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Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 10:12 am

After a few stabs at compiling the information required for someone else to prepare my taxes, I think I’ve got it.  That was something Brit always did, it took him days (or so it seemed), and he dreaded it.

Then I inherited the job for the 2008 tax year without any preparation for the job from Brit.  He always said that everything I would need was in the bottom right-hand drawer of his desk.  Yea, right!  Don’t do that to your spouse/partner.

It was a mess determining what I needed for our 2008 taxes and where Brit kept those records.  He did many things very well, but “filing” was not his greatest asset. He had always used Kennedy and Coe for tax preparation for reasons that were never clear to me.  Before he retired and our livelihood business and personal business dealings were more complex, that may have been a proper choice.  Even then I always maintained we were paying way too much for someone to prepare our taxes.  I didn’t actually know how “too much” that was until I inherited the job in 2008 and I quickly made changes after that first year.  It was a nightmare year.

Gathering information for my taxes for year 2009 was much easier.  I switched over to  John Sherman for my tax preparation and, in his nice calm manner, he told me exactly what I needed and where to find it.  The process turned out to be fairly simple. Greg and Patrick Hoffman compiled my taxes and I am pleased what they did and found their charges reasonable.  It was a good move.  They helped me get my head around it. I’ll continue to use their services.

Getting the records together for 2010 has been fairly simple for me now that I have a better understanding of what is required. I’m taking my neat little folder of information to them today.

2011 tax year should be a walk in the park as I’ve already started keeping pertinent records in a folder that says 2011 TAX STUFF. Paying taxes is a privilege:

Paying taxes is a privilege. Making enough money to help pay for the services we all enjoy and the wealthy use more of than the rest of us is a privilege. Paying for the support and care for our people in uniform is a privilege. Paying to help young people get a good education, which will most likely improve their lot and the lot of most Americans is a privilege. Paying to help people meet their basic needs and to sustain them if they are disabled is a privilege. Payroll taxes help support the elderly and disabled as well as providing them with medical care. Paying them is a privilege. Paying to see that food and drugs are safe is a privilege. It benefits all Americans. Well, those that can afford food and drugs.

The next time you hear another shill for the rich trying to make you think they are being punished by paying taxes, tell them it’s a privilege and you’d happily switch places with them and pay more.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, LGBT, Civil/Gay Rights — Peg Britton @ 8:32 am

Another step forward…
WASHINGTON — In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said Wednesday it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships - precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution’s)Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against.”

The Justice Department had defended the act in court until now.

“Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed” the Defense of Marriage Act, Holder said in a statement. He noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional and that Congress has repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

For the rest of the story….from the Huffington Post…


Filed under: prairie musings, Video — Peg Britton @ 7:58 am

Take the time to listen to this. It’s worth it…



Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 11:30 am

Several events are on going at the Ellsworth Area Art Gallery…

The “It’s All About Kansas” display is coming down this Friday, February 25.

National Youth Art Month begins Monday, February 28th,  with area schools, K-12, and our local Pre-School displaying their art until April 1st.

Sunday, March 6, the Gallery will host the Smoky Hills Pickers at 6 p.m.  Everyone is invited to drop in to sing, pick or just listen.

The Cowtown Carvers meet the 2nd and 4th Thursdays every month at 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery.

The most exciting thing going on is the joint effort by the Art Gallery and Ellsworth County  Medical Center co-hosting the “Go Red for Women Art Contest” to educate people about February’s Heart Health Awareness Month.   The contest will display the entries throughout the month of  March.  The Gallery will host a reception on Monday, February 28th at 6:30, where the winners of the contest will be announced.  Bobby Cunningham will provide music.

For further information, contact Sharon Haverkamp at 472 5682.


Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Video, Dangerous things — Peg Britton @ 9:42 am


Dangerous things fascinate me in a strange way. I’m intrigued by the lack of fear that some people possess in order to actually enjoy the challenge of climbing the perilous sides of mountains, free climbing a rock ledge overhang with fingertips 2,000 feet above solid earth, or “hiking” the El Caminito del Rey, the most dangerous walkway in the world. The list is endless for me as I have a terrible fear of heights.

This is right up there with the post I made in 2007 about the Old Yungas Road, the “Road of Death” in 2007.

