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2/26/2014

TEA PARTY SENATOR JERRY MORAN BLOCKS BILL TO HELP END MILITARY RAPE…

Filed under: prairie musings, GOP, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 8:05 am

Posted by: Sky Palma in TEApublicans in Action February 25, 2014

Showing where his priorities lie, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan) Blocked an attempt to vote on a bill that would address sexual assault in the military – to instead push for more sanctions on Iran.

A report has estimated there to be at least 26,000 men and women who are sexually assaulted every year in the armed forces. Democrats, specifically Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), have been feverishly pushing for legislation that will curb the problem.

But this Monday, Moran insisted that a measure to level tougher sanctions on Iran make an appearance on the floor along with the sexual assault bills. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) outright objected.

“I’m terribly disappointed that my Republican friends are trying to turn this vital national security concern into a partisan issue by trying to inject [it] into a setting where it’s clearly not relevant,” Reid said.

Senator Gillibrand didn’t pull any punches when addressing Moran’s actions:

“Anyone who has been listening has heard over and over again from survivors of sexual assault in the military how the deck has been stacked against them,” Gillibrand said. “And for over two full decades, the Defense Department has been unable to uphold its continued failed promises of ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual assault.”

“But when the Senate can’t even agree to debate the one reform that survivors have consistently said is needed to solve this crisis, we are telling those victims that the deck is stacked against them right here in the Senate, too,” she added.

A spokesperson for Moran responded, saying, “Sen. Moran supports having votes on the Gillibrand and McCaskill amendments, but he does not believe Sen. Reid should be allowed to pick and choose which amendments blocked from consideration during debate on NDAA [the National Defense Authorization Act] receive a vote. Sen. Moran believes preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability is of such importance it also deserves a vote on the floor.”

2/24/2014

NO SHORTAGE OF CLOWNS IN TOPEKA…

Filed under: prairie musings, Sam Brownback, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 12:32 pm

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NO SHORTAGE OF CLOWNS IN TOPEKA

By Burdett Loomis

Published Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, at 7:56 a.m.

A recent wire service story took on an ominous tone: The United States is facing a clown shortage. “What’s happening is attrition,” said the head of the Clowns of America International. “The older clowns are passing away.”

This is no laughing matter. Where will the clowns of tomorrow come from?

Clearly, the clown association has not been reading the Kansas news. Under our own beautiful, refurbished big top in Topeka, we are awash in clowns. It’s as if a couple of those tiny circus cars pulled up to the Statehouse and out popped 40 or 50 clowns, ready to put on performances for a full 90 days.

Ringling Brothers should be so lucky.

Like every state legislature, Kansas’ has always had clowns. They’re those folks who stand up and make fools of themselves without ever knowing it. Still, we have a representative government, and fools need representation, too.

But over the past few years, clowns have overrun the Capitol – in committee rooms, on the floor, and everywhere else under the dome.

Most notably, of course, we got the dynamic GOP duo of Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell. Macheers pushed the bill to justify discrimination against gays (among others) on religious grounds, and the speaker blithely allowed the bill to sail through the House with little scrutiny. Then came the firestorm of opposition from across the country, which made the Legislature appear once again like, well, a bunch of clowns.

But honestly, the grossly mislabeled “religious freedom” bill has just been the most highly publicized bit of comedy. The list goes on.

Legislators have sought to nullify federal gun laws and enforcement of the federal Endangered Species Act, the latter while picking a fatuous fight over prairie chickens. Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, challenged a city employee who’d testified against a firearms bill, accusing him of violating a 2013 law banning the use of state dollars to express an opinion on gun control. What part of free speech do Hildabrand and the Legislature not understand?

Then we’ve got Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, who airily dismissed the scientific consensus on climate change, stating, “The only thing you know for sure about the weather in Kansas … is it’s going to change. That’s all we really know about climate, too.” Knox has two degrees in mechanical engineering but not one from the Ringling clown college, so really he’s just an amateur at both climate change and comedy.

Wait, there’s more. Lots more.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, began the clowning by putting on her famous live sonogram performance. She then argued that Kansas surrogate pregnancy laws were inadequate.

There have been bills to permit spanking in schools, to subsidize private fitness clubs, to challenge fluoridation, and generally to cripple local government by restricting cities’ and counties’ ability to tax, even in the face of cuts to state funding.

In addition, proposed legislation would require students to opt in to sex-education courses, mandate a two-year district residency to be eligible to run for the Legislature, and eliminate the chief justice’s ability to choose presiding judges in county courts. All of these are pure politics and laughable.

Given our wonderfully renovated Statehouse, it’s a shame that serious legislating – on education, health and infrastructure – is not in the center ring. But that’s the circus business for you.

Burdett Loomis is a professor of political science at the University of Kansas.

Read more HERE

2/22/2014

WHAT’S UP AT THE PALACE, YOU ASK?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:45 pm

On Thursday, March 13, the reliably great essayist/humorist David Sedaris is coming to visit the Stiefel Theater.  Tickets, which are on sale now, run between $38 and $55.  He’s one of the funniest guys standing, in my opinion.  I’ve read a lot of his books so I think it’s time I support his presence in Salina.  March 13 would be Dane’s birthday, a good time to celebrate.

Last night I went to dinner with Lynn, her mom and the Ellsworth ex-pats Jane, and Lila.  Janie is still recuperating from surgery and missed this auspicious event.   We ate at Chili’s which turned out to be good…if you can base your assessment on a salad.  I haven’t been there for years.  The place was packed to the rafters.  In fact, it seems every restaurant in town is packed every night.  Doesn’t anyone stay home and cook any more?

I’ve thought it curious that in the time I’ve been here I haven’t seen them bring anyone off the main elevator in a gurney.  There are, after all, a large number of old folks living in the tower and they do tend to fall and get sick.  They cleared the main/large elevator when I was on it yesterday and the EMTs took a gurney topside, but I don’t think they brought anyone down.  Usually, when the EMTs come, they go to the back entry to the health care unit  to assist patients there who do tend to need additional help from time to time.  The good thing is that when we do need assistance, help is available immediately.  That is something that gives me and my family peace of mind.

I had lunch today with Doris, Margie and Ivy.  We frequently sit together  and enjoy the company of one another.  Doris had stories of her fly fishing expeditions with an Indian guide and her sister, Mary, into the Canadian waters. I would have liked Mary.  Doris is an interesting story teller and a wonderful human being.

Today is Karen’s birthday so we’re going to the Japanese Restaurant tonight for dinner.  As long as Ally is along,  I  can order something I’ll like.  Well, I just let her order for me as that works best.  Otherwise, I’m lost.

The KU game is on ESPNU tonight, a channel that I don’t get with my Cox lineup through the Palace.  Maybe I can catch the second half on my computer.  I usually am able to do that.

I ran into the McHenry’s earlier this week while we were waiting to see the same doctor.  We had a good visit as the wait was a long one.  I haven’t seen both of them together for a long time so that was a nice reunion.  It’s always good to see friends from home.

The Olympics closing ceremony is tomorrow night.  Then what will I do?

Thanks for tuning in..

2/16/2014

EAST EIGHTH STREET KIDS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:51 am

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Some of the neighborhood kids…Ally Britton, Jim and Peder Larsen, Dane Britton.  It must have been taken on a Sunday morning.  Maybe 1959.  I don’t know where Todd was when this picture was taken, but I was usually missing one of my kids…who wandered off.  The group also included Richie Irwin, on a regular basis.

2/12/2014

EMMA GRACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Emma — Peg Britton @ 5:24 pm

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My beautiful granddaughter, Emma… she’s a very fortunate, happy baby.

PALACE PEOPLE AND PLEASURES…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:30 pm

There is a flurry of activity in the Palace.  One would never guess.

February is a strong birthday month around here so it gives cause to celebrate.  Hazel, my next door neighbor,  turned 94 on Monday.  I wanted so much to have a surprise party for her, but I can’t do anything like that without a lot of help from  Ally and she was socked in at her farm under massive drifts of snow.  Tomorrow we’re trying to make up for it and taking her out to have lunch and pick up some groceries.  It’s not the same, but we “make do” and are looking forward to that.

Today is Doris’ birthday…she’s 105, if you can imagine.  Her daughter, Barbara, and son-in-law, Jerry, from North Carolina have been here for about a week taking her out for meals and generally having a good time.  Other assorted relatives have drifted in and out to make the occasion of her birthday memorable.  Friends have brought her cakes and generous slices of their goodness have arrived in my apartment by various runners.  We’ll have birthday conversations to talk about in days to come. I really enjoy being with Doris and usually sit with her for lunch.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and is very “quick witted”.  I keep telling her we share the same warped sense of humor.

Tonight is the annual resident Valentine’s Day dinner so I’ll be attending with Margie, Amy and Ivy.  Amy volunteered to go early and save places for us. We have harp music for entertainment which will bore me rather quickly, but I’ll try to be attentive and polite.  Lynn is preparing chicken cordon bleu, fruit salad, homemade rolls, some kind of veggies and brownies for dinner.  Lynn is an Ellsworthite and I enjoy her company.  She’s so thoughtful.  I inadvertently left my insulin syringe on the dining room table yesterday and she brought it to me after lunch.
Dalene Anderson is here visiting her dad so she stopped to see me for a quick visit today.  She’s always a day brightener and it’s fun having her around.  I’ve loved getting to know her kids and grand kids and following their exciting adventures.

Tomorrow night I’m going out for dinner with Lynn, her mom and the group of Ellsworth ex-pats…Lila, Jane and Janie.  They have dinner together every Friday night and include me whenever I want to go.  They are going to Tucson’s so I will join them. I bail on the times they go to Olive Garden, Martinelli’s, Chilis, Applebee’s, etc.   The weather ought to be good to be out and about for the next few days.  I don’t get enough fresh air.

Later this month our Travel and Taste inmate group will be going to Skye Brewery and Eats and I never pass by an opportunity to go there.  The food is good and the beer cold and wonderful.  That’s a winning combination, in my book.

