Daily Archives: March 30, 2007

Deja vu on Iran hostage crisis

For those who remember the Iran hostage crisis during the Carter administration, the current standoff over 15 captured British sailors is bringing back familiar sights and feelings: Westerners paraded before cameras, threats of show trials, demands for apologies, etc.
The staged TV "confessions" and other stunts are a clear violation of prisoner treatment under the Geneva Conventions.
The situation is turning into a major test of wills that some fear could erupt in military conflict if either side miscalculates or makes a mistake.
Let’s hope this can be defused diplomatically.
But this incident once again underscores Iran’s cynicism and contempt for international norms, and illustrates why pursuing diplomacy with Iran isn’t an easy or certain course.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Barnett lost bet on gambling

State Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, an opponent of expanded gaming, rolled the dice Wednesday in requesting that the Senate vote on approving the House gambling bill. He was betting that supporters didn’t have the 21 votes needed. Turns out they did, so now the bill is headed for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ signature.
"I never really thought I’d be making the motion to concur for our state to expand gambling to the extent we’re about to step into," he told the Topeka Capital-Journal. "That’s life. That’s one of those risks we all take."
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Open thread

Nonpartisan election is supposed to be nonpartisan

The upcoming elections are nonpartisan. Yet the Sedgwick County Republican Party sent out a mailing this week urging citizens to “vote Republican April 3rd.” It listed the GOP candidates for Wichita mayor, Wichita City Council and Wichita school board. In the District 5 City Council race, it said that both candidates are Republicans and encouraged voters “to support the candidate of your choice.” Gee, thanks.
Don Younglund is one Wichitan who received the mailing and didn’t appreciate the injection of partisan politics into city and school elections. “I am totally livid,” he said.
With good reason.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

No more House-ordered prosecutions

If the appalling legislative effort to force Attorney General Paul Morrison (in photo) to prosecute abortion doctor George Tiller really is over, that’s a victory for the separation of powers and the rule of law. Some say the mandate fell victim to a procedural problem; others say it was only for show, timed to Tuesday’s anti-abortion rally at the Capitol. In any case, Morrison can now do his job as he sees fit, which is what voters overwhelmingly elected him to do. Lawmakers, if they were serious about doing their jobs, would repeal the 1879 provision allowing the House to direct the attorney general to proceed with a prosecution.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Being a ‘loyal Bushie’ was part of the job

The much-anticipated Senate testimony by Kyle Sampson (in photo) hardly brought clarity to the U.S. attorney firings — beyond underscoring how terrible Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, his staffers and the White House have been at keeping their stories straight. One statement by Sampson, Gonzales’ former chief of staff and the man who used the term “loyal Bushies” in a key e-mail, said a lot about the whole mess, though: “The distinction between ‘political’ and ‘performance-related’ reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

National Geographic captures Kansas’ beauty

Kansas photojournalist Jim Richardson has a glorious 22-page spread in the April issue of National Geographic magazine. Richardson’s photos illustrate an article detailing the exquisite beauty of the Kansas Flint Hills.
Having grown up on a farm near Belleville, Richardson knows that Kansans tend to suffer from an inferiority complex. He was determined that the photos of the Flint Hills would rival those of any other American landscape — whether it be the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains. He succeeded.
Posted by Patrice Hein

Obama has caught up to Clinton

A recent Harris Poll indicated that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has caught up to Hillary Clinton. The poll of 2,776 U.S. adults surveyed between March 1 and March 12 showed that 41 percent of them would consider voting for Obama — the same percentage who said they would consider voting for Clinton. In February, Clinton led 45 percent to 37 percent.
Posted by Ross Stewart

What do you mean, no ‘Law and Order’ reruns?

Actor-turned-U.S. senator-turned-actor again Fred Thompson is thinking about running for president. But if he does, say goodbye to some “Law and Order” reruns.
Election law requires that TV stations give candidates equal airtime. And that likely would mean networks wouldn’t rerun episodes of the crime show, in which Thompson portrays District Attorney Arthur Branch, the Washington Post reported.
Thompson may run as a law and order candidate, but “Law and Order” will run only if he isn’t a candidate.
Dun, dun.
Posted by Patrice Hein