In the time of coronavirus

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Someday this will be over, and I will have succumbed or survived. If it’s the latter, I hope I have something to show for the hours I was forced to spend alone.

This command to “quarantine” should be a walk in the park for me. It is no different from how I live all the time. Freelancers often work alone. As a self-employed freelance writer and editor, I write and edit in solitary confinement. About 70 percent of the time I’m staring out of the window or red-penciling an author’s manuscript or actually writing. Continue reading In the time of coronavirus

O’Brien on Senate’s March 23 COVID-19 relief bill

~by Colleen O’Brien

Five things listed in the Republican’s bill to help the American people during the covid-19 crisis, as reported in Roll Call by Niels Leiniewski 3-23-20, 1 pm:

1. “promoting charitable deductions.” A bipartisan group of senators, Lesniewski reports, is “reviving a proposal to create an ‘above the line’ deduction for contributions to charity. The expanded standard deductions in the most recent tax code overhaul law has led to fewer taxpayers needing to itemize deductions.”

Continue reading O’Brien on Senate’s March 23 COVID-19 relief bill

Another ratcheting up of authoritarianism

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Since we now have a “war” president, he’s been press conferencing from the White House press room daily. This is unfortunate. When he eschewed the normal press conference routine that former presidents held in the Press Briefing Room of the White House and became the Tweeter in Chief, I wanted him to be a real prez and do like his predecessors.

What was I thinking? As a tweeter, he couldn’t use as many words. Continue reading Another ratcheting up of authoritarianism

A happy story in times that trouble

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Like so many of us, I’m consumed by the news and then so tired of it or confused by it I don’t pay any attention for a while. Then out of the very back of my brain, my trained-to-be-informed childhood aims its pointy finger, and I feel I’m not being a good citizen. I whine a bit (everyone gets to whine now because we have a model whiner to lead us) about whatever influence I have is only in my vote, which, in the years 2000 and 2016 didn’t count for much; but I return to the news, however helpless it makes me feel. Continue reading A happy story in times that trouble

Let’s each do our part to protect our seniors and fellow Iowans

Sen Joni Ernst, R-IA

March 12, 2020

~by Sen Joni Ernst 

In the past few days, cases of coronavirus have started to arise here in Iowa, just like we’ve seen in many other states across the country. At this point, there are over 1,000 cases in the United States, and that number is almost certain to grow.

In Congress, we are working to do our best to limit the spread of the virus, including passing legislation—now law—to better support our local, state, and federal governments as they grapple with this situation. At the federal level, Congress will continue to discuss what next steps might be needed. Continue reading Let’s each do our part to protect our seniors and fellow Iowans

The Behn Report

Jerry Behn (R), Boone

March 5, 2020

~by Senator Jerry Behn

On Tuesday the House and Senate announced an agreement on a K-12 education funding package for the next school year. Investing almost $100 million in new funding for schools, this money will include $7.65 million for transportation equity and $5.8 million for per pupil equity. The bill passed out of the Senate on Wednesday and is now headed to the governor for her signature. Continue reading The Behn Report

I have a winner

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

1. Who’s the whiniest person you know?
It could be siblings, once-friends, parents, your child, your grandchild, a great aunt, a boss, your roommate, your president?

It’s such a weenie way to live, complaining. Especially when it’s about everything, like a differing point of view. Or a questioning of point of view. Or a mere dispute about facts.
I tend to drift away from the whiners or tell them to go outside and play. Life is too short to put up with crybabies. Continue reading I have a winner

Housing, here and there, then and now

~a column by Colleen O’Brie

Italians I met while visiting in Italy told me about “workers’ housing” built in the middle of Rome “after the War” (WWII). A fellow I met owns one of these tiny apartments, about 400 square feet. He said it is mostly old grandmothers (from whom he inherited) still living there, and their children and grandchildren…great-great-grands on the scene by now, I would think. The places are nothing much, according to him — the buildings are several stories, maybe four or five — little rooms looking down around il cortile, the courtyard. Continue reading Housing, here and there, then and now

The Behn Report

Jerry Behn (R), Boone

February 20, 2020

~by Sen Jerry Behn

Subcommittee and committee work took up most, if not all, of our time during the sixth week because the end of the week is the first legislative deadline of the year, nicknamed ‘funnel week.’ This deadline requires most legislation be passed out of committee in its originating chamber – Senate bills need to be out of Senate committees, and House bills need to be out of House committees – in order to continue to be considered this session. This process ensures we can focus our time in Des Moines on priority issues. Continue reading The Behn Report