River to River

Weekdays at 12 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 10 p.m. on IPR News

River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program focusing on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines, frames community problems, and fosters conversation. On Mondays during the legislative session, join in conversations with lawmakers and those impacted by action at the Statehouse.  Wednesdays, political analysts from around the state help you dissect the week in politics.  Fridays we buzz through the week’s big news stories.

River to River is hosted by Ben Kieffer.  It’s produced by Emily Woodbury, @EmilyWoodbury, Lindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Clare Roth @ClareAliceRoth.  Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins.  Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Why ISIS's Power is Diminishing

Oct 18, 2016
mashleymorgan / Flickr

As the attack on the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul begins this week, many eyes will be upon the Iraqi city watching how the terrorist organization will act.

“Well it’s going to be a very intensive and deep battle,” says Malcolm Nance, a counterterrorism and intelligence adviser for the U.S. government’s special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies. “It’s just a question of whether ISIS is going to put up a fight, or are they going to do a defensive battle and try to fall back to their central caliphate.”

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa State announced this year’s inductees to the Iowa African American Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Inductee James B. Morris Jr. was the first black assistant Polk County attorney, had a distinguished career as a trial lawyer, and was one of the first African American officers to lead white troops in the US war effort. Kenyatta Shamburger, the director of multicultural student affairs at ISU, says the hall of fame is a bit of a family tradition for Morris.

Jon Pemble/IPR file

The heads of both Iowa’s Republican and Democratic parties say they’re not concerned about party unity. That’s in spite of the fact both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the least-liked presidential candidates in the history of U.S. polling.

On the Republican side of the aisle, scores of prominent GOPers are refusing to support or defend Trump. This include several Iowa state lawmakers.

But chair Jeff Kaufmann says some of these un-endorsements are politically motivated.   

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Religious voters have become increasingly divided this election season, with a survey this Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute showing White Catholics favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 46 to 42 percent. Conversely, Evangelicals have stayed steady in their support of Trump: in that same survey there was no significant change in White Evangelical Protestants support for Trump, with 65 percent of them still supporting the Republican nominee.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

In a first for the organization, the World Food Prize Foundation is honoring four Laureates simultaneously for the 2016 prize. The decision originally caused some trepidation within the organization, and Ambassador Ken Quinn, president of the foundation, says that it's unlikely to happen again any time soon. The four laureates all work in the field of 'biofortification.' Howarth Bouis, founding director of Harvest Plus, explains the idea.

John Pemble

"The shackles have been taken off me, and I can now fight for America the way I want to,"  Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday. In an O'Reilly Factor interview, Trump also said he doesn't need establishment support to win the election.

Marnie Joyce / Flickr

It would be hard to come up with a person more connected with the feminist movement of the late 60s and early 70s than Gloria Steinem.  Now in her eighties, the founder of Ms. Magazine is still speaking out on issues of equality. As co-founder of the Women’s Media Center, she also works towards that organization’s more specific goal of making “women visible and powerful in the media.” In this River to River interview, Steinem discusses how far the movement has come in more than a half century of fighting for equal rights.

Flickr / GAGE SKIDMORE

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is showing no sign of pulling his support from  Donald Trump. That's in spite of the fact that dozens of Republican governors, congressional representatives and senators have rescinded their endorsements of the GOP presidential nominee or said he should step down.

Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 1000 refugees have been resettled in Iowa this year.

Director of Admissions for the U.S. State Department Larry Bartlett says while these new Iowans come from all over the world, the one thing they have in common is that they were forced to leave their homes.

Ben Kieffer

Last night, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence squared off in the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University and Jeff Taylor of Dordt College in Sioux Center. They discuss their view of last night’s debate, the state of the presidential race, and why they think a large majority of Evangelicals support Trump, while polls show Catholics overwhelmingly favor Clinton.

courtesy of Steve Gerberich / gerbomatic.com

What does it take to make it as an artist? When the line between success and failure is so thin, what factors contribute to an artist making it? For some, the old adage “Success is a third talent, a third perseverance, and a third talent” may not apply.

“I’d take ‘a third talent’ out of that, and I’d replace perseverance with attrition,” laughs Halt and Catch Fire actor Toby Huss.

Photo of Tim Kaine: Amy Mayer, Photo of Mike Pence: Gage Skidmore

Tonight, Indiana Governor Mike Pence debates U.S. Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia in this election’s only vice-presidential debate. Tim Walch, presidential historian and retired director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, points out that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the inception of vice-presidential debates, and he explains how those past events have likely affected what to expect this evening.

“First of all, don’t screw up,” Walch says.

Courtesy of Charles Aldrich

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Charles Aldrich. Aldrich would like to see an end to foreign aid, a complete withdraw of U.S. troops overseas, and an end to the contract with the Federal Reserve. In this interview, he also discusses his views on federal drug policy and NSA surveillance.

Dean Borg / Iowa Public Radio

The Cedar River in Cedar Rapids is expected to go below major flood stage sometime today. Perhaps you volunteered your time in one of the flood-stricken communities this past week filling bags with sand? Hundreds of volunteers moved somewhere between 9 and 20 million pounds of sand – all bagged, schlepped and stacked to form barriers to protect property from the flood waters this past week.

But what happens to all that sand when the flood waters recede?

