Friday, September 27, 2013

Poll: Who is to Blame for the Government Shutdown?

In 1995, when a budget battle led to a government shutdown, nearly 50 percent of Americans blamed House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republicans for the debacle and only 27 percent believed then-President Bill Clinton was the culprit.

According to a recent poll, the blame is more equally spread. So I am asking asking the question to my readers, 'Who is Most to Blame for the Government Shutdown?'

Please vote using the web part in the upper right corner.

The Argument for each option:

The White House - The government will only shut down if Obama vetoes the budget that comes to his desk. The House continuing resolution bill funds everything except for ObamaCare. In truth, by refusing even to negotiate with the Republican leadership and threatening to veto a budget that doesn't fit his own specifications, it is Obama, not congress, who is putting the country at risk of a government shutdown.

Congressional Republicans - It is a failed premise to assume that the group steering the Republican caucus is composed of reasonable people who will sit down and fairly negotiate solutions to our problems. Instead of flexibility and reason, they are pressing forward with an inflexible proposal in the eleventh hour of the law. They aren’t going to stop. House Republicans don’t want to negotiate. They are trying to conqueror.

Congressional Democrats - Blame the Democrats for provoking an imminent government shutdown, Majority leader Harry Reid is "using the threat of default to force Obamacare on the American people". A set of "parliamentary trickery" to weasel in an amendment on the House passed bill that will circumvent the will of the American People.

Tea Party Darlings - Ted Cruz's 21 hour non-filibuster-athon was nothing but theatrics and an attempt to prop himself up. He's provoking a government shutdown, defying his own party to win the support of a vocal minority of the American People. 

All of the Above - The will of the American People has been lost in this debate. For either side to blink at this point would be to display weakness and to propel the opposition to a moral victory that will resonate though the next election cycle and it is this fact, not what is best for the country, that will determine the outcome.

The American People - Who voted to retain 92% of congress in last years election knowing that they where all a bunch of inept boobs.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ted Cruz Was Against The Bill, Before He Was For It.

A lot of people are a bit confused about the course of events that are presently taking place in congress. Most people perceive that a piece of legislation passed the House of Representatives and now must go to the Senate to be approved or rejected. The sad truth is that is simply not the way it works in Washington, hasn't for some time. Any more, Washington rules for passing a law are more akin to playing the game mouse trap then what we all learned about in 3rd grade social studies class, so let’s take a moment and try to piece together exactly what is going on what the possible outcomes of the latest and greatest budget battle are.

The House of Representatives passes this Continuing Resolution, which according to most people over there anymore is just as good as a budget without all that paperwork and number crunching that is typically associated with trying to figure out how best to spend $3.5 Trillion dollars. This particular one would fund all the government programs through the end of next year with one minor exception. The American Care Act (i.e. Obamacare, or the ACA) was left out of the bill because the three people in congress who have read it really don’t like it. Then this resolution goes to the Senate, where they have a collection of arcane parliamentary rules that are more messed up and non-sequital then watching Andy Dick do Shakespeare in the Park. The wrench in the cogs here is that in the Senate, senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, along with a few others are trying to force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get 60 votes in order to make any amendments to the House passed bill, namely an amendment that would stick the part of the House bill that de-funds the ACA. 60 votes is typically needed to get anything through the senate anymore, but once passed, a parliamentary vote could be called for an amendment to the bill that effectively changes it into something completely different, kind of like when you ask for the Big Mac combo at McDonalds, then wind up with a half-eaten breakfast burrito instead, even though they stopped serving breakfast 8 hours ago.

In order to enforce this 60 vote requirement, Senator Ted Cruz is stating that he will use a little rule called the filibuster, where Ted will take over the floor of the Senate and will then begin yapping about anything from how much he loves Canada to how much he loves Texas, it doesn't really matter, the important aspect being that as long as Ted holds the floor, nothing can be voted on at all. If he gets a few people to join in, they could hold government at a standstill for days, though it seems that an appropriate metaphor for that would involve a molasses on a cold day versus a molasses in a blizzard.

The kind of jacked up aspect of this is as such, Ted Cruz is going to have to stop a vote on the bill itself, as is, if he doesn't get the 60 vote agreement now in order to avoid a parliamentary vote on any amendments to the bill later. He is trying now to avoid a scenario from playing out where a simple majority in the Senate can expo facto send the legislation to a joint committee of house and senate members where it is expected that republicans from the house will cave and allow the amendment that would keep funding for Obamacare to stand.

