[ {"id":"3d10b150-887e-5876-9b2b-bcd70dfd5ed9","type":"article","starttime":"1485156600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-23T01:30:00-06:00","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Guest view: Iowa must fund its schools fairly","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_3d10b150-887e-5876-9b2b-bcd70dfd5ed9.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-iowa-must-fund-its-schools-fairly/article_3d10b150-887e-5876-9b2b-bcd70dfd5ed9.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-iowa-must-fund-its-schools-fairly/article_3d10b150-887e-5876-9b2b-bcd70dfd5ed9.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Iowa Sen. Rita Hart","prologue":"Last week, my fellow senators and I received a letter from Arthur Tate, Davenport Schools superintendent. He has received statewide attention by bringing the Iowa school finance formula to the forefront. I agree with Dr. Tate that the Legislature needs to revise the unfair funding formula \u201ceven if it takes multiple years.\u201d","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["funding","education","politics","finance","iowa","arthur tate","school","reserve fund","inequity","cost","student"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"80134e3f-c9db-5e81-8b5f-9216c254f9b7","description":"Rita Hart","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"76","height":"100","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/01/80134e3f-c9db-5e81-8b5f-9216c254f9b7/5882960b1ce5a.image.jpg?resize=76%2C100"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"131","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/01/80134e3f-c9db-5e81-8b5f-9216c254f9b7/518ec6491b444.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"394","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/01/80134e3f-c9db-5e81-8b5f-9216c254f9b7/518ec6491cbb4.preview-300.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1347","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/01/80134e3f-c9db-5e81-8b5f-9216c254f9b7/518ec648e62ab.preview-1024.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"3d10b150-887e-5876-9b2b-bcd70dfd5ed9","body":"

Last week, my fellow senators and I received a letter from Arthur Tate, Davenport Schools superintendent. He has received statewide attention by bringing the Iowa school finance formula to the forefront. I agree with Dr. Tate that the Legislature needs to revise the unfair funding formula \u201ceven if it takes multiple years.\u201d

Presently, Iowa law makes it illegal for a school board to vote to use its reserve funds to make up for the inequity between property rich and property poor school districts. That inequity comes from the amount districts are allowed to levy based upon the funding formula. Dr. Tate says his district\u2014and perhaps 162 other districts like his\u2014should be able to use reserve funds to address that inequity.

Dr. Tate did not mention transportation in his letter, but those costs also create inequity issues, as some districts across Iowa must spend more than others on busing students, but they do not receive any additional funds from the state to do so.

Last week, the Iowa Association of School Boards presented a proposal to the Senate Education Committee that addresses both the district costs per pupil and the transportation equity issues. These proposals are a place to start the much-needed discussion to revamp the funding formula and make it fairer. That revision needs to happen, but it\u2019s going to be very difficult to do it when overall education funding is inadequate. Funding changes are hard to achieve when the majority of school boards are struggling to make ends meet.

If legislative Republicans shortchange our schools again this year, it will put Iowa students at a big disadvantage and our efforts to address inequities in the funding formula will continue to be unsuccessful.

We must renew our commitment to education now, and let Iowans know we\u2019re putting public schools first again.

"}, {"id":"7a52a995-2f40-5aab-9ec9-152f01678149","type":"article","starttime":"1485154800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-23T01:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"froma-harrop":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/froma-harrop"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Harrop: Boycotts are free speech","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/froma-harrop/article_7a52a995-2f40-5aab-9ec9-152f01678149.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/froma-harrop/harrop-boycotts-are-free-speech/article_7a52a995-2f40-5aab-9ec9-152f01678149.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/froma-harrop/harrop-boycotts-are-free-speech/article_7a52a995-2f40-5aab-9ec9-152f01678149.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Froma Harrop","prologue":"Liberals have organized a campaign to boycott Simon & Schuster over its planned publication of a book by alt-right bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos. Is this boycott a form of censorship? Wendy Kaminer, a civil liberties lawyer, argues that progressives should be troubled by \"the chilling effect of consumer book boycotts on speech.\"","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["economics","boycott","politics","law","wendy kaminer","commerce","consumer","lobby","campaign","milo yiannopoulos","birth control"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"72704fad-2236-56b4-ba71-4216ed49a55a","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"408","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/27/72704fad-2236-56b4-ba71-4216ed49a55a/572e99e3be43a.image.jpg?resize=620%2C408"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/27/72704fad-2236-56b4-ba71-4216ed49a55a/5437f3c09bc16.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"197","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/27/72704fad-2236-56b4-ba71-4216ed49a55a/5437f3c09c412.preview-300.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"674","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/27/72704fad-2236-56b4-ba71-4216ed49a55a/572e99e3be43a.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":3,"commentID":"7a52a995-2f40-5aab-9ec9-152f01678149","body":"

Liberals have organized a campaign to boycott Simon & Schuster over its planned publication of a book by alt-right bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos. Is this boycott a form of censorship?

Wendy Kaminer, a civil liberties lawyer, argues that progressives should be troubled by \"the chilling effect of consumer book boycotts on speech.\"

I disagree. A consumer boycott does not muzzle anyone. No one is saying that Yiannopoulos can't type what he wants or that Simon & Schuster can't publish his product. But the right to buy something implies the right not to buy something. Boycotts are also a form of speech.

That said, I happen to share Kaminer's dim view of this particular boycott. She's right that exacting economic harm on Simon & Schuster over an objectionable author is counterproductive. It showers a creepy individual with free publicity while potentially hurting a company that publishes varied and valuable perspectives.

Campaigns to boycott companies, places or organizations have a long history in this country and elsewhere. The causes they support and the results they bring about are a decidedly mixed bag.

American colonists boycotted the purchase of British products to protest what they considered unfair taxation by the mother country. In 1773, a campaign to boycott tea specifically became pointless after men disguised as Indians boarded British ships in Boston harbor and threw the tea overboard, in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.

The modern civil rights movement was launched by African-Americans refusing to patronize buses with segregated seating in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Montgomery, Alabama. Most of the passengers were black, so their boycott caused economic hardship for the bus operators. Most of their demands were eventually met.

More recently, the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores became the target of a boycott after it challenged the Affordable Care Act mandate that employer-provided insurance cover birth control without a copay. The owners argued that the birth control requirement went counter to their religious views, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor.

For me, an occasional home sewer, the Hobby Lobby owners' personal views on birth control were a matter of indifference. But their singling out of this basic medical need for women -- out of all the other health services offered -- was not. I haven't stepped foot in their stores since.

North Carolina has faced some serious boycotts since its lawmakers passed a bill that quashed local ordinances letting transgender people use the bathrooms of their choice. Several companies announced they wouldn't expand there, and the NBA and NCAA said they would not hold high-profile games in the state.

Some boycotts are ridiculous. From the left, you have the boycott of New Balance sneakers because of a misunderstood remark by a company executive supporting an aspect of Donald Trump's trade agenda (to the extent anyone understands it).

On the right, you have the annual \"boycott\" of Starbucks over its decision to make its holiday cups less Christmassy than some want. This year, Trump chimed in: \"Maybe we should boycott Starbucks.\"

I put the word boycott in quotes because some of his followers thought they'd register their displeasure by going into Starbucks and (SET ITAL) buying (END ITAL) its coffee. The flourish of protest was to give their name to the coffee makers as \"Trump.\" Like the harried baristas cared whether they wrote \"Trump\" or \"Fidel\" on the cup.

Obviously, there are effective boycotts and ineffective ones, stupid boycotts and well-directed ones, boycotts by the right, left and middle. The point here is that for whatever reason, a person has a right to withhold his or her custom. Freedom of speech doesn't end at the cash register.

