Columnists

A nation of law, not politics, with Gorsuch

My first experience with Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court justice nominee was in 1991 at the hearings for Clarence Thomas. I came to Washington with several hundred black pastors from around the country to support Justice Thomas. The hearings were a national embarrassment. ...

Wellness Committee forming in Marshalltown schools

Wellness is a vital part of the educational environment. Students can’t be expected to learn if they aren’t healthy and there are many studies out there that support a positive correlation between student wellness and learning. The Marshalltown Community School District hopes the ...

Perception: Trump’s policies are working

Perceptions matter. People make decisions, even life-altering decisions, based on what they perceive as likely to happen. To the extent that public policy affects such decisions, the perception of likely policy change can affect behavior even before the change happens — even if it ends up ...

Rush-SHA, Rush-SHA, Rush-SHA

Every day, another onslaught of crazy out of this administration. Pick a day. Any day. Wednesday, let’s say. Before 7 a.m., President Trump was pretending he’d never heard of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who first started covering Trump in the late 1980s and came ...

Purity and politics

Readers of a certain age may recall ads for Ivory Soap, which claimed to be 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. If the soap could have reached 100 percent purity, the company would likely have made the claim. Purity, apparently, is what some conservative Republicans are demanding in a health ...

What Jim has learned today

I learned that according to an article in March issue of The Atlantic, in La Paz, Bolivia, a city of 1 million with serious traffic congestion, zebras are replacing traffic cops. Yes, I said zebras. La Paz got the idea from Bogotá, Columbia where they have replaced many traffic cops with ...

The Hue and Cry Is Tiring

The website BuzzFeed recently ran an article that a liberal activist paid for documents that showed Exxon-Mobil had paid money to the Trump Organization through a third party to ensure Rex Tillerson became Secretary of State. The documents were forged. The story is nonsense. But many on the ...

Time to explain journalism to Fox News … again

It is time, once again, to explain journalism to Fox News. In a way, that’s disappointing. After all, that network’s Shepard Smith has emerged as something of a journalistic hero lately, repeatedly standing up to Donald Trump’s administration for its attempts to undermine and ...

Get rid of the cards

Dear Dave, We’re trying to get control of our finances, and my husband wants to close all our credit cards. I want to keep one and use the bill-pay option for monthly stuff like utilities, so we can keep earning rewards points. I look at my way as a method of just re-routing the money and ...

Is College Being Disrupted?

A group of law students I teach were recently discussing the merits of the traditional three-year law degree program. “Why not only have two years?” one suggested, “The third year could be a practicum, or a working internship.” That same week, an undergraduate student asked me what I ...

Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy?

“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin ... and I do not say that lightly.” What did Sen. Paul do to deserve being called a hireling of Vladimir Putin? He declined to support McCain’s call for a unanimous ...

The Serious Matter of Political Humor

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only American elected president four times, had an often overlooked strength that both sustained him under the torrent of abuse he endured and served to thwart his dyspeptic political opponents: FDR could laugh at the jeers directed at him. He framed and showed ...

Cookies anyone?

It seems like a good time to make cookies and to share them with neighbors and friends. No Bake Orange Cookies 4 c. graham cracker crumbs 1 c. confectioner’s sugar 1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 1/4 c. light corn syrup 1/4 c. margarine, melted 1 c. finely chopped ...

Making a difference

The Combined American Legion Post 46/Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 839 Honor Guard is in need of our help. Nearly, two years ago, I wrote about the honor guard’s need for some financial assistance in repairing their 1992 Ford passenger bus that transports the group to veteran funerals, ...

The slaughter of the spring Peeps, part 4

As soon as I saw that chicken pizza in the gas station freezer a couple weeks ago I knew trouble wasn’t far behind. A chicken pizza in a gas station freezer can only mean that Lent is just around the corner. Here in the land of hogs and soy ... and eggs and corn ... pork is THE pizza ...

There’s no such thing as pre-cleaning

Prior to daily deals sites like Groupon, there were only two really good ways to get rid of all that unnecessary money you had lying around. You either had to light cigars with $100 bills or say to your wife, “Hey, why don’t you go to Hobby Lobby?” With the proliferation of sites like ...

Stormy outlook for USDA

Under President Trump’s budget proposal for 2018, the USDA would see a sharp 21 percent decrease in funding. This news was initially met with trepidation by rural communities, but the plan is unlikely to have as severe an impact as the topline number might suggest. The proposal only impacts ...

Trump submits budget amid exec. branch disarray

WASHINGTON — The wrecking ball that is the Trump presidency’s first budget is an unvarnished assault on the general concept of a federal safety net for the nation’s disadvantaged and on its responsibilities to maintain peace abroad. Labeled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make ...

Steve Bannon failed his father, not AT&T

Marty Bannon did all the right things, mostly. He raised five children, lived modestly, worked hard and bought as much stock in his employer, AT&T, as he could. When AT&T’s stock price plunged in the 2008 economic meltdown, Bannon sold at a loss of more than $100,000, he said. The ...

In the Legislature

On March 15, Iowans recognized Canada Day at the Capitol. Andrew Leslie, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the Canadian Parliament visited the Iowa House and Senate, along with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. Mr. Leslie spoke about the importance of strong US-Canada relations and ...