It’s Wrong To Ban Fair Visitors For Speaking Up

This year’s Iowa State Fair received spotlight attention from coast to coast, thanks in large measure to the presence of just about everyone with an itch to be the next United States president. The Iowa Tourism Office could never afford all of the glowing imagery of Iowa and the fair that was sent around the globe this month — the shoulder to shoulder crowds, people enjoying corndogs and pork chops on a stick, and judges rendering decisions in all manner of contests, from cakes to cantaloupes to cattle. Shoe-horned into this Norman Rockwell-esque portrait this year was an unfortunate incident […]

The World Is Ablaze With Climate Warnings

Worldwide climate reporting is literally heating up with frightening news. Global temperatures continue to spike as July was the hottest month ever recorded since records began in 1880. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the sizzling July record follows the hottest June ever recorded in the last 140 years. Anchorage, Alaska hit 90 degrees on July 4th, beating the previous high temperature of 85 degrees. A spot north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden topped an unheard of temperature of 94 degrees in July. Warming ocean temperatures have resulted in an acceleration of the loss of sea ice […]

Trauma Surgeons Among Those Calling For Assault Weapons Ban

Any discussion about restricting the sale or possession of assault rifles must include input from trauma surgeons working to repair the monstrous wounds these military weapons create. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump have promised a discussion on gun safety when Congress returns to Washington, D.C., next month after its August recess. In an effort to push discussion into action, the Western Trauma Association in 2018 passed a resolution in favor of banning assault rifles. “These weapons are designed for the purposes of killing or severely injuring large numbers of people in combat … The presence of […]

University Of Iowa Has Made Its Misguided Policies Clear

The people of Iowa have gotten a look at the University of Iowa’s priorities in recent weeks. I doubt this was the message administrators in Iowa City intended to send, but I don’t know how else to interpret the juxtaposition two recent news stories created. The first came Aug. 7 when university president Bruce Harreld signed a three-year contract extension with athletic director Gary Barta. The new agreement increases Barta’s guaranteed compensation to $1 million per year. In contrast, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is responsible for all of state government’s revenue collection and for government services ranging from higher education […]

Iowa Water Crisis Worsening, Major Beach Closed Due To Blue-Green Algae

The beach and new outdoor waterpark at the $60 million Honey Creek Resort are closed this week, as well as two other beaches on Rathbun Lake. The closures came after dangerous blue-green algae blooms were detected at several spots around the lake. Swimming warnings are in place at all three beaches and the public was warned to keep pets out of the water. The waterpark is off limits to humans and pets until the dangerous bacteria levels are reduced. The indoor hotel waterpark remains safe to use.  The Environmental Protection Agency warns that microcystin cyanobacteria generated by blue-green algae can be toxic. […]

Iowa Farmers Play Crucial Role In Combating Climate Change

The issue of climate change temporarily has fallen off the news radar as the public responds to the horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. As a result, much of the public likely missed last week’s latest warning from the United Nations about threats to worldwide food supplies due to climate change.   The special report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the risk to worldwide food supplies from an overheated planet. The report, “Climate Change and Land,” describes the essential role soil health plays in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.    “Limiting global warming […]

Congress Has Dithered Long Enough On Guns

How many more will it take? How many more mass shootings? How many more bodies of adults and children will need to pile up — in the aisles of retail stores, in churches, in the classrooms and corridors of schools, in offices, in movie theaters, in nightclubs? How many more times must this happen before our leaders in Washington, D.C., do what is so long overdue and work on solutions — and not brush off any discussion because it’s too soon after a tragedy to “engage in politics”? How many more massacres need to occur before Senate Majority Leader Mitch […]

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 […]

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 […]

DNC: Debate The Debate On Climate

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is engaged in a peculiar debate. Since April, there has been a growing grassroots crusade by such groups as the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Credo Action demanding the DNC sponsor a presidential debate focused exclusively on climate change. The DNC leadership has pushed back, pointing to the number of critical single issues that could be individually debated. In June, DNC Chair Tom Perez argued that devoting debates to single issues, especially those issues pushed by single candidates, was unfair. “We don’t have enough debates to do that,” Perez said. The […]