Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2018 guest authors

The Bleeding Heartland community lost a valued voice this year when Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese passed away in October. As Mike Carberry noted in his obituary for his good friend, Kurt had a tremendous amount on his plate, and I was grateful whenever he found time to share his commentaries in this space. His final post here was a thought-provoking look at his own upbringing and past intimate relationships in light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Friese was among more than 100 guest authors who produced 202 Bleeding Heartland posts during 2018, shattering the previous record of 164 posts by 83 writers in 2017. I’m thankful for every piece and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, commentary about major news events, personal reflections on events from many years ago, and stories in photographs or cartoons. Some posts were short, while others developed an argument over thousands of words. Pieces by Allison Engel, Randy Richardson, Tyler Higgs, and Matt Chapman were among the most-viewed at the site this year. In the full list, I’ve noted other posts that were especially popular.

Please get in touch if you would like to write about any political topic of local, statewide, or national importance during 2019. If you do not already have a Bleeding Heartland account, I can set one up for you and explain the process. There is no standard format or word limit. I copy-edit for clarity but don’t micromanage how authors express themselves. Although most authors write under their real names, pseudonyms are allowed here and may be advisable for those writing about sensitive topics or whose day job does not permit expressing political views. I ask authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest, such as being are a paid staffer, consultant, or lobbyist promoting any candidate or policy they discuss here.

The most prolific Bleeding Heartland author in 2018 was Ira Lacher, who wrote fifteen commentaries under the handle BronxinIowa.

Geezer caucus?

Open-mic night


It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Climbing out of the doughnut hole

Midterm post-mortem

Don’t buy the Des Moines Register–the editor says so

America, 2018

Vacuum up the monsters

The much anticipated blue wave–not

A question for candidates

Two modest proposals

Forgiveness. Can you imagine?

Words in contrast

Latest Des Moines Register casualty: prep football fans

Bruce Lear wrote thirteen commentaries, mostly related to public education.

It’s not expected

Iowa culture lost

The next step

“The most important election of a lifetime”

When good people make dumb decisions

Back to school with the family

Thoughts from Disney World

One and done!

Wishing is not a strategy

Of black holes and school boards

When TLC isn’t Tender Loving Care

A perfect Iowa storm (among 25 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

An extreme coupon plan

Matt Chapman wrote eleven posts, mostly related to Iowa legislature’s work.

Waukee School Board to approve wrongful termination settlement (twelfth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2018)

Waukee’s small-time controversy could be talking point for school vouchers

The bill that was absolutely written by Jake Chapman, not MidAmerican Energy

A life that has led to advocacy

Duplicity in action: The Kim Reynolds mental health ad

Bigotry in Iowa gets a reprieve from skulking in the shadows

Iowa House passes energy giveaway bill like sneak-thieves in the night

Sparks fly in Iowa Senate as Republicans pass mid-year budget cuts

Bob Vander Plaats and FAMiLY Leader men: Pluck out thy right eye

Terrible Iowa Senate energy bill returns – Michael Breitbach edition

Republicans blow a billion-dollar hole in the budget (updated)

Randy Richardson’s nine posts mostly focused on public education and collective bargaining.

Iowa teachers are feeling the burn(out) (third most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2018)

School vouchers make first Iowa legislative appearance of 2018

Change to Iowa’s bargaining law has real impact on these teachers (among 20 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

County election maps don’t tell the whole story

Smaller districts more likely to strip optional items from teacher contracts

What’s up with the Iowa Association of School Boards?

What happened on education during the Iowa legislature’s final week

Iowa’s collective bargaining law, one year later

Do we really need a test to measure civics knowledge?

Tyler Higgs covered a wide range of topics in his eight posts.

Part 1: How to corrupt a school district (among 50 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

Part 2: How to corrupt the Iowa House (sixth most-viewed at the site in 2018)

Part 3: How to corrupt the Iowa Senate

Part 4: How to corrupt Iowa agriculture

Part 5: How to corrupt Dallas County

They actually brought pitchforks

Waukee School District audit exposes more shenanigans (among 40 most-viewed posts at the site in 2018)

More than a photo

Dan Guild wrote seven posts, mostly about the battle for control of the U.S. House.

The Democrats are on the verge of an historic win

A blue tidal wave? GOP seats that should not be competitive, but are

3 weeks out: Democrats lead but anything could happen

With Democratic House majority in sight, a larger wave may be coming

When waves happen

The House on a knife’s edge

Can anything make Trump popular?

Ed Fallon’s activism inspired five commentaries this year.

Beer and baseball

Iowa’s suffering senator

Politico calls Rob Sand a “young Robert Mueller”

Movement to battle climate change demands unity, civility

Don’t blow clear shot at victory

Three authors contributed four posts each. In alphabetical order, they are Kurt Friese:

The inherent culpability of maleness

Hubbell’s primary landslide calls for unity

Gone but not forgotten: Labor’s struggle with itself

Home rule, the Iowa legislature, and your county board

Josh Hughes concentrated on Iowa campaigns and elections.

Race ratings: Battle for the Iowa House (among 25 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

Majority makers: 15 districts that will determine control of the Iowa House (among 40 most-viewed posts at the site in 2018)

Rita DeJong’s strong performance shows Iowa legislature in play

An open letter to Deidre DeJear (co-authored with Olivia Habinck)

Jon Muller shared thoughts about the economy and public policy.

Voters vexed by stagnation myth

A spiritual case for a woman’s right to have an abortion

Governor Reynolds, please veto Farm Bureau/Wellmark monopoly bill

The story has changed, but not the economy

The following eleven writers (listed in alphabetical order) contributed three posts each. Randy Bauer drew on his expertise about taxes and ways to measure economic performance.

Think Iowa’s economy is improving? One key federal measure says no

Summer blockbuster: The Force (for Taxing Internet Sales) Awakens

The trouble with sales tax (It’s not just the internet)

Katie Byerly wrote three posts for the wildflowers series.

Stiff gentian

Grass of Parnassus

Small white lady’s slipper

Writing under the handle “Prairie Progressive,” Jeff Cox offered advice to readers.

Fight racism by voting in local elections

Democratic gubernatorial candidates should go back to the future

Hope and pray for Democratic victories in Iowa

Randy Evans, the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, drew attention to the public’s right to know.

Apparently, legal deadlines don’t apply to everyone

Don’t hide government officials from the public

The governor is wrong to think silence will work

Amber Gustafson drew on her perspective as an Iowa Senate candidate.

Nobody asked for my opinion, but I’m giving it anyway (part 1)

How Democrats can reach rural America, build relationships, create change

Ankeny mom speaks out about guns at K-12 schools

Tanya Keith shared personal experiences in these political posts.

A Jew, a German, and 2 Ames residents meet outside a Steve King event (among 25 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

Urban blight…a photo essay

Save the Iowa State Historic Tax Credit

Josh Mandelbaum’s work on the Des Moines City Council and for the Environmental Law & Policy Center informed these posts.

Why I support the local option sales tax

The utility attack on Iowa’s clean energy leadership

Are MidAmerican and Alliant trying to kill Iowa’s energy efficiency programs?

John Morrissey produced three scoops by diving deep into little-read official reports.

Former Iowa Medicaid carrier’s financial sleight of hand

Former Iowa Medicaid carrier owes millions in unpaid claims

Iowa Medicaid spending balloons by $400 million

John Norwood wrote three pieces related to his campaign for public office.

Why I’m running for Polk County Soil and Water Commission (among 40 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

Iowa can learn from other states on nutrient-driven water pollution

Severe weather events require new water management thinking

Carl Olsen is one of Iowa’s leading experts on medical cannabis policy.

State board rejects religious claim for cannabidiol

Medical cannabis board recommends adding ulcerative colitis

IA-03: David Young not defending Iowa’s medical cannabis law

Julie Stauch drew on her vast experience working on campaigns.

Common candidate mistakes and how to prevent them

A campaign manager remembers Leonard Boswell

A special message for Nate Boulton supporters

Thirteen authors contributed two posts each. In alphabetical order:

John Clayton:

Gender balance should be happening on local boards

Cathy Glasson for rural rights

Ben Cobley:

So the Iran Deal was bad but North Korea was good?

A reasoned take on the Iran Deal and Senator Ernst’s failure to lead

Caleb Gates:

What oil and gas investments is Rod Blum failing to disclose?

No, Rod Blum, wife-beaters and child abusers should not have guns

John Grieder:

Scared young man

We must do better

Olivia Habinck:

Paul Pate ignorant about his own voter ID law

An open letter to Deidre DeJear (co-authored with Josh Hughes)

Laura Hubka:

Please, for the sake of the nation (and my heart, body and soul)

What could go wrong?

Richard Lindgren:

Ethics, legality and Iowa’s governor

Is Iowa government decentralization a fantasy?

