County GOP Party In Iowa Calls Dem Congresswomen “Terrorists”

The Washington County Republican Party in Iowa took the lead of President Donald Trump’s racist smears on four Democratic congresswomen and ran with it last week, going a little further than their party leader. A Starting Line reader directed our attention to the post made on July 15. “It certainly is time somebody called out The four Democratic terrorists for who they are,” the GOP county party from Southeast Iowa wrote on their Facebook page. “Very simply They hate America!” Labeling four female members of Congress as terrorists might be unusually inflammatory rhetoric in other times, but it’s becoming par […]

I Watched 8 Hours Of 2020 AARP Forums. Here’s What I Learned.

Last week, coincidentally timed with AARP/Des Moines Register candidate forums, nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates rolled out long-term health care plans, as well as plans to strengthen social security and combat rising health care costs. While rising costs have been a major topic of discussion in Iowa during the summer, most of the conversation up to this point has been acknowledging problems. After watching every single candidate’s AARP forum, one thing is incredibly clear: the candidates know what the health care problems are. From the cap on taxable income, to pay-for-delay, loopholes in the tax code, unregulated pricing […]

Why Some Iowa Lawyers Avoid Federal Court And The 8th Circuit

While most politically-engaged Iowans are well-aware of the ideological leanings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Iowa Supreme Court, they may not realize how skewed to the right the federal appeals court that covers the state has become. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas, has the highest percentage of Republican-appointed judges of any circuit court in the nation. A full 10 of the 11 Eight Circuit judges were installed by Republicans, dating back to George H.W. Bush Administration. Only one – Jane Kelly of Cedar Rapids – […]

Pharmaceutical PACs Pour $28k Into Joni Ernst’s Re-Election Race

Sen. Joni Ernst brought in a number of high-dollar donations in the second quarter of fundraising for her re-election campaign, including about $28,000 from pharmaceutical companies. Ernst, nearing the end of her first six-year term in the Senate, officially launched her re-election campaign last month. And between April 1 and June 30, she collected about $1.1 million, including $385,000 in transfers from various committees supporting her campaign. An analysis of Federal Election Commission [FEC] Q2 data show about $28,000 of her donations came from pharmaceutical Political Action Committees like Bayer, Novartis and Amgen. In Q2, Bayer contributed $2,500 to Ernst; […]

Access To Legal Abortions Keeps Getting Trickier In SE Iowa

For 13,100 women living in Burlington, Iowa, it keeps getting trickier to access affordable reproductive health care. The town’s Planned Parenthood provider closed in 2017. It forced residents to travel about 80 miles away to Iowa City just for routine checkups and to get birth control. Dr. Michael McCoy, chief medical officer for Great River Health System and an OBGYN at Women’s Health—Great River Medical Center decided women deserved better. He set up a gathering of healthcare providers in the community to figure out what it would take to get a new Title X clinic in the area. Healthcare providers […]

Sanders’ Greatest Hits: A Breakdown Of The 30-Minute Stump Speech

When a presidential candidate known for a stump speech that often exceeds an hour only has 30 minutes to convey his vision for America, what would he say? Sunday afternoon, more than 150 people in Fort Madison heard a condensed version of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ vision that became part of the national conversation in 2015. Packed into a park shelter house, the enthusiastic crowd had limited time with the Vermont senator, but still heard all the tried-and-true talking points that dominate his rallies. “I begin by apologizing because I’m going to have to race out of here at 1:30 in […]

Will Iowans Answer Register’s Call For Help?

An editorial opinion piece written July 15 by Carol Hunter in the Des Moines Register is the latest warning about the Iowa newspaper’s declining subscription base. Hunter, the Register’s executive editor explains “Why we’re asking you to buy a subscription.”   It’s a signal that the Register needs the public’s help and financial support if Iowans expect the newspaper to continue to deliver the quality and quantity of local news reporting it currently offers. Hunter builds a powerful case for supporting the Register as a local news source.  “Strong local journalism is a building block of a strong community. Our journalism […]

Inside The New Effort To Flip The Iowa House

While the non-stop parade of presidential candidates through Iowa dominates state and national news, a group of prominent Iowa Democrats have launched a PAC to refocus attention on a more local matter: retaking the Iowa House. The Better Democracy PAC, formed by Fred and Charlotte Hubbell in mid-May, aims to give Democrats a major financial boost in their efforts to break the full-Republican control of state government. In their first financial filing this Friday, they reported raising $230,000. “It’s now or never, really, to stop this Republican trifecta,” Fred Hubbell told Starting Line in a recent interview. “If they win […]

How Iowa Helped With The Moon Landing

This is a good week for Iowans to put away forever what a friend once called our “mental overalls.” The label was his way of describing the tendency of Iowans to downplay the state’s importance in anything other than dirt-under-your-fingernails agriculture. Being a farmer certainly is nothing to be ashamed of. But my friend thought Iowans were programmed to automatically sit quietly and say nothing when contributions to the arts, or the sciences, or to business, medicine or humanity were being discussed nationally. In my friend’s thinking, Iowans spend too much time putting ourselves down and too little time applauding […]

Yang: $1,000/Month Would Be Game-Changer For Union Strikes

Giving $1,000 to every American citizen over the age of 18 is the key to bolstering unions, Andrew Yang said while answering questions at the Asian & Latino Coalition in Des Moines last evening. “This becomes a built-in strike fund for every worker,” Yang said of his universal basic income plan. “If you’re really getting exploited by your boss, you can say, ‘I don’t need this,’ and then you can actually go home and figure things out without worrying about surviving. This is the kind of game-changer that labor needs because labor has been losing for decades on an epic […]