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 […]

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 $12,000 in damage. He was at the controls of the single-engine Cirrus SR22 when the incident occurred. Leath was trying to land in Bloomington, Ill., for refueling during a cross-country trip with his wife. They were flying […]

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 parents grew up during the Great Depression – not having a lot to start with and then having even less during those tough times – and that reality colored […]

EpiPen Debacle An Invitation For Government Intervention

If you pay attention to the campaign speeches this year, there’s a frequent refrain you often hear, especially from Republicans running for elective office. The message is simple and direct: Get government off the backs of businesses. (Of course, you don’t hear this when state and local governments are handing out huge sums to lure a new plant or corporate offices.) News events have shown that “get government off the backs of business” is more complex than the sound bite suggests. Often times, government starts poking its nose into business matters when corporate America decides not to address concerns voluntarily. […]

Free Speech Incidents In Waterloo, Calhoun County Teachable Moments

We Americans like to wrap ourselves in the U.S. Constitution as if it were a parchment blanket. We like this – except when someone else wraps themselves in it for reasons we dislike. At the heart of the United States and our democracy is this: Our Constitution protects ideas we gladly support, as well as those ideas we may find reprehensible. Two people in the news in Iowa this month illustrate this legal fact of life. One is a 63-year-old Vietnam War veteran from Calhoun County. The other is a 13-year-old girl from Waterloo. Both ran afoul of the law […]