Commentary

How democracy gets eroded – lessons from a Nixon expert

BY: - January 8, 2022

By Ken Hughes Now that a full year has passed since the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, the 2020 election and the republic, it’s evident that the attack never really ended. Instead, it spread out to other, less visible, more vulnerable targets. Donald Trump had hoped to reverse his election loss in a […]

Here’s why I’m still hopeful about Iowa’s future

BY: - January 3, 2022

A friend sent me an email recently, remarking on a recent column, and said he wasn’t sensing “defeatism” from my view of recent events in Iowa. He said that was “laudable” — but he wasn’t feeling optimistic, to say the least. He said he was thinking about leaving the state before it turns into “Arkansas […]

At Williamsburg, a reminder of what we’ve gained, and could yet lose

BY: - January 1, 2022

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — An appropriately picturesque walking bridge connects the Visitors’ Center at Colonial Williamsburg to the meticulously recreated historic site about a mile away. And every step along it is a step backward into our tangled, jumbled, and often painful history as a nation. At regularly spaced intervals, plaques set into the concrete remind […]

Two accidental shootings by police, two very different approaches to justice

BY: - January 1, 2022

Minnesota and its government officials delivered an important lesson recently on how to provide justice — and their lesson should be taken to heart by their neighbors in Iowa. The contrast is jarring between the way government handled the deaths of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Autumn Steele in Burlington, Iowa. One was […]

The best way to follow through on your New Year’s resolution? Make an ‘old year’s resolution’

BY: - December 31, 2021

By Mark Canada and Christina Downey If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, your plot for self-improvement probably kicks into gear sometime on Jan. 1, when the hangover wears off and the quest for the “new you” begins in earnest. But if research on habit change is any indication, only about half of New Year’s […]

Debate about use of “Dr.” disrespects expertise, fuels distrust of science

BY: - December 26, 2021

Jill Biden, educator and first lady, and I share the same nickname with students: “Dr. B.” We both have terminal degrees, hers an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Delaware and I, a Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State University. I’m called “Dr. B” because my students have a difficult time pronouncing my […]

The magnificent history of the maligned and misunderstood fruitcake

BY: - December 25, 2021

By Jeffrey Miller Nothing says Christmas quite like a fruitcake – or, at the very least, a fruitcake joke. A quip attributed to former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson has it that “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” It’s certainly earned its reputation for […]

Those ‘good neighbor deeds’ can recharge us

BY: - December 25, 2021

When I walked out the door at the Des Moines Register for the final time on Dec. 12, 2014, there was an unfinished piece of work tucked away in a box of assorted stuff I carried. The folder contained a few dozen newspaper clippings, press releases and notes to myself I had collected. There was […]

‘Twas the night before Christmas’ helped make the modern Santa – and led to a literary whodunit

BY: - December 24, 2021

By Melissa Chim The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known by its opening line “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” has a special place among Christmas traditions, right alongside hot chocolate, caroling and bright lights. It has also inspired the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly old man sporting red and a […]

Here’s why Iowa Capital Dispatch is suing the governor

BY: - December 20, 2021

Iowa Capital Dispatch and our deputy editor, Clark Kauffman, joined other media organizations in a lawsuit filed last week by ACLU of Iowa seeking enforcement of the Iowa Open Meetings and Records Act. The lawsuit names Gov. Kim Reynolds, her office, a staff attorney and the office’s current and former communications directors as plaintiffs. As […]

How my family makes holiday decisions that work for everyone, according to a negotiation expert

BY: - December 19, 2021

By Rachel  Croson This is a holiday season like no other. Many people have been apart for nearly two years and have had so many “virtual” holidays that they are craving physical presence this year. Now that the opportunity for travel has resumed, so have social obligations – from trips to see family across the […]

Smashed cars, burnt trees, soggy insulation: Post-disaster cleanup is expensive, time-consuming and wasteful

BY: - December 19, 2021

By Sybil Derrible, Juyeong Choi and Nazli Yesiller Communities across the U.S. Southeast and Midwest will be assessing damage from the deadly and widespread tornado outbreak on Dec. 10-11, 2021 for some time. But it’s clear that the cleanups will take months, and possibly years. Dealing with enormous quantities of debris and waste materials is […]