Got it? So Ted Cruz is going to be against the bill, before being for the bill. But unlike another Senators failed attempt to straddle the electorate, an informed public will know why before, during, and after any vote occurs. There is some evidence that a pretty nasty smear campaign against Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee is getting underway in order to undermine their attempt to derail the derailment of the debt and allow the government to keep moving along after the soft Oct. 1st deadline when we apparently are no longer able to use accounting tricks to keep up our funding charade.

Visual Aid on How Congress Works
So why haven’t they started this whole mess then? What’s the hold up? Well, other than some pretty exciting football games over the weekend, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes from Senator Reid’s side to try and get ready for this battle. First of all, the aforementioned smear campaign to get some public support for his side, secondly, a dream scenario would be to get some moderate republican Senators like McCain and Graham over to his side, enough of these votes and Reid could potentially agree to Senator’s Cruz demand and still get his way as far as the bill is concerned. And of course, lastly, Obama is hoping for something else to go horribly wrong in his foreign policy that will take the spot light off of Cruz as he actually takes a stand for his beliefs and what he feels is a degradation of traditional America. Could you imagine if that kind of attitude caught on with the general public?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Obama Offers Concessions for Debt Limit

House Republicans have passed a Debt Ceiling agreement that asks for only one item, de-fund the American Care Act, frequently referred to as Obamacare. In response to this, Obama has called House Republicans out for doing nothing but attacking him, and not focusing on helping the working class and the economy. However, little do people know that there was a top secret memo sent to the GOP leadership. Items that Obama is willing to compromise on to get the Debt Limit raised and to avoid a government shut down. In this memo, the following items where proposed for finding some middle ground that would allow Obamacare to remain funded, and avoid a crippling shutdown.

In exchange for raising the Federal Debt Limit, the following items are proposed for your consideration;
  • Adding 'Spray on Tan' coverage to Obamacare for any current Speakers of the House.
  • Republicans will have the ability to place one additional word into next years state of the Union to be unknown to the President until he reads it off the teleprompter.
  • Joe Biden can not laugh during another Presidential Debate, ever.
  • Hillary Clinton will be rehired as Secretary of State so that she can be fired from the position.
  • Paul Ryan will be allowed to be relevant again
  • A mulligan will be called on the entire career of Marco Rubio
  • An 18 hour TV special will be aired, hosted by Nancy Pelosi, special were she will go through all the contents of Obamacare called "Now that we've passed it, let's find out what's in it"
  • Before the 2016 Presidential filing date, The White House will share the name of a very good birth certificate forger with Ted Cruz.
  • Obamacare will be expanded to include chin enhancement surgery for Senate minority leaders.
  • On alternating Tuesdays, House Republicans will have access to John Kerry's yacht, so long as they don't dock it in Massachusetts. 
  • The first Presidential Debate of 2016 will be moderated by Ron Paul, the second by Ryan Seacrest.
  • Senators McCain and Graham will be required to run in the Democratic primaries for their next election.
  • Michelle Obama will publicly announce that this deal makes her proud to be an American for the 2nd time in her adult life.
  • President Obama will offer gaff fodder to Republicans in the form of stating that America has no intention of putting pants on the ground in Syria.
And the biggest concession of them all;
  • Seven states will be allowed to secede from the U.S., bringing the nation, according to Obama, back to 50 states in total.
The ball is now in Republicans court. Only time will tell if a compromise will be reached before something truly tragic, like the status quo, will result of this deadlock.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Reviewing Obama's Economic "Plan"

If you blinked Monday afternoon, you would have missed President Obama’s brief – very brief – comments on the deadly mass shooting unfolding just down the street from where he stood to give a previously scheduled speech that turned into a brutal attack on Republicans over the economy.

And later, a clueless Jay Carney came out to say that not only did the White House never once consider cancelling the president’s speech as people lay dead at the Navy Yard and a frantic man hunt was underway by every law enforcement agency in town, but he defended the president’s GOP bashing, complete with a backdrop of Americans who are hurting while Americans were being shot just down the road as "entirely appropriate today for the president to talk about.”

But then it was a pivot to the more important news for the Obama administration: the looming budget showdown with the GOP who are threatening a government shutdown. Using this forum as an opportunity to once again not rally support for his proposals within congress, but rather to raise support for his lack of a vision from the masses of the people by wagging his finger at Republicans. Below are some of the lines of attack and general confusion that Obama used;

"...And in our personal lives, I think a lot of us understand that people have tightened their belts, shed debt, refocused on the things that really matter..." Because that's what smart people do when times are tough.
"...we put in place tough new rules on big banks, rules that we need to finalize before the end of the year..." New rules put in place before they were finished?

