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This was a good week for lively community conversations

Friday, January 16, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CST

Dear Reader,

This has been a great week for community conversation at ColumbiaMissourian.com and in the Missourian opinion section

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In case you missed some of the conversations, here are my recommendations for good reading this weekend:

  • The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has led to much debate over who is right and who is wrong in the conflict and has included some very interesting links to other readings on the subject. The question I've posed to the group having this debate: How does the world, especially Israel and the Palestinian people, move forward on this issue? What will it take to bring peace to this region?
  • Gary Forsee's decree that UM System campuses cut back significantly on expenditures has generated an interesting debate on where the Columbia campus can save money. One reader makes the argument that turning off the lights on campus at night would save electricity and thus money. Another reader makes the counter-argument that doing so leads to safety concerns — for instance, would you want to park at Reactor Field if the lights weren't on?
  • In the opinion section, Nathan Stephens' guest column on why he and others formed the Black Parents Association for Columbia Public Schools hasn't generated a lot of comments yet, but there was quite the debate about it Thursday morning on Tom Bradley's morning show on KSSZ/93.9. Does Columbia need a support organization for black parents, as Stephens explains in his column? Or does the district need one comprehensive organization for all parents that leaves race out of it, which was the contention of several callers to the show?
  • Speaking of schools, what do you think of Ines Segert's decision to pull her son out of public schools? Missourian columnist David Rosman didn't like it at all, and he takes her to task for not standing behind the school district that she represents as a school board member. On the other hand, doesn't Segert have a duty as a mother to make sure her son is getting the best education possible? In this case, the debate is over math curriculum, something Segert and her husband know quite a bit about — he's an associate professor in mathematics at MU.

There are many more topics open for debate that I didn't highlight here, and certainly even more topics will come up next week when Barack Obama is inaugurated. Besides the debate over the lousy economic conditions and what to do about them, there are also reports that he'll do away with "don't ask, don't tell" and allow gays to serve in the military.

And you never know what will come out of Jefferson City when the General Assembly is in session and a new governor is trying to find his footing. This week's hubbub over reporters using cell phones was ridiculous. Let's hope for more substantial news next week. It's not like there aren't more important issues facing Missourians.

I invite you to share your thoughts and voice your opinions on our Web site and in the opinion section. If you're interested in writing a guest column or letter to the editor, please e-mail them to editor@ColumbiaMissourian.com. Or, if you prefer, leave a comment on this story or any other. We love to see what you have to say.


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