Politics

This week, Great Britain joined the United States and France in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. 

U.S. House of Representatives

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack says the most recent military campaign ordered by President Obama in Syria requires congressional approval. 

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Republican Congressman Steve King says Jim Mowrer, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran who is running against him to represent Iowa’s Fourth District, owes him an apology.

Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first significant hurdle for presidential hopefuls from both parties.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri is being viewed through a different lens overseas.  Much of the coverage reflects pre-existing views of the U.S. 

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Seven potential GOP Presidential candidates are making their way to Iowa this week and next.  Host Ben Kieffer sizes up the hopefuls for the 2016 Iowa caucuses with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Donna Hoffman, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Northern Iowa.  We know, the caucuses are still far away, but likely contenders are already here.  And like the holiday shopping season, it seems the Presidential vetting season is coming earlier and earlier.

Jonathon Colman

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans (71%) now say the war in Iraq “wasn’t worth it.” That’s similar to sentiments from the Vietnam era about that conflict.

Politicians Weigh In On Immigrant Children

Jul 23, 2014
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More than 52,000 have crossed the southern border since October and US politicians are having trouble finding solutions and the right rhetoric. 

After serving two tours of duty in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard, Jim Mowrer says he's ready to serve his country in a slightly different manner. 

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Des Moines Register political columnist, Kathie Obradovich, joins River to River to discuss the ongoing investigation into settlement agreements given to former state employees for their silence upon termination.

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Three open congressional seats from Iowa are up for grabs in this November’s midterm elections – a very rare occurrence in Iowa politics!

Today on River to River, an analysis of last night's primary results for those races. Joining host Ben Kieffer are guests Kathie Obradovich, of the Des Moines Register, and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa.

Ben asks them about the candidates’ strengths, possible weaknesses, and he has them ponder campaign strategies each camp is likely to employ leading up to November.

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State money is helping to build a new Christian park in Sioux City. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a Satanic statue will be erected outside a courthouse, next to the Ten Commandments.

State Senator Brad Zaun (R) of Urbandale told the Des Moines Register Editorial Board earlier this week that he has carried a 9 millimeter hand gun into the state capitol when the legislature has been in session. "I think that there are too many doors that can be easily accessed without going through security. There are crazy people out there." 

Voice of America

International outrage has been sparked by the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian girls.  Boko Haram, an Al Qaeda affiliated group, has taken credit for the kidnappings.  The U.S. this week pledged military and law enforcement personnel to aid in the search for the girls.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Jim McCormick, Professsor of Political Science at Iowa State University about likely U.S. involvement in Nigeria.  They also discuss the unraveling situation in Ukraine with William Reisinger, Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa.

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Iowa's June primary election is heating up.  Republican senatorial candidates have been debating, buying ads, and collecting big name endorsements.  But, only one will be campaigning to take incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin's seat.  Host Dean Borg talks with Kathie Obradovich, Political Columnist for the Des Moines Register and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about Iowa's primary races for Congress and U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that upholds Michigan's right to bar racial preference in college admissions.  Or, at least we think so.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle from University of Iowa, and Joan and Abbott Lipsky Professor of Political Science Bruce Nesmith of Coe College about the ruling and what it means.  The opinions are confusing at best.  They also discuss the conflict in Ukraine, and the grassroots mobilization around a 2016 presidential run for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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As the Ukrainian crisis deepens, Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Donna Hoffman of University of Northern Iowa about U.S. response.  Other topics include, the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Washington Post and the Guardian for their coverage of the NSA, a new climate change study, and Stephen Colbert's new Late Night gig.

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Women currently make up 18.5 percent of the U.S. Congress. Yet Iowa is one of only two states that has never elected a woman to Congress nor had a female governor.

This hour, a look at the gender gap in politics – Why do women run for office less than their male counterparts? When they are in office, how do they govern?

Some highlights from today's guests:

Three reasons for the gender gap in political ambition: from Jennifer Lawless, Director of the Women & Politics Institute and Professor of Government at American University

Pete Souza / Official White House photo

As protests continue in Eastern Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry says it's clear the chaos is being orchestrated by Russia.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University about Russian President Valdimir Putin's motivations.  They also discuss the politics of equal pay, and the recent firing of Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll.

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Video has surfaced of Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley at a private Texas fundraiser with trial lawyers drawing a stark contrast between a future with him serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a future with GOP Senator Charles Grassley Chairing that committee.  In the video, Braley describes Grassley as an "Iowa farmer" who "never went to law school."  Slate has called it the

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After speaking with at least half of the administrative law judges who rule cases for unemployment disputes, State Senator Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) says he’s gathered evidence that the head of Iowa Workforce Development has pressured judges to rule against employees hoping to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  

John Pemble / IPR

  Last week was another deadline at the Iowa statehouse for lawmakers to get more laws through committee so they can be debated on the floor.   

CSIS PONI

The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA improperly accessed computers used by congressional staff.  What comes next?

Voice of America

Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 Russian combat troops on high alert, rattling nerves in an already unstable Ukraine.  The move along Ukraine's border caused U.S.

Greg Wass

Iowan Sean Strub has lead a distinguished career as a gay rights activist and advocate for people with HIV/AIDS.  He founded POZ Magazine, designed to serve those living with the disease, a community he knows very well since he has been living with HIV since 1980.

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In about two weeks, the first of at least six Republican primaries will feature establishment Senate incumbents versus Tea Party challengers. Host Ben Kieffer and political analysts look at these primaries and the GOP’s bid to retake the U.S. Senate.  Also, A U.N. panel accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity, and Ukraine erupts again.  Guests are Dennis Goldford, Professor of Politics at Drake University and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University.

Chuck Kennedy (Executive Office of the President of the United States) / White House image, public domain

President Obama stepped to the podium to deliver his 2014 State of the Union address against a backdrop of low approval ratings, a stagnant Congress and the term “lame duck” increasingly being used to describe his presidency.  The State of the Union is often seen as an opportunity to press the reset button.  But, an analysis of the list of priorities requiring Congressional action unveiled in 2013 shows only two measures winning approval.  This may have been what prompted the President to say h

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Iowans gathered for caucuses Tuesday night, not to determine who will win nominations for President, but to determine who will control the parties.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Drake University Professor of Politics, Dennis Goldford about how the midterm caucus results may impact the higher profile Presidential caucuses in two years.  They also discuss Iowa's political leverage to reverse an EPA decision reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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"When we talk about leadership, we often think that it's entirely under control of the individual," says Hans Hassell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Cornell College.  But in reality, "It's not necessarily Boehner's leadership style that's causing the problems, it's the political environment."  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Hassell, David Andersen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University.  Recent stories about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as well as revelations

John Pemble / IPR

Governor Terry Branstad outlined legislative and spending priorities in his annual Condition of the State address in the House chamber at the Iowa State Capitol.  He is proposing measures to attract veterans, prevent bullying and expand broadband access in the state.  Host Charity Nebbe talked with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, IPR's Clay Masters and listeners about what was and was not included in the speech.

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