Columnists

Monthly credit card payments sink consumers

Q: How can I get out from under a hopeless amount of credit card debt? I’m spending more than I’m earning every month, and sinking deeper and deeper into the hole. Help? Jim: At this point, your greatest enemy is inertia. The worst thing would be to allow the momentum of the pattern ...

Students learning more about growing cyber security field

The topic of cyber security has become a part of our national headlines. Terms such as WikiLeaks, hackers and leaked emails have become part of America’s lexicon. Former President Barack Obama said, “cyber threats are one of the most serious economic national security challenges that we ...

New festival, new energy

With new residents to the community comes a sense of new energy. That’s nothing new to Marshalltown; for more than 100 years we have been welcoming the arrival of new immigrants. Look at our rich history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of new immigrants made their way to town by ...

Toward better relations with the press

Before becoming a newspaper columnist I was a broadcast news reporter for local TV stations and occasionally appeared on the NBC radio and television networks. I have some experience at being on the receiving end of hostilities directed at the media. At a pro-Nixon, pro-Vietnam war rally I ...

New rules, same humans

On Tuesday morning, less than an hour after U.S. officials deported Guadalupe Olivas Valencia to Mexico, the 45-year-old man leapt to his death from a bridge that connects our two countries. BBC News reported witnesses describing Olivas as distressed and saying he shouted that he did not want ...

Trump has a grating style but significant substance

Substance and style — it’s easy to get them confused or mistake one for the other. And they’re never entirely unconnected, though exactly how much so is a matter of debate. That’s especially true when it comes to evaluating Donald Trump’s performance — a word particularly ...

What Jim has learned today

Our public libraries and the people who work in them, our postal service and the people who work to make it work, our schools and the people who nurture and teach us and ours and the bacon, double cheeseburger, these are of the best of America. I learned that in 1865, the highest quality sperm ...

Five years after his death, a few words about Trayvon

A few words on the innocence of Trayvon Martin. The very idea will outrage certain people. Experience says the notion of Trayvon Martin being innocent will offend them deeply. But they can get over it. Or not. Because it is five years now since Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s unarmed ...

Our Broken American Covenant

The story of the Old Testament is of a people chosen by God who continually reject him. Again and again the Lord calls His people back and sends messengers calling His people to repent. Finally, the Lord sends them into exile. Their temple is destroyed and they are scattered. Still, God ...

Fighting fear

Dear Dave, After listening to your show, I want to try to get control of my finances, but I’m afraid to open up the bills. I make about $60,000 a year, but it’s a real struggle just to keep my head above water financially. My checking account is always overdrawn, and I don’t know where ...

Is Secession a Solution to Cultural War?

As the culture war is about irreconcilable beliefs about God and man, right and wrong, good and evil, and is at root a religious war, it will be with us so long as men are free to act on their beliefs. Yet, given the divisions among us, deeper and wider than ever, it is an open question as to ...

Shirts vs. Skins 2017

Back before kids sports — with their pricey equipment, expensive coaches and summer camps — had become a major American industry, American boys, when playing pickup basketball on a neighborhood court, would simply separate themselves into competing teams, the Skins (without their T-shirts) ...

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to ...

Slow cooker delights

As I’ve mentioned before, my slow cooker is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. So, today I have some more recipes for the slow cooker. Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meat loaf: 1 large egg, beaten 1 Tbls. milk 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce 1 slice ...

And the Oscar for Best Poster goes to …

Dim the lights and grab the popcorn because tonight Hollywood is bringing its best and brightest stars of yesterday, today, and tomorrow into your home to tell you who you should have voted for! That’s right, it’s Oscar night! Ever since the Academy decided to include a staggering nine ...

The ups and downs of relationships

When you’ve been with someone for a while, one of the most common complaints is that your significant other can’t surprise you anymore. I thought I had gotten to that point and then my wife uttered this magical phrase that will forever be chronicled in Van De Walle lore: “I used to be ...

Gold and silver streak higher

Gold and silver continued rallying this week, reaching the highest level since early November. Prices are exploding on political uncertainty, both in the United States and Europe. Some traders are concerned that President Trump’s economic policies could spark inflation, boosting demand for ...

America’s predictable pension crisis

WASHINGTON — Some American disasters come as bolts from the blue — the stock market crash of October 1929, Pearl Harbor, the designated hitter, 9/11. Others are predictable because they arise from arithmetic that is neither hidden nor arcane. Now comes the tsunami of pension problems that ...

The LA movie that should have won best picture

My candidate lost, and yes, I still can’t get over it. I speak of the 1997 movie “L.A. Confidential.” A riff on the creepy film-noir movies of the 1950s, its dark brilliance lay clouded in the bloated shadow of “Titanic.” This year, another Los Angeles movie is doing a lot better. ...

Update from the Iowa Senate

After weeks of contention in the Senate, we have found bipartisanship as we passed SF 1 and SF 180 though the Senate, both with a 50-0 vote. SF 1- Jobs Impact Statements for Administrative Rules At the beginning of this session, we set out a number of priorities for the coming months. One of ...