Beth Lynch:

Celebrating skunk cabbage

Wild and crazy wild cucumber

Robert Niederklopfer:

How comics taught me not to be anti-Semitic

The fine print

Alexandra Rucinski:

I was raised without bodily autonomy. The Iowa GOP is doing the same thing

This is why I didn’t report my assault

Dave Swenson:

Iowa nonmetro changes, challenges, and shifting voter preferences

A pre-election economic update

Francis Thicke:

Comments at a CAFO hearing

Iowa agriculture is a water quality problem waiting to happen

Stacey Walker:

Expungement clinic makes debut in Linn County

“We must match our proclamations with courage”: Remarks for Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday

Sixty-four Bleeding Heartland user accounts contributed one post each. Several of those posts involved more than one author. In alphabetical order:

Ako Abdul-Samad: Jonathan Narcisse, Remembered

Tiffany Allison: Marsy’s Law would provide better protections for victims

Marti Anderson: It is time for an Iowa crime victim rights constitutional amendment

Pat Boddy: Pat Boddy for Polk County Soil and Water Commission

Charles Bruner: Remembering Senator Tom Slater

Mike Carberry: Kurt Friese walked the talk and sucked the marrow out of life

Leslie Carpenter: Why Jerry Foxhoven is wrong about closing Iowa’s mental health institutions

Laural Clinton: Historic meetings seek to end racial profiling in Des Moines

Lora Conrad: Wahoo

“Ann Crane” (not her real name): Why do I have to choose between opioids and medical cannabis for chronic pain?

Concerned Iowan: How you can fight Trump’s cruel treatment of immigrant children

Sue Dinsdale: Iowans are health care voters

Eric Donat: The “dignity of work” and one’s worth

Andrew Duffelmeyer: A misguided, irresponsible attempt to legalize discrimination

Mary Dyer: Telecoil bill would help ALL Iowans have hearing access

Morgan Edwards: A new podcast: Filibustered!

Emily at Activate: Which candidates for governor are organizing statewide?

Allison Engel: A house divided (second most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2018)

Flip It Iowa: Flip the Iowa House

Tracy Freese: An open letter of thanks from Tracy Freese

Tabita Green: David vs. Goliath: Reflections on a special election in Decorah, Iowa

Amanda Hardy: How safe do you feel? Your gender likely influences your answer

Shawn Harmsen: Why I’m supporting Nate Boulton for Iowa governor

Greg Hauenstein: Iowa’s Congressional delegation reacts to #TreasonSummit

Dirk Hillard, Carly Armour, Robert Vizzini, and Vania Kassouf: Urgent: Deaf/Hard of hearing language acquisition bill

Sarah Hinds: Suspension of the rules: A case study of Iowa’s 2018 First District Convention

Gwen Hope: Trans health care islands are tenuous

UPDATE: Gwen wrote another piece in late December 2018: Racism evident in Iowa justice system

Peggy Huppert: Why the mental health bills that just passed are a big deal

Iowa Coalition for Sexual Assault staff: Why we oppose “Marsy’s Law” legislation in Iowa

Iowa Student Action: Iowa students lead in nationwide fight for free college for all

Tom Jochum: Farewell to an altar boy

Barb Kalbach: Clean water and the governor’s race

Adam Kenworthy: It is time to go for broke

Sherry Kiskunas: What has Rod Blum done for Iowa’s first district?

Sable Knapp: Outgrow the status quo (endorsement of Cathy Glasson)

Latrice Lacey: Urgent: Civil rights commission threatened in Davenport

Ryan Marquardt: A crop whose time has come

Mark Masterson: Introducing Jason Moats, Democrat for Iowa House district 84

Jean Mauss: “Be the G.O.A.T. and Vote”: Youth registration drive launching

Pete McRoberts: Nate Boulton must resign now

Kurt Meyer: Our shared future is at stake

Nate Monson: Post-modern queer youth experience

Ben Muller: Like riding a bike

Jeani Murray: A staffer’s perspective: What Congressman Boswell taught me

Jackie Norris: The dignity of work

Susie Olesen: Report from Senator Joni Ernst’s town hall in Shenandoah (among 20 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018)

One Iowa staff: Reflecting on Donna Red Wing’s legacy

Jordan Oster: Obama’s caucus victory 10 years later: A look back in photos

Kyla Paterson: Vote for Jodi Clemens in Iowa House district 73

James Pierce: John Norris in a league of his own

Heather Ryan: I’m voting no March 6 (twice if I don’t get caught)

Marty Ryan: A close look at a proposed Iowa constitutional amendment

Alex Sekora: Why I am supporting John Norris for governor

Dennis Smith: Angels falling from the sky

Greg Stevens: The day I became a sacrificial lamb: My story of running for office

Joe Stutler: Democrats have a patriotism perception problem

Ruth Thompson: Adventures in “pro-life”

Scott Thompson: Voter fluidity and my outreach to new Democratic voters

Lauren Whitehead: John Norris for Iowa’s future

Nate Willems: IA-Gov post-mortem: One mistake and two missed opportunities

Cody Woodruff: Choose hope: Vote Nate Boulton for governor

Phyllis Womble: Andy McGuire supporter urges unity, hopes for positivity

Austin Wu: What’s happening with the University of Iowa’s Labor Center?

ReShonda Young: We need representatives who vote for us!

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