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« April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »

By Ken Poland on May 28, 2013

What does our flag stand for? It stands for different things to different people.

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By Ken Poland on May 28, 2013

By Diane Wahto on May 27, 2013

My husband Pat, a Vietnam Era vet, has for years put the flag out on national holidays. He started doing this after my father died several years ago and we inherited his flag. Over the years that flag, already ancient, began to get ragged. Fortuitously, I won a new flag in a drawing at Demofest. Pat destroyed the old flag according to flag etiquette and started flying the new one.

For years, we were among only a few families in the neighborhood who put our flag on display. Our conservative neighbors across the street never did. One neighbor’s new husband erected a tall flagpole and somehow got the flag raised to what seemed to be an impossible height. Then the family lost their house to foreclosure and moved away. They left the flag, which flew forlorn in all types of weather until the new owner took it down.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 26, 2013

Three years ago, when I attended the Portland AAEC convention, I met Florida cartoonist Peter Evans and his lovely wife Juana. Peter Evans is a well traveled man who was born in England and began his art career in advertising in Canada. He became creative head of a major U.S. ad agency in Mexico City before settling in Miami, Florida. For the past 17 years, he has been cartoonist of The Islander News of Key Biscayne.

Evans has won over 100 art honors, including 'Top 100 U.S. Creative Men' from Ad Day, USA; several Florida Press Association first place awards; national 'Best Editorial Cartoons Of The Year' book, and the Golden Spike Award from the Association Of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 23, 2013

When I was young, I knew relatively little about my Filipino heritage. I was born and raised in military bases most of my life, so I knew mostly Americans of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. I am grateful for the diverse groups of people that I got to know, but I never really got a chance to know many Filipinos or Filipino Americans until my dad retired from the military and we lived among civilians. One of the things that helped me to get to know my Filipino heritage was an Asian American class I attended in college, where I was introduced to the book American Is In The Heart by Carlos Bulosan. Carlos Bulosan was a poet, writer and labor activist who used his writings to explore the gap between America's high ideas and the American reality for Filipino immigrant farmworkers and for other American minorities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 23, 2013

Ken, thanks too for your blogs and your insights on religion and politics. I hope things are well in Kansas.

By Ken Poland on May 23, 2013

Angelo, Randy, Diane & others:

I appreciate your contributions and diligence in giving us some interesting and thought provoking articles.

I wish someone would fix our "comment" feature to, both, Everyday Citizen and Kansas Free Press. Criticisms, encouragement, and recognition are important motivations to writers.

Keep 'em coming,


By Angelo Lopez on May 22, 2013

Last January I really enjoyed President Obama's Presidential Inauguration. I enjoyed Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor and Beyonce's singing, and President Obama's speech was one of his most inspirational. One of the best and most intimate moments during the Inauguration was the poetry recital of Richard Blanco. Blanco's poem One Today referred to the work of his parents to give him the opportunities he has today, the tragedy of the Newton shootings, and the land and the work that binds us as a nation. Blanco was the fifth poet to give a reading at a Presidential Inauguration. Each poet has given a description of the spirit of the nation of their time.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 21, 2013

A few months ago I found on my facebook the good work of Progressive Christian George Koukouris. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Koukouris is a Greek Orthodox who has studied other religious traditions to know how they are all interconnected. In his facebook page, he states as his goal to get people to let go of whatever hinders our ability to connect and see one another face to face. He is one of the founders of the Indiana Center for Progressive and Contemplative Christianity, an inclusive, life affirming organization built upon the desire to know God through authentic theological education and practice. He is also the administrator of the Progressive Christians facebook page and the Progressive Christian Alliance.

Read more from this post here ...

By Randy Leer on May 14, 2013

Today America and the world as a whole are approaching a set of problems that we all will inevitably have to deal with. We have an overpowering addiction to energy and most of that energy we currently use comes with many problems. The United States has, for a long time, enjoyed some of the cheapest and most abundantly available energy. Some figures show that a typical household of three in the United States averages a consumption of 6,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per year (Silverman, 2007). Fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas and oil, make up the majority of what we rely on. In 2011, fossil fuels provided 87% of the world’s energy (“Renewable energy —," 09). Fossil fuel supplies around the world are dwindling as demand is increasing (US Senate, 2010). It is estimated that there are 10,800,000 terawatts (TW) of nonrenewable energy (nuclear and fossil fuels) left in the world today (Brenner Information Group, 01). As our fossil fuel supplies dwindle and we are forced to increasingly look overseas for further supplies, and especially as their supplies dwindle, we can expect two things to happen; costs are going to skyrocket and we are going to see dramatic increases in risks to our national security and economy (US Senate, 2010). Even worse are the major contributions to global warming. For every 1 kWh of electricity produced from fossil fuel plants, there are 1.2 to 1.4 pounds of CO2 added to the atmosphere (Brenner Information Group, 01). Just this month some very sad news hit headlines, including National Geographic:

