Report From the County Seat

Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, Iowa

Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, Iowa

My birthday trip to the county seat included these real-world variations from yesterday’s plan:

Ordered a voter list for my precinct from the county auditor to start organizing for the 2018 election and beyond.

Noticed the new Zombie Burger and Shake Lab opened next to The Mill. It seemed wrong.

Renewed my library card. Rural residents can take advantage of the Iowa City Public Library. I check out eBooks from home using my card.

Walked past children playing on the pedmall. They were laughing.

Walked past Schaeffer Hall where I spent much time attending classes 45 years ago.

Viewed the Hawkeyes in Space exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum. It is a history of the University of Iowa Physics and Astronomy Department and their contributions to the national space effort beginning in 1951 with the arrival of James A. Van Allen.

Went to Prairie Lights Book Store and bought copies of The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I also read some remembrances of Burns Weston and called out a friend on her use of what I felt were excessive exclamation points.

Stopped at the HyVee grocery store on North Dodge Street to buy a few items for my birthday dinner. I also returned cans for deposit.

I arrived home in time to read and fixed a dinner which included a test run of a noodle kugel recipe I got from a Des Moines blogger’s web site. The recipe came out well and there are enough leftovers to last a week. Intended to be a side dish, noodle kugel includes a lot of protein which is needed in our vegetarian household.

The president-elect was busy on twitter again yesterday. Here’s my nascent idea on how to handle him from a Facebook post I made.

Donald J. Trump throws tweets out to media the same way chaff was used to foil radar in WWII. We are seeing what he wants us to see about his incoming administration. All the noise is obscuring the signal, which many of us are not going to like once it comes into focus.

The positive side here is no pretense of being a “compassionate conservative” like Bush II pretended he was. I expect Trump to throttle down immediately to rollback progressive reforms dating back to FDR. I’m keeping my powder dry until we know more specifics of his agenda

I’m taking my advocacy lead from Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane Randall laid out an agenda which seems practical and makes sense. Her outline of how to deal with appointees who require U.S. Senate confirmation is spot on:

In these confirmation hearings, senators ask the nominees questions that establish a public record. One of the most effective ways FCNL can influence the public record is to encourage senators to ask particular questions. FCNL, along with many of our organizational partners, is preparing questions for senators to ask the nominees. These questions are specific to each nominee, concerning their positions on enforcing current laws and their positions with regard to the safety and well-being of specific populations, or on past statements they have made about the role of the agency they will be heading.

Based on the past public statements, or votes for the nominees who have served in Congress, we are particularly concerned about nominees who have stated their opposition to environmental regulations, full access to health care and protection of voting rights and religious freedom.

Following FCNL’s lead isn’t mutually exclusive, but would be a bit of sanity in what appears to the egregiously brazen impetus of the president-elect’s nominees who have track records running against the grain of progressive values.

It’s two days at the home, farm and auto supply store for me, followed by a three-day weekend. Stay tuned.

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