Shop Charge. Local service businesses have been adding a
"shop charge" of about 10% to their bills. The public, like sheep, accept this fleecing without challenge.
Worse School. Marshalltown has one of the worst schools in the state. The principle is surprised.
Does this tell us something?. And what about the superintendent responsible for him?
Iowa Stimulus Programs. Fiscal crisis and stimulus funds were to create jobs -- used to pay government employees.
Whereas private sector employees are laid off and most state employees take a 4% pay cut ; teachers union gets a 4% pay raise. Business as usual.
Jobs Conference agrees to extend unemployment insurance, not jobs creation.. This is leadership?
Teacher's Union Again. .
Our governor wants to pay State Troopers from the gas-tax fund.
That highway fund comes from general revenue. This allows more money in the general fund with which to pay teacher's union members. That union is the biggest voting block in the state. Thus he is suggesting taking our gasoline money to pay the union. Winter 2010 exhausted highway funds.
Witless Humor .
"The fact is clear : Iowa has not spent too much, rather our revenue has fallen off ." – Chet Culver
I don't have a luxurious life, not because it is too expensive, but because I don't have enough money.
Wait for the Facts? .
Marshalltown may have its own case of "cops behaved stupidly". Like Obama, the facts have not yet been
released. But a 60 year old woman was arrested yesterday for shooting at three teenagers in her home, hitting one twice, and arrested her husband for non-physical impeding of her arrest. But it sounds like a case of home invasion and defense to me.
Is News Before or Afterwards or at all? .
The T-R showed ROTC jogging through Marshalltown, but not in advance so as to allow people to line the route. A cavalcade of at least 50 tractors motored past my home ; we waved to the drivers. No word by the T-R to expect it or afterwards what is was about.
Internet Service Provider My ISP is DynamicBroadBand. Their service is by microwave from a tower one mile
from my PC. My service speed is equal to the bottom 4% of the nation's average for high speed internet.
I have two rows of windbreak between me and that tower -- I have offered to cut a path on the line of
sight but they said, "No, our microwaves penetrate leaves and do not follow a straight line path. What you (me)
need to do is dig a 300 foot trench through your lawn,
under a driveway, and through tree roots to mount the antennae on the other side of the trees." Think for a moment. Does microwave penetrate leaves or doesn't it ? Think again before considering signing with people who think and speak this way.
We are here..
KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, and A&W are owned by a company named Yum.
We have all five in little Marshalltown, mainstream Americana. You probably don't remember a
time when you could be put down anywhere in America and have a fair idea what part of the country
you are in because of local flavor . Now a'days we are homogenized with the same national brands everywhere. A mall on the other side of identical parking lots in Texas or Maine look the same and the anchor stores even have the same layout inside. Are we all one or have we lost our identity?
Marshalltown police to be issued Tasers .
Why should a citizen be concerned ? Besides the contest to see who can report the.
first usage to the amusement in the squad room?
Suppose I am a private citizen who happens to be near an
incident. An excited cop runs up shouting "Down on the ground. Now!" Having no interest in getting my
cloths dirty, I say I would rather not. "Oh, a wise guy, huh? Take that." Zappp ! The reason British police do not carry guns is to show respect to the citizenship. The reason US police are polite is that some citizens carry guns.
To shoot a discourteous cop for drawing a Taser will be considered overkill. I guess we have to buy Tasers, too.
The city is going to "study" red light cameras. This will be sold as a safety measure.
Don't you believe it. Cameras have proven to increase rear-end accidents (whiplash) as drivers break in panic on the start of a yellow light. It is strictly an income scheme.
But they need a diploma. .
"World leaders may be able to bail out the banks by printing money, but you can't bail out a generation by printing diplomas." -- Dean Kamen.
You've earned it ! .
Hawk-i is a program of almost free medical insurance for uninsured children. Advertisements stress it is good for your kids and ends with -- "You've earned it." How ? It is a virtually free gift from the governor. Nothing is free -- it is an allocation of tax money from those who work to those who don't. It will increase the attraction of welfare cases and illegals to the state.
More. When the government provides free health service, why should employers continue to provide it ?
Companies will start writing out insurance coverage for children of employees eligible for "free" state services. The cost to the state,
ie. tax payers, will increase far beyond the cost estimates presented to legislators The governor and state administrators weirdly think companies will continue to pay to duplicate state coverage in their employee health plans.
Name a Flu .
The flu epidemic of 2009 carries an invalid common name that harms the local economy. Calling it swine flu, even though there is
no infection of hogs, is detrimental to Iowa's pork industry. In partial recognition of this local impact, local radio have taken to calling it "H1N1, the so called 'swine' flu." T-R continues with headlines of Swine Flu.
Flu outbreaks are normally named after the location where first reported -- Spanish flu, 1918-20, Asian 1957-58, Hong Kong 1968-69, Fijian 2003-04, and now, Mexican 2009-10, but called swine flu. But we can see that
political correctness favors the immigrants bringing that flu rather than the livestock producers.
Origins of the Constitutional .
