Disparity In Funding For Rural Schools Getting Worse

We all want to believe that our children have an equal shot at opportunity and success. And we all want to believe that Iowa will deliver that equal shot. Who doesn’t remember Iowa sitting atop the national rankings year after year in college entrance exam scores? Who doesn’t remember Terry Branstad’s promises during the 2010 campaign for governor that he would make Iowa’s K-12 schools world class? But a report last week shows that Iowa lawmakers have repeatedly dropped the ball when it comes to providing funding equity for the state’s public schools. Because of disparities in the way the […]

The First Amendment Is Dead In Muscatine

It was quite a week last week with the buzz about impeachment. Relax. I’m not referring to President Donald Trump. I’m talking about the mayor of Muscatine. Diana Broderson was removed from office by a 7-0 vote of the city council on Thursday. The meeting lasted 3 minutes. There was no discussion by the council members, and they offered no explanation of their votes. Earlier this year, the council directed the city attorney to prepare a statement of impeachment charges against the mayor. Then the council heard two days of testimony during a “trial” this spring. The charges involved an […]

Evans: You Won’t Beat Steve King With A Former Psychic

Two of my friends are polar opposites when it comes to politics. One is oh so liberal. Excuse me, oh so progressive. The other is conservative. Quite so. They don’t often agree on issues. On other topics, they are fine. Just not on politics. That’s the reason it was so unusual earlier this month when these two found themselves agreeing on one of the most-talked-about news developments in Iowa politics since Bruce Braley made those stupid, derogatory comments about the possibility “a farmer” — read that, Chuck Grassley — might end up chairing the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The latest […]

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 […]