military-industrial-congressional complex, the morality brigade that wants to dictate who can marry and whether a woman has control over her body, a government captured by corporations and the wealthy -- nothing can be done until we get big money out of politics and reclaim our democracy. It is the first step to all reform. It's difficult, it's frustrating, it's not sexy -- but it's a necessity." --Robert Reich, political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of PresidentsGerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. Quote from his Facebook page today. I say again, we have to work--heck, fight--to get the big, ugly, corrupting money of the wealthy and corporations our of our electoral and political systems. We have to end "campaign contributions." Links:
It is: "Ten years ago this week, the United States started a war that would last for eight years, claiming an estimated 189,000 lives, costing over $2 trillion and causing untold economic and emotional devastation for the Iraqi people. Is there a “conspiracy of silence” over the anniversary of our invasion of Iraq?" As pointed out in the link below: ""Big media’s culpability in the run-up to the war was explored in a documentary that originally aired onBill Moyers Journal in 2007. Buying the War investigated the media’s pro-war cheerleading in the months preceding the March 19, 2003, invasion. " You can see it here: Full article here:
On college campuses, many students striving to make the grade don’t have enough food to eat. Trying to tackle this challenge, colleges are now bringing food pantries onto campuses, hoping to help students through these tough times. Across the U.S., safety-net programs aimed at reaching the nearly 1 in 7 Americans living in poverty struggle to reach those in need. Food stamp enrollment climbed to record levels following the recent recession, with nearly 48 million participants in December 2012. Other states are trying to help their students in college. Not Kansas:
"Sadistic flicks, sea rise, assassination drones: are we up to playing God? A tectonic shift in civilization has never happened this fast before, and we’re still part-chimpanzee with double Ph.D.’s in trial and error. Invent pesticides and see what they do to our organs, sell civilians assault rifles and count the schoolhouse shootings, experiment with longevity and economics, friendship and cellphoning." --Edward Hoagland from today's New York Times in his article Pity Earth's Creatures
It's a fantastic article with great questions for us. I highly recommend it. It's also brief.
The Irish Prime Minister gave a partial apology today for the government’s role in a 74-year scandal in which, a new official government report says, over 10,000 women were forced to work without pay at commercial laundries called Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church for “crimes” as small as not paying a train ticket.
Wikipedia notes that the estimate of the number of women who were used as forced slave labor by the Catholic Church in Ireland alone goes as high as 30,000 over the entire time the Magdalene laundries were in operation.
The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996.
Women were locked in, couldn’t leave Magdalene Laundries for months, sometimes years
The women were locked in and not permitted to leave. And if they tried to get away, the cops would catch them and bring them back. They were quite literally Catholic slave labor working for the government and even Guinness, which would pay the laundries for the women’s slave labor.
Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23. The youngest entrant was 9 years old.
Singer Sinead O’Connor was perhaps the most famous Magdalene Laundry slave
When I was a young girl, my mother — an abusive, less-than-perfect parent — encouraged me to shoplift. After being caught once too often, I spent 18 months in An Grianán Training Centre, an institution in Dublin for girls with behavioral problems, at the recommendation of a social worker. An Grianán was one of the now-infamous church-sponsored “Magdalene laundries,” which housed pregnant teenagers and uncooperative young women. We worked in the basement, washing priests’ clothes in sinks with cold water and bars of soap. We studied math and typing. We had limited contact with our families. We earned no wages. One of the nuns, at least, was kind to me and gave me my first guitar.
This, however, is, for me, the most difficult to believe and hardest to forgive them for:
No apology from the Catholic Church
Absent from any of the media reports on the scandal that I could find was an apology from the Catholic Church which operated the Magdalene laundries and made handsome profits from contracts with government and hotels. Oh, found one. It seems the Catholic Church blew the women off. I know, you’re as surprised as I am:
Victims of the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Irish Catholic Church have received an apology and compensation, but no one has taken responsibility for what happened in the laundries. Cardinal Sean Brady, the most senior Catholic cleric in Ireland, met with Justice for Magdalenes in 2010. He said “by today’s standards much of what happened at that time is difficult to comprehend” but that it was a matter for the religious orders who ran the laundries to deal with. The religious orders have declined to meet the women.
The Irish Cardinal wasn’t interested in hearing from people who were hurt and abused — if not sexually, certainly physically and mentally, by the Catholic Church. And it’s not the Catholic Church’s fault.
The laundries were run by nuns, many of whom treated the women sent to work there as slaves:
Senator McAleese’s inquiry found that half of the girls and women put to work in the laundries were under the age of 23 and 40%, more than 4,000, spent more than a year incarcerated.
Fifteen percent spent more than five years in the laundries while the average stay was calculated at seven months.
The youngest death on record was 15, and the oldest 95, the report found.
The Irish state is also implicated in the scandal because the police would take women to the asylums after arresting them for trivial offenses and would return runaways.
The story of the Magdalene laundries shows what happens when an institution — in this case the church and the government — is considered beyond criticism. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the last of the laundries closed in 1996, shortly after the first wave of the Catholic pedophile priest scandals hit Ireland.
Let me reiterate that for a moment. The Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996.
There is more to the article, too. There are women's brief accounts of what was done to them. It would be worth our time to go the the original article so we all know more of what happened.
The world needs to know what happened, we need to never forget and we need to make sure things remotely like this are ended and that they're not repeated, of course, ever.