Big Business Wins Again Over People On Internet Privacy

It’s an unusual day when Congress can bring together the disparate factions in the United States. But our lawmakers in Washington have done just that. And it has largely slipped past public view because of cable news’ fixation on all things Trump. This is unfortunate, because the actions that occurred in the past three weeks in Washington amount to an unwarranted assault on the privacy of everyday Americans. The U.S. Senate and House votes, coupled with President Trump’s signature last week, erased a Federal Communications Commission regulation that had required internet service providers to get your permission before they provided […]

Insurance And Government Are Like Pickled Beets

The Republican health care plan was unraveling in front of our eyes when an Illinois congressman opened his mouth without first putting his brain in gear. Rep. John Shimkus objected to men having to pay for prenatal care in their health insurance policies. The reaction rained down like a spring thunderstorm. Shimkus was criticized for his insensitivity and for neglecting to see the role of men in the need for women’s prenatal care. Some women asked why they should have to pay higher premiums in their policies for coverage that includes men’s prostate cancer screenings or treatment of erectile dysfunction. […]

Free Speech At Colleges Getting Drowned Out By Controversy Avoidance

The T-ball mentality has spread to many colleges and universities. This trend should concern parents, grandparents, students, prospective employers and others. It should concern us because access to a rigorous education has helped make the United States an academic powerhouse in the world and has moved our nation forward economically and socially. But the attitude wrapped up in T-ball is throwing a wrench into that. The attitude draws its name from the children’s sports leagues where 5- and 6-year-old boys and girls are introduced to softball and baseball by hitting the ball off a tee. No score is kept in […]

Why Can’t We Learn To Hold Our Tongues?

Another year has come and gone, and it’s a time when people take stock of the 12 months we’ve lived through. Looking back on 2016, a bunch of words aptly describe this year: anger, division, animosity, hatred, intolerance, stress, upheaval. I wish more people were familiar with the late Albia attorney Frank J. Karpan, a charmingly cantankerous character I knew for 30 years. He was an astute observer of events and people. On more than one occasion he said, “I missed an ideal opportunity in there to keep my mouth shut.” That was Frank’s way of admitting he probably had […]

What Was Branstad Thinking When He Said “Yes”?

Iowa, this place we call home, has been a state since it was admitted to the Union 170 years ago next week. In that long arc of history, there has not been an Iowa political figure quite like Terry Branstad. Many politicians start plotting their next campaign for a higher office almost as soon as they are sworn in. Not Branstad. He has been a model of consistency (or complacency, depending on your point of view). Admire him or dislike him, you have to give Branstad credit for resiliency: Twenty-one years as Iowa’s governor, the longest-serving chief executive in Iowa […]

Trump Can’t Have It Both Ways On Election Results

I’ve been shaking my head so much lately that friends probably think it is loose. The reason? There’s been so much irony since the election. It’s a miracle we haven’t strained our necks as our heads snap around when we hear some of the comments. Consider these. Moment 1: A regular part of Donald Trump’s campaign rallies was his claims the election was being rigged by Hillary Clinton and Democrats. But Trump won the election fair and square with 306 electoral votes, 36 more than required. Instead of basking in his upset victory, Trump began claiming, with absolutely no evidence to […]

Why Good People Don’t Run For Office

I cast my first vote for president in 1960. Or at least I think it was 1960. Before my Donald Trump friends do the math and conclude I was trying to rig an election as a 10-year-old, let me confess that my “vote” came in the middle school’s mock election. Kids were excited to take part in the election back then. Teachers helped us develop an appreciation for voting and ballot boxes. I’ve carried that appreciation in the decades since the 1960 race between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. But as I’ve gotten older and as our election campaigns have […]

Iowa Needs To Get Serious About Cleaner Water

Iowans take pride in our state’s reputation as an agricultural powerhouse that feeds hundreds of millions of people every year at home and around the globe. This time of the year, we marvel at the scenes of combines crisscrossing fields day and night bringing in another year’s crops. Those harvest pictures are something of a symbol of our state. But Iowa’s image has suffered a serious blow because of problems with the state’s water. It’s incongruous that a state known for its rural bounty and rural beauty is becoming known for its polluted rivers and lakes and for its popular […]

A Reckless Trump Undermines Democracy

What is happening to our country? For generations, going all the way back to the 13 colonies, the Founding Fathers wanted this place to be different from other nations. People in America would be able to speak and think freely and move about at will. People would get to vote on the people who would make decisions. And there would be a Constitution that spelled this all out. John Winthrop made the trek in 1630 from England to what we know today as Massachusetts. He described the America that he found as a beacon for people looking for a better, […]

My Republican Friends (And America) Deserve Better

You can’t grow up in a state like Iowa and not have close to an equal number of Republican friends, friends who are Democrats and friends who are politically independent. That’s certainly been the case for this kid from southern Iowa. Through the years, I’ve had some enjoyable debates with friends over the pluses and minuses of various candidates of all political stripes. Sometimes we agreed. Sometimes we agreed to disagree. Other times we came away with a deeper understanding of an issue and a better appreciation for why friends believed the way they did. Then along came the 2016 […]