On COVID-19, governor is a day late and a dollar short—again

Jan Flora is Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University.

On January 9, new cases of COVID-19 reached an all-time high in Iowa. Governor Kim Reynolds may have known that when she gave her Condition of the State address two days later. By barely mentioning the pandemic, she attempted to relegate it to the past.

With the Omicron variant now dominant, COVID-19 cases were modeled to peak on January 15. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations are now near 1,000, the highest point since early December 2020. Iowa faces a grave hospitalization crisis that may not ease before March.

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Understanding "left-center-right" typologies

Steve Corbin is a freelance writer and emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

Few people would argue with the nonpartisan Pew Research Center’s October 2020 finding that “political polarization is more intense now than at any point in modern history.” Resolving the strife starts with truly knowing your political beliefs, understanding other political values, listening (vs. preaching) to others, expanding (vs. restricting) political news sources, compromising (vs. convincing) and accepting intellectual humility.

When registering to vote, citizens must declare whether they are Democrat, Republican, or affiliated with no party (independent). However, there are several gradations of belief within each political stance. Three sources can assist individuals better realize their – and others — political viewpoints.

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Will Jake Chapman's big swing at teachers play in a swing district?

Opening day speeches at the Iowa legislature are often filled with boring platitudes. But Senate President Jake Chapman dispensed with cliches about bipartisan work for the common good in his welcoming remarks on January 10.

Instead, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican called on colleagues to “take a stand” against what he described as a “sinister agenda” by the media and teachers, “who wish to normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children.”

Chapman’s broadside made headlines across the state and quickly inspired a new RAYGUN t-shirt: “Just another SINISTER TEACHER who’s passionate about education.”

Many conservatives have applauded Chapman for his crusade to remove books he considers “obscene” from public schools and create a felony offense for teachers and librarians who disseminate such material. But Iowa’s new political map put the Senate president in a swing district for the first time. He hinted last month that he will seek re-election there, rather than moving to a solid Republican district nearby.

Conspiracy theories that play well in some GOP circles could drive suburban moderates toward Democratic State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, who is already running in Senate district 14.

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Governor resumes public events; no word on follow-up test (updated)

Governor Kim Reynolds returned to the capitol on January 18, after canceling her public events on January 13 and 14. Announcing those cancellations, staff said in a statement that the governor “is not feeling well, but has tested negative for COVID-19.” Her spokesperson Alex Murphy did not respond to subsequent messages seeking to clarify whether Reynolds was tested again over the holiday weekend.

At least five individuals associated with the Iowa House or Senate have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including Democratic State Senators Zach Wahls and Nate Boulton. (The legislature does not require lawmakers or staff to report coronavirus infections.) Reynolds, Wahls, and Boulton are all vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19.

The governor spent considerable time with her face uncovered around other unmasked people last week: at a crowded Iowa GOP breakfast on January 10, while delivering her Condition of the State address in the House chamber the following day, and while attending the Iowa Supreme Court chief justice’s report to lawmakers on January 12.

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Des Moines leaders abandoned houseless residents

Natalie Harwood: Most of the Des Moines City Council left our most vulnerable open to frostbite and death in the elements.

This week in Des Moines, temperatures are anticipated to plummet into the negatives. Despite this fact, and even in light of the freezing death of a Des Moines citizen last year outside of a closed warming center, the Des Moines City Council is refusing to act on opening a 24-hour emergency warming center. In doing this, they are condemning the most vulnerable people in our community to suffer in the frigid temperatures, or worse, and are in direct opposition to their own campaign promises.

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A must-watch MLK, Jr. clip for Iowans

“Share this clip of my father,” tweeted Bernice King, the CEO of the King Center on January 17, the holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We must study him beyond the end of ‘I Have a Dream.’ (and that’s taken out of context, too)”

I don’t recall seeing this video before today. It’s from a speech in 1968, but I haven’t determined the location. Dr. King spoke about the massive government assistance for mostly-white farmers over more than a century, helping “the very people [now] telling the Black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”

The civil rights leader delivered a similar message in other venues, for instance while visiting Ohio Northern University in January 1968, and during a March 1968 appearance at Grosse Point High School in Michigan.

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