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Friday, July 3, 2015
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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CommStock Report (07/03/15)
Donald Trump and my Congressman Steve King are buddies. I don't remember which one of them said it but they claimed to be able "to complete each other's sentences." I don't know if that is a good thing considering what they have been saying. I heard some of King in Trump's announcement speech. King has called Mexican illegals, rapists with calves the size of cantaloupes from carrying drugs across the border and Trump pretty much stole that line...
Pastor's Column (07/02/15)
Born in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, America has had only one form of government. Neither our closest allies nor our fiercest enemies have experienced the stability with which God has blessed America.
When the founders approved the Declaration of Independence in 1776, John Adams suggested the way in which the day should be celebrated. ...
Family vacations (07/01/15)
It is a tradition in the Russmann house to take a vacation the summer after one of us children graduate from high school. When the tradition began with Heather, the closest thing our family had done to a vacation at that point was take a day trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo or Adventureland...
A few thoughts on Friday's Supreme Court decision (06/29/15)
In case you've been hiding under a rock since Friday, gay marriage is now legal across the entire United States, after a ruling by the federal Supreme Court. Because I have a pretty varied range of opinions in my Facebook friends, I saw everything from "I can now get married in my home state" (actual post) to "how tragic. Look where our country is going."...
Your vacation is calling (06/29/15)
I was working my way through one of those high-end travel magazines this past weekend. I subscribe to a few of what I call "aspirational" editions. From travel to homes, to food and wine, I am now fully equipped to know a great trip, meal, or designer chair when I see it. I don't, however, often see those things in person...
Patchwork Quilt (06/29/15)
Breakfast and protein are the best combinations for better health. Eating breakfast each morning may have been ingrained in you as a child from your parents, or you may do it because you know it makes a difference in your day. Either way, as the old saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day...
A Senior Moment (06/29/15)
We hope it never happens. However, there may be a point in time when you or a loved one will be told by a physician you have approximately six months or less to live. This revelation would be a shock to most of us, and would carry with it a flood of emotions. ...
Melo out (06/26/15)
Thursday night's NBA Draft provided a little of everything for the roundball fan. There was some usual stuff, like Philly drafting a center in the lottery. Some feel-good stuff as Aaron White realized some NBA dreams in the second round. (Kinda sorta anyway. They'll probably stash him in Europe for a bit to see if he pans out which he likely won't, but hey! Hawkeyes in professional basketball!)...
Righting the ship (06/26/15)
At Coffee with the Editor each week -- a little event I host on Tuesday beginning at 7 a.m. in the dining room at the Spencer Dream Center -- we talk about a variety of things of local, state, national and world interest. Our group, which regularly numbers upward of 10 to 12 folks, kind of take a path that goes where the various topics of the day or week take us. ...
Let's Talk About It (06/26/15)
by Kella Klinker Simonin In 1954, I was 9 and my sister was 5 when our daddy was admitted to the hospital with Bright's disease in both kidneys. He spent 30 days there and another nine months in bed before he could return to work. My mother did not work outside the home. ...
Pastor's Column (06/25/15)
Whenever I meet new people, and through conversation they discover that I am a pastor, they are always quick to let me know what church they attend. I respectfully hold to the opinion that for a Christian, there is only one Church. The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the head of the body, the Church (singular), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He, Jesus, may have the preeminence...
CommStock Report (06/25/15)
The best farmland sold for approximately $15,000/acre here locally near the top before commodities dropped and farmland prices faded as net farm incomes declined. A 20 to 30 percent correction would take $3,000 to $4,500 an acre off the top. That would mean that the best land would be supported near $10,000 an acre here in Clay County. ...
The belly button challenge is a lie (06/24/15)
I don't know why anyone would subject themselves to the cinnamon challenge, the eraser challenge or the salt and ice challenge, but thousands did. One's well-being is not the object of the game in these challenges. Each one comes with its own set of consequences and hazards sometimes resulting in self-harm or death...
Patchwork Quilt (06/23/15)
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect...
A Senior Moment (06/23/15)
You may be too young to appreciate the level of trust and the amount of authority we historically ascribed to professionals, athletes, politicians, ministers and other leaders. In the past, if a teacher said black was really the new white, who were we to question? If a physician indicated we just had a nosebleed incident, we automatically accepted their diagnosis and advice never seeking a second opinion, asking others or now searching the internet. ...
