Friday, February 25, 2005

Oh give me a home...where the buffalo roam...

I would be remiss in my duties as an expat Kansan if I didn't mention that my morning e-mail from the New York Times contained not one....not two...but three mentions of my former home state. A banner day when you consider that months can go buy when Kansas doesn't get mentioned at all - it just isn't that important/interesting/newsworthy/etc...

That said, not all of the mentions are necessarily positive ones...

First, Paul Krugman mentions KS in his editorial today, finally giving note to Thomas Franks' book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" (which loyal readers will note I was trumpeting months ago...pre-election, even) Krugman's point is nothing new - that the GOP leadership basically says one thing and then does something else...courting family values voters with promises of attacks against a fake crisis of some sort in values (be it Christmas, gay marriage, or whatever...), and then turns around once in power and does something that those same voters don't support at all.

His editorial today focuses on the latest smears against the opponents of the president's social security privatization plan:
So it doesn't matter that Social Security is a pro-family program that was created by and for America's greatest generation - and that it is especially crucial in poor but conservative states like Alabama and Arkansas, where it's the only thing keeping a majority of seniors above the poverty line. Right-wingers will still find ways to claim that anyone who opposes privatization supports terrorists and hates family values.
It's a shell game...promise one thing, then deliver another. Trumpet a fake "crisis" where none exists in order to impel a sense of "urgency" about getting something done, then apply pressure on Congressmen to vote against their best interests. My only objection to his column today is that none of this is anything new. Franks' book has been out for approaching a year...and only now does Krugman discover it?

Item number 2 is far more sinister...the KS attorney general (which, I should note, is an elected position in Kansas...not answerable to the governor (a Democrat) or the state legislature (solidly Republican)), Phill Kline has demanded the complete (and I might add...confidential) medical records of scores of Kansas women (most of them teenagers) who had late-term abortions...supposedly to prosecute "statutory rape cases." All of that is a load of bullsh*t. He's going after abortion doctors in the state and EVERYBODY knows it. These procedures are legal when the woman's life is in danger, but that isn't the point here.

Anti-abortion activists like to say that their fight against abortion isn't about a "right to privacy," as much as it is about saving lives. But...once's a shell game. It is entirely about privacy. I find Kline's behavior dispicable...and blatantly political in nature. He clearly wants to run for governor next year...and he thinks he's found his issue. How would he feel if he had a daughter who was one of the people on the list? I'm betting he'd be sternly against it.

These people...they don't think the way you and I do. They're out to save us. To rescue us from Hell...and they'll do it anyway they can. And meanwhile...if it isn't too much to ask of Jesus...could they please become powerful and rich while they do so?


Happily...number three is simply a travel section article on Lawrence, Kansas...the best place in the state. Then again...I'm biased. ;)


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