Link to KansasPrairie.net

9/30/2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ….

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 7:58 pm

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The birthday guy is on the right…

9/28/2014

BROWNBACK IS PLAYING POLITICS WITH RURAL SCHOOLS IN KANSAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Sam Brownback, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 7:41 am

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KANSAS CITY STAR: Sam Brownback is playing politics with rural schools in Kansas

September 11, 2014

By Mary Sanchez
Kansas City Star

My mother attended a one-room schoolhouse in Kansas.

Her rural education is the type that Gov. Sam Brownback dredged into his re-election campaign with an opportunistic bit of rhetoric. Brownback is calling for the ouster of Leawood Republican John Vratil from a state committee looking into efficiencies of Kansas schools as districts try to weather funding cutbacks.

The claim is that Vratil, a former vice president of the state Senate, is gunning for consolidating rural schools. It’s a charge made by taking a 2011 comment Vratil made, extracting it from broader context and spinning.

It’s a contrived issue, intended as bait for rural votes, especially in western Kansas. Vratil was appointed to the committee by Democrat Paul Davis, who is running against Brownback. So by association, it’s a political jab at Davis.

Rural schools have long struggled with dwindling populations and budgets. They don’t need Brownback’s campaign to know it.

Mom’s stories of her childhood near Madison were classic, almost “Little House on the Prairie” to my ears. She walked country roads to school, sometimes trudging against the harsh Kansas wind and snow. Plenty of stories included the bull that always scared her, sometimes charging at flimsy fencing.

But guess what. That school is long gone, closed decades ago as fewer families farmed and more moved to towns closer to Emporia.

Times change. Populations shift. Tough calls about budgeting and buildings are not new. Consolidation at times is both inevitable and prudent. That’s partly why the committee that Vratil sits on, the K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission, was formed by the Legislature.

And Brownback is the cause of some of the recent belt-tightening by not replacing federal stimulus funding and by his tax policies.

All districts, in Wyandotte and Johnson counties as well as those farther west in the state, struggle to meet vastly diverse student needs with fewer dollars.

Besides, Brownback’s administration pushes innovative programs to draw younger, college-educated people to sparsely populated areas. So he acknowledges reality in one portion of his policymaking and then tries to ignore it for campaign spin.

The man who wants to remain governor of the entire state should be above such tactics. All Kansas children deserve a quality education, no matter their home address.

9/27/2014

I’M A LIBERAL LIVING IN A RED STATE…IN A RED CITY…IN A RED PALACE…JUST SO THERE ISN’T ANY DOUBT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:43 pm

I’m a liberal.  I live in a red state, in a red city, in a red Palace.

I stand for liberal principles:

…free public education K-12 for all, and affordable higher education

… the decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman regarding her own body and the government must protect this right. Women have the right to affordable, safe and legal abortions, including partial birth abortion

…the freedom to practice any religion or no religion without threat of violence

…the death penalty should be abolished.

…free speech

…church and state should be completely separate. The rule of law is different from and better than theocracy.  Religious expression has no place in government

…respect for and equal rights for all minorities including LGBTs  Marriage is the union and right of two people who love each other.

…equality for women in every walk of life as men now enjoy

… free or low-cost government controlled health care

…a market system in which government regulates the economy.  Government must protect citizens from the greed of big business

… the use of embryonic stem cells for research

…euthanasia should be legalized

…Individuals do not need guns for protection; it is the role of local and federal government to protect the people through law enforcement agencies and the military.  Additional gun control laws are necessary to stop gun violence and limit the ability of criminals to obtain guns

… The government must produce a national plan for all energy resources and subsidize  alternative energy research and production…

…Welfare is a safety net which provides for and protects the needs of the poor. Welfare is necessary to bring fairness to American economic life.

Thanks for tuning in…

9/24/2014

PALACE MUSINGS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:52 pm

Life at the Palace continues to be interesting, fun, restful,  worry-free, calming, easy, and pleasant.  I checked in here as a new “inmate” nearly two years ago and haven’t found anything here to worry about since my arrival.  I hardly have to turn a finger except for doing my laundry, a little light house work and occasional meal/snack preparation.  Since I have my main meal in the dining room at noon, there is little I have to do in the kitchen.  Sharon from housekeeping comes every two weeks and cleans my apartment.  I’ve also been fortunate to be surrounded with people I like very much and many have become close friends.

My apartment has everything I need or want in the way of comfortable amenities.  It is spacious, bright and airy, with good temperature control.  When a light bulb burns out, someone from maintenance comes promptly and replaces it.   They repair anything that needs fixing, at no charge.

I rarely shut the door to my apartment.  I like having it open so people feel free to come and go as they please and it gives me a feeling of being better connected to the outside world.  I feel very safe here, safer than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  I try to remember to close my door to the hall at night, but I tend to forget rather often.  I trust people who live and work here.  There is no reason why I shouldn’t.

The social event of the day is the noon meal which most of us attend with anticipation and regularity.  We sit with essentially the same group of 15-20 people every day. As in every society, you gravitate to those with whom you share common interests and enjoy being around.  It doesn’t take long to become good friends with one or another of your choosing.  Whereas it is common to see friends occasionally, or with planning in the “outside world”, here I live on the same wing on the same floor with my besties and see them every day.  Life is very good in the Palace and I don’t wish to  live anywhere else but here.

There isn’t a lot I find to blog about. It’s not as if I were involved in numerous  activities as I once was that would be of interest to readers. The kind of news I deal with these days is  “stuff” like “both elevators are finally working at the same time” which is a relief as it shortens the wait time to be elevated from one floor to another.  It’s a big deal if you live here and can’t walk the stairs, but hardly interesting.

Having family and friends come to visit is wonderful.  Monday evening Todd and I went to the Seoul USA Korean Restaurant where we had an authentic Sicilian dinner prepared by Tim Bobbit..with help from wife Joomi.  It was the 13th “International” night and those who attend are regular diners at the Korean Restaurant.  You have to work…or eat… your way up the ladder to get invited to attend.  They can only serve 45 people so it’s a pre-pay deal to get a spot reserved for you on International night.  They are mostly “regulars” we see every month.  We join Ann and Terry Headrick, Martha and Kent Buess, Marsha Stewart and Mary Lemon at the back table that we reserve every month.  We frequently see Denny and Connie Helvey, Danee and Travis and David Helvey as they love eating there for the International dinner too.  As the restaurant is closed to other diners, we take our beverage of choice, which is usually a bottle or two of wine.  Joomi usually treats us to one of her Korean drinks too which are fruity and good.

Next month will have a typical Indonesian dinner prepared by Chef of the Night, Venny Afianti Baily.  The menu hasn’t been finalized (and that doesn’t make any difference to those of us who attend), but Venny thinks it will probably include appetizers, vegetable pancake, avocado smoothy, chicken stew, fish of some kind, Joomie’s special drink and dessert.

The Presbyterian Manor Annual Soup Supper is Friday October 24th starting at 4:30.  We serve chicken and noodle soup, chili, relishes and pie either to eat here or carry out.  Pre-purchased tickets are $6.00 and slightly more at the door. The proceeds this year will go towards the purchase of a van designed to transport our wheel chair-bound residents to various activities.  That is not possible now, so we’re all hoping for a good response to the dinner to assist in this worthy cause.  Had this vehicle had been available yesterday, some of our residents who need wheel chair transportation could have made the trip with others to Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum.

We had a nice, generous rain last night, but now the sun is shining brightly…and I need to go run some errands.

Thanks for tuning in…

9/14/2014

A GUY AND HIS DOG BY THE CAMPFIRE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:56 am

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Drew and Sarge

photo by Christy Beckman

9/9/2014

BROWNBACK AND THE FAMILY…

Filed under: political musings, print news, Sam Brownback — Peg Britton @ 11:23 am

Brownback and The Family

by Bob Grover

The Emporia Gazette 9-8-2014

How can someone claim to follow Jesus yet not support programs that fight poverty and benefit the needy?

This is a question directed at Sam Brownback, and a possible answer is provided in Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper Perennial, 2008). Journalist Sharlet describes in detail the history, leadership and beliefs of this secret organization of which Brownback is a member.

Brownback was introduced to the Family (also called the Fellowship) while interning for Bob Dole the summer before his senior year at Kansas State University. Brownback stayed in touch with Family members and was invited to join when he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1994. Understanding the mission of the Family provides a glimpse of Brownback’s beliefs that drive his behavior as governor.

The Family includes such current government leaders as Chuck Grassley (Iowa), James Inhofe and Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Bill Nelson (Florida), and Mark Pryor (Arkansas). Other members include former senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, along with former Kansas Representative Todd Tiahrt and Watergate participant Charles Colson.

The Family is the group behind the National Prayer Breakfast, initiated as the Presidential Prayer Breakfast during the first year of the Eisenhower administration in 1953. It has been described as “the most powerful group in Washington that nobody knows.”

Its membership roll is secret; it collects no official membership dues and issues no membership cards. Members are urged not to commit to paper any discussions or negotiations occurring in their work related to the Family.

Prayer groups, or “cells,” are the core group within the family. The cell is unknown to the public and has veto power over each member’s life. Each member promises to monitor the others for deviation from Jesus’ will. Brownback told author Sharlet “that the privacy of family cells makes them safe spaces for men of power … .” Power is a key to understanding this Family.

Within the cells men develop a covenant with each other, and therein lies the power. Their premise is that when two or three agree and act as one, they have power.

Jesus is at the center of the Family, but this is Jesus the leader, not the Savior. Jesus provides the Family a model for organization; with James, John, and Peter closest to him, he encircled himself with other disciples along with a larger contingent of followers. Jesus taught the fundamental principle of creating a social order — commitment. Jesus said that his followers had to put Him before other people, even father and mother, and put Him before oneself.

Surprisingly, the Family also claims Hitler, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden, Mao and even the Mafia as models that used covenants to gain and exercise power. The jarring contrast between Jesus and these other brutal leaders seems of little importance to the Family.

Another Family hero is King David of the Old Testament. David slept with Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and killed her husband; however, God favored David — he was chosen. The implication is that if you’re chosen, you are not to be judged.

The Family believes that God’s covenant with the Jews has been broken, and they consider their members the “new chosen” — chosen by God to be leaders.

Because they believe that they are God’s new chosen, the Family members are provided with what Sharlet calls “divine diplomatic immunity.” It’s like a blank check to do whatever they believe they are called to do.

What are they called to do? The long-term goal of the Family is a worldwide government under God. Douglas Coe, the Family’s leader since 1969, has said, “We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.” (p. 121)

Although members of the family may be members of a denomination (Brownback is Catholic), their belief system is different than the theology of mainstream Christians. The Family prefers to think of themselves as “followers of Jesus,” not Christians, and free of the trappings of religious denominations.

Unlike most followers of Jesus, the Family is interested almost entirely in Jesus as leader and the way he was able to generate a successful, worldwide social movement. They show little interest in following Jesus’ teachings to help the poor, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

As a member of the Family, Brownback has adopted their values, and the Family ultimately is about power. Knowing about Brownback’s affiliation with the Family helps to explain his motives and actions as Kansas governor.