"}, {"id":"23d0f42f-eacd-50f2-a3cc-4cf813de1d89","type":"article","starttime":"1485117120","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-22T14:32:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1485147003","sections":[{"jennifer-ewoldt":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jennifer-ewoldt"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Rural Route 4: January brings a heyday for hay at auction","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jennifer-ewoldt/article_23d0f42f-eacd-50f2-a3cc-4cf813de1d89.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jennifer-ewoldt/rural-route-january-brings-a-heyday-for-hay-at-auction/article_23d0f42f-eacd-50f2-a3cc-4cf813de1d89.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jennifer-ewoldt/rural-route-january-brings-a-heyday-for-hay-at-auction/article_23d0f42f-eacd-50f2-a3cc-4cf813de1d89.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Life has been a little quieter around the farm lately, but there is always something to do. There are pig chores every day, of course, and the horses need to be checked. Luckily, we haven\u2019t had to feed the horses quite as much hay this winter, because there has been little snow and there is still grass to be munched on in the pasture.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["agriculture","livestock","hay","auctioneer","farmer","crops","blue grass","kalona","shell rock","commerce","zootechnics","robb","economics","blah","grass","auction","bale","january"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5","description":"Jennifer Ewoldt, Rural Route 4 columnist","byline":"","hireswidth":1936,"hiresheight":2592,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/58/e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5/5455c3f483d5e.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"463","height":"619","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/58/e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5/57390af3eddf3.image.jpg?resize=463%2C619"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"133","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/58/e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5/5455c3f4930e5.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"401","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/58/e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5/5455c3f493ac1.preview-300.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1369","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/58/e583ac9d-1c2f-5928-9a5f-e1daa92594e5/57390af3eddf3.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"23d0f42f-eacd-50f2-a3cc-4cf813de1d89","body":"

Life has been a little quieter around the farm lately, but there is always something to do. There are pig chores every day, of course, and the horses need to be checked. Luckily, we haven\u2019t had to feed the horses quite as much hay this winter, because there has been little snow and there is still grass to be munched on in the pasture.

Robb has been quite busy hauling hay to auctions to sell. Currently, we take hay to three different auctions \u2014 Blue Grass, Kalona, and Shell Rock. We sell hay in small square bales and large square bales, which can easily be loaded onto a hay trailer or a semi-trailer for hauling. We also have a bunch of round bales to sell \u2014 those are a little harder to load and haul because they are over the width limit on major highways. Hay auctions are just that \u2014 auctions. You take in a load of hay, which is given a lot number. The auctioneer walks around the hay trailers or the hay stacks, auctioning each lot of hay off to the highest bidder. Bidders have the chance to look at and smell the hay before they bid on it. If we have a hay analysis sheet, we often will include this with the hay, so people know exactly what they are buying, nutritionally speaking.

Around here, small square bales and round bales are most popular with horse people, but large cattle feeding operations often like to have the large square bales because they are easier to feed. All of our hay is a grass-alfalfa mix, so it is appropriate for all feeding situations.

After the bidding is over and the lots are paid for and hauled away, we get a check in the mail for what our hay brought (minus commission of course). It doesn\u2019t always sell for the same price per bale \u2014 it\u2019s an auction so you never know how much someone is willing to pay. Sometimes the auction is what we call \u201csoft\u201d, and the prices are not good. Other times, someone may be really in need of hay, or we have really good quality hay, and they are willing to pay more. This is the one drawback to auctions. In general, we prefer to sell privately to individuals, so we can set our price, but you have to find the individuals to do this.

We have lots more hay in the hay shed to sell, so Robb will be busy hauling hay for some time yet. Luckily again, the weather has been good so he hasn\u2019t been driving with loads of hay in snowstorms or on icy roads. This makes me a little less worried about him.

Robb and the boys spent some time at the Farm Show recently. It fell on a school holiday, so the boys were really excited to go see all the equipment. They like to check out all the big tractors and all the new stuff, and of course they come home with a bag of \u201cgoodies\u201d that they store away in their rooms for a while \u2014 usually hats, koozies, candy and flyers on every kind of new equipment out there. Eventually, a lot of that gets recycled or thrown out, but they are truly \u201ctreasures\u201d for a while. I haven\u2019t been to a farm show for a while, but I know that Robb spends lots of time talking at farm shows \u2014 typical farmer you know. He chats with all the people he knows, and all the dealers, and all the salespeople. It\u2019s just the kind of guy he is. Those of you who know Robb, know this all too well. The boys have also learned that this is what happens. They refer to it as Daddy going \u201cblah, blah, blah.\" When they get tired of waiting for him, they will bug him to get moving to the next thing. It\u2019s comical.

