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Posted April 29, 2013in Featured Story, Iowa Watchdog

Weak transparency laws leave Iowans in the dark

DES MOINES — When it comes to transparency in government, Iowa agencies face few consequences if they break the state’s open records and meetings laws, some state officials say. Under state law, the only way for Iowans to remedy potential violations is to take taxpayer-funded agencies to court, which is a

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Posted April 24, 2013in Featured Story, Food Dude

Greek tragedy with happy ending

The James Beard Awards, the Pulitzer’s of food, recently honored George Formaro of Orchestrate Management among the nation’s top 20 restaurateurs. Of all the many honors thrown at our city’s restaurants and chefs during in the last 10 years, that was the most impressive. Formaro graduated from bakery owner to

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Posted April 24, 2013in Featured Story, Political Mercury

King: GOP has numbers, strength to stand on principle

Republicans, actively conducting an autopsy of the last presidential election, should be cautious about throwing overboard long-held principles and core constituencies in a chase for quick political fixes with younger voters and Hispanics, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, says. Bottom line: Count King out on the head-turning facelift some key

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Posted April 24, 2013in Civic Skinny, Featured Story

Iowa P***** Radio (cont.); Nancy Sebring’s ‘underware’

Iowa Public Radio has a “commitment to openness and transparency,” lawyer Wayne Reames told The Des Moines Register the other day. Oh. But, of course, it is not subject to the Iowa Open Meetings law, he has told Cityview, because it is not a governmental body. Sure, its licenses are

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Posted April 23, 2013in Featured Story, Iowa Watchdog

Iowa lawmaker wants answers on welfare program oversight

DES MOINES – At least one Iowa lawmaker wants answers from state leaders regarding lax oversight of a $100-million program aimed at providing the poor with the essentials. Rep. Brad Zaun, R-Polk, will seek answers next week when he meets with Charles Palmer, director of the Department of Human Services.

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Posted April 19, 2013in Featured Story, Iowa Watchdog

Open up IA: Don’t shield welfare transactions

DES MOINES — In 1973, then California Gov. Ronald Reagan said government officials derive their “ultimate authority from the people. And we have an obligation to make sure that in carrying out our responsibilities, we do so at a price they can afford.” Forty years later some in Iowa government

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Posted April 17, 2013in Featured Story, Food Dude

Political correctness and fast food

America’s fast food industry behaves more like its network television industry every year. Both spend billions of dollars researching and launching new products. Then, despite all that investment, neither hesitates to dump a new production if audiences don’t immediately respond. Pizza Hut introduced its pizza sliders in February with Super

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Posted April 17, 2013in Civic Skinny, Featured Story

A history lesson as James Harlan comes home to Iowa — again

James Harlan has been evicted from the Capitol in Washington and is being sent back to Iowa. It isn’t the first time he has been sent home. Harlan was a noted and notable — and at times notorious — politician of the 1800s. He was the third Iowan to serve

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Posted April 17, 2013in Featured Story, Political Mercury

Sharecropper’s grandson Braley fights for plain-speaking federal government

Politicians looking to yarn folksy images often talk of being plain-speaking, just-folks fellows. Bruce Braley, who grew up in Brooklyn, Iowa, takes that angle a step further. He authored a bill requiring Washington bureaucrats to dispense with what Braley, a Waterloo congressman, calls “gobbledygook” and deliver information in clear English.

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Posted April 15, 2013in Featured Story, Iowa Watchdog

Iowa new boss, same as the old boss?

One of the worst kept secrets in Iowa is that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, is considering a run for governor. Many in Iowa’s Democratic Party see Vilsack as potentially the only one among them capable of beating Republican Gov. Terry Branstad in a 2014 match-up. Vilsack,

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