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Stephan Bisaha, Madeline Fox and Brian Grimmett

Kansas Democrats Face Primary Dilemma In Governor's Race

The Kansas Democratic party hasn’t had a gubernatorial primary since 1998. The unfamiliar competition this year is forcing Democrats across the state to wrestle with their identity ahead of the Aug. 7 election. Should their nominee be a candidate who aligns strictly with the progressive ideals of the party platform, or someone with broader appeal? Do they go with experience and name recognition, or youthful exuberance?

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Isn’t passion great? Not the romantic kind of “oh, baby, I love you, I love you” passion, but the everyday sort of passion that people feel for practically every kind of imaginable thing.

Lots of good folks locally feel pretty strongly about college football. Some of them are convinced that Wichita State University made a wrong-headed move when it punted its own football program into the trash bin of history at the end of the 1986 season.

There is always a conspicuous absence of WSU on the sports pages this time of year as Kansas State and KU become the subjects of endless speculation about this season’s football teams.

The unprecedented nastiness of this season’s primary campaign seems noteworthy. Has there ever been a political atmosphere as charged with negativity as this one? Have there ever been so many candidates who’ve had so little to say about what they are actually in favor of? Okay, we did hear some platitudes about “Kansas values.” But mostly we heard negative messages telling us what they were against. They were against President Obama. They were against health care reform. They were against taxation. They were against undocumented immigrants.

Wichita Public Library

Wichita has a long and proud history as a baseball town-- from club games in the 1870s, to serving as the home of the NBC Tournament since its beginning in 1935, to the national championship success of Wichita State University. But last month marked the anniversary of a lost piece of Wichita baseball history that almost seems too strange to be true: A game in 1925 between the Wichita Monrovians-- an all African-American professional team-- and the Wichita chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

So my family went out of town for a week and Wichita had a whole lot of rain during that time. There was the usual indicator of too much moisture in Wichita yards: a mushrooming bumper crop of political yard signs.

The recent death of Tom Leahy Jr., better known as Major Astro to Kansas baby boomers, caused my mind to rocket into the past. The good major wore his astronaut jumpsuit while hosting a daily afterschool kiddie show on local TV from 1962 to 1973. Wally Gator, Touche Turtle and Felix the Cat cartoons were beamed earthward to all the little tykes watching their rabbit-eared TV sets. Many were, no doubt, clutching their membership cards to the Major Astro Club.

Had a garage sale the other day. Swore I’d never have another one 2 sales ago. But stuff just kept piling up and something had to be done. So my wife, my daughter and I spent a long 90-degree June day saying over and over, “Yes, we’ll take 50 cents instead of 75 cents for that.”

I was going to do another commentary today about British Petroleum’s oil massacre of the Gulf of Mexico. But when I sat down to write it and began thinking about the leak which is a mile below the surface of the water, my thoughts were interrupted by a BP official who burst into my brain and quickly waved me away from the scene.

“You can’t consider this at all,” he ordered. “This entire area of thought is off-limits to anyone except employees of BP. Cease all mental cogitation on this subject immediately.”

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Commentary

Curt Clonts

An Artist's Perspective: Beyond Final Friday

Before there was Final Friday in Wichita one could go out and experience art exhibit openings in local galleries at least three weekends per month. And there was time to take in the show and really enjoy the work because we weren’t fighting to get to all the exhibits before they closed. There might be an opening on Friday night and then another on Saturday night. And it meant constant openings throughout each month. It was exciting!

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KMUW Music

Album cover art

Wednesday, July 18

Science Fiction is the solo debut album from Tom Bailey, known for his work throughout the 1980s with The Thompson Twins, a band that scored Top 40 hits with songs such as “Doctor! Doctor!” “Hold Me Now” and “King For A Day.” We’ll hear selections from that release as well as music from the 1985 Thompson Twins set, Here’s To Future Days.

Thursday, July 19

Released in 1978, Real Life is the debut album from the band Magazine, led by former Buzzcocks member Howard Devoto. The record is frequently viewed as one of the first in the British postpunk movement. We’ll hear music from it as well as selections from Wire’s 1977 set Pink Flag.

Friday, July 20

Released in 1984 The Flat Earth is the sophomore release from British musician Thomas Dolby. We’ll hear selections from it as well as Mental Notes, the 1975 debut album from New Zealand’s Split Enz.

Saturday, July 21

SASSAFRASS! is the latest release from Canadian-born singer-songwriter Tami Neilson. Since relocating to New Zealand roughly a decade ago, Neilson has moved beyond her Americana roots to cover a distinct range of styles many of which can be heard on this new effort which tackles a number of important social and emotional issues in its lyrics. Listen for music from this recording plus songs from the latest by Cowboy Junkies.

Monday, July 23

Listen for selections from Jon Regen’s Stop Time LP, featuring Davey Faragher and Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello and The Imposters as well as John Hiatt’s mid-1990s release Walk On.

Tuesday, July 24

Listen for selections from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as well as music from Jethro Tull.

Wednesday, July 25

Listen for music from Sufjan Stevens’ 2003 release, Michigan as well as from Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman.

