Do We Really Think People Choose To Be Poor?

I have spent 50 years as a journalist asking questions, listening to the responses, and closely observing the people and events around me. Somewhere along the way, my observational skills must have failed me. Apparently, I have missed a lot. Otherwise, I would have noticed those lines of people eager to join and remain in the ranks of the poor. You didn’t know people were eager to stay in poverty? Oh, there must be, because some members of Congress believe unworthy people are receiving food intended for poor people. Why else would Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives be […]

Remember, Our Ancestors Were Immigrants, Too

An important anniversary slipped by unnoticed recently. That milestone is a significant reminder beyond just the passage of time, however. Before I get to that, here’s some background: On February 17, 1843 — 175 years ago this winter — Davis County was carved out of the territory along the Missouri border. It would be almost four years before Iowa became a state. When Davis County came into being, my Evans ancestors had been living there for three years. They unhitched their wagons in 1840 after deciding those 500 square miles of mostly hilly ground were a fine place to make […]

Reynolds Should Know That Silence Won’t Cut It

Here we go again. The ink is barely dry on the $1.75 million check the taxpayers of Iowa had to write last fall to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit won by an employee of the Iowa Senate Republican staff. The leader of the Senate Republicans, Bill Dix of Shell Rock, resigned March 12, a few hours after photos and a video were made public showing him kissing a lobbyist for the Iowa League of Cities. There’s more. Gov. Kim Reynolds fired the director of the Iowa Finance Authority over the weekend after the governor received “credible allegations” that Dave Jamison had […]

Public Service Not Always About Winning – Thoughts On Wally Horn’s Career

There was noteworthy news coming out of the Iowa Legislature last week. This may surprise you, but I am not referring to the headlines about Bill Dix, the Iowa Senate’s majority leader, although that news certainly created a buzz from border to border. The Shell Rock Republican resigned a few hours after photos and video were made public that showed him at a Des Moines bar kissing a lobbyist employed by the Iowa League of Cities. The embarrassing embrace was too much for Senate Republicans. They were still smarting from the $1.75 million settlement inflicted on taxpayers last fall in […]

A Far Better Way To Honor The Troops Than Trump’s Parade

Mr. President, may I have a few minutes of your time? I would like to suggest an alternative to the big Veterans Day parade in Washington, D.C. that you asked the Pentagon to plan. I certainly appreciate your desire to honor the men and women in our armed forces who are serving our nation around the globe. I understand you want to show off the equipment our military has at the ready. The last big military parade was 26 years ago after the end of the first Gulf War. That was the war that made a no-nonsense general named Norman […]

When Will We Ever Act?

That priest in Australia nailed it with his message on the Anglican church sign last week: “When Will They Love Their Kids More Than Their Guns.” The sign was a pointed reference to the latest St. Valentine’s Day massacre in the United States. This massacre didn’t involve a bunch of thugs shot to death with machine guns in a garage on the north side of Chicago. That was in 1929. This one involved 14 students and three faculty and staff members shot to death with a semi-automatic rifle at a high school in Parkland, Fla. The priest’s roadside commentary was […]

What Politicians Could Learn From University Of Iowa Students

Am I the only one who is discouraged these days? My state of mind is not helped by the news spewing out of Washington, D.C., and Des Moines many days. It doesn’t help my attitude when I see one of the top aides at the White House resigning under public pressure after disclosures he blackened the eye of his first wife and emotionally and physically assaulted her and his second wife. My mood worsened when the president and his chief of staff hurried to defend the wife-beating aide and all but pooh-poohed the women’s statements, in spite of the shocking […]

Iowa’s Tax Dollars Being Frittered Away

It’s nothing short of a miracle that the people of Iowa have not taken up pitchforks and marched on Des Moines demanding the attention of government officials. As things now stand, don’t be surprised if the folks in charge simply wait for the dust to settle and then get back to business. But Iowans should not let that happen. They should vent their frustrations to their elected officials with this business-as-usual attitude — this very expensive business-as-usual attitude that is frittering away our tax money. Consider the recent news out of our state and you can understand why some of […]

An Important History Lesson From Iowa’s Chief Justice

One of Iowa’s talented historians delivered an important lesson last week. But instead of standing in front of a school classroom, he was in the chamber of the Iowa House of Representatives. The teacher was Mark Cady. The subject of his lesson was a proud chapter in Iowa history and how events today are threatening one of our state’s claims to greatness. Cady’s day job is chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. It was in that role that he was in the Capitol last week to speak to members of the Iowa House and Senate, Gov. Kim Reynolds and […]

Why My Journalism Ulcer Is Working Overtime On New Trump Book

Last week was a time for setbacks in the United States. The only question is which setback was greater. Was it President Donald Trump’s standing in the eyes of the American people, with a book filled with fresh allegations about chaos inside his White House? Or was it American journalism’s standing in the eyes of the American people that suffered the most? I’m no fan of the president’s, as regular readers of these columns may deduce. So, some of them might think I would be thrilled to see several hundred pages of supposed evidence that Trump is little more than […]