Categories
Living in Society

Is Rural Iowa Different?

Saint John Lutheran Church, Ely, Iowa.

A lot is being made about the differences between voters who live in rural parts of the state compared to those who live in our cities and urban areas.

It’s a false distinction. The same social, economic and political forces are at work no matter where one lives. None of it favors regular people like us.

Why does everything cost more? Why do we have to drive so far for health care? Why is our broadband inconsistent at best if we have it? Why can’t farmers sell milk for at least the cost of production? Why are there patents on seeds? Why does new farm equipment cost so much? Many questions, few answers.

Why do more than half of working people in predominantly rural counties work in another county? The answer to this is easy. Farming does not pay unless one is a big corporation. Someone in most farm families has to work outside the farm to make ends meet and such jobs are mostly urban.

When people say of politicians, “We need someone who understands the rural areas,” it is true. It is also code for something: hard work, poverty, a lack of economic justice, and a type of Christian religious faith. For the most part it is about being a Caucasian farmer.

Of recent writers, Sarah Smarsh came closest to capturing what being rural means in her book Heartland: Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. The book resonated so closely with how I grew up yet I lived in Iowa’s third largest city. There are differences between the urban county where I grew up and the rural county I know best (Cedar County). Those differences are not significant. Try telling that to someone who lives in a rural area and you’ll find self-righteousness and resentment.

I won’t resolve this false dichotomy. Just as Jack Kerouac’s more conventional first book, The Town and the City gave way to the “spontaneous prose” of On the Road, it is difficult to focus on it for long when so much more about society is engaging.

Suffice it the assertion of ruralness isn’t about being rural. It’s about having dignity, justice and equal treatment under the law. It’s about a return for the hard labor so many farmers invest as part of their lives. At some point labor should be rewarded for its sacrifices instead of return on equity going to the richest people and corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, John Deere, DuPont and Archer Daniels Midland.

Iowa’s well-developed road system is partly to blame for the rural-urban divide. Because of inexpensive gasoline it is easy to drive to a metropolis when shopping for food, building products, household goods and clothing. When there are no rural jobs, a commute of less than an hour might produce income far above what farm earnings can be. Americans, rural or urban, are at a distance from producing their own food, shelter and clothing. Let’s face it. Who wants to live like Old Order Amish? I’ve met enough young people trying to escape that life to say not many. Yet we still see horse drawn carriages using Iowa’s rural road systems.

Use of the rural trope drives me a bit crazy. Not crazy enough to call the suicide hotline, yet enough to be a catalyst. The thing about catalysts is they can get us to where we should be going faster, the way iron is a catalyst for making ammonia. If people who live in rural areas want to get ahead, they need to steel themselves against language that would divide them from the rest of us. That includes their own language. We are stronger together and fabricating a rural-urban divide is counterproductive. That is, if we want society to advance toward something positive.

~ A version of this post appeared in the Sept. 13, 2020 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Categories
Sustainability

Locust Tree

Locust tree trunk.

Punk day? We go on living.

Wednesday started well enough with cool temperatures and a 13-mile bicycle ride. Then I tried to clear the remainder of the locust tree laying across the garden.

The Poulan chain saw started but when I hit the accelerator it died. That was the trouble last time I had it out. I put it on the front steps, got out my Wagner electric chainsaw, and proceeded to make about a dozen cuts. The Wagner has been a great tool, although toward the end of this session it developed a problem I couldn’t resolve. I called the small engine repair shop across the lakes.

They said the electric chain saw repair would likely cost more than the tool was worth. They did work on Poulan chain saws and had space in the work queue to get mine in. With the derecho cleanup, businesses like theirs have been busy. I packed my 1997 Subaru and headed across the lakes. Overnight they adjusted the carburetor, sharpened the chain, and I was good to go. I proceeded to clear the garden of the locust tree.

I’ve been taking my time with the rest of the derecho clean up. I got the fallen branches and my destroyed greenhouse out of the neighbors’ yard the day the derecho hit but have been in no hurry to process the debris. The metal sink I kept in the garden was crushed when the locust tree fell on it. Good sections of fencing and posts were ruined. One of the three oak trees I planted in the garden is leaning due to the derecho wind and weight of the locust tree falling against it.

