Commentary

Use universal principles to balance pandemic news

BY: - May 19, 2020

It is springtime during the coronavirus and the news is saturated with accounts of indignity, falsehood and violence — journalism mainstays since colonial America, especially in election years. As I write, society is dealing with the indignity of COVID-19 deaths necessitating “the lonely reality” of online funerals in some states. We continue to hear false […]

How do you stay safe now that states are reopening?

BY: - May 18, 2020

Editor’s note: Now that states are relaxing social distancing restrictions, people desperately want to see friends and family, go to a restaurant and let our kids have play dates. Even grocery shopping sounds fun. But how can you do that and still stay safe? Here, an epidemiologist who is immune-compromised himself, walks you through some […]

Some pandemic lessons are too important to leave behind

BY: - May 18, 2020

This coronavirus pandemic is far from over, even as we slowly start to reclaim parts of our former lives.  We are more than ready to forget about some experiences: shaggy hair, face masks, empty store shelves, seeing loved ones only through a video screen. We’re tired of the inconveniences, the disappointments. We’re sad for those […]

Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus and governors should require them

BY: - May 16, 2020

I’m a data scientist at the University of San Francisco and teach courses online in machine learning for fast.ai. In late March, I decided to use public mask-wearing as a case study to show my students how to combine and analyze diverse types of data and evidence. Much to my surprise, I discovered that the […]

Coronavirus secrecy erodes the public’s confidence

BY: - May 12, 2020

The relationship between government and the governed is a delicate arrangement, even in the best of times. Government wants us to pay our taxes. It wants us to obey its laws and directives. Citizens, in turn, expect certain things from government, things like good schools, parks, law enforcement and protection of the public health and […]

Iowans express frustration over state’s release of COVID-19 data

BY: - May 11, 2020

As the focus has shifted to reopening the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Kim Reynolds and her administration have placed an ever-growing share of responsibility on Iowans to make their own decisions about their safety. That has left many Iowans to play amateur epidemiologist, poring over data provided by the Iowa Department of Public […]

Workers’ compensation should cover essential workers who suffer infection

BY: - May 8, 2020

More than 100 years ago, Upton Sinclair chronicled the misery and abuse of American workers in the meatpacking industry. In “The Jungle,” he described the packing plants as “centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us.” Today, we are witnessing a new chapter in the life and deaths of meatpacking workers and other […]

To understand the danger of COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants, look at the industry’s history

BY: - May 6, 2020

Large meatpacking plants have become hotspots for coronavirus infection, along with jails and nursing homes. As of May 1, nearly 5,000 packing plant workers in 19 states had fallen ill, and 20 had died. Packing plants from Washington state to Iowa to Georgia have temporarily suspended operations, although President Trump has invoked the Defense Production […]

Essential workers deserve more than ‘thank you’

BY: - May 5, 2020

Editorial cartoonists — the outstanding ones, like the Des Moines Register’s Frank Miller and Brian Duffy — have a marvelous ability to express a point of view with only a few words and a skillfully drawn image. When I was the Register’s opinion editor, Miller’s most famous cartoon hung next to my desk. It was […]

Iowa had a child care shortage pre-COVID and some providers won’t reopen

BY: - May 4, 2020

Before COVID-19, Iowa was experiencing a child care “crisis,” to the point that it was keeping parents out of the workforce at a time of record low unemployment. Now, as the state begins to reopen and parents return to work, some may find themselves starting the search all over again for affordable, quality care. State […]

Are we forgetting the role of civic virtues?

BY: - May 1, 2020

American civic virtues find their roots in ancient Rome during and after the reign of Julius Caesar, assassinated by 60 conspirators in 44 B.C. Civil war erupted in the aftermath starring some of history’s greatest iconic figures, still known by celebrity first names: Brutus, Augustus, and Cleopatra. During this era, another first-name icon, Cicero, proclaimed: […]

As campaign 2020 shifts into high gear, Trump’s defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press

BY: - April 29, 2020

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak from […]