Hope you have all recovered from your holiday season and are enjoying this warmer-than-usual January weather as much as I am. It makes things a mess on the farm with the mud, but it sure feels nicer than walking outside to -10 degrees!

"}, {"id":"d9217a0a-e871-5291-835b-54ea935ab89c","type":"article","starttime":"1485070200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-22T01:30:00-06:00","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Letter: Cutting Iowa culture to the bone","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_d9217a0a-e871-5291-835b-54ea935ab89c.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/letter-cutting-iowa-culture-to-the-bone/article_d9217a0a-e871-5291-835b-54ea935ab89c.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/letter-cutting-iowa-culture-to-the-bone/article_d9217a0a-e871-5291-835b-54ea935ab89c.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Tim Schiffer","prologue":"As reported by the Quad-City Times, 40 state agencies and programs are facing funding cuts for the current budget year, reflecting lower than expected state revenues. Noticeably absent from a list of seven state departments that will shoulder nearly 80 percent of the cuts is the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), which administers the Iowa Cultural Trust. Under the governor\u2019s plan, $6 million would be swiped from the Iowa Cultural Trust, gutting effectively, ending the program without debate.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["schiffer","figge art museum executive director","iowa","department of cultural affairs","iowa cultural trust","terry branstad","iowa governor","iowa legislature","non-profit organization","museum","historical society","zoo","botanical gardens","taxpayers","private funding","art","funding","economics","finance","cultural organization","state","agency","industry"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca","description":"Schiffer","byline":"","hireswidth":130,"hiresheight":170,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/2f/d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca/559367e3a66f3.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"130","height":"170","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/2f/d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca/588268355bb48.image.jpg?resize=130%2C170"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"130","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/2f/d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca/53db1dc216a6e.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"392","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/2f/d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca/53db1dc2175d7.preview-300.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1339","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/2f/d2f7fc75-28c9-5c9d-8087-a8e2f9918cca/53db1dc1e04d5.preview-1024.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"d9217a0a-e871-5291-835b-54ea935ab89c","body":"

As reported by the Quad-City Times, 40 state agencies and programs are facing funding cuts for the current budget year, reflecting lower than expected state revenues.

Noticeably absent from a list of seven state departments that will shoulder nearly 80 percent of the cuts is the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), which administers the Iowa Cultural Trust. Under the governor\u2019s plan, $6 million would be swiped from the Iowa Cultural Trust, gutting effectively, ending the program without debate.

Created by the Iowa Legislature in 2002, the Iowa Cultural Trust was envisioned as a long-term funding mechanism designed to grow over time and to encourage the financial sustainability of cultural non-profit organizations, including Iowa\u2019s 255 museums, historical societies, zoos and botanical gardens.

While perennially underfunded, the Iowa Cultural Trust has nonetheless, delivered a strong return on public investment, with 58 cultural organizations across the state leveraging $611,929 in taxpayer funds to raise more than $2 million in private funding.

The governor\u2019s proposal would cripple a program, and make less sustainable, an industry that is critical to our state\u2019s future. Iowa\u2019s arts, history, and cultural organizations generate millions of dollars in economic activity; attract young professionals and families to live and work in Iowa\u2019s communities and build social capital \u2013 all while being under-capitalized themselves.

This is certainly not the only important issue that deserves our legislators\u2019 and the public\u2019s attention. However, the principle at stake is as important as any.