Some of the vegetables survived although all of the tomato and tomatillo cages were crushed and twisted. Much of my row of peppers was smashed. I’ll get outside to work on it again today and harvest what I can from the wreckage.

We need rain yet none is forecast. As summer ends the pace is picking up. As if it weren’t already at a stunning clip.

Categories
Kitchen Garden

Church Cookbook

Recipe from One Hundred Years in Good Taste Centennial Cookbook 1898-1998

One Hundred Years in Good Taste Centennial Cookbook 1898 – 1998 is rooted in the time in which it was written, the late 20th Century. I read it in a single sitting, while in my folding chair outside the garage, waiting for the food rescue truck to arrive and pick up my surplus tomatoes.

It is a collection of recipes from Holy Family Catholic Church in Davenport, Iowa where I was baptized and confirmed. There are some brief historical notes with photos inside. I learned the school building where I attended second through sixth grade was acquired by the parish in 1944. I have four church cookbooks from this community.

I’m searching for ideas for the kitchen garden based on my experiences while growing up. The recipes weren’t that helpful or inspiring.

When we first married, Jacque and I went to the grocery store together. I would make the rounds of the perimeter of the store then head to the generic aisle known for its display of many types of generic food in yellow packaging. Many of the recipes in this cookbook might easily have originated in that yellow food aisle — ingredients like mayonnaise, onion soup mix, grape jelly, canned tomatoes and importantly, condensed, creamed, canned soup of several kinds. Some recipe writers specified a brand, such as Velveeta cheese, Old English cheese spread, Corn Chex, Hormel Chili with No Beans, Hungry Jack Biscuits and the like. Such ingredients, whether generic or name brand are anathema to a kitchen garden and should be cursed and denounced. They remain common in grocery stores nonetheless.

Meat culture pervades more than half the book. I’m used to setting that aside and the coronavirus pandemic isolation removed all temptation to eat meat. Removing the meat and processed food recipes I’m left with some appetizers, a few vegetable recipes, bread and rolls, and desserts. I guess that’s something.

I left Davenport for university in 1970 and never returned for more than a temporary stay. Telling in this cookbook is I recognize few of the names of recipe contributors. Many surnames are familiar and likely descendants of people I knew during the 11 years I lived there. I was hoping for more familiar names to trace the roots of my cuisine. By 1998 the parish had changed considerably.

Based on this reading I will likely make a Mexican-style casserole using flour tortillas, tomato sauce, peppers, refried beans and cheddar cheese as the base. We seldom make dessert although I might refer to the many pie, cookie and cake recipes when I do. There is an extensive section of preparations using rhubarb, so I’ll be coming back to that if we plant some in the garden.

One of the few recipes with a narrative is the one for Croation (sic) Nut Roll (Povitica) by Rose Hood pictured above. The ending sentences are awesome: “So therefore, I’m a Croation. We have a lot of Croation food, as that is what we grew up on. No finer food! and it all tastes very good.”

“No finer food!” After reading that, I wondered why any non-Croation recipe was included at all.

I collected a lot of community cookbooks in thrift shops and yard sales, several bankers boxes of them. There is an older one from Holy Family Church dated by use of five-digit telephone numbers in the advertising. The conversion to seven digit phone numbers began in the 1930s. One from the church is dated 1977 which has some familiar recipe authors. The fourth is another from the 1990s. In addition to these, I have a 1977 cookbook written by the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary. Mercy Hospital is three blocks from the church and where I was born.

For now I rely on Mother and Grandmother’s recipes for ancestral dishes. My kitchen garden is just getting going so there may be more from these cookbook searches.

Categories
Reviews

Book Review: The Hidden History of Monopolies

In The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream, Thom Hartmann takes the reader from the founders’ fight against the monopoly of the British East India Company to the borking of the country by President Donald J. Trump.

Like his other Hidden History books, this one is a quick but important read for people who want or need to review the history and origins of today’s concerted, well-organized campaign by corporations to control commerce, government, and thereby our lives.

“Today, giant corporatism — the commercialization of just about everything at the expense of our civilization’s civic, spiritual, health, and safety values, and other conditions needed for the well-being of future generations confronting poverty, addressing planetary climate crises, and averting nuclear war — is crushing our democracy,” Ralph Nader wrote in the book’s forward. “It is corrupting our elections, and astonishingly enough, controlling the vast commons — public lands; public airwaves; vast pension and mutual funds; and industry-creating, government-funded research and development — owned by the American people.”

Thom Hartmann

We’ve heard the phrase “taxation without representation” as it pertains to the founding of the United States. Hartmann turns this around to what was really at stake: a monopoly on tea and other products sanctioned by the British government. It was concern with monopolies, the British East India Company specifically, not taxation that caused the Boston Tea Party. Founder Thomas Jefferson had monopolies on his mind even after the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789 according to Hartmann.

Nontheless, monopolistic practices grew during the 19th Century with the rise of industrialization. In his book The Robber Barons: The Classic Account of the Influential Capitalists Who Transformed America’s Future, Matthew Josephson described the rise of men like John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie and others who pioneered vertical integration of companies, a form of monopoly. Their actions led to significant control over oil, railroads, steel making, coal mining, banking and other industries during the Gilded Age.

Beginning in 1887 with the Interstate Commerce Act, the U.S. Government began to regulate big business. It was followed by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. If the founders opposed monopolies and they formed anyway, it was the role of government to regulate them. Hartmann well-describes this history.

It was president Ronald Reagan, under the guidance of Robert Bork and the Chicago School economists, who began de-fanging antitrust regulations.

Many of us are familiar with the July 1, 1987 nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court and how Senator Ted Kennedy rose in the well of the U.S. Senate to oppose the nomination within 45 minutes of its being made. Previously, along with Milton Friedman, Bork pioneered the phrase, “consumer welfare.” It changed everything.

“In essence, (Bork) argued, it didn’t matter where a product was produced or sold, or by whom,” Hartmann wrote. “All that mattered was the price the consumer paid. As long as that price was low, all was good with the world.” The corollary was that business profitability was another measure of antitrust. Since Reagan the latter gained preeminence. This is referred to as the borking of America.

By the end of the book I became highly agitated and outraged that our government has become an instrument of corporations intent on shaking down the American people, giving any return on capital to a group of about 100 billionaires as Hartmann describes.

The Hidden History of Monopolies is written in classic Hartmann style and can be read over a weekend. If readers are concerned about banking abuses, dairy farmer bankruptcies, insulin price fixing, the cost of internet and telephone service, big agriculture, and more, Hartmann traces their roots to giant corporations and a systemic borking of America that deregulated business and freed corporations from constraints.

Highly recommend.

Don’t have time to read the book? Here’s a fifteen minute interview of Hartmann by David Pakman that covers some of it.

~ Written for and first published on Blog for Iowa.

Categories
Living in Society

Turn Around

Turn around point on a two mile run.

Some days I don’t leave the Lake Macbride watershed while exercising. What we do here flows to the Iowa River and then downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.

Our personal goal is to contribute as few pollutants as possible to the watershed. We’re not the only ones who live, play and work here though.

The lake is polluted with nutrients from runoff. Evidence of surface algae and beach closings because of e. coli. contamination are standard. It didn’t used to be this way. Locals continue to use the lake for fishing, boating and other recreational activities. I stay out of the water and use the extensive trail system for bicycling, jogging, walking and soaking up Vitamin D.

Over the weekend I worked with the county Democratic party in a campaign sign distribution activity. Our home was one of five sign pick up locations throughout the county. Activity was slow. Most people continue to deal with the aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho and with this week’s resumption of K-12 school. People are aware of the Nov. 3 election, and mostly know for whom they will vote for president, but not engaged in politics at any significant level.

I have a back up bicycle I will dig out and get ready to ride while I figure out what to do with the blown tire of my main one. The goal of exercise is to find four activities that produce a good sweat after 25-30 minutes and can be done easily from home. Bicycling and jogging I’ve written about. There is also a ski machine which serves for indoor and winter exercise. Need to come up with one more type with the ultimate goal of rotating exercise daily. I’m monitoring the condition of my feet, knees, hips and lungs as I venture into jogging for the first time since 2014. As I age I’m monitoring a lot more than that.

