Good Morning! If you even "think" about politics or religion or gossip welcome! What a week this has been and we've got a huge week ahead of us. So we shall not dally but get into it...short bursts to allow you to think.
The Family Leader Forum
It was a revival in the guise of being political as my friend Bob Vander Plaats gathered about 2,700 of the faithful in Ames yesterday. Rather than giving a speech, individuals were asked pointed questions about the Constitution, abortion, homosexual relationships, Jesus... You get the idea. The two sound-bites that came through all the clutter both belonged to Donald Trump who was responding to a question about Sen. John McCain losing the election in 2008:
"He lost, so I've never liked him so much after that because I don't like losers."
"He's a war hero," countered moderator Frank Luntz (Who, BTW is a "public opinion guru" who messages for the GOP on FOX). "He's a war hero."
"He's not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured," Trump said. "I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you."
I was not there but I also understand Mr. Trump said this about Jesus: "Jesus? Jesus? Get a haircut and some decent clothes or you're fired!"
Meanwhile in Cedar Rapids
Five presidential hopefuls from the Democratic Party showed up for an event where just about everybody in the room, it seemed, had some time at the microphone. Oh, sure the presidential contenders were in the house to speak but it took a while to get there. I sort of felt bad for Sen. Jim Webb who was the last to speak and some folks had already left. But, frankly, I've already heard that speech and so too has just about every Dem in Iowa. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the most excitement (and will win the Iowa Caucus) he was even given a nod by Sen. Webb. Meanwhile best line was from Secretary Hillary Clinton who's staff did a GREAT job in prep when she spanked Gov. Terry Branstad on his recent round of vetoes. Well played and the the audience loved it.
I didn't catch any "Jesus Talk"...perhaps I missed it. Either that or the candidates were focused on reality.
Call me crazy but, what the heck is it with this "do-nothing Congress"? Before the ink was dry on the six country Iran Deal the GOP was already trying to kill it. Before reading it, before understanding it. Nope, let's not take the time to figure out the issue...let us simply attack. I may not agree with everything President Obama has done or will do but seriously? Oh, also this week there was that Cuba thingy. Best president...ever!
What the Heck? So shocking and so sad. There is evil out there kids...evil. Five young men who left for work and will not go back home. No answer...just sadness. The inter-faith gathering which happened on Friday evening was indeed impressive. Christians, Jews, Muslims and non-believers coming together in solidarity against evil. Impressive and a model.
"Back to me."
That's my new most favorite phrase. My former favorite phrase was "Yes Dear", but this has that beat! How do you use it? Ya know when somebody is droning on about their life or their job or their family. Stuff they think is important. All you need to do is insert, at the correct time: "Back to me..." It just seems like the perfect set of words that can be used at any Chamber function when somebody is telling you about their job or their new-found cure for Ebola. Hey, I'm here to help!
Congressman Steve King
For some time I have pondered as to how in the world humans living in the 4th Congressional District continue to send Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) back to Washington. What is it that they "get" or "don't get" that drives them to send Mr. King back to represent them. This weekend I finally figured it out. I was driving through that part of Iowa, on I-29, trying to listen to Iowa Public Radio...you know the news and not "toxic-talk"...but the reception was lousy. BAM! Sioux City, the 4th largest city in Iowa, no can get IPR or any public radio station. It came to me...all they get is music and right-wing nut jobs who foam about anything of reason. And, I can back it up. Here is a photo of the coverage area for the FM side of Iowa Public Radio. IPR "says" their AM covers NW Iowa but...it doesn't. I tried. "Toxic-Talk Radio" THIS is the reason why they continue to elect Mr. King. Simple...no?
Speaking of Sioux City, that is the KICK-OFF point for this years Big Ass Bike Ride. My bride, who does not have one...took off this morning on her way across our great state. I'm often asked why I don't go and my standard answer is, "Camp? Really? My people camped for 40 years in the wilderness...we've had enough!" (Lesson: See what I did there? "Back to me." without having to say it.)
I was in Sioux Falls (they have public radio by the way) this weekend. What a beautiful downtown! Seriously. They have taken some of the old section of the city and revitalized it into eating and shopping areas that rival what you might find in Omaha. It was amazing. I can understand why that city has had a 9.5% increase in population over the past four years. Good on YOU Sioux Falls!
Tomorrow I'll be out of the office and busy helping my friend Desmund Adams make history in Iowa. Research shows that he is the first...first...African-American to seek federal office from Iowa. Surprised? Many are. His public announcement will be at Drake University in Des Moines on Monday 20 July at 10:30AM and then moving on to Council Bluffs, Atlantic before winding up in Waukee that evening. And, nope, I do not have any official title or standing in the campaign. I'm just a "hanger-on" because I love the limelight and shaking hands. (See what I just did there? "Back to me!")
See you on the road and thanks for reading!!