Eve of Paris 2015

Heads of State Photo Credit www.cop21.gouv.fr

Heads of State Photo Credit http://www.cop21.gouv.fr

President Obama is scheduled to depart Washington for Paris later today to attend the 21st Convention of the Parties (COP21 or Paris 2015). Paris 2015 offers our best hope to curb greenhouse gas emissions through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As of yesterday 150 heads of state had accepted the invitation to participate, with representatives of 196 nations planning to join. Each head of state will make a speech, with the order set by UN rules. President Obama’s speech will follow His Majesty Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco around noon local time.

In the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, Paris is on lock down. Ed Fallon described the scene.

With public demonstrations banned, would-be participants lined up pairs of shoes in one of the rally locations that would have been. As I type, a human chain is lining up between Place de la Nation and Place de la Republic.

Even though people with means have traveled to Paris to demonstrate, contrary to what people like Naomi Klein and other prominent climate change advocates have said, accompanying demonstrations don’t seem so relevant to the bigger picture. With or without them, the heads of state and dignitaries will accomplish something with regard to mitigating the causes of climate change. Let’s hope it is enough.

That’s not to say there isn’t hope, just that all of the speeches could be reminiscent of the scene from Star Wars where Queen Amidala addressed the Galactic Senate.

Queen Amidala Addresses Galactic Senat Photo Credit StarWars.com

Queen Amidala Addresses Galactic Senate Photo Credit StarWars.com

Even though the U.S. political system, the legislative branch of government particularly, is unprepared to act on climate today, I believe, and with good reason, the effects of anthropocentric climate change will become so pronounced that even the most virulent climate skeptic will recognize the need to take action to mitigate its causes.

The time for which we have long waited is upon us. Here’s hoping our leaders take action.

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In Between

Last Kale Harvest

Crowns of Kale Plants

The break between fall and winter cut sharply.

On Thursday I made the last garden harvest and brought the water hose inside the garage. Snow began to fall yesterday around 5:30 p.m.

I am writing and waiting for daylight to shovel the driveway.

More is changing than the weather. I started a new, full-time job at the home, farm and auto supply store Nov. 12. All other paying work ended. The coming weeks will be a time of figuring out how to make the rest of our revenue budget while supporting my writing. I’m beginning again, which is much different from starting over.

A political organizer from the Bernie Sanders for president campaign found me yesterday and emailed a canvass. Email is impersonal, and I don’t recognize the canvasser as being from our precinct. I responded with my lack of support for Sanders. She wanted to know more. Instead I emailed I was on a hiatus from politics until after Jan. 1, 2016. That’s as true as is any effort to divorce oneself from politics.

I’ve been more concerned about my writing. Specifically, whether I should continue to publish for free. This blog, and others, help me practice the craft. The same can be said for my newspaper writing, except the difference was having an editor. An editor helps improve the quality of work. At what point does this editor-less, non-paying work become less relevant? I don’t know.

The project on local food slowed with my new job. I’ve written a lot about agriculture, gardening and food, so there’s material for a memoir. Some figuring out of life, work and play is required before taking it up again.

Everything is in between. Crossing the line to a new construct is possible with the new year, spring latest.

There is snow to shovel and a shift at the supply store. Those things take precedence in this moment.

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Drake University Democratic Debate

Drake University Photo Credit Cedar Rapids Gazette

Drake University Photo Credit Cedar Rapids Gazette

The winner in last night’s debate at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium was the American people as Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders discussed, and actually debated issues that matter. This is in sharp contrast with the multi-level Republican debates.

Only 700 people had tickets to attend, so I closed the door of my study, put on my headphones and shut down all browsers except the CBS live stream. I took notes using Microsoft Outlook.

It is ironic that Twitter, a debate co-sponsor, was pretty useless once the questioning began. With an avalanche of more than a thousand Tweets per minute, it was more than a person could comprehend, let alone participate effectively in. I opted to listen to the actual debate.

From here, the race is between Clinton and Sanders. Martin O’Malley had his last chance to gain traction in the race, and he whiffed.

