Re-establishing Democratic governance

Charles Bruner is a longtime advocate for policies that support children and strengthen families. -promoted by Laura Belin

About this essay

I studied political science at the beginning of the 1970s at one of the elitist of universities, Stanford University. My graduate school class, if not all radicals, shared a serious critique of American government and the military-industrial complex, the Vietnam war, the academic privilege and not freedom that embodied the Stanford administration, and the failure for society to listen to youth and follow-through on the vision expressed in the decidedly liberal document, The Port Huron Statement.

I returned to Iowa in 1975 feeling alienated and full of angst at my better understanding of the darker side of American politics. But I had no clue how to contribute to changing it. Fortunately, I found a group of 20-somethings in Iowa – largely through the Community Action Research Group (Iowa’s Public Interest Research Group) – doing that work in the policy field on the environment. They connected me to a job at the Iowa Welfare Association funded by the Compensatory Education and Training Act, the federal jobs program that provided nonprofits with funding to create jobs. It gave me space to learn and grow, as it did for others in my group.

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Joni Ernst voted against more than half of Biden's cabinet

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against confirming twelve of President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees, a majority of the 23 cabinet officials who are subject to Senate confirmation. Senators have confirmed 21 cabinet members; Eric Lander is awaiting a vote as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the president has yet to announce a replacement for Neera Tanden, who withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Only ten of the 50 Republican senators have voted against more of Biden’s appointees than Ernst: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Rand Paul, Richard Shelby, Marsha Blackburn, and Tim Scott.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has voted against five of the 21 cabinet members confirmed so far.

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No shirt, no shoes, no shot, no service?

Ira Lacher: If you want to kennel any watchdog proposal in America, no matter how beneficial, just scream “freedom!” -promoted by Laura Belin

“COVID passports” may be well on their way to fruition. The idea of having to produce documentation before you can do what we used to take for granted — like go to a ballgame or board a plane — is gaining traction overseas, where proof of an ultrarecent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination is required to travel freely among European Union countries. Many airlines flying domestically or internationally require similar proof, and you can’t enter the United States from abroad without it.

The next step, proponents argue, is to import the idea. Such proof would be required for interstate travel, and perhaps for more mundane access such as attending a concert or sporting event. Advocates say this would allow more than a small percentage of stadium or arena seats to be filled, permit restaurants to operate at full capacity, and eliminate quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.

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Banishing our inner Eeyore

Ira Lacher: Many of us remain even more pessimistic — and not just about the pandemic. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s hard not to feel optimistic when there’s less snow and ice on the ground each morning, shorts and sandals feel comfortable outdoors, and the gas grill fires up with ease.

Remember how this time felt a year ago? Now, we can dare hope again. Optimism is awakening.

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Joni Ernst opposing more Biden nominees than Chuck Grassley

During their six years serving together in Congress, Iowa’s two Republican U.S. senators have rarely differed on matters that came to the Senate floor. But seven weeks into Joe Biden’s presidency, a pattern is emerging: Senator Joni Ernst is more inclined to reject the new president’s nominees than is her senior colleague Chuck Grassley.

In most cases, Ernst has not released any statement explaining her confirmation votes. Her staff have not responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about why she opposed specific nominees or her general approach to evaluating prospective cabinet members.

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