Anti-LGBTQ bills are dead, but their message lives on

First in a series on where things stand after the Iowa legislature’s first “funnel” deadline.

State lawmakers set a depressing record this year for attempting to undermine the rights of LGBTQ Iowans.

Although all fifteen of those bills failed to meet a key legislative deadline last week, three had previously made it through Iowa Senate subcommittees. And none were condemned by Governor Kim Reynolds or GOP leaders in the House or Senate.

Until powerful Republicans disavow efforts to target the LGBTQ community, queer Iowans and particularly trans Iowans face the prospect of more attacks in the GOP-controlled legislature.

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Ashley Hinson didn't walk her talk on LGBTQ equality

“No person should be discriminated against, no person should be bullied because of who they are, and no person should be discriminated against in the workplace, for any reason,” Republican Congressional candidate Ashley Hinson told an eastern Iowa magazine geared toward LGBTQ readers last fall.

Hinson had a chance to put her stated beliefs into action on February 25, when the U.S. House considered the Equality Act. The bill would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of employment, education, housing, public accommodations, jury service, and access to credit or federal funding. But the new member of Congress from Iowa’s first district voted against it, as did all but three House Republicans (roll call).

Representative Cindy Axne, the lone Democrat in Iowa’s Congressional delegation, co-sponsored the Equality Act and was part of the 224 to 206 majority that approved it.

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Christmas in a year of loss and uncertainty

The holiday season tends to be a particularly difficult time for those who are bereaved, and 2020 brought loss to the world on a scale most people in developed countries had never seen. The U.S. is on track to set a record for deaths occurring in one year, primarily because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 3,744 Iowans are known to have died of COVID-19, according to the state’s website (3,741 according to the latest figures published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control). Our state’s death toll from March through December will surely top 4,000 once we have final data. The new, more accurate counting method the Iowa Department of Public Health adopted this month often involves weeks of delay. An analysis the New York Times published on December 16 estimates that Iowa experienced about 3,900 excess deaths from March 15 to December 5, compared to the same period in a typical year.

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Norman Vincent Peale talked the talk. Dietrich Bonhoeffer walked the walk

Herb Strentz reflects on two Christian spiritual leaders of the 20th century. One is viewed as an influence on Donald Trump. -promoted by Laura Belin

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

That’s a line from the 1990 movie The Godfather Part 3. It is a curse and a statement of fact by the Mafia don, Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino.

Well, thanks to the election, I thought I was out— “out” from the nonsense about Donald Trump being a gift from God, a 21st century version of the 6th century B.C. Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, anointed by Jehovah to rescue Jews from Babylon.  You’ll find Cyrus chosen by God in the 45th chapter of the biblical book of Isaiah. That makes it crystal clear: God chose Donald the Great as our 45th president!

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Needed: A ceasefire

Ira Lacher calls for Republicans and Democrats to declare a ceasefire in four areas that escalate tensions on both sides. -promoted by Laura Belin

“Since Election Day and for weeks prior, Trump has all but ceased to actively manage the deadly pandemic, which so far has killed at least 244,000 Americans, infected at least 10.9 million and choked the country’s economy,” reported for the the Washington Post reported on November 14.

In doing so, Trump has disregarded every imperative set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution. His latest impeachable offense is one of many throughout his term. But what did Congressional Democrats impeach him for? A quid pro quo with Ukraine that no one understood.

It’s just one example of how the Dumpstercratic Party has lumbered from one blunder to another: from failing to take advantage of its majority status in the Senate under President Barack Obama (“Maa … Mitch McConnell hit me!”), to spending a two-year primary season quibbling over what it stands for, to feebly sponsoring weak candidates in the general election. The party needs a massive reboot. But not the one you’re thinking of.

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Lessons of 2020: Iowa Catholics stuck with Trump

Third in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

White non-Hispanic Catholics supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a wide margin in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of exit polls and subsequent survey of validated voters.

Preliminary exit poll data suggests that Joe Biden improved his standing with those voters, losing white Catholics by 57 percent to 42 percent, compared to Clinton’s 64 percent to 31 percent deficit. That’s consistent with some polls taken during the campaign, which showed Biden gaining support among white Catholics–not surprising, since the Democratic nominee frequently referred to his Catholic faith and upbringing in public appearances.

I expected Biden to improve substantially on Clinton’s performance in Iowa’s most heavily Catholic counties, where “Kennedy Democrats” were once a solid voting bloc. But that didn’t happen.

On the contrary, Trump increased his raw vote totals and share of the vote in those counties, as he did in many parts of the state.

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