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Entries from blogs tagged with “Kansas politics”

On The Fence

It is Monday before Super Tuesday and I'm waffling. Me an admitted feminist! It's not that I don't think that Hillary is right for the job. In spite of the rhetoric from those who oppose her; she is qualified and ready to lead. And I believe that we desperately need a woman president. Not just to break the glass ceiling. I believe we need more women in power to balance out the confrontational nature of our current male leaders.So why am I waffling? I am inspired by Obama's ability to engage young voters. The enthusiasm of these young people gives me hope that America can be great again. For the first time in awhile I feel good about handing over the reigns to the younger generation.Lately it seemed that people had forgotten that our government is of the people, for the people, by the people. Obama seems to embrace this. Perhaps that is why so many youth and others are becoming engaged in the political process this election.What do you think?

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Paraguayan Art?

Paraguay is a little known (in the USA) South American country snuggled between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia with a rich artistic tradition that is celebrated in an exhibition of over 150 works currently at the Mulvane Art Museum of Washburn University in Topeka. The exhibit is open through April 13, 2008.This exhibit includes cultural artifacts of several indigenous peoples. Tools, water pots, sandals and spears are just a few examples. But Paraguay is not just a romantic tropical or sub-tropical country. A 2007 human rights calendar published by Museo de las Memorias is a graphic reminder of abuses of past dictators. This museum is part of an old police station that was used to torture political dissentients and is dedicated to keeping the memory of these events alive.There are several works by artists who struggled for artistic and political freedom during the repressive dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). Carlos Colombino is one of these artists whose work of that era is highly symbolic. His El Supremo not only refers to Paraguay's first dictator but to a long line of repressive governments. This work shows a head emerging from or submerged in a landscape form constricted with rope.Other, less troubling aspects of Paraguayan culture are represented. Nanduti is delicate lace work that seeks to emulate and go beyond the intricate spider webs that inspired this craft. Nanduti is the word for spider web in Guarani which is the other official language of Paraguay with Spanish. Nanduti is represented in the exhibit with several handmade examples and by other works that pay homage to this tradition such as the contemporary works of Alfredo Miltos. In this exhibit, as in the artistic expression of most cultures, the traditional and modern are intertwined. A very interesting modern artist is Maria Gloria Echauri who takes pictures of peoples lower legs and feet and superimposes them on maps representing the movement of people to find work.The exhibit is titled, "Visual Encounters with Paraguay: Forty Years of Kansas Paraguay Partnership." Kansas and Paraguay have been partners since the 1960s as part of the Partners of the Americas program. Through the years there have been and continue to be a variety of exchanges including education, agriculture, medical, and arts. Much of the work in the exhibit is from the private collection of Kansans who have traveled to Paraguay as well as from the Spencer and Mulvane Museums of Art.Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Interim Director of the Mulvane Art Museum is the curator of this show has done a masterful job of presenting the breadth and depth of Paraguayan art. She states, in the exhibition catalog: "Visual arts, like music, are powerful communicators of a people's history, cultural identity and values across boundaries of language and political borders." Her presentation of the works is a testament to her ability to enable the art to communicate. The catalog is trilingual, English, Spanish and Guarani. That may be a first for Kansas and Paraguay.

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I made a fool of myself for international understanding.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/01/RPCV.jpgThat is me in the homemade sandwich board. On Wednesday I walked Jayhawk Boulevard for 1.5 hours between the Kansas Union and Hock Auditoria trying to catch the noon hour rush from class to lunch. I was looking for a few good volunteers. Being many years older than most people on the street I got lots of strange looks.That RPCV on the button stands for Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I was one and like so many others it was a fantastic and life changing experience. I served in Paraguay which is also part of another U.S foreign policy program called Partners of the Americas. Like Peace Corps, Partners was another President Kennedy initiative. Paraguay is partnered with Kansas and that partnership is still going strong after 40 years but more on that at another time.The event I was trying to get students interested in was Thursday evening and included recruiting for Americorps and Teach for America as well as the Peace Corps. There may have been as many RPCVs there as recruits. That is because it is such a powerful experience that most RPCVs want to share their experiences and encourage others to do the same. One recently returned volunteer served in Turkmenistan and as a result came back to seek an advanced degree related to Central Asia. One volunteer in my group is now working in a not for profit housing organization on the south side of Chicago using his Spanish learned during his service in Paraguay. These are just two of thousands of stories.I talked with several young people who were interested and showed with their questions that they were apprehensive. Twenty seven months away from friends and family in some country with another language is quite a commitment. Yet every RCPV related wonderful stories of learning a language, adapting to another culture and making friends that became family away from home. One person who served in the 1970s told of continuing to visit 'family' in Central America more than 30 years later.Programs like the Peace Corps and Partners of the Americas may be the most effective United States foreign policy programs. Not that volunteers have a large impact on another country but because people in one country come to understand those in another. I was once told that Senator Fulbright said that he favored any foreign policy program that reduced nations to people. I agree.

