The ethics of presidential slogans: They may be catchy, but can we believe them?

BY: - September 28, 2020

“In God We Trust” is the official motto of the United States, but the first to appear on a circulating coin was “Mind Your Business,” conceived by Benjamin Franklin. The motto appears on the 1787 “Fugio” cent — the Latin for “I fly” is a reference to “time flies.” The coin also is printed with a depiction of […]

Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst

‘Principles’ shouldn’t be a matter of convenience

BY: - September 22, 2020

One of my co-workers at the Des Moines Register was Gene Raffensperger, an excellent reporter with a delicious sense of humor. When Raff was working on a dull story, he often would announce to colleagues, “We’re going to need another tanker of Murine. I’ve got an eye-burner here.” Raff is no longer with us. But […]

Grief over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and dread for what comes next

BY: - September 21, 2020

Bereft. That’s the only word I can think of that fits how I felt at the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. It’s not just about the loss of a stalwart warrior for equality and justice for people like me. Without Ginsburg, perhaps our country still would not recognize a constitutional right against sex […]

The detection of phosphine in Venus’ clouds is a big deal – here’s how we can find out if it’s a sign of life

BY: - September 20, 2020

On Sept. 14, 2020, a new planet was added to the list of potentially habitable worlds in the Solar System: Venus. Phosphine, a toxic gas made up of one phosphorus and three hydrogen atoms (PH₃), commonly produced by organic life forms but otherwise difficult to make on rocky planets, was discovered in the middle layer […]

The U.S. presidential election might be closer than the polls suggest (if we can trust them this time)

BY: - September 19, 2020

With less than two months until the U.S. presidential election, Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads incumbent Donald Trump in the bulk of opinion polls. But poll-based election forecasts have proved problematic before. The polls were widely maligned after the 2016 election because Trump won the election when the majority of the polling said he would […]

Federal Reserve hopes years of zero rates will spur inflation – but there are risks

BY: - September 18, 2020

In a healthy economy, prices tend to go up – a process called inflation. While you might not like that as a consumer, moderate price growth is a sign of a growing economy. And, historically at least, wages tend to go up at about the same pace during periods of inflation. But right now, the […]

New bills offer opportunity to help Iowa dialysis patients

BY: - September 17, 2020

As we move toward the fall season, the COVID-19 pandemic still poses a major threat to people living here in Iowa, as well as others across the U.S. With public health still top-of-mind, it is important that we do everything we can to protect high-risk patients, especially those living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD […]

We should not just accept deaths like Sabrina’s and Natalie’s

BY: - September 15, 2020

Twenty years ago, when the death of 2-year-old Shelby Duis outraged Iowans, I was confident the Spirit Lake tragedy would soon bring change to our state. I probably was naive. In 2016, when Natalie Finn, 16, was found near death in a middle-class neighborhood in West Des Moines, I was confident that tragedy would bring […]

How can you have any football if you don’t go to class in person?

BY: - September 14, 2020

If you’re too sick to go to school, you can’t go outside and play. If you don’t finish your homework, you can’t watch TV. If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat? That last part was borrowed from Pink Floyd, […]

Coronavirus is hundreds of times more deadly for people over 60 than people under 40

BY: - September 13, 2020

How deadly is SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19? And what are the risks of death for people of different ages and demographics? These have been hard numbers to calculate during this pandemic. To calculate the true death rate – more accurately called the infection–fatality ratio (IFR) – you would simply divide the total number […]

Bridging America’s divides requires a willingness to work together without becoming friends first

BY: - September 12, 2020

Amid two crises – the pandemic and the national reckoning sparked by the killing of George Floyd – there have been anguished calls for Americans to come together across lines of race and partisanship. Change would come, a USA Today contributor wrote, only “when we become sensitized to the distress of our neighbors.” Empathy born […]

Nineteen years after 9/11, Americans continue to fear foreign extremists and underplay the dangers of domestic terrorism

BY: - September 11, 2020

On a Tuesday morning in September 2001, the American experience with terrorism was fundamentally altered. Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six people were killed as the direct result of attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Thousands more, including many first responders, later lost their lives to health complications from working at or being […]