Climate Milestone: Earth’s CO2 Level Passes 400 ppm, Greenhouse gas highest since the Pliocene, when sea levels were higher and the Earth was warmer.

America’s current reliance on oil poses significant economic and national security obstacles for us today and they are only expected to get worse (US Senate, 2010). Oil also endangers our environment through the steps that we must take in collecting it, transporting it, refining it and even in its use. Today, the Gulf Coast is still dealing with the negative impacts of the BP Oil Spill. For every mile of oil pipelines we build we escalate the likelihood of another major tragedy.

Coal is cheap and domestically available, but has many of the same environmental hazards, plus the hazards faced by the miners who mine it. There is really no such thing as “Clean Coal” and there are many unintended consequences that come with the mining of coal.

Natural gas is plentiful and cleaner than oil or coal, but it still has environmental hazards and, as its use is becoming more popular, the efforts to collect it are raising new concerns in the environmental sense. Fracking will inevitably infiltrate our drinking water with the fracking chemicals and other contaminates from the ground. There are also national security implications with natural gas and there is evidence that switching to natural gas would provide the United States with the same, if not worse, situation as we have with oil (US Senate, 2010). Iran is actually a large holder of natural gas reserves, as well as other nations with similar relationships with the United States. If we end up invading Iran, it would be interesting to see how quick we move to “secure” the areas with high natural gas concentrations. This could likely be a repeat of the Iraq quagmire.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 8, 2013

When I attended the Association of American Editorial Cartoonist convention last year in Washington D.C. I met many great cartoonists. One of the best cartoonists in the country is Gustavo Rodriquez, who is based in Florida. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1962, Rodriquez has been a cartoonist his entire life. In 2005, Gustavo entered the United States and has been a proud citizen ever since. He is a regular contributor to El Nuevo Herald newspaper, Martí Noticias and Yahoo! Noticias.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on May 4, 2013

The never ending controversy over religion continues!

In the May 4 Salina Journal, Ariel, Koehler, and Martin responded to Prachta’s scathing criticism of their freedom of thought and privilege of sharing their minds with readers.

Well —— this old farmer will share his mind on all four of them. I believe in God. My God created the world. How, when, or why is not of any great concern of mine. He created all those writers, me, you, and everyone else. He created us with a mind capable of memory and planning for the future. We are not robots. He didn’t permanently program us, but gave us free will to act on our own. Some of us want to be “Gods” and rule the world to suit our whims. Some of us want to be like Cain, as described in Genesis, and declare we are not responsible for anyone or anything. Some of us egotistically declare our selves know it alls who have the facts or truth in every situation. (You just be still and I’ll declare what is!)

I’m no theologian and I have no advanced intellectual degrees. What I do have is a lifetime of experience dealing with family, community, and the world. It is quite evident that God, or whoever created mankind didn’t use a cookie cutter and decorate us with the same color and flavor of icing. Environment and culture is ever changing and reshaping us. Some of those changes have been to the good and some have not.

What is good? Equal opportunity? Equal responsibility? Both those equalities are good, but, remember, we are not all the same color, same flavor, same size, same age, same gender, etc. Therefore, from birth to death we are subject to and dependent upon one another to sustain our finite existence. I’ll depend upon God (the one in whom I believe) to look after infinity and the hereafter.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 2, 2013

On May 1, 2013, I dropped by San Jose's City Hall after my work to attend a rally for immigration reform. The crowd was mostly Hispanic, but it also included white, Asian-American and African American individuals who are passionate about the issue. It was a very friendly and hopeful crowd, and when I asked if I could photograph individuals, they were always very happy to oblige. The speakers at the rally told the crowd that this is their time, that the recent elections in 2012 have given the Hispanic American population the political clout to pressure Congress to pass fair and meaningful immigration reform. I'll put on this blog some of the photos that I took of the event.

Read more from this post here ...

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