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Douglas County’s Ninth Wonder of Kansas

The 8 Wonders of Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation were unveiled by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today. I believe they are a good representation of Kansas. However, my suggestion, located right here in Douglas County, did not make the list.I suggested rocks, more specifically pink boulders found along the Wakarusa river valley.According to Glacial Geology, the pink boulders were recognized in northeastern Kansas by the French explorer, De Bourgmont in the early 1700s. Their origin was a mystery until 1868 when Louis Agassiz visited the area. He was a controversial scientist who popularized the concept of a recent Ice Age in earth history. He correctly identified the pink boulders as erratics transported from as far north as the now Minnesota region by an ice sheet.The following is a quote from Glacial Geology of the Kansas City Vicinity:"Along the edge of the ice lobes, glacial lakes were dammed in pre-existing valleys, and meltwater floods eroded spillway channels around the ice margin. All these features serve to identify the effects of glaciation in the region. During the late Independence glaciation, ice lobes advanced farther south and locally blocked the Kansas and Missouri River valleys east and west of Kansas City. Numerous meltwater spillways were eroded and glacial lakes filled and overflowed along the maximum limit of glaciation. These spillways are preserved as valleys parallel to and south of the Kansas and Missouri river valleys. Some of these spillways were later filled with sediment and others remain open valleys today. A good example is the Wakarusa River valley in Shawnee and Douglas counties, Kansas."From the quote, one would conclude the large number of red granite rocks in the area were brought here by the glacier and then dropped as it melted. They are beautiful, all sizes and very heavy.The Wildlife and Parks hunting area in the upper region of Clinton Lake is available for hiking. On the northern hills of the river valley, Minnesota granite rocks, protrude from the grasslands. They may appear flat in the grass but may be massive in size underneath. The rocks located near the bridge on the north end of Massachusetts Street were harvested in this area.Skye, the boxer, indicates the size of the rock. Granite rocks would not make Kansas a tourist hot spot. On the other hand, how they were transported and left here is amazing. I would consider it a wonder of Kansas.

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Democratic enthusiasm & Republican depression

(Cross posted from BoydaBloc- http://boydabloc.blogspot.comThis last weekend was a big one for Kansas politics. Both Kansas Democrats and Kansas Republicans held events, as they always do the weekend before Kansas Day.Now, normally, the event that's the bigger deal, the even that brings in the really big crowds and the big money, is the KS GOP state convention- creatively named "Kansas Days."Kansas is a Republican state, right? That means lots of excited Republicans getting ready for a great year of stomping Democrats, right?Wrong, it seems. From all the reports, both media and otherwise, this year's Kansas Days was a massive embarrassment for the KS GOP. Fewer than 300 people showed up for the festivities, and eyewitnesses say both Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins where lucky to have more than 25 sad souls visiting their receptions. The only person Jim could find in his empty room to talk to was non-constituent Speaker of the House Melvin "Greenhouse Gases are good for you" Neufeld.Democrats, on the other hand, held the annual Shawnee County Democrats Bean Feed, which was started years ago to point out a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans: while they're having a fancy $50-a-pop sit down dinner, the Democrats charge ya $10 and we have ham & beans and cornbread in a shelter house at Gage Park.Normally the Bean Feed attaches 100-150 folk (it is just a one county party event, after all), but this year the folks in charge decided to up the energy a bit, and turned it into a pre-caucus blowout. Still $10, and still ham & beans with cornbread, but instead of a shelter house at Gage Park, the ballroom at the Downtown Ramada, and instead of 100 people, 450-500 people, representatives from all the major presidential campaigns and more enthusiasm and excitement than this cynical D could believe.As we move into the Kansas Caucuses, that same divide is apparent- Kansas Democrats worry we won't know what to do with huge overflow crowds statewide, while Republicans worry about a PR disaster when no one shows up.It's things like these, folks, that help all of us be that much more sure that Congressman Dennis Moore will be re-elected in 2008, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda will be re-elected in 2008, and Greg Orman will be our new United States Senator in 2008. It'll never be easy to be a Democrat in Kansas, but with Republicans this depressed and Democrats this engaged, it makes things just a little big easier.

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Mont Blue to the Rockies-managing affordable ski vacations

Growing up as Kansas flatlanders, skiing was on water in the summer.It was the early 70s when a friend suggested we try snow skiing at Mont Blue, a busy little ski slope southeast of Lawrence. Always ready for fun, we jumped at the chance.Mont Blue had a base house with fireplace, refreshments and ski rental. Equipment fitted, we headed out to the "mountain." To get to the top, we grabbed the towrope and hung on. Once there, we proceeded to fall and slide to the bottom. Laughing all afternoon, we got better and were hooked on skiing.Mont Blue was the beginning but the Rocky Mountains had better snow. Quickly discovering a ski vacation is expensive, we managed to find ways to make it affordable for our family. These are my suggestions.First, it is helpful to find at least one other family with a similar interest to share lodging as well as food. Our children have many happy memories from these trips with friends. Take a lunch to the slope in a backpack. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit. candy bars and sodas taste wonderful after a morning of exhilarating runs. We "hide" the backpack in a snow bank and retrieve it at a designated time. Most all warming houses on the slopes have seating for picnickers. Do this or pay $6 to $8 for a hamburger.Ski rental is cheaper as a package away from the slopes. Equipment malfunctions will quickly ruin a day of skiing especially if the rental store is two hours away. Make sure there is a satellite shop or the store has an agreement with a rental shop near the slope. No need to purchase fancy clothing. Ski pants are affordable and any warm coat will do. Always layer. Toasti Toes help with cold feet. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you are a first time skier, plan on at least a half day of lessons. It is money well spent and may include a lift ticket. Lift tickets are a major expense. Breckenridge is now charging $80 a day. Check some of the lesser-known slopes. They might offer a family discount. Right now a $10 purchase of gasoline at a Phillips 66 in Colorado will get you a voucher for a buy one, get one free lift ticket on Sundays at Copper Mountain. Grocery stores in Denver offer discounts also. An article recently on Arama.com entitled Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know! has additional suggestions. Finally, be adventurous. Keep a good attitude and have fun. Don't give up after the first try. It gets easier. There is no feeling like swishing down a slope with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Suddenly all the planning is worthwhile. Since our first try at Mont Blue, we have visited slopes in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Three of our five grandchildren, all under eight years old, skied for the first time last week. We still laugh coming down the slopes-all three generations.

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The Moment of Truth - Fox’s new show

The Fox channel had its debut showing of "The Moment of Truth" Weds. evening following American Idol.

The show works something like this: pick a contestant and ask them fifty personal questions behind the scenes to get to know them and their vices and flaws.

Next, hook them up to a lie detector test in front of an audience, their spouse, their friends, and even their employer. Then comes the fun part as the contestant is asked the first six questions, which answered truthfully puts 10,000 dollars in their pocket.

It isn't as easy as it sounds, however, because some of the questions are down right demented! Some random questions from last night's show were

:"Are you addicted to gambling?"

"Are you currently a member of the hair club for men?"

"As a personal trainer, have you touched a female client more than was required of you?"

"Have you used the internet to flirt with other women?"

"Have you stolen a peek at another man's privates during a shower?"

"Have you had a sexual fantasy during mass?"

"Have you gone through a co-workers belongings without their knowledge?"

"Have you delayed having children because you don't think your spouse is your lifelong partner?"

The friends/spouse/employers have one out - they can push a large button that is centered between them (one time only) if they do not want to hear the person answer the question that was asked. The problem with that is it will be replaced with another question and the other question just might be worse then the first.

After the initial six questions, that can earn the contestant 10,000 if answered correctly, the next five questions, if answered truthfully, can get the contestant up to the 25,000 dollar mark. The higher you go, the harder and more revealing the question. Answer all 21 questions truthfully and you have $500,000 in your pocket. You may not have a job to go back to, your wife, husband, and friends have probably abandoned you, but you decide how important money really is in your life.

This show is destined to be a hit - audiences love to see people squirm in the hot seat, see their lives (and their friends and families lives) destroyed right in front of them - and the contestant most probably will end up leaving with nothing.

