The Iowa Labor Center Is Irreplaceable. Time To Fund It.

The future of the University of Labor Center remains in doubt after the University cut off funding last summer. For Iowans not involved in labor unions, they may not realize the value of the Labor Center at the University of Iowa. They may have the impression that the purpose of the Labor Center is limited to labor issues. It’s true the Labor Center provides direct education to over 2,500 workers per year. But in addition, they reach thousands more Iowans with continuing education programs. These continuing education students equipped with the knowledge of basic labor practices enrich each of our […]

Public Workers Demand GOP Keeps Their IPERS Promise

Current and former public employees rallied in support of the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday. The speakers expressed fear that Republicans may attempt to move IPERS, the defined benefit program to a 401(k) type retirement plan. The press conference was organized by Progress Iowa. They have many reasons to be concerned as both Governor Kim Reynolds and Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer have expressed contradictory positions on IPERS. During the recent campaign they both promised IPERS is safe in the current form. “As governor, I am reiterating that this promise will be […]

You Don’t Solve Problems By Taking Hostages

I’m not sure you can get Republicans and Democrats to agree on many things these days — not even on motherhood and apple pie. Some people believe a wall along the border with Mexico is a national security priority and is necessary to stop the movement of migrants into the United States. Others think the $5 billion at the center of the border wall dispute could be better spent on additional border agents, more drones and sophisticated new security technology. Each of us has an opinion in this debate. But we all should be able to agree on this one […]

A Possible Solution For The Shutdown

After having served as a lobbyist for a number of groups I learned one important thing: the larger the number of people contacting Congress on a specific topic, the bigger the chance of success. The key here is that everybody also needs to support the same plan. It needs more than folks saying they want to go back to work. Regarding border security, most experts agree that there are a few additional places a fence, wall, or some other kind of barricade would be useful. It’s also important to include in the proposal monies to pay for added personnel and […]

Who’s Wasting Your Tax Dollars? And Who’s Watching?

During most of my career at the Des Moines Register, all purchases for the news staff and all expense reimbursement claims went through the newsroom’s business manager. Through the years, there was turnover in the job. But two people held the job for much of that time, and they had one common trait: They examined each purchase and each expense form as if the money were being paid out of their own bank account, not from the company’s. Judging from news reports in recent weeks, there are government entities in Iowa that need clones of Vern and Marsha to look […]

Even GOP Congressman On Texas Border Says Wall Is A Waste

President Trump is going to the U.S.-Mexico border this week. If Trump really wants to get the advice of a border expert, he should meet with GOP Texas Congressman Will Hurd. What better expert on the most effective border security than a Texas Congressman whose district covers the largest section of the U.S.-Mexican border? Republican Congressman Will Hurd’s Texas district stretches 800 miles from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso. His district spans 1/3 of the total U.S.-Mexican border. Hurd in a Washington Post piece said this about the need for a border wall. “In fact, building a […]

Iowa Judge Prohibits Journalists From Reporting Simple Facts

On the morning of Aug. 31, shortly after 8:30, a 12-year-old boy pulled out a gun in his seventh-grade classroom in Eldridge, a community just north of Davenport. In an instant, he directed his classmates to get on the floor and then pointed the gun at his teacher’s face and squeezed the trigger. Blessedly, he did not take the gun’s safety off. The gun did not fire. But there was a bullet in the firing chamber and 11 others were in the gun’s ammunition magazine. The quick-thinking teacher got the gun away before the boy could try again. Her actions […]

Congressional Democrats Unite On Progressive Reform Package

While reopening the government has received the most media attention, Democrats have spent months writing a comprehensive reform bill. HR-1, the first bill to be introduced today by congressional Democrats, is designed to ignite their progressive agenda for 2019. This bill is a comprehensive combination of key issues that Democrats have identified as fundamental to their very identity. Specifically, it will leverage the power of small campaign donors, push ethics reform, strengthen voter rights and shine a light on the sources of dark money. This represents a bold progressive reform agenda that Democrats have been demanding. Perhaps just as significant, […]

How An Iowa Farm Couple And Bush 41 Lit The Way

We Americans are an impatient bunch. We typically don’t like to wait in line — unless there’s something we truly want, like much-sought-after concert tickets or whatever this year’s Tickle Me Elmo gift was on Black Friday. That’s why the scene last week was unusual — the thousands of people waiting quietly in line for hours to file past the casket of George H.W. Bush or to see his funeral procession roll by. That’s why one of those people waiting in the crowd stood out for me when a television reporter asked the woman why she had decided to be […]

Progress Iowa Hosts First Big 2020 Cattle-Call

Progress Iowa has an impressive line-up of speakers for their holiday party on December 20. Progress Iowa is the largest progressive online organization in Iowa with over 75,000 followers. This is their sixth annual holiday event. It will feature four national progressive leaders and potential presidential candidates. It’s a varied mix of speakers with a mayor, U.S. Senator, Congressman and successful entrepreneur. It will also offer attendees the opportunity to hear from both of Iowa’s Congresswomen-elect, Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer. “We’re thrilled to welcome a great group of progressive leaders to Iowa,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress […]