Local Columns

Saturday Column: Concern about park’s finances continues to simmer
December 12, 2014
It’s unfortunate that public concern or mistrust relative to Rock Chalk Park continues to simmer. The idea of a large, multipurpose recreation center and park was good. It would be an asset for the community if the millions of dollars could be found to build the facility and if such a project did not delay other badly needed city facilities.
Opinion: College not just about earning power
December 10, 2014
The other morning I was having coffee downtown after my usual early walk and happened to sit down next to two men who were discussing the present state of college education in the U.S. One fellow said that he had read that 70 percent of college graduates have made a bad investment decision, that had they invested the cost of their college degrees in the stock market or other reasonable investment vehicle, they would have been far better off over the long term. I listened quietly since I am not in the habit of intruding into other people’s conversations, but I couldn’t help thinking that they really didn’t understand what a college education is all about.
Your Turn: KU lecturer shares academic freedom view
December 9, 2014
For more than 25 years, I have dedicated myself to teaching economics and generating original economic research focused on public policy issues. Like all scholars nationwide, I have operated under the bedrock principle of academic freedom.
Your Turn: Diversity benefits higher education
December 8, 2014
When I first told people I was giving up a successful career in investment to teach at my alma mater, most scratched their heads. I understood their confusion. But while it can be hard to see what these two worlds have in common, for me it’s simple: They’re both markets. At my company, Jayhawk Capital Management, I worked in financial markets; at the University of Kansas, I entered the marketplace of ideas.
Opinion: Verbal offense hard to avoid
December 7, 2014
Trigger Warning: This column may contain material offensive to persons of precious sensitivities. Correction: It will probably offend even the most churlish, boorish, ill-bred lout. How could it be otherwise? You can’t open your mouth today without uttering some word that will cause pain and discomfort to someone else.
Your Turn: Inequity threatens U.S. society
December 5, 2014
As the events in Ferguson and across the nation unfold we continue to “dig” ourselves into racially loaded and socio-economically delineated trenches. It is as if we live in parallel universes where multiple narratives define our factual frames of references. As a nation, it seems to me, we can only agree that the tragic death of Michael Brown is exactly that: a tragic loss of a young life. Everything else about this tragedy is politicized and seen as an excuse for fictitious projections of blame in the oversimplified dichotomy of “us” and “them.”
Saturday Column: Leadership is key to building university excellence
December 5, 2014
Who has the primary responsibility, or opportunity, to determine the excellence of a state-aided university? This is a timely and relevant question because the competition for leadership in higher education is becoming more intense year after year, and openings in top positions at all state universities are sure to occur in the next several years. Excellence attracts excellence in faculty, students, research dollars and private giving. Excellence in higher education pays dividends for the state in many ways such as attracting top industry and research firms, generating tax revenue from such companies and improving the quality of life for Kansans.
Your Turn: State official outlines mental health plans
December 3, 2014
I am writing in response to your Nov. 24 editorial regarding mental health care in Kansas to provide your readers with some additional information.
Saturday Column: Is America changing for the better or the worse?
November 29, 2014
During the days leading up to Thanksgiving, individuals are encouraged to reflect on and appreciate all the reasons they have to be thankful. This should be a year-round interest, but just as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers have been put away, the focus suddenly shifts to Christmas with more attention focused on finding the right presents for family members and friends rather than on the meaning of Christmas and the manner in which individuals should try to live their lives.
Your Turn: Sentencing among top issues
November 27, 2014
In an address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently, Bill Clinton predicted that prison sentencing would be a major issue in the next presidential election.
Opinion: Give thanks by helping others
November 26, 2014
Like most Americans, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. It is a holiday in which we have a chance to be thankful for the blessings of the past year and to celebrate family and friends, not to mention having a good dinner and watching Thanksgiving Day parades on television. But that is not the day every American will have.
Your Turn: Life lessons gained at local store
November 24, 2014
Chad Lawhorn’s wonderful Journal-World article regarding the long and distinguished history of Francis Sporting Goods was sent to me by my 91-year-old father, who still lives in Lawrence.
Your Turn: Disparate jail fees are unfair
November 22, 2014
You’ve got two friends. They went to two different parties. Both of your friends had too much to drink. Both of them drove home. Both of them got stopped for driving drunk. Both were charged with DUI and found guilty. Both already had a previous DUI conviction. So both went to the Douglas County jail for five days, followed by probation. The friend who was tried in Lawrence Municipal Court? He has to pay $71 a day for jail costs. That’s $355. And the friend who was tried in Douglas County District Court? He has no jail costs. That’s because Douglas County Jail was built and paid for by Douglas County, and the city of Lawrence has to reimburse Douglas County for every day every prisoner convicted in municipal court spends in jail. Rather than write this expense into the city budget, the city expects the folks in jail to pay it.
Saturday Column: Brownback must acknowledge error, alter course
November 21, 2014
The headlines tell the story: “Kansas Budget Report: $715 M gap through ‘16” The sub headline, “$279 million in cuts must come out of current year budget.” Kansas and its citizens are facing serious fiscal consequences, and, at the same time, Gov. Sam Brownback has a unique opportunity to display leadership, courage and a deep, genuine concern for the welfare of Kansas.
Your Turn: Thinking is just too painful, study reminds us
November 20, 2014
A recent study found that people do not like spending time alone just thinking. In fact, as reported by Newsmax, experiments by researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard determined that “people would rather inflict pain on themselves than spend 15 minutes in a room with nothing to do but think.”