Commentary

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 […]

Iowa Capitol Dome

Elections bring more diversity to Iowa Legislature

BY: - November 17, 2022

People of color, Iowans who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, and those adhering to a non-Christian faith tradition will hold a record number of seats in the Iowa Legislature next year. Just four years ago, four Black representatives in the 100-member House were the only people of color serving in the Iowa Legislature. […]

Iowa GOP blacklists TV station from election night event

BY: - November 16, 2022

In what’s become a trend of Republicans stiff-arming mainstream media outlets, the Iowa Republican Party last week denied a Cedar Rapids TV station entrance into the GOP’s election night party in downtown Des Moines. KCRG-TV is the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids.  It’s a fine news operation that provides quality coverage in eastern Iowa.  On […]

Mind the gap: Women fall victim to inequities in wages, health care and more

BY: - November 15, 2022

I was in elementary school the first time I learned the phrase, “Mind the gap.” I must have been 9, maybe 10 years old, and I was obsessed with London’s public transit system — particularly the Underground. I’d never been to England, let alone on a train, so it’s hard to say why this was […]

Iowa’s new absentee voting restrictions worked perfectly — for Republicans

BY: - November 14, 2022

My mom was in the hospital most of the week before Election Day. It wasn’t planned, so she had not voted early or requested an absentee ballot before she was admitted. I knew she wanted to vote, so last weekend I called her county auditor’s office to ask about voting from the hospital. Iowa’s law […]

Welcome to the pumpkin spice industrial complex

BY: - November 13, 2022

Fall festivities are in full swing in the Midwest, with activities and spending underway on everything from candy and costumes to cornucopias. Leading the way all autumn long is the pumpkin, a humble fruit that has spawned an entire industry of its own. Remember the Great Pumpkin from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. […]

Trump has declared Iowa his turf for 2024

BY: - November 12, 2022

Donald Trump blew into Sioux Gateway Airport last week not so much to praise Chuck Grassley and Kim Reynolds but to tell the cold, windblown diehards that he “very, very, very probably will do it again.” He set the stage for the 2024 presidential campaign before the midterm election was cast. Trump was loud enough […]