Commentary

GOP officials urge vaccinations but is Iowa prepared for delta variant?

BY: - July 26, 2021

 U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley took to Twitter last week to encourage all eligible Iowans and Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “The Delta variant scares me so I hope those that haven’t been vaccinated will reconsider,” he wrote. Ive said this to several Iowa reporters again this wk but I’ll amplify it here: I encourage […]

Sexual harassment cases at school: Appeals court ruling could change how schools judge complaints

BY: - July 25, 2021

When a Virginia high school teen reported that another student repeatedly touched her breasts and genitals without consent during a school band trip, the school decided there wasn’t enough evidence to establish that there was a “sexual assault.” They did not punish the alleged offender. The student sued the school in federal court under Title […]

How to avoid food-borne illness – a nutritionist explains

BY: - July 25, 2021

Summer means cookouts, picnics and backyard barbecues. But a generous spread of food eaten outside raises some serious health questions. Nobody wants food poisoning – or to make their guests sick. But how do you know when you’ve kept the potato salad or fruit medley out too long? As a professor and chair of the […]

Bourdain film illustrates ethical issues with voice cloning, media manipulation

BY: - July 24, 2021

In a new documentary about the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, he is heard discussing his life shortly before committing suicide. “You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Questions arose about Bourdain’s voice. He wrote those words in an email, and people were wondering how the filmmaker purloined an […]

Iowa’s universities need to learn important lesson about free speech

BY: - July 21, 2021

In recent years, Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Legislature often agree on little. But they were nearly unanimous this spring in supporting an important piece of legislation — a bill requiring faculty and administrators at the state universities to go through training about the First Amendment and the rights it contains. Anyone skeptical of […]

Experts sidelined so Reynolds gets ‘credit’ for mental health program

BY: - July 19, 2021

If a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, as journalist Michael Kinsley famously wrote, what do you call it when a bureaucrat blurts out the real story about a politician? That may be what happened last week, when an official from the Iowa Department of Education was apparently trying to mollify members of […]

Biden targets noncompete agreements, which restrict the job opportunities of millions of low-wage workers

BY: - July 18, 2021

Most American workers are hired “at will”: Employers owe their employees nothing in the relationship except earned wages, and employees are at liberty to quit at their option. As the rule is generally stated, either party may terminate the arrangement at any time for a good or bad reason or none at all. In keeping […]

Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve already had the coronavirus

BY: - July 17, 2021

As someone who studies immune responses to respiratory infections, I’ve watched news of the emerging coronavirus variants with concern. I wondered whether vaccination or previous infection would provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 strains, especially the new, highly transmissible delta variant, which has rapidly spread to at least 70 countries. A person can develop immunity – the […]

Government cuts corners on public participation

BY: - July 16, 2021

Several times a week, someone contacts me because they had difficulty learning about a government meeting or ran into obstacles trying to get government records. These calls and emails to the Iowa Freedom of Information Council come more frequently than just a few years ago. This is a troubling trend because there is growing citizen […]

Green water is costing Iowans millions of greenbacks

BY: - July 12, 2021

When I think of Iowa, I think green. Driving across the state a few weeks ago, I was struck all over again by how, even as drought threatened, the landscape rushing by the car windows was a sea of verdant crops, grassy hills, prairie plants and leafy pockets of forest. What’s not as apparent from […]

Should the Supreme Court have term limits?

BY: and - July 11, 2021

Pressure on Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down will likely grow now that the court’s session has ended. Breyer, 82, joined the court in 1994. His retirement would allow President Joe Biden to nominate his successor and give Democrats another liberal justice, if confirmed. Supreme Court justices in the U.S. enjoy life tenure. […]

More opportunities for women and economic uncertainty contribute to declining U.S. fertility rates

BY: - July 10, 2021

The decline in population growth in the U.S. from 2010 to 2020 is part of a broader national trend linked to falling birth rates, but also immigration changes and other factors. In May of 2021 the scope of that change became clear, with a record low of 55.8 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age […]