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Sunday, May 1, 2016
Letters Welcome
The Daily Reporter invites readers to submit "Letters to the Editor" with comments, criticisms, praise and/or questions about local and world issues of public interest. The editor reserves the right to edit or condense all letters. All letters are to be signed. Unsigned letters will not be considered for publication. Readers should also include their address and telephone number to verify the identity of the writer. Addresses and phone numbers are not printed.
Bloggers Wanted
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On the clock (04/29/16)
Ahh, springtime. The wonderful portion of the year dedicated to cleaning house, new beginnings and an irrationally positive view of the future. In other words, it's draft time, and no, I don't mean from a tap. I of course mean the NFL Draft. You know, the greatest three day stretch of the NFL calendar. ...
The motivation behind the effort (04/29/16)
I know we're saying goodbye to April and getting ready to welcome May. There's still a chill in the air and the bloom is not yet on the flowers, but I've got to be honest, I've found myself in a football state of mind lately. Last Saturday morning, I sat in a room full of fellow Midwest Youth Football League community directors as we reviewed rules and safety procedures for the upcoming fall season. ...
Legislative Update (04/29/16)
The 2016 legislative session is coming to a close. We were supposed to adjourn April 19. That was the last day for many secretaries and pages. It was also the last day legislators received pay. If the job doesn't get done on time, pay runs out and folks seem to be more reasonable and more willing to compromise...
The Johnson Report (04/29/16)
Like the sign you might see along Anytown's main drag, Medicaid is under new management. In previous newsletters from the Iowa Capitol, I have tried to draw attention to the change. We are now one month into the administration of the state-federal health insurance program for lower-income and disabled Iowans by three private managed-care organizations...
CommStock Report (04/28/16)
I feel like I have been had by the Republican Party. We were told: Go to the Iowa caucus, participate, and vote for the presidential candidate of your choice. Then come to find out it was all for show. Candidates are determined by the delegate process and what you were really voting for was the delegates from your precinct to the county convention to the district convention to the state convention and they, not you, ultimately choose who they want to vote for. ...
A bias toward the Word (04/28/16)
I have been doing some thinking about preaching, and particularly, what makes us good listeners when the Word of God is preached. My hope is that we will listen like the people of Berea, who the Bible says were people of "noble character" because "they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)...
Melinda's Garden (04/27/16)
Raise your garden to new heights for easier access and greater productivity. Raised beds allow you to overcome poor soil by creating the ideal growing mix, plus make gardening time more comfortable thanks to less bending and kneeling. Whether you purchase a kit or build your own, there are a few things to consider when creating a raised bed garden...
The new guy in town (04/27/16)
I tell you, I think the hardest part of starting an opinion column is creating a name. It should be catchy. It should mean something. It can't be too specific. There's a lot of pressure involved. You may ask why, and I would say for the same reason you ask new parents, "Is it a boy or a girl?" It's the first thing you know about a new person. It helps add depth to identity...
It's picking up around here (04/25/16)
It's the classic "small town" argument: "There's nothing to do." But is it accurate? Certainly, we live in an area of the country where weather may affect some events during certain times of the year, but I would argue that even in those situations there is something to do...
Clearing up endorsement policy (04/25/16)
Democracy is an amazing thing. Our founding fathers decided, so many years ago, that the people were capable of deciding who should lead them. Without coups or bloodshed, on a regular basis willing citizens would put their names forward to be considered for posts governing the land...
Patchwork Quilt (04/25/16)
An October 2015 report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recommended federal actions to "simultaneously decrease the cost of hearing aids, spur technology innovation and increase consumer choice options." The FDA, acting on recommendations by the president's council, hosted a public workshop in April to consider whether its hearing aid regulations "may hinder innovation, reduce competition and lead to increased cost and reduced use." In June, the Institute of Medicine will issue a report on hearing health that tackles key questions like federal regulation, insurance and price. ...
My 2 Schillings (04/23/16)
In a move that surprised literally no one, ESPN fired Curt Schilling this week. ESPN fired Curt Schilling for posting a meme to Facebook. Of course, as you likely know by now, that meme was deemed transphobic therefore warranting his contractual termination...
The Johnson Report (04/22/16)
Did you hear that giant flushing sound this week? I can explain. Any hopes of a longterm, voter-approved plan to protect Iowa's natural resources and promote outdoor recreation went down the toilet. The handle was pulled by some of my fellow Republicans, fellow Farm Bureau members and not-so-fellow anti-tax groups. To be sure, a few Democrats had a hand on it. In my opinion, this failure is an oil slick, a lead water pipe, a closed beach on the 2016 legislative session...
Opportunities to give back (04/22/16)
If you're looking for something to do around Spencer this weekend, you won't have far to look. Especially if you like to give back to the community in which you live. Let me set an itinerary for you. Let's start with a visit to help plant some trees out at the Spencer Soccer Complex beginning at 9 a.m. ...
Guest Commentary (04/22/16)
A number of serious traffic crashes have occurred recently at rural, uncontrolled intersections on lesser-traveled gravel roads in Iowa. On the surface, installing stop or yield signs at all rural intersections may seem to provide greater protection to the traveling public. ...
Legislative Update (04/22/16)
On Tuesday of this week, we debated the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget. I proposed an amendment to cut the budget by $154,300 and shift the money to supported employment. Where did I get that number? That is the salary of Director Chuck Palmer...
Pastor's Column (04/21/16)
A newborn baby cannot live without the sweet nourishment of its mother's milk or some facsimile. As the child matures so does its digestive tract and the desire and, in fact, the need to consume solid food. In the movie from 2002 "Antwone Fisher," directed by Denzel Washington, a young Navy man is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. ...
CommStock Report (04/21/16)
I have never formally endorsed anyone for political office before until I announced support for Rick Bertrand for Congress in the June 7 Primary against Steve King. It is all about agriculture to me. King stuck a knife in our back with his support of Ted Cruz. ...
Ask a Trooper (04/20/16)
Q: I see a lot of cars with dark window tint driving around our area. Does this concern you as a law enforcement officer? How dark can windows be in Iowa? Higher levels of tinting can fully hide occupants or other threats from an officer that is approaching on a traffic stop. ...
Let's Talk About It (04/20/16)
These days there is a lot of hullabalu going on concerning felons and their so-called voting "rights." A direct quote from Secretary of State Paul Pate in the April 6 Des Moines Register lends some needed clarity: "First, Iowa does not permanently disqualify felons from voting. ...
Guest Commentary (04/20/16)
Anyone reading this can likely cite tragic examples that have proven to be societal challenges due to inadequate and ineffective mental health services throughout Iowa. In the last several years, shootings in the United States have tended to have at least one of two common themes: access to guns, and individuals, usually men, who have untreated mental health issues...
What does fear afford you? (04/18/16)
Over the year or so -- as long as the presidential race has been geared up, at least -- I have noticed a lot of fear in the way people respond to things that come across their path. There's fear at what will happen if we elect a certain person into office; there's fear of what will happen if we don't. There's fear that we're getting too socialist; there's fear that we're staying too capitalist. There's fear of how everyone else will respond if we actually voice who we want to vote for...
A Senior Moment (04/18/16)
Due to retirement, this will be the last "Senior Moment" column from this author. To those of you, who have faithfully followed this series, glanced at it periodically or used it to wrap fish, Thank you. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to let off some steam, air my pet peeves, tell some corny jokes and work to try and help explain some burning questions seniors may have. ...
Spring signs abound in NW Iowa (04/18/16)
After a winter that seemed much too long and much too cold, spring has finally come to Northwest Iowa. I noticed a guaranteed sign of the season on Friday -- a planter out in the field, sowing this year's corn crop. After months of snow and wind, the sight of that spring scene brought warmth to my heart. ...
Quintessentially Kobe (04/16/16)
It's a pretty full sports section today, so I'll do my best to keep this brief. I'm serious! Quit rolling your eyes. Anyway, Kobe Bryant finally quit this week, freeing the Lakers to actually try and improve their roster without having to pay a fossil $30 million...
Randy's Review: 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' (04/28/16)
It's interesting in a tale that's centered around Snow White's rise to power in her kingdom how she's nowhere to be found. But such is the case in "The Huntsman: Winter's War" where our only glimpse of Snow White is a crumpled figure sitting wearily in front of the enchanted mirror which is allegedly causing her dismay. Not that I'm complaining, I certainly don't mind not having Kristen Stewart playing a mopey, pale, bland character ... again...
Randy's Review: 'The Jungle Book' (04/21/16)
The story is so engaging, you sometimes forget you're watching talking animals -- a credit to both the story telling, the voice work and the visual effects department that help bring Rudyard Kipling's classic children's tale "The Jungle Book" to life on the big screen for a live action adventure that will win the hearts of adults and children alike...
Randy's Review: 'Hardcore Henry' (04/14/16)
Intrigued by the way the film was shot, I decided to give "Hardcore Henry" a shot. Sometimes you make decisions that you wind up sorry for. And it certainly sours me on any future Russian-made films. Using a first-person shooting style, this "GoPro" film, shot in Russia, tells the story of Henry who wakes up to find him self in a laboratory, submerged in a tank of water, minus an arm and leg. ...