\u00a0

"}, {"id":"4ae581a8-24a6-5e80-ac99-accc48f93867","type":"article","starttime":"1485070200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-22T01:30:00-06:00","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Miller: Smoking with Obama","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_4ae581a8-24a6-5e80-ac99-accc48f93867.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/miller-smoking-with-obama/article_4ae581a8-24a6-5e80-ac99-accc48f93867.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/miller-smoking-with-obama/article_4ae581a8-24a6-5e80-ac99-accc48f93867.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Rich Miller","prologue":"On a fairly regular basis back in the day, state Sen. Barack Obama would walk up to the Senate press box and bum cigarettes off me. That was when people could smoke in the Senate chambers and back when both of us smoked. Now, we both chew nicotine gum and smoking on the Senate floor is strictly forbidden.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["barack obama","politics","grief","state","caucus","bobby rush","president of the united states","cigarette"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"dfb05d01-abe0-54ae-bcf6-357756f2eeca","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"229","height":"300","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/fb/dfb05d01-abe0-54ae-bcf6-357756f2eeca/58546f9d06d40.image.jpg?resize=229%2C300"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"131","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/fb/dfb05d01-abe0-54ae-bcf6-357756f2eeca/58546f9d06d40.image.jpg?resize=100%2C131"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"393","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/fb/dfb05d01-abe0-54ae-bcf6-357756f2eeca/58546f9d06d40.image.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1341","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/fb/dfb05d01-abe0-54ae-bcf6-357756f2eeca/58546f9d06d40.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"4ae581a8-24a6-5e80-ac99-accc48f93867","body":"

On a fairly regular basis back in the day, state Sen. Barack Obama would walk up to the Senate press box and bum cigarettes off me. That was when people could smoke in the Senate chambers and back when both of us smoked. Now, we both chew nicotine gum and smoking on the Senate floor is strictly forbidden.

Obama was mainly an OPC smoker, meaning \u201cother peoples' cigarettes.\u201d I'd usually give him a little grief about how maybe he should buy his own pack once in a while, but I never denied his request unless I was almost out. He'd always take the cigarette to a room in the back of the chamber, never seeming to smoke at his desk like others did.

One day as I was wandering through the Statehouse near his office, Obama hollered out my name and asked me to come in and join him. I presumed he wanted to bum yet another cigarette and I was right. I tossed my pack on his desk and he took one out, lit it and we made a little small talk.

Honestly, I didn't much care for the guy in those days. He hadn't yet done a lot of real work, or built strong relationships with fellow legislators by then, particularly with members of the Senate Black Caucus. And by the time of our little chat he'd gotten way ahead of himself by challenging Congressman Bobby Rush in the 2000 Democratic primary and losing badly.

I was interviewed by the Chicago Reader newspaper during that campaign. I told the reporter that Sen. Obama was \u201ca very intelligent man\u201d who has \u201csome really good ideas,\u201d and would \u201cprobably make a pretty good congressman.\u201d But I also pointed out that he hadn\u2019t had a lot of success in Springfield and speculated that it could be \u201cbecause he places himself above everybody. He likes people to know he went to Harvard.\"

I got a phone call from Obama after that story was published. He was stung by my comments. I tried to point out the positive things I said, but that didn\u2019t work. At the end of our conversation, we agreed to start talking more often, which may have been why he called me into his office that day.

We had finished our cigarettes and I remember getting up to leave. It's not like he knew any hot inside information that I could use in my Capitol Fax publication, so I had work to do and needed to move on. But Obama asked me to stay a while longer, so I sat back down and we each lit another smoke.

Obama then stunned me by asking a question that I never in a million years would\u2019ve anticipated: What would I think of him running for U.S. Senate in 2004?

His question seemed so... presumptuous. Rush had just cleaned his clock by a 30-point margin, I reminded Obama. If he ran for statewide office and lost, he'd be finished, washed up, out of the game for good. \"There is still some honor to serving in the Illinois Senate,\" I gently scolded him.

But Obama said he was getting heat from the home front. His Springfield duties were preventing him from making a decent living as an attorney, so he either had to move up to a much higher office or get out of politics and go make some real money.

I couldn't argue with that logic, but I suggested that maybe he stop using \"Barack\" and call himself \"Barry\" or something. He said that's what his friends called him when he was growing up, but said he wanted to stick to his given name. I made some sort of joke about Irishing up his last name with an apostrophe after the \"O\" and using green yard signs. Had I known at the time that his middle name was \"Hussein,\" I'm sure I would've made some sort of inappropriate joke.

I tell this story whenever somebody asks me for advice about whether to run for higher office in order to explain why I no longer provide that sort of counsel. I mean, I actually told a future President of the United States to not be so darned ambitious. It was not my proudest moment.

Nowadays, I just say, \"What do you really want to do?\" And if they can answer that question, I urge them to put their entire heart and soul into the effort.

It works out much better that way - for them and for me.

"}, {"id":"b28ccc8f-b7d7-5a11-8836-c6ee611c95c6","type":"article","starttime":"1485068400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-22T01:00:00-06:00","sections":[{"charles-krauthammer":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/charles-krauthammer"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Krauthammer: Obama's self-revealing final act","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/charles-krauthammer/article_b28ccc8f-b7d7-5a11-8836-c6ee611c95c6.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/charles-krauthammer/krauthammer-obama-s-self-revealing-final-act/article_b28ccc8f-b7d7-5a11-8836-c6ee611c95c6.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/charles-krauthammer/krauthammer-obama-s-self-revealing-final-act/article_b28ccc8f-b7d7-5a11-8836-c6ee611c95c6.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Charles Krauthammer","prologue":"Barack Obama did not go out quietly. His unquiet final acts were, in part, overshadowed by a successor who refused to come in quietly and, in part, by Obama's own endless, sentimental farewell tour. But there was nothing nostalgic or sentimental about Obama's last acts. Two of them were simply shocking.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["barack obama","politics","diplomacy","institutes","wikileaks","successor","israel","united states","chelsea manning","white house"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"1cfb04d5-060e-53c8-949b-00279d8359fc","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"236","height":"308","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/cf/1cfb04d5-060e-53c8-949b-00279d8359fc/572d08e078038.image.jpg?resize=236%2C308"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"130","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/cf/1cfb04d5-060e-53c8-949b-00279d8359fc/567c688d468cb.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"392","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/cf/1cfb04d5-060e-53c8-949b-00279d8359fc/572d08e078038.image.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1336","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/cf/1cfb04d5-060e-53c8-949b-00279d8359fc/572d08e078038.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"b28ccc8f-b7d7-5a11-8836-c6ee611c95c6","body":"

Barack Obama did not go out quietly. His unquiet final acts were, in part, overshadowed by a successor who refused to come in quietly and, in part, by Obama's own endless, sentimental farewell tour. But there was nothing nostalgic or sentimental about Obama's last acts. Two of them were simply shocking.

Perhaps we should have known. At the 2015 White House correspondents dinner, he joked about whether he had a bucket list: \"Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.\"

Turns out, he wasn't kidding. Commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, one of the great traitors of our time, is finger-in-the-eye willfulness. Obama took 28 years off the sentence of a soldier who stole and then released through WikiLeaks almost half a million military reports plus another quarter-million State Department documents.

The cables were embarrassing; the military secrets were almost certainly deadly. They jeopardized the lives not just of American soldiers on two active fronts -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- but of locals who were, at great peril, secretly aiding and abetting us. After Manning's documents release, the Taliban \"went on a killing spree\" (according to intelligence sources quoted by Fox News) of those who fit the description of individuals working with the United States.

Moreover, we will be involved in many shadowy conflicts throughout the world. Locals will have to choose between us or our enemies. Would you choose a side that is so forgiving of a leaker who betrays her country -- and you?

Even the word \"leaker\" is misleading. Leak makes it sound like a piece of information a whistleblower gives Woodward and Bernstein to expose misdeeds in high office. This was nothing of the sort. It was the indiscriminate dumping of a mountain of national security secrets certain to bring harm to American troops, allies and interests.

Obama considered Manning's 35-year sentence excessive. On the contrary. It was lenient. Manning could have been -- and in previous ages, might well have been -- hanged for such treason. Now she walks after seven years.

What makes this commutation so spectacularly in-your-face is its hypocrisy. Here is a president who spent weeks banging the drums over the harm inflicted by WikiLeaks with its release of stolen materials and emails during the election campaign. He demanded a report immediately. He imposed sanctions on Russia. He preened about the sanctity of the American political process.

Over what? What exactly was released? A campaign chairman's private emails and Democratic National Committee chatter, i.e. campaign gossip, backbiting, indiscretions and cynicism. The usual stuff, embarrassing but not dangerous. No national security secrets, no classified material, no exposure of anyone to harm, just to ridicule and opprobrium.

The other last-minute Obama bombshell occurred four weeks earlier when, for the first time in nearly a half-century, the United States abandoned Israel on a crucial Security Council resolution, allowing the passage of a condemnation that will plague both Israel and its citizens for years to come. After eight years of reassurance, Obama seized the chance -- free of political accountability for himself and his potential Democratic successor -- to do permanent damage to Israel. (The U.S. has no power to reverse the Security Council resolution.)

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who went on to be a great Democratic senator, once argued passionately that in the anti-American, anti-democratic swamp of the U.N., America should act unwaveringly in opposition and never give in to the jackals. Obama joined the jackals.

Why? To curry favor with the international left? After all, Obama leaves office as a relatively young man of 55. His next chapter could very well be as a leader on the international stage, perhaps at the U.N. (secretary-general?) or some transnational (ostensibly) human rights organization. What better demonstration of bona fides than a gratuitous attack on Israel? Or the about-face on Manning and WikiLeaks? Or the freeing of a still unrepentant Puerto Rican terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera, also pulled off with three days remaining in his presidency.

A more likely explanation, however, is that these are acts not of calculation but of authenticity. This is Obama being Obama. He leaves office as he came in: a man of the left, but possessing the intelligence and discipline to suppress his more radical instincts. As of Nov. 9, 2016, suppression was no longer necessary.

We've just gotten a glimpse of his real self. From now on, we shall see much more of it.

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What a difference a day makes.

Two of Iowa Democrats\u2019 most preferred candidates for governor in 2018 \u2014\u00a0if not the two most-preferred \u2014\u00a0were removed from consideration with a pair of announcements on Tuesday.

Tom Vilsack, the former two-term Iowa governor and two-term U.S. agriculture secretary, announced he has accepted a position as CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based U.S. Dairy Export Council, and Iowa Sen. Liz Mathis of Cedar Rapids said that after giving it consideration she has decided against running for governor in 2018.

Vilsack and Mathis were two of the most popular potential gubernatorial candidates for Iowa Democrats. And in one day, both took their name out of the running.

Vilsack remains immensely popular among Iowa Democrats, but his gubernatorial candidacy was a long shot. Vilsack insisted multiple times he had no plan to run for public office again, and almost every Iowa Democrat I talked to had nearly the same response: It would be a dream come true if Vilsack decided to run for governor, but none believed he would.

Mathis was the more realistic potential candidate, and one many Iowa Democrats hoped would run. She has become a leader in the Iowa Senate, in particular one of the prominent critics of the state\u2019s transition to privately managed operation of its $5 billion Medicaid program, a move made by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad without legislative approval.

And Mathis is popular in her district, where she was a former television news anchor. She has parlayed that popularity into impressive electoral success: She has been re-elected twice in a Senate district that has two Republican representatives.

But Mathis, citing the $10 million or more it is thought to be necessary to win Iowa\u2019s 2018 gubernatorial race, said Tuesday she is taking a pass.

Having options 1A and 1B taken off the table in one fell swoop last week is cause for some disappointment for Iowa Democrats, especially given how crucial the 2018 election is for them after consecutive terrible elections in 2014 and 2016. In the former, Joni Ernst gave Iowa two Republican U.S. senators and Branstad cruised to re-election; in the latter, the GOP in a landslide took control of the Iowa Senate, giving the party full lawmaking control at the Statehouse for the first time in two decades, making the state\u2019s delivery to President Donald Trump mere icing on the electoral cake.

The 2018 election gives Iowa Democrats their first chance to reverse that downward spiral and break up Republicans\u2019 control. Having a candidate who can take back Terrace Hill is crucial for the party.

So to whom do Democrats now turn?

Only Vilsack would have cleared the Democratic primary field. Even with Mathis, a competitive and well-populated primary was likely. That remains the most likely case.

Rich Leopold, director of the Polk County Conservation Board and a former state director of the Department of Natural Resources under Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, already has announced his run.

Andy McGuire, whose tenure as state party chairwoman just ended last week, is all but a lock to run.

And other Democratic state legislators who may run include Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, Janet Petersen of Des Moines and Todd Prichard of Charles City.

Democrats in 2018 will not have to face the undefeated Branstad, who plans to resign this year in order to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to China. But Branstad\u2019s understudy, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, will have a two-year head start at election, amassing experience and news coverage \u2014 and the corresponding name recognition \u2014\u00a0not to mention fundraising. Assuming Reynolds wins the Republican primary \u2014\u00a0Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett may have something to say about that \u2014\u00a0she likely will be a formidable opponent in 2018.

As would have Vilsack or Mathis. So it\u2019s next man or woman in for Iowa Democrats.

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Investors pulled back and paused for much of last week, posturing themselves more cautiously ahead of Friday\u2019s presidential inauguration events and speeches. Pulling back was a continuation of the prior week\u2019s profit-taking that followed the nearly two-month advance in broad-based stock market activity. Our Quad-City Times Key 15 advanced 1.52 to 2,097.23 (1), following an impressive Friday resurgence.

Economic developments continued to demonstrate that manufacturing needs the help of this new presidential administration. The Federal Reserve itself reported December manufacturing output on Wednesday morning. December output, measured in units of goods produced, not dollars, showed a scant 0.4 percent increase over one year ago. December was helped by a resurgence in auto production, up a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent from November, and actually up an impressive 6.6 percent over one year ago. Auto manufacturing excluded, the picture is very uncomfortable with output actually down 0.3 percent from one year ago. So, manufacturing does need attention.

Home sales growth has continued through 2016. And so housing starts have continued. The Commerce Department reported on Thursday that December starts also showed a resurgence, just like auto production. December starts were up 5.7 percent over last December. Importantly, multi-family starts, where many apartment units are counted at the same time, can skew monthly numbers. Single-family home starts are more repeatable. And here the trend shows more persistence, with single family starts up 3.9 percent compared to one year ago, following November\u2019s 5.3 percent year-over-year gain.

Quad-City area firms gathered national attention on multiple fronts. HNI Corporation, parent of HON and Allsteel office furniture lines, proudly announced that Kurt A. Tjaden has been appointed president of HNI International, the company\u2019s international business unit.

Tjaden has served HNI as chief financial officer since 2008, where CEO Stan Askren noted that he \u201chas provided strategic direction and keen insight.\u201d Askren also noted that Tjaden\u2019s experience and knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region provides an important background for his leading the company\u2019s international business.

Taking over as HNI Corporation chief financial officer will be Marshall H. Bridges, who has served HNI in a number of roles including vice president for investor relations and corporate treasurer. HNI shares were off $2.27 last week to close at $50.20 (1).

Monsanto, with herbicide operations in Muscatine, and Bayer Company of Germany, jointly announced\u00a0Tuesday that if their planned merger is completed, they now expect to spend $16 billion on research and development efforts over the next six years. At least half of that would be spent in the United States, according to the companies. They said, \u201cThis is an investment in innovation and people that will create several thousand new high-tech, well-paying jobs after integration is complete.\u201d Monsanto shares moved higher after the Tuesday announcement, and finished the week up 93 cents at $108.58 (1).

And, Macerich Company, parent of NorthPark and SouthPark malls, announced that it will expand a promising new shopping innovation to more of its malls after success in a three-mall pilot program. The innovation, offered in conjunction with StepsAway, uses closed-based technology platform, SAConnect, by which retailers create and deliver promotions across multiple malls to customers using a cellphone app. The StepsAway app is easily accessed by shoppers using the mall\u2019s free WiFi network, and offers customers promotional opportunities as they shop with their mobile devices, \u201cjust steps away\u201d from easy access and pickup of those goods. Macerich will bring the new service platform to a total of 22 malls.

Separately, on Thursday, Macerich also announced the sale of two mall properties, one in Burlington, Washington, and one in San Rafael, California, for $170 million. After paydown of notes, the transaction results in net proceeds of $100 million to Macerich, whose shares finished the week 42 cents higher at $69.89 (1).

A new week, under a new president and Congress, brings new quarterly earnings reports from two Quad-City area firms on Tuesday. 3M Company, in global manufacturing, and First Midwest Bancorp will report on their just finished quarters and should provide interesting insight on the quarters ahead. Get ready.

"} ]