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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I thought I had ceased blogging but here I am.  I do not do FaceBook or Twitter.  I really don’t know how or why they exist, and I see no reason in the foreseeable future why I would need to acquire those abilities.  Good wife, Pat allows me to observe photos and such that only seem to be available there.  Thus, I am somewhat covered and will not need to learn those things before they are no more, and are replaced by something else.  Digital citizens in our great digital universe move on,  without me.  Thank goodness I left teaching over 30 years ago, or I might be expected to understand it all.

The weather is improving in Iowa.  There are heavy thunderstorms this weekend, which can always bring the threat of floods.  I have not yet had to mow the grass but expect to within a week.  Then I’ll have to see about some plants in a few pots, and clean and prepare the screen patio for a few months of enjoyment.

The two faces of Iowa are locked in deadly editorial combat.  The current issue of course is Gay Marriage.  Our farm state image is not always portrayed complimentary by the Eastern Press, nor understood by most of the rest of the country.  First thoughts are often that we surely have been left behind by a lack of understanding of those things deemed important.  How shocking it must be to learn that Iowa with a 1 Percent Black populace, launched our first Black President on his way to victory,  or that a perceived Conservative Farm State would be one of the first states after Massachusetts to legalize Gay Marriage.

We are of two faces, and either face can emerge at any given time.  Not always too slowly, but surely there is a steady movement to the Democrat, Liberal, Left.  We continue to elect our two United States Senators, one far right and one far left.  One by Unions, Labor, Teachers and University intellectuals with the superior minds — the other, wins election by support of Farmers, Preachers, and Business, Insurance, and Banking execs.  And of course, don’t forget those with inferior education and redneck qualities.  Lots of us vote for both.  Anyway, the daily papers are filled with the pros and cons of gay marriage.  This spills over to the supporters and detractors of our new Administration.  Now that the government has taken over the banking, auto and insurance segments, most seem to be in favor, but hope they give them back after they get them fixed. Others believe we have already surrendered to Lenin and those that followed and our world is gone forever.  As for me, I don’t like gay marriage, but surely do not want to deny them any benefits  that they perceive they will gain from a marriage versus what they might have under a civil ceremony.  I doubt if we will see any great disaster from this decision, but do not understand why a little compromise might not result in an acceptable situation for all.  As for Obama, I feel he already is a great President.  That doesn’t mean I think he will necessarily be a successful one.  I am frightened by all that is happening and at the same time feel he just might succeed.  And I have always felt that our Constitution does not prohibit in any way, a little Socialism.  I suspect we may like it once we get used to it.  And nothing should prevent us from moving to the right and returning again to our greedy Capitalist ways if we do not like the Socialist style.

This gay marriage thing has presented me with another quandary.  I recently reached my 79th birthday (practically 80, and that’s 4/5 of a hundred).  I have observed that within my family and certainly many others, (our street is full of them) most wives outlive their husbands by some ten years or more.  Certainly I have been stressed as of late, because of the fear that good wife Pat (age 77) may not have much more than 10 or 15 years left.  That surely puts a crimp on my own expected life span.  Geeez.  Now the quandary.  Whatever is the answer for the gay marriage.  Will they be required to specify for insurance purposes which one will be expected to live the additional 10 years.  They do want to be just like the rest of us.  Of course they are not just like the rest of us, and so it goes.

While we are at it, I will just mention another situation that sometimes irritates.  While I want to care for our handicapped citizen companions, why is it we have to go so overboard in providing for their convenience that the rest are sometimes so inconvenienced.  The Hy-Vee (supermarket) seems to be 7/8Th’s handicapped parking.  I myself am just a hairs width of being a helpless cripple.  Not really, but kind of close.  Thus far I have refused to obtain a handicapped parking tag, likewise my nearly physically impaired good wife Pat.  Thus we end up parking in the next county and by then after I enter the market I generally have to take care of bathroom issues only to find that the formerly three stalls have been reduced to one wheelchair accessible stall, which is occupied (Thank you, Depends).  I have always said the kindest thing you can do for any handicapped person is to make them realize they are not just like everyone else.  Then they will learn to do things the very best way for them, and we surely will always extend assistance when needed.  It reminds me of the story of the King who did not like to step on pebbles when walking, so ordered the entire Kingdom to be covered with leather.  Fortunately, one of his aides suggested shoes.  Our government has covered the Kingdom with handicap conveniences, without considering shoes.

I will sign off in just a bit.  I do despair at the anger between our two political parties and those that profess to have all the answers from the far right and the far left.  I can’t take much more of the bickering between MSNBC and Fox.  The business channels report terrible economic conditions.  So I switch to the Science and History channels and discover that we have only three years left anyway.  The Mayan calendar ends in 2012 with many dire consequences, already beginning to appear in the form of global warming, expected hurricanes, volcanic, earthquake, and tsunami catastrophes.  Now the Mexican Swine Flu will surely be pandemic.  And if that isn’t enough, we still have Pirates the world over to deal with, not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Or will we just run out of oil and gas or maybe food?

