Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Between Two Rivers Anniversary Special

Good evening everyone. Tonight we are celebrating my first year as a blog. Coming to you in front of a studio audience (my dog) from the Two Rivers Lodge, located at the Dead End of Dreams Way. I actually have two dates as an anniversary because I first posted on 8/31 but no one had access until 9/1 as my account was locked for some reason. (Thanks, Google)

I've appreciated all of your kind words that many of our fellow internet wanderers have left over the past year. Others have not been so kind. That's cool, but please hold off the booing until I write something really stupid. That would be in 3, 2, 1...

I find it remarkable that I've gained an audience of a few regular readers. Because, frankly, I'm known as a "killjoy," a regular Buzz Killington. One entry from me in the blog comments or on a message board and it's over faster than Mel Gibson's career. (Too soon?)

This blog thing started after I sent a few words off to David Codrea at War on Guns. He asked if I had posted it anywhere and my reply was, "Sorry, David. I'm a lazy bum who likes to have others take the heat for posting a brilliant essay." Then I realized I shouldn't leave the work to others, so I started Between Two Rivers and the quality has been going downhill ever since.

My purpose here has been to gather news from around the state and the Midwest, and post on things that I find interesting in hopes that others would be interested too. I'll put the link on there for you to head over to make sure I got it right and so that you can read the whole thing. I concentrate on Gun Rights, but I dabble in pointing out the idiots that run our state, our counties, cities and schools. And our state is a target rich environment for easy pickings.

Remember, picking out a few choice quotes from a source and adding some pithy comments, is really about all I do. Come to think of it, that's what most bloggers do, except I don't write from my mom's basement.

Anyway, I'd like to introduce you to my first guests. One is the current governor, Chester Culver, and the other is like Pepsi "Throwback." He reminds you of something you left behind years ago and it's close, but it isn't quite the same as what you have now. Former Governor Terry Branstad:

Those guys should go on tour together. Am I right?

And now, on to our mail bag. "Mary" (not her real name) from somewhere, writes:
"Who are you and why do you feel stranded in Iowa? I bet you're not even from this state."
Mary, I was born in Burlington and grew up in SE Iowa living in Louisa, Des Moines, Wapello, Johnson, Iowa and Jasper counties while working in those counties plus: Lucas, Henry, Lee, Story and Linn counties. Not necessarily in that order. These are just places where I've lived, learned and loved. And shed my blood and sweat to provide for my family.

I've earned that moniker.

Regarding my visitors, I've had a few trolls like a guy with three personae arguing for and against what I said about the NRA. And then there's the crazy Canuk.

But for the most part, I appreciate everyone who stops by who is willing to view this place with an open mind and maybe learn something along the way. Everyone is welcome to drop a line (so long as it's in good taste), and contribute to the comments. Argue if you will, but only about the subjects, unless, of course, you are insulting politicians. Those are always welcome.

And I'm going to miss Straightarrow.

I would like to extend all my thanks to new friends that I've met on these pages and if any of you have linked to me, I hope I've reciprocated to you on the sidebar. If I've neglected that duty, please let me know.

You have made a tired, middle-aged, balding, cynical man, a little better by coming around.

To all of you, I give my thanks, good night and may God bless you.

State pension demonstration

Monday, August 30, 2010

Debates? We don't need them in Iowa

Iowa Congressional Rep., Steve King puts the smack-down while refusing to agree to a debate with Democrat Matt Campbell.

Campbell, who said King has ignored repeated requests for a debate, walked in midway through the hourlong meeting and stood about 10 feet from King’s podium. King finished answering the prior question about conducting an audit of the Federal Reserve System, then addressed Campbell, without naming him at any point in the exchange.

“There aren’t going to be any ambushes or interruptions,” King said from the podium at Western Iowa Tech Community College before allowing Campbell to ask his question.

After Campbell pressed King to agree to a debate, the Republican from Kiron, Iowa, replied: “…My answer to that is that judging by the way you have conducted yourself you have not earned it.”
"Not earned it?" Okay, then.

Where's the Gazette been in regards to Rep Loebsack running away from challenger Miller-Meeks and refusing to debate?

Don't care for any of them, but I only point this out as a typical example of media hypocrisy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday (not so) funnies, 8/29/10

And this one's for Bawb:

Headlines from around the state, 8/29/10

Here's a few of the best and brightest from around the state:

Man accused of rape fires himself as his own attorney
Jack Leonard Hays virulently held onto his right to act as his own defense attorney in court while facing sex assault and burglary charges — until the final hours before his trial.

Hays abruptly fired himself as his own counsel during a court appearance Friday after months of attempting to mount his own defense with only a paralegal certificate earned online and work in a prison law library as his legal experience.
OOo an online degree.

Attorney denies accusation of sex with client in courthouse
Bowles said Thursday he did have sex with his client, but the commission members erred when they implied that his client was performing oral sex on him in the Black Hawk County Courthouse’s law library when someone walked in and interrupted them.

Bowles said that at his recent disciplinary hearing, commission members asked him whether he and his client engaged in oral sex in the courthouse library.

“I asked them to define oral sex for me and they refused,” he said. “So I denied it.”
The Clinton defense works everytime.

Johnson County supervisor candidate withdraws Not much of a headline, right. Read the article to find:
Only Democrats have served on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors since 1962, so [Independent candidate] Dooley was a long shot at best.
That's the Socialist Republic of Johnson County, friends.

And there's one in every crowd: Guns found in crowd's wake

How come I can never find a discarded gun, just waiting for a new owner?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another camera up in the Surveillance State, Cedar Rapids

Newest I-380 speed camera goes live at midnight

That means it's been running since this morning.

