Randy Evans's blog

Public must be informed in doctor discipline

The Iowa Legislature’s “To Do” list should be a little longer after last week.

And people need to contact their senators and representatives in the Legislature to make sure they understand their duty is to protect the health and safety of Iowans.

The reason? The Iowa Supreme Court handed down a decision Friday that will pretty much keep the public in the dark when a physician is charged by state regulators with professional misconduct.

The wacky extremes with ‘two-sideisms’

The requirements for becoming a teacher were always straightforward: Earn a college degree in education, take enough classes in your area of specialty, practice your teaching skills for a semester as a student teacher.

Politicians have added a new skill this year in some states: Be a mind-reader.

That’s what teachers in a Texas school district concluded recently after receiving guidance for how to comply with a law passed this summer by the Texas Legislature and signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

These men have eloquent guidance

Richard Deming, the son of a grain elevator worker and grocery store clerk from small-town South Dakota, is a modest, soft-spoken man. He has spent the majority of his adult life with people when they are most vulnerable — when they or loved ones are fighting cancer.

Ron Fournier came out of a different background. The son of a Detroit, Mich., cop has spent much of his working life as a big-time political reporter, covering our nation’s political leaders, including several presidents.

While you might think the two are as different as Madison, S.D., and the Motor City, they are quite similar in one important way: Each has become an eloquent, soul-searching advocate for keeping life in the proper perspective. We all would be wise to heed them, especially during these times when so many lives are filled with so much stress.

Neither party is immune from ineptitude

Do the folks in politics think we are asleep? Do they really believe no one is paying attention to what politicians are up to?

It’s not surprising if you have acid indigestion these days. A few examples illustrate why I might need a tanker truck of Maalox.

SENATE RACE — The comments by our political leaders last week to the news Charles Grassley is seeking another U.S. Senate term was disappointing, but predictable.

Grassley, now 88, said he wants six more years in the Senate because he has work to finish – work, presumably, that he has not been able to complete since he first became a member of the Congress in 1975. In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that was 46 years ago.

Vigilante justice isn’t the American way

Let’s set aside our views on abortion. Instead, let’s consider one aspect of the new Texas abortion law that took effect last week.

All of us should be able to agree on this, whether we find abortions abominable or support a woman’s right to end her pregnancy:

The enforcement mechanism created by Texas lawmakers is un-American. It farms out enforcement of a state’s laws to vigilantes and bounty hunters.

There’s no escaping the chaos of war

The news out of Afghanistan last week about the terrorist bombing at the airport in Kabul brought fresh heartache — and old memories — to Iowa.

A native of Red Oak, Marine Cpl. Daegan Page, 23, was among 13 members of the U.S. military who died in the blast.

Page and the others were screening U.S. citizens and Afghanistan civilians heading to evacuation flights — among 120,000 people the United States and its allies have airlifted out of Afghanistan after its government collapsed following more than 20 years of civil war.

Not surprisingly, there have been many questions since President Joe Biden announced in April American forces would be gone by the end of August. Questions are nothing new about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan — or about our handling of other wars and conflicts.

More secrecy unwise in schools’ hiring decisions

Iowa’s three state universities made a U-turn this summer, and they now are headed down the road toward secrecy with some hiring decisions.

The about-face should trouble taxpayers of this state. It also should bother members of the Legislature, who have expressed concern in recent years that the universities are out of touch with the people of Iowa.

Norm Borlaug, Dolly Parton: Two peas in a pod

It is hard to imagine Norman Borlaug ever joining in singing “Jolene” or “9 to 5.” I can’t picture him harmonizing in a heart-tugging rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”

This is not a knock against this kid from Cresco, Iowa.

He excelled in other ways — like saving upwards of one billion people from starvation through the revolutionary plant-breeding work he did in the decades after World War II. Borlaug developed new, high-yield, disease-resistant varieties of wheat, maize and rice that are still feeding people around the globe today.

He also established the World Food Prize 35 years ago to honor people who devote themselves to trying to rid the world of the scourge of hunger.

A bronze statue of the late scientist stands in Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol. It shows him in his work attire — khaki pants and shirt, rumpled hat to shield him from the sun, and a clipboard for jotting notes during inspection of fields.

Government cuts corners on public participation

Several times a week, someone contacts me because they had difficulty learning about a government meeting or ran into obstacles trying to get government records.

These calls and emails to the Iowa Freedom of Information Council come more frequently than just a few years ago. This is a troubling trend because there is growing citizen distrust of government at all levels.

It should not be this way. Government officials in Iowa already have the power to make these citizen frustrations disappear — if they want to.

This wasn’t one of the court’s finest moments

Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted.

The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a leader with landmark rulings on slavery, school desegregation and gay marriage.

But Friday, the Supreme Court passed up the opportunity to add to its legacy. In time, history will tell us just how far reaching this latest decision turns out to be, legally and environmentally.

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