Randy's Review: 'God's Not Dead 2' (04/07/16)
While at times a bit unreal in terms of courtroom procedure, "God's Not Dead 2" tackles the issue of Jesus in the classroom and the lengths a school district and the ACLU would go to create a case for making sure that "God is dead" in classrooms across the country...
Randy's Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (03/31/16)
So Superman doesn't like Batman's vigilante antics in Gotham City, and Batman doesn't trust Superman to not turn on humanity. And the standoff begins. DC's first step to challenging Marvel's "Avengers" with the Justice League begins right here with "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne aka Batman (now played by Ben Affleck) happened to be in Metropolis during the climactic battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) at the end of "Man of Steel." The battle between the two Kryptonians destroys a good part of the business district of the city, including one of the Wayne Industries towers, killing many of Wayne's employees. ...
Book Review: 'Rogue Mission: A Jordan Sandor Thriller' (04/28/16)
Having never read any of Jeffrey Stephens' Jordan Sandor tales before, I really had no idea what I was in for when I picked up "Rouge Mission," the newest installment in the series, but after having put it down, I can clearly say I'm a Sandor fan and look forward to picking up the next book in the series should Stephens choose to continue with the character -- and I can really see no reason why he wouldn't...
Book Review: 'Carry Me' (04/21/16)
Peter Behrens' latest, "Carry Me," is much bigger of a book than I can describe. I'm still trying to wrap my own head around it, so please bear with me. It's a love story. Billy has been in love with Karin for a long time. In a sense, they grew up together, as friends and also as lovers. ...
Book Review: 'What Lies Between Us' (04/14/16)
All right, guys. I had a hard time with this one. It's one of those books that pulled me in several different directions, and I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, the writing is achingly beautiful. The way Nayomi Munaweera strings together her sentences is brilliant, and I loved the details she includes in showing the differences between Sri Lankan and American cultures. ...
Book Review: 'Violent Crimes' (04/07/16)
I have a confession. Lisa Gardner's "Find Her," Michelle Gable's "I'll See You in Paris" and Phillip Margolin's "Violent Crimes" were all released on the same day. This year I'm trying to review every book I receive from publishing houses, so I'm working my way through. But even though I technically received "I'll See You in Paris" after "Find Her" and "Violent Crimes," I reviewed it between them because I wanted to break up the grisly thrillers...
Book Review: 'I'll See You In Paris' (03/31/16)
If you liked "Downton Abbey," or "Letters to Juliet," you'll probably like this book. Michelle Gable's "I'll See You in Paris" combines history with adventure with the English countryside in her latest novel, and the result is lovely. Anna travels to England with her mother, who has to go and settle an unknown issue, and while her mother is occupied during the day, she begins to explore the little town where they're staying. ...
A tribute to music royalty: Prince (04/21/16)
It would hardly be a music column if I didn't recognize one of the great creative icons that passed away yesterday: Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as "Prince." So, in honor of the legend, here are a handful of his memorable lyrics: "'Cause they say two thousand zero zero party over / Oops, out of time / So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999." -- from "1999"...
Music Review: 'Lukas Graham' (04/14/16)
For some reason, the first time I heard "7 Years," the first song off Lukas Graham's most recent album, I got much more of an "island vibe" than I believe was intended. This song's been all over the radio lately, it's borderline overwhelming. Later, after learning this band is from Denmark, I realized my mistake. Maybe it was the beat...
Music Review: 'Tangled Up' (04/07/16)
The good news is that "Tangled Up," the latest album by Thomas Rhett, is a good album. It's right in line with that "pop/country/rock" style of country music that is incredibly popular right now. And he's received some success with this album, both on country radio and on mainstream radio, with "Die a Happy Man."...
Music Review: 'The Very Last Day' (03/31/16)
Right from the first note, this album has you rocking. "The Very Last Day," Parker Millsap's latest album, is right in that sweet spot between rock and country -- somewhat like southern rock but with a folksy-acoustic twist. But not every track is as high energy as the first ("Hades Pleads"). ...
Music Review: 'Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats' (03/24/16)
I first heard of this band on a music podcast I listen to periodically. On that podcast, Nathaniel Rateliff talked about the band and their music and played the single, "S.O.B." And then, as things tend to go, I kind of forgot about them. But they popped up again today and I thought I'd give the entire album a listen. They've carved for themselves an interesting niche between folk and vintage rock. They bring the best of both genres to the table...