From this comment that proves human nature is what it is:
I drove 380 northbound today. Everyone was doing about 8 to 10 over. At the first speedcams, everyone slowed down. About a 1/4 mile later back to 8 to 10 over. At the second speedcams, everyone slowed down again. Then once past the cams, back to 8 to 10 over. On the southbound lanes, everyone was doing 8 to 10 over all the way through CR. So where are all these slow cars the police have been talking about?
So with another camera up, a driver could get 3 tickets in less than 10 minutes and not know about it for weeks.

Remember, it's all about safety, safety, safety.

We need more surveillance

The state fair wasn't the only locale in Iowa that had a spate of violence last weekend. Keokuk had a shooting outside of a bar that resulted in 5 injured citizens.

One of the commentors, "Michelle", decided that the best we can do to stop future shootings is to have METAL DETECTORS. I imagine she shouted this while wetting herself in a fetal position, wishing the police-state was fully enforced.

OK, then.

I want to live in a free society where I don't have to prove myself worthy to walk the streets or go to a place of business of my choosing.

But another interesting bit in this article was towards the end. Local police chief is concerned about the state's revamped CCW laws heading our way Jan 1, 2011:
In light of a more liberal gun carrying law that goes into effect in January, [Keokuk Police Chief Tom] Crew said, "We need to discuss events and how we're going to handle them. We may need to do more walk-throughs. These events really pack them in and we need to check how many are there when an event like this is being conducted in order to keep a handle on these events."
Does he mean that more citizens would be carrying and able to defend himself, or is he lumping the criminal actions of the shooter with all permit holders? Hard to tell from the article but from comments from most of the sheriffs in the state, he's probably not happy with the new CCW laws.

Seeing how it's been a week and no arrests, maybe he should worry about enforcing existing laws against assault or attempted murder.

Before January 1st.

Man shot was permit holder

A Webster City, IA man was shot during a traffic stop by Webster City police. Driver exited his vehicle and reportedly aim a handgun at the police Sergeant who fired in self-defense.
Jensen [the driver] had a permit to carry the gun, according to the Hamilton County sheriff's office. It was confiscated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. While the DCI investigates the shooting, both the police report and the footage from the camera in [Sgt.] Ely's patrol car will not be made public, according to Hughes.

WC man shot in traffic stop had pistol
With the recent changes in Iowa CCW law go into effect Jan 1, I predict the Des Moines Register making hay of this in 3... 2... 1...

Update - Des Moines Register is reporting the Jensen also had a restraining order against him. Under current law he should not be in possession of a firearm. A scheduled hearing on Monday probably would have resulted in him turning them in.

Look for Attorney General Tom Miller to make political hay in 3... 2... 1...

This is where I work

I know many who are out of work and struggle to pay bills. I work with some people who should be out of work.

This picture describes many of our situations better than words.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday (out of) steam, 8/27/10

Too many hours and too many frustrations.

Enjoy the interlude of history: The Burlington Route

Burlington Route Historical Society

(I have a large poster of this map)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Our State Fair, is a violent state fair..."

While the Des Moines police diddle over whether to call the past two weekend's state fair violence a "hate crime" (of which type laws should be overturned), the Aryan Nation is coming to town.

Thanks a lot, Des Moines. We can't have a state fair in peace and these guys show up.
“We don’t want to jump to conclusions,” Lt. Joe Gonzalez said.
Thank you, Lt. Joe. I wouldn't want anyone to jump to any conclusions after WHO radio broadcast a person who claimed he heard, "Kill the crackers," during one of the attacks.

I think all "hate crime" legislation to be nothing more than pandering to one group over another, breaking the concept of "equality under the law." It's used to pit one group against another and rarely applied to all groups equally.

Maybe some groups are more equal than others. Like "Only Ones?"

So far, there have been a total of 11 arrests stemming from incidents that date between Aug. 14 and Aug. 22. Four of the arrests were made on adults and seven were juveniles.

Among those arrested was Reginald Rashawn White, 18, of Des Moines, a Hoover High School basketball player. White is charged with two counts of willful injury, a class D felony.
If he did it, convict him and throw him in jail. But not everyone agrees with the seriousness of his alleged actions:
Police Sgt. Lillie Miller, who’s son is friends with White, bonded White out of jail after the state fair fights on Aug. 14. Miller also reportedly asked for White to receive a citation in lieu of arrest.

Gonzalez said a police internal investigation has been conducted, which determined Miller did nothing illegal. She may have exercised poor judgement, Gonzalez said.

Miller was sanctioned over the issue, but Gonzalez could not elaborate because it’s a personnel matter, he said.
Using her position as an officer to influence an arrest, in an attempt to reduce the incident down to a mere ticket.

According to Sgt. Lillie, stab someone (allegedly) and get a ticket. No jail time.

Sounds right to me.

I don't give a rat's hind-end about race. Thugs come in all colors, creeds, ethnicities, nationalities, and uniforms.

Finally, they admit it

In a memo that was leaked to the Chicago Sun-times last week, the City is informing the Police department that ticket writing is down 25% from last year, making a budget deficit of over $10,000,000. This is further evidence that Police are a money stream for cities, a way of pseudo-legally extorting money from citizens over minor issues, like parking in the wrong spot, or letting a silly meter timer run out.

City to cops: You're not writing enough tickets
And the revenue director, Bea Reyna-Hickey gets a nice suspension over this flap.

