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Columnists

Remembering Lance

Iwas just returning home from an eye doctor appointment when I heard the news. A good friend and media colleague had died suddenly. And after reading a few comments on a Facebook post where I found out of the passing, I learned a few new things. Lance Renaud had a lot of friends. He knew a ...

‘Walk with the wind …’

What a moment in America. On Thursday, three former U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — walked into Atlanta’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church to deliver tributes to civil rights icon John Lewis, who died on July 17 at age 80. Earlier this week, the ...

Woke whites appropriate others’ feelings

So Trader Joe’s won’t cave into a 17-year-old’s demand that it scrub its shelves of products named in such a way as to suggest cultural origins outside the 50 U.S. states. Briones Bedell, a white high schooler from the San Francisco Bay area, gave it a try. She ran a petition to, in her ...

Supreme Court just made case for Medicare for all

People of the menstruating persuasion: how dare you. The highest court in the land demands to know. This July, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that President Trump was right to object to Obama-era rules under the Affordable Care Act that allowed Americans who do have uteri ...

U.S. is not doing enough testing

The U.S. has performed more coronavirus tests than any other country in the world. Yet, at the same time, the U.S. is notably underperforming in terms of suppressing COVID-19. Confirmed cases – as well as deaths – are surging in many parts of the country. Some people have argued that the ...

We can have a better tomorrow

What do we do now? It seems like I have been asking this question of myself for a long time now. Recently we all observed the two-year anniversary of an EF3 tornado that should have been more community crisis than anyone should ever have to endure. Since that July day two years ago, it feels ...

Happy 30th birthday, ADA. What’s next?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 30th birthday this July. Three decades ago, the ADA represented a huge step forward for the rights of people with disabilities. In 2020, I think it’s time to advance even further. The ADA offers people with disabilities the right to ...

Ragin’ contagion

Covid 2.0 — Curt may have jinxed himself by bringing it into the house. Ironically, I may have brought this on myself. Being an artist, I see beauty in a lot of odd places. I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the novel coronavirus. Dangerous objects are often beautiful. For example, ...

Teach anti-racism in schools. It’s worth it.

Relics of America’s harrowing past are facing new scrutiny, and rightfully so. Statues are falling. NFL teams are renaming themselves. Even syrup brands are being discontinued. Some critics worry that we’ll “forget our history” if we remove these racist symbols. But here’s a better ...

The private space race

This week, American astronauts returned to earth. Their trip to the space station was the first manned launch from the U.S. in 10 years. By NASA? No. Of course, not. This space flight happened because government was not in charge. An Obama administration committee had concluded that ...

It’s time to streamline top-heavy universities

Even before coronavirus hit American colleges and universities, even before their budgets imploded because of the pandemic, questions were being asked nationally about how these institutions spend their money. Some high-profile decisions by University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld have put ...

For John Lewis, we will carry on

The first time I met John Lewis, in 2003, it was as the new girlfriend of his colleague in the House of Representatives. He had just sat down at his assigned seat in a room full of dinner tables, but as soon as he saw Sherrod and me walking toward him, John stood up and pulled me into a hug. ...

People are dying in US prisons, and not just from COVID-19

Randall Jordan-Aparo, Darren Rainey and Latandra Ellington are not household names. But like Michael Brown, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, they were killed by law enforcement officers. Not police officers, but corrections officers. No dataset tracks the number of people in prison who die at ...

If unborn lives don’t matter, no lives matter

For years, pro-life activists — including and especially African Americans involved in the pro-life cause — have called attention to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and her deeply racist views. Sanger was an unabashed eugenicist who believed that entire races and classes of ...

Marshalltown Schools supports students through social-emotional learning

The past five months have been challenging for everyone. The members of our community have been put into a situation unlike any they have been put in before, which can easily create a lot of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges in their lives. These challenges do not ...

Iowa’s ag community, clean energy workers count on Congress

Iowa’s farmers and agricultural communities and the clean energy industry have all been devastated by the COVID-19 shutdown. We need some real leadership in Washington if we are going to get clean energy workers back to work while supporting the economic recovery for agricultural producers as ...

Tassel hassle

My only goal was to keep up with Ray in the row beside me and not fall behind. The corn leaves sliced across my face, arms and legs. Foolishly, I had on a short sleeved shirt and shorts. Ray on the other hand had every inch of skin covered, save for his face and even there he had a net to pull ...

The Constitution doesn’t have a problem with mask mandates

Many public health professionals and politicians are urging or requiring citizens to wear face masks to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Some Americans have refused, wrongly claiming mask decrees violate the Constitution. An internet search turns up dozens of examples. “Costco ...

Now is the time for free college

After graduating from college last year, Hayat Rahmeto moved back in with her parents and planned to work two jobs to save money for law school. Then the pandemic hit. She lost one job, with Delta Airlines, and the prospects for finding another were bleak. Fortunately, with her parents ...

My year of staying alive

In a few days, on July 21, I will be one year older than my mother was when she died. For eight months, I worried about meeting this milestone. Then the coronavirus arrived. I’m turning 63! Woo-hoo! I surely didn’t feel this way when I turned 40. Mom was 60, and we were planning ...