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Archive for Sunday, August 28, 2005

Group seeks to stem tide of ‘extreme’ conservatism

August 28, 2005

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— The political winds of moderation are starting to pick up force through conservative Kansas.

At least that's what a new bipartisan group of Kansans are hoping for as they organize themselves to launch an effort to unseat conservative State Board of Education members in the 2006 election.

"We think there is a portion of the State Board of Education whose philosophy is not in tune with mainstream Kansans," said Don Hineman, a rancher and farmer from Dighton.

Hineman is a lifelong Republican, longtime former commissioner in Lane County and a past president of the Kansas Livestock Assn.

He said he and other like-minded Republicans and Democrats were frustrated with the State Board of Education and planned to endorse moderate candidates, regardless of party affiliation.

The group, which as of yet is unnamed, will publicize its candidates' campaigns and get people involved in the races, he said.

Conservatives rule

Conservative Republicans hold a 6-4 majority on the board over moderate Republicans and Democrats.

With that majority, they have been able to approve science standards that criticize evolution after holding hearings that gained international attention as a showcase for intelligent design, the notion that some science can't be explained paving the way for a belief in a creator.

And one conservative member, Connie Morris, of St. Francis, has been a lightning rod for controversy by insulting fellow board members, making false accusations about a former mayor in her district and billing the state for a stay at an expensive hotel in Miami, which she later reimbursed the state.

Next year, five board members' seats are up for election, and four of those are held by conservatives: Morris, John Bacon, of Olathe; Kenneth Willard, of Hutchinson; and Iris Van Meter, of Thayer.

Former Garden City Mayor Tim Cruz, a Democrat, has already announced he intends to run for Morris' position.

Hineman said Cruz's political affiliation didn't bother him.

"I visited with him. We are encouraged by his candidacy and glad that he is running," he said.

He said if a moderate Republican defeated Morris in the GOP primary, the group would probably endorse both candidates.

"It would be a pleasant decision to make," he said.

Conservative defense

The Kansas Republican Assembly, the conservative wing of the party that supported the conservative board candidates, did not return phone calls or an e-mail seeking response.

But Jim Mullins, of Lawrence, who has been a past leader of the assembly, said conservatives will have no problems in Education Board races because most Kansans share their views.

"In Lawrence, I'm a right-wing kook. But in the rest of Kansas, I'm mainstream," he said.

He predicted candidates such as Morris will prevail whether they face a moderate Republican in the primary or a Democrat in the general election or both.

"It'll be nice to see her get re-elected," he said.

Above the noise

Hineman said one thing he hoped the group of about 12 Kansans, which has started to meet weekly by telephone, will be able to accomplish is to get voters interested in the education board races.

The direction of the board, he said, is crucial to helping the Kansas school system and economy.

But it may be difficult to get voters focused on education board campaigns because all statewide posts, including the governor and attorney general, will be on the ballot next year, according to Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty.

"What they'll need is money to break through the noise," Beatty said. "As you go down the ballot, the less people pay attention."

Hineman said he hoped to launch the group publicly soon.

"It's important to get our organization in place and get public just as soon as possible. I know the conservatives are organizing and motivating and fundraising," he said.

Comments

Chocoholic 9 years, 4 months ago

Flange said: "I believe evolution is the best scientifically-based theory available to explain how humans arrived at where we currently are. Intelligent design is a sneaky attempt to push a religious agenda, and it has no place in a SCIENCE classroom."

I think ID certainly could fall over that ledge. But consider this quote from http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/4264/ID.html paragraph 3 of introduction:

"Naturalists [(those who ascribe to evolution as occuring only by natural means, by chance)] claim science can't point to a creator or designer.... They make this a priori claim at the onset of their arguments. But this is a logical fallacy because they are artificially limiting science by saying what it may or may not do before any research is done."

And anyway, aren't all classrooms in public education supposed to be about education? Why can't all theories of origin and of the path life has taken to reach its present state be taught, AS THEORIES, along with the evidence for them, and students be trusted to have the intelligence to make their own decisions about the truth? Whatever the truth, isn't it important to know the thoughts and beliefs of a variety of groups of people in the world, that those thoughts and beliefs exist? Does that belong in a science classroom, or any other classroom, in Kansas or anywhere else?

bearded_gnome 9 years, 4 months ago

"organizing, motivating and fund raising" ... what dreadful conservatives, we are actually engaging in the ordinary american democratic process! what next? political speechmaking? standing for real values beyond just trying to get elected with platitudes? shocking.
Jim Mullens and the republican assembly, may your tribe increase!
wow, did you notice that this mooshy moderate quoted in the article is from "lane county?" Jim Lane for whom that county seems to be named would not have had much "tolerance" for mooshy moderates. thank you.
e

nomorebobsplease 9 years, 4 months ago

"In Lawrence, I'm a right-wing kook. But in the rest of Kansas, I'm mainstream"

That's probably a true statement, unfortunately.

Wendt, there are too many conservative Republicans who are PROUD (see above quote) of being narrow minded, shortsighted idiots.

I wish Hineman and his group godspeed.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 4 months ago

Wendt:

It ironic that this story is about extremists (as they are labled by some), yet in the midst of your ranting you don't have even enough insight to see your own extremist perspective. Do you realize that you just likened EVERY republican to a WIFE BEATER?!

You owe every non-wife-beating republican an apology. But you won't offer one, because YOU are an extremist.

There are good reasons to vote democrat (I voted for Gore), but there are good reasons to vote republican as well (second time around, I voted for Bush). For you to say what you just said makes you unqualified to call anyone else narrow-minded.

You say that the rest of the country is laughing at us. No, they aren't. A full half of all states have recently had some sort of legislation proposed to limit the teaching of evolution in public schools. Factually, we are part of the mainstream. But, if all you do is look at the mass media, you will get the impression that Kansas is the poster child of ignorance in the U.S. We aren't. But, making us look that way sells newspapers, so that's what the press has done to us.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 4 months ago

Also, a note to LJWorld.com:

Just because we have a first amendment doesn't mean that it should be OK for someone to log in and post comments with a name like "ReachAround". This is a forum for ideas, not a porn site. I'd like someone to pull that log on ID and force RA to get an appropriate name. If I was giving someone a "reach around" in public, I'd get arrested. THIS is a public place, so such monikers do not have a place here.

Please. We need to keep this clean. You don't have to be a moral conservative to see how wrong that is.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 4 months ago

Wendt:

You seem to think that I had a problem with you stating that "republicans do bad things". Geez, you really DO think everyone who doesn't think like you is stupid, don't you? I'd have to be completely without any brain matter to NOT agree that your OVERLY LONG list of "republican wrongs" was mostly true. YES, republicans make mistakes! So do democrats! Do you want to know WHY I voted for Bush for his second term? Because I believe that John Kerry should have had his citizenship STRIPPED for his treasonous activities after the Vietnam war. I couldn't vote for a man who led a group that vandalized national monuments and held meetings with our communist enemies in a show of support for them. Like the kids of South Park said: it came down to a vote between a douche-bag or a turd, and I voted for the turd.

People like you are so angry at our president. I think that's "transference". I think part of why the liberal left in America is so vocal against Bush because they are so ashamed that they couldn't even unseat a monkey like him. Are you angry about the state of affairs in this country? Blame yourself. If the dems had put forward a viable candidate, I would have considered voting for that person, but you just put forward a total douche when you could have put someone BELIEVABLE on the ticket. Lieberman was more liberal than Kerry, but I BELIEVE him when he speaks. I would have considered a vote for Lieberman.

You make it seem as if dems do no wrong. I have a question for you, was it a republican administration that decided to escalate the Vietnam war? Was it a democrat in the white house who got us out of Vietnam and may have averted a world war with China by establishing relations with them? Which war killed more people: Bush's war, or Johnson's war? [Now, reader, imagine me making two long posts about how democrats are of the devil because of the mistakes made during the Vietnam war.]

George Bush got us into an unjust war, could probably be called a war criminal and appears to be completly in bed with big money... yet the democrats couldn't even put forward a candidate who could beat a complete retard of a president! [My apologies to those with mental disabilities.] If you think I responded to you because you stepped on my "republican" toes, you misjudge me. I voted for Dukakis and for Gore.

Your ability to come up with looooong lists of bad people who happen to be republicans is NOT how you make a point and get people to agree with you. Even in a town as "left" as Lawrence, who here is really AGREEING with you? No one making posts today is really that excited about associating their views with your loooong, generalized and mostly angry posts. No one really likes angry people.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm surprised at how easy it is for some people to be so insulting towards others.

I do have only half a brain. I'd have to have only half a brain to keep coming back here and posting ideas in a forum where no matter what I say, I'm a target for abuse. I could put forward the most articulate and truthful ideas, and I'd be vilified for the crime of not being a liberal. Be a liberal, or get abused... that's the rule of Wendt.

In my last post, I admitted to having moderate leanings, but no, that was not enough. A moderate is still way too far to the right to escape Wendt's fire and brimstone. I'm expected to think for myself, assuming that thinking for myself leads me to think like Wendt. Otherwise, I'm just an idiot.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 4 months ago

okay Wendt; sorry I did not get back until now! no, I wasn't beating my wife, in fact I fed her lunch, prepared it myself and have been helping her with some KU homework.
one disappointing feature of this article is the complete lack of statements from the dreaded conservatives pointed at by Mr. Mooshy moderate.
now, Wendt, I have not beaten my wife, and I hope you will apologize and retract your stereotyped statement!

second, it may really shock you to know that I have a graduate level science education, yet I do believe the Bible to be true. I also know that evolution is only a theory, changing over time, and people like you who put your faith in it are trying to use jello for a foundation to your beliefs.
obviously, I understand how scientific enquiry is made.
you repeat the vacant liberal ascertion that Bush lied to get us into war, well then John Kerry lied too, and Clinton in '98, and the UN inspectors who did find Saddam in documented violation of dozens of failings from missiles to programs to make chem and bio weapons, to documenting the disposal of precursor substances, etc.
saying that Bush lied to get us into war does not make it so.

Wendt, your stereotypical narrow liberal view of the world sure misses a lot.

I haven't beaten my wife yet in over a dozen years of marriage. should I start to satisfy you?

you seem to think we are all stupid who believe the conservatives on the BOE board are right.
this resembles the argument I heard a lot after last November's election; "john Kerry lost because americans are too stupid, mislead, etc." that's a real winner for winning hearts and influencing those you disagree with, Wendt.

k

Chocoholic 9 years, 4 months ago

Wendt said: "The point is you don't want to accept the truth of evolution. If evolution threatens your concept of God / Intelligent Designer / Flying Spaghetti Monster, then that is something we can explore....

For example: evolution is widely held by scientists to be a process that occurs in nature. Evolution makes no claims about the beginning of time. That's what the theoretical cosmologists (Stephen Hawking et al) do."

I would agree with you that "the concept of evolution makes no claims about the beginning of time." Beyond the start of the presence of life on Earth (be it by lightning strike to the "primordial soup," "extraterrestrial alien" transport of preexisting life to Earth in form of spores or bacteria, or other theory) it doesn't attempt answers, such as the source of the atoms reacting to produce the lightning, or the origin of the extraterrestrial aliens, or the origin of the speck of matter that exploded in the Big Bang.

However, proponents of Intelligent Design theory would hasten to correct your misassumption that they find themselves threatened in any way by the "truth of evolution," as you put it. They don't deny that evolutionary change happens. But they do dispute the assertion that "this mechanism accounts for all the diversity of life." (Dembski, William A. Intelligent Design. IVP, 1999. pp. 112-113.) Microevolution, they find evidence for. Macroevolution, they don't.

Dani Davey 9 years, 4 months ago

This board has become the perfect example of what is wrong with politics today. Look at the polarization. Sure as a Democrat my first instinct is to say "look at how polarized Bush's presidency has made us." But the truth of the matter is that it's not just Bush and the Republicans (though I'd say Rove plays a bigger part than anyone), it's the Democrats too. Wendt was right when he said that liberal is supposed to mean open minded and accepting. However he and many of his like minded Democrats have shown that politically liberal and textbook liberal, aren't the same word. Liberals are as fast to reject the ideas of conservatives as conservatives are to reject liberal ideas. There is no thoughtful consideration on either side. And that is where the problems lie. Of course I tend to agree more with Democratic policies. But when I talk to a Republican I listen to their ideas and try to think of ways that we could incorporate both sides into a final product. That isn't always possible but it's worth thinking about. Politics isn't about governing anymore. It's a popularity contest with name-calling included. My highschool elections were more properly run than most state and national elections today. Back to what this article is about - moderates. Thank God (or Flying Spaghetti Monster if you prefer) for moderates. They are generally the ones who aren't tied to pleasing anyone in particular and can therefore give the consideration to the issues that result in the best outcomes for all. We should have more people like Barbara Ballard and Tom Sloan. I'm glad to see people like Michael Henry running in Johnson County trying to unseat super-conservatives. If I can't have a Democrat, I'll take a moderate Republican over a conservative Republican any day. Yeah, Bush and the Republicans have done a lot of Shady business. At this point, though, complaining about it doesn't do much good. Sure people should protest and make their unhappiness known, but we all know Bush doesn't care. Our time (and by our I mean Democrats and those unhappy with our current state of government) would be better spent fundraising, listening to new ideas, finding stand-up people who will make better candidates and truly incorporating what the word "liberal" means.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 4 months ago

basing your argument on a typographical error, silly Wendt.
and, using a dictionary definition to define liberal when you and everybody else knows that that meaning, though rather long-standing, does not describe political liberals who believe in: bigger government with higher taxes; the "right to kill the defenseless; and the beauty of government regulations which may in fact harm free enterprise.

now, you imply that I did not recognize your figure of speech, and you use that too. of course I recognized your simile, for that is what it is and not an analogy. it was so inflamitory that I chose to treat it as literal in replying.
any time you want to learn about similes, analogies, allegories, anthropomorphisms, hyperbole, irony, etc. I obviously could teach you a lot.

may the Kansas Republican Assembly grow and gain success!

Walking_Dude 9 years, 4 months ago

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

---Barry Goldwater, 1964

Chocoholic 9 years, 4 months ago

Wendt,

First, to your comments on my earlier (first) post. You asked what I meant about micro- and macroevolution. It looks as though you visited the geocities page I quoted from, so you may have seen how those folks define those particular terms. But I'll go ahead and put my two cents in.

Microevolution = the small steps of evolutionary change that lead to variation within a species, ie the famous example of the moth population that changed color in response to their environment, the development of bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, the adaptation of people's skin color or added or reduced hairiness, etc. in response to habitat temperature and amount of sunlight, jaw size and power in response to diet, etc. etc.

Macroevolution = the large evolutionary jumps required to bring about change that produces entirely new species, ie what occured to produce the Cambrian explosion. Theories about how these large jumps happened, as I'm sure you know, include that they were the culmination of many small steps of change through natural selection over a very long period of time; Stephen Jay Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium; Goldschmidt's hopeful monster theory; and ID. Perhaps there are others, but those are the theories with which I've crossed paths to date.

I don't feel I can speak for those people who claim to subscribe to ID theory, yet, as you say, "are attempting to censor evolution out of schools." I can see where ID theory could be readily hijacked by those with such an agenda. And I must say I was disappointed to get that feeling from the very Web site I quoted from, and from another I visited. You're right I think; those people create a contradiction. As you could see from my posting in response to comments from Flange, I personally am not for censorship of the subject.

This censorship issue is near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a tiny western KS community (80 people counting dogs & cats) and attended a consolidated school that served three towns + rural folk. The most I was ever taught about evolution was that it said people came from monkey heritage (they didn't even have THAT species right!) Basically the biology teacher danced around/avoided the topic and spent most of his time whacking the dolts on the front row on the head with his enormous class ring.

Fortunately, I guess he didn't consider me a dolt. I avoided brain damage and went on to college at one of the private KS universities that I won't name, altho it's in league with Bethany, Baker, Friends U., KS Newman, etc. As a lowly English major, not many science courses were required, so I again learned nothing about evolutionary theory. Or any of the other theories, for that matter. Finally, as an adult, I gained "exposure" to the material and began a process of self-education. And I am angry that I was never given this information. This is why I oppose the censorship of any of the theories in the school system.

