Author

Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone has written columns and edited reporting for newsrooms in Kansas, New Hampshire, Florida and Pennsylvania. He has also fact checked politicians, researched for Larry the Cable Guy, and appeared in PolitiFact, Mental Floss, cnn.com and a host of other publications. Most recently, Clay spent nearly four years at the nonprofit Kansas Action for Children as communications director. Beyond the written word, he has drawn cartoons, hosted podcasts, designed graphics, and moderated debates. Clay graduated from the University of Kansas and lives in Lawrence with his husband and son.

OPINION

Koch network lurks behind school mask battles, despite soothing new tone at the top

By: - October 7, 2021

Beware old villains who claim to have turned over a new leaf. Few forces in modern politics have been more villainous than the Wichita-based Koch network, a vast web of right-wing organizations battling environmental progress and eroding American democracy. Just last year, Koch donated $708,500 to candidates who objected to Joe Biden’s presidential win, fueling […]

OPINION

This Kansas senator wants to stifle talk of systemic racism — never mind the research

By: - October 5, 2021

The exchange was tense and confusing, taking up several perplexing minutes during a Sept. 22 hearing. Sen. Richard Hilderbrand, chairman of the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight, heard something he didn’t like during the day’s testimony, which focused on maternal health. “That terminology of racism is being thrown around […]

OPINION

Get a booster shot now, if you qualify. Politics have made Kansas a high-risk area.

By: - September 29, 2021

I’m not a medical professional. But I do follow Kansas politics. That experience has convinced me that anyone who qualifies for a COVID-19 booster shot in our state should get one right away, for your personal safety and the sake of your family and friends. The pandemic has scrambled leaders’ minds in Kansas. They’re working […]

OPINION

At anti-vax medicine show, plenty of hokum, grift and conspiracy mongering

By: - September 28, 2021

The same day that US. deaths from COVID-19 passed the toll of the Spanish flu pandemic, a modern-day medicine show rolled into Lenexa. Like the entertainments of old, this medicine show boasted cure-alls, rousing oratory, and shameless self promotion. Unlike those showcases, it didn’t sell high-octane patent medicine to get you drunk or high. Speakers […]

OPINION

‘Mission critical’: Four numbers show why abortion rights in Kansas face an urgent test

By: - September 22, 2021

This is not a drill. Extremist anti-abortion forces have victory in their sights, and women across the nation have good reason to fear the imminent end of Roe v. Wade. This reality could soon come to Kansas. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month refused to stop an unprecedented Texas law that effectively bans all […]

OPINION

Afghan refugees head to Kansas, but lawmakers choose scaremongering over hospitality

By: - September 17, 2021

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner want you to know they’re deeply concerned about the nearly 500 Afghan refugees who might be headed to Kansas. They want you to be too, which is why they’re dropping scary sounding words. Terrorism. Taliban. Biden. MEASLES. The lawmakers had made much of the rushed U.S. […]

OPINION

Progressives beware: Don’t let values become casualties of the pandemic

By: - September 16, 2021

The transition from summer to fall has been a challenging one for those of us with a progressive bent. Many of us feel fed up with the pace of our battle against COVID-19. Many of us blame those who refuse to get vaccinated or take basic safety precautions. You could watch the frustration seep through […]

OPINION

Kansas attorney general should stop playing footsie with fascism

By: - September 14, 2021

Let’s talk about Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt for a moment. He’s tall. He’s folksy. He has a decent chance of becoming the next governor of Kansas. And he has a distressing history of playing footsie with fascism, catering to the worst impulses of his party. Sure, the A.G. is the state’s “chief legal officer […]

OPINION

Senate president tried to create his own death panel while raging against hospital mandates

By: - September 9, 2021

A decade ago, right-wing politicians lied about “death panels” during debate on the Affordable Care Act. National health care was supposed to lead to draconian choices, with patients paying the ultimate price. On Wednesday, Senate President Ty Masterson tried to turn the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Taskforce into his own kind of death panel, […]

OPINION

As virus spirals across Kansas, robust testing matters — and might even provide a nudge

By: - September 7, 2021

Remember COVID-19 testing? Back in the early months of the pandemic, it was kind of a big deal. Dollars were poured into creating testing sites, news outlets tracked the amount of testing in communities, and we all lined up in our cars for nasal swabs. Ah, nostalgia. We could agree on testing. Everyone wanted to […]

OPINION

Disinformation caucus of Kansas GOP spreads dangerous falsehoods about COVID

By: - August 31, 2021

Elected officials owe their constituents more than representation. They owe them the truth. That’s proven to be a challenge in the age of COVID-19, with reactions to a public health crisis polarized along partisan lines. One party has largely followed medical experts and their advice, while the other has created a disinformation caucus, putting Kansans’ […]

OPINION

In Afghanistan’s fall, ‘reliving the disaster’ for Kansas veterans and families

By: - August 25, 2021

As Afghanistan fell into the clutches of the Taliban last week, Kansans were confused and saddened. But those reactions couldn’t compare to the emotions that washed over local veterans of the conflict and their families — including Danny Sjursen and Melissa Jarboe. Their stories are different. Sjursen is a veteran who served in Afghanistan from […]