One of O’Malley’s campaign taglines is “new leadership.” He failed to demonstrate it last night. When directly asked about his lack of experience in international affairs, O’Malley dodged the question. He won’t break loose from low polling numbers by dodging key questions. Without more support, he lacks a path to win any of the four early states.

As noted previously, it is hard to find fault with O’Malley’s core positions. The trouble is with his narrative. His style of using personal anecdotes, pointing to what he did in Maryland, is part of the reason he isn’t getting traction despite solid Democratic policy positions. O’Malley says the country needs new leadership, but doesn’t provide meaningful evidence to back up his assertion he has that capacity.

Then there were two.

There is a lot to like about both Clinton and Sanders. As with the results of a single poll, there is not as much meaning in a single debate performance as some supporters assert. At the same time, Clinton is the better debater and it showed.

Clinton’s response to the question about her campaign contributions from Wall Street demonstrated her mastery of the debate form. She began with a curious statement about needing to “do more” to regulate Wall Street. She didn’t say the words, but essentially lit the fuse for Sanders and O’Malley to go off on their position of re-instating Glass Steagall. Clinton’s position is re-instating Glass Steagall is not enough, and she was able to frame the discussion on her terms.

Reforming Wall Street and reducing the influence of money in politics is Sanders’ signature issue. It appeared Clinton got Sanders’ goat because he brought Glass Steagall up in the next question even though it wasn’t the topic. As long as there is money in politics (which there will be forever) and presidents appoint financiers from Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan Chase to key positions in their administration (which Sanders said he would not do), the appearance of impropriety will exist. Clinton didn’t shake this completely, but defended herself well in the debate.

The other topic where Clinton was able to frame the debate to her advantage was about increasing the minimum wage. Sanders and O’Malley support the Democratic party platform plank to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour. Clinton supports $12 per hour.

In asking the question, Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register gave framing favorable to Clinton, mentioning the concerns of Alan Krueger over raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Insiders would have known Clinton’s deviation from the party platform and that her position is partly a response to Krueger. As Clinton pointed out during the debate, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman agrees with her. While both Sanders and O’Malley piled on Clinton, she maintained the upper hand on this topic.

A couple of people remarked in social media about Sanders’ increasing hoarseness during the two hours. I was reminded of John Kerry having the same issue with losing his voice on the trail in 2004. Kerry made the decision to send running mate John Edwards to an event in Cedar Rapids so he could save his voice for an upcoming debate. It’s insider baseball, but as I listened to Sanders I thought he should have backed off some of his events the previous day to save his vocal chords. He was able to adequately speak, but the hoarseness was a distraction. Clinton was not without fault in this regard. She sounded like she needed a drink of water as her laughter cackled across the stage after her competitors said things she must have thought were outrageous.

Tony Leys of the Des Moines Register made this comment on Twitter:

Some don’t want to hear it, but the Democratic primary debates are about Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada period. While Sanders’ reference to bloated spending on the nuclear weapons complex may provide traction in New Hampshire, Clinton was the only candidate to use the reality of Terry Branstad’s Iowa effectively.

There are two more national debates before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.

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Dark And Stormy Night

Photo Credit Charles Schultz

Photo Credit Charles Schultz

I reached into the rusted storage cabinet to find the silicone spray.

The padlock needed lubricant before securing the employee locker at my newest job.

It’s not like I’ll keep valuables inside. My lunch and mobile device when I’m working, my box cutter, tape measure, name tag, note pad, ink pen and radio earpiece when I’m not.

I expect to enjoy helping people solve everyday problems at the home, farm and auto store. Problems like having a corroded padlock.

Tuesday’s thunderstorm blew the remaining apples off the tree. We had a tornado warning so I turned on the television to view weather radar. It turned out the remote that controls the analog to digital converter went missing. I couldn’t tune in. One of two things will happen: 1. Get rid of the TVs altogether, or 2. Buy a digital set. No hurry on a decision because television viewing is a dying practice when life offers better options.

The apples in storage need using before turning to compost so I made applesauce – the first of many batches over the coming days. To give it a twist, I added cinnamon, allspice and cloves with a handful of dried fruit. It was delicious.

