Columnists

What do paper roller coasters have to do with learning?

5...4...3...2...1! Hands up! The room fills with claps, hugs and high fives. Is it a hockey game? A basketball game? A wrestling match? No, it is a Paper Roller Coaster competition. Wait, what? For the past two years, teams of middle and high school students have come together in the fall ...

Michelle and Sheryl and that itty-bitty swearword

Fifteen days after her memoirs went on sale, Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” became — I love saying those two words together — the biggest-selling book of 2018. I’m leading with that spectacular piece of news because I think it explains why those few angry people took offense to her ...

The most successful one-term president

George H.W. Bush “gave the nation its most successful one-term presidency.” He “was the best one-term president the country has ever had, and one of the most underrated presidents of all time.” So said two not impartial sources — the late president’s vice president, Dan Quayle, ...

Family time at Christmas

In our hyper-partisan age, it seems every newspaper and magazine writes columns on dealing with crazy uncles at holiday parties and their crazy conspiracies. But it is true. Every family has members they prefer were not part of the family at times. The family most in focus this Christmas ...

Acceptable racism

How appropriate would it be for a major publicly held American company to hire a person with a history of having publicly made the following statements and many others like them? (In the interest of brevity, I shall list only four.) “The world could get by just fine with zero black people.” ...

Dear Dietitian

Recently, there was a recall of Romaine lettuce due to E. Coli 0157:H7 contamination believed to have originated in California. This strain of bacteria produces a Shiga toxin that can cause severe foodborne illness. Escherichia coli (E. Coli) is a type of bacteria found in the intestines of ...

‘College’ dropouts

In spite of continued attempts, either misguided or malevolent — or both — by national leaders to undermine public trust and confidence in the American free press and free elections, the United States’ model of political and individual freedom has inspired billions around the planet. ...

Who lost the world Bush 41 left behind?

George H.W. Bush was America’s closer. Called in to pitch the final innings of the Cold War, Bush 41 presided masterfully over the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, the liberation of 100 million Eastern Europeans and the dissolution of the Soviet Union into 15 ...

Make civility the norm

After former President George H.W. Bush’s death, I’ve seen several news stories noting the letter he wrote to former President Bill Clinton when he took office. In the letter, Bush wrote well wishes for Clinton and told him not to be discouraged by tough times. “Your success now is our ...

Oreo balls

Even though I believe I have given the recipe for Oreo balls before, I am repeating it because they are s-o-o-o-o good and they should be made and eaten this time of year. Oreo balls 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 4 c. crushed Oreo’s (a 20-oz package) 2 Tbls. shortening- optional 15 ...

Morality, religion and politics

Billy Graham (1918-2018), the most influential Christian leader of the 21st century, must be rolling over in his grave while witnessing how some white evangelical Christians have abandoned moral judgment and social responsibility as they support President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration ...

#MeToo’s unintended consequences

A recent Bloomberg News headline came as no surprise: “Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost.” In a word, it was inevitable. Some men are so concerned about the possible repercussions of what they might say or do that they’re steering clear of women in the ...

Rejection of identity politics is part of American history

I’ve spent much of the last year promoting, debating and — let’s just be honest — hawking my latest book, “Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy.” An interesting pattern has developed. Of the ...

When sickness strikes, follow this advice

Few things are more harrowing for parents than having to take a child to the emergency room. New parents are understandably more prone to freaking out and can be excused for their overreaction. New mother: “Did you hear that?” New father: “Our son sneezing?” New mother: “It ...

High school basketball coach has both girls and boys teams

Tim Smith, basketball coach of Sweet Springs High School in Missouri is a busy man. In addition to coaching both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams, he is also Athletic Director and Physical Education teacher for the junior high through high school grades. In small schools with ...

Looking forward to serving again

I am honored and humbled to once again be elected to the Iowa House of Representatives to serve the people of District 72. I truly appreciate the trust that has been placed in me by the voters of this district that includes parts of Marshall and Black Hawk counties and all of Tama county. I ...

Chinese trade trap roils markets

All eyes were on Argentina last week as President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the ongoing trade war between the two nations. The first reports signaled that the two nations declared a trade truce, with both sides holding off on raising tariffs further. Trump ...

For just a few days, let’s be the nation George H.W. Bush wanted us to be

President George H.W. Bush called on us to be a “kinder, gentler nation.” Sadly, we are far from that ideal. Our politics has never been that kind and gentle, to be sure, even in Bush’s day. Still, it has been unseemly to watch how some on both the right and the left have pounced on ...

Bringing the future back into American politics

An ad on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan” shows a little girl dragging a teddy bear to her mom at an elegant dinner table. The mother hugs her again and again. Then up pop the words: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” A Patek ...

The day we used tear gas against children

The United States is composed of 329 million people spread over 3.8 million square miles. In population and landmass, it’s a pretty big place. But those are not the only criteria that matter. Morality matters, too. And on Sunday, by that measure at least, this country seemed rather small. ...