After an alderman got his kittles in a kerfiddle, remarking that the memo sends the "wrong message" to citizens, Savaship wrote at his blog Oppression in the Midwest
The problem that I see is that the memo sends an honest message to the public about what law-enforcement is in today's day. This is a big deal to city hall because the people can see exactly what their overlords think of them. What's the result of this airing of the fact city dwellers and visitors are just targeted marks?

City Hall to Chicago PD: write more tickets!
If they had couched it in "safety" like Cedar Rapids police do regarding the traffic cameras, what's the problem?

Authorized surveillance state

It's here, in the Ninth Circuit:
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre - and scary - rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants - with no need for a search warrant.
The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

Found via David Codrea's War on Guns

Welcome to the surveillance state. It's official.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday wings, 8/25/10

Video of a Purple Quicksilver Ultralight Light Sport Airplane - Quicksilver Sport 2 seat aircraft taxiing, takeoff, flying and landing. Check out the Ultralight Aircraft of Iowa web site at http://www.quicksilverultralight.com to see more videos and information regarding Quicksilver Ultralights and Light Sport Planes.

"I feel him in my nuggets???"

via Badger Blogger

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cameras stop a crash... or not

WATCH: Crash captured on red-light camera

When the pitchman from Gatso rolls into town plying his company as a godsend to ensure the safety of drivers everywhere, please remember that this camera did nothing except record an event. People's actions continue whether a camera is watching or not and things just happen.

But as Rep. Doug Struyk said, "These cameras result in nothing more than safety, safety, safety."

And safety comes at a price... About a $1000 a day to the city of Cedar Rapids from the red light cameras alone. Plus the speed cameras on 380.

That's a lot of safety.

Another son lost

Michael Been, bassist from The Call died of a heart attack last Thursday.

From Live At The Ritz, May 29th, 1986
"I Still Believe (Grand Design)"

I been in a cave
For forty days
Only a spark
To light my way
I wanna give out
I wanna give in
This is our crime
This is our sin

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the pain
And the grief
Through the lives
Through the storms
Through the cries
And through the wars
Oh, I still believe

Flat on my back
Out at sea
Hopin' these waves
Don't cover me
I'm turned and tossed
Upon the waves
When the darkness comes
I feel the grave

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the cold
And through heat
Through the rain
And through the tears
Through the crowds
And through the cheers
Oh, I still believe

I'll march this road
I'll climb this hill
Upon on my knees if I have to
I'll take my place
Up on this stage
I'll wait 'til the end of time
for you like everybody else

I'm out on my own
Walkin' the streets
Look at the faces
That I meet
I feel like I Like I want to go home
What do I feel
What do I know

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the shame
And through the grief
Through the heartache
Through the tears
Through the waiting
Through the years

For people like us
In places like this
We need all the hope
That we can get
Oh, I still believe
We do need all the hope we can get.

Godspeed, Michael.

Danger! Local Warming

From Borepatch
We hear the never ending drumbeat of doom concerning Global Warming. A more immediate - and serious - problem is local warming. Especially for men who blog.

The dangers of Local Warming

(I use a desktop at home, notebook for work - no blogging on work PCs)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Iran taking the suicide bomber up a notch

They must be running out of those willing and able to give their lives for the jihad.

Calling for the Ambassador of Death

Some choice quotes from the nutty Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
The goal of the aircraft is to "keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases."

"The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship."

The president championed the country's military self-sufficiency program and said it will continue "until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation."

"We should reach a point when Iran would serve as a defense umbrella for all freedom-loving nations in the face of world aggressors."

"We don't want to attack anywhere — Iran will never decide to attack anywhere..."
I guess funding suicide bombers in Israel doesn't count, then?

His rhetoric would be laughable if we didn't have to take the little dictator seriously.

I see traffic cameras... everywhere

Jumping on the cash cow:
The Muscatine City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance Thursday that would allow cameras at key intersections to cite speeders and those who run red lights.

The vote was 6-0, with Councilman Bob Bynum absent.

Police Chief Gary Coderoni said the police chiefs he's talked to in communities that have tried an automated system said that relatively high levels of citations immediately after the cameras are installed fell off rather dramatically in the months following.

"They might become irrelevant," he said of the cameras.

To which Kosina [of Gatso] responded, smiling: "We recommend you leave the pole up as a deterrent."

Red light camera passes first reading in Muscatine
Isn't living in a surveillance-state funny?

And not to be outdone by Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Cedar Falls are looking for additional revenue:
The city is entertaining plans for cameras to catch and ticket speeding motorists and those running red lights.

Waterloo City Council members received a sales pitch Monday from representatives of Gatso USA Inc. of Beverly, Mass., which installed similar traffic devices in Cedar Rapids earlier this year.

Waterloo eyes cameras to nab traffic violators
The Waterloo Courier called this a "sales pitch" and that's exactly what Gatso does.

Looking back to 2007 our legislature tried to prohibit cities from putting up these revenue-generating slot machines. The effort failed in the House. From this article: House removes provision to ban red light cameras
House lawmakers voted 56-27 to strip a provision from a massive transportation bill that would have prohibited the use of cameras to catch lawbreaking drivers. The House changed course just days after the Senate voted in favor of a ban.

"These cameras result in nothing more than safety, safety, safety," said Rep. Doug Struyk, R-Council Bluffs, where cameras have been watching over intersections for more than two years.
Oh really? “Either we’re going to save a lot of lives, or we’re going to make a fortune,” [Cedar Rapids] Police Chief Greg Graham said.