The terrorist attacks in Paris were breaking news when I returned from my first day of work at the store. The morning after details are sketchy. The death count mounts. Reasons are unknown. The French border remains closed.

I have two direct connections. My friend Ed Fallon is currently in Normandy marching to Paris on foot for the December convention of the parties on climate change. Al Gore was broadcasting the Live Earth – 24 Hours of Reality event from Paris, and suspended programming to recognize and respect unfolding events. I’ve been to Paris a few times, but that was decades ago.

“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” President Obama said last night. “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

Social media was quick to respond with memes. Commentators became immediate experts in terrorism whether they knew anything or not. It was predictable and sad.

Humanity is on the move, not only from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Rather, civilization as we know it appears to be collapsing.

In the wake of World War One, William Butler Yeats wrote “The Second Coming,” which in part says,

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Almost a century later it is unexpected that “gyre” has come to define the largest ecosystem on Earth and home to a very large collection of man-made debris in the Pacific Ocean. The detritus of a deteriorating civilization coming together.

We feign shock at the latest unfolding terrors when it’s the bigger picture that may injure us.

I’ll take the apple peels and kitchen food waste to the compost bin. Cold weather may delay the deterioration until spring. One can only believe that the new season will also bring hope. So too for our society, although in the darkest hours that seems far from certain.

For now, I’ll lock up my gear and continue to solve everyday problems. And contribute to hastening the compost and tilling it into into the soil for next year’s garden. It’s no satisfaction, but rather what I can do to create hope.

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On Being a Veteran

Tank Hill ca. 1978, Fort Jackson, S.C.

Tank Hill ca. 1978, Fort Jackson, S.C.

My 1975 enlistment in the U.S. Army had everything to do with how screwed up the military was coming out of Vietnam. I asked myself, if regular people didn’t step up and fix the mess, who will?

I almost didn’t get in.

Enlisting for OCS (Officer Candidate School), the people who interviewed me before signing me up said, “If he washes out of OCS, then he’ll serve six years enlisted.” They said that right in front of me.

Perhaps my shoulder-length hair didn’t indicate “officer material.” I suspected then, and now, the reason they gave me a chance was because I met the qualifications on paper and they had a quota to fill during a time when public sentiment toward soldiers was as low as we consider Washington lobbyists, corrupt politicians, rats and blue green algae today.

I got in and breezed through basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina on the infamous “Tank Hill.” I remember standing at attention in front of our barracks with some of my mates while General Omar Bradley, the “G.I.’s General,” was driven by in the back seat of a car.

Next was Fort Benning, Georgia for OCS where the company commander tried to ditch me, drug testing me almost daily for a while. Even if I was a user, how was I supposed to get illicit substances when locked up on base for the first eight weeks of training without visitors? Regretfully, I brought some No-Doz with me from Iowa, which was discovered and confiscated (I think) during one of the repeated inspections of my personal gear. I made it through OCS and was commissioned a second lieutenant, with Mother coming down to pin on my gold bars. It was a big deal at the time.

From Benning I took leave and drove home in my brand new pickup truck. A half dozen of us newly minted lieutenants went to the car dealership in nearby Columbus to leverage our buying power. It was a brand new yellow Chevy Luv. After a week or so at home, I drove to Charleston, South Carolina, stopping overnight at a high school friend’s home in Terre Haute, Ind. My vehicle was loaded in Charleston to Bremerhaven, Germany, and I flew to Frankfurt am Main, arriving at my unit in Mainz-Gonsenheim just before the Christmas holiday.

I was assigned to a mechanized infantry battalion as a platoon leader and swear every soldier assigned was either on drugs or selling them. One-by-one people were caught and sent home or to the stockade. On Friday nights I remember catching people using heroin and running them down to the Military Police station. The charges almost never stuck, and if they did, when the soldier was released, he was required to see a drug counselor. It turned out the counselor was also a drug dealer.

In Germany we did most of our practice maneuvers in the winter to minimize what was called maneuver damage to the German countryside. Soldiers used every excuse possible to avoid going out for the sub-zero degree training. It turned out a group of them was dealing drugs and pimping prostitutes across the street from the base. The ring leaders needed trusted lieutenants to stay back and tend the business.