This reminded me of the games we played as teenagers: truth or dare and twenty questions.

Would you risk it all and tell the truth for $500,000?

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Create the next hit YouTube viral vid

Oh, sure, she's got news clips and stuff like that, but she doesn't have any awesome little original songs or testimonials or anything like that.So, we're challenging all of you to create and post the next great YouTube campaign video- all about how excellent Congresswoman Boyda is!Your reward? If we like what you do, we'll put it on the blog, on Facebook, on DailyKos...everywhere we can, because you'll have done your part to re-elect Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.Please send any submissions (or links to them) to boydabloc@gmail.com

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Juno and the ‘A’ word

Juno is one of the latest movies to portray a young girl who gets pregnant and in a matter of minutes goes from considering abortion to deciding on adoption. Ellen Goodman in a recent column about these films considers the message they send to 13 year old girls.Actually Juno's decision is rare. According to the Children's Bureau (a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) less than 1% of children born to never married women are relinquished for adoption. According to Planned Parenthood more than half of teen pregnancies result in birth so most young women keep the child. Many of these mothers become school dropouts and live in poverty. That is another story.Juno's decision to find an adoption family while not rare is unusual. There are between 118,000 and 127,000 adoptions per year in this country. Nobody keeps good statistics on Juno's type of adoptions but it is considerably less than the 500,000 that are through state child welfare agencies. In Kansas the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services reports that there were 715 adoptions during the last fiscal year. I am not sure that is our share of the national total.When Juno meets the potential adoptive parents she flippantly asks why they don't go to China where it is easy to adopt. I wouldn't give away her line which is very funny. Adoptions from other countries represent about 15% of the total. Many of these are from China. As an adoptive father I wish that they were more frequent. The Urban League in a report on foster care and adoptions states that there are 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption. In Kansas, SRS reports that there were 853 children awaiting adoption at the end of the last fiscal year.Juno's search for adoptive parents is at least haphazard and amounts to looking through the classified section of a local free paper. The prospective parents look wonderful. Both parents are good looking and their home suggests that they have plenty of income. As the story develops flaws are hinted at that become real but again I wouldn't spoil that for those who have yet to see the movie. Did she pick the right parents? That is a question that looms large over the field of adoption. There have been two recent articles in the Journal World that represent two contrasting adoptive families. A January 14 article reported on a Haysville couple who adopted a girl and the father sexually assaulted her. A January 20 article reported that a Lawrence native was appointed an appellate judge who has a passion for children, has been a foster parent and has adopted 3 children.In the Haysville tragedy SRS apparently did all that they could to find a safe home for the child. They conducted a more complete investigation than Juno but failed. The truth is that there is little anyone can do to predict the outcome of an adoptive placement. Background checks for abuse or criminal behavior are helpful but far from foolproof. It is simply not possible to predict the outcome of a decision to approve a family for adoption. Fortunately the Haysville adoptive outcome is rare. Adoptive families work out as well as other types of families. If you haven't seen Juno, go before it leaves town. Talk to your 13 year old daughters. Support adoption.

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Buy Matresses for America

As the nation enters a historic economic slump, the federal government has promised the citizens a loaf of bread to endure the hardship of these times. It is not yet clear exactly what portion of bread we shall receive, as our representatives are still in the process of deciding, but one thing is certainly clear:this bread is all the change we should expect from them.The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke before Congress last Thursday, once again lying to the public that a recession was avoidable with the help of the Federal Government. Never once owning up to admission of the Fed's key role in the destruction of the US dollar and economy. Never once admitting that the Fed's policies continue to steal money from the pockets of hardworking Americans and place that money in the hands of the wealthy central bankers.Bernanke claimed in his testimony that the "economy has softened" and that our growth estimates are looking below that of 2007. This is a man who is asking if we smell smoke while his hair is on fire.Yes Ben, one could say the economy has "softened" when we have the dollar at an all time low, inflation and unemployment skyrocketing, the worse housing market since the Great Depression, oil prices at record highs, and continual erratic behavior on Wall Street to name just a few problems.Bernanke supported the idea of an economic stimulus package from the White House and Congress, and with a straight face hoped that the people would use the money to "buy American products". Bernanke obviously knows full well that those tax rebates will not be used to buy American products because we no longer produce enough of anything for us to buy in order to turn this "softened" economy around. Except perhaps mattresses:an unlikely hero indeed. Despite the United States' $6 Trillion trade debt (1/3 w/ China), by some miracle the mattress industry has been one of the few survivors. Astonishingly, only 3% of mattresses are imported into this country, making it one of America's finest domestic assets. So this summer when your government rebate bread comes in the mail, do the patriotic thing for Uncle Sam and exchange it for a new, American made mattress:and then thank the Federal Government for your new found restful sleep.

