Randy Evans's blog

Do billionaires really need to be subsidized?

Who you are makes all the difference in the world.

Or so it seems.

Two examples illustrate this fact of modern day life in our United States.

If you walk up to someone in Iowa and demand $5,000 and threaten economic harm to the person if he does not comply, don’t be surprised if you end up face-to-face with a criminal-court judge. The judge probably will ask how you want to plead to a charge of extortion.

That’s our tax money being frittered away

It’s nothing short of a miracle that the people of Iowa have not taken up pitchforks and marched on Des Moines demanding the attention of government officials.

As things now stand, don’t be surprised if the folks in charge simply wait for the dust to settle and then get back to business.

I hope ‘students’ were paying attention in ‘class’

One of Iowa’s talented historians delivered an important lesson last week. But instead of standing in front of a school classroom, he was in the chamber of the Iowa House of Representatives.

The teacher was Mark Cady.

The subject of his lesson was a proud chapter in Iowa history and how events today are threatening one of our state’s claims to greatness.

Why my journalism ulcer works overtime

Last week was a time for setbacks in the United States. The only question is which setback was greater.

Was it President Donald Trump’s standing in the eyes of the American people, with a book filled with fresh allegations about chaos inside his White House?

Or was it American journalism’s standing in the eyes of the American people that suffered the most?

Let’s give our farmers another shot at diplomacy

A new year is just around the corner.

But instead of tipping a celebratory glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, a big tumbler filed with Maalox seems more appropriate this time.

For all of the optimism that usually accompanies a new year, the arrival of 2018 is being dogged by anxiety about war breaking out on the Korean peninsula.

This big entitlement flies under the radar: federal crop insurance subsidies for U.S. farmers

Watching events unfold in Washington, D.C., these days is much like watching Wile E. Coyote pursue the Road Runner in the cartoons from years gone by.

When the Coyote and the Road Runner were on the screen, you knew what was coming next.

So it is with the federal income tax overhaul bill that Republicans in Congress are determined to approve this week and send to President Trump.

We know what will be coming next: Federal budget-cutting.

Iowa leaders have been dithering too long

You’ve got to hand it to people along America’s Gulf Coast who support their families as commercial shrimpers and fishermen.

They certainly are patient.

For the past 25 years, the challenges they face in finding an adequate supply of shrimp and fish have grown larger and more expensive.

And Iowans are a key factor in this problem.

We should not forget the strangers in need

Each summer at schools across Iowa, a new batch of kindergartners heads in the front door for the first time. Not surprisingly, there are occasional tears.

Some flow from the new students who are apprehensive about what may await them inside. Some come from the parents who are emotional about this milestone in their young children’s lives.

When the 2016-2017 academic year was concluding last spring, there were more tears, this time from an unexpected source – a 23-year-old man.

We need common sense about huge numbers

Back in my working days, back when I supervised The Des Moines Register’s business news staff, one of the columnists confessed to our readers that he had trouble balancing his checkbook.

My boss didn’t think a business columnist had any business making such a confession.

But the columnist was only admitting what many people, if they are truthful, could admit – and that’s their own challenges with mathematics.

The experts call this math anxiety.

At the risk of sending you scurrying to get away from your own childhood phobias over long division, this is an excellent time to dig into people’s anxieties with math. You can’t follow the news these days without be bombarded by many, many millions, by bunches of billions, and by tons of trillions.

Don’t look at sexual abuse through a political lens

Years ago, somewhere around 1990, my wife and I and our two daughters visited my Aunt Elnora, who lived in Arkansas.

Last week, I found myself remembering that trip – especially the Arkansas newspaper article I read while my aunt was doting over the Evans girls.

The article dealt with the popular Arkansas governor at the time, Bill Clinton, who was being mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for president. In the article, Clinton told reporters that if he decided to run, he would not be addressing rumors that he had engaged in extramarital affairs and sexual encounters.

I knew nothing of the rumors until then. But I knew it would be impossible for Clinton to stick to that I-won’t-comment position if he decided to jump into the presidential race. The public generally doesn’t accept silence from government officials or would-be government officials when shenanigans are suspected.

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