"Because even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, the top 1 percent of Americans took home 20 percent of the nation’s income last year, while the average worker isn’t seeing a raise at all." Classic class warfare, implying that when rich people make money, it's not possible for you to better your own situation.

"...the trends that have taken hold over the past few decades of a winner-take-all economy, where a few do better and better and better, while everybody else just treads water or loses ground..." In case there was any doubt of the previous point. Does he really believe everyone else is stagnant because the wealthy are doing well? He already has the most progressive tax system in decades.

"And as Congress begins another budget debate, that’s what Congress should be focused on." Not Benghazi, Syria, Putin, the IRS, the NSA, but the budget.

"The problem is, at the moment, Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to growth economy and build the middle class." Democrats questioning Syria and the NSA don't count.

"...I am still hoping that a light bulb goes off here." That's it, win them over with kind words.

"So far, their budget ideas revolve primarily around even deeper cuts to education, even deeper cuts that would gut America’s scientific research and development, even deeper cuts to America’s infrastructure investment -- our roads, our bridges, our schools our energy grid. These aren’t the policies that would grow the economy faster." The Republicans obviously didn't get the memo about the deceit magically stopping, so why are they still so worked up over reducing government spending when it's so obvious that all this spending is making everything so awesome?

"So I do believe we should cut our programs that we don’t need. We need to fix ones that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to or have outlived their initial mission. We’ve got to make government faster and more efficient." Interesting, that's the way some people would describe the Department of Education.

"But that’s not what is being proposed by the Republican budgets. Instead of making necessary changes with a scalpel, so far at least, Republicans have chosen to leave in place the so-called sequester cuts that have cost jobs, harmed growth, are hurting our military readiness." Again, way to win some friends and support, I also thought the only reversal of sequester cuts that passed was proposed by.... wait for it... Republicans!

And top independent economists say this has been a big drag on our recovery this year. Our economy’s not growing as fast as it should, and we’re not creating as many jobs as we should because the sequester’s in place." Are these the same economist that predicted the 'Recovery Summer' of 2010 with employment falling to 6%?

"So, if Republicans want the economy to grow faster, create more jobs faster, they should want to get rid of <the sequester>. It’s irresponsible to keep it in place." Everyone get that? Sequestor bad and it's the Republicans fault! Can we get to the 2014 election now?

"After all the progress that we’ve made over these past four-and- a-half years, the idea of reversing that progress because of an unwillingness to compromise or because of some ideological agenda is the height of irresponsibility" Translates to 'This economy will fail if we stop spending $4 Trillion dollars a year in Washington, and the only solution is to spend more.'

"These folks standing behind me, these are people who are small business owners; people who almost lost their home; young people trying to get a college education. And all of them went through some real tough times during the recession." And if you look behind them, you may see some of the slaughtered people that are dying just down the street as I speak.

"Having said that, I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants. That’s never happened before. But that’s what’s happening right now." Says the guy that gets what he wants from congress over 97% of the time.

I could go through the entire speech and get really nit picky, but suffice to say the only plans he proposed are 1.) cancel the sequester and 2.) spend more on domestic initiatives, namely education and infrastructure. Basically get us back to the hay day to the Keynesian spending spree of 2009 that arguably made things 'not as bad as they could have been' because apparently 5 years of trying to climb out of this mess can be derailed as something as simple as a maxed out credit card. 

In case you missed the real intent of this speech, it was to lay the entire blame of all the countries problems at the feet of the Republicans in the ramp up to the 2014 election. The idea that the issues with this country are far exceeding funding for school lunch programs and budget deadlines seems to elude this President about as broadly as the Oscar for Lindsey Lohan.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bruce Braley on Syria

The following is the response received from my congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives Bruce Braley a few days after taking a survey about my thoughts on Syria (along with 19,999 others), I filled out the survey consistent with my thoughts from my blog post, simplistically saying that we need to uphold the standard that there is no tolerance for the use of chemical weapons, but that we are building up support for military action in completely wrong manner. Using the overwhelming response that we had nothing to gain from an assault on Syria to justify a position against the use of force against the Assad government.


Over 20,000 people participated in my survey on whether the United States military should intervene in Syria -- and over 75 percent of you are opposed to American military action.

It's clear to me that Iowans are extremely reluctant to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East and are concerned that initiating military action against Syria could further inflame tensions in the region.

