Local Columns

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.
Saturday Column: Congressional debates reflect lack of trust in Obama
February 14, 2015
Recent headlines tell of President Obama asking members of Congress to give him “war powers” and report the president saying the debate tying up funding proposals for Homeland Security is jeopardizing national security.
Opinion: Tax policies damage Kansas
February 11, 2015
As a faculty member who has been active in various community and statewide activities as well as teaching several thousand students during the past 20 years at Kansas University, I find myself watching what is going on in Topeka in the past few weeks with a mixture of horror and profound sadness. I moved to Kansas in 1994 because I was impressed with KU and with the state. Kansas was the state of William Allen White, where the fight against slavery was begun and where United States history was forever changed because of Brown v. Board of Education.
Your Turn: Congress needs to overlook the aisle
February 9, 2015
There were two State of the Union addresses this year: one on Jan. 20 in Congress, the other on Jan. 22 at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion on the Kansas University campus. The differences between them were telling. The president’s address in Washington began with a house divided — an aisle down the center of the chamber — Democratic members on the right side; Republicans on the left, as they sit during sessions of Congress.
Opinion: Religions must earn respect
February 2, 2015
“You cannot insult the faith of others,” said Pope Francis, after the murders of the staff of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons offensive to Muslims. If people were decent, the pope wouldn’t have to make that point. But people are irreverent and enjoy heaping scorn upon one another. Unfortunately, the surest way to invite disrespect is to demand respect. Put anything on a pedestal and some iconoclast will surely knock it down.
Saturday Column: Upcoming city elections important for Lawrence, KU
January 31, 2015
What kind of city will Lawrence be 10 or 20 years from now? Will it be a city recognized for its excellence, its sound growth, its vibrant relationship with Kansas University paying positive dividends for the community and the state, or will the city’s growth continue to be relatively stagnant, slower than its peer communities, a city unable to attract prized industrial, manufacturing and research facilities and a city known for its high cost of living?
Your Turn: Ninth St. concerns deserve attention
January 30, 2015
Over the past couple of months, there has been lots of conversation about the Lawrence Arts Center’s proposed development for East Ninth Street. At city commission, East Lawrence neighborhood meetings, in the Journal-World and on the street, people have been discussing the potential impacts and opportunities of this first-of-its-kind project in Lawrence.
Saturday Column: Polished Obama message doesn’t tell whole story
January 24, 2015
During the past four days, President Obama has made a tremendous effort to present and sell his dream for America and this country’s future.
Your turn: Jail expansion proposal spurs questions
January 23, 2015
The Douglas County Commission is considering expanding our jail.  News reports suggest $20 million to $30 million may be spent to expand the jail from 196 to 336 beds. As representatives of the NAACP-Kansas, Kansas Appleseed, and NAMI-Kansas, we are concerned about this proposal because it will have a large impact on people of color, the justice system and people with mental illnesses. In terms of both tax dollars and the effects on human lives, this is a very serious decision, and we are encouraged to see the commissioners have committed to asking tough questions before making up their minds. Here are the three biggest questions we’ve heard so far in the community: