Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who, on Friday, finally convened a town hall-style meetings with constituents in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Lawmakers throughout the country, particularly Republicans, have been ducking usual constituent meetings amid growing unrest with President Donald Trump. Sen. Chuck Grassley was among a few who faced the anger head on.

Now, Ernst faced her constituents. It's a welcome change.

Thumbs down to end-running Iowa's already lax regulation of industrial farming to the detriment of neighboring property owners.

Adam Pope is among investors hoping to build a 98,000-bird chicken farm outside Mason City. That's 2,000 birds below Iowa's threshold for a large-scale operations, which are more heavily regulated and offer nearby residents input.

It's probably no coincidence that those planning the chicken operation are staying just shy of levels that would trigger meaningful oversight. 

"It's really somewhat problematic for counties when you have a facility that's this size, because there's very little input that they have if it's built," Adam Shaffer of the Iowa DNR’s Mason City office told the Globe Gazette in Mason City.

It's a loophole for which neighbors, such as Bill Papouchis, will have to pay the price. 

Thumbs up to the Irish, and every other group that's faced oppression and prejudice throughout American history.

St. Patrick's Day festivities are in full swing today in the Quad-Cities. The bistate parade, parties, bands and plenty of green beer will mark the occasion.

During a visit to the White House this week, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny couldn't resist making note of the parallels between what Irish immigrants faced a century ago and forming U.S. policy on migrants. 

"It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He, too, of course, was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he’s also a symbol of — indeed the patron of — immigrants," Kenny said.

We hope President Trump listened. 

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