CEDAR FALLS -- Saturday I was told, “Socialism doesn’t work.”

The Cedar Falls Public Works plows snow from all streets (eventually). The arterials are plowed first, to get traffic moving. The rich peoples’ streets aren’t plowed first, their driveway approaches are not plowed free, and streets aren’t skipped where the not as well to do live. It all gets done (eventually). Socialism working.

Everyone pays property taxes based on the value of their properties (well, sort of). A portion of property tax goes toward schools. All kids are admitted to the public schools, not just those of rich families. Socialism working.

The concept applies to police and fire departments, roads and libraries. According to The Washington Post, the Veterans Administration’s hospitals work more efficiently under socialism.

On Feb. 4 a working stiff said her tax withholding decreased $3 a week because of the tax law rammed through congress by the Republicans. The Boston Globe reported Feb. 5 that Charles and David Koch (Koch industries) could make over a billion dollars a year under the law. Capitalism working.

In some cases socialism works well. If you talk, it helps to know what you’re talking about. Then again, ignorance is bliss.

Meat-free diets


WATERLOO -- Feb. 14 marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.

The call to abstain from eating animals is as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham, yet as traditional as the Bible (Genesis 1:29). Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White all followed this higher call.

A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals routinely caged, crowded, mutilated and beaten.

Today's supermarkets are well in tune with the call to abstain from eating animals. They offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits and grains. Entering “vegetarian” or "vegan" in your favorite search engine provides lots of meat replacement products, recipes and transition tips.

Strong schools


CEDAR FALLS -- I grew up in Iowa benefiting from strong public schools, as did my parents and grandparents. Our kids are now receiving an excellent education within a caring community in the public school system. My husband and I are grateful for the teachers and administrators who work hard to serve students of diverse academic, behavioral, social and language backgrounds.

Iowa’s strong, vibrant public schools are a cornerstone of democracy and anchors for our neighborhoods, cities and towns. Short-sighted “school choice” legislation diverts funds from our public schools while failing to require equivalent open access or oversight of private schools. Generations of Iowans have prioritized the funding of public education, and it is our responsibility to continue this legacy into the future.


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