Next week I return to the clinic to review the newest panel of blood tests. Since my last one I’ve been exercising more, gave up beer and alcoholic drinks, and started a prescription to address elevated LDL cholesterol. I feel I’ve been doing the work. We’ll see if the results show it.

Life could be worse than living in the Macbride watershed. Whatever concerns we have about living here at least we don’t live in the COVID-infected metropolis. While I provided easy access to yard signs I wore my mask. I’ll be using my masks for a while.

Categories
Living in Society

No Vacation To Speak Of

Dawn as we enter a drought.

I spent a couple of hours reading in a shaded folding chair in the garage. That will be the extent of our vacation this summer.

The weather was exceptionally nice on Saturday after the heat wave. I could hear chainsaws in the distance where neighbors were continuing derecho clean up. Mid afternoon a pickup truck pulling a trailer laden with logs drove by. There was fishing at the lake, including a raptor flying with its prey during my morning jog.

The reason I was jogging is my bicycle blew an inner tube on Thursday. I had a spare but it won’t take air. I also had spare tires but the bead is cracking on all of them. I plan to upgrade the quality of my tires but that will take a while because of an order backlog. That is, because I don’t want to travel to the COVID hot spot in the county seat, mail orders are backlogged until October.

I haven’t adjusted to retirement forced on me by the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe vacation no longer exists.

Categories
Writing

Heat Wave

The derecho did not take all the pears.

A breeze blew off the lake as I walked the mail to the box on the road. It didn’t rain last night and we really needed it.

The garden is getting close to the end although I’d like to get more peppers, tomatoes and greens before the drought destroys it. I water daily, yet a good soaking rain would be better.

There is almost no chance of precipitation in the next 24 hours although the cold front moved in as forecast. The path of hurricane Laura, now a depression, turned east at Cairo then is following the Ohio River valley across West Virginia and Virginia to the Atlantic coast. We missed any rain from that system.

It will be a day to catch up on outside work.

A couple from the COVID ravaged metropolis around the county seat stopped by our house to deliver campaign materials. We all wore masks. I gave them garden tomatoes. Progress toward the Nov. 3 election continues.

Our county has a high COVID-19 infection rate, the highest in the state. Iowa leads the United States in infection, which leads the world. Our local epidemiologist said what we are seeing “is unchecked spread without a statewide prevention plan.” The governor reiterated yesterday, “I’ve been very clear on that.” There will be no statewide mask-wearing mandate and only selected restrictions based on criteria that targets certain counties. The state universities brought students back this week. It was an unmitigated disaster at all three of them.

Our family had a chance to catch up on video conference yesterday. We noted that Florida has given up its position as worst in the coronavirus pandemic to Iowa. Not really good news for any of us. The government’s handling of the pandemic has been bad at the state and federal levels. Florida’s economy relies on tourism which the pandemic hit squarely. Just as I refrain from visiting the county metropolis, people are avoiding trips to Florida for vacation. I don’t know how the tourism and entertainment industry finds it way out of the pandemic despite the fact smart people are working to figure it out.

Except for my daily exercise I don’t plan to leave the property today. What I’m hearing is the pandemic will continue until at least Easter and maybe longer. We have five homemade masks and should make more.

Categories
Living in Society

Joe Biden’s Inclusive Tent

Turn around point near Seven Sisters Road.

I got my interest in politics from my late father. He canvassed our Davenport neighborhood for John F. Kennedy. Kennedy lost Iowa yet won the general election.

My first campaign was for Lyndon Johnson when I was 12. I delivered newspapers after school and one Saturday after paying my bill at the newspaper office I volunteered for the Democrats stuffing envelopes. They gave me a campaign button for my time. When Johnson won in the historic landslide I figured Democrats would win every future election like that.

I’m no longer 12.

In 2020 I’m voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominees for president and vice president. Prominent national Republicans announced they are planning to vote for Biden-Harris too. I have little idea who will win the election in Iowa or nationwide. To an extent what matters more than the Nov. 3 vote is what we as a nation will do about it.

Presently people can’t agree what our most pressing problems are. If we can’t agree on that, we will never solve any of them. Some days it seems difficult to have a reasonable discussion about things that matter in this country. Nevertheless, we must persist.