Before we all get out of joint at World Series time or when the Super Bowl rolls around.  Instead of them being brought to you by General Motors, General Electric,  AIG Insurance, or Bank of America, I’m sure they will be brought to you by your friendly United States Government, maybe at Nancy Pelosi Stadium on Barney Frank Field.    Love and Live the best you can.  Guess I am getting old just about the right time.  Good luck to all.  Have a good one.

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Or just, “Corn and Other Stuff”.

I’m an Iowan, but haven’t always wished I was one. I’m not a farmer, but being an Iowan, you aren’t far from the farm. And you’ve got to believe in the beauty of a broad field of tall, deep green, waving corn plants. Up close, there is nothing quite like a filled out foot long golden ear of corn with row after row of symmetrical kernels just waiting to do their thing. That being, thousands of tasks with new ones created almost every day. I read that of 10,000 items for sale in a grocery store, at least 2,500 of them contain corn in some form or another. It’s used in inummerable ways other than food. Of course we eat it in every imaginable way, nearly all of them quite good, except for hominy. Hominy brings unpleasant childhood memories when I was instructed to clean up my plate and the following disagreement with my Dad when I was unable to do so. Otherwise, all of my experiences with corn, in addition to the pleasant esoteric eye appealing aspects, have been good, up to the present.

Now, being an Iowan, I do not wish to bring down the wrath of any farmer, (I love ’em all) for suggesting that there is something wrong with the latest development, that being the use of corn as a renewable source of energy. Bless them, they deserve the best that high prices have produced. It’s quite obvious however, that prices have been inflated because of the subsidies associated with the production of ethanol. In addition, new problems of shortages for the other needs and uses of corn seriously threaten the economy. We are at least 25-50 years behind in the development of alternative energy. Corn gas works, but it must be shown that it can compete with ethanol produced from other crops, and other methods, without favored subsidies. In addition, it must not deter our efforts to develop other more efficient solutions to the energy crisis the world faces. Corn is needed and the farmer deserves to be fairly compensated for his financial and physical investment. However, I remain unconvinced that energy from corn is practical, efficient, or necessary. I cannot fail to mention the connection this issue has with the political scene.

Iowa with its unique position in being the first caucus state in the political process, certainly flaunts the use of corn as the answer to the nations energy needs. Whether the firstness of the Iowa Caucus is fair or not (I doubt if it is) can be debated another time. But one can’t fail to see what has happened in this particular year. With the possibility of making some errors in this quickly written blog, I believe that both Clinton and Obama failed to support farm legislation enabling subsidies in previous years. But lo and behold, after becoming candidates along with the other 8 to 10 candidates, ethanol as a renewable energy became an accepted issue as they campaigned across the state. Likewise on the Republican side, with the notable exception of one. Did anyone notice that John McCain failed to campaign in Iowa except for a one day visit to the Iowa State Fair and an appearance or two for news interviews. Not one McCain TV or newspaper ad. Consequently he finished somewhere way down the list. Why? He made it very clear he did not favor subsidies for ethanol. He did not oppose its use, so long as it competed fairly and without subsidy. He knew a campaign in the cornfields would be a waste of time. He quickly regained footing in New Hampshire where corn farming was not an issue. The man remains for the most part, a straight shooter, and one who does not campaign on the basis of what the polls ask. He is what he is, and that includes being old and capable of confusing Al-Qaeda, and Terrorists. (darned if they don’t almost seem the same to me too.) Being a Democrat, I am unsure that I would welcome another four years of a Republican administration.

Clinton and Obama appear at this time to be trying to destroy each other and the media contributes with its largely meaningless “gotcha” reporting. And the media appears bent on presenting McCain as a doddering, absent minded, too old for President candidate. Either Clinton or Obama, if elected would be a change and a change would be welcome (at least for awhile). The first woman President (far too long in coming), or the first Black President (far too long in coming) most likely would be welcome among most other nations in the world. I fail to see how either would be able to unify our nation, or reach across the so-called aisle, within. Nor do I see how any right wing Republican could bring anything together. McCain has appeared as first an American and then a Republican and has not found favor with that right wing and that’s a plus for me.

The Democrats had a candidate in Joe Biden who was first an American and then a Democrat and one who held that sometimes a campaign was worth losing to uphold your values and beliefs. That obviously did not carry the day with the Democrats. It just might make a good ticket, even if it will never happen. Did I mention that I wrote both of their names in for President and Vice President in 2004. (probably more than a few times) and just might do it again. I very much liked the Lincoln approach. He had a Democrat Vice President from the South no less, and named his staunchest critics and enemies within his own party to the highest cabinet positions. I don’t imply that Clinton or Obama are not good Americans. One or the other will most likely be the President and I will be a loyal American supporter. (Just had to strike a blow for Gray Power).