Even Apple bows down to will of Taylor Swift (06/22/15)
I don't remember the last cd I bought; perhaps it was "Long Road Out of Eden" by the Eagles, or John Mayer's "Continuum." In any case, I don't know where the discs are now -- probably in a box in the basement, awaiting the next purge of the storage room...
Clover Corner (06/22/15)
The weather is sunny and warm, school is out and summer sports and activities are in full swing. Things have been busy at our office. Animal weigh-ins are complete and now it is time for 4-Hers to dedicate time to their animals. Achievement Fair is also just around the corner. With school being out and everyone's life being so busy, does the learning stop? Absolutely NOT!...
Pray for healing, pray for Charleston (06/22/15)
I'm writing this on Friday morning because the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, is relatively fresh still, and my heart is heavy for those affected. John Stewart, of "The Daily Show," made a comment in his show Thursday night that I found very spot-on and poignant. I didn't actually watch the show (no cable), but nearly every national and entertainment news outlet featured his monologue, so I caught it second-hand...
Let's Talk About It (06/20/15)
As a teen, it's probably no surprise to you all that I see social media as a good thing. I know very well that it has it's downfalls. Trust me. As a high-schooler I have seen the downfall, but I don't see it or use it as that. When social media is used as a positive thing, I've seen some great things happen. I want to break it down into the major social media sites. Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr...
Seriously? C'mon man think it through (06/19/15)
I have a couple of great examples for you this week of individuals who have definitely not thought their particular very different game plans through. Let's start local. According to an AP report, a Des Moines man was arrested earlier this week after he reported to police that he had been robbed...
Did the IHSAA get it right? (06/19/15)
The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced this week that the state's football playoffs will be reverting back to their pre-2008 structure of two teams from each district qualifying for the postseason. I'll admit I was pretty shocked to hear the news. ...
CommStock Report (06/18/15)
The 610-mile-long Sandpiper pipeline across North Dakota and Minnesota needed easements from 799 landowners in North Dakota alone. The company worked to get voluntary easements and got the number down to a handful from which they will have to use eminent domain for only one landowner who held out for principle. The pipeline is underground, which to me is much less offensive than seeing gargantuan power lines looming over property as the Rock Island Clean Line and Grain Belt Express now propose...
Pastor's Column (06/18/15)
As believers in Christ, we have the most magnificent heavenly Father. Father's day is this Sunday. You dads out there certainly love your children. You don't give them a phony love. You love them and you mean it. However, we are only human. As human fathers, we may say and believe one thing and then turn around and let our children see us doing something else. ...
I want to ride the bus (or train) (06/17/15)
Large cities in Iowa like Des Moines have public transit systems that will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go. You can take a bus or a train for a longer trip from say Davenport to Chicago. Public transit helps the environment by cutting down on the number of cars on the road. So why don't we utilize public transit even more than we already do?...
Guest Commentary (06/17/15)
Families have been gathering around the fire or hearth for centuries sharing conversation and food. It has been a constant in all cultures and nationalities around the world. Today families might not gather at a fire pit or wood burning stove, unless they are camping (what fun!), but still gathering together as a family and doing something as simple as sharing a meal together can have a lasting positive experience for your family...
Randy's Review: 'Ted 2' (07/02/15)
Don't be fooled by the appearance of Ted. This friendly, fuzzy teddy bear is not here to entertain your children. Those who saw "Ted," know full well what they're walking into. Those who may be unfamiliar with the story of Ted, consider yourself now warned before viewing this sequel...
Randy's Review: 'Inside Out' (06/25/15)
While the animation and voice work performances associated with "Inside Out" are brilliant, I'm afraid the prevailing message of the film might soar right over the heads of most children who I suspect are the target audience for the latest Disney-Pixar release...
Randy's Review - 'Jurassic World' (06/18/15)
They should have listened to Goldblum. Jeff Goldblum's character Ian Malcolm warned those who originally wanted to create a dinosaur-based theme park it was a bad idea to bring prehistoric creatures into the modern world. And when they didn't listen to him then, the results of the first three Jurassic Park films certainly should have proven the folly of the idea. But we humans are a stubborn lot and when we get something in our heads, we just have to make it happen...
