Commentary

To fix the U.S. Senate, look at what’s wrong with political parties

BY: - July 7, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Nothing is more annoying in public policy than people who complain, but don’t offer solutions. The U.S. Senate effectively has 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote giving the Democrats an ever so slight edge. So, what complaint do we hear expressed continually on social […]

Iowa leaders can’t stop electric-vehicle progress, even to protect ethanol

BY: - July 6, 2021

Controversy, of sorts, arrived in my driveway last week. There was no commotion. There were no protesters. No picketers. No chants about destroying the economy or caving in to China. In fact, there was virtually no sound at all when the revolution in the American automobile industry rolled to a stop — and our niece […]

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t really complaining about King George, and 5 other surprising facts for July Fourth

BY: - July 4, 2021

Editor’s note: In celebration of the United States’ 245th birthday, historian Woody Holton offers six surprising facts about the nation’s founding document — including that it failed to achieve its most immediate goal and that its meaning has changed from the founding to today. Ordinary Americans played a big role The Declaration of Independence was […]

A church and its misplaced priorities

BY: - July 3, 2021

Talk about lousy timing. The biggest religion story in Iowa last week was a jaw-dropper. Attorney General Tom Miller announced he has concluded a three-year investigation of sexual abuse allegations against priests in the four Roman Catholic dioceses in our state. Miller’s staff examined church records, some dating to the 1930s, that involved about 100 […]

A Supreme Court ruling creates an existential crisis for the NCAA

BY: - June 29, 2021

The world of bigtime college sports is about to change profoundly in ways not even experts yet comprehend because of a bombshell U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Last week’s unanimous and unambiguous decision in NCAA v. Alston eviscerates the American college football and basketball cartel’s business model of earning billions […]

Judge calls out lawmakers on ‘tricks’ and ‘mischiefs’ in legislative process

BY: - June 28, 2021

Last week’s district court ruling that struck down a 2020 Iowa law was notable not only as the latest skirmish in the war over abortion rights but also for the way the judge took Iowa lawmakers to task for the shortcuts they have been taking with the legislative process. District Judge Mitchell Turner dispensed fairly […]

Schools must act carefully on students’ off-campus speech, Supreme Court rules

BY: - June 27, 2021

For decades, U.S. courts have ruled that public school students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate,” as the Supreme Court said in 1968. In that case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, the justices held that high school students who were suspended for protesting […]

Even when police violence is ‘justified,’ we should ask if it could be avoided

BY: - June 26, 2021

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Police officers are agents of state violence. There is nothing particularly radical about that notion. After all, they strap on Tasers, nightsticks, pepper spray, handcuffs and guns every day. Society has bestowed these men and women with an enormous responsibility. Their job is to keep order. And they have special sanction […]

Satire explores unspoken truths but is often misunderstood

BY: - June 25, 2021

Satire explores the truths that few admit but all know, using a double-meaning title and what’s known in literature as an “unreliable voice” without making its points against innocent others. That’s a tall order. Without truth, attempts at satire lapse into sarcasm or comedy, generating insults or laughs at the expense of another person, thing […]

Water quality ruling wasn’t one of the court’s finest moments

BY: - June 23, 2021

Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted. The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a […]

Iowa’s new law raises question: ‘What is systemic racism?’

BY: - June 22, 2021

Faculty and staff in public schools, including public universities, are not to engage in the discussion of “systematic racism” in Iowa or the U.S. when conducting trainings of faculty, staff, and students. That’s according to House File 802, recently passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Training instructors are […]

Reynolds turns her back on criminal justice reform

BY: - June 21, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds turned her back on criminal justice reform last week. What brought it home wasn’t just her decision to sign a knee-jerk “Back the Blue” bill that overreacts to last summer’s racial justice protests and makes it even more difficult to hold bad cops accountable by granting qualified immunity from lawsuits. We knew […]