If people were more like we are in the Solon area we’d have a better chance at solving problems. I look back on my time on the Solon Senior Advocates board and believe we got good things done. It didn’t have a thing to do with our politics. As a society we need more of that.

I hope readers will vote on or before Nov. 3. Biden is building an inclusive tent where all are welcome. I invite you to join us. We are stronger together as a society when we participate in our democracy, regardless of for whom we vote.

~ Published in the Sept. 3, 2020 edition of the Solon Economist.

Categories
Living in Society

Revisiting the Yang Gang

Turn around point on the state park trail.

When Andrew Yang visited Iowa during the run up to the 2020 Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses he talked about Universal Basic Income and a Freedom Dividend. I thought he must be on crack.

What other politician would go for free money? Yang anticipated my response.

“You may be thinking, This will never happen,” he wrote in his campaign book The War on Normal People: The Truth about America’s Disappearing Jobs and why Universal Basic Income is our Future. “And if it did, wouldn’t it cause runaway inflation? Enable generations of wastrels?”

“In a future without jobs, people will need to be able to provide for themselves and their basic needs,” Yang wrote. “Eventually, the government will need to intervene in order to prevent widespread squalor, despair, and violence. The sooner the government acts, the more high-functioning our society will be.”

Along came the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic brings into focus what scientists and others have been pointing out for a while: humanity is due for a new way of life. Any job or profession that interacts directly with people was devastated by the economic downturn as the virus spread throughout the world. People in the arts were hit particularly hard: live theatrical performers, dancers, musicians, amusement park operators, and people who support the arts were suddenly without work. Large corporations were hit as people used less shampoo and deodorant, less gasoline and diesel fuel, and reduced restaurant meals dramatically. When we add the impact of technology, automation and robotics to the mix, the number of jobs is expected to contract as global population increases. It seems unlikely these kinds of jobs will return to the way they were prior to the pandemic.

Much has been written about the global explosion of population and its consequences. This from Wikipedia is typical:

“The United Nations Population Division expects world population, currently at 7.8 billion, to level out at or soon after the end of the 21st Century at 10.9 billion, assuming a continuing decrease in the global average fertility rate from 2.5 births per woman during the 2015–2020 period to 1.9 in 2095–2100.”

How will all these people live? The society we adopted during the rise of agriculture and industrialization provided for humanity. It is also wrecking the planet to the extent we have entered a new geological era.

In their book The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene, authors Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin suggest coping with human-made changes in society and our environment will lead us to a new way of life. How we will work in the near future is an open question highlighted by the massive unemployment resulting from the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Longer term, things have to change.

This has implications for capitalism particularly. Owners of capital have been on a consistent pursuit of investment opportunities that serve to increase capital. Where labor is part of the business, it serves the profitability of the owners.

When I worked in transportation and logistics I knew some Pennsylvania-based capitalists who sold gasoline at truck stops and convenience stores. When a new housing development appeared, they noticed, and believed if they built a nearby convenience store it would be successful. “A lot of rooftops there,” they would say. Their analysis was not wrong. They had facilities all over the northeast United States. At issue was creating a return on investment based on assumptions about cost of gasoline, labor, environmental compliance and consumer habits. Creating jobs wasn’t the priority and whatever they paid, it was at or slightly above the market labor rates.

“Most people don’t own very much,” wrote Lewis and Maslin. “In today’s world they are required to sell their labor in order to obtain what they need to live.” This has given rise to labor unions, structured pay and benefits packages, and working conditions conducive to profitability. “The owners of resources live on the profits they extract from the labor-sellers, and reinvest some of those profits in order to further increase productivity to produce more goods and services.” It’s a simple expression of the capitalism.

I don’t know what the future holds although some form of Universal Basic Income would address how we might get along with many more people and fewer of the kind of jobs to which we have become accustomed. Yang wasn’t wrong. Whatever today’s politics are, they must adapt to a future where human needs are cared for and wealth is more equitably distributed.

How we get there is an open question.

Categories
Living in Society

Carding Wool With Joni Ernst

Hand Carding Wool – Image Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons

Every farm kid knows you should card wool before spinning it into yarn.

Joni Ernst’s campaign has spun some yarns about Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield and it’s clear they didn’t get things straightened out beforehand.

