Tag Archives: Twitter

Why Can’t Kansas Get Any Good Press?


I’ve been away for awhile. Frankly I haven’t had any inspiration to write lately, but a couple of weeks ago I heard a ridiculous story concerning my home state, and today I read another. Both received national news coverage. Just like when our state Board of Education decided that teaching evolution wasn’t important, these stories make us look crazy.

I was listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR a couple of weeks ago and heard an interesting story about our state capital of Topeka. Apparently, prosecuting domestic violence cases is just to expensive. It’s so expensive that the municipal court of Topeka can’t afford to do it. It’s so expensive the Shawnee County District court can’t afford to do it. So what did these two groups do? The district court told the city of Topeka that they would only prosecute cases outside of Topeka. If it happens in Topeka the municipal court was responsible. It seems pretty cut and dry, but Topeka had an ace up its sleeve.  The city council simply repealed the municipal domestic violence statute. Now the municipal court has no authority to prosecute these cases.  As city manager Dan Stanley points out, this doesn’t make domestic violence legal because it is still covered by state law. The problem with this situation is that the two parties simply fought with each other rather that trying to find a mutual solution. Instead, they fought and ended up in a situation that is truly not beneficial to anyone.

This brings us to the story I just read about 25 minutes ago.  Kansas Governor Sam Brownback apparently had some ‘splaing to do. At a Youth in Government event in Topeka, Brownback made some remarks. A senior at Shawnee Mission East High School (home of the Lancers) made a tweet during his remarks with the hashtag (I hate myself a little for using that term) #heblowsalot. Brownback’s staff saw the tweet and called the school. The student ended up in the principal’s office and was told to write a letter of apology.

Now the Governor is apologizing for his overzealous staff, and saying the right to free speech is a “treasured freedom.” I think Gov. Brownback did the right thing. I don’t really have a problem with what his staff did. They should be monitoring social media that involves the Governor. I don’t know why they called the school. They probably shouldn’t have but that is a minor offense. My real problem is with Shawnee Mission East and principal Dr. Karl Krawitz. At what point did the school believe they have any right to order a student to apologize for a comment made on the internet. The student concerned is an adult and has all the constitutional rights of a  U.S. citizen. There is no reason that she should have spent any time in the principal’s office, and certainly no reason the school should have told her she should apologize for voicing her opinion. If anything Dr. Krawitz owes her an apology far more than  Governor Brownback.

Well, I hope my beloved home state gets some better press in the future, but it does feel good to be back.

One last thing, Herman, another woman, give it up man.

Israel Sends The Wrong Message


At some point in the near future, apparently the date is being kept a secret, a groups of ships, called the Freedom Flotilla 2, will be sailing from Greece to the Gaza Strip. You may remember that this happened about a year ago. In that case, nine people were killed by Israeli soldiers in what was a complete debacle for the Israeli Defense Forces. Let me be clear that I think Israel has every right to be wary of this situation. The Gaza Strip is controlled by a group that does not recognize Israel, and has made the destruction of Israel its top priority for years. I believe that Israel has every right to ensure that the supplies carried on this convoy are for humanitarian uses only. If there are any weapons they should be confiscated as that would surely be illegal weapons trafficking. Israel, however, is making me question the validity have their concern. Namely, they are engaging in a tactic that is akin to dictators. They’re threatening journalists.

An article in the Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel is threatening to ban journalists from the country for up to a decade if they are on one of these ships. Journalists go where the story is. It is true that they often go where there is no story also, but trying to keep the media out of this just leads to the idea that Israel wants to suppress the story. Journalists are banned from Syria right now for exactly that reason. The Syrian government does not want the truth to get out about what they are doing. By keeping journalists out they are preventing an accurate narrative to be written. This allows them to fill the void with the story they want everyone to hear.

I don’t think Israel is comparable to Syria. Israel is a democracy that does not oppress its people. Some will argue that instead Israel oppresses the Palestinians, who it is worth noting, were kicked out of their homes in the late 1940s. Palestinians have a legitimate problem with Israel and the Western world. So when Israel engages in suppressing journalists, it makes them look like they have something to hide. More importantly this tactic will not work. We’ve seen it in Arab countries all year. The mainstream media isn’t needed for information anymore. The use of Facebook and YouTube has exploded. Through the internet videos will be seen, information will spread. Israel can count on one thing. The YouTube videos, and Twitter feeds will not be favorable.  The mainstream media uses a code of ethics in what it reports. The social media world does not. Israel’s opponents will use all of these outlets to spread their message whether it is fair or not. The mainstream media is the only hope Israel has of getting an objective story out there.

Israel’s best plan is to stop this flotilla as peacefully as possible. Inspect the cargo, and make sure that CBS, CNN, The New York Times and others get a good look at it. If anything is illegal or bound for violent use, it will get reported and Israel will be vindicated. If it is all humanitarian aid, everyone will know. Then Israel can say it was protecting itself, but found nothing illicit. There is nothing wrong with Israel trying to prevent weapons from entering Gaza so that they can be used to hurt Israelis. Trying to suppress journalists, however, sends a terrible signal. It says that Israel isn’t sure that they are protecting themselves. This effort will hurt the Israeli cause not help it.

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/24/10


The Daily Show has been broadcasting from the nation’s capital all week.  President Obama appeared as well as other Washington VIPs.  It was all capped with Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity”  Independent Kansan commends what Jon Stewart and the Daily Show are trying to do. This brings us to our Quote of the Week from Stewart’s interview with Sen. Ted Kaufman:

“So the system is broken, because it was built that way.” – Jon Stewart about Congress.

Sony announced this week that the Walkman will be discontinued. No more will we be able to walk around listening to our cassette tapes. What? You have an Ipod, so maybe this isn’t news. Oh well, goodbye Walkman, you had a good run.

NPR reports at least 100 Alaskans have filed as write-in candidates in the Senate race.  Independent Kansan thinks this is great. Well, it could be better. When California recalled Gov. Gray Davis they had such well qualified candidates as Gary Coleman. Wait! Alaska could get Sarah Palin to run. A normal senator’s term is 6 years. Palin would probably serve 2-3 of those, before deciding being a Senator was too restrictive. (Or because it doesn’t pay as well as Tea Party rallies.}

Facebook and the midterms, are they related?  NPR takes a look here at politicians embracing social media. Does a candidate using Facebook or Twitter really help them win reelection. Independent Kansas has always believed Facebook was a revolutionary tool in connecting people. Now we are letting politicians in? What happened to the days when you had to be a college student?

Independent Kansan urges all readers to check out the anything you can find about the Rally to Restore Sanity.  In case you’re wondering, our favorite sign reported at the event:  “Stand United Against Signs”

That’s the news. Please, come back next week when the election is over, and Independent Kansan publisher’s nephew is officially a big 1 years old.