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Enough already! Here we go again. Twice a year we go through the idiocy of switching to Daylight Savings Time and back again. Each year the news will report about the jewelry store in New York City which keeps over 8000 accurate time pieces that have to be adjusted manually twice each year. Also consider the time and dollars spent making adjustments in the transportation industry. Mindful, also that flights, train and bus trips, trucks and all freight deliveries have to go through the process of making up an hour or dutifully slowing down an hour to get back on schedule. Radio, TV, indeed all business scurries to make sure everyone is aware of the coming time change and then one wonders how many people mess up and show up for work early or late. Computers and other technology have pretty well figured out how to make the change so that humans don’t have to cope with that. But then there was that thing at the new millennium that had many scratching their heads and wondering if everything was covered. I had an email today from the manufacturer of a printer I no longer use reminding me that the printer and fax always adjusted automatically EXCEPT this year they wouldn’t because Congress changed the day for going to Daylight Time. Therefore I would have to, disable this and enable that, manually to make the adjustment. Some states go on and some don’t. We even had a year in Iowa, back in the late 50’s that allowed each town to decide whether to go on Daylight time or not. Genuine madness.

Fortunately, now there are atomic or whatever radio controlled watches and clocks that make the change themselves. If they fail, then you point the clock toward Boulder, Colorado for awhile. (it took me three days one time) but you betcha, it finally got on track. I have two of these, so I normally have at least one time piece that knows what the score is or rather what the time is. Then I use it to make the rounds to the other 10 clocks and or timers on the stove and micro-wave to again be part of functioning mankind.

It’s madness. Now I know, everyone has a preference for one time or the other, but apparently the two sides are impossibly deadlocked. Thus each side gets a period of time that suits them for a period of time, but we are stuck with this mindless madness of switching. I’m reminded once again of the ridiculous conflict between extreme Liberals and extreme Conservatives. I’m so glad that I have finally accepted the belief that if we are to ever unite, it will have to come from the middle and the moderates in both the Democrat and Republican Parties. (Please come back, Joe Biden). Enter, John McCain, disliked by both Liberals and Conservatives, so he can’t be all bad. And, enter Barack Obama, with a labeled Liberal voting record but seemingly one who is reasonable and wants to unite. Might work well with the middle to be a uniter. Then again, there’s Hillary. Maybe she’s the one, and the unexpected happens, and we all live happily forever-after. It’s obvious that all have ideas we can accept and live with and all have ideas we’d just ‘druther not. It’s called negotiation, give and take, or whatever. (How’s that for being a fence sitter) 🙂

Now back to this time problem. The solution is so simple. Remember give and take. No one totally satisfied, but a situation that everyone can live with. Guys and gals, all we have to do is move the d— clocks 30 minutes forward tonight and leave them there forever. Nearly all the benefits of daylight time are retained. Nearly all the benefits of regular time are retained. Couldn’t be simpler. No more, will 300 million people wonder what the h— time it is. No more wondering, is it spring forward, fall back and does that mean I move the clock forward or does the sun move forward so I have to turn the hands back or what. And how will my cows know I’m going to need milk an hour earlier. Doctors won’t miss a scheduled surgery. Patrons at DFW or O’Hare will only have to concern themselves with 800 weather delayed flights, but not whether that was Daylight or Regular time. We don’t have to put up with this twice a year garbage. Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, etc. are quite enough without adding to the confusion each Spring and Fall. And what day shall we do it on this year? Is that the same as last year? What about next year? Will it be the same?

JOIN THE CAUSE. Help STAMP out time switching forever. Write your Congressman, Legislator, Dog Catcher, Township Constable or whomever. Enough already!

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I am just watching the news comments about today’s (03/04/2008) primary election in Texas and of course also Ohio, R.I., and Vermont. All eyes seem to be on Texas, rather than the eyes of Texas upon whomever. Well before the polls close and the unique Texas caucus results are in, it’s looking like Hillary is showing a little strength. May be too early to count her out. Obama’s strength thus far has been in the youth. Historically, that element has shown itself to be unreliable over the long haul. They can rev up and get everyone excited, only to grow impatient, and become bored before they are called on to actually vote. If they have nothing better to do and it isn’t raining or cold they might take time to vote. (That’s probably unfair.) Obama’s organization has been stellar and may well overcome all the obstacles of the past concerning the support of the youth. Anyway, at this point it looks like a toss up and unless Clinton wins big she still has plenty of problems. McCain looks to be finally able to lock up the Republican nomination. (Does that mean anything with the Democrat steamroller that seems to be building?) It’s still a long time until November. (Think of all those nasty TV commercials yet to come.)

This writing seems to be a lot about nothing. Winter is still very much in evidence, here. We are glad to be done with February and its unwanted extra day. However March will be a challenge as usual, and we anxiously await May. (Can’t trust April either.)

Between thinking about something interesting to add to the blog and working on the daily Sudoku puzzle, I probably will never again successfully complete any meaningful task. Pat continues to be patient with me.

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