“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” Thomas Jefferson, July 12, 1816

Jefferson on Change


So, I saw this today. So much sad. First, we get a film set in Kansas, but of course, it’s about a satanic, mass-murdering cult. So there’s that. But more than that, despite how easily it could have been managed, they filmed the damn thing in LOUISIANA. I know that’s not an uncommon thing for Hollywood, but seriously, how hard is it for our economic development groups to reach out to these people and get their money here? Kansas isn’t exactly an expensive place to operate, all you’d have to do is TRY.


Because I know people will say it, “doing jackshit” doesn’t necessarily mean taking away people’s guns, or anything like that. “Doing jackshit” could mean admitting we don’t care about being better people, that we don’t work hard enough at teaching our children values and morals, that we simply don’t care enough. We don’t identify mental illness well enough, we don’t spend enough time on the good, and focus too hollowly on the bad. We don’t take bad events as opportunities to create good. We just use them to bring eyeballs to the TV and say “see how bad it is out there.” That’s not fucking good enough.

Culture, Issues, Kansas

At that event Banda’s son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police. State seizes 11-year-old, arrests his mother after he defends medical marijuana during a school presentation; The Washington Post

The lesson? Don’t challenge authority, stay in line, do what you’re told. Never question what you’re told. Otherwise, the school can have your kid taken away. Doctors can basically prescribe and treat patients with everything from basically heroin, to cocaine, and amphetamines. But don’t you dare consider therapeutic applications for marijuana.


Ten Commandments of Rational Debate



Ten Commandments of Rational Debate

Culture, Kansas

In an annual survey measuring “well-being,” Kansas has gone from 17th (2012), to 20th (2013), and last year jumped down over 20% to 32nd.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a unique view of societies’ progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations. New State Rankings Reveal Top 10 Highest and Lowest Well-Being States, Gallup-Healthways

Culture, Politics

Just a thought for the day. I think there’s always room for healthy discussions on topics like evolution, or climate change, etc. Areas where there’s at least some disagreement about aspects, even when it’s from outliers or fringe research. That is what science is all about, after all. Asking and answering questions through evaluation, testing, and reporting. But one of the big problems is how intertwined politics has become with science, especially with regard for willful ignorance of the process, outright disbelief of results, and attempts to legislate (or coerce) scientific position.

Science has a lot in common with religion, as far as it comes to its involvement in social order. In the same way that religion and politics don’t mix, neither do science and politics. Science needs to go where the questions take it, and be answered and refined through a process that has literally worked for thousands of years. Legislators only job with regard to science, is to promote it. This is a directive specifically stated in the Constitution, as a matter of fact.

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8; The Constitution of the United States of America

This clause outlines a specific action to be taken by Congress under the issue of General Welfare. The reason for that action is also clear though, that we, as a society, have an obligation to promote science and the process, no matter where those answers may take us. Science will be wrong occasionally, no doubt, but the process it goes through is well suited to allow and correct for that over time. Politicians would do well to remember this, and we would do well to remind them.

Politics and Science

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Culture, Kansas, Politics

Taste the Rainbow

I try to be fair. I try to be balanced. I want to be these things. I will make an effort here. That said, sometimes you just have to call out bullshit like you see it, and point it out as the hypocrisy that it is. To this end, I bring you our lord and savior governor, Mr. Sam Brownback. Mr. Brownback, I do not like you. I think you are a shitty leader. I do not hide this, and I am far from ashamed of it. (What I’m getting at here is that this article is going to be pretty ranty, so fair warning.)

To that end, most folks who care are now aware that Mr. Brownback recently revoked an executive order that afforded anti-discriminatory rights to the LGBT community in Kansas, among other groups (it’s hard to miss, since it’s made it from state media, to the LA Times, CNN, and more). Let’s look at it from his end, though. The rationale used is one that doesn’t have great counterpoint, which you would think is a good thing. First, there’s the idea that we shouldn’t be carving out special interest groups when it comes to rights and privileges. This is certainly fair enough. I make this point when talking about “hate crimes.” Assault is already assault, for instance. Let the judge consider motivation when sentencing, the law itself doesn’t need to treat one different from another. But anyway, the point isn’t without merit and is pretty easy to defend on its own. Continue reading