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 @IPRBen.  It’s produced by Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodburyLindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Katelyn Harrop @KatelynHarrop. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

CTF83/Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court has considered several questions recently, including: When do hugs between a student and a school employee add up to illegal sexual contact? Also, if a neglected property becomes an eyesore, can the city take it without paying the owner a dime?

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with legal expert Todd Pettys about the stories behind several Iowa Supreme Court cases. Pettys also shares his thoughts on whether Iowa’s new fetal heartbeat law will be struck down.

Pettys is the H. Blair and Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Cases discussed this hour include:

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Jill Meadows v. Kimberly K. Reynolds ex rel. State of Iowa and Iowa Board of Medicine

More information: https://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/supreme-court/supreme-court-oral-argument-schedule/case/17-1579

This special edition of River to River is in partnership with Iowa's The Gazette. "Pints and Politics" was a lively discussion of local and national politics that was recorded at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Thursday, May 10.  

Emily Woodbury/IPR

Two years ago, the launch of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift was the first time consumers had access to relatively affordable virtual reality. While still not a household staple, market forecasts predict that virtual and augmented reality will be a $40 billion industry by 2020. 

flickr / RelaxingMusic

White House physician Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Secretary of Veterans Affairs has exposed the widespread use of alertness drugs and sleeping pills among Washington officials and white house staff. During this hour of River to River, guest host Charity Nebbe talks with Dr. Eric Dyken, of the sleep disorders program at the University of Iowa about sleeping pills, wakefulness drugs and other new sleep research. 

Clay Masters / IPR

The United States will be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, which was a deal that President Obama's administration spent two years negotiating. President Trump announced the news yesterday calling the agreement "rotten." 

"What this means is that there will be severe limits on American corporations dealing with Iran in terms of trade and in terms of investment," explains Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College. 

"The problem is that if the agreement collapses and the Iranians then restart their enriching of uranium, what will the U.S. do then?"

Iowa capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Lawmakers adjourned for the 2018 legislative session on Saturday after passing a tax bill worth $2.8 billion and the strictest ban on abortion anywhere in the country. 

During this session, Governor Kim Reynolds also signed legislation to improve mental health care and water quality in the state. The perennial issue of the bottle bill made some movement. Iowa also saw the ouster of Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix after a video of him interacting with a female lobbyist surfaced. 

Iowa capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

On Wednesday, Iowa lawmakers passed the strictest abortion ban in the nation, and it would ban abortions past six weeks of pregnancy or after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That's before many women realize they are pregnant. The law includes several exceptions including in cases of rape, incest, and with other limited specific exceptions. Governor Reynolds signed that bill into law today.

There was a protest of the bill today at the state capitol, and during this hour of River to River, IPR's Katarina Sostaric and Joyce Russell join guest host Emily Woodbury.

John Pemble / IPR

For the past five or six years, there’s been a lot of attention surrounding Iowa's water quality. Last year, a federal judge dismissed the Des Moines Water Works’ lawsuit against drainage districts in three northern Iowa counties. The utility had claimed the districts were funneling high levels of nitrates into the Raccoon River, a major source of drinking water for 500,000 Iowans. Earlier this year, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill she called "monumental," which allocates $282-million for water quality projects in the state. But the law is not without controversy.

The Fair Housing Act is marking its 50th anniversary this month. It was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson just days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in April of 1968, and it prohibits discrimination based on the race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability of the person wishing to buy or rent a home.

The White House

Dr. Ronny Jackson has been a White House physician since 2006. He's also a United States Navy rear admiral who has been nominated for Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are numerous allegations against him concerning his ability to lead, as well as an allegation that he's mishandled prescription drugs. During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Dave Andersen and Jim McCormick of Iowa State University. 

Andreanna Moya Photography / Flickr

Teresa Hafner would not be alive today if she had not received a new heart through the Iowa Donor Network. She lives because of a motorcycle accident that killed a 26-year old woman. During this hour of River to River, she talks with host Ben Kieffer about being the recipient of a heart transplant. 

"Back in 2006, I flat-lined while I was at work and had to have a pace maker and a defibrillator placed at that point. I was fine for a while, and then I went into heart failure," she says. 

RebelAt (Missouri); Carol M. Highsmith (Nebraska); Vijay Kumar Koulampet (Wisconsin); McGhiever (Minnesota)

On this edition of River to River, while Iowa lawmakers work on closing a budget deal that would end this year’s session, we learn about what other statehouses around the Midwest have been tackling this year.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with statehouse reporters and hosts from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Missouri, where allegations of sexual assault and blackmail against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens have dominated the political landscape.

U.S. Supreme Court Cases Pending and Decided

Apr 19, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode
Andrew Bardwell

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with legal analysts Todd Pettys, H. Blair and Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation and law professor at the University of Iowa, and Tony Gaughan, Professor of Law and Drake University Law School about prominent cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Along with some other courts news, here are some of the cases they discuss:

Benisek v. Lamone and Gill v Whitford  – Both are gerrymandering cases.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

John Norris is no stranger to politics. He worked as chief of staff to former Governor Tom Vilsack, a job he retained when Vilsack became U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Norris has also served as U.S. Minister Counselor for Agriculture to the United Nations in Rome, and has served on the Iowa Utilities Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now, he’s running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Politics Day: Syria and North Korea

Apr 18, 2018
stephan

In this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Keiffer is joined by Steffen Schmidt, Lucken Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.