My Florida friend, Linda, sent me the following video as she knew it would scare the socks off me. She giggled when I told her I couldn’t even watch the entire video in one sitting…and had to space it out because watching it gives me the willies. I keep pushing myself away from my computer…eek! Watching it for the 10th time, for me, would not be any easier than the first.

The “King’s Little Pathway” was officially closed in 2000 because of the fatalities, but the plan is to make it once again available to tourists as one of the main attractions of this area of Spain. It is still possible to access the walkway, but it is against the law as it is highly dangerous. For those who thrive on danger, the trail offers a burst of adrenalin.

The walkway is only three feet wide, has no railings and is pinned on the mountain wall that is 2300 feet above the river deep within the treacherous Gaitanes Gorge of El Chorro, Spain. The pathway was built in 1905 and now it has fallen apart to a point that there is often nothing but metal bearing rods left. This deadly trail is known as the most dangerous walkway in the world. This is El Caminito del Rey or The King’s Little Pathway.

Check out the video below to see how some adventurers have nerves of steel and walk up and down El Caminito del Rey like there is no abyss below them. The person who filmed this video appeared to have the camera on his head…but I don’t know. He could have been holding the camera, but that doesn’t appear likely to me. He also didn’t stop at collapsed areas and just walked across the metal beams as if it were a commonplace event. He/she has an amazing sense of balance and is fearless. The following video shows how insanely dangerous El Caminito del Rey is.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 8:17 am

Today is my daughter-in-law’s birthday and I want to wish her very happy returns of the day… and many, many more happy birthdays in the future.  She’s very special to our family…a national treasure.

Since it’s mid-week and everyone is busy, we’re staying home and celebrating. Ally is making chicken enchiladas with green chili for our dinner.  We wish her three sons Rod, Drew, Tyler and Genn and Mackenzie could be here to join us.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 3:11 pm

There is still time to participate in an on-going contest sponsored by the Ellsworth Area Art Council and the Ellsworth County Medical Center Chronic Disease Council.

The contest is intended to educate so all entries much include an educational tie-in to woman’s heart health.  Artwork must be original and use a visual art medium such as painting, photography, drawing, collage or sculpture.  For entry forms and more information, contact the Area Art Center at 785.472.5658 or call Meredith at 785.472.4908.

Individual or team entries are encouraged and will be entered into one of three age categories:  K-5th grade; 6th-12th grade; and adults 17 years or older.

Each entry must be the original work of the contestant(s).

The winners will be announced on February 28th at the Ellsworth Area Art Gallery at 6:30 p.m.  Top category winners will win a WII.




Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 1:13 pm

A veteran Tucson firefighter refused to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting that left six dead and more than a dozen wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

Citing internal memos obtained through a public records request, the Arizona Daily Star reported that Mark Ekstrum told his supervisor he would not go out on the call because of “political bantering” among the crew.

The 28-year veteran retired two days after the shooting, before his superiors could decide what disciplinary action to give him.

Ekstrum also said he had voted for Giffords in the November general election.

Click here for the rest of the story….

Add to this the recent news articles citing pharmacists who refused filling prescriptions for customers  because of their own religious/political beliefs.  Should state licensed pharmacists be permitted to refuse filling prescriptions for contraceptives or medications based on their own personal religious agenda?

The GLBT community has long suffered at the hands of politicians, bigots and religious fanatics.

Will the day come when patients are  refused treatment by some physicians based on their politics?

Other political heavy-handedness and discrimination by the Wisconsin governor and other republican legislators   have led to demonstrations against bills to restrict public employees’ collective-bargaining rights.  Demonstrations have  spilled from Wisconsin into Ohio in what seems to be heading a national cause.    This isn’t just about collective bargaining, it’s about democracy.  In this case, Republican Governor Scott Walker is attempting to end collective bargaining by local, state and county workers of Wisconsin through legislation by a largely dominated republican legislature.  Students, teachers and health care workers make up the majority of the demonstrators and are getting a good lesson in “what you vote for is what you get”.  Let’s hope they prevail.  It’s long from being over.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:13 am

I’m going to bury myself in dreadful, yearly tax work. The anticipation of it is far worse than actually doing it, or so I’m telling myself.  Now to get started…



Filed under: prairie musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 2:55 pm

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, marking an end to what the governor called an “emotional process” for a longtime battleground in the gay rights movement.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office said he intends to sign the bill into law within 10 business days. Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012, making the state the seventh in the nation to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.


