Democrats Last Chance in Rural America

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Democrats Last Chance in Rural America

       Show up in rural areas.

Dodge City, Kansas. Hastings, Nebraska. Hays, Kansas. Hutchinson, Kansas.

JFK in  Kansas. (photo courtesy of Stafford County Historical Society.)

JFK went everywhere. When he launched his campaign for President in 1960, some considered the Massachusetts Senator with the clipped Cape Code accent to be a tough sell in rural areas. So Kennedy went everywhere and asked for the support of local officials who had never been asked by a Presidential candidate for support: County Commissioners, small-town Mayors, farmers, and small businessmen. Norb Dreiling of Hays, Kansas. Papa Saia of Pittsburg, Kansas.  Jack Janssen of Lyons, …

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How the Morrison Sisters Overcame Orphanhood


Marlene Morrison, outside the home of Bob and Dotty Keenan, with daughters Kelly, 6, Alison, 8, and Tracy, 10.

The 16-year-old girl pulled up her gym socks and tied her laces for basketball practice at St. Rose Auditorium in Great Bend, Kansas. It was a few days before Thanksgiving, and Alison Morrison’s mind was far from basketball. She was about to become an orphan, and she knew it.

No memory of her father

Her Dad, Jack Morrison died of a heart attack at age 58 in Great Bend when she was four years old. Alison had no memory of him. But Alison’s ability …

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Ernie Rhodes, 84, recalls Segregation, Progress

Ernie Rhodes still patrols the Sedgwick County Courthouse at age 84

The 19 year old Airman from McConnell Air Force base was headed to Wichita Falls Texas, when the bus stopped at the Union Bus Terminal in Oklahoma City. Ernie Rhodes had an extra bounce in his step as he got off the bus, proudly wearing his khaki Air Force uniform. It was 1955.

Rhodes was far away from where he grew up in the Old Confederacy: Newport News, Virginia, was where he was born and raised. Rhodes went into the restaurant at the bus terminal and sat down, eager to get …

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What to do if you get a DUI in Kansas

The first fight is with the criminal court

If you get pulled over and get a DUI in Kansas, it’s depressing and confusing. The thing is, you now face two fights: one fight is the criminal case against you for DUI. This is brought against you by the town or County where you got the DUI. For instance, if you get a DUI in Great Bend, that criminal case might be titled City of Great Bend vs. Joe Schlomosky.  If it happened out in the country in Barton County, it will probably be brought by the County Attorney, and the case …

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Bernie Sanders gave America an overdue laugh–and a lesson

Why is the Bernie Sanders’ mittens meme so popular?  While the media went goo goo over the various dresses, suits and even face masks of the politicians preening on the inaugural stage, Bernie simply didn’t give a damn about appearances.  His disposable face mask probably cost .25 cents and was off-center. The Parka was comically out of place compared to the high rollers on the podium wearing fancy wool top coats. But this was an inauguration, not the Oscars. Most Americans view politicians as a privileged class of showboats who wouldn’t know how to start a lawnmower. But Bernie offers …

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When Jodie Foster came to Kansas

Bobby Detrich, a fourth grader at Jefferson elementary school in Great Bend, Kansas saw the girl, dressed in Depression-era clothing, looking like a tomboy. The charismatic blue-eyed girl was just his age. She emerged from her dressing room, and looked puzzled. She looked into her hands and fiddled with an old-fashioned wooden yo-yo. Although the girl was in Ellis County, Kansas, she hailed from California and didn’t know how to use a yo-yo. Jodie knew lots of things a kid from Kansas wouldn’t know. But Bobby Detrich knew all about yo-yo’s

Jodie Foster and Christopher Connelly in Hays, Kansas.

Most kids his …

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Kevin Willmott’s “The 24th” reminds America a reckoning is needed

Director Kevin Willmott’s film “The 24th” tells an important but little-known story in American race relations: the Houston Mutiny of 1917. In the same way that many Americans are learning about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 for the first time, Willmott’s film introduces Americans to another-century old hidden but important story. The script is written by Willmott and a former KU pupil, Trai Byers. This analysis of the film tells what happens, so a spoiler alert is in order.

     The charismatic Kansas native Trai Byers not only co-wrote the script, he plays the lead role of William Boston, …

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"Da 5 Bloods"

“Da 5 Bloods” Makes Spike Lee Simply a “Great American Director”

Spike Lee Strikes Gold with Kevin Willmott in the Vietnam Film, “Da 5 Bloods.”

In the eyes of Hollywood, Spike Lee has recently gone from being a great African-American movie director to simply a great American movie director.

If his new film “Da 5 Bloods” was made about five white Vietnam veterans reuniting in Vietnam to find a buried treasure of gold and to find the remains of their fallen leader, it would still be a great film (due to the intriguing Sierra Madre-like plotline of buried gold and honoring an old war buddy).

The plot is suspenseful and full of potential double-crosses, …

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