After carefully reviewing the case for military action, I’ve come to the same conclusion.

I'm unconvinced that a limited US military strike is the appropriate response to the atrocities committed in Syria, and I don't think unilateral American intervention in Syria serves our national security interests.
This week, I spoke to KCCI about my position on Syria. Take a look: 

The international community needs to be more directly involved in holding Syria's dictator accountable. I'm closely monitoring a developing international effort to bring Syria's dictator to justice and rid the country of chemical weapons.
Feel free to contact me if you have any further opinions.



This means that the Democratic Representative has now voted against extending the Patriot Act, for the Amash amendment to de-fund the NSA record gathering, and also believes we are making a mistake with unilateral strikes against Syria. I try not to be a litmus voter It's pretty bad when I'm actually considering voting for a Democrat to fill in a vacant Senate seat that Bruce is running for.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cedar Rapids Casino Update

The Iowa Racing and Gambling Commission recently received the application for a state gaming license from the casino investment group Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC headed by local businessmen Steve Gray and Drew Skogman for a proposal for a $150 million casino project in Cedar Rapids. The application got in to the office in Des Moines on Friday afternoon, just ahead of the Monday afternoon deadline set by the commission. The mammoth application consisted of two large bins and four banker’s boxes and included artists’ conceptions of the casino (shown below), and revealed the casino’s name: Cedar Crossing Casino.

Gray spoke about the idea behind the group’s proposal. “Our urban concept is unique to Iowa and is truly different than most of the resort destinations in the state. We also believe it truly fits the location and will prove to be an economic catalyst for Cedar Rapids.” Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett also spoke in favor of the project. “Ours is an urban, downtown venue, multilevel with lots of lights. It has that Las Vegas flavor that others don’t.” Mayor Corbett promised that the new casino would not be like the eyesore “cornfield casinos” that operate in other parts of Iowa. Gray promised that the casino will revitalize the downtown area and encourage other economic development.

The topic of the casino arose in the City's council meeting last month when the city agreed to spend $2 million for street and lighting infrastructure improvements to support the project in return for the investors paying the city and additional $1 million when the property sales closes, and 1% of the casino’s receipts for 50 years, estimated to come to about $800,000 in the first year.

There hasn't been much discussion about the economic impact that another casino would have on eastern Iowa, and even according to the economic impact report completed back in 2009 by former Governor Chief of Staff Doug Gross it was much more about preventing gambling dollars from leaving Linn county then it was about adding gambling dollars to Iowa from out of state. The Iowa Gaming commission mush still approve the license, and they are supposed to use the latter criteria in determining what is best for the state and eastern Iowa. However, this investment group has seen the support of the entire Cedar Rapids City Council, the Governors office, and many other of the movers and shakers in the state. One may be led to believe the written charge of the commission may not come much into play, and with the amount of money already invested in this project, the purchasing of land, and items such as the city council moving forward with the deal for a new parking ramp and other infrastructure, there is an air of assumption when it comes to the casino, and at this point I would be shocked if the license was denied, despite the initial appearance that there will be very little net positive impact for the state of Iowa.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colorado Succession, Are They High?

Not since the Civil war has a state osmosed into two states, but there are some folks in the rural north east of Colorado who are rejecting the kush smoking, non-gun touting ways on the big city Denver elites that are running the state. No, seriously, their are people in Colorado that will have the option to direct their chunk of the state to secede and form a new state.

An actual store in Denver
Weld County, Colorado commissioners this Tuesday announced a plan to publish a series of editorials in support of the 51st state initiative, an initiative directed at exploring the possibility of several Colorado counties breaking ties with the state and forming a new state of North Colorado. They presently have plans to release the series before early voting begins and Weld County residents voice whether they wish to secede from Colorado. The commissioners of the county leading the charge for seceding from Colorado and forming North Colorado have begun a campaign of editorials about their cause. The Weld County Commission will post arguments for breaking away -- in this case, on their government website. The first installment includes statements like "For too long we have endured the arrogance and, yes, elitism of the state legislature and the Governor’s Office. They mock us, they refuse to listen and they dismiss our concerns."

The initial publication from the county commissioners appears to lack and truly substantive arguments, but appears to simply brace us for following articles that will flesh out their case and concerns in the coming weeks. There are some articles throughout the website, though not directly tied to the succession story, that cite more specific points where voiced concerns from the county fall on death ears at the state level that have had negative impacts on the rural area of Weld County, such as the following specific examples;

 In 2009, the Colorado Water Board Commission made changes of the Flood Plain rule, taking it from a 100-year rule to a 500-year rule. While these rules have little impact on Front Range communities, they have a huge impact on rural Colorado. For example, this rule will force smaller communities in the rural sections of the state to endure huge expenses in the future when faced with the need to upgrade their water treatment plants; an egregious example of no oversight, no justification and no fiscal impact review. In my opinion, this rule change results in a large taking of private property rights with no benefit, in most cases, to the general public 


What many farmers and ranchers deem as the straw that broke the camel’s back, Senate Bill 252, 
signed into law this summer, increased the mandate that rural electric utility companies produce a percentage of their energy by renewable resources from 10% to 20% – an idea so ‘good’ the urban areas served by city-owned utilities and private corporations exempted themselves from the increase.

I have to do a double take, these are some serious grievenses but surely secession is an extreme reaction, even if these do span over the period of years. IF a new state would be created on the border of Nebraska, many questions would have to be answered. Would money be owed to Colorado 'Prime' by the new state for infrastructure investment? What would the initial constitution look like? What college football conference would they be a demographic for? And, of course, where can I toke up?

I jest, but I'm very interested in what this process looks like and if they are even allowed to 'proceed' should a majority of North Coloradians vote in favor of succession this fall.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NFL Headlines

For those of you that have a passive interest in the NFL, here are your Week 1 football Headlines:

Cleveland Browns threaten to Draft Johnny 'Football' Manzel if he doesn't start acting more mature.

Tebow struggles to decide which of his zero options to pursue.

Jacksonville Jaguars consider idea to let opposing team play offense the entire game.

Rex Ryan declares Jets biggest win of the season is now behind them, congratulates Patriots on their week 2 victory.

Ex-Patriot Aaron Hernandez asks judge if they would please 'Shove it" and let him get back to "Earning those phat stacks of cash, your honor".

New clear bag requirements in Broncos home opener reveals that everyone in Denver travels with at least 3 pounds of marijuana on their persons at all times.

Falcons fans dismayed why Saints players didn't just roll over and "take it!"

Manning brothers to meet up for brunch and consider playing hooky in week 2.

Colts players apologize to Raiders fans for breaking their teams perfect season.

Proposal for throwback Cheese Head day in Green Bay using actually cheese from the seventies met with confusion and Febreze.

Chargers players vow that next week they won't be thrown off by the need to play a fourth quarter.

Drinking game based on the number of times Jon Gruden says 'Man' during a game results in 4 deaths from alcohol poisoning.

Ndamukong Suh graciously returns part of his signing bonus to the league, celebrates by letting Vikings kick him in the side.

Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson tries to enact the Calvin Johnson amendment to the Calvin Johnson rule, it is immediately overturned causing teammate Ndamukong Suh to retract his earlier gift to the league and chop block an opposing player in frustration, resulting in a fine.

There you are folks, you should be able to have your two cents added to any water cooler talk for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Correct Way To Attack, I Mean Uphold International Law

Should the US go to war with, errr.. I mean, be authorized to use force, against, ummm... I mean 'display in a non-threatening way a show of influence that will have no effect on al-Assad's ability to wage war except for the specific instance and circumstance in which we choose cause we're awesome like that', in Syria?

I remember being quite convinced by the end of this presentation
The correct answer is yes, but only after a series of steps are followed that ironically enough, were laid out pretty clearly in the run up to the Iraq War. First, the presentation of evidence to both the international community as well as the world public of the evidence that we currently have. I would like to see something from the UN or an official charge presented to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Much like Secretary Colin Powell's presentation in February of 2003 that left little doubt in the worlds minds at the time, though leaves some bad taste in our mouths years later, as most wars do after being left in the sun for more then 6 years.

We then need an international condemnation and steps for recompense for the act, such as with UN resolution 1441. Then the step that Obama seems giddy with, gathering authorization to use force from congress if Syria does not comply with the international demands. Because even though the traditional 'Act of War' concept appears to be as trendy as Bill Clinton's sense of shame, the idea that one man in this country can attack another country without any direct provocation is truly scary. I understand precedence for a quick reactionary strike in retaliation when a country and regime disregards our or the worlds will, but I think the window for something quick and decisive in this case has long since passed and was passed on when the President said that we would do due diligence in making sure this was a violation of chemical weapons use.

We then issue an ultimatum for al-Assad to step aside if he does not adhere to international will, similar to the Arab nation call in March of 2003, just prior to our invasion, by which of course I mean non-meaningful not war like-in-any-way tiny military action.