I guess the bottom line is that life is good at the Palace.  I’ve been here over a year now and never skipped a beat during the transition.  I know my family is happy that I’m here and “covered” in any emergency,  and I’m happy about it too.  I like it that they can come and go, make plans to do whatever they like, without worrying if “I’m covered”.  I’m always covered.  I don’t know of any place else where I’d want to be in this stage in my life as I’m surrounded by thoughtful people who have become my friends. Live is crazy good.  I do miss my grandchildren…a lot…but that would be the case no matter where I lived.

Thanks for tuning in …

HOUSE APPROVES KANSAS LAW TO LEGALIZE DISCRIMINATION…ANOTHER GIANT STEP BACKWARDS FOR BROWNBACK…

Filed under: prairie musings, Sam Brownback, LGBT, Civil/Gay Rights, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 2:33 pm

Kansas lawmakers voted overwhelmingly today to pass a bill that opponents say legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Members of both parties joined together in the House on the 89-27 vote, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. If the Senate follows suit and Governor Sam Brownback signs the bill, as he has indicted, then anyone could opt out of anti-discrimination laws that protect gays and lesbians by claiming they violate their “religious freedom.”

For example, an employer could fire someone if they discovered the employee was gay. Or a landlord could kick a renter out of their home. The religious exemption extends past places of business to universities, where students or instructors could opt out of a school’s anti-discrimination policy.

The idea for the bill, called the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” came in reaction to the college town of Lawrence passing an anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation. The new state law would nullify that and any other local anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation by granting citizens the right to opt out if they felt it conflicted with their religious beliefs.

“I don’t think an ordinance should trump other people’s religious rights,” said Rep. Jan Pauls, a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that heard testimony about the bill. During a forum earlier this year, Pauls gave an example to explain why she backs the bill, saying an employer should be allowed to fire a “cross dresser.”

“The question is personal belief as far as religion,” she said. “Should that be trumped by forcing people to then support a lifestyle that they don’t support due to their religion?”

“If this law were passed,” Pauls explained, “people could bring up their religion as a reason that they did not want to follow the ordinances.”

2/6/2014

BILL HALL, SUPT. OF SALINA SCHOOLS, WAS OUR LUNCHEON GUEST TODAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:29 pm

Most Palace inmates are playing it close and staying out of the snow drifts.  We may see a little activity today as it’s a whopping 7 degrees and the sun is shining.

I had lunch with Salina School Superintendent Bill Hall today along with Don Smischny, Dorothy Carmichael, Pete Peterson and Doris Wyatt.  It was a good experience and the conversation was stimulating and interesting.  He’s an interesting man with a world of challenges at his doorstep.  It was an occasion that Kim Fair arranged and I was happy to be included to give a little balance to all the teacher reps.  The guys who routinely sit at that particular table were torqued at having to sit elsewhere.  Life goes on.

The Olympics are starting to day with 98 medals to be won over 16 days,  Russian rock music, traditional costumes, Cossack nomadic horse culture and dancers… the whole works. These will be the  costliest Olympic Games in history as they officially open in Russia on Friday 7 in Sochi, on Russia’s Black Sea coast, and will welcome about 2,900 athletes in 15 disciplines.  The TV coverage will never be what it once was back in the early 50s, but at least it’s something.

Russia, politically,  is trying to keep out decadent Western dissidents while spending 50 billion dollars on this Olympics, more than all previous Olympics combined. That, in itself, is something to ponder.  I wonder if Putin will free all the gays from prison at some point as a show of power.  It will be interesting to follow as we all cross our fingers and hope there aren’t tragedies that overwhelm the games.

As for social events, Margie had a birthday party for herself the other night that was a lot of fun.  Karen and Todd brought me some of their famous ham and beans with cornbread so I had Ivy come “down” from the 6th floor and join me for dinner and watch the KU/Baylor game. We also had wine, brownies and Ally’s peanut butter cookies. The particular order of consumption isn’t really relevant at our age.  Our Valentine banquet is Wednesday so I’ll be going to that and hope the food is good.  It’s getting better, I think.

Face Book has been doing “Look Back” features on some members.  I really like mine as it features some good photos…not all, but it’s good.    I’m not sure how Jerry Moran got in there, but there he is.  Once Jerry became a minion of George Bush and the tea party, he lost my support.

If you enjoy tea, having access on the net to all the wonderful tea companies is a real joy.  I’m enjoying a mug of Maharaja Chai Oolong/Samurai Chai Mate Blend with Rock Sugar that can be purchased from Teavana.  My friend, Lynn, gave me a sample of it and I like it well enough to order some. Maharaja Chai Oolong & Samurai Chai Maté intermingle to form a blend that is bold in flavor and rich in heritage. Ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorn, cloves, & nutmeg harmoniously balance with sweet notes of pineapple, papaya & star anise. Spicy and rich, this sweet Ayurvedic blend combines oolong, maté and green rooibos in a wealth of flavor.  Ah, tea.  Nothing like a cup of hot tea  on a cold day.

It bothers me, and shouldn’t, when individuals make an incorrect statement and then base everything that follows on that statement.  I tend to get so hung up on the incorrect premise that I can’t sort though all the stuff the tumbles down after that.  Oh well…

Thanks for tuning in…


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