Randy's Review: 'Spy' (06/11/15)
"Spy" is one of the funnier movies I've seen in a long time. I mean actually laugh-out-loud funny at times. It's a very hard R, so be forewarned, but the writing and the acting -- although over-the-top at times -- work perfectly in this role reversal set in the world of international spies and criminals...
Randy's Review: 'San Andreas' (06/11/15)
Let's hope this movie doesn't serve as a look into our future. "San Andreas," as one might suspect, tells the story about the unimaginable devastation when the "big one" hits the legendary fault line which runs through California. It also tells the story of a family falling apart who through it all manages to come together while the rest of the state is crumbling...
Book Review: 'The Insider Threat' (07/02/15)
Every thriller series author has their character ― or characters. James Patterson has Alex Cross (among others), Kathy Reichs has Temperance Brennan, Clive Cussler has Dirk Pitt (among others). Brad Taylor has Pike Logan. "The Insider Threat" is Taylor's eighth Pike Logan novel. ...
Book Review: 'The Book of Speculation' (06/25/15)
For most of us, the world of the circus, or carnival, is relatively exotic and exciting. This may be why Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus" and Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants" did so well. I imagine Erika Swyler's "The Book of Speculation" will fit right in, for those who fell in love with those former books...
Book Review: 'Love May Fail' (06/18/15)
Matthew Quick is "quickly" (get it?) turning into one of my favorite authors, despite the fact that I really didn't like the first book I read of his ("The Silver Linings Playbook"). But after "The Good Luck of Right Now" I was intrigued, and after "Love May Fail" I'm hooked...
Book Review: 'The Invasion of the Tearling' (06/11/15)
If I'm being totally honest, I really wanted to read this book more because I read the first book and I have a hard time leaving a series at the first book. About a year ago I reviewed "Queen of the Tearling," Johansen's series debut, and I liked it. I wasn't blown away, but it was an enjoyable read. And rarely are second books as good, or better, than their precursors. But "Invasion of the Tearling" is proof it's possible...
Book Review: 'More happy than not' (06/04/15)
Aaron Soto is 16 years old -- hardly the most balanced time of anyone's life -- struggling with living in the Bronx projects, the likely PTSD of finding his father after he committed suicide in the family's bathtub, and getting over his friend's violent, and unfortunate passing. It's enough for anyone to want to forget, but for Aaron, what he wants most to forget is the fact that he's gay...
Music Review: 'VHS' (07/02/15)
The only reason I knew this band existed is because their song "Unsteady" came across my Pandora stream one afternoon. I loved it the first time I heard it ― a melancholy song asking loved ones to stay nearby. For some reason, the line "Hold onto me / I'm a little unsteady" stuck with me...
Music Review: 'Coming Home' (06/25/15)
I think what I loved most about this album is that I was first confused by it. I actually had to go to Wikipedia and look it up, to make sure this was not just a re-release of an album originally produced in the 1960s. But sure enough, Leon Bridges' debut album, "Coming Home" was released on Tuesday. ...
Music Review: 'Grand Romantics' (06/18/15)
I'm a little on the fence with this album. One the one hand -- I like the sound. It's enjoyable to listen to, and I like the composition. I hear a lot of influences into the production, everything from Queen to A Great Big World's "Is Anybody Out There?"...
Music Review: 'Beneath the Skin' (06/11/15)
I'm honestly not entirely sure how to describe this band, to convince you to listen to them. Though "Beneath the Skin" is the band's sophomore album, they've been on the fringes of the music industry for several years. Their biggest single from their debut album "My Head Is An Animal," titled "Little Talks," did quite well and they had another single, called "Dirty Paws" on the soundtrack to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."...
Music Review: 'How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful' (06/04/15)
I don't know if this has been said before -- I'm sure it has -- but Florence Welch is a beast. She's got one of the best and most recognizable voices in current music. The music, and her voice, absolutely shine in "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful." I think I've listened to this album two or three times already -- my favorite tracks are currently "What Kind of Man" and "Third Eye."...