Sugar-and-salted irony: Grassley runs ‘favorite food’ at Iowa State Fair contest days after voting against capping insulin doses at $35

BY: - August 18, 2022

This is rich – rich by both caloric standards and a spectacular, if not cruel, lack of awareness, or give-a-damnism. And the timing is deadly. Within a week, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley opposed efforts to cap the price of a dose of insulin at $35 and announced an online contest in which he is asking Iowans to […]

Iowa is the thumping heart of the Midwest

BY: - August 17, 2022

So Iowa is the most Midwestern of places, The Washington Post discovered. Who’da thunk? The data journalists took a side trip from wildfires and shootings after stumbling upon Air BnB collections of how their hosts described their place. If you talk walleyes or tater tot casseroles a lot, it speaks Midwestern. We talk about these […]

Flip the sky: Other ways to look at the world around us

BY: - August 16, 2022

Many years ago, I spent a weekend at a cabin near the top of Mt. Evans in Colorado with three acquaintances — an anthropologist, a geologist, and a biologist. There was no television, no internet, and we spent a couple of nights together at over 14,000 feet with probably too much cognac for that high […]

Don’t claim to support law enforcement if you demonize the FBI and IRS

BY: - August 15, 2022

This may come as news to Sen. Chuck Grassley and many of his fellow Republicans:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a law enforcement agency. So is the Internal Revenue Service. Most people already think of the FBI as an elite policing agency. But the IRS also investigates crime beyond tax evasion and fraud. Organized […]

Iowa gives too little attention to care of its elderly

BY: - August 13, 2022

People in the health care field have worked their tails off since the COVID pandemic hit Iowa with a vengeance in 2020. Doctors, nurses and all manner of technicians and support staff have performed heroically under circumstances that often were trying. But the death this year of a patient at a Centerville care center has […]

Senate GOP takes shameful vote to block cap on insulin costs

BY: - August 8, 2022

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, including more than 230,000 Iowans. That means if you don’t have it yourself, someone close to you almost certainly does. I have loved ones and friends with the disease. One particularly special person in my life was diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes when she was a toddler. […]

Two wrongful-arrest cases show suspicion is not enough in our system of justice

BY: - August 6, 2022

It is difficult for many of us to muster empathy for people accused of crimes who have complaints about the way police treated them. This lack of empathy probably occurs because ordinary folks do not think they will be in situations like people accused of crimes. If that includes you, allow me to introduce you […]

It’s our job — and yours — to protect the public interest

BY: - August 1, 2022

Journalists, politicians and educators have a duty to inform, instruct and serve the people — not themselves or special interests. The public interest concerns the general welfare of society meriting recognition and protection. Journalists inform the public so that people are aware of anything that threatens their welfare. Educators enlighten citizens so that they can […]

Where’s the meat? Solving a bottleneck in the meat supply chain vital to farmers’ profitability

BY: - July 30, 2022

By Paul Sobocinski COVID-19 brought a lot of hard lessons, one of which is that it’s not a good bet to put all of our meat processing needs into the hands of just a few large processing plants. When COVID infections soared, many large processors in our region had to shut down for a few […]

Lives hang in the balance as time runs out for action on health insurance

BY: - July 25, 2022

Five years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Yet I’m the lucky one. I could afford to get treatment. Too many people in America don’t have the health care they need, even today. The 2021 American Rescue Plan included subsidies to make health insurance more affordable than ever, resulting in a record-breaking […]

If Grandma can Zoom, the government can, too

BY: - July 19, 2022

In my day job, I wear the hat of the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has been around for 40-plus years. We advocate on behalf of the public and journalists for government transparency and accountability to the people of this state. Periodically, I speak to groups of […]

Iowa’s elderly deserve better protection from state regulators

BY: - July 18, 2022

My mom turns 80 in a couple of weeks. (Happy birthday, Mom!) Dad’s 80th birthday was in January. I am beyond grateful they both are active and relatively healthy. They’re still living independently in their own home in Ames. Obviously, not everyone is so fortunate. I have an aunt and uncle – my dad’s older […]