Remember, it's about safety, safety, safety.
"What's a ticket? Twenty dollars? Fifty dollars? It slows them down and makes them think," said Rep. Roger Thomas, D-Elkader, a paramedic who has responded to scores of traffic accidents.
Nope. It's $100:

Are we such a pathetic state that we can't have the payment processing center here? If we are going to have our pockets picked, can we at least have more of our money stay in the state?

I happened to be in the middle of one of these red-light camera intersections on Wednesday in Cedar Rapids. Light turned green and a car and I entered and then traffic stopped cold. Yellow then Red, and bang my picture is taken.

Any bets on whether I get a ticket?

Any bets on whether one of these reps from Gatso ever gets a ticket?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday (out of) steam, 8/21/10

Dinkey - Ames and College Railway

The Dinkey was a small steam engine that ran between downtown Ames and Iowa State College campus beginning July 4, 1891. Built by the A&C Railway as an alternative to the mud road previously used, the Dinkey delivered mail to the post office located inside the Hub, carried building materials used in constructing Marston Engineering Hall, the Campanile, and other campus buildings, and brought loads of boxes and scrap wood for the victory bonfires held after sporting events.
"Victory bonfires?" - I guess that's why they used a small steam engine.

Wednesday's hotfix upgrade translated into a "notfix" and two days of scrambling to recover.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Headlines around the state

As long as they aren't praying:
Courthouse lawn OK for yoga gathering Yoga enthusiasts will gather on the west lawn of the Jefferson County Courthouse next month in an attempt to break a group yoga record.

Super Governor is saving Cedar Rapids:
Dad says Culver ‘saving’ Cedar Rapids As one of the commentors wrote: "If anybody is saving the city its organizations like Block by Block. Not Fema, not I-jobs, not the city council but volunteers period" Nuff said.

Because we are too stupid to take care of ourselves:
Neb. getting $1M to monitor health insurance ratesI thought healthcare was going to be free?

Wednesday Wings, 8/18/10

Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum are hosting Iowa's Centenary of Flight celebration at Blakesburg, IA, September 1-6.
It was in 1910 that Iowan's first took to the air. While there rages to this day, controversy over who was first and where that flight took place, it is certain that two Curtiss aviators, J.C. "Bud" Mars and Iowa native Eugene Ely flew their Curtiss biplanes at Sioux City, Iowa on June 29th and 30th 1910.
Eric Presten, Schellville,CA plans to be in attendance with his Rotec radial powered, wing warped controlled Bleriot replica. (Below)

Location - 3 mi. NE of Blakesburg, IA

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A look at Calvin Coolidge

"Taxes take from everyone"

Calvin Coolidge, where dichotomy abounds. Liberals hate him and conservatives adore him.
Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer put it, "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength." Many later criticized Coolidge as part of a general criticism of laissez-faire government. His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan Administration, but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.
The election of 1924 shows Iowa having the same number of electors as California. All indications point to Iowa has having the privilege of losing another representative to Congress after this election cycle. It also shows a regional voting bloc.

Coolidge, along with his Secretary of Treasury, Andrew Mellon, reduced taxes, retired national debt and afforded the citizens of these United States a freedom from regulating to death. Referring to a farm subsidy bill before Congress, Coolidge remarked, "government control cannot be divorced from political control."

If only other leaders would think like that.

Did I write that liberal hate him? Apparently not. They admire his mild manners that he conducted himself (while despising his policies). In a call for civility in politics, a revival for Coolidge's non-campaign campaign style (probably caused by the death of a son), the National Notary Association has published a collection of essays called "Why Coolidge Matters: How Civility in Politics Can Bring a Nation Together"

Some excerpts from the book:
“Coolidge's commitment to low taxes came out of his concept of property rights. He viewed heavy taxation as the legalization of expropriation." — Amity Shlaes, Author and Syndicated Columnist

“President Coolidge gave the American people, as Will Rogers observed, the kind of government they wanted: that is, honest, efficient, economical and pro-growth.” — Jerry L. Wallace, Historian and retired archivist from the National Archives and Records Administration

“For Coolidge, conservatism meant a strict adherence to the Constitution, a tightly limited role for the Executive Branch, and, above all, fiscal discipline.” — John Moser, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Ashland University
Other authors include Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, both from the great state of Taxechusetts.

And to finish with a few quotes from President Coolidge:
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil. Our great hope lies in developing what is good.

No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace, or ensure it of victory in time of war.

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Duty is not collective; it is personal.
I would like another Calvin Coolidge to return to the Presidency, if for nothing else, for fiscal responsibility.

What ever happened to the Constitution?

Fellow Iowan, Charles forwarded this from Judge Andrew Napolitano at the hosted by the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. It was recorded at Auburn, Alabama on July 29th this year. Almost an hour long, it's worth it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Adventures in moving

#1 son is now a college undergrad (officially). He's attending UNI and is part of their marching band which gave us a chance to move a couple of days early.

Loaded up the pickup this morning with more supplies than Hannibal needed crossing the Alps. Channeling Murphy, I announced, "Be prepared, something will go wrong."

About 15 minutes behind "schedule" we stopped to get gas (getting gas was part of the schedule) and forgot the hand truck, but discovered this before we left town. Now about 20 minutes behind schedule.

Ten miles down the road #1 son forgot to pack an important requirement, returned home. Now 40 minutes behind schedule.

We had planned over an hour fifteen minutes of leeway, so we arrived with about 40 minutes before the deadline to register for band.

Son then sent to another building to pick up uniform from an understaffed but friendly group of kids. I and Mrs. Stranded decided to wait. (My impatient spouse never understood the concept of "hurry up and wait"). So, she was assigned tasks like paying the bill and asking directions of total strangers. Chauvinist and patient me waited under a shade tree near the pack horse along with #2 son.

After an hour standing in line for uniforms, #1 returned at about the same time as the Mrs. and we parked in front of the dorm. On the opposite side of his room. Discovering a broken elevator. With the expectation of 8 and a half tons of school supplies, snacks, frig, microwave, bike, clothes, a game system (he snuck that in) to be shlepped up to the third floor.

I thought working on the roof got me in a little better shape. I found out just how little that helped.

Finished unloading at about 12:00 noon but not enough time to run over to the book store before he had to be back for a meeting at the UNI-dome.

Hugs from mom and money from dad and a ride to the dome.

Last minute advice from the old man "Don't blow this opportunity" was received with a reserved sigh.

Many people have a low expectation of him and he's out to prove people wrong - a family trait. I expect both sons to be better men than me and #1 is embarking to prove me right.

Keynesian Kings & Socialist Queens

Found at The Jawa Report

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Let them eat cake

If the Chinese get it, how come we don't?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday night (out of) steam 8/13/10

Milwaukee Railroad Shops

Part of a historical district in Sioux City, IA. This complex was originally built in 1917 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway Company, more commonly known as The Milwaukee Road. It was the 2nd largest shop complex in the Milwaukee's system behind their home shops in Milwaukee, WI.

Upcoming events include:
Ag/Rail Festival,August 21 and 22nd
Smithsonian Magazine Day, September 25th
Ironhorse Day, October 16th

(Recovering from nother 28 hour shift, and just received network outage alerts)

Ladora Firemen's Days

Look for the these shirts to purchase raffle tickets for the McAdam Family Benefit tomorrow at the Ladora Firemen's Days, located in Ladora, IA

The benefit for the family of murdered Iowa County resident, Jeffery McAdam, is scheduled for October 9th in Victor, IA at the HLV Schools Gym in Victor.

The benefit includes dinner, silent auction and live auction as well as the raffle.

For more information please go to: McAdam Family Benefit website where there are updates almost daily with raffle and auction items and keep up with any news.

The McAdam Family Facebook Page

Jeffrey McAdam posts

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Remembering Straightarrow

I sent an email to David Codrea at War on Guns about the passing of our friend Charles Sawders, aka Straightarrow. He thought my brief personal comments should be shared.
I bet that through the years he published more words on the internet, commenting on blogs, boards and elsewhere than most bloggers have posted in that same timeframe.

I liked him for his blunt, to-the-point personality, and his words reminded me of my dad.

That's the best compliment I can give any man.
And it is.

When I started Between Two Rivers almost a year ago, Charles came from War on Guns and decided to stick around. He shared his comments and I've been reading though them recently, some are humorous, while others make you think. On July 8th, he left what would become his last comment here and is a typical example of his writing. Regarding the McDonald Ruling:
No matter how many lawsuits are filed and even won against crap like this, the Daleys of the nation will replace the defeated law with another just as egregious, requiring another lawsuit. In this way they can extend this fight for centuries. No! That is not hyperbole, centuries.

This will only be settled when unpleasant ramifications are visited upon the abusers. Since we have no expectations, realistic or fanciful, of these ramifications being supplied by the justice system we have only one way to settle this issue peacefully. That is surrender. Let them have their way. That is the only avenue to peaceful resolution.

If you find that to be anathema to your rights and our nation then the only way to settle this to its proper conclusion is force.

Anything less will not work, because the tyrants lose nothing, even when they lose. Force will change the solution to that equation and as things now stand, it is the only thing that will.
Damn, there is power and vision in those few paragraphs. As Straightarrow, he could have chosen to have his own blog and I'm sure it would have been successful. But I think his influence was much wider because he visited each of ours and gave us comments like this. I'm convinced he improved this lowly blog.

I regret never meeting Charles, the person, having known him only by his written words. Words of encouragement and chastisement, humor and wisdom, and the occasional disagreement.

If any of his family or close friends should ever visit here, please accept my thanks for sharing him with us.

Wednesday Wings, 8/11/10

A slight deviation from fixed-winged aircraft in Iowa.

(Pilot Michael Suchy of the Czech Republic flies during an Aug. 1 morning flight during the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. - Photo by Michael Rolands/Record-Herald Staff)

The National Balloon Classic is held in Indianola, IA each year.

New hat in the ring for 1st Congressional District

Jason Faulkner of Maquoketa is up against U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Republican nominee Ben Lange for Iowa's 1st Congressional District.
In an interview Monday, Faulkner said he believes in term limits and protecting the Second Amendment.

“We have an absolute right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our families,” he said. “They want to take that away from us.”

Independent announces run for Iowa’s 1st District
Faulkner may not have a chance running against the big dogs, but from a cursory look, he's worth consideration from Iowans.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To be or not to be, Lake Delhi dam

Ben shamed me by posting a much more thorough insight on the Lake Delhi dam and A Dam Dilemma. By having a personal connection to the lake, he brought a different perspective to this question, but he comes to the same conclusion I have.
That's not to say that I don't think that Lake Delhi should be rebuilt. I love Lake Delhi. For all the talk of this being a "private" lake, it was very much a public asset. I didn't own a cabin on the lake, yet I spent many hours fishing and pleasure boating with friends there in my youth. I frolicked at Freddy's Beach. I dined at the Pizza Place and Camp-O. I camped along its shores at Turtle Creek County Park. I hope to do so again someday with my kids. I just hope that the dam will be rebuilt in a responsible manner.
By using the present tense "I love Lake Delhi," he brings an optimism to this. It's not if the dam will be rebuilt, it's a matter of when and how.

I've never been to Lake Delhi so it's easy for me to sit back and declare, "Not my money!" to the association. But Ben is someone who, although doesn't have a monetary interest, but has a personal interest of fond memories from his youth with family and friends.

But he doesn't think state and federal money should pay to rebuild.

Instead of the political pandering that Rep Braley and Gov Chester are doing, their contribution should be this: tell the EPA and the state DNR to expedite efforts to rebuild and not stand in the way. Stand up to the green wienie environmental activist groups (that they received campaign contributions from) and tell them to back off any and all lawsuits. Because you know they are waiting in the wings to prevent the rebuild.

But that's in the ideal fantasy world that our country was founded on. No more.

I propose this: The creation of the Lake Delhi Electrical Company in partnership but not owned by the Lake Delhi Association. Have an IPO of around $50 per share (or less) as this would allow many people the chance to purchase one or two shares without breaking the bank.

Keep the lawsuits out of it, get the government red tape removed and investors would flood (no pun intended) to their brokers for a chance to purchase stocks that traditionally return good dividends as utilities generally do.

If I had any money left over after helping pay tuition for #1 son this fall, I'd certainly consider it. I'd bet most of the residents in the four county area would too. I'm sure many from across the state and country would invest.

We could do this. This is how Capitalism is supposed to work.

Or, we can take the easy way. As Ben noted, we could borrow the money from the Chinese that our children and grandchildren will have to repay. The government could push everyone around and do it their way, and we all know government works projects always come under budget.

Lastly, the Lake Delhi Association has to take the longer view on this. If they take government money, they will end up the government's bitch (pardon the expression). When one receives cash from any government entity, the bureaucrats will dictate how it will be spent. Always have, always will. Just ask Des Moines:
Des Moines leaders such as Public Works Director Bill Stowe have criticized the Corps for not releasing more water from Saylorville earlier this year to minimize the risk of summer flooding.

Heinold said the Corps strictly follows the lake's operational plan and adheres to the applicable federal laws.
Heinold is a flood risk management director for the Corps of Engineers and that's typical bureaucrat-speak for "Go ___ yourself."

Of course this could all be moot as pork-barrel hog-trough expert noted: U.S. aid for Delhi dam unlikely, Harkin says but as of yet, there's no word from Senator "Rainforest" Grassley or his opponent anti-Microsoft lawyer, Roxanne Conlin.

New Poll: Branstad, 52%, Culver, 36%

New Poll: Branstad, 52%, Culver, 36%


Monday, August 9, 2010

Snake oil salesmen pitching high-speed rail

The pitchmen are Illinois governor, Pat Quinn and our Iowa governor Chester "Debt" Culver.

Iowa, Illinois submit high-speed rail application
Iowa and Illinois submitted another joint applications [sic] Friday for a high-speed intercity passenger rail grant to link Chicago to Iowa City via the Quad-Cities.

The project was not approved in the first round of the multi-year federal grant program.

The application seeks federal funding for 80 percent of the project, with the remainder coming from matching state dollars from Iowa and Illinois.
Why am I reminded of a Simpsons episode?
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Iowa Gov. Chet Culver emphasized “new green products and practices” that would be integrated nto [sic] the rail project in a joint letter to Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joseph Szabo supporting the bi-state bid.

The governors said recycled materials would be used in the construction of the train, locally-grown produce served in train dining cars, and recyclable and biodegradable containers used in food service on the train.
Let's call it the Green Machine.

And the money quote from Gov Chester:
Culver wrote that the project’s success would be the important first step in initiating passenger rail service across Iowa. (emphasis mine)
Apparently our governor is too stupid to realize that the Amtrak's California Zephyr stops in Burlington, Mt Pleasant, Ottumwa, Oceola, and Creston as it passes through Iowa. Or that the Southwest Chief stops in Ft Madison. All of these towns are in Iowa.

Don't worry, Democrats. When Branstad regains the governorship, I'm sure he'll be saying stupid things as well.

UPDATE - best line I've heard regarding this: It should be called Chetty's Choo Choo in honor of our governor.

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians

By law, state has too many supervisors
Work force reductions from budget cuts and an early retirement package have edged Iowa state government only slightly closer to meeting a new law that by next year requires a ratio of one supervisor for every 15 nonsupervisory employees.

To comply with the law, at least 544 supervisors would have to be eliminated from the executive branch, which had about 18,400 employees as of July 1, according to data obtained by The Des Moines Register.

Eliminating that many supervisors could violate some national standards and endanger public safety, according to some state and national management experts.

The president of a public employee union that long pushed for the law strongly disagrees.

"If a schoolteacher can supervise 25 6-year-olds, then I would think a state supervisor could supervise an equivalent number of employees," said Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 61.
I can't improve on that comment.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Oakville celebrates for what?

In a move that will surely condemn the small town of Oakville:
Gov. Chet Culver Saturday pledged that as long as he remains in office, he will continue working to support the small town of Oakville, which was nearly wiped from the map during the Flood of 2008

Culver, a Democrat, made his comments during a dedication ceremony for the town's newest landmark, the Oakville Memorial Park. Before the ceremony, the governor shook the hands of residents and spoke with a group of paint spattered teenagers from Bellevue, who were in Oakville volunteering their labor to assist in ongoing rebuilding efforts.
With all polls indicating a defeat by former Gov Branstad, I guess he doesn't have to worry much.

This is what the town looked like in 08:

According to the article, nearly $49.8 million in state and federal disaster relief funds plus an additional $872,000 in I-Jobs funds have been spent for Louisa County. That's nearly $120,000 per square mile or $12,000 per household (2000 census).

Granted not everyone in the county was affected. Oakville was about 500 people and the surrounding area under water included another 150 or so. Columbus Junction/Fredonia area had dozens more affected by the flood as well as some homes east of Wapello. I'd estimate less than 1000 people were truly affected by the flood of 08 in Louisa County. That runs to $50,000 per person.

But wait, not everyone got money since FEMA refused buyouts for those residents in Oakville, so what's going on?

Over $50 million spent on the areas affected (for a small number of people) and all they have to show for it in Oakville is a $60,000 park so that desperate politicians fighting for reelection can have a photo op?

Money taxed from one person (or borrowed from the Chinese) and given to somebody (God only knows).

Like taking candy from a baby:

(Matt Ryerson/The Hawk Eye
Ben Lanz, 20, of Oakville holds his nephew, Treyton Schulz, 2, of Springfield, Mo., after the boy gave Gov. Chet Culver some candy from his pocket Saturday during a dedication ceremony for the new Oakville Memorial Park next to the Oakville Community Center. )

Personal account of the Oakville flood.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 8/8/10

Traffic cameras make us safer?

Let's ask the Chinese:

*** I only point out that none of the cameras at the intersections prevented a single accident. I'm not trying to make light of anyone's injuries.

Cedar Rapids introduced cameras at intersections throughout the city with the primary notion that it would reduce the number of accidents and we would be safer. Just because they bring in over $1000/day, that has nothing to do with it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The glamorous world of IT

The Thursday 8 am to Friday 2 pm shift is just another day in paradise.

I thought IT jobs were going to be cool.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday (out of) steam, 8/6/10

Another overnight work detail, so take a tour of the 915.

From the youtube page:
Chicago Burlington & Quincy steam locomotive at the RailsWest Railroad museum in Council Bluffs Iowa. The day I was there they had a railfan weekend in conjunction with the other Council-Bluffs Omaha rail attractions. There was shuttle service between the sites and everyone had a great time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

GM's Volt

Regarding the new Chevy Volt, David Burge notes:
Dance, hipster marionettes! Dance to the jaunty, infantile Sesame Street folk guitar beat, thinly warbling the Gaia-saving virtues of your eco-appliance, designed by law school engineering experts in Washington DC. Maintain your vacant smile and perhaps you will be issued extra rations of driving privileges.

$41,000 (minus $7000 for compliant citizen tax credit) for a car that get less gas mileage than my 08 Corolla (I'm averaging 43mpg city and highway) and without the batteries to worry about.

Find more of his thoughts on GM's (Government Motor's) new car of the future at Drove My Chevy Off the Levee

Shelby County thinks about a firearm ban

Sean McClanahan gives us the heads up on Shelby County supervisors' proposal to ban firearms on county property (as has been pointed out, contrary to Iowa law).

Shelby County considers illegal firearms ban

Hey Buddy, want to buy a dam?

Or have your children or grandchildren pay for it?

That's what Rep Bruce Braley would like to happen. He's all for using federal dollars (confiscated from us, or borrowed from future generations) to assist the Lake Delhi association to rebuilt its dam that was washed away on July 24th.
"My job is to help identify and secure all potential federal resources to assist those individuals and businesses in the 1st District who are eligible to help recover from the recent flooding," Braley said.
He either has no clue where the money comes from or doesn't care.

This dam was privately owned and operated.
The Lake Delhi Recreation Association owned and maintained the dam, which was 88 years old.

Members paid an additional $4 per $1,000 of assessed taxable property valuation to support operation of the structure as well.
Maybe some of that money should have been set aside for repairs. Some reports indicate that one of the floodgates was not working properly. I wonder if a private dam could be insured.

Not everyone agrees with Braley:
But Braley's Republican challenger, Ben Lange, an attorney in Independence, said Monday he didn't think the federal government's functions include assisting rebuilding a privately owned dam.

Private entities and state and local governments should shoulder that responsibility, Lange said.
I disagree that state funding would be used. That comes from my pocket or from my sons' pockets as we now live under Governor Debt Culver's regime.

A privately owned lake and dam would mean they association should pay for it. Maybe if a local utility could get involved to put a few generators in there, that might work. So long as it's their funds and not from the state or feds.

We can't afford this anymore.

Braley, Lange on opposite sides of dam

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Straw buyer sentenced in Milwaukee

Sentenced to a year plus one day for selling guns to drug dealers and other "prohibited" persons.
"You sell the gun and you don't know nothing about the person you sell it to, and you don't want to know nothing," [Derrick] Marshall, the son of a retired Milwaukee police officer, told agents when he was arrested. "That's why I was always telling the people, 'Now don't go out and do anything crazy with this thing.' Then after, I'd be praying that nothing ever happened."

The case provides a window to the practice of straw buying in the Milwaukee area - in which a person such as Marshall who has a clean record buys a gun for a felon or someone else who is prohibited from having it.

Man gets year and a day for buying firearms and selling them on street
Could a light sentence be because of his "Only One" connection or from sympathy from the judge.
Documents indicate that in 2009 federal agents noticed a pattern of guns bought by Marshall that had been recovered in criminal investigations.

Marshall said he was only guilty of having a poor memory and not knowing the law.

"I am really not a criminal," he told Clevert.
You are a criminal. And now you're a convicted one.

And the Journal Sentinel threw out the Badger Guns connection. I'm betting there were other places this guy bought his guns from, otherwise they would have printed that all of his guns were purchased at Badgers.