Chocoholic 9 years, 4 months ago

Since you speak of myths and evidence, I have a question I'm hoping you can answer, and not because I want to lead you into proving any of my points, but because I sincerely want to know. Can evolutionary change be predicted with any degree of accuracy? Using your evidence for macroevolution (note I don't dispute the evidence for microevolution, which I find to be sufficiently observable, but I admit that so far I find the evidence for macroevolution lacking in observable data; this I do have in common with at least the big names of ID research, but I don't claim any comraderie with the censorship agenda folks jumping on the ID bandwagon-maybe I'm just fantasizing about a purist approach for the development and use of ID theory that NOBODY shares!) that comes from the testing and observation of scientific method, can a future event of macroevolution be predicted with any accuracy?

You know, when I read the first headline I saw about the FSM, before I read anything in the article, I actually thought maybe the name had been coined by a group of conservative extremists who were parodying some occurrence of evolution that had resulted in a new species! So I was surprised to find it came from the other end of the spectrum when I got into the article itself. When I got "exposed" to evolution, some of my education on the topic came from evolutionary biology scholarly journals. I was shocked to find evidence that the folks beating the (macro)evolution drums were just as adamant as any Christian evangelist I'd ever heard preach, complete with altar call. There were even evolutionary missionaries. And so I formed the opinion that extremists on both sides of the issue really come from two sides of the same coin, with neither side willing to concede that perhaps they each hold pieces of the truth, nor to truly test and observe and consider.

Chocoholic 9 years, 4 months ago

Faith can be both tested and observed, but not by the scientific method. The movie Contact based on Carl Sagan's book (which I hope to read one of these days) demonstrates the experience of faith juxtaposed up against the experience of science. There are experiences in my life and in the lives of those around me that I simply can't explain by scientific means, experiences that can't be duplicated or tested, just observed, once, and usually when no one else is looking. SO darn frustrating, that. But to this day I can't explain to you how, for instance, when my brother's unit was under attack in Viet Nam and he had his pack blown off his back, my mother sat straight upright in her bed in the middle of the night and said, "Something's happened to (my brother's name). Coincidence? I'd think so, if that was the only time my mom had such an experience. But it wasn't. And while those particular experiences don't prove or disprove God's existence, for me it points to existence of possibility that can't be ruled in or out by scientific means.

Although as for observation, even science shows that some things exist despite the fact that they can't be seen. Quarks. Electromagnetic energy. Maybe someday there will be an experiment that allows us to see God, but just as it would be hard to see the Earth if you held it up against your eyeball, I think we're going to need a better vantage point. But then again, maybe she's tiny. :)

I'm not too uptight about God being called the FSM. In fact, I worshipped at the REFORMED Church of the FSM just the other day. Do you suppose there's a First REGULAR Church of the FSM? "A rose, by any other name, is still a rose." And to me, God, by any other name, is still God, undiminishable.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to tackle the problem of evil in the early hours of tomorrow. See you then.

Walking_Dude 9 years, 4 months ago

Wow, the Kaw Valley Small Business Monthly! What a truly reputable source. Great journalism there guy. Did you even take the time to see who the editor of this garbage is? It's a right winger named Kevin Groenhagen, who got his ass handed to him in a 1996 Kansas house campaign by a Democrat 7200-50. No wonder he's bitter.

Dani Davey 9 years, 4 months ago

bearded_gnome (love the name by the way) said "and, using a dictionary definition to define liberal when you and everybody else knows that that meaning, though rather long-standing, does not describe political liberals who believe in: bigger government with higher taxes; the "right to kill the defenseless; and the beauty of government regulations which may in fact harm free enterprise."

killing the defenseless? I'm going to assume you mean abortion here. Fair enough I guess but what about small children with life threatening illnesses that have no health insurance? On that note, what about the 45 million Americans with no health insurance? Republicans have consistently rejected any kind of national healthcare system, even just for children. And what about all the wrongly convicted that are sitting on death row? I think it's a fair opinion if you're against abortion but I've always thought there should be more consistency. If you're pro-life, you should be pro-life all the time, not just pre-natally.

Walking_Dude 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey Kevin, you wanna audition for BUMFIGHT? I could make you a STAR.

Abortion is justifiable homicide, but I've always wondered about this "deadbeat dad" stuff. How come a guy can't opt out of a pregnancy?

majic12 9 years, 3 months ago

Interesting question. Even more interesting that all these talkative characters haven't answered it yet. Is there intelligent life in Kansas?

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