Kansas has billions of dollars in the bank. Just imagine the shopping spree ahead.
For those familiar with the persistent fiscal crisis that Kansas endured under former Gov. Sam Brownback, it may come as a shock to learn that our state now sits on billions of dollars. That’s right, friends and neighbors — by the end of fiscal year 2024, next summer, experts predict that Kansas will have a […]
Kansas LGBTQ+ youths deserve protection from conversion ‘therapy’ before looming Supreme Court case
LGBTQ+ advocates across the country — myself included — are keeping a steadfast watch on the U.S. Supreme Court, as the highest court in the land weighs the possibility of taking on a critical case, one that could potentially overturn state bans on so-called conversion “therapy” for minors. As a number of anti-LGBTQ+ and hate […]
Animals keep evolving into crabs. So do Kansas politicians. Let’s turn back before it’s too late.
Eventually, everything turns into a crab. This particular type of convergent evolution — when animals develop similar traits despite coming from different families — has even been given a special name by scientists: carcinization. We know that crustaceans have independently evolved into crablike forms at least five different times. Something about the shape and traits […]
For a better Kansas license plate design, we need a history lesson and maybe a bit of tape
When the governor rolled out the new Kansas license plate redesign just before Thanksgiving, she said the design “promotes the state and our sense of optimism as Kansans travel near and far.” But most folks recognized the new plate for what it was — a turkey. No wonder Gov. Laura Kelly scrapped the new plates […]
ChatGPT turns 1: AI chatbot’s success says as much about humans as technology
ChatGPT was launched on Nov. 30, 2022, ushering in what many have called artificial intelligence’s breakout year. Within days of its release, ChatGPT went viral. Screenshots of conversations snowballed across social media, and the use of ChatGPT skyrocketed to an extent that seems to have surprised even its maker, OpenAI. By January, ChatGPT was seeing 13 […]
Corporations get free government stimulus money. Why can’t everyday Kansans?
In 2022, corporations received billions in subsidies at state and local levels across the United States. In fact, it was “a uniquely expensive year for corporate welfare” as state governments dished out “a decade’s worth of billion-dollar subsidy deals into less than a single year.” Do corporations really need the money? Given record corporate profits […]
As seasons change, enjoy the bounties of a poetry harvest. Words nourish us with sensation, memory.
In my first year as a poet laureate for the state of Kansas, I’ve visited numerous towns and communities to talk about poetry. Often, I am reading poems or discussing the importance of good questions, but one of my favorite things to share with others is the similarity between food and poetry. Food and poetry […]
COVID and cold and flu, oh my! Winter sickly season has arrived in Kansas, so look out for yourself
I write to you this morning through an apathetic fog of mild illness. No, the illness doesn’t appear to be COVID-19, at least according to repeated tests construed via intrusive nasal swab. Given my receipt of a booster late last month, I’m well-protected against that virus for the time being. More likely I’m fending off […]
We have a mental health crisis in Kansas — it’s time to expand Medicaid
Earlier this year, Mental Health America released its annual mental health rankings by state. They placed Kansas last in the nation. Let that sink in — last, out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although this is disappointing news, we’ve come together before to make progress. In 2021, Kansas became the first state […]
Face it, Kansas: Our new license plate design looks slapdash and dull. Surely we can do better.
Beauty, as the poets say, is in the eye of the beholder. Except when it comes to the design of new Kansas license plates. Those things are ugly as sin. And not the fun sins like lust and gluttony, but the nasty ones like avarice and wrath. Rep. Brandon Woodard, a Lenexa Democrat, spoke for […]
As the year burns to a close, be unafraid to ponder hard questions. Answers may be in the asking.
There’s a little candle in a glass jar on the table where Kim and I have just finished our Thanksgiving dinner. The flame flutters as she clears some plates, and the room is suffused with the subtle aroma of spiced apples, just as promised on the candle’s package. It’s a cheerful touch that unexpectedly becomes […]
Pollution from coal plants contributes to far more deaths than scientists realized, study shows
Air pollution particles from coal-fired power plants are more harmful to human health than many experts realized, and it’s more than twice as likely to contribute to premature deaths as air pollution particles from other sources, new research demonstrates. In the study, published in the journal Science, colleagues and I mapped how U.S. coal power plant emissions […]