A local lawyer gives a class on the history of the Constitution. He shows how far we have moved
from the words of our founders and he shows the hows and whys of the changes from individuals to government. I can agree with him that the founders were more right than some of the changes made since. He emphasis's that the founders recognized that democracy is founded on a virtuous people and that they foresaw the direction that majority rule -- gifts to please the voters -- would go. They built specific checks and balances to retard this -- over the years many of these have been breached. His argument would be stronger if he did not equate virtue with religion -- the words of a fundamentalist preacher and
a fundamentalist imam are identical. The founders were men of learning and deists ; their foundation was strong in ethics, consideration, responsibility and in practical self improvement under law.
John Adams -- "I study government and war so that our children may study science and agriculture,
so that their children may study art and literature."
I don't think he foresaw that social change would turn against the basics of science and government.
Franklin might have -- "we have provided a good government, so long as the people can keep it".
Drop Out .
Marshalltown has the second highest school dropout rate in the state. Our administration
says it will continue with after class offering and summer school, but will have to make a study of why young are dropping out. That the educators don't know suggests the problem. Human behavior and attitudes are a function of training and morale, not academics. The classic approach is to seek additional funding. In a way I am glad they are not spending too much time on the illegals, but they are already receiving funding for this and they don't seem to be doing much good. An attitude that learning is the path to success must be instilled. The administration assures us they will get graduation rates up. Does this say they will further erode academic standards as a way to get off the bottom of the statistics list. "Pass'em", rather than to motivate them is not a satisfactory answer.
Keep On Spending. .
Rather than cut their budget by 1.5% because of a world-wide recession, Marshalltown Community School District is going to dip into the reserve fund so as to retain their spending habit.
Tiny Type .
The T-R newspaper has taken to printing parts of its content in tiny type, that is, it is too small for me to read. Nine lines are now put in the space where seven would normally be. Is the purpose to save paper? No, because overly large titles exist to fill the pages. Savings of ink? Again, no, the block titles require much ink. Annoyance of customers? Most certainly. Encouragement of cancellations? Possibly, but I enjoy the cartoons, puzzles, and grammatical mistakes. Question -- is removal of news content from readers a great harm? Well, it is one more nail in the coffin of newspapers worldwide. Payment to a local institution is almost an act of patriotism, but for less and less?
Coupons kill sales .
I was hungry for a particular fast food while coming back from town and planned to take a goodly
supply home for family dinner. But this company regularly issues coupons and I did not have one with me. So the company
was lost the sale and my unsated appetite is such an annoyance that I will probably not buy from them for many months.
I first noted this phenomena where a local supermarket had a monthly sale on milk. They would jack up the posted price and
offer a coupon to bring the price back down -- this happened month after month. Not being one who carries a wallet of coupons,
I did not feel able to buy milk at the higher price during those periods. They may still do this, I don't know because I don't shop there any more.
In the Tradition of Marshalltown. Just as M.H.S can be described as the building west of "The Round House" gymnasium, now to M.C.C. can be described as the building west of their sports stadium. Advertised to the tax payers as a Computer and Welding classroom building with a Student Activity Center attached, it turns out the $7,000,000 building is really a 40,000 square foot, dedicated,
indoor sports stadium with permanent seating for 1,600 spectators (with built-in backrests). The central court is sixty yards long surrounded by support facilities, locker rooms, laundry, spacious offices, refreshment stand, hospitality rooms and kitchens, and mezzanines with the second floor devoted to exercise equipment (I counted 50 pieces) and a broadcasting studio. What is to become of the existing and adjacent 50 yard long gymnasium -- we are told it will be used to warm up for games.
Anyone who thought an "activity center" was to be a student union is told , "we already have a student union" (the lunch room), "we needed a bigger gym." Tim Wynes assured me all students are allowed to use the new facility, not just team members, and that the facility includes multiple wireless hot spots. For texting during the games, I guess.
Where do academics come into this addition? There is another new building, separated from the college, of 12,200 s.f. costing only $2.15 million that houses a welding laboratory, a computer class room, and two regular classrooms. There is no student union. Were the two buildings advertised together in the public bond request to make the new stadium sound as of academic value ? For those with your names on the plaque, I have to express disappointment in use of our "education" dollars to build a second and luxury gym.
Back to School Woes .
"Marshalltown schools is deemed 'In Need of Assistance' as part of the No Child Left Behind law." Marshalltown is one of 13 districts in the state of 360 total districts. I have not been in favor of NCLB because it imposes bureaucracy and mediocrity upon schools. But how else is one to know which schools are good and which are bad -- where in mediocrity is better than bad. The District Superintendent said he just learned of the problem. Should he have known ?
Bike Trail by Non-bikers .
There is supposed to be a bike trail through town to the Nature Center. Two lanes are painted as if for bicycles, but the trail is centered on the joint between asphalt road and concrete gutter. The concrete is too narrow to ride on, the
joint is unstable to ride on, and the remaining asphalt strip places a handlebar in conflict with each passing auto's side-view mirror. Somebody must have said "we need a bike trail" and somebody else just did what they were told. Obviously no thought went into it.
Here Again September is my favorite month. Cooler and allowing time to do all the things not
completed over summer. The monarchs are resting in the sunny side of an oak tree,
fourteen sit to be counted with an equal number in motion, a humming bird is in the petunias. Earlier the doe with two, now big fawns were eating apples outside the kitchen window while we ate cobbler inside. It is brisk enough for a jacket in the morning, but that yields to a sweated T-shirt by afternoon when dozens more monarchs
are found in the orchard and pine break.
DTV is better television? Not. With the antenna we can receive 11 TV channels. of varying quality: -- 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 17, 23, 28, 39. Several are doubled up for the same networks, so we get good service on seven different networks. Our usuals are 5-ABC, 8-CBS, 11-IPTV, 13-NBC, 17-Fox, 23-CW, 39-ION.
With digital we have again 11 channels with varying quality, but two are new weather channels, two play identical shows, and IPTV has three channels that seem to time-shift the same fare, but one of the three always seems to have "no signal" and one-third of the time none of the three IPTV-DTV channels work.
Converting to DTV leaves us with only two reliable networks, We are losing two networks, ABC (5, 9) and CW (23), and receive only intermittent service for IPTV (11) and FOX (17, 28) dependent on weather or something. ION (39) is not yet broadcasting digital, so we don't know.
Seven networks down to two. There is no benefit here from this government sponsored "service".
And more, we have five TV radios stationed around the house to follow TV shows while working on other things. I asked and it seems, these become junk in February. Thanks guys.
Later update: after the conversion period on temporary frequencies,
most of the lost stations returned.Wrong News .
How can the local news get it so wrong ? "Marshall County is losing population, but immigrant population is increasing, so that is good."
Marshalltown is losing population because the immigrants are increasing not just population, but are increasing crime, taxes, and disease; unlicensed and uninsured drivers. This once prosperous, bright community that attracted me to Marshalltown 45 years ago is gone. Taxes go to support higher costs for education, police, and medical expenses. School money is used to feed immigrants in addition to teaching. Emergency rooms serve up anchor babies by the dozen. As taxes sky-rocket many people have left and others are looking to leave, including me.
Read and Feed .
44% of Marshalltown school population is immigrants. Legal? illegal? Policy is "Don't ask, don't tell." Certainly the tax payers don't know.
64% of Marshalltown school population is on free meals.
Hey World ! If you want your kids educated and fed for free, take get them to Marshalltown. It is in Iowa.
Good Planning .
The Emergency Radio station is in partnership with Alliance Electric. The Emergency Radio is shut down from flooding. Is the proposed new super powerplant to be built by Alliance Electric on a flood plain? If so, what does that suggest about other planning abilities for public safety and other promises about that plant's operations?
Unreal Lawsuits make TR Headlines .
"400 arrests violated the constitutional rights of workers at a meatpacking plant. . . . The suit claims that deporting illegals would deprive the detainees of their rights to pursue legal action against AgriProcessors for violating federal laws" . . . of having hired them?!
Giant Coal Fired Power Plant. I was neutral on this until an electric rate increase was announced to pay for it. If the project won't pay for itself, then don't do it. The townspeople are going to suffer the congestion and collateral costs of construction and live with a dirtier environment. I was willing to accept that it has to go somewhere, but to suffer the inconvenience, the health risks, but then to pay for it, too? Count me out.
I am embarrassed by the 2008 Caucus. First, local "pols" get themselves reelected by acclimation and appoint all other positions. Tom Harkin almost destroyed Iowa First in the Nation; Tom Vilsak shows that such abuse is a reoccurring threat. Secondly, the process allows an active minority to sway the vote ; candidates must pander to specific ideas -- gasohol, life, guns, for example. Thirdly, the 2008 sessions praised the chaos of the democratic process, when it shows the weakness of
the Soviet Commissar system wherein the people running the show have no idea how to get things properly done. Fourthly, when first time attendees observe the contrived conditions, after the propaganda about Iowa neighbors discussing the issues, will, on reflection, suffer demoralization. Even us old-timers, are embarrassed.
Undocumented "Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."
No Fires .
Our fire department wants to proactively limit open burning
to twice a year. Why not band matches, lighters, pilot lights, and lightening, too?
Our mayor wants to outlaw dogs at public events and authorize
shoot on sight any dog or cat without visible vaccination tags. He cited a man who was licked
on the hand by a friendly dog and was frightened. Also that babies in carriages are at the same height as a dog's head. What size dog ? I am more bothered by tangling in leashes, baby carriages, and pointy umbrellas. Maybe we shouldn't allow neurotic men, baby carriages, or rain at public events.
September Morning When going out for the newspaper this morning, I felt as if I had
stepped onto the set of Sound of the South. A humming bird was among the
horn shaped flowers, he stood off so that I couldn't be sure at first he wasn't a butterfly, then took off at high speed around the trees. A real butterfly drifted by, small birds went over the dwarf lilac. Out on the driveway, a flock of
butterflies waffled through the air ahead of me continuing to the cornfield across the road. Approaching the flowerbeds, doves took off with a flutter and other birds called in the orchard. What a wakeup -- September is a beautiful time of year in Iowa.