Local Columnists

Leadership shifts at World Bank

It has taken the World Bank and the Bush administration much time to find a way to remove Paul Wolf­o­witz as the bank’s preside.

Despite wrongs, Bush won’t be impeached

A couple of weeks ago, an MU law professor published an essay in The New York Times explaining how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could be impeached.

When ‘why’ can’t be answered, there is no story

A story we didn’t publish has been the subject of conversations around the Columbia Missourian for the past week or so. Many people have thrown in their opinions on how to handle the firing of Missouri lacrosse club coach Kyle Hawkins.

Spring brings dose of cat scratch fever

Murray the cat jumped on the bed, stretched out and, whatdoyaknow, showed off a fresh sore spot in his gray pelt. Murray seemed completely unconcerned. He sort of let me look at his wound and then bounced off the bed.

The wrong verbiage can hurt feelings

I was speaking at a conference recently in Calgary, Canada, when a student from Montana posed this question to me at the end of my talk: “Dr. Merrill, you referred to ‘foreign students’ in your talk. That seems to me to be a put-down of these students. Shouldn’t you call them ‘international students’?”

Photo IDs could end voter fraud

The presence of voter fraud, as with beauty, is firmly fixed in the eyes of the beholder.

A memorial garden provides a place for reflection

Would you like to remember special people and pets in a unique way? Consider planting a memorial garden.

It’s harder to get the gold in ‘golden years’

I can remember the days when folks reached middle age and eagerly looked forward to the time when they could retire.

Freedom of the press backslides

Each year, several respected surveys measure press freedom around the world. Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Survey is probably the oldest. When did it start and what nations does it cover?

Rising rivers parallel Mo. legislative sessions

As I write, the river is rising. It’s not really reasonable to expect that it will reach the House and Senate chambers in the state Capitol. Still, without torturing the metaphor, I think we can say that a flood is a lot like a legislative session.

Grass — and mower — grows patience

I was scanning quotes on on mowing grass, and this popped up.

Perfect. Because if one thing is going to test your persistence week after week after week after week, it is the persistence of grass to keep growing and growing and growing and growing.

Predictions of mass flooding didn’t hold water, reporting did

A Missouri River flood is a strange sort of disaster. Not like a tornado, which forms in an instant and destroys in seconds. Not like an ice storm, which leaves one guessing how much will accumulate and what the impact will be. Not like an earthquake, which comes with no warning and lasts but a moment.

Calif. college offers degree in activism

Just heard that New College in San Francisco is beginning to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Activism and Social Change.

Let damaged plants recover first before pruning away

Luckily I had gone outside and taken pictures of my early flowering plants and shrubs before the 20 degrees and below temperatures turned them all into brown and green mush.

Food inspections need to be a higher priority

It seemed strange to me last Saturday, when I found myself standing in the aisle of the lawn and garden center pondering whether I should plant a few vegetables in my flower garden. Let’s face it, except for a couple of tomato and green pepper plants, I haven’t done any serious vegetable gardening since my son went off to college more than 20 years ago.

When carving budgets, start from the top

The Missourian reported last week that the University of Missouri System Board of Curators has ordered each campus to carve 1 percent from next year’s budget to sweeten the pot for faculty salaries. For the flagship campus, that will come to about $4.2 million. (As the Missourian noted in one of those helpful little charts, MU’s budget is almost as big as the budgets of the three satellite campuses combined.)

Springtime cleanup spares sports gear

There is one yearly ritual that I endure to ensure that spring is really here — and that is the annual garage clean up. My husband and I tackle the daylong task together.

Web video of Erikson’s confession illustrates community journalism

Bill Ferguson isn’t giving up, it seems. He’s convinced his son Ryan didn’t murder Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001, despite the verdict to the contrary by 12 presumably honest men and women.

Immigration issues have no quick fix

Where are all the bees going? These members of the insect family Apoidea with broad bodies and four wings are communitarian colonists that gather nectar and pollen.

A 24-hour vacation can help lift spirits

If you are going to maintain your sanity, you may need to take some down time. It’s vacation time, even if you spend it at home.