The analysts cover recent political news including recent airstrikes in Syria, a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, and a remembrance of former First Lady Barbara Bush.

CCN.com

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Hans Hassell, assistant professor of politics at Cornell College and Jim McCormick, professor of political science at Iowa State University about this week's political developments. Stories include Paul Ryan’s planned retirement, the recent chemical attack on Syria, and Mark Zuckerberg's Congress hearings.

On this "Pints and Politics" edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer co-hosts with Gazette investigative reporter Erin Jordan. They ask panelists to discuss the latest in national and state politics, including what is likely happen before the end of the Iowa legislative session.

"They're going to do tax cuts, they're going to do the budget, and that might be it." says panelist and politics reporter for The Gazette, James Lynch. "Usually the hundredth day, when their money runs out, is an incentive to wrap things up."

Harper Collins

Robert de la Rochefoucald was captured by the Nazis three times during World War II. He was an aristocrat, educated in Europe's finest schools, turned Special Operations Executive in the French resistance. The stories of his escapes sound like something straight from an Ian Fleming novel, except they're true.

John Pemble/IPR

  

The Head of the Iowa Department of Human Services is defending the state’s privatized Medicaid system, after a scathing report last week by the state ombudsman.  

The report said complaints from patients and providers jumped by 157% last year, making Medicaid one of the top targets of complaints from citizens reporting difficulties with the government.

Since April of 2016, for-profit companies have managed the program for 640,000 Iowans who are poor or disabled.

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John Sachs www.tech-fall.com

The United World Wrestling Men’s Freestyle World Cup is this weekend.  Athletes from teams all over the world are descending on Iowa City for that event.  Noticeably absent is Russia. The U.S. embassy in Moscow was unable to expedite visa interviews, according to USA Wrestling.

Cedar Rapids Gazette wrestling reporter K.J. Pilcher says international politics play a part.

"If it were up to the wrestlers on both sides, everybody would be involved.  I just think politics got in the way of competition here and Russia unfortunately isn't going to make it," he said.

Public Domain

China has proposed tariffs on U.S. pork and soybeans, two of Iowa's major agricultural exports. In this politics day edition of River to River we talk about the potential political fallout of the brewing trade war between the U.S. and China. Dennis Goldford, professor and chair of political science at Drake University and Tim Hagle, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa share their thoughts about this issue and the week's other political developments. IPR's Ben Stanton hosts the conversation.

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Sergey Galyonkin

The Iowa Department of Public Health has offered cannabis dispensary licenses to proposed stores in Council Bluffs, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Windsor Heights.

In this news buzz edition of River to River, Emily Woodbury talks with Des Moines Register Health Reporter Tony Leys about what that means for Iowans.

Katherine Perkins / Iowa Public Radio

Whether or not to expand, repeal, or restructure Iowa’s bottle bill, the legislation that created the bottle deposit in Iowa, has been a perennial issue at the state capitol. This year, the conversation surrounding the bill has been more serious. There have been bills introduced to repeal the bottle bill, bills to expand it, and now there’s ongoing discussion about creating an amendment to another bill that would move can and bottle redemption out of grocery stores across Iowa.

Marc-Antony Payne

Train derailments, oil spills, bankruptcies, medical errors, and data breaches - every week, the news gives us glaring examples of how mistakes in these complex systems can blossom into massive failures. 

On this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Clearfield, the co-author of MELTDOWN: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It. In the book, he reveals the surprising ways in which these occurrences of modern life are connected, as well as how to prevent these sort of breakdowns. 

Truman Library

  

In the aftermath of WWII, the court system in Germany underwent a dramatic shift as the Allies launched an initiative to rid German and Austrian society of any remnants of national socialism. This process was called denazification. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Judy Hamilton Crockett, whose father Clarence E. Hamilton was head of all civil courts and prisons in Nuremberg after WWII.

Legislative Day: Fetal Heartbeat Bill

Mar 27, 2018
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robmcbell

A bill moving through the Iowa legislature would ban nearly all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. IPR’s Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell and host Ben Kieffer explore various perspectives from Iowa lawmakers and advocates. 

This program originally aired 6-19-17.

Proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration have scientists at the Ames Laboratory on the campus of Iowa State University concerned. The smallest of the national laboratories receives 90 percent of its funding from the Department of Energy. The director of the Ames Lab, Adam Schwartz, says President Trump’s proposed budget would harm scientific research.

Phil Roeder

Students across the nation are taking to the streets Saturday for what they’re calling the March for Our Lives. The main event is in Washington, D.C., but satellite rallies are taking place in cities such as Des Moines.

In this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with one of the Iowa organizers, Isabella O’Connor, a junior at Roosevelt High School. She says young people want changes made to the country’s gun laws.

In 2014, Bassem Yousseff, commonly described as the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was forced into exile after being accused of and arrested for criticizing the Egyptian government. His show "El Bernameg," which translates to "The Show" ran from 2011 to 2014; before that, he worked as a heart surgeon. 

Courtesy of Nate Weiner

Every year, thousands of fires destroy millions of acres of wilderness.

“It sounds like a freight train going through the woods,” says wildland firefighter Nathan Weiner, describing the experience of fighting one of his first wildfires.

“We get plugged in off the side of the road, we’ve got aircraft flying overhead, and there’s a hundred foot flames screaming up the hill. It’s just that wild moment where you realize how small you are in the world.”

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