Even with all the build up and buy in, George W. Bush was still regarded by a large portion of the world, with about as much respect as a Rodney Dangerfield punchline, for going to war with a country that did not pose an imminent threat. Even though Iraq was the first to use chemical weapons against a neighboring country for the first time in decades, invaded another country, Kuwait, for which it failed to live up to it's terms of surrender once we liberated Kuwait by denying UN inspectors into the country for 5 years prior to the build up to war. And this was after we, the public, received the clear evidence presented to the public that still seems to not be in the plans for the current administration, for which we have little reason to trust and believe when it comes to matters of national security.

The World War II comparison with Syria is almost funnier, when a non-'boots on the ground' attack on the US (Pearl Harbor) justified going to war with a country that was gassing it's own people (Germany), now we are justifying a non-'boots on the ground' attack to deter people from gassing their own people. Simplistic sure, but a valuable lesson in the logic that flows through politicians minds.

At least he speaks good French.
I understand the reservations this nation has in attacking a country that could not have any realistic means of harming us, but we believe in a world that does not use chemical warfare and we have to support that idea, but there are two processes, quick decisive action with a clear message behind it, or the longer, more tedious route of building consensus, case then taking definitive action. The former would have made sense, but our President was too nervous about taking action, now we sit back and laugh as he and his crack team fumbles his way through the latter process. And, or course, I can't have a post about Syria without pointing and laughing at the ultimatum that Secretary Kerry put out there, immediately dismissed, then ran with when it actually turned out to be a good idea. Kind of like the husband that makes a joke about having a three way with the waitress over there, then starts laughing at himself while hoping his wife lifts an eyebrow and goes 'hmmm....'.

At some point it would be delightful to have the discussion of whether the US should continue to be the police force of the world, but to deny that we find ourselves currently in this role is naive. We sign on to these ideals that countries should not use chemical weapons, we pour our resources into a force capable of monitoring and striking anywhere in the world to enforce these terms, and until a day that we abdicate that role to an international force or another country, it is a burden that we must uphold.

I can't wait to hear what the President has to say about all this tonight. My respect for him would grow if he took a moment to laugh out loud at everything that has transpired in the last week.

Democracy at the Micro-Level

I've been out celebrating 4 years of wedded bliss with my wife out in the open air of Colorado, took in some football and baseball along with the majestic mountain view, for which I must apologize to my loyal fan base since I have not kept very good tabs on the news this last week. It sounds like any real progress on resolving anything waited until yesterday when I got back anyway, so once I can get my fragile little mind wrapped around this Syria thing, be assured that I will have an opinion about it. Some pics from my vacation will be coming shortly too, I'm sure.

In the meantime, it is Election Day! That's right, another day to exercise our constitutional rights and give our two cents of input to how our great democracy/republic should be ran. On the menu for today inmy corner of Iowa we will be weighing in on three, count them three items. Let's review shall we?

Item of the first: Kirkwood Community College school district 7 representative, and the nominees are, in no particular order, James Mollenhauer... that's it? Just the one guy? Wow, people must be pretty happy with the way things are going over there, looks like this guys been occupying that seat for about 10 years. Ok, well, easy enough, on to the next item.

Item of the second: Local school district representative, three options; Gadelha, Hutcheson, and Patterson. Finally, some options. Okay, which one to choose. What's that now? You say I can choose three? But there are only three choices! For those of you reading that can't see me right now, I'm doing the little air quotes thing when I say "Choices". I suppose I could try and write in a name, only like 30 people that actually vote on this thing. could make it interesting. perhaps something profane, see if the local TV station scrolls it on the bottom of the screen. "Ben Dover receives 1% of the votes"

Item of the third: An actual choice! To keep a .06/$1000 property tax that's already in effect for another 10 years after it's set to expire in two years. Hrmmmm... This one is going to take some thought. Let me do the math, hrmmm... yeah, this comes out to less then a dollar a month to help my local community college. Sounds pretty controversial. I wonder if I'll even remember that I voted on this come the summer of 2015... probably not. My property taxes did just drop $16 bucks this year thanks to a slight increase in the homestead tax credit passed by the state. That more then makes up for this I suppose, sure why not.

Well, democracy is in action once again. One day you are electing the leader of the free world with a vote that will probably be offset by someone who lost a bet to vote one way. The next day, you don't even bother reading the full name of the person you voted for. I declare the system alive and thriving, GOD BLESS YOU, AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!