John Pemble

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, as the senator faces an election for what could be his seventh term in the Senate.

This week, Congress overwhelmingly rejected President Obama's veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

(stephan) / flickr

In 2011, investigative journalist Suki Kim posed as a missionary and taught English to the teenage sons of North Korea’s ruling class. In 2014, she published Without You There is No Us, an account of the time she had spent there, an account she risked her life to retrieve. Now, she’s coming to speak in Iowa City on October 9th from 2-4pm in C20 Pomerantz Center, sponsored by the Iowa City Book Festival. 

Kim says though she grew up in South Korea, and had visited in North Korea in 2002, she wasn't prepared for the oppression she found there.

Colleen P

A new poll shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton tied in Iowa, with both having 38 percent support among likely voters. That’s a bit of good news for Clinton since two recent polls have shown Trump leading in Iowa by several points.

Photo courtesy of Julie Freed

Recent heavy rains have put the Cedar River and many streams at, or above, flood levels in what could be the worst flooding to hit the state since 2008. Communities are responding with sandbagging efforts and thousands of residents have evacuated their homes.

On the first segment of today's River to River, host Ben Kieffer checks in with those living and working in Charles City, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Cedar Rapids, including Molly Montag of Mason City Globe Gazette, Pat Kinney of the WCF Courier, Brian Morelli of The Gazette, and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett.

November Election Means Big Things for the Supreme Court

Sep 19, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

​“I don’t think I need to persuade anyone that this is a critical election for the Supreme Court," says author Jeffrey Toobin.

Toobin, a staff writer for The New Yorker, a senior legal analyst for CNN and the author of critically acclaimed best sellers including The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, has spent most of his life following the inner workings of our nation’s highest court.

7th Groove / Flickr

Iowa City is preparing to host an international sporting event that will be televised live around the world: the UCI World Cup of Cyclocross. John Meehan is a pediatric surgeon in Iowa City and the director for the Jingle Cross. He says cyclocross is different than a typical bike race.

John Pemble/IPR

Just weeks away from the general election, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returned to Iowa touting his plan to ease the financial burden of childcare for working families. Also this week, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton took a break from campaigning after being diagnosed with pneumonia. That's not controversial, but how and when her campaign disclosed her health status, certainly was.

International Labour Organization / Flickr

It may seem odd that a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate promotes anger. But that is exactly what 2014 winner Kailash Satyarthi believes is necessary for change to occur in the world. 

InfoCash / Flickr

Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Venmo -- the cutting-edge payment options of today are in our pockets, if not in our wallets. Before we had technological access to our bank accounts, there was a more rudimentary barrier to jump: getting money regardless of what bank or ATM was available. 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

This election has been unusual for a number of reasons, many which can be boiled down to one personality that's dominated the airwaves and headlines: Donald Trump. Josh Voorhees, senior writer for the liberal online magazine Slate, says part of it was the confluence of Trump's ascendancy and a new form of journalism.

screenshot

Airbnb, a marketplace for people to list and rent vacation homes and rooms to stay, was founded in 2008 in San Francisco. Today, there are more than a million listings in more than 30,000 cities around the country. As the service grows in popularity in the state, cities in Iowa including Clear Lake, West Des Moines, Fairfield and Coralville are looking to regulate its use.

"There is a great demand for this type of service. It was founded as a means to accommodate people during large business conventions," explains Art Durnev, a professor of finance at the University of Iowa. 

John Finn / Flickr

Recent research funded by a grant from National Institute of Mental Health at the University of Houston reveals children who experience inadequate or disrupted sleep are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders later in life. To pinpoint these cognitive, behavioral and physiological patterns of emotional risk, the researchers are temporarily restricting sleep in 50 pre-adolescent children between the ages of 7 and 11.

Matt Johnson / Flickr

This week, Trump lifted his ban on about a dozen media organizations he had barred from his news conferences and campaign events. One of the first of the media organizations to be banned was the Des Moines Register, whose reporters were blacklisted from his events after the paper ran an editorial urging him to drop out.  Lynn Hicks, Opinion Editor at the Des Moines Register, says Trump’s decision was unexpected because the opinion section and newsroom are completely separate entities with a "firewall" between them.

Ludovic Lubeigt / Flickr

Shenaz Patel is from Mauritius, an island country off the coast of the African mainland. Many Americans probably couldn’t place the country on a map; some might not even know its name.

“People often ask me, ‘Where is Mauritius?’ and I feel like I should be walking with a map in my pocket to point out to them,” Patel laughs.

The island played a role in the War for Independence as a harbor for French ships to dock at before coming to America, and it plays an essential role in U.S. foreign policy now.

A former Ambassador to Tanzania under President George W. Bush and current President of the non-partisan, not for profit International Republican Institute says America's role in the world should be one of engagement.

Ambassador Mark Green was in Iowa this week to speak to the Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations. He told host Ben Kieffer on River to River that America needs to stand with its allies and help them achieve their goals, stabilize the world, and address conditions like destitution and absolute poverty that can be exploited by extremists.

Michael Luick-Thrams

An Iowa historian, running as an independent in the race for U.S. Senate, says he sees opportunity for someone outside the two-party system in this election cycle. He says every 30 years or so cultures open up, look around, and assess what's going well and what needs to be changed. Michael Luick-Thrams says now is that moment.

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