Columnists

Putting myself in the talons of a professional

When you’re presented a gift certificate for a massage, essentially what you’re given is an obligation to visit a stranger and have them fondle you under a tiny bed in a dimly-lit room. How magical. I was given one such certificate after a friend learned I had never had a professional ...

29 years clean and sober

Nov. 3, 1989, 2 a.m., all alone and blind drunk, I fell through the glass top of my coffee table, cut myself to smithereens, and almost bled to death. Like an Iowa tornado ripping through a slum, laying the groundwork for reconstruction, my whole life changed for the better. They say you have ...

She’s her

I was scared of having a daughter. I didn’t know how to raise a girl in this world of unlimited ands. She’d have to be this and that and definitely this. I don’t know how to be a girl in this world; how could I possibly guide another? I prayed for a boy first. Surely, a boy must have ...

Natural Gas Flares Higher

As cold weather is descending across much of the United States, the natural gas market has started to heat up, nearing a two-year high. The fuel, which is the most popular source for home heating, is suddenly in high demand as forecasts call for winter-like weather from Texas to New ...

The Kavanaugh debacle cost the Democrats the Senate

Brett Kavanaugh must have been smiling as the returns came in on Election Day, because it is now clear that the Democrats’ campaign to destroy him will go down as a massive blunder. It failed to keep Kavanaugh off the court. It cost Democrats their chance to regain control of the Senate. And ...

Political antibodies are strengthening the nation’s immune system

America’s body politic has recently been scarred by excruciating political shingles, and 2018 campaigning was equivalent to acid reflux. But Tuesday’s elections indicated that some political antibodies are strengthening the nation’s immune system. Tuesday was, on balance, deflating to ...

Americans need sunshine on Trump/Russia and the Clinton-funded dossier — now

After the midterm elections, Americans were still trying to see past the political spin to the serious implications of it all. Did the Democrats win a short-term victory by taking the House and, with it, subpoena power allowing them to investigate and harass the White House on Russia, or even ...

The myth of Obama, the myth of Trump and the reality of elections

In the aftermath of this week’s midterm elections, in which Democrats gained 34 House seats and lost an additional three Senate seats, an odd emotional disconnect took place. Democrats, who had just won control of the House, seemed disappointed in their victory; they had expected a sweeping ...

A first significant step to reining in Trump

In arguably the most critical midterm congressional elections in our history, the Democrats acquired a down payment on their challenge to halt President Donald Trump’s reign of public division, anger and hate. It fell short of the “blue wave” vote they sought to undo him, but it was a ...

Told you so!

Republicans held the Senate! Democrats took the House but by a narrower margin! Did I just embarrass myself? I write this Election Day mrning, before most polling places even opened. I don’t know the actual results, of course. But I’ll pretend I do because I trust the betting odds. ...

The ‘racist ad’ and news judgment

During the last weekend before the 2018 midterms, the media decided an ad by President Trump was “racist” and therefore refused to air it. CNN, NBC, Facebook and even Fox News took that position. The “star” of this commercial is Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen who has repeatedly ...

Will the moment seize Democrats?

We are about to find out whether Democrats meant it when they lamented the loss of civility in Washington. Having won the majority in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, will they cooperate with Republicans and “reach across the aisle,” or will they pander to their base, ...

Democrats need an immigration policy fast

In recent months, the political leadership of two neighboring countries with large immigration programs issued very different messages. They would be the United States and Canada. In the United States, President Trump and his Republican allies vilified the “caravan” of Central Americans ...

Financing a college education is possible

For most people a college education is a significant financial commitment. According to a Lumina Foundation report, only 25 percent of American adults believe that college is affordable for all. The Iowa College Aid Commission reports that because of the perception that college is too ...

Skin in the game

In describing the GOP tax cuts, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that they and bonuses American workers were getting were “crumbs.” They were “tax cuts for the rich.” Some argued that the tax cuts would reduce revenues. Pelosi predicted, “This thing will explode the deficit.” ...

It started last Friday

I finally talked myself into going back to CrossFit a month ago. But on Friday, I couldn’t finish a very easy workout. I couldn’t catch my breath. A hurricane rolled through two weeks ago, and the remnant of the storm that went through Mexico passed through on Thursday and Friday last ...

Is this worse than ‘68?

Sabbath celebration at the Tree of Life synagogue became the site of the largest mass murder of Jews in U.S. history. Eleven worshippers were killed by a racist gunman. Friday, we learned the identity of the crazed criminal who mailed pipe bombs to a dozen leaders of the Democratic Party, ...

You can’t choose your relatives

George Mitchell, a former federal judge and Senate majority leader, was the chief negotiator of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought to a peaceable end 30 years of civil war in Northern Ireland. He was a kid from Waterville, Maine, whose father was the orphaned son of Irish immigrants and ...

The President and the Constitution

In the days leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, President Donald Trump has chosen to wheel out the boogeyman that helped him win the presidency: immigration. It is an act of desperation that will only work if it motivates people to vote on the basis of ignorance, fear and hatred. There ...

Avenatti’s white-man offense and red-hot lies

At last, Democrats and Republicans have found common ground in hoping that Michael Avenatti, the wannabe progressive president, will soon disappear. Best known as the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels and more recently for representing Julie Swetnick, who leveled a dubious gang-rape charge ...