Local Columns

Opinion: Young people stepping up politically

“Come Gather ‘Round Children …” Despite the great success of female candidates across the country this year, 2018 may become, even more, the political year of youth. This rosy possibility confronts the hard historical reality of low interest, low voting turnout and general cynicism ...

Opinion: New thinking on suicide prevention

Nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year — an increase of nearly 25 percent since 1999. No wonder the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it a public health crisis. The problem is even worse in Kansas: up 45 percent in the same time frame. The issue is in today’s ...

Opinion: Why Kansas teachers didn’t strike

As state legislators grappled with a new Kansas school-funding plan this spring, in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and recently North Carolina, strikes, walkouts and statewide teacher rallies closed schools. The demonstrations protested low salaries for teachers and ...

Opinion: Going out with good impressions

This is it. The end. I’m not going to be around anymore to nag you about low birth rates, shrinking populations out west, and the inevitability of change and its costs and responsibilities. No more scoffing at ridiculous claims about the sanctity of free enterprise without government ...

Opinion: Is higher education worth the cost?

It’s the end of spring, the beginning of summer, which means college graduation for millions of Americans. During the 2017-2018 school year, almost 5,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education will award just under 4 million degrees: a million associate degrees, 1.9 million ...

Opinion: Legislators, beware of ‘windfall politics’

Kansans should thank those courageous state representatives, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, who in the last hour of the last day of the recent legislative session withstood the tempting siren song of “return the windfall.” Even so, every candidate seeking state office this year ...

Opinion: A modest proposal for our Legislature

Legislatures are unpopular. Most voters think that legislators do little more than bicker, bicker, bicker. Major problems often go ignored, and back-room deals predominate. There is some truth to this depressing stereotype, yet most lawmakers try to do what’s best, despite their ...

Opinion: Kansas GOP is busy punching holes

Like moths, miners and marksmen, our Republican Legislature has been busy making holes this session. Voters should be paying attention.One hole cost about $200,000 to buy a tool that legislators could use to bury the idea that spending more money was necessary for public K-12 education. Instead ...

Opinion: Windfalls, gambling and marijuana

Raising revenue is tough, especially in red states.Kansas tax receipts nose-dived between 2013 and 2016, placing great pressures on public services. The 2017 income tax revisions have staunched the bleeding, and revenues have consistently exceeded estimates since July, to the tune of $275 ...

Opinion: Let’s not forget: Words have meaning

Remember “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” It isn’t so.Words, the stock in trade of politics and public policy, express value with as much volatility and meaning as any commodity, stock or bond. Words can be used subtly in ways that let us find meanings ...

Opinion: Trying to decipher the ‘mark of the beast’

Three recent articles brought Frankenstein and Revelation to mind. Not the crazy monster movie stuff but the Romantic Mary Shelley 1818 novel about the tragedy that comes from playing God, and the fiery end the Bible prophesies for those who turn away from God. Of course, modern medicine has ...

Opinion: The hollow state: Brownback’s legacy

News item: J.D. Powers survey ranks Kansas Medicaid recipients’ satisfaction level as dead last among 50 states.As Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback packs his bags, assessments of his tenure largely address his income tax cuts and their disastrous results. Fair enough. But Brownback leaves another ...

Opinion: ‘Voter fraud’ crusade terribly flawed

I know all about common names. I have heard all the jokes, as had my father, a unique and remarkable man named Bob Smith. Unfortunately, common names like ours are just one of many problems that will face Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his new role as co-chair of President Trump’s ...

Opinion: In Trumpland, belief equals truth

That we want it to be so does not make it so. Truth is not so friendly. But that’s a big problem today. We have “filter-bubble” chat rooms, echo chamber television networks, algorithms that anticipate the images we want, and politicians ever so willing to pander to our philosophical ...

Opinion: Kansas’ old tall tale takes new form

The recently overturned Kansas tax experiment was sold to Kansans with a tall tale: “Big income tax cuts bring economic prosperity without any pain.” Eventually most Kansans realized the story was false, and their legislators ended the experiment with a bipartisan veto override. Then, ...

Opinion: Deep down we know: Health care is a right

At this moment, two events crowd my consciousness, requiring some comment. First, Donald Trump Jr.’s dalliance with a Russian lawyer in hopes of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. Second, the Trumpcare bill pending in the Senate.An email chain unabashedly reveals the Russian government’s ...

Opinion: Some impressions from university leaders

… And the beat goes on.In a survey of 10 four-year college and university presidents from across America, all but one is certain that new students for 2017-18 will have a lot of things up their sleeves.The one who expressed uncertainty is a first-year president and admitted to being naive. ...

Drawing Attention: Kobach already has a plan to create jobs

Drawing Attention is a regular feature of the Journal-World that highlights the editorial cartoons of Lawrence resident Greg Kearney.Kearney served as the editorial cartoonist for the Casper Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyo. for more than two decades before moving to Lawrence. Kearney's cartoons ...

Drawing Attention: Kobach not exactly a credit to Kansas

Drawing Attention is a regular feature of the Journal-World that highlights the editorial cartoons of Lawrence resident Greg Kearney.Kearney served as the editorial cartoonist for the Casper Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyo. for more than two decades before moving to Lawrence. Kearney's cartoons ...

Opinion: Moran’s legacy staring him in the face

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,And the choice goes by forever ...