Columnists

Casual country?

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about the American casual way of living. — Heloise “Dear Heloise: Why don’t Americans dress up anymore? You rarely see people in most parts of the country get dressed up to go out to dinner, or for special occasions. I recently noticed a couple of ...

Speaking out on the state’s budget

A special public hearing was held on the state's budget crisis this week. We requested the hearing to learn what impact mid-year budget cuts proposed by Gov.Reynolds and Republican lawmakers would have on the lives on everyday Iowans. Several Iowa students warned lawmakers that another round ...

‘We Have to Do Something’

The gun control debate is complex. It pits rights against duties. It pits individualism against communitarianism. It pits gun owners against anti-gun activists, and law-abiding citizens against one another. Most of all, it pits “common sense” against evidence. The vast majority of gun ...

Supporting someone going through a difficult time

Q: One of my friends was recently widowed, and someone in my extended family has been diagnosed with a serious (possibly terminal) illness. I see both of them fairly often and want to encourage them, but I feel awkward. Jim: It’s natural to want to ease a loved one’s pain. But ...

Desperately Hating Clarence Thomas

Of all the desperate and futile attempts at revisionist history, few are as careless as the attempt to destroy the reputation of one of the finest Supreme Court justices this country has ever produced. Now comes another volley. New York magazine has assembled “The Case for Impeaching Clarence ...

Adult Basic Education improves skills, changes lives

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country and found it difficult to read and understand menus or street signs? Was it impossible to communicate with the locals? Believe it or not, there are people in our own communities who face this situation every day, and it’s not necessarily due to a ...

Clinging to Moments of Unexpected Grace

Every so often, my two sisters and I manage to carve out enough time to meet at a restaurant for a meal we don’t have to cook. We eat, of course, and pick at one another’s plates, but it’s about so much more than food. We convene, in person, to share updates from our lives in ways that ...

What’s Oozing out of Campuses Is Polluting Society

In a 1989 article in New Republic, Andrew Sullivan made what he called “a (conservative) case for gay marriage.” Today same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in America, supported by majorities of voters and accepted as a part of American life. Now Sullivan has cast his gaze on what he ...

I am a child of domestic violence

As a boy, I couldn’t fall asleep until I heard my father return from his nocturnal ramblings. I’d listen hard, trying to gauge his mood from the tone of his voice, trying to determine if it was safe to close my eyes. Some nights, it was. Other nights, it was not. On those nights, I came ...

A Dumb Idea

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney deserves enormous credit for doing something that has long been needed. He wants to reform the food stamp program in America. The program has waste, fraud, and abuse issues. It is not terribly efficient. There are people in the program who do not ...

A New Look Into Poverty in America

In 2015, as told on the Center for Advancing Opportunity website, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., then-president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, heard libertarian billionaire businessman Charles Koch, in a TV interview, discussing eliminating barriers to opportunity. Taylor reached out to Koch, ...

Your retirement, your money

Dear Dave, I’ve been following your plan, and I’m ready to start investing. Do employer contributions count toward the 15 percent you recommend putting into retirement? — Brenda Dear Brenda, Investing 15 percent of your income in retirement accounts is Baby Step 4 of my plan. That ...

The Motives Behind the Massacre

“Enough is enough!” “This can’t go on!” “This has to stop!” These were among the comments that came through the blizzard of commentary after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. We have heard these words before. Unfortunately, such ...

Finally, a Unifying Theme for 2018

Democrats whom I talk to confess privately that despite President Donald Trump’s unpopularity and the fact that nearly all polls show their party with a lead over Republicans when it comes to the upcoming midterm elections, they are increasingly nervous about 2018. Fueling the Democrats’ ...

Jim Wares: In search of a hero

I need a man. There are 152 million men in the United States and I desperately need one. Just one. For the appropriate candidate, I offer happiness and harmony. For the inappropriate candidate … oh … my … God! I realized my need for a man the other day when I was given a gift, a shalwar ...

Kelly Van De Walle: Gentleman’s guide to Valentine gifts

In addition to the cliché’ nature of your standard Valentine’s Day gifts, they also present other, largely overlooked problems. For example, did you know some women are actually allergic to jewelry? My wife, for example, cannot wear earrings. If she does, after a day she will return home ...

Taste of Central Iowa

Beefy flavor explored You can never have too many ground beef recipes, so today I have two more to add to your collection. Also, a tasty recipe that uses Rice Krispies in a different way. Salisbury Steak 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup 1-1/2 lb. ground beef 1/2 c. dry ...

Finding answers together

How do you try and explain the unexplainable? How do you make sense of something where logic and reason were never part of the equation? Seventeen lives cut short, hundreds of family members and friends in mourning, tens of thousands of Americans in shock and millions worldwide with just one ...

Pets on the inside

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about the treatment of family pets: “Dear Heloise: Over this past winter, I’ve noticed far too many people who leave their dogs or cats outside in freezing temperatures. I’m not talking about a chow or a husky — dogs that are bred for colder ...

News from Des Moines

Week 6 of the session was “Funnel Week,” where all policy bills must be passed by their respective committees in order to stay eligible for consideration this session. I’ve had success in managing all three of the bills I discussed in my last newsletter through committee, so they are now ...