Monday, August 27, 2012


     You may not have heard of a movement that started in the United States with seemingly good intentions.  It later inspired and set the stage from one of the worlds greatest tragedies and plunged the world into war.  This movement was able to get the support of some of histories most beloved dignitaries as well as the common man for many years.
     Ideas for this movement were rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton.  Galton studied the upper classes of Britain in the 1880's and concluded that social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.  Early proponents believed that through selective breeding the human species should direct it's own evolution.  They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of the Nordic, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon peoples.
(Wikipedia).  It supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws.  It also supported forcible sterilization of the 'poor, disabled, and immoral'.
     The American Eugenics movement received extensive support of the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortunes.  In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek Michigan.  The Eugenics Records Office was founded by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport.  As late as the 1920's the ERO was the leading organization in the American Eugenics movement.
     The ERO accumulated masses of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit cam from economically and socially poor backgrounds.  Eugenicists such as Davenport, psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and conservationist Madison Grant, (all respected in their time), began to lobby for solutions to the problem of the "unfit".  The primary methods supported in one form or another was Immigration restriction, sterilization, segregation, and some even supported extermination.  The Eugenics Records Office later became the Cold Harbor Laboratory.
     Eugenics was widely accepted by the academic community.  By 1928 there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States leading schools enrolling more than 20,000 students which included Eugenics in their curriculum.
     One of the few scientific detractor was Thomas Hunt Morgan.  Most of the detractors focused on some of the cruder methodology of Eugenics. 
     In 1906 The first organized Eugenics body was formed.  The American Breeder's Association was established under the direction of Charles B Davenport.  The ABA was formed to "investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood."
     Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford President David Starr Jordan, and Luther Burbank.
      Feminist reformers advocated an agenda of Eugenic legal reform.  The National Federation of Women's Clubs, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organizations to lobby for Eugenic reforms.
One of the prominent women leaders was Margaret Sanger.  Leader of the birth control movement.  She advocated birth control to prevent unwanted births, those born into a disadvantaged life, who would pass on mental disease or serious physical defect.  She advocated sterilization though she did reject euthanasia.

End part one.  Part two will explore how popular Eugenics becomes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


     You know I complain about the mainstream media all the time.  What they think I care about and what I should care about is just out of control.  I would love politics that dealt in truth, FROM BOTH SIDES!  I don't care if Prince Harry ran around HIS HOTEL ROOM NAKED.  I don't want to see pictures and reports on what the Queen is going to do, or how the British press reports it.
     I am suspect of a report that was held for a full year before saying that a congressman skinny dipped in the Sea of Galilee.  People have been skinny dipping for years, I don't care!  There is no Democrat running against him for re-election but they promise to put up a candidate in two more years.  I DON'T CARE!
     I think that the evening news reporting, on their own networks, shows as if it is hard hitting news.  Huntley - Brinkley must be turning in their graves.  Look, Survivor, Dancing With the Stars, America's got talent, Big Brother, is not worth wasting my time.  I don't watch them and those who have no life already know what is going on.  I DON'T CARE.
     I care about the fires burning up the west.  I care about why the government will not allow the biggest and latest technology to be deployed and then lie to us about doing everything they can.  And the houses still burn and firefighters still die.
     I care about vicious killers gunning down innocent people and then the equally crazy media starts pushing gun control.  Yet you cannot put mentally ill people into institutions.  And the vast majority of citizens who exercise their Constitutional rights are labeled as the enemy.
     I care that two girls just enjoying an evening before going back to school are buried by a coal derailment.  I care that those who don't put up a dime to help the social ills accuse the churches and religious organizations, who do, as not doing enough.
     The good stories get saved til last as if one feel good story will make all the vitriol go away.  If you are aware of history we are seeing it repeat it's self.  Seems we never learn, or those that do cannot stop those who would rather have agenda's.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


     I have very little respect for the mainstream news media because journalism has descended to the same level as politics and there they have joined to tell us how stupid we are and how smart they are.
      Watching the Olympics it was as much about the coverage and the cutesy stories, rather than the scope of the entire games.  I am thrilled that our athletes did so well and are proud they represented our country.  There were very dramatic moments and great triumphs and let downs.  Every athlete there was a cut above.  Whether they came away with medals or took their defeats with grace and composure.
      The coverage by the main networks detracted from the spirit of the competition by ignoring the sports and athletes that were in politically incorrect sports.  There was lots of coverage of the swimming and gymnastics, then the track and field.
       Every once in a while in the medal count it was mentioned that "we won a medal in shooting today".  OK, which shooting?  We have athletes in trap, skeet, pistol, rim fire, center fire, and air.  Men's and women's.
      It gets especially irritating when a great event is critiqued by the commentators for 1/10th point flaws.  Then they cannot make even an attempt to honor outstanding performances by our shooters. 
      I saw no wrestling, boxing, marshal arts, in any length if at all.  We can get coverage of badminton, wow!  Where were the human interest stories of these other athletes?  I could not, and would not, spend all my time trying to watch everything scattered out on 4 networks.  I do have a life.  But the hostility towards the events and athletes that did just as good a job competing as the others is bad journalism.
     Journalism used to be taught as an even handed presentation of the facts and about well reported stories.  Not political agendas.  Of course that was taught not really practiced.
      Maybe the editorial/news staff and corporate management should get out of the sports department's way and let them bring the Olympics to a proud nation.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


     Being a 4th generation rural Sedgwick County Kansas resident I spent most of my life there.  Until we made the move away from the madness of city sprawl and city people moving to the real rural area.  We came to our long time love, the Gypsum Hills, in Barber County and regained the sense of what living is.  Living on this hill gives a perspective that being too close to issues seem to cloud.
     The Wichita River Festival started out as the Wichita Book and Art Fair around Century II 41 years ago.  It was really an entertainment affair that people from all over the state could come to and enjoy.  At the time I was doing several festivals a year with woodcarving with my cousin who did stain glass.
      Back then the River Festival was about having a good time.  Merchants, most notably Star Lumber, donated materials to build this grand West Bank Stage in an area that was not being utilized for anything but weeds.  Then there was a grand earth moving project that put a raised ampi-theater type area for seating.  KFDI radio would promote some great country shows and other acts would provide music in a setting that we would take our blankets and coolers and enjoy the evenings.
    Then the festival got organized and incorporated and making money was the big thing.  A fence went up around the West Bank area and you could no longer bring your cooler.  You were forced to eat vendor food in food courts and buy your beer at triple prices in the beer garden.
     As the event grew and the revenues grew it became a mass of people and enjoyment went out of the picture.  Country music went to other places and the aura of a simple festival went the way of the Dodo bird.  Which is the direction we took.
     Somehow the thought of being with 250,000 of your closest friends and being held up for seemingly everything made us lose interest.  I really love the symphony and the 1812 Overture but two hours of traffic to get out of a 30 minute town was just too much.
     I know that many have good times but when they tore down the West Bank Stage it was just too much.  We listened to Martina McBride there when she was just starting out and being herded into fence like prison inmates did not make any sense.
     Some volunteers that sell the revenue producing buttons were not allowed to have one even though they would have contributed anyway.  The hot attitude of making money got in the way of a good time.
     Maybe this sounds like an old fogies fond memories of when things were better, but, if it is why are they losing money.  Maybe the new director should go get the opinions of those who quit going too town for the fun?  Most times by getting a few blunt opinions is worth more than a thousand hand wringings and going "what will we do"?
     Maybe returning to having fun is an answer.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


     How do you value your skills?  Do you expect to be paid a fair wage for the talents and services you do.  When you make a living doing what you do do you happily give your time and talent away?  How do you feel about someone else expecting you to do what you do for free and think you owe it to them, or even to the community?
     A lot of questions?  Well it should not be hard.  We are all willing to do things for others from time to time and we even feel that we are appreciated by those it benefits in many cases.  That is until someone expects it and is not even aware that you charge for the things you do to pay the bills, put food on the table, and make a life for yourself.
     So then after knowing that this expectation by others is an irritant to you do you turn around and do it to someone else?  Shoe on the other foot now.
     I once knew a man who built his business from a one tractor and blade into one of the biggest dirt construction companies in the Midwest.  And after building a business and giving back to the church and community, developed the attitude that those who do 'services' such as teach, fight fire, police, etc., should not expect a great amount of compensation but do it out of dedication to their profession.  However the man did not discount or volunteer to dig our lake out of dedication to his craft.
     So do you have a musician, entertainer, or artist in your community that you rely on to drop what they do or alter their schedule to give of their talents for free.  So you value their talent as worth nothing?
     If you give away what you do, are you valuing your time and talent as being worth nothing?
     Many talented people are very happy to help out their communities, organizations, or favorite activities and that is a good thing.  But it can be taken too far to where it is a burden to the person and what they are working for in a career.  If you value yourself you in turn should value others.  I do know people who put no value on anything beyond themselves.  Some determine that if it is not a product that is being produced it holds no value.
    Artists draw value out of the talent that has been given them and a craft that they work hard on.  Many never make it to the level of celebrity.  Even when the make that achievement those familiar, or from their home town, take them for granted.
     If you value talent, yours or others, stop and consider that offering to compensate the ones you ask for services, not only recognise you value their talent, but that you do not expect what they do.
    If you respect your worth but not another, maybe you should review your true values.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


     OK!  I am going to be the resident curmudgeon and climb on my soapbox and irritate a lot of people!  This is a subject that I have had as a burr under my saddle for years and if it applies to you tough!
     I have gone up and down with my weight over most of my life.  At one time not long ago I was to the point of being mostly an invalid.  Thank God I have fought the battle, (still fighting), and have gotten my life back.  So I have a particularly delicate subject I now want to discuss.
     BATHROOMS, RESTROOMS, WATER CLOSETS, THE FACILITIES, POWDER ROOMS, whatever you choose to call them.  And I want to address the, ARCHITECTS, PLUMBERS, BUILDERS, DESIGNERS, AND DECISION MAKERS that are responsible for them.  Ask any woman and you will get an earful about the public, and many private, facilities in this country.
     Only because of the ADA laws are many, not all, facilities actually friendly to the users of them.  And even these rules get messed up for the convenience of some builder who is to lazy to give any consideration to them.
     Miniature toilets stuck in unreasonably small rooms are a sure indication of either stinginess, unconsciousness, and/or stupidity.  Sure thing that those responsible are so skinny that they should be watched for bulimia or sadism.
     The fact that 60% of the American people are obese should have those responsible for customer and user comfort paying attention.  Anyone paying for the design and installation of the facilities should insist on the privy being built for the comfortable usage of everyone, including themselves.
     For years we have been squeezed into stalls or rooms, that you cannot turn around in.  We have doors that swing inward that is impossible to get around to set down.  Toilet paper holders have been installed so low you have to be double jointed to get at the paper.
     If you have every seen these huge plastic appliances on the wall, so low that only a 4 year old could get into, and wonder why so many are damaged?  It is because, thru desperation, many have hit, pryed, or otherwise popped them open to get to the massive rolls of narrow, sand paper to clean themselves in a civilized manor.  I don't care how much money is saved by these monstrosities it just shows that you don't care about easy usage by your customers.  How does this affect your customers attitudes?
     I feel so sorry for the truly disabled trying to have some bit of decorum while fulfilling a basic body function.  It can be maddening.
     There are some companies and builders that do good jobs and seem too care, but take a trip cross country and see the horror that awaits you in many places.
     I have also been in homes that either were built by people so cheap or skinny that you cannot even get thru the narrow doors let alone use the throne.  If you can spend thousands on a kitchen to make it user friendly can't you spend a little more on doorway widths and size of the bathrooms?
     If you have shared these frustrations I hope this will move you to be more vocal.  If this irritated you or embarrassed you, FANTASTIC!  That was the whole point of this.
     When I point out simple remedies to problems in the restrooms most will be very attentive and then ignore it when I have gone.  Maybe if you will also point out the little things that could be corrected enough of us could actually make them realize there is a problem.  SPEAK UP!
     Now here is some simple things that those of you can pay attention to who are responsible for the facilities.
1.  Toilets tall enough not to have knees near the cheeks.
2.  Toilets set out far enough to be reasonable.
3.  Doors that swing out away from the stall.
4.  Toilet paper above the bar and accessible for everyone.
5.  Grab bars that do not protrude into the minimum space for the fixture.
6.  Toilet not too tall that your feet swing.
7.  Doors wide enough for everyone to get thru.
8.  Keep it clean.  Nothing is more disgusting than a filthy facility.
9.  Do all this because you want to do what is right and show that you really care.
     As you might note I do this with much emotion and I try to not write when I am worked up.  But this has been brewing with me for years and it is time to point this out.
     There are a few companies that I would love to give an award to for their excellent facilities.  And to the others I want to just scream, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING OF!
     I hope this will inspire more women to go into design and architecture because these men that do this need to go get a real job.