Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cooling down, heating up, worrying

Red Haw morning, Thursday

It’s been wonderful this week to work outside on sunny days and not be blinded by sweat after about a minute. Daily highs are hovering at about 80, the humidity’s lower, areas burned brown during the heat wave are greening up after adequate rain and brains seem to work better. Great days to be alive. If we could just figure out ways to share some of this with folks in areas still too hot and too dry.

Pretty, but an invasive pest.

I’ve gotten out of the habit of walking around a lot, usually with a camera, because of all the rain, then heat, we’ve had --- too much air-conditioned time in front of a computer screen. Time to move.


The big headline out of Des Moines this morning, as market instability heats up, involves a public-private partnership to “make Iowa No. 1 in health.” Someone has concluded we’re now 19th.

Red Haw morning; another Thursday view.

According to the Register map accompanying the stories, folks in Alaska, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Connecticut have the lion’s share of “well-being.” Iowa, in the “2nd quintile,” is in the same boat with California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Delaware. You’re in the worst shape, according to the map-makers, if you live in Nevada, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio or Michigan.

Anyhow, we’re supposed to commit ourselves as a state to eating better, exercising more and worrying less --- a noble effort, but like most government efforts, even when paired with private enterprise, I wonder. Part of the motivation is the thought that “healthy workers are more productive” and more likely to attract employers, a sentiment that manages to make folks who work for a living sound a little like livestock in a feed lot.

Hy-Vee and Wellmark are major corporate sponsors. Hy-Vee sponsorship of anything big always makes me a little nervous , wondering how much more we’ll be paying at the checkout counter to reimburse the corporation. I wonder if Hy-Vee product offerings will change to reflect the commitment to good health --- last time I looked, one side of an aisle still was devoted to potato chips, one side of another aisle mostly to soft drinks and there was a major “buy candy” promotion under way.

Actually, I can handle exercise on my own, really am trying to eat better and would worry less if I thought the boys and girls in Des Moines were ready to focus more creatively and cooperatively on developing and  implementing, with civility, sustainable governance and jobs creation programs.

Iowa's Jon Tumilson

I’ve been transfixed this week, kind of, by Facebook pages devoted to the memory of those guys killed in last week’s helicopter crash in Afghanistan. I know this seems a little excessive, but old soldier types do tend to study this kind of stuff; worry it, too. Hard to explain ….

You can access the page for Iowa’s Jon Tumilson (left) here; and by clicking on “likes” in the left hand column of the page look at others. Be sure to click on “photos,” too. And ignore the occasional political plug that inevitably gets tossed onto sites like this, too. There are fools in any venue.

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