Columnists

Sweet treats

I have been burrowed in because of the weather, so I decided to make some treats and visit my neighbors. Oreo Torte 1 (8-9 oz.) of Oreos 3/4 cup melted butter 8 oz. soft cream cheese 1 cup powdered sugar 8 oz. Cool Whip 2 boxes (3 oz. each) instant chocolate pudding 3 cups ...

Iowa: Hot and cold running disasters

Having spent the previous weekend slowly chipping away at the ice sheet covering the entirety of my home I have begun to long for the heady days of summer. Wouldn’t that be great? To blink your eyes and have these dreary gray skies replaced by golden sunlight? To feel a warm breeze on your ...

Flossing an alligator would be easier

Editor’s note: This is from the Van De Walle collection, originally published Jan. 17, 2016. Below is an open letter to my dentist, who thinks it’d be a good idea to start having my two-year-old son start flossing. Dear Nincompoop, When you told me it would be a good idea for my ...

Perdue to head USDA

On Wednesday, then-President-elect Trump named the final member of his Cabinet, selecting former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture. If approved by the Senate, Perdue will take lead of the USDA, a government agency that oversees farming, ranching, forestry, food safety, ...

What’s happening in Des Moines

We are now finishing up our second week in session. Bills are being filed and committee work is under way. Here is a sampling of the bills beginning to work their way through the process. My Bills • House Joint Resolution TBD - Right To Hunt, Fish, and Trap: This bill seeks to amend ...

Boycotts are a form of speech

Liberals have organized a campaign to boycott Simon & Schuster over its planned publication of a book by alt-right bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos. Is this boycott a form of censorship? Wendy Kaminer, a civil liberties lawyer, argues that progressives should be troubled by “the chilling ...

The shameful war on Betsy DeVos

The controversy over the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education has been, if nothing else, clarifying. We now know that working to give poor kids more educational opportunities is considered a disqualifying offense for the left. For decades, DeVos has devoted herself to creating ...

Patterns for free

Dear Readers: If you're the crafty sort and like to try your knack at projects and possibilities, look for FREE PATTERNS first. Whenever I need or want help with an idea or project I'd like to try, I go into my computer's search engine and type in "free patterns for (name of project)." The ...

The waterbeetle of American politics

He flabbergasts the Human Race By gliding on the water’s face With ease, celerity and grace; But if he ever stopped to think Of how he did it, he would sink. — Hilaire Belloc, on the waterbeetle WASHINGTON — Leaving aside the missing element of grace and the ...

Inauguration under a shadow

WASHINGTON — On the eve of Donald Trump’s swearing-in as the 45th American president, there is nothing to stop it despite public dissent, such as Democratic Congressman John Lewis’s contention that Trump will be not be a “legitimate” president. Those many voters who cling to the ...

The Left can’t help overplaying its hand

This week, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., accused President-elect Donald Trump of being an illegitimate president. He said: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. ... When you see something that is not right, not ...

Learning to be civil in a disagreeable society

Q: Every time I turn around, there’s another example in the news or on social media about people fighting over issues of race, politics, religion, moral beliefs, etc. I’m beginning to lose hope that there can ever be peace in our land. What are your thoughts? Jim: It’s clear that ...

Michelle Obama’s cult in the media

Michelle Obama made her last public speech as first lady. The networks lined up with a 21-handkerchief salute. Nothing will ever be the same. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell proclaimed that the speech was “one of hope and empowerment for the young people she has championed for eight years ... her ...

Conservatism is not racism

The confirmation hearings of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, provided plenty of drama that can help explain why racial tensions never seem to go away in America. This was particularly evident in the concluding panel of the hearings, which ...

A parting shot at personal freedom

On Jan. 3, outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch secretly signed an order directing the National Security Agency — America’s 60,000-person-strong domestic spying apparatus — to make available raw spying data to all other federal intelligence agencies, which then can pass it on to their ...

Supporting citizenship in a digital world

Now that the holiday season has passed, many of us may have more technology in our household than we did beforehand, and much of it is in the form of a phone, tablet or computer of some type. In the Christmas lists I saw, such technological devices were quite common. When I think about it, it ...

The Intelligence Community, Russia and Trump

In his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump came out swinging — against some of the media (while praising others), against the policies and performance of the Obama administration, and against the intelligence community. He had some legitimate reasons. One was CNN’s ...

A call for activists for journalism

Well, that was quite the spectacle. In his first news conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump likened the U.S. intelligence community to Nazi Germany, talked about himself in the third person as he described Vladimir Putin’s affection for him and attacked not one but two news ...

Ben Carson: Role model

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate, told a story. He said his mother was a domestic who cleaned beautiful homes. One day she asked him if he would rather live in those nice houses or the house in which he and his brother ...

What Jim has learned today

I have learned that having a huge bowl of beans and rice for breakfast is a pleasure that will eventually be shared in a manner others may not appreciate. I have learned everything matters! Everything one says, one does, one thinks, it all matters. And sometimes it matters beyond the pedestrian ...