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Brother Can You Spare A Tax Cut?

Today's middle-class workers are experiencing, like never before, job instability related to international competition, technological advances and outsourcing of jobs to China and India. Yet, our belief in the American Dream spurs us to strive ever harder in the face of greater unemployment levels; rising healthcare and energy costs; and the current housing crisis.Until recently, our economy has experienced a rise in overall growth and productivity; some say due to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Many businesses have experienced record profits while the middle class worker has seen decreases in wages and skyrocketing healthcare and energy costs. For some of these workers, the promised trickle down effect has come too late. Recently, talk of a recession has the stock markets falling and Washington considering an economic stimulus package. That has lobbyists and special interest groups scrambling to grab a piece of the pie, while Democrats and Republicans fight over economic ideological differences. Back in the real world more and more Americans are falling below the poverty line and middle class workers, like the forgotten Everyman in E. Y. Harburg's "Brother Can You Spare A Dime," ponder:"They used to tell me I was building a dream,And so I followed the mob.When there was earth to plow or guns to bear,I was always there, right on the job.They used to tell me I was building a dream,With peace and glory ahead --Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?"

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If Christmas lights are out, what’s in?

In our home, the fake greenery interwoven with little twinkly lights around windows often stay in place until Valentines Day. The bright, cherry lights of the Holidays leave a void when finally packed away. I like the ambiance of the low lighting.Feeling our home looks like a tacky restaurant, I sought a another solution for brightening the long winter evenings. I found it in timers-those little gadgets that automatically turn lights off and on at certain times. Like the ones used on my twinkly lights.Because of our home's layout, the kitchen area is not cozy. It is large, open and has seating at one end where we read. I plugged the three lamps in that area into my Christmas light timers. Now they come on around 5:30 pm and go off at ll:00 pm. What a wonderful welcome. Stumbling in with all my gear after work, I found the three lamps casting their glow. The chairs and soft lights beckoned a cup of hot tea and a minute to relax. Just what the doctor ordered after a cold, dreary day.Tonight, I finally removed the rest of the Christmas decorations.The timers will remain until the longer days of spring.

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Kansas financial supports for grandparents and other relative caregivers

In response to my last post on grandparents raising their grandchildren a comment was made that SRS pays the grandparents as they would anyone else.We, the citizens of Kansas through SRS, do not assist all grandparents equally. This gets very technical and there are many different types of assistance but I will briefly identify the major types of available financial help. The information below is the latest that I have and may not be current.There are at least 4 different ways that grandparents can obtain financial assistance for raising grandchildren. Each has different rules and reimbursement rates. Then there are those grandparents who may be struggling financially and are asked to assume care of a grandchild but not told of available financial assistance. But that is another story.Grandparents raising grandchildren can obtain financial assistance through:1.Temporary Assistance for Families (TAF) typically provides assistance of about $175 month and medical insurance through Medicaid. The last data I had was that about 500 grandparents in Kansas are receiving this assistance.2.Grandparent caregivers have access to adoption assistance as any other family who adopts through the state child welfare system. Yes, when asked, many grandparents are ready and willing to adopt their grandchildren. SRS reports that nearly 200 children per year are adopted by relatives. We can assume that most of these are grandparents. Not all of these receive financial help.There is a maximum of $400 per month allowed for subsidized adoption. There are also provisions for up to $1000 per child for one time purchases for such items as bedroom furniture, special equipment for handicaps, home modifications, lifts for vans, or respite care. There is an additional $2000 for non-recurring adoption expenses. SSI eligible children may receive up to $500 per month. If the child is eligible for Home and Community Based Services the adoption subsidize maximum is $500 per month plus a $200 special needs payment. 3.Subsidized permanent guardianship - In 1999 the Kansas Legislature allocated $1,000,000 of TAF funds to subsidize permanent guardianship. The maximum subsidy is $225 per month, which supplements child only TAF benefits including a medical card, if the child qualifies for child only TAF. The allocated amount was never used. In recent years about $170,000 of these funds were expended. SRS reports nearly 200 children per year receiving this type of assistance.4.Grandparents are eligible to be licensed foster parents and receive the same reimbursement as any other licensed foster parent. That is about $550 per month. All of this is very complicated and it is unreasonable to expect grandparents who simply want to step up and help the family understand all of this. Certainly we can design a less complex system that provides needed help and honors those grandparents willing to help raise the next generation.