I served three years as an officer, becoming a company executive officer and battalion adjutant, and then got out. I liked the military because one always knew where one stood in the social pecking order. We wore that on our sleeves. It was some of the hardest work I ever did. I felt fully engaged in trying to do something positive for our country.

The mess I encountered didn’t get straightened out until later. I could see the beginnings of it from the group of officers coming to Europe from TRADOC. The unstated mission that everyone knew was to transition the Army from it’s post-Vietnam condition into a force with operational tactics designed to fight for oil in the Middle East.

Things were getting tense in Iran toward the end of my tour of duty. Evacuations had already begun through nearby Wiesbaden. When I asked a group of officers for a volunteer to go to Iran, no one raised their hand. As we used to say, “the balloon was about to go up.” Less than a month after I returned to Iowa, 52 hostages were seized at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

I don’t understand veterans recognition in the 21st Century. Everyone thanks veterans for their service if they know he or she served. At the grocery store there was a sign in the window advertising a free breakfast for veterans on Nov. 11. Do they think we can’t afford to make our own?

I’m sure they mean well, but to me, it is one more thing on a list of grievances with the rampant militarism and imperialism that characterizes the United States today. I didn’t defend my country for a free meal on Veterans Day.

Whether my military service was a success or a failure, I don’t know. I’m glad I served. It’s what somebody who is a nobody, just clay going to clay, can do to serve a greater good.

We can better thank veterans by taking care of their trauma from serving… and by giving peace a chance.

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Oscar Mayer’s Long Road

Author at Kraft Foods Oscar Mayer plant on Second Street in Davenport, Iowa Nov. 25, 2011

Author at Kraft Foods Oscar Mayer plant on Second Street in Davenport, Iowa, Nov. 25, 2011 Photo Credit Dan J. Czolgosz

DAVENPORT — The Kraft Foods Oscar Mayer plant on Second Street will be razed as its new owner, Kraft Heinz, plans to move operations and layoff much of the workforce at the long-time meat packing plant.

Wednesday’s announcement, that Kraft Heinz will close seven plants in the U.S. and Canada over the next two years as part of a downsizing that will eliminate 2,600 jobs, or roughly 14 percent of its North American factory workforce, was widely anticipated by workers.

The company plans a new Davenport facility, contingent upon government financial support, however, some view it as a devil’s bargain because the net impact will be to lose about 800 jobs.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 431 had not been consulted about the changes.

“They threw the union under the bus,” plant employee Curtis Grant of Eldridge said in an interview with the Quad City Times.

Concessionary bargaining is nothing new to Local 431 whose members ratified a four-year contract with Kraft Foods Oscar Mayer on Nov. 13, 2014. The sticking point in those negotiations was insurance and pensions.

“Now with Heinz, the company is basically telling Davenport give us subsidies to shutter the Second Street plant and build a new facility on the north side or we will close completely and take all the work to Missouri,” said a local worker who requested anonymity via email. “Both the city and the union are painted into a corner. And now with them talking about building a new $200 million plant, the building trades are excited to get those jobs. It’s a devil’s bargain.”

In the takeover of Kraft Foods by Heinz, business partners Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and global investment firm 3G Capital hope to reduce expenses by $1.5 billion by exploiting synergies among operations and consolidating back office functions including supply chain management, accounting and administration.

On Friday, Berkshire Hathaway reported third-quarter profits more than doubled to $9.4 billion as the completion of the Kraft-Heinz merger boosted the paper value of its stake in the food giant. The deal was good for the third richest man in the world.

Thursday, the Iowa Department of Economic Development announced a $4.75 million incentive plan for the Davenport plant closing, including $3 million once the facility is razed.

“We are glad that Davenport, was able to successfully compete for a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that will certainly position it for future growth,” said Debi Durham, director of the IEDA in a press release. “As major brands merge in this sector, consolidation and modernization will be the outcome.”

Durham said to the Quad City Times she is aware of the potential negative perception of providing state-funded financial assistance to a company that is downsizing its workforce both in Iowa and nationally.

