Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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Posted November 23, 2020in Stray Thoughts

There are many reasons for gratitude

With all of the frustrations, the tragedies and the maddening political chaos that have been with us this year, I have the perfect recipe for our Thanksgiving celebrations. No, it is not a new take on green bean casserole. It’s not some newfangled way to ease the strain on our

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Posted November 16, 2020in Stray Thoughts

WW2 lesson is ignored during this pandemic

Forgive me, but I don’t think Americans are as tough as we used to be. Specifically, I don’t think many of us see the big picture the way our parents and our grandparents did. I venture down this treacherous path because I think this lack of toughness is affecting Iowans’

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Posted November 11, 2020in Stray Thoughts

Weary reflections from the middle of the road

I’m tired. I’m worn out. My energy has been sapped. I am tired of getting up every day and bracing myself to learn who or what, in the dawn’s early light, the president has demeaned, disparaged or mocked like a school kid. I long for the days when political leaders

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Posted October 27, 2020in Stray Thoughts

The governor has to follow the law, too

When the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public records law 50 years ago, lawmakers wanted to guarantee that anyone could obtain copies of state and local government records that are not designated by statute to be kept confidential. There is no asterisk in the law. There is no exemption saying

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Posted October 19, 2020in Stray Thoughts

UNI student leaders missed important lesson

There is a significant disconnect right now at the University of Northern Iowa. We think of colleges and universities as places where people come together to learn, to discuss and deliberate ideas, and to strengthen their thinking skills. But that has not occurred this month at Iowa’s third-largest university. The

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Posted October 12, 2020in Stray Thoughts

Just leave arrests for law officers

My closest friend spent his working life in law enforcement. He handled everything from minor traffic violations to homicides, with assorted robberies, break-ins, vandalism and domestic assaults in between. Sadly, Denny has been gone for three years. Among his family’s treasured possessions are his sheriff’s badges, the shoulder patches from

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Posted October 06, 2020in Stray Thoughts

2020 has shown us why America needs journalists

There is one week set aside each year to salute newspapers for the important role they have played in our nation, a role that goes back to the beginning of these United States. This year, however, waiting until October 4-10 and National Newspaper Week has been difficult, because the coronavirus

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Posted September 28, 2020in Stray Thoughts

The president’s taxes and so much more . . .

The events and issues of the past couple of weeks have been swirling around in my head like Toto, Dorothy and the debris picked up in that famous Kansas cyclone.  Here are some thoughts from that vortex: HOW DO YOU COMPARE? People were buzzing Sunday night over news reports dealing

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Posted September 22, 2020in Stray Thoughts

‘Principles’ shouldn’t be a matter of convenience

One of my co-workers at the Des Moines Register was Gene Raffensperger, an excellent reporter with a delicious sense of humor. When Raff was working on a dull story, he often would announce to colleagues, “We’re going to need another tanker of Murine. I’ve got an eye-burner here.” Raff is

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Posted September 15, 2020in Stray Thoughts

We should not just accept deaths like these

Twenty years ago, when the death of 2-year-old Shelby Duis outraged Iowans, I was confident the Spirit Lake tragedy would soon bring change to our state. I probably was naive.  In 2016, when Natalie Finn, 16, was found near death in a middle-class neighborhood in West Des Moines, I was

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