You don’t solve problems by taking hostages

I’m not sure you can get Republicans and Democrats to agree on many things these days – not even on motherhood and apple pie.

Some people believe a wall along the border with Mexico is a national security priority and is necessary to stop the movement of migrants into the United States. Others think the $5 billion at the center of the border wall dispute could be better spent on additional border agents, more drones and sophisticated new security technology.

Each of us has an opinion in this debate. But we all should be able to agree on this one point: It is absolutely wrong to hold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent employees of the federal government hostage during this stalemate.

A judge should not prohibit publishing facts

On the morning of Aug. 31, shortly after 8:30, a 12-year-old boy pulled out a gun in his seventh-grade classroom in Eldridge, a community just north of Davenport.

In an instant, he directed his classmates to get on the floor and then pointed the gun at his teacher’s face and squeezed the trigger.

Blessedly, he did not take the gun’s safety off. The gun did not fire. But there was a bullet in the firing chamber and 11 others were in the gun’s ammunition magazine.

Here’s an antidote to our nation’s discord

Americans these days seem to get along like dogs and cats.

We don’t trust each other. We constantly snipe back and forth. This person is a crook. That person is dumber than a box of rocks.

This acrimony and animosity have not provided a very fitting backdrop for the tranquility that is supposed to accompany the Christmas season.

There are things more important than money

I’ve learned a lot of lessons about money, some easier than others, in the years since I pushed a lawnmower back and forth across Mrs. Carroll’s and Mrs. Greiner’s yards in Bloomfield long ago.

My start as a gainfully employed contributor to the U.S. economy was inauspicious in the grand scheme of things. But I felt like a regular John D. Rockefeller – in blue jeans and a ball cap, instead of a suit and top hat – when the ladies settled up by handing over a couple of dollar bills each week.

Regrettably, Iowa is on this U.S. extreme

We Iowans like to think of ourselves as the true occupants of middle America, the geographic and societal equivalent of Baby Bear’s porridge.

We are not as conservative as some sections of our country, nor as liberal as other sections. We don’t have the wealth that some regions do. We don’t have the poverty that is found elsewhere.

But clearly, Iowa is out of step with other states when it comes to a basic right – the right to vote in our elections.

Trust, safety don’t come from church silence

David prevailed over Goliath in the famous tale from long ago using an unconventional weapon, his sling and a few stones.

These days, river rocks aren’t a potent weapon. Now, it might just be the spotlight.

And the spotlight was shining brightly last week in Iowa when an Associated Press reporter cracked open 32 years of cover-up by the Roman Catholic Church’s Sioux City Diocese.

We must stop tearing each other down

Let’s skip the debate over whether our president bears even a smidgen of blame for contributing to the domestic terrorist incidents last week in the United States.

Let’s agree we are never going to agree, so there’s no use driving each other’s blood pressure higher by talking more about that.

Yes, there will always be people who are so mentally disturbed they think they are improving life in our United States by gunning down 11 people in a synagogue or by mailing 13 pipe bombs to people the culprit, and the president, dislike.

Having said that, I wonder when will Americans and our political leaders stand up and say enough is enough?

Honoree’s life shows what a helping hand can mean

Each year in October, when the Iowa countryside transforms from gorgeous summer greens to harvest season hues of tan, some of the world’s top agricultural scientists and anti-hunger activists gather in Des Moines to compare notes.

The occasion is the presentation of the annual World Food Prize. It’s three days of conversations about the progress, or the setbacks, in the quest to adequately feed the world’s expanding population.

Is Roby Smith in political trouble, or do Republicans have virtually unlimited campaign dollars?

Is Roby Smith in political trouble, or do Republicans just have unlimited campaign dollars?

Judging from the mammoth amount of money incumbent State Senator Roby Smith has raised and spent on this year's election, either state Republican strategists think he's in trouble or the party of fiscal conservatism has few concerns when the spending helps retain its Senate majority in Des Moines.

Secrecy doesn’t serve Indian Hills’ best interests

There’s an old expression that officials of Indian Hills Community College obviously have not heard about – or have chosen to ignore.

The expression is simple: If you find yourself in a hole, stop shoveling.

But the school continues to shovel – digging itself ever deeper into legal trouble and into a public relations quagmire.


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