Herb Strentz

On an Australian travelogue and Iowa travesties

Herb Strentz contrasts charming Australia molehills with troubling American mountains.

While spending a month in Australia, I found some charming molehills. Sadly, though, the “molehills” did not provide needed diversion from the troubling mountains of discord and lies in Iowa public life.

Way back in 1989, in a PBS program, “The Truth About Lies,” Bill Moyers asked, “…can a nation die of too many lies?” A reprise of that program today might straightforwardly declare, “Our nation is dying of too many lies.”

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Believe it or not, Donald Trump told the "truth"

Herb Strentz: Trump’s lies may be troubling, but the failure of our elected GOP leaders to speak up against them should be even more troubling.

The aphorism “If a man bites a dog, that’s news,” has been attributed to a few newspaper characters. One was John Bogart (1848-1921), city editor of the New York Sun, one of that city’s liveliest newspapers in the late 19th century.

That’s why some 100 years later, I named our Sheltie puppy “Bogie.” That was much easier than making something out of Alfred Harmsworth — a British newspaper guy also credited with the line.

“Man bites dog!” defined news as something out of the expected or quite contrary to our daily experiences. You know, like Donald Trump telling the “truth.”

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Book review: Grab the Moment, a well-woven memoir

Herb Strentz reviews a memoir by the French photojournalist Fabrice Moussus.

Suppose you are reading someone’s memoir or autobiography, and the author declares early on, “I have been able to pack more in my one life than several lives put together.”

That may strike you as pompous, or at best, immodest.

Those words come near the end of Grab the Moment, Fabrice Moussus’ account of how he spent the better part of three decades filming and reporting warfare and mayhem in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

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Governor, GOP legislature sound death knell for "Iowa nice"

Herb Strentz: Iowa is now governed by a disgraceful Trump cult, masquerading as the once respected Republican Party.

The phrase “Iowa nice” used to be an annoyance to some of us, when used to express the idea that Iowans are nicer than other people. Those of us who have lived in other states, or have family and friends elsewhere, know Iowa has no monopoly on nice people.

But now, instead of being annoyed, there is good reason to mourn the loss of “Iowa nice,” thanks to Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

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Iowa must do better than Chuck Grassley

Herb Strentz reviews Senator Chuck Grassley’s record as a leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A one-time Democratic candidate to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate was only half right when he expressed concern in 2014 that Senator Chuck Grassley might be a threat to our nation’s judiciary.

The comment is relevant today because Grassley still serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the panel’s ranking Republican. He will set the tone for how Republicans respond to President Joe Biden’s nomination of the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Echoes from 1950s might answer fears of 2022

Herb Strentz draws inspiration from three Americans who spoke truth to power when McCarthyism was ascendant.

Edward R. Murrow was among America’s greatest 20th century journalists. He helped see the nation through World War II, mostly through his broadcasts from Nazi-bombed London. He also helped the country get through the “Red Scare” of the 1950s.

Both episodes are distant memories now, even for those who are old enough to remember. But some of us still cling to those memories, and rightly so.

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