Publicly they won't admit it, but Milwaukee police know that Badgers try to do the right thing (in November of 09, the store owners assisted in apprehending a felon trying to purchase a firearm at their store: Badger Guns 11/12/09) The police used this scenario in a sting operation:
He [the informant] told Golke that he had tried to buy a gun at Badger Guns but was turned down because he's a convicted felon, and that he needed guns for himself and "his guys" that were untraceable so they could "use and throw."

Two charged in illegal gun sales - One accused of selling to felon, other with bending 'gun show loophole'
The Journal Sentinel is glad to put Badgers in as bad of a light as they can, going so far as to suggest a conspiracy behind the gun store's "secret" ownership. Badger Guns conspiracy

Wednesday Wings, 8/4/10

JIM LEE People look at exhibits during the grand opening ceremony at the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation Saturday, July 31, 2010. (Jim Lee/Sioux City Journal)

MidAmerican Museum of Aviation & Transportation

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays-Tuesdays and open holidays except for New Year's, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Closed Wednesdays.

Cost: Adults: $6; seniors: $5; active military: $5; children (5-14): $3 and free for 4 and younger; group tours: $5.

Location: North of Sioux Gateway Airport at 2600 Expedition Court.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Celebrating Independence Day in Marshalltown

A letter to the editor (lacking some editing skills by both the writer and editor) describes an incident in Marshalltown, IA during Independence Day celebrations this year.
About 9 p.m. Fourth of July evening, my daughter, her son and grandson, were at her brother's home, they had been invited to watch the fireworks with him and his two sons. It could be seen clearly from where he lived on the east side of town. My daughter was sitting on the ledge of the flower bed attached to his house. The sidewalk was almost against the wall of the ledge.
Sounds like an innocent place to watch a fireworks display.
All of a sudden, a white truck stopped in the middle of the street, two guys went running up to her flashed something in her face and quickly stuck it in their pockets, and said, "I'm a cop, your coming with us." She asked what for, and they said for drinking on public property. She did have a can of beer sitting beside her on the ledge.
Uh, oh, a can of beer. I may have missed it, but didn't Prohibition get repealed a few years ago?
She said I'm on private property. They said she was on the sidewalk because her legs were dangling down from where she was sitting.
That's a pretty strict interpretation there.
Her brother told them he lived there and it's private property. He was told to shut up or he'll get arrested too. My daughter asked to see their badges because she didn't get to see it before. They told her son and nephew, they were going to too.
And since they were driving a pickup, they could have hauled them all away.
Her brother said her was going to call the real cops and went into his house. My daughter thought it might be a gag, that she was being "punked" so she badge a third time and was ignored a third time. The guys started getting loud, and my daughter got scared. She was afraid they would start beating on them like you see on the news or even taser them. She was afraid to ask for their badge again, or they would charge her with resisting arrest too. So, she said "I'll go with you, but I wasn't on the sidewalk."
The woman gave in to the fear and intimidation tactics. Luckily, some smarter LEOs showed up:
They were searching for cuffs when the city police officers arrived. They all talked for a few minutes and the two guys and city officers left. My daughter was not arrested. Thank the lord her brother called 911.
But the author had to bring a little swipe at Arizona:
They were watching the celebration of what our county had won, freedom and liberty, and those two rough cops were set to take her away. That is a perfect example of what can happen with the law in Arizona that will give a reason to say where are your papers. By the way, we are white citizens whose ancestors have been in the country since the 16th century.
Cops don't need a law in Arizona to act like this, I've seen it several times in my life. I've also been privileged to know some fine LEOs as well.

Unfortunate Fourth incident

Hippie Tunes

Coming in a day late for yesterday's post of news around the state:
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man faces a disorderly conduct charge after he retaliated against noisy neighbors by blasting an air horn in their direction.

Carl Herold said he got tired of the "hippie tunes" constantly coming from across the street. The 62-year-old bought an air horn from an old dump truck last week, pointed it at his neighbor's house, connected it to an air compressor for power and started tooting away.
Arreste, not for the initial blasts from the air horn, but because he continued.

"If it wasn't for these meddling kids..."

Waterloo man arrested for blasting air horn in retaliation for neighbors' noise

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reforming the ATF, maybe

Iowa Congressman Steve King is cosponsoring H.R. 2296 “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009”

Some provisions:
•Require BATFE to establish clear investigative guidelines.

•Clarify the licensing requirement for gunsmiths, distinguishing between repair and other gunsmith work and manufacture of a firearm. This would stop BATFE from arguing that minor gunsmithing or refinishing activities require a manufacturers’ license.

•Permanently ban creation of a centralized electronic index of out of business dealers’ records—a threat to gun owners’ privacy that Congress has barred through appropriations riders for more than a decade.
Read more at S. 941 and H.R. 2296

(Original at BATFE/Federal Firearms Law Reform, NRA-ILA)

News from around the state, 8/2/10

Is this what they mean by keeping your powder dry?
Iowa shooting suspect hides gun in clothes dryer

Promoted to the unemployment line:
Davenport city worker goes for promotion, gets fired instead

I picked the wrong week to dump my Anheuser-Busch stocks:
Iowa alcohol consumption climbs

And looking towards Nebraska, keeping it civil:
Mike Meister calls on Nebraska AG to apologize over goober comment

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday (not so) funnies, 8/1/10

This one's for Borepatch

Iowa gun shows August 2010

Aug 6-8 Sioux City, Convention Center
Aug 20-22 Waterloo, 5 Sullivans Convention Center
Aug 27-29 Boone, Boone County Fairgrounds
Aug 27-29 Council Bluffs, Mid America Center

*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows