Kansas Women: The Breeder Class

Katha Pollitt, longtime Nation Magazine "Subject to Debate" columnist, has a new book out, How Pro-Choicers Can Take Back the Moral High Ground. I've read an excerpt of the book in The Nation, and I would like to buy the book, read it, and share it with my pro-choice friends.

In Kansas, the only thing that changed in the 2014 midterm elections was that the state legislature became even more infested with anti-choice legislators. Rep. Pat Sloop's loss was one of the disasters we suffered. Rep. Sloop, now in her 70s, has been a longtime fighter for women's abortion rights and stood up for women against anti-choice zealots in the Kansas House. Other pro-choice advocates, Rep. John Carmichael and Rep. Ed Trimmer did keep their seats. Carmichael won handily over his anti-choice opponent, but Trimmer pulled out only a 17-point victory over his fundamentalist church backed opponent.

With people like Mary Pilcher Cook, she of the pregnant-woman-behind-the-sheet sonogram in a House committee room fame, still in the Kansas Legislature, the going will be tough for those who believe women have the right to control their bodies and their lives. Hiding a pregnant woman behind a sheet is a good metaphor, in fact, for what happens to many women when they get pregnant.

Listening to Heart-Speech

Sometimes our hearts tell us things.

When we lived in town we had a neighbor who would put her hand up to the right side of her face, like a blinder, whenever she left her house. One day I asked her why. She pointed to the new buildings in the ravine at the end of our street. "Those houses--I can't bear to see them," she said. "My children used to play there. It was all woods. We had picnics--"

Her voice broke, and she didn't finish her sentence.

But her meaning was clear:

We bond with landscape just as we do with people, and the breaking of those bonds hurts just as much.

But growth is the one thing our modern capitalist society cannot do without. When housing-starts fall off, the economy is in trouble. When people stop buying consumer items, the economy is in trouble. Expansion, constant expansion, is what we need. Therefore, we are trained to suppress stabs of grief such as my neighbor felt. "Well, that's progress," we are supposed to say, resignedly, when a highway, shopping mall, or subdivision replaces the greenspace we had loved.

But our hearts keep talking.

Enter writers, whose job it is to hear heart-speech and then express it through their own creations.

Kansas for Sale?

Just yesterday, I was distributing flyers for a local candidate while wearing my Davis-Docking shirt. The Royals had won the pennant, it was a beautiful fresh fall-air day, and folks were mostly in a good mood. I came upon a fellow watering his plants, handed him a card and urged him to vote for my candidate and for Paul Davis and Jill Docking . As I walked on, he said derisively, "Oh, I see, Obama Democrats, eh?" "No, just Democrats--and fellow citizens, like you," I replied.

His remark could just be dismissed, except that we know exactly where that came from. His own misconceptions--and the latest TV ads. I am not trying to be pious here. I've been watching TV ads too. Who can escape the constant bombardment? Millions are being spent by NRA, Americans for "Prosperity," the Chamber of Commerce, outside campaign groups buying a force-fed stream of oversimplifications, exaggerations, character defamation, and outright lies.

In the Governor's race alone, nearly $8 million has been spent. Just one organization backing Brownback has spent $1.8 million. The Alliance for Freedom is a "Virginia-based group advocating limited government and a free market." There's the Koch brothers' philosophy. AFF is linked to Dick Cheney's family and Halliburton, the #1 war profiteer. They raked in our tax dollars while many Kansans died. Now those dollars rob us again.

Even worse, in most cases, we don't know who's giving to the PACs. We do know, however, that it's a great investment. Return on investment for most corporate lobbying and campaign contributions is 100% to 100,000%. For example, Big Oil's ROI was 5,900% when seeking fossil fuel subsidies. In 2003, Big Pharma's ROI was 77,500% on when they kept prescription drug prices high by barring Medicare from competitive bargaining.

It's outlandish. These secret, stealth millionaires think they can buy our trust. Trust for a governor and his sycophants who have papered the state with lies that cost us daily and dearly.

I'm no math whiz, but consider this easily understood comparison: 191,00 relatively well-off individuals in partnerships and limited liability corporations freed completely from income tax responsibility because of our Governor's ACTION. On the other hand, 182,000 people ineligible for Medicaid coverage, cut off from basic health care, because of this Governor's INACTION.

More numbers: As former Republican Senator and Secretary of State candidate Jean Schodorf points out, there are now 22,000 Kansans disenfranchised by henchman Kris Kobach. This makes voting crucial for the rest of us.

After all this, the Guv has the nerve to tell us, "The sun is shining in Kansas." As Barbara Shelly, KC Star columnist, says, "All politicians spin. . . . But I have never seen a public official lie as easily and as relentlessly as Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback." Says Republican Steve Morris, former Senate President, "During the past three and a half years, I have witnessed the decline of civil discourse in Kansas. . . . It is time to say enough is enough. It is clear that Gov. Brownback has very little regard for the truth."

Consider that this same Governor and sycophantic legislature passed a bill that would allow their wholly-owned and co-opted state apparatus to take over our Medicare entirely. Seniors and upcoming retirees, given KanCare's failure, is this what you want? Consider that this seemingly remote possibility could come to fruition if we send Pat Roberts and Tim Huelskamp back to Washington. Reason enough to vote for Orman and Sherow.

Finally, consider what ads now stoop to, including Salina's own non-resident, J.R. Claeys'. Personal attacks based on many-years-ago unproven allegations 
regarding personal behavior--not the issues of the day--to plant just enough doubt to get us to vote for them and against our own best interests--again. And then, they trot out those key fear-monger words--"Obama." "Liberal." "Agenda." And for the few remaining unquestioning Republican faithful, "Democrat." The message: Trust us, not them.

If only we could.

That day is long gone, leaving Kansans to face the acid test: Can millions of dollars convince us that an otherwise threadbare Emperor might, somewhere in there, have even one stitch of credibility remaining?

No matter what happens to the Royals, the far more high-stakes competition this October is the election. Will we get a read on the curveballs and knock the BrownBackers' pitches out of the park? Will we send Team Brownback packing?

We can't control a Royals victory or defeat. We can control who runs our state. So get out there and play ball.

http://www.motherjones.com/files/Brownback_630x700.jpg


Psychology of Fundraising

I receive 30 or 40 emails declaring all is lost if I don't send in $3 to $5 immediately. Disaster is just around the corner and if I can send in a dollar it will be matched. If I sent in $3 for every email it would add up to several hundred dollars pretty quickly.

I might experience a real disaster if at the end of the season i can't pay all my current bills and satisfy my operating loan repayment at the bank. My operation will cease to exist. Government seems to survive and recover, in spite of the fact that it doesn't always respect or reflect by priorities or standards.

I can't help but wonder if they are selling chances on a dead horse, when you read the alarming news that disaster will strike if they miss their deadline of midnight tonight.

Reading a political party platform is probably considered by most people to be at the ho-hum level of watching paint dry. However, it is in the platform that people can discover what a political party values and what it stands for. .

I don't know how Republicans develop their platform. I do know, since I'm a Democrat and active in the Kansas Democratic Party, that the Kansas Democrats develop their platform with the input from a platform committee. This committee is made up of people holding elected office, Democratic Party officers, caucus chairs, county chairs, and district chairs. Democrats throughout the state have a say by letting members of the platform committee know about issues that need to be addressed. However, most people are involved in their day-to-day lives and seldom think about communicating to committee members before the committee meets the day before Demofest, one of two KDP state meetings held during the year.

Democrat news from KS

The latest email is announcing a big reception with Paul Davis in Wichita. That's great, but some of us are 5 hrs and a lot of miles from Wichita. We get 20 or 30 emails per day telling us all the negatives about the opposition spending tons of money and asking us to send in 3, 5, or more dollars to counteract all that opposition funding. We seldom ever get any positive emails or information on intended agenda or positions on issues from the candidates, themselves.

It surely doesn't cost anymore money to send us information on issues discussed, questions asked, candidate's answers, etc. Most of us don't need any information on the negative side of the Republican candidates. I'm sure the majority of us reading KFP are Progressives, Liberals or Independents, who already know what our opinions are of the incumbents or Republicans. Negative political advertising may produce results, but there are some of us who are just plain tired of it.

Give us a positive reason to vote for the Democratic or Independent candidate. I'd rather think I'm voting for someone or something instead of just negatively voting against things. I'm never impressed with single issue candidates, even if I'm in agreement with them on that issue. I've served on Boards that had members who were elected on single issues and those members are seldom good at discussing or solving other issues.

I won't be voting for Brownback, Huelscamp, Roberts, or Kobach. (I'd rather vote for my good old chocolate lab, Bubba! He's big and friendly and doesn't have a mean streak in him. He won't share his meal with the cat, but neither does he try stealing the cat's dish.) But, I would like to know what or who I'm voting for to replace them. If I don't know either candidate, I think it safer to vote for the Democrat, but it would really be nice to know a little something about them, more than just that they need money to fund their campaign.

What better or more economical way could you get positive news to the electorate than email, Kansas Free Press, or Everyday Citizen? Incumbents send out news letters bragging about the positives for themselves (legitimate or not) and all the half truths and negatives about the other side. Newspapers give preference to sitting legislators on their op-ed pages. But, they will, also, print concise and well written letters from candidates and their supporters. Let's not waste the opportunity to present positive ideas and solutions with diatribes about the negatives of the other side. Even partisan biased newspapers will print a few letters from the other side.

With the August 5 primary only a day away, some thoughts of the state of democracy in Kansas seem appropriate. An article in Friday's Wichita Eagle predicting  low turnout for Tuesday's primary, despite heated US Senate and House Republican primaries, indicates that there is a real problem. Here are some thoughts.

 The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the restrictive voter identification laws enacted by Secretary of Sate Kris Kobach, but there are others.

Dueling Kansas Governor's Polls

There are now two recent polls with very contrasting results out on the Kansas Governors race. A poll from Survey USA showed the Democratic team of Paul Davis and Jill Docking with a 48-40 lead over incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler. Then, on Sunday a poll done by British YouGov polling firm for the New York Times and CBS News showed Brownback with 47 to 37 lead, and including leaners at 52 to 40 lead.

Naturally, this has prompted some questions. How can such divergent results, around a 20 percent swing, be explained? Which poll is most reliable?

Do you want to read more? We have so much more to read! Most all of the pieces published here are timeless and relevant, regardless of when the articles were first published. To discover more, please take a look at our Table of Contents.


Talk with us on Facebook!


Recently Featured Stories

Red State Blues--Again

Yes, here we are again. Election time around the country. Not for president, this time, but for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as for …
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts Re-ignites Residency Controversy

  With the Kansas primary only a month away, it  looks like Senator Pat Roberts has "Lugared" himself with what the right-wing media outlet Breitbart,com  called a …
Representative Tim's bragging rights. ??

I copied and pasted from Rep. Huelskamp's news letter the following. "On Thursday afternoon, a strong bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives joined me to pass America's …
Post Feminism

My oldest granddaughter graduated from the University of Kansas last weekend with honors in English and German. She wrote her honors thesis on feminist attitudes, then and now. …
Guarding the Kansas Henhouse

Life on my grandfather's farm in some ways epitomized the rural farm life I still envision as the ideal Kansas life. Neighbors helped each other, there was …
Things Go Better with the Kochs in Charge

In the interest of expediency and cost savings, I think we should turn our state, county, and local governing bodies over to the Kochs. Doing so would allow …
Drought: We Can Learn from Job

Out here on McDowell Creek there was a beautiful snowfall a few days ago, rain the next day, a cloudburst last night, and now fog today. While runoff …
Kansas Population: A Shrinking Violet?

A recent article in the Wichita Eagle cited a U.S. Census Bureau study that said, "More people have been leaving Kansas than moving here over the last four …
Sanctimonius Censorship

"Bare Brained Idiocy", or is it Bare Breasted Phobia? "A teacher who takes a field trip to the state capitol and suddenly notes the bare breasted woman in …
Bare-Brained Idiocy

In the Kansas legislative session that has included such crazy antics as the House passing a bill to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the name of "religious …
Extremism isn't the answer

Where is the middle? I'm glad we don't find as much attack on Christianity, here on KFP, as we do on so many other liberal and progressive sights. …
no comprehendi

No Sam won't ever understand women! Does he understand himself? Is he in favor of education? If so, how does he justify cutting funds? How is the system …
Will Sam Ever Understand Women?

Gov. Foot in Mouth Disease, otherwise known as Sam Brownback, did it again, this time in his Jan. 15, 2014, State of the State address. It seems he …
Deep-Pocketed, Right-Wing Republican Advocates Increase in Minimum Wage

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley executive and former editor of The American Conservative magazine, is among the most eloquent in his championing of a ballot initiative to increase …
Nature 101: Restoring Bottomland Prairie

The Creek Field is alive with strange powers! Our Creek Field is 30 acres of cropground, bordered on three sides by McDowell Creek. In March, we seeded it …
Cheryl Sullenger--A Danger to Women

Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy advisor for Operation Rescue, recently wrote a column for the Wichita Eagle in response to a column by Julie Burkhart, director of South Wind …
Think first? duh --

We've remembered 50 years ago and the tragic death of our President. I picked this up from one of the articles, I read. "Too often we enjoy the …

I sure wish the 'comment' section worked. But, it don't ! I'd like to comment on Voice of Moderation,by Richard Head. Our adult Sunday School class has been …
Voice of Moderation

Basehor, Kans. - William Galston, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, lately has been a voice of reason and moderation on the opinion pages of the paper. To …
No bull about climate change

I, for one, am grateful for Salina Journal editor Roshana Ariel's comments and research. Agree with her or not, she is direct, honest, self-revelatory--and offers many new perspectives …
Tom Page: A Man and a Legend

Tom Page, a soft-spoken guy who would be unlikely to stand out in a crowd, was a phenomenon who lived enough life for ten people in his 76 …
Stick a pin in his hot air ballon!

Finally ! ! ! Now maybe we can expect some governing action that is relevant to present reality. We've lost most of the last 3 years while some …

News and Opinion





Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Visit Our Friends!

Kansas Free Press began as a wish expressed by Kansan writers, many of whom write at Everyday Citizen, the widely acclaimed national site. We hope you will continue visiting EverydayCitizen.com, KFP's national birthplace. Many Kansas writers write there, too!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.