Filed under: prairie musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:45 am

Watch the prices soar in the grocery store.  At the moment, corn is $7.04, beans $13.87 and wheat $9.45.  About everything we eat involves grain, poultry and milk.  Look at the food in your refrigerator and on your pantry shelves and you’ll find this to be true.  Poultry/eggs and milk require grain and beans for production.  When farmers can gain greater profits from growing corn, beans and wheat, they aren’t going to be planting other crops.  The global supply of corn continues to decrease and is measured in “days”.

A year ago, ethanol was in the $1.70 per gallon range, but recently closed at $2.457 per gallon, the highest it has been since the early summer price spike in 2008 when it exceeded $2.80 per gallon.

Tanks are in the streets of Bahrain as police attack Manama’s Pearl Square in a wave of revolution. Bahrain, Yemen and Jordon are all worrisome.  Across the Middle East, protesters clash with pro-government mobs and security forces in  the latest sign that the tools of repression that leaders in the region have relied on for years are now, instead, propelling more people to the streets.

Zinc helps shorten the length of time one suffers from colds.  Now there is clinical proof.  And here.  Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. When supplemented for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence, school absenteeism and prescription of antibiotics in children.   I’ve used it for years as I know it helps me.

The personal assets of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man, included a horse, buggy and harness. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, his skills included financial fraud.  Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.  For more of the story…a Madoff-like fraud.

Rachel Maddow has an incredible update tonight on her reporting on why no one’s been able to do abortions in central KS since the Tiller assassination.  She’s on MSNBC at 8:00 p.m.  She’s after Phill Kline and others like him.  This is a very interesting case she is pursuing and worth the watch.

And, congratulations to grandson Drew on being named the “#1 Banker in the State of COLORADO.”  That would be among all the many Vectra Banks in Colorado.   Boulder Broadway Bank, where he works,  is in 3rd place over all in the state.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Video — Peg Britton @ 9:49 am



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:43 am




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:07 pm



Filed under: political musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 2:42 pm

Topeka — A bill introduced in the Kansas House would require every newborn in the state to be genetically tested to identify the child’s father.  The bill says a court could intervene if someone refused to take the test or have it administered to the baby.

Brownback has issued an executive order to abolish the Arts Commission, saying it will save about $600,000 in the next fiscal year. The state faces an estimated $492 million revenue shortfall, and Brownback says he wants to “protect the core functions of government.”   Brownback has said the private sector will step up to the plate. He has appointed a non-profit arts foundation to raise funds. “There will be more money for arts, rather than less,” he said.  Shannon Riley of the Topeka Civic Theater said, “If only the private sector supports the arts, only the private sector will have access to the arts.”



Filed under: prairie musings, recipes — Peg Britton @ 12:23 pm

John, my second cousin once removed,  is a nurse in community relations at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He is also a volunteer with Audio-Reader (readers for the blind) in Lawrence.  He’s a busy guy but finds time for cooking, canning and preserving various fresh products.

Recently, he was asked to being his “fabulous chili”  to an Audio-Reader occasion.  It has been the topic of conversation ever since, according to his sister who sent me John’s recipes.  Everyone wanted the recipe.  “Which one”, he asked.  It seems there are two.  This is the easy one.

This is his take on how to make chili, which is non-traditional, but his co-workers say it is delicious. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.  It definitely is a “busy-bachelor-kind-of-guy recipe.”   One of those three ingredient recipes.

…if guys want to do something fool proof without help from the distaff side, this might be just the right accompaniment for “he-man chile, beer and stud poker night”.

John’s EZ Chile
Juan Grande
Put some dry pinto beans in the bottom of a crock pot, cover with water.
Put a beef roast (arm, chuck, whatever’s on sale) on top.
Cover with your favorite hot sauce.  (Pace Picante works well)  Use lots, it may take 2 quarts depending on the size of your crock pot and the volume of the meat and beans.
Get it all hot, then set the crockpot on low and walk away for about 12 hours.
When it’s done, just stir the meat and the beans together and you’re ready to enjoy.  The funny part is, if you serve this, people will ask you for the recipe.



Filed under: prairie musings, Eat — Peg Britton @ 6:43 pm

The other day I blogged an article  I called “On the Side”.  There was some criticism leveled, yet it was well-intentioned.  Now, after my grumbling over it for years, Orozco’s policy has taken a new and positive turn.

Ally had dinner at Orozco’s tonight and, Voila!, she was given a ticket with prices on it.  Way to go, Gabe. Maybe it was just coincidence after all these many years that my comment and his changes occurred at the same time, but whatever reason, it was a very pleasant, positive change to Ally and will be to me and many others.  It’s the right thing to do.

Thanks, Gabe, Jesse and other Orozco family members, who serve some of the best, homemade “from scratch” Mexican food in the state.  They make everything from raw ingredients…tortillas, refried beans, salsa, tamales, etc…AND, their Huevos Rancheros are not to be matched anywhere.  They serve the classic dish made for many years by the senior Orozco.  If you haven’t tried it, order it my style….with soft fried eggs, extra pork and “juice”.   You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for tuning in…and thanks for enjoying the Mexican food at Orozco’s in Kanopolis.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:29 pm

First, my neighbor, Rod Buchholz, plowed the driveway so traffic could flow to and from my corner of the world.

Then, this afternoon Ally shoveled the front walk, the decks and around my garage.  She also brought in a big load of firewood to last through the night.

I thank both of them very, very much.  I don’t plan on going anywhere, but I can if I wish, thanks to them.


Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 5:21 pm

The shooting incident allegedly committed by Raymond Davis late last month in Lahore has turned into an international incident of political intrigue as the facts unfold.  The wife of one of the men Davis allegedly shot committed suicide by taking poison used in grain storage. She did it to avenge her husbands death claiming the government wouldn’t seek justice for her husband of a few weeks.

Ray Davis.  Is that really his name?  Is he a covert CIA agent? A Blackwater employee?  A hapless consular employee?  Diplomat? Defense Contractor?  Mercenary intelligence black-ops operative? Who and what is he?

Pakistani officials question why Davis, whom they claim is a Blackwater employee and spy, was carrying a gun in the streets of Lahore. The men whom Davis killed (he claimed it was self-defense)  were allegedly premeire intelligence agents. Was there a  report of an exchange of gun fire between the agents and Davis?

ABC News has an interesting account of the incident and resulting political fall out:

“The public narrative from the United States is simple: one of its diplomats in one of the most dangerous countries in the world was threatened by two men with guns, and the diplomat shot and killed them in self-defense. He sits in jail, “illegally detained,” because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

“But the version of events told by multiple Pakistani officials — and adamantly denied by the U.S. State Department — is utterly different.

“The four Pakistani officials who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity say that the two men who Raymond Davis killed in Lahore last month were working for Pakistan’s premiere intelligence service, and they were following Davis because he was spying.”

For the rest of the ABC story, click here.

For the live stream account by Al Jazeera English, click here.  It will show up on their news station.

This incident is creating a huge problem for the U.S.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:07 pm

I like Al Jazeera English.  If you haven’t already discovered this, turn it on for live feeds on the ground and first hand look at history in the making.  You can click on 24-hour live coverage on Facebook.  Go here   and click on Watch Live at the top of the page.

“Al Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, is headquartered in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The organisation is the world’s first global English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. From this unique position, Al Jazeera English is destined to be the English-language channel of reference for Middle Eastern events, balancing the current typical information flow by reporting from the developing world back to the West and from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The channel aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate, and challenge established perceptions. With broadcasting centres in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC and supporting bureaux worldwide, the channel will set the news agenda, bridging cultures and providing a unique grassroots perspective from under-reported regions around the world to a potential global audience of over one billion English speakers. The station broadcasts news, current affairs, features, analysis, documentaries, live debates, entertainment, business and sport. Building on Al Jazeera Arabic channel’s ground breaking developments in the Arab and Muslim world that have changed the face of news within the Middle East, Al Jazeera English is part of a growing network that is now extending this fresh perspective from regional to global through accurate, impartial and objective reporting. Add the AlJazeera Facebook application: More
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