Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Stranded Clan

It is our hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, and thanks to each of you that stop by.

And a little Christmas re-gifting from last year:

By Des Moines artist Roxi Copland

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventures with pollsters

During the run up to the 1996 presidential caucuses, I had so many pollsters call that I gave up and just started a list and each time one called, I supported the next candidate on the list. When I got to the bottom of the list, I started all over again.

A few years ago I started messing with them. Asking me questions about a gubernatorial race one year:
Pollster: What's the most important issue? Is it the economy? Unemployment? Abortion? Blah, blah?

Me: None of those.

Pollster: What is your most important issue?

Me: Does a condidate running for office know and understand our state motto.

Pollster: That's intersting.

Me: Do you know what Iowa's state motto is?

Pollster: No.

Me: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain"

Pollster: That's a very good question to ask.

I've asked candidates that question, and surprise, most don't even know what our motto is.
This caucus season, we've been averaging 3 polls a night and last night was one of those lengthy multiple question polls that appeared to have been commissioned by Newt Romney but I'm not positive.

Many of the questions were just stupid but one stood out: "Which one of the candidates will get more done as president?" "Get more done?" My reply: They'll all get things done and most of what any of them get done will be to make things worse. Besides, they can't get anything done without Congress and don't get me started about "Executive Orders."

We settled that it was an invalid question and I refused to answer it.

One question was asked if I supported the position that a president had the authority to reject a Supreme Court ruling?
Me: The people have the right to reject court rulings and laws through jury nullification.

Pollster: But the question was regarding the president.

Me: Okay, if it was good enough for Andrew Jackson, when he told the court to enforce its own ruling, then I guess I can see the point.

Pollster: Do you support the president having the authority?

Me: (Thinking in my mind about separation of powers and the House of Representatives has the power of impeachment of judges) The constitutionality of a law should not rest solely on 9 black robed elitists.

Pollster: But about the president?

Me: Hmmm, okay. Yes I can agree on this point.
I just can't give them straight answers.

When asked if I described myself on a scale of liberal vs conservative, I replied that I was libertarian (small "l"). But he didn't have a space to put that in. Was I a Tea Partier? A Born-Again Christian?

What was my most important issue? The Bill of Rights and the Constitutional principle of Original Intent. He didn't have a space for that one.

He made the mistake of asking what I thought about Gingrich and a few moments later he begged me to slow down because his typing skills wasn't good enough to keep up.

After about 15 minutes we were done and I asked who commissioned the poll (as I always do) and he replied that he didn't know who commissioned it but from the way the questions were phrased...

I told him I had a good idea who as I wasn't a political neophyte, to which he laughed and I told him that the next poll he works on should have better questions. He agreed that this was not one of the better set that he's worked with. He said good night and I wished him a Merry Christmas.

On my next pollster call, I can now support the next one on my candidate list.

But Cain isn't on the running anymore.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More on Bloom

I could have written "Moron Bloom" but this guy's response works:
A fellow UI professor left this on Bloom’s Facebook page: “I always thought you were a huge (expletive) ... but your Atlantic piece sunk my opinion of you further -- and I didn't think it could get that low. Go (expletive) yourself, you smug, self important jerk.”

A moderate call from a former student: As Caucus Day Approaches, A Debate Over Us Iowa Hicks

The title may as well have been "Bloom's not that bad of a guy, you should forgive and blah, blah."

As I wrote before, there are plenty of lanes heading out of the state, he should be in one of them.

Others are taking the high road, like making money:

Or, by making fun of the intellectually challenged professor:

Any way you look at it, the welcome mat has been pulled in.

My personal theory is that he's never fully embraced the citizens of the state and this has been an anthropological exercise with him being here. He can take the high road and gain instant liberal street cred if he leaves. He can claim he was forced out and if the fellow U of I professor quoted above is any indication, he's probably not well loved anyway.

If he wants out, let him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is This Hell? No, It's Iowa

Is This Hell? No, It's Iowa

[ed note: Found! In a dumpster behind Hamburg Inn, the first draft of University of Iowa professor Stephen G. Bloom's anthropology dissertation for Atlantic magazine explaining the bizarre cultural mores of the primative Aborigines who pay his salary.]

Iowahawk gives his unique perspective on the latest blather from a snobbish elite professor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ron Paul's foreign policy

What we have today is because we've relied on "experts" to conduct foreign policy based on economic reasons instead of truly security reasons. Why are we still "protecting" Japan and Germany (Western Europe by extension)? If anyone wishes to invade France, they can keep them.

My objections to Dr Paul is dissipating because of information like this, because I thoroughly believe our government has wasted some of our best and brightest in useless conflicts because of someone's dumb-assed foreign policy.

We're not called the Great Satan for nothing.

Via David Codrea's War on Guns

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another elitist snob professor shoots his mouth off

University of Iowa journalism professor, Stephen Bloom, has been in the state of Iowa for awhile and doesn't really care for us:
"Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated [sic]) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that "The sun'll come out tomorrow."

How 'schizophrenic' Iowans should respond to Atlantic Monthly article
I'm trying to figure out where I fit in with his descriptions of citizens. I'm not quite in the elderly category yet, so I guess I'm not ready to die, I have a job so I would assume that doesn't make me a "waste-toid." I'm not a meth addict, although I am of the caucasian persuasion and do visit my dentist regularly. As any of my regular readers would agree that I'm not an optimist, so I guess he would assign me as either timid (if we ever meet face-to-face, that would fall apart) or lack in "educated" (okay, I don't have a fancy-assed college advanced degree like perfesser Bloom.)

I'm not an educated boob like he is. Well, I'm damn proud of that.

Apparently he's okay with sucking off of taxpayer's teats while drawing a salary at Iowa. After being here since 1993, you would think he might actually learn something about the state before writing an Atlantic article, Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life

Living in the insulated Socialist Republic of Johnson County, he made the observation:
"When Obama spoke of those clinging to guns and religion, he was talking about the Iowa hamlets that will shape the contours of the GOP contest."
Great, condescending tripe from an overpaid university professor. (After almost 20 years, you think he would be more than just a professor?)

While throwing out a few facts, he would get a D in geography:
On the state's eastern edge lies the Mississippi River, dotted with towns with splendid names like Keokuk, Toolesboro, Fruitland, Muscatine, Montpelier, Buffalo, Sabula, Davenport, Dubuque, and Guttenberg. Each once was a booming city on the swollen banks of the river that long ago opened the middle of America to expansion, civilization, abundance, and prosperity.
Fruitland is south of Muscatine on the bottom ground about 3 miles from the Mississippi River and Toolsboro is on the bluff overlooking the Iowa River. I ought to know, I grew up around there.
“Good journalism isn’t just reporting,” Bloom said. “It’s making observations, making sense out of the world — even if readers might not agree with those observations.”
Maybe if Bloom had made some accurate observations, maybe he'd actually understand us natives. But I doubt that the New York transplant is capable of getting beyond his stereotypes even after being here almost two decades.

If he doesn't like us, I know that the bridges over the Mississippi also have an east-bound lane.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The War on Agriculture, part two

Reflecting on my previous post on the child labor regulations from the Department of Labor and their impact on the "traditional" family farms, I remember my experiences of hard work, long hours and the trials and tribulations growing up.

My first chore was at age 5 when I was tasked to gather eggs. I didn't wear a mask digging around in the straw and battling possessive hens. And at age 8, my job was to feed and water the feeder calves. I bet I didn't weigh 60 lbs when I lugged the corn and milo mix while fighting the calves to get to the feed bunk.

At 14 my dad put me in charge of 20 acres. What and when to plant and we cultivated back then, too. I paid enough attention that I knew about crop rotation and Dad agreed with my decisions. I didn't run the combine in the fall, but everything else was up to me, including the expenses. And a profit was made that year that was shared with Dad because the real world worked that way.

I later came to realize that I benefited greatly from my work experiences as a young-un. These new rules, while exempting "family farms" (for now) would have prevented that type of work, if those rules had been in place then.

Lauren Ritchie shared her experiences growing up as she explains in her commentary. One thing I didn't think of:
Theoretically, kids could continue to do whatever they want on farms owned by their parents. Some 1.3 million young people under 20 live on farms in the United States.

But nearly all "family farms" are incorporated today, just as most small businesses are, which would put them back under these proposed rules.
Exactly. These rules will hit almost every farm in the US, maybe not at first, but selective enforcement would compel everyone else to fall in line.

She continues:
A press release stated: "The Department is committed to helping youth enjoy positive and challenging work experiences — both in agricultural and nonagricultural employment — that are so important to their development and transition to adulthood."

One safety advocate called the proposal "timid." My word would be "clueless."

This is not a case of banning thoughtless 13-year-olds from racing Jet Skis on public waterways packed with partygoers on the Fourth of July. That's called common sense. Rather, these rules would apply to what legal activities parents choose to allow their children to participate in while on private property. There is no risk to the general public.
For some reason the Labor Department and a whole lot of nanny-state interventionists, would rather a kid waste their time playing video games than learning about responsibility, resourcefulness, and a damn fine work ethic.

Wipe that smile off your face, kid. Don't you know you're being exploited?

Regarding the regulations, Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City:
"Some of these things are downright silly."

Under the federal definition, "employment" doesn't necessarily include cash compensation, Lankford said.

"It varies greatly. For instance, if a grandfather owned a farm and his grandchildren came to work there, they wouldn't be exempted under the rule. Their own kids on their own family farm would be exempted, but their grandkids would not," he said.
Leaving wide open the interpretation of the regulations up to some bureaucrat has worked out so well for every other federal and state agency, hasn't it?

Two things that angered me on this:

One - the feds thinking they have the authority to do this under the Interstate Commerce clause.

Two - I'm angry at myself for not knowing about this ahead of time. According to the last link, only 4000 comments were taken. There should have been 100 times that many but no one knew about this. Or at the very least, they thought this will only apply to the Big Ag operations and not them.

It might but I'm not going to bet on it.

Remember, we are all Kulaks now.
The government, the planners, the leaders who directed the robbery, even the government employees themselves "knew better than the peasants how they should live, and what they should sow and when they should plough."

Page 168, "Death by Gun Control", Zelman and Stevens

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The War on Agriculture

Growing up on a small farm introduced me to several hazardous situations and my puny 98 lbs wasn't much against a 1200 lb steer. When I drove the Allis Chalmers C at age 5 while my dad threw hay to the calves, I had to jump off the seat to push in the clutch and brake pedals. Probably not the safest task given to me, but I did okay and didn't drive through a gate or ran over anyone. But new proposed rules regarding child labor in agriculture may change the landscape of farming. (Comments ended Dec 1st) While these rules would not apply to non-paid labor on the family farm (at least not now) they do apply if a kid hires out to work for a neighbor or family member. I baled hay for neighbors in junior high and I still have all my limbs intact.
The Labor Department can only regulate employer-employee relationships, so the proposed rules shouldn't affect 4-H, FFA or other educational programs, said Michael Hancock, assistant administrator for policy at the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division. And, they may not keep children from helping on their grandparents' or uncle's farms if they aren't paid. (emphasis mine) Proposed child labor laws would limit hazardous work by minors on farms
"Shouldn't" and "May not" are clues to what is really intended. Busybodies like Barbara Marlenga, a described "research scientist" but looks like her only function is to publish studies like: "North American guidelines for children's agricultural tasks: five-year assessment and priorities for the future." is quoted: "Youths who work in other industries — the child labor laws are much stricter," Marlenga said. "Why would we have unequal protection?" Sounds like someone my dad would have run off the homestead. Point is given that farming is a dangerous enterprise and I've seen the results of carelessness, but no one is advocating sweat shop like labor for kids. Even my dad wasn't that bad. But proposing safety rails if a 16 year-old is 6 feet in the air? That's maybe four bales of hay and don't even think about working in the loft. According to the article, child agriculture accidents fell by more than half from 1998 to 2009, so what's the problem? After looking at a letter signed by "more than 25 public-health and workplace safety experts" sent to a governmental busybody who oversees new rules in the Department of Labor, one name stood out: Michael J. Wright of the United Steel Workers. If fewer young people are employed in agriculture, the end result would be that adults would have to be hired. You can't organize children into labor unions. Little Johnny has no interest in Big Labor, he's trying to earn money for a car. The rest of the letter signers look to be academics who I would bet have never set foot on a farm operation, let alone operate any machinery. These guys make it sound as though children fresh out of diapers are running a sickle mower for 10 hours a day. This link makes it sound like farmers are involved in nefarious human trafficking. Human Rights Watch interviewed 58 under-18 workers (out of a few hundred thousand possible) and came up the the cute-sounding "Fields of Peril" report. At a 102 pages I'm still sifting through it, but with subject titles of: "Work with Dangerous Machinery, Equipment, and Tools", "Pressure to Work Fast, Sick, and Injured", and "Extreme Temperatures: Heat and Cold" makes me think that these namby girls don't know what hard work is. Through my short reading, many of the issues they cite are regarding large ag operations and migrant workers, those that are already regulated. The desire to throw down more regulations when the current regulations are violated, seems asinine to me. Those of us who know would say that farming is a 24-7 life. If you have a cow suffering through a breach-birth, your head cold doesn't mean squat when you risk losing a source of your income. At 20 below you better make sure those animals are watered and fed before you are. At least it was when I grew up. And like many others, I suffered through the heat in summer and freezing my toes and ears in winter. And I hated that at the time. But I'm glad I did it because it taught me what work is and gave me a set of skills that has benefited me and my family ever since. The problem I see is that these adults wish for a utopian life for youth and don't understand the benefits that physical labor brings to a child's life. No one is advocating slave-labor with children in chains in the hot sun, but I never knew anyone who died cutting corn from a soybean field in July. So after wading through this post, here is the interpretation: under-18 agriculture laborers are slaves and farm operations are trafficking in slave labor, big operations are violating current regulations and therefore more regulations that apply to all are needed and finally, bed-wetting academics and labor advocates know more about the welfare of youth than the parents. If these people had their way when I was a kid, my life would have been filled with gumdrops and sunshine while riding unicorns across bubble wrap fields where no one ever suffered a skinned knee or bruised elbow. Right. Just because these idiots are wimps they mean to scrape a whole segment of youth out of a lifestyle and out of employment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Iowa Gun Shows for December, 2011

Dec 16-18, Des Moines, Adventureland Park

Dec 30-Jan 1, Waterloo, McElroy Auditorium
*** 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 or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows