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

Widespread hunger in southeast Kansas illuminates need for decisive action

By: - November 8, 2021

Kansas is an agricultural powerhouse, producing 64% of the nation’s sorghum and 23% of its winter wheat. We’re ranked third in cattle production and beef processing, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture. So why are this state’s residents going hungry? According to the nonprofit advocacy group Kansas Appleseed, one in six residents of southeast […]

OPINION

Following anti-CRT wins, expect dangerous hogwash in 2022 Kansas elections

By: - November 4, 2021

Here’s my election forecast for next year: More hate and nonsense. Usually I wouldn’t feel quite so bold in making such a prediction, but the Republican Study Committee, a batch of conservative U.S. House members, put out a remarkable memo the evening of Election Day that shows where we’re headed. Chairman Jim Banks, R-Indiana, outlines […]

OPINION

Kansas Legislature throws two-day anti-vax rager, extremists welcome

By: - November 2, 2021

On Friday and Saturday, as an average of one Kansan per hour died from COVID-19, the Kansas Legislature threw open the doors of the Old Supreme Court Room for a delusional frat party of anti-vaccine rhetoric. Like the best keggers, the hearing held by the Special Committee on Government Overreach and Impact of COVID-19 Mandates […]

OPINION

This Kansas community holds itself accountable for racial terrorism, despite national furor

By: - October 28, 2021

For one Sunday afternoon, Salina, Kansas, was more courageous than the rest of the United States. The country was seething with anger over the false threat of Critical Race Theory and teaching America’s troubled past in schools, all while grappling with violent policing and dog whistle politics. Rage erupted in school board meetings and throughout […]

OPINION

The Klan’s racist legacy taints Seaman schools. Students have set an example for us to follow.

By: - October 26, 2021

A quick piece of advice to those in the Seaman School District: Supporting a known Ku Klux Klan leader isn’t a good look. And attacking students who want to change their district and school name to something less racist? That’s downright vile. Fred Seaman, who founded Seaman High School and was its principal from 1920 […]

OPINION

In two historic Kansas graveyards, the scariest of frights and the deepest of emotions

By: - October 21, 2021

Scouting through the winding paths of Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, I found a small patch of green dotted with children’s graves. It’s on a high point of the rolling tract, which is covered with trees and a dizzying array of markers from the 1860s to the present. Among the stones was a pile of […]

OPINION

As Trump prepares to run again, Kansas Republicans should purge their party of authoritarian threat

By: - October 18, 2021

Allow me to make some predictions: Donald Trump will run for president in 2024. Donald Trump will earn the Republican nomination for president in 2024. If Donald Trump loses the popular vote, as he might, he will claim the contest was rigged and demand that state officials do whatever it takes to overturn the results. […]

OPINION

At memorial for Lawrence lynching victims, a crowd faces history head-on

By: - October 12, 2021

On that Saturday morning by the Kansas River, as soil was scooped into glass jars and carnations placed on top of each, a spirit moved among the crowd. They had gathered there, near Lawrence City Hall, to commemorate the victims of a lynching nearly 140 years ago. Perhaps it was the singing of “Amazing Grace” […]

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 […]