The Iowa state motto:

Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.

It’s emblazoned on the state flag if you need a refresher.

Erin Murphy in The Gazette:

The Iowa Civil Rights Act would be changed by removing gender identity as a protected class, and by adding gender dysphoria to disabilities covered by the act, under legislation that will be considered by state lawmakers next week at the Iowa Capitol.


A subcommittee will hold a hearing on Jan. 31, and you can provide written or in-person comment.

On Abolition

Every day, we take hundreds of steps towards abolition.

Waving to a neighbor walking her dog.

Stoping to help a kid on their way to school who’s bag is spilling papers.

Handing out Halloween candy at your front door.

Meeting a new person who works near your office.

Collecting a few pieces of trash.

Holding your kid’s birthday party at the neighborhood park.

Closing a street to cars for a community festival.

Visiting a playground and playing.

Asking someone if they’re OK.

Sharing a tradition.

Picking up dog poop that’s not yours.

Giving another human grace.

Moving forward when you’re not offered the same.

Writing a poem.

Flying a kite.

Checking in an old friend.

Letting your boss know, clearly and honestly, what isn’t working.

Joining a community network that connects folks across your city to solve problems.

Asking your neighbor if they’d stop setting of fireworks.

Getting over neighbors continuing to set off fireworks.

Finding a new home for books you’ve already read and things you no longer use.

Bringing food to a potluck.

Forgiving a person who wronged you.

It’s hundreds of daily acts of resistance, easy and hard, that makeup the steps on the infinitely long path to abolition.

One-Star Food

For our anniversary last January, Laura and I visited Chicago for two nights of eating. Night One was an all-out, over-the-top dinner at the kitchen table at Next. It was good, of course, but it also felt very too much. And, ironically, maybe weird in a too-safe kind of way?

Night Two was the tasting menu at Indienne, a newish spot serving refined Indian cuisine with a bit of French flare. It was surprising and delightful, and the best meal I’d had in years.

It should be no surprise it was just awarded its first Michelin star.

How Iowa’s Book Banning Manifests

Tim Weber writing about a database he and Samantha Hernandez built for the Des Moines Register:

Together, more than 450 individual works by more than 300 authors have already been pulled from the shelves of Iowa school districts as a result of Senate File 496. Our database will continue to be updated as we receive more lists from districts around the state.

I skimmed the list of titles from the Iowa City Community School District and found a number of familiar titles, including ones that were favorites of my own kid, classics including Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Joyce’s Ulysses and a favorite of my own, Y the Last Man.

It makes book banning so much more personal. These are abstract titles of “banned books.” These are favorites being pulled from the shelves at your kid’s school.

Totally unrelated1: there’s a City & School election on Nov. 7 and there’s some scary folks running . I’m voting for Molly Abraham, Charlie Eastham, Mitchell Lingo and Lisa Williams and you should, too.

  1. It’s completely related. ↩︎

On Parenting

By the end of this month, my child will turn 18. There was a time she was struggled to lift her head during tummy time, and I remember her first wobbly steps while I feared she’d take a header off the coffee table.

I occurs to me that these moments reoccur.

She’s currently navigating decisions about college, and now, like then, I have to remind myself to let her grapple with the challenge.

She was learning to ride a bike, I couldn’t hold her up or she’s never learn to balance. When she was learning to drive, I couldn’t hold the wheel or she’d never learn to steer. When she was falling in love, I couldn’t play her matchmaker and chaperone or she’d never learn how to exist in a romantic relationship. As she learns how to be an adult, she needs the space to try and fail — or fall.

Like a newborn bird working its way out of its shell, the struggle is critical to the necessary growth. The necessary strengthening. Standing back comes with risk, but intervention comes with more.

Via Yelp via the Washington Post

The Des Moines Register:

Everyone has an opinion on who makes the best pizza, and to that end, the Washington Post took a different approach to determine the tops nationwide. The editors there started with the 7.5 million Yelp reviews of 85,000 pizza establishments nationwide, developed a formula to figure out the best — taking into consideration the rating, number of reviews, and how often reviews mentioned that particular pizza style, the Post said — and then presented it to the public.

The Des Moines Register, winner 17 Pulitzer Prizes, was once a proud newspaper. Now they run stories rewriting data journalism about pizza from the Washington Post.

Rating Apples

It should be no surprise I love an obsessive strong opinion about something that doesn’t really matter and so I love Apple Rankings. That I disagree with it is only better.

Personally, I’m thrilled it’s Zestar season, so I’m stocking up on local ones.

It’s Gonna Be BANANAs

Iowa City is considering a zoning code change to open up more properties for “accessory apartments,” a rediscovered solution that might help our housing crisis.

The City of Iowa City explains:

Accessory apartments, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are small, self-contained dwelling units located on the same lot as a primary home. ADUs can be attached or detached and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and configurations.

You’re going to hear a lot of folks oppose this with a lot of the same tired arguments we’ve heard from team NIMBY1 for years:

  • It will hurt (my) property values
  • It won’t fit the “neighborhood’s character”
  • It alone can’t solve the affordable housing crisis
  • Something something families
  • Something something corporate take over

You will almost certainly hear this from folks who — staunchly — say they support affordable housing in a vague sort of way and are definitely not opposed to change (just this change) or density (just this density).2

They have, in fact, already started.

The truth is this: building more places for people to live in necessary, but insufficient, to solve the housing crisis, and we need to find ways to do it on land folks already own in a way that reduces the power of the people living there to keep new people out.

This is one of those changes.

  1. My preferred term is BANANA, for build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything. ↩︎
  2. It might sound something like this: “We would be eager to work to come up with buildings that contribute to a healthy balance of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing without compromising the character of the neighborhood.” ↩︎