Local Columns

Opinion: Marshall is the extremist in this race

Forty-six years ago, at the 1974 Kansas State Fair U.S. Senate debate, Bob Dole altered the path of politics for both state and nation. Down in the polls to Democratic Rep. Bill Roy, Dole had struggled through the debate, nominally focused on agriculture. He faced the real possibility of ...

Opinion: Colleges should stay open, responsibly

The Jayhawker Liberation Front is in the news. Among other things, these ambitious University of Kansas students demand closing campuses to all in-person learning until COVID-19 is contained, along with an end to both capitalism and white supremacy. Those last two demands are beyond the scope ...

Opinion: The financial facts about urban Kansas

Depending on the definitions you use, the residents of Kansas’s rural counties and small towns make up less than a third, and perhaps as little as a quarter, of the state’s total population. Despite our reputation as a rural farming state, Kansas is surprisingly urban. For this reason, ...

Opinion: Hooey, hogwash and hucksters: science in the White House

Just when it seemed that the administration would regress only to the Middle Ages in denying science, facts, logic and reason, it entered cuckoo land. On July 27, at a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court, Stella Immanuel, a pediatrician who operates a medical clinic in Houston ...

Opinion: Kansans must protect their votes

Kansas voters have the power to protect their own votes. Plan ahead. Choose the voting method that works best for you. Act early. Act responsibly. Advocate for yourself. What are your voting options? In-person Election Day voting: Poll worker shortages could make lines longer this year, ...

Opinion: Some confusion on voting inevitable

This year, like every election year, I have students ask me, “Why is voting so hard?” My initial response: “It’s not hard at all!” That answer is basically accurate, as the high levels of turnout among the older segments of our population demonstrate. Still, I can’t deny that ...

Opinion: How to make school reopening safer

Reopening Kansas schools this fall is a gamble. The COVID-19 new infections rate and death rate are still rising at this writing. Will returning to school-site learning be safe? Will it increase the spread of COVID-19? The only thing we know for certain is that school is scheduled to begin ...

Opinion: Senate primary a missed opportunity

Elections work best when campaigns highlight policy contrasts for voters. As the Republican primary for Senate in Kansas closes, this election has been a missed opportunity to discuss policy and force candidates on record about their policy views. On the issues that have received the most ...

Opinion: Preparing for a pandemic election

In less than two weeks, Kansas will face another coronavirus-related test: an election under pandemic conditions. How will we fare? That depends on state and county preparation, of course, but it also depends on voter preparation. Say you plan to vote on the day of the election. Do you know ...

Opinion: When incoherence trumps science, you get a farce

Incoherence: illogical; not making sense. In the face of a global pandemic, the administration has willfully abandoned reason and descended into incoherence. The coronavirus debacle began in September of last year, when the president was warned by his Council of Economic Advisors in a 41-page ...

Opinion: Remember: COVID-19 never sleeps

With temperatures reaching the upper 90s this weekend, we’ve arrived at the dog days of summer. It’s hot, we’re listless and yearn for the chill of a crisp fall morning. Given the pandemic, summer weeks become all the more wearisome, as one day melts into another, with no end in sight. ...

Opinion: Students still prefer personal instruction

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of subsiding, it may not be realistic for universities to reopen this fall in any but the most guarded way, if at all. However, once the pandemic does subside, college students will be eager to get back on campus. How things do change. Ten years ...

Opinion: Public schools are at heart of citizenship

July 4 marks our nation’s independence celebration and reminds us of our founding principles. It’s a celebration of fireworks and fun, but this year we find ourselves fraught with misgivings brought on by economic uncertainty, contagious disease and social unrest. We celebrate and honor our ...

Opinion: A place for moderate Republicans?

The 2020 elections for the Kansas Legislature could be perilous for moderate Republicans. Their political relevance is at stake, with huge implications for Kansas politics. Most “moderate” Republican lawmakers in Topeka are actually pretty conservative. Most typically vote against ...

Opinion: Leadership failures amid pandemic

It’s been around 100 days since the COVID-19 pandemic officially arrived in Kansas, bringing fears both physical and economic to every corner of the state. What have we learned? On the positive side, we know that the dramatic precautions of closing businesses and schools likely made a big ...

Opinion: Taking stock and looking forward

Sometimes politics meets the personal, head on. This is one of those times. On June 14, I turn 75. On June 22, Michel and I celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary. Forty-one years ago this month, we moved to Kansas, and one year after that our son was born. Happy 40th, Dakota. Ordinarily, ...

Opinion: Government by Nobody has got to go

What do COVID-19 deniers and protesters of police brutality have in common? The first group tends to be older, whiter and more conservative. The more militant ones confront those wearing masks in public, but most simply choose not to wear masks themselves, despite the clear evidence that ...

Opinion: Educators plan for uncertain future

Help is on its way, but reopening Kansas schools won’t be easy. With the state’s economy in free fall and Kansas COVID-19 cases still on the rise, educators are meeting in school districts across Kansas to plan for reopening schools this fall even though start dates remain ...

Opinion: Foster care revelations raise questions

The Topeka Capital-Journal published a stunning story this week on foster care in Kansas. It prompts the question: Why hasn’t the Legislature prioritized foster care oversight and reform in the last decade? From 2016 to 2018 under Govs. Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer, the Kansas Department ...

Opinion: County power little noticed until now

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve gotten used to waiting on, listening to and then either criticizing or thanking our elected leaders much more than usual. The reasons for this are obvious: During a public emergency we all, like it or not, depend upon those with governing authority who impose ...