Why not let our children lead us into the future?

BY: - May 7, 2023

My nephew and his wife have an 11-month-old, and they named him after my father, Burton, who passed away in 1989. If my dad were still alive, he’d be 119 years old. He was born when airplane flight was brand new, before the first World War, when the U.S. had only 45 states. Now, here’s […]

Our lawmakers are only buying time for biofuels

BY: - May 6, 2023

Iowa’s congressional delegation mustered a goal-line defense for biofuel subsidies as the last holdouts to the House passing a debt ceiling bill that slashes government spending and sets up a showdown with President Joe Biden. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy got the four Iowa votes in the wee hours last week in return for a pledge […]

Keeping Iowans in the dark about water quality is not acceptable

BY: - May 5, 2023

If you watch the Iowa Legislature in action, there are some truisms you see time and again. Such as: Each political party is in favor of transparency and accountability — until they gain the majority. Then those politicians see many reasons why transparency and accountability are problematic. Another: If you don’t know where you are […]

Lawmakers are increasingly disregarding the appearance of unethical conflicts of interest

BY: - May 1, 2023

A progressive interest group filed an ethics complaint against a state senator, alleging he had a conflict of interest regarding a bill he was assigned to manage. The Senate Ethics Committee declined last week to move forward with the complaint. That’s not a surprise, given the narrow view Iowa lawmakers have traditionally taken with regard […]

For Republican presidential hopefuls, Iowa is still the first political beauty contest

BY: - April 29, 2023

The Democratic National Committee may have dethroned the Iowa caucuses as kingmaker in its presidential nominating process, but Iowa voters still have the power to crown Republican presidential contenders or threaten their White House ambitions. That’s the reason Tim Scott, a Republican U.S. senator from South Carolina, made a 2024 election cycle visit to the […]

Congressional Republicans save biofuel credits; put U.S. economy at risk

BY: - April 27, 2023

As expected, Iowa’s congressional delegation voted for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill Wednesday, and it barely survived, 217-215. The House plan, if it ever were to be enacted, would do little to improve our government’s fiscal health. The federal debt would still rise to 106% of Gross Domestic Product over the next decade […]

Who knew there are two sides to waste, fraud, abuse?

BY: - April 26, 2023

I thought the often-repeated desire to weed out waste, fraud and abuse from government spending was something Republicans, Democrats and independents could all agree on in Iowa. Boy, am I naïve. A bit of recent Iowa government history illustrates this contradiction between our elected officials’ statements and their actions. The Iowa Communities Assurance Pool was […]

GOP bill threatens parties’ cooperative tradition for first-in-the-nation caucuses

BY: - April 25, 2023

It is difficult to discern whether the Iowa Republican legislative majority is attempting to stand with the Iowa Democratic Party on maintaining their co-status as first in the nation in the presidential nominating process, or very adroitly trying to either diminish the effect of the caucus or eliminate it all together. Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann […]

Iowa Senate GOP answers Supreme Court’s call for transparency by hiding from questions

BY: - April 24, 2023

The Iowa Supreme Court sent a strong message to the Iowa Legislature. The Statehouse majority party heard it and came up with the most idiotic and harmful response imaginable. This should surprise no one. Last Monday, during what turned out to be an all-nighter in the Iowa Senate, Sen. Adrian Dickey, R-Packwood, shocked and angered […]

Is NRA curriculum coming to Iowa schools?

BY: - April 23, 2023

I walked into our Pella studio on a recent morning, and Dave, a friend and co-worker had a question for me before I even had a chance to put my computer bag down. “What do you think about the gun legislation they’re considering at the Statehouse?” he said, or something close to that. Like many […]

Farmers, mental health and the arts

BY: - April 21, 2023

Christopher Weatherly was in town to work with the therapists in the counseling service down the street.  He is a licensed social worker, a graduate student at St. Louis University, writing his Ph.D. dissertation on farmers and mental health issues In my office, he sat down across the desk from me, chatting about a topic […]

Our honorary congressman, Ro Khanna, has not given up on Iowa

BY: - April 20, 2023

Iowa’s fifth congressman, Rep. Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley in California, noted that since the Iowa Caucuses have been abandoned by the Democratic National Committee, it should be obvious that he was not campaigning for president in Des Moines last week. The Democrat has been hanging around the Tall Corn State for several years promoting […]