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Chili cook-off


WATERLOO — Every year our club has a chili cook-off where people make crock pots of home recipes and bring them to donate to a good cause.

This year, however, some food inspector (whom I believe is trying to make a name for themselves) decided to put a kabosh on a great tradition and, unfortunately, it also may lead to other events suffering the same fate. This inspector told our club crook pots were no longer allowed because (as they put it) the chili needed to be cooked in a certified kitchen.

He/she also told us we had to wear gloves to serve the food and sign some form before we could even do so. Plus the dealership had to buy a special one-day license to even hold the event.

So what about church pancake events, firemen’s balls or AMVETS cookoffs? Or even worse, it could even lead to campers needing a certified kitchen to cook burgers and hotdogs.

So congratulations, Mr./Mrs. inspector, you have gone and ruined great fundraising events for so many who depended on them. Shame on you.

Parkland lessons


WATERLOO — I have a new daughter. She is less than a month old, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. But in addition to her I have 1,600+ kids at my job. And there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.

With the events in Florida I had to have, again, really difficult conversations with my kids. We had to talk about how there is evil in the world, and how, sadly, even schools are not safe. I had to tell them no matter what, I would do what is best for them. And that includes putting myself in harm’s way so they may live.

Ten times out of 10 my first, last and only job is to ensure every child in my care makes it out until I can no longer do that job. I understand my job may call on me to be a human shield. I just wish it didn’t. I wish we could have a real conversation, an honest conversation about our children, our safety and our future. It’s time to talk before what happens in Florida happens again.

Lecture questioned


CEDAR FALLS — “Darwin Week 2018” read the front page headline of The Northern Iowan, UNI’s student newspaper, Feb. 19 edition.

While there were six short paragraphs on the second page covering a professor’s lecture on Darwin, the gist of the article was a report on a lecture given by Diane Burkholder, keynote speaker, credentials unreported. Burkholder took victimhood to new heights. She reported that 24/7, Wall Street (sic) and Huffington Post rated the “Cedar Valley as the 10th worst ‘city’ in the country for African-Americans.”

Oppression is now found in “intersectionality” which is “not about identity” but something being “co-opted and watered down” and “being colonized by white people.” “All white people are racist, men are sexist and straight people are homophobic.” But according to Burkhold there are “whisperers” (don’t ask) to correct this. By the end of the article it was apparent how difficult it is to be a victim these days. Institutionalized racism was hard enough to ferret out but now a victim has to deal with “intersectionality” and embedded white colonies. Who knew? It’s no small wonder higher education is in disarray when this type of presentation commemorates Darwin Week.

Individual rights


DUNKERTON — 110 people will die today. Their families will grieve in private. You will not know most of them. Their faces will not be in the national headlines or evening news. There’s action that would all but eliminate most of these deaths. Congress could present a solution for the president to sign in a week or less. All we would need to do is reduce the speed limit on interstates to 40 mph, 25 mph on all other streets and eliminate the sale of liquor.

Absurd? Saving nearly 40,000 lives annually is not worth it? It will not happen because highway deaths are a price we as a society are willing to pay for our personal freedom and commerce.

In the wake of the recent high school shooting, media hysteria and political gamesmanship have a nation paranoid. There are more than 36,000 high schools. The danger is not so much to the students as to our individual freedom. In a quest to protect “soft” targets, let’s keep the response proportional to the danger.

Protecting our citizens need not entail removing individual rights. Students are much more likely to die driving to and from school than from an armed madman.

Political cartoon


REINBECK — The Feb. 21 Commentary section showed a Stahler political cartoon that crossed a line in my estimation. First, we forbid God to take any part of our school systems, then we whine “I don’t think thoughts and prayers are working” when some rudderless kid shoots up a school. It is adding insult to injury to then mock the practice of comforting the bereaved with the expression of thoughts and prayers.

“The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization.“ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Undisciplined fury


CEDAR FALLS — It is obvious Donald Trump’s vision is to turn the United States into a monarchy. As a monarchist, he favors being in a hereditary government. That is why his children have positions of power, so they can succeed him.

To accomplish this goal, all other powers — FBI, DOJ, CIA — must be destroyed. He is taking and making every possible opportunity to do this.

It is a necessity his followers have weaponry to carry out his agenda. That is why any ban on assault rifles is discouraged. He has said he likes wars. His war is against our democracy. The NRA is an advocate.

The students in Florida were in a war zone of one person’s making. They have seen the reality of undisciplined fury. Donald Trump is the most undisciplined character most of us will ever witness on a daily basis. He has no boundaries or decency.

These students can see the dangers in our country, and unlike adult politicians are doing something about it. God bless you. Shame on you politicians who put money and power before even one innocent life that has been taken with a gun.

Arctic refuge


JESUP — In the recently passed tax reform legislation a provision was included that allows oil drilling in the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Drilling would jeopardize one of the world’s last unspoiled places at a time when we should be shifting to alternative energy sources to reduce the effects of global climate change (and help Iowa’s economy).

It is disappointing our congressional delegation voted to open the refuge to drilling. One of their reasons was oil drilling would affect only about 2,000 acres of the coastal plain, but this is not correct. Activities would not be restricted to one block. Drilling would extend to every corner of the refuge, impacting the entire coastal plain that has been called “America’s Serengeti” because of the large herds of caribou and other wildlife that use the area.

Our congressional delegation also stated new drilling techniques would lessen impacts. These techniques should be tried first in the nearby National Petroleum Reserve, where oil drilling is already allowed, to see if they work before they are used in the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


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