They don’t intend on getting the story right. They cast aspersions on their opponent’s character with disregard for facts and reasonable discourse.

On Monday, Aug. 24, Ernst released this statement on her campaign website:

“The American Dream is to own a home, which is why it’s so sad that while she was the President of Rottlund Homes, real estate executive Theresa Greenfield’s company was sued in Polk County for fraud, negligence and reneging on property purchase agreements,” said Joni Ernst spokesperson Melissa Deatsch. “For Greenfield, it’s always about looking out for herself. Once Rottlund Homes went bankrupt, Greenfield quickly jumped to Colby Interests and continued to put herself before others.”

Deatsch is saying: 1. Greenfield “quickly jumped” from Rottlund Homes to Colby Interests, and 2. she is implicitly guilty because Rottlund Homes was sued.

That’s a lot to swallow. Let straighten this the way we would card wool.

Let’s start with the LinkedIn profile Ernst wrote they accessed May 14, 2019. Here is the relevant part:

Greenfield LinkedIn Screen Print Aug. 26, 2020

Greenfield wrote she was unemployed from December 2011 until March 2012. She has been quite open about her experience with Rottlund Homes and how she lost her job during the real estate crash of the Great Recession. She told me earlier this year,

“From there I went into home building and eventually became the president of a small home building company in Iowa. That was fun through the recession, until it wasn’t any more fun. We sold the assets at the end of 2011. I became unemployed like a lot of people in the recession, then hired on with a commercial real estate company.”

For Deatsch to say Greenfield “quickly jumped” from job to job simply isn’t true. It was a recession caused in part by turbulence in the real estate business for Pete’s sake. With 100,000 Iowans out of work during the coronavirus pandemic Ernst is criticizing Greenfield for being laid off almost ten years ago? Now that Ernst is a U.S. Senator what is she doing for Iowans who are unemployed? That’s not a rhetorical question.

Let’s talk about the three lawsuits Ernst raised. It is part of business life that companies get sued. How responsible was Greenfield for these lawsuits? Ernst mentions people sued Rottlund Homes but says little else. The plaintiff is not always right and regular people know that. If you look at what happened, much of the basis for the lawsuits was out of Greenfield’s control and all three were resolved through legal process. What’s the beef?

James and Sheryl Moon: A deal between the Moons and Rottlund occurred in 2005, before Greenfield joined Rottlund Homes of Iowa in 2007. The Moons dismissed their case against Rottlund with prejudice and both parties waived claims for attorney fees.

The Villas at Berkshire Hills: The Villas at Berkshire Hills were built in the 1990s, well before Theresa Greenfield joined Rottlund Homes of Iowa in 2007. The Villas at Berkshire Hills Home Owners Association and Rottlund Homes of Iowa settled and the case was dismissed.

The Reserve Homeowners Association: The Reserve was built around 2005, and the neighborhood started to experience water pooling problems in 2006. Both occurred before Greenfield joined Rottlund Homes of Iowa in 2007. The Reserve Home Owners Association trial against Rottlund was cancelled because Rottlund was put into receivership in Minnesota to liquidate their assets and all pending litigation was stayed. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice after both parties agreed to dismiss the case.

Did Theresa Greenfield become president of Rottlund Homes of Iowa? Yes, she did, in 2007. Were there lawsuits? Yes, there were. Are those lawsuits long resolved? Yes, they are. How about we quit changing the subject by casting aspersions on Theresa Greenfield’s character and do something for the thousands of Iowans who are jobless because of the coronavirus pandemic?

While Joni Ernst claims to be fighting for Iowans, Monday’s attack shows how out-of-touch she is during the current and greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The Ernst campaign is criticizing and casting aspersions on Theresa Greenfield’s character at a time when: over 100,000 Iowans are unemployed, Iowa had record unemployment of over 10 percent in April, the GOP-led Senate, where Ernst as part of leadership, failed to renew needed extended unemployment benefits, and earlier this year, Ernst sought lower unemployment payments in COVID relief.

A person can spin from the lock but who would want to wear the garment, all lumpy and itchy? While Joni Ernst remains a Senator she should quit distracting, get to work for Iowans, and quit trying to persuade us her lockspun is cashmere.

Iowans are just going to shake it off.