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 throwin...
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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 ast...
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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 o...
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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 Cl...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 mad...
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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 ...
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Steven Leath Banged Up ISU’s Optics, Too

You should never under-estimate the importance of timing in business decisions. Or the importance of “optics”. We’re seeing an example of that playing out now in Ames with Iowa State University President Steven Leath and the Iowa State University Foundation. Leath has been in the news recently for an incident that occurred in July 2015 when he banged up a university airplane, causing $...
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Coping Is Easier When The Glass Is Half-Full

I’ve long been a glass-half-full guy, rather than someone who dwells on the glass being half empty. It’s just a matter of perspective, I guess. I credit this outlook to my parents. But regardless of its origins, it’s comforting when you focus on the good that is out there rather than the evil - especially these days when it might appear our world is ready to spin out of control. My ...
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