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Boyda continues to be right on illegal immigration, NAFTA

Cross posted from BoydaBloc http://boydabloc.blogspot.comJust a couple of the items from the mailer: Boyda was one of the only Democrats to oppose efforts in the House and Senate to grant amnesty to illegal immigration, and Boyda successfully pushed a bill to near- unanimous approval to prevent a Bush Administration plan to allow unsafe Mexican trucks to drive deep into the United States.Another issue Boyda mentions in her mailer has continued to garner her press mentions: her bill to require the renegotiation of NAFTA:Boyda and Kaptur, the lead sponsors, aren't waiting for the study. They want NAFTA renegotiated, now. If the negotiations do not produce 5 specific, concrete improvements, the bill says the U.S. must withdraw from NAFTA."NAFTA is dragging down our economy, weakening our borders, and devastating our manufacturers. After 14 years, it's time to either fix NAFTA or get the heck out of it," Boyda, the lead sponsor, told a radio show in Wichita, announcing the bill. "Even supporters admit NAFTA is deeply flawed, but nobody has the guest to fix the problem." (http://www.pww.org/article/view/12293/)One thing is undeniable: Congresswoman Nancy Boyda is representing her district better than it has seen since the early 1990's, particularly on illegal immigration and on trade.(Visit our main blog for reference links for the above quote and other items. Thanks!)

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Darnell Jackson’s Grandmother

Darnell is receiving a lot of press due to the start of a stellar senior year on the basketball court. Part of this press is being reminded of how important his grandmother was to him and her sad death.Being part of a much older generation I had fewer grandparents and was only somewhat close to a grandmother who took care of me for a short time when my mother was hospitalized.Grandmothers may be more important today that ever before. The US Census reports that 32,582 Kansas children were living with a grandparent in 2006. For 21,278 of these children their grandparents are responsible for them. That is Census speak for they are raising their grandchildren.There are a host of reasons that children are being raised by their grandparents and the Census Bureau does not list them. Situations that I have been aware of include poverty, parental drug abuse and incarceration. These grandparents are providing a wonderful service for their children, grandchildren and the state regardless of the reason. The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) is the parent for many children needing an alternative home. During the last fiscal year SRS reports that there were 10,025 children in out of home placement. This is less than half as many children as the grandparents in Kansas are taking care of. SRS also places about 25% of children with relatives and it is likely that many of these relatives are grandparents. As taxpayers we pay for the care of the children in SRS custody. That is another reason to be grateful to those grandparents who have accepted the responsibility to raise their grandchildren. As anyone who has raised children knows it is not always easy juggling child care, jobs and other responsibilities and these grandparents face the same challenges. The more than 21,000 Kansas children in grandparent households were cared for by 19,000 grandparents. Most are relatively young with 17,000 between the ages of 30 and 59 and 13,000 are in the labor force. In other words these are grandparents with lots of other responsibilities and they still took on the task of taking care of the next generation of their family.If you know of a grandparent raising a child, thank her or him.

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Boyda wraps up 2007 for editorial boards

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/08/234002429.jpgWe have excerpts from both articles for you- make sure to read both of them. Interestingly enough, the two papers decided to report different information.From the Lawrence Journal-World on illegal immigration:U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., says Congress needs to find a way to help employers identify illegal immigrants through a "practical employer verification program.""Then you can move forward and talk about what else we're going to do to make policies that are going to work for the long term, but without a way to enforce it, you can't really have a meaningful policy," she said.During an interview Monday with the Journal-World, the first-term congresswoman from Topeka touted her co-sponsorship of the SAVE - Secure America with Verification and Enforcement - Act, which also includes provisions for border security.Illegal immigration has been a major federal and state issue for several years. Boyda also has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's Mexican trucking pilot program, which gives Mexican drivers greater access to U.S. highways.From the Topeka Capital-Journal on Iraq:Boyda also addressed the war in Iraq, commending Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces."What he brings to it is some wisdom about what it takes to operate within Iraq," she said. "If they're too aggressive, they hurt the situation. If they're not aggressive enough, they're not moving anything forward. The line is extremely thin."She said she talked with the Marine general in charge of Anbar province who said the United States might see troop withdrawals."I said, 'Are you telling me all the troops are going to be out of Anbar province?' and he said, 'Yes, ma'am, I think they are.' "She wants to get the good news out there without doing anything "that looks like mission accomplished," she said referring to the "mission accomplished" banner that hung over Bush's 2003 statement that major combat missions in Iraq were over.Unfortunately, the Cap-J decided to make the story's lead about Boyda's husband's chances of becoming the new Kansas Attorney General. It'd be nice if the paper would keep it's eyes on the ball- tell us about the quality job Congresswoman Boyda is doing, rather than random speculation about something totally un-related to her job representing us.(Photo from the Topeka Capital-Journal)

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Hello!

Today BoydaBloc (http://boydabloc.blogspot.com), the largest and most active pro Nancy Boyda blog on the Internet, arrives at the LJWorld!Our blog has been active since the middle of October 2007, and we're dedicated to just one premise: keeping Nancy Boyda in office. To achieve that goal, we try to spread the good word about her successes, and we proudly defend her against the attacks she suffers from the right wing wackos nationwide.Today we aren't positive how often will post here, but we think we plan to cross post nearly all of our posts from the main blog.Glad to be here, and we hope you visit us often (we love comments!)http://boydabloc.blogspot.com

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A Special Brand of Teacher

This past Sunday I couldn't stop smiling. The skip in my step was all because I ran into an old teacher of mine.My mother and older sister and I were in Target, considering the possible merits of a certain electrostatic duster (of all things), when from the end of the aisle I heard my name, my sister saying, "Yes, that's Sarah."I turned and saw--was it? No. Yes! That familiar walk made me certain--my eighth grade history teacher, Mr. Binns. I had to confess that I almost didn't know him for just a second, though I wasn't sure why."I got old!" Mr. Binns said.No, Mr. Binns, you didn't get old. Years have passed, but you didn't get old. Retirement must agree with you. Substituting when you want to must agree with you. And I don't doubt that you are a popular substitute.After all, I couldn't help thinking for the rest of the day about that very first day of the 8th grade. I remember so clearly that hot, late-summer morning, the second-story classroom, my desk in the front row center, and you, Mr. Binns, acting out a scene of Washington crossing the Delaware.Okay. Maybe the performance didn't win any Oscars, but it made an impression on me, more than any other actor could hope to do. Something stirred awake inside me. I remember thinking, "Hey, I'm going to love history!"And I did. Maybe I wasn't always as good at it as I wanted to be. Goodness knows I didn't get all the answers right. It takes a special brand of teacher to make a student feel smart, like all the world was just waiting for me to come knocking at the door.Remember the Civil War board game I made for that unit's project? You set aside a whole day when the entire class played that game, and in spite of its kinks ( I think poor Richie Nichols spent the whole time in "game jail") you told me I should send it in to Parker Brothers. Well, I know they wouldn't have been clamoring for it. Even if they had, A Change of History (as I named it) wouldn't have flown off the toy store shelves, and I still wouldn't be swimming in royalties. However, your compliment (and the grade, by the way!) was worth more than royalties. I thought of it for years, every time I saw the old red Macy's box that I kept that silly game in.(I hung onto the game for another reason, too. For my birthday present that year, my sister Amy helped me color inthe whole back of that board!)I still love history. I crammed in as much of it as I could in high school. My book shelves are crowded with many history books of one sort or another: Civil War, Lawrence history, biographies, geneology, etc. I wanted a copy of Theodore Roosevelt's autobiography for Christmas, and it's on my shelf now, waiting to be savored.As President Reagan said in his Farewell Address, "If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are."So you gave me quite a gift in your classroom. I know who I am and where I come from, and I intend to pass it along.By the way, Mr. Binns, Sunday afternoon it finally hit me why it took me even a split second to recognize you. No, you didn't get old. It was the glasses. Just the glasses. I'd never seen you in them before.

