Public policy shouldn’t penalize poor people who save

Nearly one in three of the families examined in a Brandeis University study had a health event or a new disability from 1998 to 2012. How they fared through it, whether it debilitated them financially or was something they could weather, varied depending on not just income, but the benefits tied to their jobs.

UMKC’s acceptance of gay and lesbian students is welcome

Beginning Friday, more than 2,500 college students are expected to attend the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The MU system in the 1970s, appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep gay and lesbian organizations off campus.

Chasing new drug sources for lethal injection

The blind eye we turn to techniques of execution is giving cover to disturbing changes with lethal injection. The drugs that have traditionally been used to create the deadly “cocktail” administered to the condemned are becoming harder to get. Major manufacturers are declining to supply them for executions, and that has led states to seek other options.

MU had a duty to protect campus for all its students

The apparent shrugging off of university responsibility quickly became one of the most overlooked aspects of the complicated and troubling story of Sasha Menu Courey. What appears to have been lacking was a strong understanding of the university’s duty to protect all students from the possibility of a sexual predator operating within the campus community.

Title IX could be key in reducing campus rapes

Yes, young people should be warned of alcohol’s ability to lower their decision-making skills. But for too long, this message primarily has been preached to women. It’s a blame game, and one that too often protects a male attacker (who often also is drunk) by shaming the female victim.

GOP’s slavery fetish obscures reality of abortion debate

In recent months, Republicans have compared food stamps, Obamacare, gun control and the national debt with the “peculiar institution” of human bondage that flourished in the South until 150 years ago. What those comparisons were supposed to signify is unclear. Still, every once in a while the slavery analogy seems to hit home. Consider the state of the state address delivered Wednesday by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

Nuns’ innovative effort targets sex trafficking where it happens

Human trafficking is a fast-growing criminal industry, with $32 billion in profits annually. Law enforcement is often racing to keep up, as the Internet has shoved much activity underground. Yet it was nuns working with a Missouri business that originated one of the most proactive and sensible approaches.

As baby Brooklyn heals from gunshot, other trauma must be addressed

Brooklyn Murff didn’t die last September when she was shot in the head in a spray of bullets from a drive-by shooting. She’s not a homicide victim. But the whole family are victims now. The damage doesn’t show up in spreadsheets and tallies. It’s the invasive way trauma undercuts people’s lives after a violent crime.

In wake of scandal, Chris Christie blames all but himself

It is instructive to note that even at this political low point, Gov. Chris Christie spent more time bemoaning how he was lied to than empathizing with the thousands of New Jersey and New York residents harmed by this petty plot. The bridge is a major artery connecting people to jobs and routing all sorts of commerce — not to mention its role for life-saving ambulances that were delayed by the traffic gridlock.

Missouri is going too far on death penalty secrecy

Privacy rights have long kept secret the identities of the prison guards and medical staff that administer lethal doses of drugs in death sentences. Missouri insists that the companies providing death sentence drugs deserve equal protection.

Cultural shift in schools is needed

Kansas City Public Schools hasn’t been accused of unfairly singling out black and Latino students for discipline. But it’s not because the problem doesn’t exist. And that’s the opinion of school board President Airick Leonard West. It’s because the district’s demographics don’t allow the contention.

Pope Francis continues to afflict the comfortable

Somehow, it’s doubtful that this pope, who has shunned so many of the ornate trappings of the Vatican, is shocked by the continuing backlash to his apostolic exhortation published in late November that contained sharp observations about capitalism, wealth and inequality. And it’s unlikely this will be the last we’ll hear of how the pope’s missives are unnerving people who have become used to the protective screen of entitlement their wealth affords.

Repercussions loom in Missouri’s failed courting of Boeing

To partially offset Missouri’s offer of up to $1.7 billion in incentives to Boeing, Gov. Jay Nixon put on hold until March final approval of tax credits for projects intended to help homeless veterans in Kansas City and other neighborhood redevelopment plans. Kansas City Mayor Sly James and a range of other politicians cried foul.

Kids missing from state care deserve more attention

Amber Alerts go out often when a young child is believed to be in immediate danger. And well-connected parents often generate publicity through their own social networks when an older child flees the family home. But when a child disappears out of state custody, foster care or from a treatment center where they’ve been placed due to behavioral issues, the response is generally much less vocal.

Fix this bit of election nonsense in Wyandotte County

The end of any calendar year is an appropriate time to clear up unfinished business. How about the Wyandotte County Unified Government race for mayor? Mark Holland won, defeating fellow Commissioner Ann Murguia. But there was another loser, one that has gone largely unnoticed: fairness.

How do we best help the homeless?

The questions keep nagging: What’s appeasing a middle-class itch to “give back” and what’s substantially helping? Does the broader picture even matter when the wind chill is 9 degrees?

What Detroit’s bankruptcy portends for America

Detroit is everybody's favorite byword for urban malaise, but don't think this is limited to the Motor City. Other municipalities and states have anxiously awaited the federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling on Detroit's pensions because they have similar or even worse pension shortfalls. There's even an ominous shorthand term pundits and editorialists now use: The Pension Crisis.

Missouri’s Boeing bid will play a part in union fight

The 777X jetliner bid isn’t really about Missouri. This is a labor squabble. Boeing Co. is looking to cut costs in building its new jetliner due to competition from Airbus. And they’re looking to scrap traditional pensions for their workforce to get it.

A year after Sandy Hook, we’re still in denial

In the 12 months since that awful morning, virtually nothing substantial has been accomplished to address the nation’s gluttony for gun violence. Most Americans still do not accept gun deaths and accidents as a public health issue. Instead, we’ve gotten slicker about categorizing the ways guns are used in suicides, preventable accidents and the shootings that make up the evening news in most major cities.

UMKC student shines light on risk to gay community in Honduras

Honduran political upheaval has given cover for homophobia so emboldened that more than 100 GLBT people have been murdered since 2010, according to reports. Some of the bodies were mutilated. And transgender people are often targeted for attack. Yet few of the cases have been prosecuted.