Richard Lindgren

When Chuck Grassley was "pwned" by the televangelists

Richard Lindgren reviews Senator Chuck Grassley’s probe of self-dealing by tax-exempt televangelists, which fizzled out with little to show for years of work. -promoted by Laura Belin

In a recent Bleeding Heartland piece, Laura Belin contrasted U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s aggressive attack on then-Vice President Al Gore’s use of a government telephone in 1997 to make fundraising calls to his silence after repeated and blatant Trump administration violations of the Hatch Act. This flouting of laws and norms culminated in President Trump pulling out all stops to use the White House grounds and hundreds of federal employees to publicly accept the 2020 Republican nomination for President.

In the internet gaming language of “leetspeak,” the notoriously frugal and “by the book” Grassley has repeatedly been “pwned,” (intentionally misspelled, but pronounced “owned”) which means to be embarrassingly dominated and defeated by another “gamer.”

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Living Shirley Jackson's story 'The Lottery' in real time

Richard Lindgren: Governor Kim Reynolds lost a good two months of time pretending that her state was immune from the virus when she could have been turning over rocks testing for emerging hot spots. -promoted by Laura Belin

I do not live in Iowa anymore, although I did spend a lot of my years in a very rural part of the state. I still have grandchildren in Iowa and I can’t help but watch with horror the slow-rolling disaster that is the “economic re-opening” of the state by Governor Kim Reynolds. It has brought from the deep recesses of my mind a classic short story written by Shirley Jackson, and I have realized that we are living this tale in real-time.

“The Lottery” was first published in 1948. During my youth, this work became a part of every American Literature curriculum. I confess that I neither understood the story nor grasped its importance until now.

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The misleading math of rural coronavirus

Richard Lindgren: “Surely, you may be thinking, this virus mostly impacts urban hellholes like New York City. Unfortunately, you are likely wrong.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Fifty-one cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) come out of one rural nursing home in northern Florida. A funeral in a small Georgia town is a key source for 150 cases of COVID-19 and eleven deaths.

The math of how the coronavirus emerges in rural America is different from how it has hit New York City. If red state governors like Iowa’s Kim Reynolds don’t figure this out, their actions may cause more problems than solutions.

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Ethics, legality and Iowa's governor

Richard Lindgren critiques the way ethics boards dominated by lawyers, such as Iowa’s campaign regulator, typically analyze controversial actions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

A recent Associated Press news story parsed through the repeated practice of Kim Reynolds, current governor of Iowa, of taking trips using planes owned by businessmen who do substantial business with the state. The most recent incident, involving a vendor handling state workers’ compensation claims, was approved by the executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, so it must be ethical, right?

The reality is that ethics boards dominated by lawyers, such as Iowa’s board (the executive director and the board chair are both lawyers), tend to slip into a very bad habit of equating whether an action is ethical based on whether or not it is legal. To use another Iowa example from another agency, there are many hog lots now in rural Iowa that have met the “legality” tests on their placement and practices, but if you ask any adjacent neighbor, the smell is overpowering and undeniable.

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Is Iowa government decentralization a fantasy?

A provocative idea from Richard Lindgren, emeritus Professor of Business at Graceland University and a past president of the Lamoni Development Corporation in Decatur County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have lived in Iowa for almost 20 years of my life in total, over several tenures, and for the life of me, I still can’t understand why the voters of the state allow the degree of governmental centralization that exists in the Des Moines area while so many smaller towns in the state continue to experience demographic and economic decline.

Humor me for a bit and engage with me in a “What If?” exercise. What if all the jobs involved in running the Iowa state government were more equally distributed around the state, say on a per capita basis, or better, weighted to local economic need? In this world of high-tech communication, why does Des Moines, already awash in private and public economic development dollars, continue to hold such a disproportionate share of the jobs required to run the state government? We’ll look at the obstacles in a bit, but we first may need some “whack on the side of the head” re-imagining here.

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