Local Columns

Saturday Column: Passion aimed at sports could benefit other ‘teams’
March 28, 2015
Consider what might be accomplished if local and state residents gave as much attention and involvement to issues such as education, good government, job opportunities and the performance of those in elective office as they give to competitive high school and college sports.
Opinion: Presidential candidates must re-examine U.S. role
March 25, 2015
There was a time after the collapse of the Soviet Union when it became common to speak of the United States as the only “superpower” in the world. At that point the American economy was clearly the strongest in the world and it was believed that our military forces could handle any threats to the security of the homeland.
Your Turn: Longtime resident concerned for Kansas
March 24, 2015
I recently spent a rough night, filled with bad dreams. Everything I tried to do turned out exactly the opposite of what I had set out to achieve: Several haircuts left my hair even longer than before, and multiple attempts to park my bike near some building I apparently needed to get to were thwarted by regulations that sent me increasingly farther from my destination (“You’re using the wrong brand of lock and chain, so you’ll be fined if you park here”).
Your Turn: Battle for open government continues
March 17, 2015
March 15-21 marks the 10th anniversary of the nationally commemorated Sunshine Week during which open government proponents throughout our nation point with pride at transparency breakthroughs, but are equally alarmed about setbacks to the people’s right to know what their government is up to. A review by the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government shows the Kansas experience over the past 10 years is no different. While sunshine victories can be proclaimed in some areas of our state government — the legislative enactment of a media shield law, for example — there have been serious setbacks, including the expansion of exceptions to the state’s Open Records Act from 10 or so to 57 and counting. Meanwhile, the cost of gaining access to these “open government” records has mushroomed to the point that pressing access in many instances simply isn’t worth the effort to the citizenry.
Saturday Column: U.S. suffers loss of honesty, integrity, leadership
March 14, 2015
What is our country going to look like 25 to 50 years from now if the current attitude of “most anything goes” or “most anything is accepted” is allowed to grow and infect every facet of our society?
Opinion: Walker lauds new facility
March 11, 2015
Rock Chalk Park and Sports Pavilion Lawrence there have been in the news almost constantly for months. Many in the community have been concerned and confused by the various financial arrangements, payments, audit problems and other seeming irregularities in the construction of the project from its earliest days.
Saturday Column: Education needs stronger champions in Kansas
March 7, 2015
Actions earlier this week by the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee, which shifted funds from Kansas and Kansas State universities to other state-aided schools counter to the advice of leaders at the two universities, raise two major questions: Do the thoughts or plans of the chancellor, president, provosts and deans really mean anything or carry any weight with state legislators? Do state legislators, as a group and particularly several in leadership positions, have a sound understanding of the importance of excellence from K-12 through higher education and what it takes to achieve that excellence?
Opinion: Charity good for recipients and givers
March 3, 2015
We continue to receive good news about the economy. But one part of the story has not received the attention it deserves. That part is charitable giving.
Opinion: Economist’s analysis flawed
March 1, 2015
French economist Thomas Piketty recently accomplished something practitioners of the “dismal science” can only dream of: He became a celebrity. His tome, “Capital in the Twenty-first Century” was hailed as “a watershed in economic thinking,” “a sweeping account of rising inequality,” and a book that could “change the way we think about the past two centuries of economic thought.” The book has been catnip for fans of taxing the rich and the redistributing the proceeds to the less fortunate.
Saturday Column: How will Netanyahu’s visit affect U.S.-Israel ties?
February 28, 2015
Various knowledgeable and experienced foreign policy officials say relations between the United States and Israel are more strained and dangerous today than at any time in the past.
Your Turn: Texas judge endorses merit selection
February 27, 2015
Some members of the legislative and executive branches of Kansas government have publicly expressed their admiration for many “things Texan.” For example, they acclaim Gov. Rick Perry’s conservative leadership and praise Texas’ lack of a state income tax. Their high regard for our southerly neighbor may explain why our legislature is considering whether Kansas should switch to Texas’ system for selecting Supreme Court justices. Texas procures justices through statewide elections.
Opinion: Prof prepared to defy bill’s ban
February 25, 2015
Over the past few weeks, a number of people have asked me what I think of HB 2234, which would bar university and community college employees from using their job titles when writing letters or opinion columns for newspapers. While I doubt that the bill will actually become law, if it were to become law, my current intention is to continue to write my columns for the Journal-World and leave it up to the editors to decide whether to list my university affiliation — as they have always done. That has always been the newspaper’s decision and, so far as I am concerned, will remain their decision.
Saturday Column: Why don’t legislators see value of higher education?
February 21, 2015
Why does Kansas University have such a difficult time persuading Kansas legislators that programs identified as important or critical to the university, and ultimately to the state, deserve the level of fiscal support requested by university officials? This situation seems to be occurring with increased regularity in recent years, but it’s a problem that has faced the university for many years.
Your Turn: Tax incentives good for Lawrence
February 20, 2015
I am writing in response to Mr. Herynk’s recent letter to the editor and to reply to the recent Journal-World editorial on the use of tax abatements that are requested by developers in the city of Lawrence. I work with several active developers in Lawrence and am active in requesting incentives for various projects we work on in downtown Lawrence. I would like to make the following points in response:
Your Turn: Law will help Kansas caregivers
February 18, 2015
All of us either are, have been or will be a caregiver at some time in our lives. A recent AARP report indicates that there are over 600,000 non-paid caregivers in Kansas. These are selfless, dedicated people who are the backbone of our health care communities and they save us approximately $4.1 billion a year in health care delivery costs.