9/5/2014

LETTER TO FCC CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY…FRANK SMITH SAYS IT BEST…

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 6:40 am

We live in a remote rural area, 15 miles from the nearest stores. It’s winter wheat heartland that thrived thanks to homesteading in the late 19th Century. “Quarter sections,” 160-acre parcels, typically supported multi-generational families who contributed to vibrant small towns with churches, schools and businesses. Farmers walked behind plows pulled by mules, forming co-ops in their common interest to protect themselves from rapacious railroad corporations and buyer cartels. They depended upon horses and carriages to do business and access social life. More fortunate children went to land grant colleges and returned home with new skills to be with siblings and grandparents.

As agriculture came to depend increasingly on petroleum-based production with ever larger machines and fertilizers, these towns withered. A family came to need to farm many square miles to get by.

There were advantages of course. Constant bonebreaking labor became a distant memory, crop and disaster insurance protected against the vagaries of droughts and deluges, life spans increased. Electrification and telephones arrived, thanks to the efforts of forward-looking leaders.

However this progress came with a steep price. Schools became ever more distant. In the 105 counties in Kansas, eighty or more have smaller populations than they did in 1920. Children departed rarely to return save for funerals and holidays. In the midst of prosperity, services declined.

Corporations and their lobbyists insisted that “public services” be heavily subsidized for the benefit of affluent consumers and they targeted delivery sectors where the largest profit margins were to be found. Fifteen years ago, when I moved here, UPS serviced us only in fair weather, Fed Ex not at all, and DHL was unaware of our existence.

At the same time corporate America demanded public subsidies, it attacked core services, demanding exemptions from taxation. Networks of paved roads disappeared. Polling places were “consolidated” away to remote towns. Public schools were attacked with vouchers and “chartered” competition draining our tax revenues. Hours of postal operation diminished and proposals now stand to close every office within fourteen miles, an erosion propelled by special interests. Even cell phone services withered, thanks to industry consolidation and concern for stockholder-driven “acceptable” profit margins and “bottom lines.”

We’re dying out here. We’re being excluded from modern life.

One of the remaining bulwarks against this erosion of our quality of life is net neutrality. We can get Internet service, not on a par with South Korea or Finland of course, but at least with smaller Midwestern cities.

I lived in Barrow, Alaska, before I moved here, and was acutely aware of being a second class citizen in the information age. Though we were a town of 4,500 people, we depended upon a paleolithic 9.5 baud server. I would open the New York Times or Anchorage Daily News website, and take a shower waiting for it to come up. After clicking on a story, I’d cook breakfast and hoped by then that the article had slowly arrived.

Industry’s proposals to destroy net neutrality are a regression to that electronic caste system. I don’t want multinational corporations deciding what we can read and how long we have to wait to read it. Please don’t abandon us. We’re still part of America, even if Verizon and Comcast choose to commercially disenfranchise and exile us.
Sincerely yours,

Frank Smith

Bluff City, KS 67018-7630

9/4/2014

JUSTICES’ RULINGS ADVANCE GAYS; WOMEN LESS SO…

Filed under: prairie musings, SCOTUS — Peg Britton @ 3:33 pm

By Adam Liptak

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflects on the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, she sees an inconsistency.

In its gay rights rulings, she told a law school audience last week, the court uses the soaring language of “equal dignity” and has endorsed the fundamental values of “liberty and equality.” Indeed, a court that just three decades ago allowed criminal prosecutions for gay sex now speaks with sympathy for gay families and seems on the cusp of embracing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

But in cases involving gender, she said, the court has never fully embraced “the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be.” She said the court’s five-justice conservative majority, all men, did not understand the challenges women face in achieving authentic equality.

Justice Ginsburg is not the only one who has sensed that cases involving gay people and women are on different trajectories.

STUDENT OF LIFE…PRESBYTERIAN MANOR AKA THE PALACE

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:30 pm

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photo by Kim Fair
STUDENT OF LIFE

Peg Britton embrances new experiences
by Erin O’Donnell, free lance writer and editor
from Community Matters a publication of Salina Presbyterian Manor

Posted September 2, 2014 HERE.
Peg Britton embraces new experiences
Peg Britton’s Internet connection has taken her all over the world.

The gift of lifelong learning is that you’ll never be bored. That’s what Salina Presbyterian Manor resident Peg Britton discovered even as a child. “I guess it’s because I have a curiosity about how things work. I always have,” Peg said.

As a young adult, Peg pursued her education with vigor even as discrimination threatened her goals. She attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1950 with a degree in architecture that many male students and professors didn’t think she should have. “They came out and told me it was not a place for women, and I told them they better find a place for me, because I’m staying,” Peg said.

After school, Peg embarked on her career, beginning with Edward Tanner Architects in Kansas City. In 1976, she and a friend designed and built her 4,256-square-foot modern home in Ellsworth. She lived there for more than three decades, before moving in 2012 to Salina Presbyterian Manor – or, as Peg fondly calls it, “The Palace.”

No matter where she is, Peg says she’s never far from the Internet, keeping in touch with friends and current events around the world. She has been sharing her own “back road adventures, community commentary and essays” via her blog, KansasPrairie.net, for more than 12 years, far longer than most bloggers on the Web today.

Peg’s 5-year-old granddaughter was the first to introduce her to computers about 20 years ago. “I realized she had a computer and I didn’t. She said, ‘Grandmother, I think you’d enjoy a computer. We could do things together.’ And I thought, that sounds wonderful.”

