Local Columns

Opinion: Bollier would be valuable in Senate

By Tuesday or Wednesday Kansans will likely have a new U.S. senator. For most of the last century, we could simply assume that the state would elect the Republican nominee, especially if the candidate was the incumbent representative from the Big First district, per Bob Dole, Pat Roberts and ...

Opinion: Kansas schools struggle with pandemic

COVID-19 is threatening the way Kansas schools do their work. Randy Watson, state education commissioner, told members of the Kansas Association of School Boards recently that the way schools deliver education currently is “not sustainable.” Although 1A to small 4A schools are returning ...

Opinion: Get ready to be sliced and diced

Politicians you send to Topeka this November will slice and dice the entire state — into congressional and state legislative districts. Gerrymandering is when politicians manipulate district boundaries for political gain, maximizing the seats that their side wins. Some lucky politicians ...

Opinion: The president has reaped the lies he has sown

Sunday, Oct. 4. As this is being written, the president lies hospitalized for a third day at Walter Reed Medical Center battling the scourges of coronavirus: fever, fatigue, shortness of breath. According to the White House, he tested positive for COVID-19 during the midnight hours on Thursday, ...

Opinion: The fight over teaching U. S. history

Change in education goals used to come slowly. Since the 1960s, it’s generally come from federal law and Supreme Court rulings. But today, political polarization and social media clashes have devolved decision-making to debate. We live in civic turmoil that reaches every part of society ...

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 ...