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Columnists

Conspiracy requires followers to join Trump in alternate universe

No matter how many times Bullwinkle J. Moose fails to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he remains optimistic. “This time for sure!” he exclaims, disregarding his sidekick’s exasperated complaint that the trick “never works.” If Donald Trump has any skeptical friends like Rocky the ...

Here are 2 great heroes to pardon

Mr. President, presidential pardons are reserved for great Americans who made a mistake and have paid their dues to society. Here are two great patriots who fit the bill perfectly. I’m proud to say they are both my friends. And I’m proud to be fighting for them. Both men have done great ...

Speaking of Jesus, let’s talk about tips

This is the time of year when I try to remind patrons of restaurants and coffee shops to tip generously, in the spirt of the season. I want us to tip well all year long, of course, but December can pack a special wallop of motivation for people whipping out their charge cards in celebration of ...

The end of Trump and all his blither-blather

There seems to be more talk these days about how Donald Trump is going to leave town than there is about how Joe Biden will arrive. Joe Biden, it is said, will take the same train he took almost every day to his job in the U.S. Senate, beginning when he was tragically widowed and lost his ...

MCBD finding ways to support downtown

Marshalltown is a community made up of believers and doers. And at the heart of it all is our historic downtown. Through volunteers Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) has serviced our city for more than 18 years to improve and beautify the downtown district, support our local ...

How to help kids hate reading

Please read this newspaper for 20 minutes every night until you have finished the entire issue. Use a timer. Record the date and number of articles you read each day, and the reporter. Please also indicate the topic of the article and its genre: opinion, news, feature story, etc. If keeping ...

No more willful neglect

Virtually every date, place and event that Americans are taught about the nation’s history could be expanded by the inclusion of Latinos. We’ve been here from the beginning, and that’s far earlier than most realize. The quest to help more people understand this history is embedded in the ...

Don’t let COVID-19 lockdowns become permanent power grabs

This week, as Los Angeles County announced it would lock down all outdoor dining, a video went viral. That video featured restaurant owner Angela Marsden, proprietor of the Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, decrying the lockdown policy while pointing to the erection of production catering set up ...

Goal to visit 61 — or 62 — national parks

Lori and Roger Griswold were hiking along. They saw a man coming toward them over the hill. He was completely naked and carrying his clothes. When the man got close to them, he covered his private parts with his clothes and kept walking. That is the one and only time Lori and Roger Griswold, of ...

COVID concentrates minds on obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for those dying from the coronavirus. So strong is that fear among the very overweight that bariatric surgeries have seen a significant jump in demand. Bariatric surgery is a procedure performed on the stomach or intestines that causes weight loss. What’s ...

Mourning doves and chickadees

Weather forecasters had warned us that snow was coming, and it turns out they weren’t kidding. We got about a foot in our Cleveland neighborhood on Tuesday. Twice that amount landed on a suburb just 15 miles east of us. Every time we get a big snow, I think of how I used to egg on my ...

Dr. Walter Williams: Prophet of freedom

Sometimes, the legacy of great men is that the world doesn’t realize how great they were until they are gone. This might be the case with Dr. Walter E. Williams. Dr. Williams passed away last week. He was the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, ...

Biden could cancel student debt — will he?

Washington is abuzz with ideas for actions the Biden-Harris administration could take that would not require congressional approval. One of the buzziest: canceling student debts owed to the federal government. The Department of Education owns about 92 percent of the $1.6 trillion in student ...

The propaganda of fear

We have become a nation governed not by truth, vision, science or even majority vote — but by fear. Fear in social interaction. Fear in politics. Social media has become a tool for screaming at, shaming and, in extreme cases, silencing all views with which certain preferred groups ...

The many forms of leadership

As a turbulent year comes to an end, I find myself thinking about leadership and the impact it has on our daily lives and our communities. The leadership I am reflecting on is not the title or position that comes with a defined position of perceived power, but rather the everyday leadership ...

And so this is Christmas

And so this is Christmas. So sang John Lennon in 1971. The Vietnam War took 2,414 American lives that year, so the song was a prayer of harmony and peace with a scrim of irony. Nor did the irony end there. Lennon was shot to death nine years later, 40 years ago Tuesday. And if the events of ...

Lyle Murray: Building relationships as Police Chief and Coach

On a summer afternoon you might see a 49-year old man running through the streets and alleys of Mt. Pleasant, leading a pack of teenage boys. The man seems comfortable at his pace; the boys, for the most part, are huffing and puffing. The man is Lyle Murray. He and Mitch Anderson co-coach the ...

Please read Levine’s book

Save this video for the documentaries. It shows Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey certifying his state’s vote for President-elect Joe Biden when his cellphone goes off. The ringtone, “Hail to the Chief,” means President Donald Trump is on the line. Ducey mutes the phone, casually puts it down and ...

Serving the under-served with education, training

It can be easy to forget the struggles of people who need a hand up to achieve their next success. Life is exponentially more difficult when you struggle to learn the language, or need to achieve a degree. Doors are closed and opportunities are limited. That’s where the Iowa Valley Education ...

Don’t trash the Affordable Care Act — expand it

Like everyone else with a pre-existing medical condition, I’ve been holding my breath, anxious about the latest attempt to undo the life-saving provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This time, it’s yet another Republican lawsuit that’s gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ...