Iowawildflower Wednesday: Jack-in-the-pulpit

Bleeding Heartland’s wildflower series might never have existed if not for this week’s featured plant. In May 2009, Elizabeth Hill took my family on a nature hike at Whiterock Conservancy and pointed out lots of spring flowers in bloom. On the way home, I asked my kids what their favorite part of the visit was. My three-and-a-half year old said “those Jack flowers.”

Jack-in-the-pulpits were among the few native plants I could identify at that time. My son was excited to learn we had some growing near our Windsor Heights home. That spring and summer, we started looking more closely at the wildflowers in our neighborhood and along local bike trails. Over the next several years, he and I learned the names of more flowers we saw on our walks.

When I launched Iowa wildflower Wednesday in 2012, I didn’t realize this hobby would eventually occupy so much of my time. While I enjoy learning to identify new plants every year, there is a special place in my heart for the ones I could pick out as a child.

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Steve King implies Clintons should be executed

Ed Fallon discusses yet another offensive meme posted on Steve King’s Facebook page. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m not prone to cliches, but I can’t get this one off my mind: You can’t teach an old dog a new trick. Witness hapless U.S. Representative Steve King (R-Eighteenth Century), who despite public chastisement by fellow House members for his comments in support of white supremacy, was again unable to conceal his propensity to think outside the sanity box.

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It's good to be orange

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. This post first appeared at the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Many have written how earth’s species are undergoing a mass extinction right now, the sixth such event in the planet’s history. These writers include Elizabeth Kolbert and the famous biologist Edward O. Wilson. Extinctions are occurring now at a faster pace than any time since 65 million years ago, when earth’s collision with a 7-mile wide asteroid caused the 5th great extinction, wiping out 70 percent of all species.

One species that did survive the fifth extinction was the Pallid Sturgeon. This fish entered earth’s evolutionary record about 70 million years ago. “Pallid” means absence of color, and true enough, the pallid sturgeon is nearly white. It is one of the largest (up to 85 pounds), longest-lived (as long as 100 years) and ugliest (like a bizarre cross between a shark and an armadillo) fish species in North America. The fish is endangered because we wrecked the Missouri River.

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Stupid to shun Fox News

Ira Lacher argues that Democratic candidates for president should accept invitations to hold town halls on Fox News. -promoted by Laura Belin

Our dog sitter is a wonderful young man with an engaging smile, modest persona and, above all, a tremendous caring spirit. He also watches Fox News.

An estimated 2.5 million Americans get at least part of their prime-time news and information from Fox News. Which makes it a dynamic “D-oh!” why most Democratic Party presidential nominees refuse to accept the network’s invitation to appear in a town hall format, hosted by one of their news anchors, not one of their right-wing talking heads.

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Twelve takeaways: How to talk to Trump voters about the environment

Midwesterners who supported Donald Trump for president may be open to policies that would “improve environmental conditions while also addressing jobs and the economy, clean water and air, and renewable energy,” even if they are not highly engaged in those issues or convinced that climate change is a global emergency.

Extreme local weather events or threats to area drinking water are good conversation starters, with potential to tap into “pent-up goodwill” rather than reinforcing the “resistance” such voters may feel when confronted by alarming rhetoric.

Those were among the notable findings from twelve focus groups Selzer & Company conducted recently in Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.

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"He knows how to get things done": Grassley endorses Young for IA-03

Senator Chuck Grassley is urging Republicans to support former U.S. Representative David Young in the primary for Iowa’s third Congressional district. In a written statement released on May 20, Grassley described his onetime chief of staff as “an effective leader” who “knows how to get things done” and could “hit the ground running” if elected to the House again.

Grassley rarely endorses in Republican primaries and did not publicly support any candidate before the GOP primary in 2014, the first time Young ran for Congress. That year, Young finished fifth out of six GOP contenders but won the party’s nomination on the fifth ballot at a district convention.

Young became the first declared challenger to U.S. Representative Cindy Axne earlier this month. Army veteran Bill Schafer will also seek the GOP nomination. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the main campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans, is rumored to prefer State Senator Zach Nunn. He is positioning himself as part of “a new generation of leaders.” While not yet officially running, Nunn is touring the district and recently alluded to Young in an interview as “a good man, but we don’t want to see a repeat of 2018.” Nunn briefly worked in Grassley’s Washington office, but Young worked for the senator from 2006 to 2013.

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