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Strong Women

Cal Thomas' column (last week) on Benazir Bhutto took me by surprise. It wasn't just the fact that he had sipped tea with her, an experience he said he would never forget, but that he called her a "strong woman" and pointed out that "leadership is more than biology. It takes a well-crafted ideology and goals beyond one's self." He believed Bhutto had them in abundance. He also stated that:"Women who are strong in the things that matter most - courage and character - are a threat to weak men without such traits. Some men will go to any length to oppress such women, even invoking the "will of God" as the ultimate justification, when God wants to liberate women (and men), not subjugate them to self-righteous sinners."Hmm. I agree with Thomas. One doesn't have to go outside the United States, or even Kansas, to find rantings when strong women are appointed to or seek positions of leadership in national life. It wasn't too long ago that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church were attacked in some sections of the media simply because they were women. Do you remember any previous Speakers being ridiculed for the ties they wore, or the size of their biceps for that matter? The topic of Pelosi's pearls drew nearly as much attention as her appointment and, at one point, Hilary Clinton's cleavage was inflated to grab pretty large headlines.The US touts itself as the land of freedom, equality and opportunity but one wonders why a woman has not yet been elected to its highest office? England AND Ireland, small countries who could well fit into the state of Texas with plenty of room left over, have already had females in the top posts. England had its first woman Prime Minister nearly 30 years ago until she was ousted by the "Big Boys," and Ireland has experienced two female Presidents. And then there is Benazier Bhutto, the focus of Thomas' column, who became Prime Minister in a Muslim country. She balanced family life (with a husband and children ) with her political duties, and managed to retain her femininity. I know that comparisons are odious, but, in this case, they should give food for thought, even though some may choke in the process.I'm not saying that Hilary Clinton should be elected President simply because she's a woman; I'm saying that she shouldn't be ridiculed and dismissed just because she is. If she is the only women to emerge as a potential Presidential candidate, what is this saying about the women in America? Or what is it saying about the men?

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A Blog Entry regarding max1’s tired Bush Quote

"I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."- George Bush Sr. ( in response to a question about whether he recognised the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists)-max1, over and over and over, as he is want to do.Allegedly.While this is a favorite fall-back quote to prove the danger the GOP poses to non Christians, it is only alleged to have been uttered by Mr. Bush by one man: Rob Sherman. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/07/rob_sherman.jpgThis quote was apparently uttered by the then sitting Vice President of the United States, poised for a run for President of the United States, in a "news conference." http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/07/George_Bush.jpgYet no other person has ever been able to substantiate the claim made by Sherman. No video or audio of the "news conference" (involving the Vice President) exists. No other people at the "news conference" have stepped forward to substantiate the quote. In fact, in 2002 on his website http://www.robsherman.com Sherman wrote: "One reporter, in particular, who recalls this exchange quite well is Greg Lefevre. He was, in recent years, the San Francisco Bureau Chief of CNN until CNN fired him in 2001, along with a group of other fine reporters, for budgetary reasons. I've referred people to him about this several times over the past fifteen years, but I don't know where to find him now since CNN got rid of him."http://web.archive.org/web/20020323184302/http://www.robsherman.com/information/liberalnews/2002/0303.htmSeveral people have apparently contacted Mr. Lefevre, who is indeed alive and available at http://greglefevre.com/ and have been informed by him that he never heard any such utterance.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/07/greg_lefevre.jpgHowever, an examination of Sherman's website reveals that he has since purged any mention of Lefevre.http://www.google.com/search?q=Lefevre+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robsherman.com&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-aNow why on earth would a respected journalist put it all on the line like this? Standing alone in the storm of neocon blowback, why would this one lonely journalist stand by an indefensible quote? I'm sorry, did I say journalist?Who is Rob Sherman? Is he a tireless reporter, in the model of Dan Rather?http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/oct/27/atheists_daughter_fights_momentsilence_law/Why, he's here! Right here in a Lawrence Journal-World story! His daughter is filing a ridiculously frivolous lawsuit challenging a moment of silence law in Illinois! Turns out Rob Sherman may just be a guy with an axe to grind, and he may be grinding away, with his daughter in tow.Rob Sherman is a lonely oppressed atheist, fighting the GOP anti-atheist pogroms. Now the alleged Bush quote makes a lot more sense! Now Sherman can get a thousand atheist or anti-GOP blog posters to use the "quote" as a signature file, and have them help carry the water, potentially giving millions of web-surfers the uneasy feeling that the GOP is poised to revoke citizenship rights of non-Christians. Erosion of Democracy, indeed!Allegedly.

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