Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Iowa (or is it Ohio?) in the news

RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) spends tonight in Knoxville, then meanders over to Oskaloosa for Thursday night and down to Fairfield Friday before ending the week-long event in Fort Madison on Saturday.

The designated route down from Des Moines today sticks to lesser-traveled paved county roads, but because of Red Rock Lake, there's only one way into Knoxville from the north --- Iowa Highway 14, including the long bridge. This might be a good day to consider another route if that stretch of 14 ordinarily would be included in travel plans.

And remember, too, that Pella on Thursday morning at least, will be one of those places you can't get to from here.  

RAGBRAI's huge and lots of fun (as well as making a substantial financial and public relations impact on towns where it overnights). As a rule it generates at least a little national attention. But so far the media have focused on the disgraced Lance Armstrong,  back in the state for the first three days --- his fifth RAGBRAI.


Iowa's U.S. Rep Steve King seems to have grabbed the rest of Iowa's share of national attention with remarks last week about "Dreamers," children born elsewhere but brought here while young by undocumented immigrant parents. These kids end up in a peculiar kind of limbo because the U.S. is the only home they've known but they have no legal standing here. The "Dream Act" in its various incarnations is aimed at offering relief.

King expressed his opinion last week in an interview with Newsmax that a majority of these young people are drug traffickers.

"For everyone who's a valedictorian," King said, "There's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act."

You've got to love old Steve --- he just opens his mouth and stuff like this comes out. This is great news for Democrats --- because of Steve and his kind our growing population of voters with Hispanic roots is not likely to favor Republican any time soon. On the other hand, Steve --- by association --- helps make Iowans in general look like idiots. But of course the Iowans who keep electing him are.


The recent decision by Ottumwa High School administrators to ax a student production of The Laramie Project continues to percolate through the media --- The Register finally got around to a weekend report, which then was picked up elsewhere. 

Including by The Advocate, which back in the day before electronic media and mainstream attention to LGBT issues was a widely respected national news magazine devoted to covering the gay community. It still plugs along, but in diminished form.

Anyhow, The Advocate --- in its Twitter and other promotional efforts --- moved Ottumwa from Iowa to Ohio. This happens a lot to Iowa --- mistaken if not for Ohio, then Idaho. There's still a good deal of confusion on the coasts about mid-American geography.

Some have argued that we should let Ottumwa go. But there are too many architecturally significant buildings there to give up without a fight.

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