Peg said she made countless friends online from around the world, some of whom have come to visit. She especially likes getting to know young professionals and says they learn a lot from each other. “I’ve always had a lot of younger friends because we had more in common,” she said. “They’re going to be our leaders. I place my hope in those people.”

Recently, Peg said she heard of a retirement community where residents taught English to foreign students online using the Skype video chat application. That’s something she’d like to try. “I’ve just never stopped,” Peg said. “I’ve always helped wherever I could.”

Your Comment:

Ann says:
“A lovely article. An incredible woman and one of my favorite people on the planet!”
Austin says:
“Same Peg I have known since high school.”

Francis E. Carr says:
“I’m so happy and proud to say I know and love Peg Britton.”

Roger Novak says:
“Peg, you are a remarkable lady. Never afraid to take on a challenge. Always proactive. You should be very proud.”

Mackenzie Britton says:
“I was that young granddaughter encouraging her to get a computer! Knowing she tackled a male-dominated field helped inspire me to earn a degree in computer engineering. Such a role model and amazing grandma too :)

Greg says:
“Peg’s a wonderful lady who’s a bundle of fun! Her wit and intelligence are inspiring!”

Shirley A Turner Raney says:
“Go get it girl. Learning and helping are good for you and good for those helped. I love to learn and respect you for that. We must help those who will be telling us what to do. LOL Nice article.”

Ginger Kippes says:
“Enjoyed reading all about you, Peg. I know what a super person you are because, of course, I am your house-mother! Love you, Gin”

Jennifer Byer says:
“Go, Peg! By a stroke of good fortune, I stumbled across Peg’s blog a few years ago. She had posted an entry about my great-uncle Hat Barofsky, whom I’d never met. She put me in touch with friends who knew some of my Ellsworth relatives, and rest is history, as they say. Thank you, Peg!”
Deb Divine says:
“Wonderful description! Did not know you are the architect of your fabulous house! Love it.”

Veda Hoffhaus says:
“You go, girl!”

UYF6U says:
“You go girl………….and you have!!”

Ally Britton says:
“I’m Peg’s daughter, Ally
I can’t begin to say what a wonderful mother, best friend and idol she is.
She passed on her great genes to her three children and taught us so many things.

She taught me to be an individual and to love life with morals and respect  for others.

At 86, you couldn’t ask for a cooler mom that has kept up with the times and has supported me in my endeavors.

Because of her, I’m a fee spirit. Love you bunches, mom.”

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Salina Presbyterian Manor | 2601 E. Crawford | Salina, Kansas 67401-3898 | 785-825-1366

9/2/2014

PRESBYTERIAN MANOR ANNUAL SOUP SUPPER FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24TH

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 5:11 pm

We’re gearing up for the Soup Supper.  People are selling tickets by the dozens and residents are signing up for various work details that go in to the preparation of the what is known around Salina as the place to be on Soup Supper night.

“October” at Salina Presbyterian Manor means one thing: Soup Supper. Our 34th annual Soup Supper will be held from 4:30 to 7ish p.m. on Oct. 24th.   We hope you too will come to eat in or carry out.

Chicken noodle soup, chili, relishes, pie and cinnamon rolls are on the menu for this event, a tradition as old as the Manor itself. You won’t leave hungry.
This year, the baked goods and craft sale promises to be larger than ever.  If you are able to donate pies for the dinner or baked and canned goods for the sale, please call the Manor for details.  Residents have again crafted a quilt that will be offered as a special donation item. Items will be donated for the silent auction.

Residents, volunteers, artists and donors work together to make this event a success.  It is truly a civic event.

This year, in a slight change of direction, the proceeds will be used to buy a bus that will transport our wheel chair residents.  All other proceeds and donations go the Good Samaritan Fund that  underwrites our mission of providing lifelong care to our residents even should they outlive their financial resources.

We hope to see all of you here.

Thanks for tuning in…

8/27/2014

THE INCREDIBLE IVIS MEITLER…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:40 pm

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Photo by Ally Britton, Dec. 2013

This is my friend, Ivis Meitler, a long-time Sylvan Grove resident who lives at the Palace.   She’s a very talented musician and plays the piano every noon in the Ivory Keys Cafe.  It is rarity that she repeats a song.  She has hundreds, maybe thousands of them, tucked away in her mind.  They just roll off her fingertips.

Ivis is one of the “stylish dressers” at the Palace.  She has a wardrobe of clothes that is suitable for royalty, which she is.

It’s becoming difficult for her to play sometimes as her vision is failing her, but after she finds middle C on the piano, she’s off to the races.   She’s had to give up some of her lifetime favorites…reading, playing cards and watching TV, but playing the piano is her passion and will be the last thing she gives up, she says.

She goes to the “hard” sittercise exercises at 9 o’clock every morning and I can say with certainty that I am light years away from catching up with her.  She can do the “hand, knee, floor” exercises with lightning speed.  She runs circles around the rest of us.  I once commented on how much better she was than I and she said, “Well, I ought to be.  I’ve been doing it a lot longer.”

Ivis is almost 103 and is sharp as a tack.  She has the quickest wit and the best sense of humor of anyone here.  She is truly an amazing and wonderful woman.  She’s one of my favorite residents, a treasure, and one of the reasons I love living here.

I wrote the above in a posting January of this year.  Early this morning Ivis left us for a better place, where she is free of pain.  When I listen carefully, I can hear her play with joy in her heart.

