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Columns

  • What's Going On: Winning an election without the most votes

     There’s a few, let’s call them bizarre abnormalities, occurring here in Southwest Iowa with our current democratic form of government. 

    Democracy has a few basic tenants we believe universally apply: for example, whichever candidate gets the most votes, wins. Also, the majority rules when it comes to setting policy.

    Except for when it doesn’t. 

  • Miner Queries: Why bother caring about net neutrality?

     Last week, when I was slogging through the daily tsunami of crazy – from dishonest political ads to hate-filled invective from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and wealthy LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, I came across an item that illustrated one answer to the question above.

  • The Time Capsule: Tracking the Zephyr memories of 1934

     The event took place in this county at about noon May 26, 1934; just 80 years ago this month. There should be a few people who remember, and I’d like to compile their memories in a scrapbook for our history center.

    One person who was there is Bessie Livingstone, 87, who lives in Tampa, Fla.  

  • What's Going On: Mother’s Day: An underrated holiday

     Sunday may very well be the most important secular holiday of the year. 

    Some may lobby for Independence Day, when America became the land of the free, others could advocate for Veterans Day, when we take time to honor those gave their lives to preserve and protect that freedom. 

    But while not detracting from the greatness of those events and sacrifices, I would argue none of them would be possible without mothers. 

  • The Time Capsule: The pork cuttin’ candidate vs. the elitists

     There is no woman scorned like a Conservative woman. We could give examples galore, from Christine (“the witch”) O’Donnell to Sarah Palin slurs to the shunning of Margaret Thatcher, but let’s stay with Joni Ernst. She’s been hammered on this page, and I think it time to say something for the other side.   

  • What's Going On: Poverty in America: Why we are to blame

     I grew up in poverty.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but at some point in my adulthood, I realized as a young child, my family definitely fit the government’s definition of poor, financially speaking.

    We weren’t destitute by any means. But my parents made decisions, primarily, to have multiple children (three in fact) and to have my mother stay at home and raise those children that financially impacted our lifestyle.

  • Miner Queries: Can we get a candidate smarter than a 5th grader?

     We’re nowhere near Election Day 2014, and I’m already sick of campaign ads.

    Here in Iowa, the race for retiring Senator Tom Harkin’s seat gets uglier by the day. First, our local state senator gave Iowans a black eye with her ad about castrating hogs. 

  • The Time Capsule: Wild hogs: The war to keep them away

     “We could do it with conventional weapons, but it would take years and cost millions of lives.”  

    I think the line came from a movie, but I don’t know which one.  They are printed in large block letters on the wall of a garage owned by Bill, a winter-time neighbor. ‘Bill’ is not his real name, which I won’t reveal as he owns weaponry that is probably not legal — even in the accommodating state of Texas.  

  • What's Going On: Roofers, politicians have lots in common if you look closely

     They called on the phone. They knocked on doors. They sought local endorsements. They stuck signs in your yards. They launched advertising campaigns. 

    And they weren’t even running for office. 

    With the mass of unfamiliar numbers flashing across my phone’s caller identification, I had a flashback to the last presidential caucus. 

    But instead of Mitt Romney harassing me at home, it was roofers, roofers and a few more roofers providing me with valuable information. 

  • The Time Capsule: Solving a case, with help from Holmes

     IPTV ran a recent special on Sherlock Holmes, calling him a man who changed the world.  Credited with being the first detective, fictional or otherwise, who focused on forensic evidence, Holmes was said to have opened avenues of investigative science that revolutionized law enforcement.  

    The program featured several criminalists who said they’d been inspired by Holmes. They brought to mind a murder that took place in southwest Iowa 30 years ago. Sherlock was there and, as always, came through splendidly.