“The optics are not lost on us, and believe me, the sensitivity is not lost on us. We care about people,” she said. “So we do the plays that we believe give us the greatest opportunity for the future, and I think that was what you saw here today.”

Durham said offering financial assistance to a company that is downsizing is not unique and could become more common as more large companies merge.

“We’re going to see more of this,” Durham said. “You’re seeing large mergers going on at a very high level between equals. And any time that happens and we have facilities, that’s something to watch for us.”

It appears Durham’s department has become like a turkey vulture picking over the carrion of what used to be a robust manufacturing economy and the middle class it supported.

If we consider what the Davenport plant makes – bologna, Lunchables, and other branded, highly processed meat products – this day had to come. In part, consolidation of the food industry is a reaction to the fact that tastes have changed and sales of some traditional products have declined. The processed meats industry is experiencing declining consumption of meat in general, and an interest in healthier options, according to data aggregator Statista, Inc.

The World Health Organization supports moderation of consumption of preserved meats to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and has been doing so since 2002. On Oct. 29, WHO released a new report regarding the connection between red meat and cancer. Juxtaposition of this story with news about Kraft Foods Oscar Mayer, and Buffett’s third quarter financial results tells a broader story. Things have changed since Oscar F. Mayer immigrated from Germany and began selling sausages from his butcher shop in Chicago in 1883.

This story hits personally because not only did my maternal grandmother, my father and I work at the plant, the rise of Oscar Mayer as a global brand framed my early participation in our consumer society. I’m not alone in that.

When the Mayer family sold the company to General Foods in 1981, the Reagan revolution that resulted in decimation of the middle class had already begun. While it would have been hard to predict today’s outcome in 1981, what’s happening is not surprising in that context.

The two year transition to plant closure will hopefully enable employees to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. Perhaps that is the best that can be expected.

Here is the entire statement provided to employees at one of the affected plants:

“Following an extensive review of the Kraft Heinz North American supply chain footprint, capabilities and capacity utilization, we are announcing the closure of seven manufacturing facilities in North America: Fullerton, California; San Leandro, California; Federalsburg, Maryland; St. Marys, Ontario, Canada; Campbell, New York; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; and Madison, Wisconsin. In a staged process over the next 12-24 months, production in these locations will shift to other existing factories in North America.

We are also planning to move production from our existing Davenport, Iowa, facility to a new, state-of-the-art location within the Davenport area; and move part of our cheese production from our Champaign, Illinois, facility to other factories within our network, which will create will make Champaign a center-of-excellence in dry and sauce production. Both moves will take up to two years to complete.

Our decision to consolidate manufacturing across the Kraft Heinz North American network is a critical step in our plan to eliminate excess capacity and reduce operational redundancies for the new combined Company. This will make Kraft Heinz more globally competitive and accelerate the Company’s future growth.

We have reached this difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring extensive alternatives and options. This action will reduce the size of our North American factory-based employee population by a net number of approximately 2,600 positions.

At the same time, we will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in improving capacity utilization and modernizing many of our facilities with the installation of state-of-the-art production lines.

We will treat our people with the utmost respect and dignity. At the appropriate time, affected employees will receive severance benefits, outplacement services and other support to help them pursue new job opportunities. Kraft Heinz fully appreciates and regrets the impact our decision will have on employees, their families and the communities in which these facilities are located,” Michael Mullen, SVP of Corporate & Government Affairs.

“Additionally, Kraft Heinz is announcing that in 2016 we will move Oscar Mayer and our US Meats Business Unit from Madison, Wisconsin to our co-headquarters in Chicago. The move will bring 250 jobs to the Chicago area.

Members of the Oscar Mayer and US Meats Business Unit will have the opportunity to move with the business to Chicago. The move centralizes all our U.S. Business Units to our co-headquarters of Chicago and Pittsburgh, which will drive increased collaboration and efficiency.”

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Hillary and the Narrative

Hillary Clinton Walking to the Stage at S.T. Morrison Park, Coralville, Iowa

Hillary Clinton Walking to the Stage at S.T. Morrison Park, Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

CORALVILLE — Hillary Clinton held a town hall meeting in S.T. Morrison Park on Tuesday with more than 500 people in attendance, according to event organizers.

