Local Columnists

Don’t stifle debate with flawed or incomplete science

There is still room for argument on the effects of global warming and secondhand smoke.

Nation building not happening in Afghanistan

Success in Afghanistan requires more than money and troops.

By George, he’s a generous guy

Columnist recalls his growing friendship with Columbia resident George Godas, who recently offered 80 acres of land to Columbia Public Schools to build a third comprehensive high school.

Dear Reader: Missourian’s new approach is immediate delivery on Web

Liz Heitzman, the Missourian’s immediacy editor, describes the newspaper’s new approach to delivering news — constant and immediate coverage via the Web site.

Remembering the lessons of Gen. Smedley Butler

Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler railed against the practice of waging wars for profit in his book “War is a Racket.” Smedley’s lessons can be applied to the current war in Iraq, Bill Wickersham writes.

Diversity: the world's new buzzword

Diversity is a code word for social excellence and progress these days. The aim of the U.S.: Have as diverse a population as possible. The aim of the professions: Get great diversity. And of television programming: Diversify. And of race relations: Get diversity. And religion: Diversity is better. Of schools: We need more diversity. On and on we could go with this objective of diversity.

Parties debate judicial selection process

A proposal to change Missouri’s judicial nominee process has parties arguing over issues of partisanship and undue political influence.

Youths need more structure

Children today have too much freedom and too many choices. Educators looking to improve the school system should place more emphasis on tried-and-true methods.

World markets face uncertainty

We’re going to try to make some sense out of the so-called credit crunch or drop in stock markets around the world.

You might remember this from ‘Casablanca’

At Warner Bros. 65 years ago this month, the cast and crew finished shooting what they thought was just another movie.

August is a tough month for gardening

When it comes to gardening, I wish I could just sleep through August. By August my garden is a bit unruly. Some areas are downright neglected, and noxious weeds and insects seem to be taking over the world.

A new plan for the presidential race

Few words needed today

Simplicity, brevity and short words, we are told, are the ingredients of good conversation. No doubt about it. I’m trying to learn from the teenagers the essence of this bit of wisdom. They’ve got it down pat.

Agencies strip away our choices

From the multitudinous government bureaucracies to the minions of private (nonprofit?) agencies to the likes of talk show host Bill “I am looking out for you” O’Reilly, we are privileged to enjoy a freedom from any responsibility of making our own decisions and provided an escape clause from the consequences of our actions.

Collapse highlights infrastructure needs

Although most of my family lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and at least a couple of them, including my son, used the ill-fated, collapsed bridge across the Mississippi River on a daily basis, none of them were involved in the tragic incident.

Lack of clear solution for Kosovo

Our discussion today is about a crisis that some experts say began 20 years ago this month with a speech in the Field of Blackbirds, where in 1389 a Serbian army lost to an Ottoman army but where 20 years ago a man named Slobodan Milosevic declared the unity, the independence and the pride of Yugoslavia.

Evaluating teachers is a waste of time

Teacher reviews in the various states seems to be a big issue these days. Here in Missouri teachers must spend a five-year probationary period before they get job security. In Nebraska it’s only one year. Why such a discrepancy? And why the need for teacher reviews at all?

Posh parties not just for Republican Party anymore

The big political question is whether affluent America is under full sail out of the Republican harbor or just drifting due to displeasure with the Bush administration.

‘Drink local’ to help the environment, save cash and end bottled water craze

Corporate bottlers are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, which requires them to test their water sources only once a week — and the results are kept secret by the corporations.

What appears to be no news can be news after all

On Tuesday, your Missourian published a story about the refusal by leaders of Columbia Public Schools to provide a list of property owners they contacted during the search for a site for a high school. The article appeared on the front page, below the fold, but with a headline large enough to grab your attention.

Was this news? It’s a valid question. Let’s face it.