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The Baltimore uprising's backstory: Race riots as American as baseball and apple pie

Race riots, as we used to call them, are as American as baseball and apple pie.

What started out as righteous protest over the death of a young black man in the hands of Baltimore cops (he had been accused of “making eye contact with a police officer”) quickly degenerated into a full-scale riot. By nightfall the city was on fire, its hopes for a better tomorrow in ruins.

Bettendorf, aka Bettenberg, makes the big time on Emmy winning Netflix series 'House of Cards'

U.S. President Francis Underwood in the popular Netflix series 'House of Cards' has hit the Iowa campaign trail, just like the real presidential hopefuls now crisscrossing our state.

And in one of this season's episodes, Underwood's female challenger, Heather Dunbar, fires up a blue-collar crowd in a small, union hall calling for a higher minimum wage and criticizing WalMart. As she leaves the meeting, the sign in the background proclaims the location as "Bettenberg Union Hall." A smaller message on the same sign advertises "Sweet Corn Roast Thursday."

Ahhh, the presidential primary campaign season and the unmistakeable whiff of hypocrisy in the air

Baseball has spring training, football’s got its training camps. But for a political junkie like me, nothing compares with the opening of the presidential primary season.

Some 19 candidates, give or take, recently swarmed a Republican forum in New Hampshire in search of a kind word and a smile from voters there. They spent much of their time arm-wrestling each other over who hated Hillary Clinton more.

Proposed Bettendorf comprehensive plan truly would be a game-changer for city development

The proposed "Premiering Bettendorf" comprehensive plan – unveiled at a public meeting this week (4/14) – truly would be a game-changer for community development if adopted as is by the city council.

For starters, the plan would replace the more than two dozen very specific land zoning classifications with three broad land use categories using low- to high-density classifications.

Campaigns begin for presidential election and the trash-talking from SuperPACs isn't far behind

That harsh whine you hear in the background — like a buzzsaw getting ready for a log to come down the chute — is the vast right-wing conspiracy revving its engines.

America Rising, an opposition research Super PAC that lives to trash the Clintons, dashed off a press release challenging the notion that Hillary was going to “drive to Iowa” to start her campaign as she said she would. Hillary doesn’t drive, it said. Someone would have to drive her.

Republicans invited the Israeli PM to Congress to embarrass Obama, not to defuse a nuclear threat

On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked into our Capitol as though he owned the place, stuck a thumb in President Barack Obama’s eye, and walked out to multitudes of cheering Republicans.

Is that a mensch or what?

City places high priority on new $1.15 million Devils Glen Road bridge over Spencer Creek

Most Bettendorf residents have never driven along Devils Glen Road, north of Interstate 80, where it crosses Spencer Creek.

Take the broadband quiz and win a cupie doll

What's with all the political hot air about broadband service in Iowa?

Even before President Obama visited Cedar Falls to talk about lack of competition among providers of broadband service, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and state legislators were pointing to expanding broadband to rural areas as an important issue to tackle in this year's legislative session.

Never mind that no one agrees on what "broadband" means. 

So in the interest of educating voters above age 25, here is today's "broadband" quiz:

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