After 9/11, we weren't all in this together

I spent much of Saturday reading or watching eyewitness accounts or reflections on the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I was living in the UK, so the first half of my day passed routinely as I worked on my dissertation at home. Nothing unusual was on the BBC newscast I watched over my lunch break. The first plane struck the World Trade Center a little before 2:00 pm. I got a call soon after urging me to turn on the television and watched the horror unfold for the rest of the day and evening.

The attacks were a top news story in the UK for a long time. Most people don’t know 9/11 was the deadliest terrorist incident in British history. At least 67 UK citizens lost their lives, mostly in the World Trade Center or on the airplanes. No Irish Republican Army bombing had ever claimed nearly as many victims. For weeks afterward, I remember random strangers in London offering their condolences for what happened to my country as soon as they heard my American accent.

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Five quick takes on news of the day

Herb Strentz reflects on stories that have been in the news lately. -promoted by Laura Belin

Readers of Bleeding Heartland have much to be grateful for in the state government reporting of editor Laura Belin and in her conscientious editing of what others post here. But sometimes our thoughts don’t merit or need the 700 or more words that occupy Bleeding Heartland space and readers’ time. 

Here are five quick takes on recent events, each of whose urgency, impact, or nature can be handled in fewer than 170 words.

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I'm worried about the church

Kurt Meyer chairs the Executive Committee of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and is President of Humanities Iowa. For the past year, he has written a weekly column for the (St. Ansgar) Enterprise Journal, where this commentary first appeared.  -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m worried about the church. I’m not talking here about my local congregation, the church in Mona. I’m not thinking about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the denomination I affiliate with. I’m not even referring to Christianity in general, although this is my primary concern.

Concern about “the church” is directed toward religion in America. Mark me down as one who believes in religion and its practice. It’s a major factor in my life and in lives of many I love. Additionally, I have worked with and for many churches and faith-based organizations over the years, professionally and as a volunteer, in relationships that are both deep and meaningful. 

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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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