Monday 7.16.18

Night Train kicks off the week with more music from July featured artist Hank Jones, including a newly released live set from Copenhagen in 1983 and from one of several performances from the Village Vanguard with the Great Jazz Trio. Night Train also marks birthdays of Latin jazz artists Cal Tjader and Bola Sete (also featured tonight on Global Village), tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz, and drummer Bobby Previte, and features new releases from Emmet Cohen with Ron Carter, the Fred Hersch Trio and Ben Paterson.

Tuesday 7.17.18

A long list of birthdays to celebrate tonight on the Night Train, including Dave Brubeck and Marian McPartland drummer Joe Morello, tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, pianist Vince Guaraldi, guitarist Mary Osborne, singer Joanie Pallatto (with the late, great Bob Dorough, who was just named a 2019 NEA Jazz Master), baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, and singer Jimmy Scott. Plus more from July featured artist Hank Jones (with brothers Thad and Elvin) and new releases from Eliane Elias, the ‘Standards Trio’ of Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock & Jack DeJohnette, Roger Kellaway, Bill O’Connell and Freddy Cole.

Wednesday 7.18.18

Night Train continues the July Hank Jones Centennial Birthday feature with music the acclaimed pianist did with Cannonball Adderley (on the classic Somethin’ Else album) and with Abbey Lincoln. There’s also new music from Don Braden, Leslie Pintchik, the Jeff Hamilton Trio and the Kenny Barron Quintet; and a birthday salute to keyboardist Brian Auger with some of his jazz recordings in hour one and a special concert performance in hour two of the show.

Thursday 7.19.18

Night Train highlights music and musicians from around the world – including Brazil’s Antonio Adolfo and Nilson Matta, Argentina’s Diego Urcola, Cameroon’s Gino Sitson, the Gabriel Alegria’s Afro-Peruvian Sextet, and saxophonist Juli Wood from her album featuring jazz renditions of traditional music from Finland.

Monday, July 16

Global Village celebrates birthdays of ska and reggae star Desmond Dekker, salsa star Ruben Blades, Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete, and West Coast Latin jazz pioneer Cal Tjader. Plus more music for the Hot July/Cool Nordic Sounds feature with Finnish accordionist Markku Lepistö (with Samurai Accordion), and new music from the Turbans, African Scream Contest 2 with music from Benin, and reissues from the Gladiators and Buena Vista bassist Cachaito.

Tuesday, July 17

Global Village goes to Estonia for some traditional, neo-folk and classical music with roots in Estonian folk music. We’ll hear music of Arvo Pärt and Tormis performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the contemporary ensemble, Tormis Quartet from a new tribute album they did. Plus selections from Trad.Attack!, Mari Kalkun , the award-winning Estonian-Belgian group Estbel, and the Estonian-Ukranian band Svjata Vatra.

Wednesday, July 18

Global Village marks Nelson Mandela International Day – a special day of commemoration, celebration, and public service designated by the United Nations in honor of South African leader Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The show highlights music in honor of Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa that still resonate today, including works from a number of musicians from South Africa. We’ll hear selections from Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Artists United Against Apartheid, Abdullah Ibrahim, Brenda Fassie, Harry Belafonte and more.

Thursday, July 19

In conjunction with the Hot July/Cool Nordic Sounds feature, Global Village heads to Norway for a wide array of traditional, classical, jazz and world inspired music. We’ll hear pioneering world jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek and contemporary sax and goat horn world jazz player Karl Seglem; Hardanger fiddle player Annbjorn Lien; Sami artist Mari Boine; early music lute and guitar player Rolf Lislevand; contemporary classical group Trio Mediaeval; Norwegian-African ensemble Monoswezi and more.

Friday, July 20

Global Village celebrates Colombian Independence Day with a wide array of different styles of music and artists from that South American country. We’ll hear the popular folk styles of cumbia and vallenato, classical music, salsa, and contemporary Latin rock, from such artists as Carlos Vives, Aterciopelados, Joe Arroyo, Sidestepper, and more.

July 20/22

Crossroads continues the July Jump Blues feature with music from Louis Jordan, early Roomful of Blues, Kansas City’s Jay McShann, a classic from Big Maybelle, and a Jump Blues special, Jump Jive & Wail, in hour two of the show.

Plus music from blues artists with concerts in the coming week and new music from Muddy Gurdy, Deb Ryder, Marcia Ball, Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps, and more.

Courtesy photo

Willis Alan Ramsey has, to date, released one album. Issued on Shelter Records in 1972, his self-titled debut remains a high water mark in the pantheon of American singer-songwriter albums. The 11 songs that comprise the record speak volumes about the artist's maturity and breadth of musical and lyrical interests.

Noteworthy

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Kansas Resettlement Agency Working To Increase Next Year's Cap On Refugee Admissions

Under former President George W. Bush, the highest ceiling on the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. was 80,000. Under Barack Obama, it was 110,000. President Donald Trump set this year's cap at 45,000. “And based on the numbers so far, we're looking at less than half that many that we were told would be allowed into the country," says Harold Schlechtweg, the advocacy coordinator with the International Rescue Committee in Kansas.

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