Opinion

  • Congress wants to make your taxes more complicated

    "Simplify, simplify," urged Thoreau. No friend of taxation, he might have been envisioning the modern Internal Revenue Code. At roughly 3.7 million words, it's getting more complex by the day — and a few companies would like to make it even worse. Consider a scheme Congress may soon

  • BCSD's county library vote

    I disagree with the Bakersfield City School District Board's decision to officially oppose “any effort” by the Board of Supervisors or the school district to consider public private partnerships for Kern County Libraries. Why would we limit our thinking on improving our libraries? Stifling

  • The GOP field that failed to inspire

    The rise of Donald Trump is, in part, a function of a vacuum. He is thriving in a Republican field that is large, talented and, so far, underwhelming. To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, there's 17 candidates and nothing on. Except Donald Trump. Now, this has much to do with the media, and with

  • Religion's tax exemption

    Regarding Assemblywoman Shannon Grove’s comments about God, abortion and drought earlier this summer. They were printed in a number of papers, but there is no need for her supporters to be too humiliated. I am sure she accurately represents the educational and intellectual level of those who voted

  • As US debt climbs, talk of a tipping point

    As former Illinois Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen is credited with saying, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." Roughly 50 years later, the federal government's spending binge has added some zeroes to its debts, and we now talk about

  • The good, the bad, and the tricky in Special Session

    We are nearing the end of the summer, which means that we are in the home stretch of the 2015 Legislative session. But this does not mean that things are slowing down in Sacramento. Democrats miss no opportunity to pass their pet projects, and the end of session is the perfect opportunity. You can

  • Vester Lee Flanagan, who was known on-air as Bryce Williams is shown in this handout photo from TV station WDBJ7 obtained by Reuters August 26, 2015. Flanagan is a suspect in the shooting death of Alison Parker, a WDBJ reporter, and Adam Ward, a WDBJ photographer were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday morning while conducting a live interview. REUTERS/WDBJ7/Handout via Reuters     THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO ARCHIVES. NO SALES. MANDATORY CREDIT

    Vester Flanagan has made witnesses of us all

    "I've seen enough. I don't want to see any more" -- Bruce Springsteen, "Cover Me" When terrorists beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 and posted video of the killing online, I refused to look. I explained my reasoning in this space. To watch that

  • Flowers lay at a memorial outside of the offices for WDBJ7 where slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward worked in Roanoke, Va. REUTERS/Chris Keane

    Actually, research shows that guns do kill people

    America's ritualized response to gun violence is no more comforting for being so familiar. The initial burst of horror. The ricochet of blame. The benumbed kin struggling to understand why guns are so readily available to people who are dangerous, reckless or disturbed. There are peculiarities

  • Suzanne Fields

    Can Hillary, as First Grandmother, light partisan fire?

    When Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in 2008, the idea of scoring a first for women was trumped by the appeal of electing the first black president. She was a senator then and didn't want to emphasize the differences in men and women in their approach to making policy. This time,

  • They can't mean this BC president

    Most of the time in the news when I hear of contract squabbles between employee(s) and employer I assume it is two sides posturing to get to a place in the middle where they can agree on a reasonable outcome for both parties. It is negotiation. So I assumed that was what was happening with Dr.

  • Handout photograph of Lillian Tafoya a BCSD school board incumbent.

    Fix law discouraging schools from saving for a rainy day

    While the state has made great strides preparing its own finances for a rainy day, there is a major piece of unfinished business that needs to be addressed to stop a fiscal train wreck from hitting our local schools. State leaders must act urgently to fix an irresponsible law approved as

  • A worthwhile Obamacare replacement plan

    Trying to repeal Obamacare has long been a popular (if futile) Republican pastime. Now replacing Obamacare is catching on, at least among Republican presidential candidates. This would count as progress, except that none of their proposals quite meets the definition of "replacement." The

  • School enrollment process shouldn't be this tough

    “Is this the line for the U2 tickets?” a neighbor asked me. Nope. The line extending around the corner was just another group of California parents forced to prove that we actually live where we’re trying to send our kids to school. With a new school year comes another fraught season of student

  • Heroism, American-style

    Every country has its heroes, but something in America's cultural sauce makes for a unique and unusually effective variety. The ingredient would be improvisation -- the ability to perform without preparation, using whatever is at hand to complete the task. As most of the world knows, Spencer

  • New civil rights movement finds its political voice

    One of the most important aspects of a proposed new national agenda for police reform is the context in which it is presented. "We can end police violence in America" is the opening salvo of Campaign Zero, a movement organized by prominent Ferguson protesters Brittany Packnett, DeRay

  • Europe's refugee crisis demands our attention

    All this year Europe has been struggling with a massive influx of refugees fleeing war and poverty in their home countries throughout the Mideast and North Africa. Since January some 340,000 migrants have arrived in the countries of the European Union, more than three times the number that entered

  • End the school-to-prison pipeline

    A recent poll seems to imply that the general public does not understand, and maybe has never heard of, the school-to-prison pipeline. It is a national trend in which children -- more often than not, minorities -- are caught up by "zero-tolerance" public school policies that criminalize

  • handout photograph of Nick Strobel for column.

    Just the sort of 21st century leader BC needs

    I have been a faculty member of Bakersfield College since 1996. I was hired the same year that our new Library was opened to the college and the community. The library is named after Grace Van Dyke Bird, a well-respected and much-loved president of Bakersfield College. In a sort of “Back to the