This is Sunday Morning Coffee, my weekly brew about the world of religion and politics with a little gossip thrown in for...flavor. My name is Michael Libbie and if you want to leave a comment here, feel free. And we can also hook up on my personal Twitter Feed @MichaelLibbie and my personal Facebook Page is here. Let's get to the coffee:
Food Stamps & Respect
Last week Congress gutted the food stamp program from the Farm Bill. Why? Mostly because Republicans hate people. Let me clarify that. Republicans hate people who are of color, poor, disadvantaged, urban, young, old... In other words folks who are disposable. Yet it is this same gang of politicians who demand "respect for life". I'm often asked why I dislike Republicans and the simple answer is their duplicity. Let's not feed the people...even when they work several jobs and still can't make it. How do you folks sleep at night? Never mind...I know, it's easy when you are so out of touch with reality.
Speaking of Reality
Here is something for you folks living in the GOP suburbs to consider. When the folks you dislike so much don't have food. When the people you don't see in your grocery stores, country clubs, neighborhoods can't eat because for some odd reason you think it is not the responsibility of the government to assist the the disadvantaged and only right when the government subsidizes the wealthy...they are coming to your part of town to take what you have so they can sell it. Sure we can build more prisons, and we do, but that's not going to solve the problem. But you can move...further away.
Last week my friends from the Right were nearly orgasmic as they crowed about the recent ratings drop from Left leaning MSNBC. Stuff like: "MSNBC is not fair and balanced and America knows it." and, "There simply are not enough libs out there to support the ideology." and, "The hosts are simply too smart and well educated for the liberals to understand." and my personal favorite: "This proves America is a Christian nation that disapproves of the liberal agenda!". No, what this proves is that it's hard to gin up rabid support of a progressive agenda when 1) The progressive base is more than disillusioned by a president who continues to seek compromise rather than carry out his mandate; 2) lousy decisions by the screwballs who make programing calls like moving Ed Schultz to weekend duty and 3) the lack of major political issues that can mobilize people like the run up to the 2012 election. Is MSNBC done? Nope, because somebody there must realize the mid-term elections are just around the corner. Watch my children...
Let me give you a breather from all the hot stuff and offer up this graphic done by my friends at Raygun of Des Moines.
I thought it was fun. My conservative friends think not. That's the other reason I don't mix well with conservatives...they can't seem to loosen up and have a little fun. Speaking of Governor Branstad (R-IA) he has been on vacation in Europe. Miss him?
Weeks ago I wrote that State Senator Jodi Ernst (R-Red Oak) would throw her purse in the race for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). BAM! At the urging of her fellow Republicans, and no doubt Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) who proceeded Ernst in the state senate, she is in the hunt. Along with being a proud member of the NRA Senator Ernst, in 2013, co-founded the Iowa Prayer Caucus. It is what she calls a "bipartisan caucus devoted to protecting the religious liberties of Iowans". Unless, of course, you happen to be a Muslim? Never mind...
Meanwhile - Where is Bruce Braley?
Everywhere. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) is running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and during the recent congressional break he cross-crossed the state to meet, march and raise funds from supporters. Braley raised $1.25 million for his campaign in the second quarter of 2013 and continues his single focus on getting elected. Meanwhile the crowd of Democratic contenders in the 1st Congressional District is getting more crowded. Along with State Rep. Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque), Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon and Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien are running, while Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic (D Waterloo) and former legislator Swati Dandekar of Marion have formed exploratory committees. Braley says he is not endorsing anybody and that is wise given the field. However, Monica Vernon has surprised some with her aggressive fund raising and the list of folks supporting her. This could be fun to watch. BTW, professionally, I'm a little surprised by the lack of any solid websites by O'Brien and Vernon. Odd...and unfortunate.
Last week the Iowa Supreme Court said it was OK to fire a long term employee if that employee is found to be sexually irresistible by the employer. (I was wondering why Hooter's closed.) The all male high court had decided to take another look at their ruling from December and decided they made no error even though the original decision caused a public outcry. Justice Mark Cady, whom I know, described the "relationship" between Fort Dodge dentist James Knight and his long-term dental assistant Melissa Nelson as a "consenting personal relationship" even though Mrs. Nelson continued to object to the flagrant sexual advances. Knight fired Nelson after his wife found out about text messages they had shared. Justice Cady said those harassing messages from Knight were simply (ready?) "banter". Women already walk a fine line in the workplace and it's an awful ruling that, no doubt, businesses welcome?
Water, Water Everywhere...
...but not a drop to drink...goes the "old saw". The Des Moines Water Works has spent over $375,000 since this past spring on nitrate removal. Last week Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of the utility asked Central Iowa residents to restrict their water usage because they can't keep up. What's the problem? Nitrate levels are climbing to 10 parts per million a level the EPA says is a danger. The high nitrate levels were caused by the state's soggy spring following a drought. A deluge in water washed fertilizer off the farms and into the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers which are used to provide drinking water to the Metro. A friend of mine suggested the state needs to "get tough" with regulations aimed at reducing chemical fertilizer applications. That ain't gonna happen...not in Iowa.
Don't Eat Your Vegetables!
I was going to title this, "Got the Runs?" but...nah. At least 45 Iowans have gotten sick by eating, what public health officials say is fresh vegetables tainted with cyclospora a nasty bug that can give you diarrhea for up to two months. Yikes! The story is that the produce was likely shipped into Iowa from another state or...country where the human feces laced veggies originated. Nice huh?
Des Moines Farmers Market a Hoax?
It seems that not all the "farmers" at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market are...farmers. My friend and long-time real farmer Larry Cleverley tells me that, by his estimate, about 30% of the "farmers" selling produce each Saturday actually buy their stuff from wholesalers or low cost grocery centers and then jack up the price and pretend it's home-grown. I asked Larry to point out the real farmers and he was happy to do so. Gosh...if you can't trust a farmer what is this world coming to?
It's Cool to be Rich!
In today's Des Moines Sunday Register there is a great article by my friend Donnelle Eller that tells us that "wealthy Iowans" saw "...a nearly 82% income boost from 2000 to 2010". Best quote is from Charles Leibold, senior managing director of Bankers Trust wealth management services who said, "Over the last couple of years, they've (the wealthy) clawed their way back pretty nicely." Uhm... "clawed their way back"? Here, if you can get through the pay-wall, is the exclusive story. Meanwhile those shiftless, lazy folks making $49,000 and less saw their income go down by 7.1% during the same period. Let them eat cake! (But don't buy it with food stamps!)
By this time next week RAGBRAI will have started its 407 mile trek across Iowa. My bride is doing the entire route...again. In training for the event she has lost over twenty pounds and is feeling great. Congrats!
We have a wonderful family and last week our son Aaron did something I was really proud of...he purchased a new road bike. He said he was frustrated that I was doing 20+ miles and averaging 13 mph while the best he could do was maybe 7 mph on his off-road bike. He visited with Justin at Bike World and BAM...new bike. What is really neat, at least for me, is that his new bike is a carbon copy of mine. That's just pretty cool. Here's a photo of the new wheels along with his first set of wheels from the mid 80's. Check those SHORTS!
Mom is headed home! Looks like we'll spring her from the skilled nursing facility at Edgewater mid-week. She's anxious to get out and, frankly, I'm anxious to see how she does "on her own". Which really isn't but we'll see how it goes. At least the daily commute for me will be down to less than five minutes. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful Sunday! - Michael
I love this op ed! Great thoughts, so very witty and very informed. Keep em coming Michael!
Posted by: David Maxwell | 07/14/2013 at 10:59 AM