After a brief speech, she called on audience members, taking 13 questions covering a wide range of international and domestic issues.

Her command of the current political scene and experience with politics at the highest level was on display. For the wonkier among us the exchange was welcome.

If voters could set aside preconceptions formed since Clinton was first lady of Arkansas, she would be the clear choice to lead our country for four or eight years. Whether caucus goers will give her that chance remains uncertain despite her continuous lead in the polls since she declared her candidacy April 12. Supporters I spoke with in queue to enter the seating area seemed likely to turn out for her despite minor grievances with Clinton and her campaign.

Johnson County is the strongest liberal center in Iowa, and according to New York Times correspondent Amy Chozik, “Sanders Country.” Her narrative is as follows:

On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton plans to answer Iowans’ questions at two town-hall-style events in Coralville, near Iowa City, and Grinnell, another university town. Both are known as Bernie Sanders country because of the devoted liberal college students who have been intrigued by his candidacy, but Mrs. Clinton, feeling emboldened, will seek to make inroads in the areas to talk about her plans to lift middle-class incomes.

The trouble is the narrative doesn’t reflect the complexity of the community. As John Deeth pointed out, Johnson County is different from the rest of Iowa. That difference is not only in its presidential politics, and the role of the student vote, but in Iowa City ballot initiatives like the 21 Bar Referendum; thrice failed county-wide efforts to gain approval of expanded jail capacity and a more secure courthouse facility; and the board of supervisors decision to raise the minimum wage coupled with the prompt rejection of the ordinance by some cities. I get that Ms. Chozik works on a deadline and has to keep it simple for her readers, but narratives that ignore the complexity of society in favor of pabulum-style writing should be an affront to people who know better.

Another problem with the narrative is depiction of Clinton as a poll-watcher feeling emboldened by the surge since mid October. This is ridiculous in light of the fact that one of Hillary’s key Iowa supporters is former Iowa Democratic Party chair Sue Dvorsky who lives in Coralville. Why wouldn’t one of Clinton’s biggest fans invite the candidate to the park where her husband, state senator Bob Dvorsky, has held his annual birthday party fund raiser?

While I appreciate that Chozik spends time in Iowa reporting on the run up to the caucus, and her stories do add value, corporate media narratives shaped the opinions of people with whom I queued before the event. They give people something to talk about, and there is already enough gossip in our community without the media adding more.

Not everyone likes the policy wonk Clinton was on Tuesday. People who live on the surface of what is happening in society, who don’t have the advantage of being physically close to a candidate like we can be in Iowa, get their information largely from mass media. On the playing field that is cable news, print or social media, and network news, one brief story is juxtaposed with another at a continuing and mind-numbing pace. It makes for a bitter soup of life. That Hillary Clinton knows policy inside out from personal experience makes her unique in the race. The media format and content as presented by many serves to distract viewers from that.

The Iowa caucuses are a blessing and a curse. Our first in the nation status enables almost anyone who wants to get up close and personal with a candidate who campaigns here. On the other hand, organizing people to caucus for a candidate can be an exercise in frustration, beginning with the fact that people don’t want to hang out for more than a couple of hours taking care of what most believe is irrelevant “party business.” The Democratic Party process excludes people as much as it welcomes.

Hillery Clinton in Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3

Hillary Clinton in Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015

My main challenge in attending the town hall was light. I wanted a few decent photos on my inexpensive Kodak camera as the sun would be setting when Clinton spoke. Sunset is still magical to me. I chose a seat west of the stage so the setting sun would be at my back. Of 200 shots, about six were keepers, including this one of Clinton with the sun illuminating her.

As writers, what we see and hear is influenced by who we are as much as by what is said and done by our subjects. Input is filtered and shaped by our biases, learning, and method of information collection, the way an anthropologist influences ethnographic interviews with questions asked. Hearing the entirety of what a candidate has to say at an event like Tuesday is pure Iowa. Or, as Sue Dvorsky posted on Facebook about the town hall, “The breadth of topics were a credit to our community, and answer the question ‘Why Iowa?’ And the depth of her responses answer the question ‘Why Hillary?'”

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