Commentary

Growing up without: Looking back on a childhood with very little

BY: - November 30, 2022

I remember very little about my childhood. My parents divorced when I was 6, and I have fond memories of my dad— like tinkering in his garage and bringing his treasured street rod to car shows — but very few of my mom. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of good things about my […]

How Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds could become president

BY: - November 29, 2022

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds insists a life in Washington is not for her. I believed her when she told me this near the shores of Black Hawk Lake in Lake View last year before the governor announced what became a successful reelection bid for Terrace Hill. At the time, speculation emerged, prior to Sen. Charles […]

Congress knows how to slash child poverty. It just needs to do it.

BY: - November 28, 2022

If you could prevent millions of children from falling back into poverty, would you? Most of us, I imagine, would answer “yes” without hesitation. But not Congress. For nearly a year, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have dithered as the policy directly responsible for a dramatic decline in poverty last year lapsed. It’s time for Congress […]

How mosquitoes came to Hawaii

BY: - November 27, 2022

Bob and I just got back from Hawaii. In fact, it was 40 hours, four loads of laundry, two trips to the grocery store, and 186 unanswered emails ago. We’re still getting used to the 65-degree difference in temperature and the monochromatic view out our windows, but it’s always good to be home. Travel typically […]

Only one thing dumber than a turkey

BY: - November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving is big business in Buggy Land. My Amish neighbors Abram and Bertha raise turkeys — free range, no chemicals or hormones — hot items for Iowa City folks who like to drive down here to pick up their fresh birds the night before their holiday dinners. The Yutzys call all their grown children back […]

Why is turkey the main dish on Thanksgiving?

BY: - November 24, 2022

Have you ever wondered why Thanksgiving revolves around turkey and not ham, chicken, venison, beef or corn? Almost 9 in 10 Americans eat turkey during this festive meal, whether it’s roasted, deep-fried, grilled or cooked in any other way for the occasion. You might believe it’s because of what the Pilgrims, a year after they […]

A lesson from RFK for a young journalist

BY: - November 23, 2022

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, would have been the 97th birthday of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He was born on this date in 1925. It is astonishing to think of Kennedy being 97. Two of his defining characteristics were his youth and vigor. How is it possible he’d now be 97? It’s even more astonishing […]

Rural Iowa should brace for school ‘vouchers’

BY: - November 22, 2022

It won’t be long before empty parking spaces near the Iowa Capitol will be as hard to find as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. The Legislature returns to Des Moines on Jan. 9, more firmly in Republican control than it was on May 24, when this year’s session ended. With their strong showing in […]

Reynolds tries to dodge responsibility by arguing she lacks authority

BY: - November 21, 2022

Former President Harry S. Truman famously displayed a sign on his desk in the White House that proclaimed: “The buck stops here.” The sign was a notice that Truman was responsible for the decisions made in his administration – he wasn’t “passing the buck” to someone else. The buck is a hot potato in Gov. […]

Leave the Iowa Caucuses alone

BY: - November 20, 2022

I looked over the shoulder of the chair of the Marion County, Iowa, Democratic Party, who was also a caucus official, and watched as she keyed in the results from one caucus location in Knoxville, Iowa, that fateful night, Feb 3, 2020. She poked her finger at the keyboard on her iPhone, once, then again, […]

When to cut out a watermelon’s heart

BY: - November 19, 2022

My dad says the only way to eat a watermelon is to cut out its heart. To crack it open and discard the bits even remotely close to the rind. He disclosed this to me this past summer while we were on vacation in Montana. In a hunter’s lodge visiting my wife’s family. We coordinated […]

Varsity Cinema returns to help screen out the noise

BY: - November 18, 2022

A buzzsaw whined from inside the building as a construction worker named Nick walked out the front door carrying a long and thin artifact. “Want to keep your old handrail?” Nick said. “No, but I appreciate the offer,” said Ben Godar, director of the Des Moines Film Society, the nonprofit renovating this historic Varsity Cinema in the heart […]