Thanks for tuning in…

8/25/2014

SAM HARRIS HAS A NEW BOOK ….”WAKING UP: A GUIDE TO SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT RELIGION…AND YOU CAN HELP LAUNCH IT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Authors — Peg Britton @ 6:20 pm

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Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

Not everyone will buy Sam Harris’ new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, but  know that IF you are planning to do so, you can help it come to the attention of many more readers by pre-ordering it today at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or your local independent bookstore. Timing is important because the first week’s sales of a book often determine its future (by affecting how many copies bookstores order, whether it appears on best seller lists, etc.). All pre-orders count as first-week sales, and these are the best sales to have. My copy has been ordered as well as one for Tyler.

You can listen, or read, the first chapter of the book here… which is on his website.  You’ll find it very informative, interesting and well worth the time it takes to absorb the first chapter.

I highly recommend another book of his…The Moral Landscape.

For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s new book is a guide to meditation as a rational spiritual practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

“From multiple New York Times bestselling author, neuroscientist, and “new atheist” Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the 30 percent of Americans who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history could not have all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds. Throughout the book, Harris argues that there are important truths to be found in the experiences of such contemplatives—and, therefore, that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow.

Waking Up is part seeker’s memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.”
Thanks for tuning in…

8/23/2014

CANFIELD DRIVE IN FERGUSON MISSOURI…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:03 pm

Canfield Drive in Ferguson
by Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist

Earlier this week, I arrived for a scheduled visit with a medical professional and left reeling over just how divided we remain in this country about race.

I had just settled into the examining chair when he walked into the room and said, “This country, I’m telling you, we are in real trouble here.”

I nodded and said, “Ferguson?”

“Yeah” he said, shaking his head. He rattled off his concerns in the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who visited Ferguson days after the shooting, is a “troublemaker who’s just making everything worse.” The police officer who killed Brown “had to have a good reason. You know he did.”

I interrupted to point out that the teenager was unarmed when he was shot six times. He shrugged his shoulders.

“He was 6 feet 4 and weighed 300 pounds,” he said. “Think about that. Now we have rioting in the streets.”

I was stunned.

“We really don’t know yet what happened between him and that police officer,” I said.

“We can imagine,” he said.

My turn to rattle off what we did know: Brown’s body lay in the street for hours. Ferguson is overwhelmingly black with an overwhelmingly white police force and city government. Most of the protesters have been peaceful. Police wore military gear as if residents were a foreign enemy. Journalists were being arrested for just trying to do their job.

He held up his hands. “OK, OK,” he said, smiling. “Maybe we should just stop talking about it.”

What struck me about this exchange, beyond the inappropriateness of the venue, was his assumption that our mutual whiteness meant I would agree with him. I left feeling as if I’d just time traveled back to 1972 for an argument with my dad about race.

I’ve had a little time to reflect on my encounter with that doctor, and I think what bothers me most is that I know he represents a significant segment of white America — so certain in his assumptions, so blind to the privilege of race that fuels them.

A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this week revealed a deep racial division over what is happening in Ferguson.

From the study: “By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion.
By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.”

Lack of empathy, codified.

I am embarrassed and discouraged.

I address this to white parents: Imagine for just a moment that instead of Michael Brown, your child lay dead on the hot pavement in Ferguson. An awful thing to ask you to do, I know, but for us, it’s just a fiction.

Your child, who was unarmed, has been shot six times, twice in the head. The police officer who shot him didn’t call it in right away, didn’t try to revive your son. No EMT crew rushed him to the hospital. Instead, police let him lie in the street. For hours.

Now think of the stupidest thing your teenager has ever done. We all have stories of our kids doing something in complete contradiction of how they’ve been raised. We shake our heads at the memory of it. They survived. They turned out OK.

Now go back to that dead teenager on Canfield Drive in Ferguson. Imagine that’s your kid who did something stupid. Your kid, but this time he didn’t get to learn from his mistake. He’s dead, and more than a week later, no one agrees on why.

I’m tired of admonishments from other whites to wait until all the evidence is in before we talk about what is happening in Ferguson.

Let it be, they say. Let justice run its course.

As if we can’t have an opinion about an unarmed black teenager shot dead in the street.

As if we aren’t entitled to demand a full accounting of the shooting.

As if we have forgotten what happens when good people choose to shut up and walk away.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

8/22/2014

PALACE, DOCTORS AND TRIVIA…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 6:04 pm

The weekend couldn’t come at a better time.  I’m plumb tuckered out, as my grandma Fannie Belle used to say.

Yesterday I saw a new dermatologist who I really like.  She practices in the Heartland Dermatology and Cancer Clinic on Elmhurst with Matt Schaffer, a doctor I’ve seen on previous occasions.  His practice has grown so much since I last saw him six years ago that the wait time was longer, by months, than I felt I could be patient with the ever-present boil-red spot on my face, so I took an appointment with one is his PA’s, Christine Elsasser.  She’s very good, thorough, and has a very nice personality.  I’ll return to see her in a year if something doesn’t grab me by the bootstraps before then.  If you need to have a strip search for those pesky cancers that appear out of nowhere, do yourself a favor and make an appointment to see Christine.

This morning I returned to see Dick Bradbury, who takes care of my feet, trims my nails, gives helpful advice on keeping my diabetes at bay…and is just a very nice guy.  He and Todd were classmates in the old days at Marymount and he is the out and out favorite podiatrist among the inmates here at the Palace.  Brit and I had gone to another podiatrist for years until he retired.  After trying his partner and being totally turned off by him, I switched to Dick, and am very happy with my decision.

So, if you are looking for a good foot doctor and/or a dermatologist, you have my recommendations. Good doctors are difficult to see so when you do find one, see them on a yearly basis.  If you go six years without seeing them, they consider you a new patient and you’ll have to start all over again with your doctor search.

After running around all day with appointments, flaying my legs and arms about in our free swinging exercise class, and tending to other things like trivia with inmates, I’m exhausticated.  Ally and I went to the Coyote Canyon for dinner and now I’m out of commission for the night.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I’m attending a real old-fashioned tea party at my friend, Lynn’s house.  She’s going to a lot of work to make this perfect so I know it will be a special occasion for Dorothy, Jane, Janie, Lila and me.

Thanks for tuning in …

8/20/2014

THE PALACE ON THE HILL…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:44 pm

The Ivory Keys Cafe is a bevy of activity from 11:15 until 12:30 when things come to an abrupt halt and it  becomes nappy time for the inmates.  You can then walk up and down the deserted halls and feel the pulse of the building’s breathing patterns and what one might describe as close to a waxing-waning pattern of tidal volume and Cheyne-Stokes rhythm.  It’s a little like that game we all played as children when we would run around frantically flaying arms and legs and upon command, freeze in position, however awkward it might be.  For the most part, it remains stone silent with nary a creature stirring until 11:15 the next day when the buzzing of the hive commences again.

Speaking of lunch, we’ve had good lunches two days in a row.  Yesterday we had hamburgers that had been grilled outside, good broccoli/cheese pasta, baked beans and fresh fruit.  Today we had chicken stir fry, wonderful marinated green beans, and egg rolls.  Our new director, Brad Radatz joined us for lunch both days.  I don’t know if the two incidents of his presence and good food are a coincidence or fortuitous accident.   Either way, both are nice and I hope it continues.

This morning was library day at the Palace.  A librarian from the Salina Public library, brings a cart full of books and checks them out in our lobby area.  I ordered books last week which were delivered today:  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller that my grandson Tyler read and recommended; The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano, a new-to-me author; and Donna Tartt’s The Little Friends that I hope to finish reading.  It’s a wonderful service to us readers and ever so convenient.

I signed up today for another International Night of good food and frivolity at the Korean Restaurant.  They have a special night once a month and you work your way on to their list in order to get an invitation.  Tim Bobbett will be the chef next month preparing more Sicilian food according to his family recipes. The dinner will be on September 15th and will include:
Appetizer: Beef Stuffed Artichoke with Potato.
Black and Green Olives with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and good Italian Bread and butter.
Soup:        Wedding Soup - Chicken, Vegetables, Little Macaroni.
Pasta:       Macaroni, Italian Sausage (Hot and Mild), Meatball, White Potato, Sweet Potato, Fried egg, and Onion all in a Tomato based Sauce.  The dessert is yet to be determined.  I vote for Italian Wedding Cake.

I missed the last Sicilian night and don’t want to miss this one.  Todd will join me for the evening as he’s always good about trying new and different cuisines and loves pasta.We usually go with Ann and Terry Headrick but they will be on a bus adventure and can’t make it.

We’re starting to gear up here for the Annual Soup Supper.  I volunteered to unwrap pies again this year.  I have the process down to a science now and can do dozens in nothing flat.

Joy is getting a lot of play out of her official duties as Palace Elevationist.  She’s in charge of all the elevator buttons and was told by Brad the director that when she lets people out on the Club Med floor, she is to remind them bathing suits are required.  I’m sure half the people here don’t “get” it, which makes it all more humorous.  You just don’t know how humorous some of our activities are.

I wandered downstairs to try to find Jack Gillam who lives in assisted living on the floor below me.  I can’t call as assisted living phone numbers, and many others in rehab and health care, aren’t listed in our monthly handout directory.  I don’t like to drop in around here as I find it better and easier, as it is in the outside world, to call first.  Well, I enlisted Kim’s help and we headed to Jack’s apartment after learning he wasn’t with Betty at the moment.  He was sound asleep so we didn’t disturb him.  I wanted to tell him about my recent visit with Sybil Scales and relay messages from Tad Scales.  But the trip wasn’t all in vain as we ran into Letha Haist, a lovely person for certain, who shared fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers with us. There are so many nice things that happen around here accidentally. I love living here.

That’s about all I have to relate from the Palace for today.

Thanks for tuning in…

COURTNEY TRAIN LETTER…

Filed under: political musings, print news, GOP — Peg Britton @ 11:29 am

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From The Salina Journal
Train letter 8-11-14
Friday, August 15, 2014 2:00 AM

Train letter 8-11-14

Name changes create more voting hoops

Kris Kobach’s new voting restrictions are imposing serious obstacles and should be a cause for great concern for women across the state.

I’d like to encourage my mom to vote in this election, but she has never registered and her current legal name does not appear on her proof of citizenship. It has changed as a result of marriage. My mom is not alone. Recent figures indicate that 34 percent of voting-age women lack proof of citizenship with their current legal name.

With new voting restrictions requiring proof of citizenship to register, women who’ve changed last names as a result of marriage have to provide supplemental documents along with their proof of citizenship. My mom is not in a financial position to provide these necessary documents. For my mother and the women of Kansas who lack proof of citizenship with their current names, there is a disproportionate burden imposed on exercising their right to vote.

This law is an infringement on the rights of all Kansans, especially women and the poor. If you value the right to vote, if you value gender equality, cast a vote against Kobach for my mom on Election Day. I know I will be.

– COURTNEY TRAIN, Salina

8/18/2014

WE DON’T NEED THIS IN ELLSWORTH…OR ANYWHERE NEARBY….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 10:15 am

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Walmart Strikes Again With A New Attempt To Further Destroy Small Businesses
August 17, 2014 By Allen Clifton

Walmart is a bit of an enigma, isn’t it?  I rarely meet anyone who enjoys shopping there, and the company itself has an atrocious PR imagine, yet it still manages to be an absolute corporate powerhouse.

But when it comes to Walmart, most of us picture their massive 24-hour “supercenters” that sell everything from groceries to semi-automatic rifles and even swimming pools.

Heck, in many of them you can even do your banking, get your haircut, and buy a Subway sandwich for lunch.

But one of the biggest drawbacks to these supercenters is their size.  Most people don’t just “pop in” to a Walmart.  If you happen to need 2 or 3 items that might be on opposite ends of the store, you’re probably going to end up walking nearly a half mile before you get back to your car.

Which is one of the main factors leading to a continuing decline in sales.

Only this decline in sales isn’t actually threatening to bring down Walmart as the unheralded retail leader.

Oh, no.

It’s actually created an entirely new beast altogether.

See, what Walmart is doing now (in addition to their multitude of supercenters) is building smaller versions of Walmart.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market isn’t all that uncommon, at least not here in Texas.  It’s essentially just a version of Walmart that mainly focuses on groceries. Amid Walmart’s declining overall sales, these locations have actually shown rising earnings.

Another new layout they’re rolling out is called Walmart Express.  It’s smaller than the Walmart Neighborhood stories, basically the size of a CVS pharmacy.  They’re referring to these as their “small-footprint” retail stores.  Here in DFW we’re actually getting Texas’ first one in the town of Palmer.  A tiny town about 25 miles south of downtown Dallas.

Oh, but Walmart hasn’t stopped there.

They’re also testing out a store called Walmart To-Go.  A store that’s described as an upscale version of your local convenience store.  Right now they only have one of these types of stores, near their home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market isn’t all that uncommon, at least not here in Texas.  It’s essentially just a version of Walmart that mainly focuses on groceries. Amid Walmart’s declining overall sales, these locations have actually shown rising earnings.

Another new layout they’re rolling out is called Walmart Express.  It’s smaller than the Walmart Neighborhood stories, basically the size of a CVS pharmacy.  They’re referring to these as their “small-footprint” retail stores.  Here in DFW we’re actually getting Texas’ first one in the town of Palmer.  A tiny town about 25 miles south of downtown Dallas.

Oh, but Walmart hasn’t stopped there.

They’re also testing out a store called Walmart To-Go.  A store that’s described as an upscale version of your local convenience store.  Right now they only have one of these types of stores, near their home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.

So, soon it might be theoretically possible that your neighborhood might have a giant Walmart Supercenter, a smaller Walmart Neighborhood Market, a CVS pharmacy-sized Walmart Express and a Walmart To-Go convenience store.

In places where it wasn’t economically feasible to build one of their giant supercenters - towns where small businesses often thrive – they can now build these trimmed down versions of Walmart to really hurt just about every small business in any town where they feel like opening shop.

But it’s not just local businesses in small towns that will be hurt by these stores.  Companies like Walgreens and CVS will also be hindered as Walmart is now venturing into their realm of retail sales and will almost certainly deal a blow to their revenue.

Not to mention many convenient stores are operated by local business owners, who undoubtedly won’t be able to compete with a scaled-down Walmart next door directly competing with their store.

Because whether it’s a national company like CVS, your local small town grocery store or that corner gas station owned and operated by a member of your community, none of them will be able to undercut Walmart’s prices.

And as much as people will say they’ll be loyal to small businesses, it’s indisputable that revenue will be drastically impacted by these new Walmart brands.

At some point enough has got to be enough, right?

I fully believe if Walmart had its way, it would try to put just about every single potential competitor it possibly could out of business.

And with these latest moves, that seems to be exactly what they’re trying to do.

8/14/2014

ELLSWORTH COWTOWN DAYS AUGUST 15 >>>>

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:36 pm

Ellsworth Cowtown Days
Friday, August 15, 2014
Sweet Repeats Consignment Sale Opens at 5:30
Don’t miss the premiere night of the Elkan Western Riders Rodeo!
While we honor our Cowtown heritage, this year we take pride in the strength of our community and
acknowledge our Veterans

past, present, and future
Saturday, August 16, 2014
6:30AM 5K Registration. Run to follow at 7:30AM
7AM
-
10AM Ellsworth Senior Center Breakfast
8AM Farmers Market Opens
9:30AM Kids Free Fun Run
9AM
-
1:30PM Sweet Repeats Consignment Sale
10AM
-
6PM Craft vendors and fun shopping experiences! Don’t forget to visit our local merchants!
10AM
-
6PM Paint ball trailer fun
10AM Cowtown Parade “Ellsworth Strong” featuring past, present, and future Veterans of Ellsworth County
10AM
-
4PM Theatre Tech Productions live entertainment provided by Paul Craig
Following Parade
-
“Shooting of Sheriff Whitney” historical reenactment
11AM
-
Registration for Dodge Ball Tournament and Tub Run. Dodge Ball Tournament to begin at 1:30PM.
12PM
-
4PM Kids Game Corral (proceeds benefit the Boy Scouts), Bouncy Houses, and Apples on a String
12PM
-
6PM Food vendors, live entertainment, and beer garden. Official Cowtown merchandise available for purchase!
Enjoy music by Hell Creek Bridge, Plains, Ray Smith, F 5 Band, and Courtney Sue Irwin and Mike Benish
12:30PM Stick around and enjoy the comics of our new event
-
the
TUB RUN!!!
1PM Tractor Pedal Pull Registration. State sanctioned pull to follow.
1PM Washer tournament
2PM & 4PM Ping Pong Ball Drops
-
win a $100 ball!
7PM
-
Elkan Western Riders Rodeo
9PM
-
Live Entertainment and Street Dance at Paden’s Place. Dance to the tunes of “12 Years Coming”

8/13/2014

JOY, JOY, JOY, THE PALACE ELEVATIONIST…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:52 pm

We need an “in-charge” person for the elevator.  I’m thinking maybe an old-fashioned elevator operator…the kind who sat on a stool and called out the floors…would be good….maybe wearing a dark navy suit trimmed with gold braid and lots of gold buttons…and a cute little cap.  Given the clientele, a police whistle on a rope would be appropriate for her station.

Cheerily, she could call out the floors so that everyone would have a clear understanding of what each floor contained:

Basement…chair sitting and stretchy band activities…

First Floor….harp and accordion music, ice cream sodas, birthday cake, and lobby squatting…

Second  floor… Frederick’s of California…the world’s most breathtaking lingerie.

Third floor… Aldi’s outlet

Fourth floor…Club Med…

Fifth floor… Cosmetic surgery…

Sixth floor…Leading Edge batwing suit sales and base jumping…

I say “her” as I feel Joy has reestablished her position as our most efficient elevator conductor… or vertical destination enabler… or elevationist.  She is more than a plain button pusher.  She can deliver people to their destination with class. She knows which residents have elevators that don’t stop at all the floors.

She can also pile as many people on an elevator as can fill a London phone booth on a rainy day.  One day that included people with walkers and wheel chairs and on foot, Terry with his enormous carpet cleaning machine, the new Environmental Services guy, all of Gladys’ exercise group and strangers who just happened to walk by and were drawn in the black hole by the forces of gravity.   Dozens.  At one time. Some with oxygen tanks whose lifeline supply of oxygen was jeopardized from the squeeze.  She gets them all in so they don’t suffer the interminable wait for the next lift.  She has the load limits memorized and numbers are her game.  She knows how much each person weighs, what a wheelchair weighs, bra sizes and she never exceeds the maximum weight limit…ever…but only by ounces.  Gurneys excluded.

But, should she be allowed to beat mercilessly the people who push the elevator call button after she does?

Should she allow atheists to push the button more than once?

Do those who push the elevator button more than once  really believe it makes the elevator travel faster?  How should she deal with people who fear riding in an elevator?  Should they always walk the stairs?  Is there anyone who has received an electrical shock from pushing elevator buttons?  Has anyone known an elevator to fall to the basement? Is she in charge when the lights go out?

Probably she should pass a Palace litmus test before rushing ahead.

Since this isn’t full-time employment, it would seem appropriate for her to deliver groceries and flowers during nap period when everyone disappears into the doldrums of their apartments. She also is good with lullabyes and foot massages.

All in favor of Joy running the elevator, say “Yes”.  Yesssssssssssssssssssss.

Thanks for tuning in…

MY PALACE WORK STATION…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:36 pm

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Take a gander at my clean desk.  This is the only time in recent memory I’ve had a spotlessly clean desk.  Kim took my picture for the September issue of Community News and this is the result.

This is one corner of my bedroom where all the wires that keep me in contact with the outside world converge.  Sometimes it resembles an Indian call center but I know what’s what and work around the maze of confusion.  When Sharon comes to dust, I just give her the high sign to let the dust settle where it may.  There is no need to sweat the small stuff.

I hope Tyler notices his Delacroix tiger in the background, the weed-smoking tiger.  You have only to look at the eyes to capture his docile demeanor.   I gave the painting to him many years ago…as it is one of his Leroy Neiman favorites…then I borrowed it back when I moved to the Palace.  The walls here are large and need big paintings  so I confiscated it for the time being.  I’m really enjoying it more than even since it’s in view almost constantly. Tyler has accumulated quite an extensive art collection which I think is very cool.

Our new executive director, Brad Radatz,  is on the job and cutting teeth here and there.  If everyone told the truth all the time his job would be a lot easier, but as is the case, he has to sort through a lot of information to boil it down to its essence.  It’s not that people aren’t well-intentioned, it’s that memories fail, intentions become cloudy and distorted and self-interests prevail.  I think he’ll do well here.  If he likes it only half as well as I do, he’ll be happier than a tornado in a trailer park.

They served my favorite meal today …. taco salad.  In itself, it isn’t the best, but when I add my “fixings”, it’s pretty good.  I took a homegrown tomato (diced), a hot pepper from Ally’s garden (diced) and then added some sliced olives and lettuce from the salad bar and topped it all with a lot of hot El Zarape salsa.  I wish they served Mexican food more often.  I’d like it even better if they learned how to make it properly  so that it was “stand alone” good.

Several new people are moving into the Palace.  I think all the units are spoken for except for a one bedroom apartment on the 6th floor.  The townhouses are all contracted.  The big hold up, so it appears, is the refurbishing of the units.  They upgrade everything for new residents…all appliances, new counter tops, paint, new carpet and kitchen cupboards, so it takes an extraordinarily long time to redecorate a unit.  There has to be a better way to get the job done faster.  It will be interesting to meet our new neighbors.

They haven’t made any apparent headway on repairing the elevator.  Maybe they are waiting for parts, but there has been no activity that we’ve noticed.  I can’t even begin to imagine the hell that would erupt if the one good elevator should to expire.

We’re gearing up for the annual soup supper, a huge event here in the Palace.  I hope to be on the pie detail again this year that is under Leo Lake’s supervision.  I need a job where I can sit and work.

I had a nice visit with Janice Thomas (Ray) yesterday.  We’ve known each other for many years and it was fun to catch up again with her and her family. Janice volunteers a lot here at the Palace.

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I’m expecting new pictures of my great-granddaughter, Emma Grace, as her grandparents are baby sitting at the moment.  Isn’t she a cute one?

Thanks for tuning in…

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