Friday, August 26, 2016


Posted August 10, 2016in Political Mercury

Third World antics in a small-town parade

A 1941 International fire truck graced a summer field adjacent to U.S. Highway 30 in western Iowa. Surely it summoned smiles from passersby, many of whom no doubt can remember the old fighting-red rescue vehicle. For my part, I loved seeing the truck, and the 100th anniversary of the Arcadia

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Posted July 27, 2016in Political Mercury

King could use N-word daily, still get re-elected here
At this point, the congressman is a mirror on all of us

Ladbrokes, a Goliath bookmaker in the United Kingdom, and organizations like it, lay odds on almost anything. If visiting London, you can bet on the U.S. presidential election, who will win and what party will prevail (the gaming ratios range, but Hillary Clinton is favored). The oddsmakers sometimes go into what are

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Posted July 20, 2016in Political Mercury

Branstad ‘not concerned,’ but ‘cautious’ about Cleveland

With the mercury rising on political and racial tensions in the United States, hitting levels perhaps not seen since 1968, Gov. Terry Branstad is in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, a national voice on police and justice matters, has said, “We are sitting on a powder

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Posted July 13, 2016in Political Mercury

Reynolds and a roadster

  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a prominent voice on international trade in Iowa, immediately spied the export value of the mobile veterinary units at a Lake City manufacturer. She talked business and foreign markets, job growth and rural development, with ownership of management of Bowie International. But for a moment, Reynolds, who

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Posted July 06, 2016in Political Mercury

The towering competence of Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack is a George C. Marshall for our time

Vilsack, the highly effective U.S. secretary of agriculture and former two-term governor of Iowa, possesses a remarkable command of the labyrinth of programs and benefits that river out of the hulking USDA into our communities. Vilsack intellectually and administratively inhabits the intersection of Washington and Main Street in a way few

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Posted June 29, 2016in Political Mercury

The Butz of Trump’s commentary Donald Trump appears to have weathered what Butz could not — and then some. 

What’s the difference between Donald Trump and Earl Butz? Short answer: Trump’s comments about Mexicans and a Mexican-American judge and “my African American” are worse than Butz’s joke — or, for that matter, Trent Lott’s endorsement. Butz’s infamous 1976 racist joke was far less troubling. Then there is Lott’s retro-endorsement

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Posted June 22, 2016in Political Mercury

Western Iowa town to dog: Git, git outta town
City holds first-ever ‘vicious dog’ appeal hearing

    Like a marshal in a dusty Old West village, city officials  from the western Iowa town of Carroll issued a lawbreaker an ultimatum. Leave town in three days. Or else. The bad guy in this story: an 18-month-old Chesapeake Bay retriever named Lambeau (after the iconic Green Bay,

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Posted June 15, 2016in Political Mercury

Patty Judge says Trump will drag Grassley down

  In his nearly 60 years of public service — having first been elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1958 — U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has run on tickets with many Republicans. Now his name is on the ballot under Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and that will prove devastating for

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Posted June 08, 2016in Political Mercury

In round after round, Bertrand pounds King back on heels

(Note: Douglas Burns wrote this column prior to Tuesday’s primary. It remains relevant for three reasons: First, Rick Bertrand could have pulled off an upset. Second, if Bertrand’s numbers are strong enough for financial supporters, he could mount an independent candidacy in the 4th District general election. And third, no

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Posted June 01, 2016in Political Mercury

Mowrer clear and convincing in Democratic debate

  Congressional candidate Jim Mowrer on May 26 showed a professional political bearing that escaped his two rivals for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 3rd District, a sweep of the rural Hawkeye State bookended by Des Moines and Council Bluffs. Mowrer, an Iraq War veteran who took on U.S. Rep. Steve King,

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