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Opponents of drug testing for welfare benefits see it as hassling the poor; Brownback says it will help

People who remain willfully ignorant as they dance a jig toward their own demise are the biggest kind of stupid. What's happening in Kansas will affect us all for generations. It's time we stopped sacrificing the truth for the sake of being nice or a fear of offending. Whether we are talking about solving social problems through the erosion of public assistance, the creation of a new artistocracy by means of the most regressive tax code in the country, trying to make Kansas attractive for business and its workers globally competitive by destroying the academic integrity and funding of public education, or the rapid depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer to farm crops we don't need while denying climate change, these people are taking us over the cliff with them. They are doing it in the name of a militant, pro-business Christianity in which all whims and ideological impulses are justified in the name of the Lord. They choose to blame poor people without ever stopping to ask why public assistance often pays more than having a full time job in the first place. If the people of Kansas want to return to the Dark Ages they can certainly skip freely into feudalism, but none of us should be expected to assign an ounce of intelligence to such a choice--especially when they abhor the very intelligence that seeks to study and understand these problems. And that's exactly what it is: a choice. A person who chooses to shoot himself in the face after refusing to acknowledge the threat of a loaded chamber as he stares down the barrel amid the whaling objections of a gun safety expert carries with him, in my opinion, the more than justifiable label of "stupid." One must either stop him by force, or give him the widest of berths out of simple self-preservation.

April 23, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opponents of drug testing for welfare benefits see it as hassling the poor; Brownback says it will help

Yes, people abuse the system. It is naive in the extreme to believe that the poor are the only one who might take advantage of that system though. I wonder how many people would have tested positive for cocaine at Goldman Sachs and the rest of their bailed out, banking bretheren? This might be a less unjust law if every child who eats a school lunch, every veteran on disability, every granparent on Medicare, every hadicapped person on Social Security, every business and corporation receiving a tax break, every farmer with a subsidy, every employee of local, state, and federal government, and every politician with public benefits were also tested. Nope. Only the poor.

The argument that those who abuse the system give honest brokers of that system a bad name is a farce because this has nothing to do with ending drug abuse. The poor have always been singled out. Increasing poverty and insecurity in life have never resulted in a drop of substance abuse and more stable lives. Quite the opposite in fact. This has to do with ending public assistance programs and even if every recipient tests negative, they will still be demonized for something else by the elite, God-fearing citizens of Brownbackistan. Having children perhaps. Or maybe eating meat paid for by public dollars, because poor people should be only ever eat canned goods. The good Jesus-quoting people of Kansas love to gargle this kind of propaganda. Makes them feel better than someone else I guess. After all, there is no cry for fairness in the new Kansas tax code that Republicans recently rammed through. You know, the one where business owners and "professionals" pay no income tax while their secretaries and janitors do? Nope. No cry of foul against a professional class that profits from the net sum of our public investments without having to contribute a dime of their income to keep it going. I don't see business owners teaching their employees to count and read and I don't see them building their own roads, laying their own pipes or hauling their own trash. Only the poor get trampled on and accused of cheating the system.

I'm afraid all this will do is increase our problems. Throwing hungry people and addicts off of public assistance will likely only drive more people to commit crime in order to get by, and all that money we think we're saving from public assistance will seem like a pittance compared to the fiscal and social costs of the higher incarceration rates we're going to see. And if we're lucky, that will be the worst of it. No one broke into my home last night to steal food and I didn't hear gunshots in my neighborhood. But I do wonder how long that will last if we keep pushing people into impossible situations.

Way to go Kansas. You're brilliant.

April 23, 2013 at 8:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU basketball notebook: Frankamp on fire; latest on Rio Adams

Self has a tough decision to make. Our program is more than a stepping stone for kids who want their shot. It's about history, pride, and loyalty and I guess a kid like Rio wasn't around to witness the reaction Roy Williams received for leaving. We don't lightly forgive those who turn on us or represent the program poorly. If Rio is serious and has honestly learned something, letting him back in might make him one of the most loyal members down the road. Second chances can do that. Self has pretty good judgement when it comes to these kinds of things. I'll support whatever he decides. If Rio stays though, his burden of proof just got steeper.

April 7, 2013 at 1:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU freshman Ben McLemore earns All-America honors

All of you deserve it!

April 1, 2013 at 7:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How did you handle the KU men’s basketball loss last night?

I echo the comments on KU games becoming pay television only. Even the internet streams are becoming locked down. It suggests that the ncaa, big 12 and the rest of college basketball are in bed with internet providers and cable networks to squeeze all they can out of us. These teams and players receive a lot of direct and indirect support from state and local tax dollars. They should be available to the masses, not turning into boutique entertainment for those who can afford the cost of cable, internet subscriptions or high dollar tickets. If it were made affordable, I would gladly subscribe directly to KU athletics for internet streams of the games. The key word being "affordable" though. ESPN requires an expensive cable subscription, as does the ncaa to watch the games on their app. CBS requires a costly monthly subscription or pay per view (about $20 for one game I believe). And each of them still requires us to endure advertising. It's no secret that cable subscriptions are declining in the age of the internet and that networks and cable companies are scrambling to remain relevant. It's ruining college basketball in my opinion and degrades my respect for revered tax payer funded and supported institutions that should be standing up for their constituent fans rather than letting cable providers and networks determine who can and can't watch our games.

March 31, 2013 at 10:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

What street in Lawrence do you think needs the most road work?

They need to fix the roads right the first time in a way that will last decades instead of ripping them up every year for job security. I'd rather spend the money that way. There are plenty of other types of infrastructure we could use than low quality roads every year. How about new sidewalks that are wide enough to accomodate both pedestrian and bicycle traffic like they have in Germany (which are two lanes wide). Our sidewalks are atrocious in places but no one fixes them because our money goes to cheap road repairs year after year. Plus, this town is simply unsafe to ride bicycles in. They cause more congestion and risky irritable driving habits. And honestly, unless they're widening it to add a turning lane (sorely needed on Iowa), I saw nothing wrong with Iowa street. I thought it was really odd that they ripped it up to redo it like that when so many other roads clearly need the work.

March 30, 2013 at 11:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Notebook: Michigan's Mitch McGary on low blow: 'It was intentional'

Only Elijah knows if it was intentional. If so, he has some reflecting to do because that's not who we are or how we should win. Otherwise, I think he gave everything he had for us. Thank you for all your hard work Elijah. You gave us your all and I don't doubt for a second that you played with all your heart. Games like that will happen. We can't expect to be at the top every year. It was a hard loss but an amazing season! Thanks to all of you!

March 30, 2013 at 11:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Ben McLemore on if it was his last college game: 'At this point, I really don't know'

Ben,

Whatever you decide to do, everyone here in Lawrence loves and supports you. I know we all would love to have you with us as long as we can but that is selfish fan speak. You do what's right for you and yours. If that means the NBA or if that means staying with school, it is your decision. If you do go to the NBA, please please please negotiate it in a manner that will provide for your education in the future in case you get injured. There is a great personal benefit that I didn't realize until years after I finished, which includes knowing when I'm being taken advantage of by those who purport to have my best interests in mind. Above all though, do what's right for you personally and professionally. You're a great example to us all and thank you for representing us and giving your all to us, your team, and your school with such class. You always have a home here.

PS. Please Elijah my best as well. If the flagrant was intentional then he has some reflecting to do, but he too has given us his all. I don't fault him for anything else though. My thanks to him and his effort. Each of you gave your heart and soul to us. You guys did great this year!

March 30, 2013 at 11:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Service optional?

Of course it's going to hurt rural residents, but hey... They wanted the reddest state in the country so they're getting what they voted for. Government is getting out of the way. Enjoy.

March 27, 2013 at 10:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Obama’s infrastructure argument doesn’t hold up

There is no chicken or egg about it. Infrastructure creates markets where they did not previously exist. The way we invest or manage that infrastructure varies as much as the types of infrastructure we're building. Government, business and the individual all invest in it in different ways. For instance, the cable company will invest the money to run a cable to your home if you live in a populated area. The government doesn't need to build such a network because the private sector is already building it.

For rural residents though, it's not cost effective for the cable company to build it, so the government steps in to create that infrastructure. It does so because it recognizes that its rural citizens need it in order to stay viable in the information age. This is one of the primary functions of good governance. If Walmart or FedEx aren't building or maintaining the roads they need then the government must do it. That's what governments are supposed to do.

As an aside, there is added value for us all when government builds infrastructure. Simply put, when government builds or manages it, we all have access to it. That's true of our roads, our frequencies, our water, sewage. All of it. When infrastructure is privately owned, as it is with the cable company, citizens are excluded by means of the business model. When government builds it, all may access it which brings a much wider audience to any entrepreneur who wishes to capitalize from that added infrastructure. If a bike path was only open to a few paying customers, its hard to see a bike shop going in next to it. By keeping it open, there is net gain for us all.

Finally, the individual invests first by using the infrastructure, and then by participating in the markets that emerge from it. If there is a chicken or egg dilemma to be found it's whether or not the individual can ultimately make his part of the investment. Some can participate. Some can't. For those who can't, we have programs to help build that part of the human infrastructure. In doing so, we prep them to use other infrastructure and to join the market in some way. That's why we all enjoy a net gain from safety net and developmental spending. When combined, more people can participate.

Counter to what people like this author would have us believe, those programs do pay off and they do so in a big way over time. The implementatiin of the GI Bill after WWII was one of the most successful human infrastructure development programs we ever instituted. It created our coveted middle class and made us the power house we are today. We made those investments when the nation was in far more debt as a ratio of GDP than it is today. It worked for one reason: people believed in their government and participated. We had the will to make it a success. Today though, as soon as government tries to fulfill its obligation and do what it's supposed to do, its cut off before it can ever begin. And things just get worse and worse...

July 21, 2012 at 8:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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