Herb Strentz

For Chuck Grassley, everything is "Jes' Fine"

Herb Strentz sees parallels between Iowa’s senior senator and a classic comic strip character.

Granted, “Jes’ fine” is not much of a campaign slogan. It’s not as catchy as “I Like Ike,” which helped elect and re-elect President Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956. Nor does it offer the hope of “Yes, We Can,” the theme of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

But “Jes’ fine” launched a successful political career for “Fremount, The Boy Bug,” one of the Okefenokee Swamp characters in the Walt Kelly comic strip “Pogo” the possum. That was back in 1960.

“Jes’ fine” came to mind in assessing the campaign rhetoric of Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

Continue Reading...

Tomorrow belongs to me?

Herb Strentz reflects on the state of politics after seeing a production of the musical Cabaret in Des Moines.

The lyrics opening the first three verses of the song are pleasant, pastoral, reassuring:

Verse 1: The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
Verse 2: The branch of the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea
Verse 3: ¬The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee

So why is what follows downright terrifying?

Continue Reading...

Quick hits on issues of the day

Herb Strentz on Afghanistan, what it means to be free, and a counter-intuitive place to look for hope and optimism.

One way to cope with overwhelming issues and events of the day is to hide someplace, until the storms blow over.

But of course, they won’t blow over. And even if we think they will, it’s better to try to understand what is happening and what we might do about it.

To that end, here is some brief food for thought on issues of the day.

Continue Reading...

1968 Olympics revisited: Prep for 2021's 200-meter final

Herb Strentz reviews the most famous 200-meter final in Olympic history and its aftermath. -promoted by Laura Belin

With the 2021 Olympics nearing the finish line, one of many track events to watch will be the 200-meter men’s final, scheduled for Wednesday, August 4.

While we don’t know who this year’s finalists will be, we can say with certainty the 1968 final for the 200-meter distance will be revisited, as it is every Olympiad and many times between.

Judging from past press coverage, Peter Norman will not be mentioned. That’s because on the 200-meter victory stand, two Black Americans, Tommie Smith (gold medalist) and John Carlos (bronze) raised gloved fists in a Black Lives Matter protest — back then it was called Black Power.

Continue Reading...

Donald Trump, GOP officials mock the martyrs

Herb Strentz: White residents of Tulsa 100 years ago could not bear the success of Black citizens any more than Republican legislators today can bear the notion of communities of color helping to vote them out of office.

With all the dreams about achieving “herd immunity” to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worrying to consider how our nation may have already achieved a kind of “immunity” from the promise of our constitution.

Columnist Paul Krugman suggested as much in a recent column called “The banality of democratic collapse.” He was referring to democracy, not the Democratic Party.

He warned, “America’s democratic experiment may well be nearing its end. That’s not hyperbole; it’s obvious to anyone following the political scene.”

Continue Reading...

On Grassley: What's the sideshow? What's the center ring?

Herb Strentz: The real story is not whether Chuck Grassley will seek re-election, but his refusal to denounce Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election. -promoted by Laura Belin

A chronic condition of the press is a tendency to focus on the sideshow instead of the main attraction—to report “what’s going on” without acknowledging “what is really going on.”

That critique comes to mind in reflecting on recent media coverage and commentary regarding U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

Continue Reading...
View More...