Commentary

Adaptive Ethics: Losing fear and living mindfully

BY: - March 27, 2020

The ancients knew something that we have forgotten in our daily digital skedaddle. Smartphones tell us where to be and what to do every minute, pinging us incessantly with pesky reminders about meetings, appointments, notifications and incomplete chores, assignments and deadlines. On top of this, we make lists. There are apps for that, too, under […]

Should Congress demand America’s youth give a year of service to their country?

BY: - March 25, 2020

What does it mean to serve the United States, and who should be required to do so? On March 25, 2020, after three years of investigation, the National Commission for Military, National, and Public Service is expected to make its final recommendations on the issue to Congress. Members of the nonpartisan commission hope that their […]

Scientists move to protect gorillas, Iowa’s bonobos from COVID-19

BY: - March 24, 2020

Ever since I visited Rwanda’s mountain gorillas in 2009 and started following a bonobo research center in Des Moines, I’ve cringed any time there is a coronvirus outbreak. And not just because it’s a health threat to people all over the globe. Great apes are susceptible to human respiratory illnesses, whether they are mountain gorillas […]

More COVID-19 testing should not change our behavior. But it probably would.

BY: - March 23, 2020

What would you do if you received a positive diagnosis of coronavirus? This is the essential question behind the public policy argument over who should be tested for COVID-19. There are loud and persistent voices in the news media, on social media and in elected office insisting that we can’t possibly respond appropriately to this […]

Grassley: Iowans should embrace ‘pioneer spirit’ during COVID-19 crisis

BY: - March 17, 2020

This week, I scheduled a dozen county meetings in keeping with my annual tour across the state to keep in touch with Iowans. Like many events, my meetings are postponed. The coronavirus outbreak is disrupting society and everyday life. From canceled sporting events to school closings, travel restrictions and nixed St. Patrick’s Day parades, Iowans […]

I have to avoid all viruses, not just COVID-19. Social distancing helps keep me safe.

BY: - March 17, 2020

When news of the COVID-19 contagion broke, I saw two distinct responses: zombie apocalypse-level panic and dismissal of the virus as a mild cold or flu. While the former is a bit unnerving, the latter was far more horrifying. You see, I’m one of those people with an underlying medical condition, who the CDC refers […]

A woman holds her hands in front of her face.

The lurid legacy of coronavirus: fear of humanity

BY: - March 16, 2020

Do you remember thriving downtowns, even in rural areas, with cafes, diners, restaurants and maybe even lunch wagons; hardware, clothes, book and department stores (some with lunch counters); TV-, car- and shoe-repair shacks; smoke, pet, barber, beauty, music and antique shops? Then the mall opened. Maybe a Walmart superstore, and slowly several of those hometown […]

GOP ‘tough on crime’ messaging misses the point of voting restoration

BY: - March 16, 2020

“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Republicans in the Iowa Statehouse have been channeling Robert Blake of the 1970s TV cop show, “Baretta,” every time a Democrat raises concerns about the inequities in their approach to voting-rights restoration for people who have served their sentences for felony charges. “Behind every felony, […]

COVID-19 outbreak: We’re in a crisis. Let’s not waste it.

BY: - March 13, 2020

Shortly after President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, you might remember, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel got into a bit of hot water when he observed to an interviewer, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” A decade-and-a-half ago, America was in the throes of The Great Recession, and […]

Three tickets? Super Tuesday offers clues to Iowa caucuses’ relevance

BY: - March 9, 2020

After a month of hand-wringing over the delayed results of the Iowa Caucuses, you may not want to hear this.  But we are still months away from knowing the caucuses’ full impact on the presidential race. This isn’t about the future of the caucuses or the glitches, errors and snafus that have put that future […]

Easy ethics, hard choices

BY: - February 26, 2020

Few things in life come with clear, concise and reliable instructions. Babies do not; they arrive without warning, and you need a library to raise them. Instructions change with each generation. All self-help genres — how to marry, divorce, get well, get rich, get smart, eat better, stay fit — require new editions. That is […]

This is no way to run a democracy

BY: - February 25, 2020

The results of Iowas first-in-the-nation presidential caucus are not yet in. The Nevada caucus results are not clear two days after. It doesn’t really matter. Iowa’s tiny number of national delegates and who gets them will make a difference only if the vote is close at the national convention and no one has a majority. […]