High Summer In Iowa

Trish Nelson

One of the highlights of the 2021 political summer will be distribution of the U.S. Census data and the decennial re-districting. The Iowa legislature is expected to convene a special session for that purpose in August.

In 2011 only two members of the legislature objected to the first re-districting map and it passed unceremoniously. We’ll see what happens this year. You’ll know there is skullduggery if the first two maps drawn by the non-partisan commission are rejected.

Trish Nelson is taking vacation in July and I’ll be helping to keep the blog going. I don’t know her plans, other than it will involve dogs, cats, bicycles, and time with family. The blog must go on!

An idyllic version of summer is getting away from stress and tension of American political life for a while and reading a good book. My reading pace slows during summer as more outdoors activities are available. I asked for summer reading recommendations from friends of the blog and here they are for your consideration:

Trish Nelson recommends The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. “Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia,” according to Goodreads. “Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.”

Dave Bradley recommends god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. People love or hate Hitchens, who died of pneumonia while being treated for esophageal cancer in 2011. “Hitchens described himself as an anti-theist, who saw all religions as false, harmful, and authoritarian,” according to Wikipedia. “He argued for free expression and scientific discovery, and asserted that they were superior to religion as an ethical code of conduct for human civilization. He also advocated separation of church and state. The dictum ‘What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence’ has become known as ‘Hitchens’s razor.'”

Friend of the blog Ellen Ballas recommended Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by David Corn and Michael Isikoff. We’ve been hearing of Russian influence in the 2016 general election for what seems like an eternity. Corn and Isikoff followed it from start to finish and present an incredible account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow to influence the election and elect Donald Trump.

On my bedside table is Devotions by Mary Oliver. Poetry, which I read outdoors during good weather, has been part of my summer for many years. I enjoyed Oliver’s American Primitive, leading me to buy this collection of her selected poems. I don’t think I can go wrong.

I also plan to read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Wilkerson’s book has been recommended by so many people I lost count. Many of us are familiar with the great migration from the southern United States to the north. “From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America,” according to Goodreads.

Whatever you are doing this summer, I hope you enjoy it… and that you’ll join me on Blog for Iowa during the month of July.

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