Local Columns

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:
Opinion: Market attack focuses on anti-Semitism
January 21, 2015
The Paris terrorist attacks have horrified the civilized world. The deaths of artists and journalists have rightfully captured the attention of most people throughout the West. But the attacks were not only against the employees of Charlie Hebdo, they were also against innocent Parisians in a food market who had nothing at all to do with the publication of the images the terrorists found offensive. The shoppers had committed a different offense: They were Jewish.
Saturday Column: ‘70s KU course on terrorism was ahead of its time
January 17, 2015
Radical terrorism is the topic of the day throughout the world. Some knowledgeable observers say deadly terrorism is likely to continue to be a danger for 20 to 30 years. Headlines tell of horrific beheadings, mass murders, the slaughter of thousands and a growing number of terrorist cells throughout the world and in the United States. One report claims there is a terrorist cell in nearby Overland Park.
Your Turn: Pedestrian group seeks to make city safer
January 14, 2015
As a 16-year-old, in Lawrence, my bike and running shoes were my initial forms of transportation. After several close calls, I got a driver’s license. My safety concerns were not unfounded. My childhood neighbors lost their 8-year-old son after he was hit and killed, at Eighth and Kasold, while walking home from school. That intersection has had stop signs in his honor for 30 years.
Your Turn: K-12 science standards key to Kansas success
January 12, 2015
Astrophysicist and well-known science advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson once said that “science literacy is the artery through which the solutions of tomorrow’s problems flow.” From the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer (the main source of water in the western third of our state) to maximizing Kansas’ renewable energy potential, our state has a long list of complex challenges and opportunities to address over the coming years. And this will require a combination of well prepared engineers and scientists working with policy makers, government officials and citizens with a grasp of science and engineering.
Saturday Column: Well-qualified commissioners are vital to Lawrence
January 10, 2015
Serving as a Lawrence city commissioner is a serious and important job. Those elected to one of the five commission seats play a critical role in the growth and development of the city — or they can be a severe detriment or handicap to the city and to Kansas University.
Opinion: Legislation should reflect reality
January 7, 2015
With the opening of this year’s legislature session just a week away I have been thinking about what I hope will happen. In doing this thinking I have tried to be realistic recognizing that both the House and the Senate are overwhelmingly Republican and conservative and unlikely to violate their ideological premises. Thus, I think that it is fruitless to hope for increased funding for K-12 education or higher education let alone increases for social services for Kansas’ poor and needy.
Opinion: Kochs to blame? In your dreams
January 3, 2015
I had a bad dream: The Koch brothers stole Christmas. They didn’t do it out of their legendary greed. They did it for the sheer joy of breaking the hearts of millions of innocent children. Christmas Eve was a nightmare for the little ones. Instead of Santa’s “Ho, ho, ho,” children awoke to the bone-chilling “Heh, heh, hehs” of the Koch Brothers, snickering as they sped about in their holly-festooned Lamborghini, plundering and pillaging the planet, terrifying young and old with their hideous laughter.