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home : opinion archive : opinion August 20, 2014 

Frankly, King is in bounds with 'robo-calls'
Did you get a tape-recorded message on the phone from Rep. Steve King last week?

Stolen nights and places in between
It started as instinct. I was 10. I didn't have the words to summon an explanation.
King leads charge against immigration reform
Sen. Marco Rubio's comments this week on "Fox News Sunday" showed just how far the politics of immigration reform have changed, some may say devolved, since January 2013.
Examining a concerning trend in youth baseball
It's hard to believe, but the fall sports season is just around the corner. Football, volleyball, cross country and swimming practices will get underway on Monday. However, despite its end at the high school level in Iowa this past weekend, baseball is center stage in the national sports landscape. And this year in Major League Baseball a spike in high-profile injuries has come to the forefront and been as much a part of the discourse as Derek Jeter's farewell season. OK, almost as much.
Vote 'yes' for Family Aquatic boost
Let's call it the slow flow to progress. We've been treading water around here, riding waves summoned by previous generations. It's time for a collective "yes" on something.
How can Koch-bottled Ernst be 'philosophically opposed' to what's right for Iowa?
About the only thing Gov. Terry Branstad didn't do one recent Wednesday for energy production in west-central Iowa was to check the porch bulbs or flip on the night lights for residents himself in Glidden and Coon Rapids before leaving the region.
Move to rural Iowa, our days are longer
As a former resident of the Washington, D.C., area I did the commute thing - for four years. I recall these days each time I visit from Iowa.
Is Carroll ready for transatlantic bicycle adaptation?
A few years ago, I was in San Luis Obispo, California, headed down a one-way street to visit the historic Spanish mission. I was in a right turning lane that fed the mission and had a green light. I turned right and nearly hit a bicyclist in a right bike lane that ran adjacent to the road.
Joni Ernst, meet your Snake River Canyon
With all that bread-bagging of shoes and hog castrating on the farm, life for a young Joni Ernst surely didn't afford a lot of time for leisurely television.

Pitch-forking the Export-Import Bank could spare wind-energy credit
Could the Ex-Im Bank save the wind energy tax credit?

More precisely, could the death of the U.S. Export-Import Bank satisfy the blood lust of arch conservatives and allow the wind energy credit to live for another year or two?

Masterful and measured
David Young, who showed he could spin a good joke and is blessed with a king's ransom of wit, told Republican 3rd Congressional District convention delegates Saturday that Washington, D.C., is obsessed with celebrity, that the nation's capital has turned into "Hollywood for ugly people."
Skanks and hags and Wonder Bread bags
I consider Facebook in much the same way I do public restrooms. Yes, I could make other arrangements, but in modern America, with all the travel, and the necessity of employing millenials, I'm going to have to use both. I just try and get in and out of the social-media site and highly trafficked toilet facilities as quickly as possible.

In King's view, new House majority leader will be amnesty-favoring sellout
The House majority whip is headquartered on the first floor of the U.S. Capitol, steps from where British soldiers poured into the building in 1814 and ransacked the place.

The whip's job is to ensure such chaos doesn't erupt from inside the building.

A Polk County insider earns his rural boots
Tears rolled for many reasons as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a gambling license for Greene County in a suspense-filled session at the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington.
Mowrer's efforts to defeat King get boost
Jim Mowrer's bid to wrest Iowa's 4th District seat away from GOP Rep. Steve King received a boost last week, when national Democrats added the political newcomer to the "red to blue" program that provides a mix of financial and other assistance to their most promising challengers.
King finally taking some legislative action
As spring finally sprung in May, so too did Rep. Steve King finally springing into action as a legislator.
Say 'yes' to a collection of rural Iowa counties that dared
I'm proud to serve on the Carroll and Greene county economic development corporations. I'm here today as a designated representative of the Carroll Area Development Corporation, which voted unanimously to support the Wild Rose Entertainment complex plan that's brought us all here together.
Rough edges linger from Braley insult
Perhaps no area of the state has such a celebrated agricultural history. Adair County.
Dangerous ISU math: 7 strikes, Veishea not out
Let's get this straight. Former Iowa State University basketball coach Larry Eustachy admitted to being an alcoholic - not after a drunken-driving accident or hurting anyone, but following the release of some embarrassing photos involving Natural Light and fully clothed smooching with coeds - and he doesn't get a second chance in Ames.

Clovis: Criminalizing abortion 'a bridge too far'
Sam Clovis is clear on his campaign website.

"I believe life begins at conception and life should be protected from conception to natural, dignified death.

Beware the 'entering the Net' with travel arrangements
Call me old school. I still use local travel agency folks to help with arranging flights and hotels.
Can Tea Party Teacuppers handle the truth?
There's this terrifically descriptive term college administrators use these days.

Free fries or a 'not-gay' punching pass?
Many gay-obsessed conservatives are no doubt a lot like Iowa Sen. Mark Segebart of Vail. They've done their "research" about what turns the eyes of otherwise red-blooded Hawkeye State men from the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition to, well, the eyes of other red-blooded Iowa men.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Fortune, New York Times writer says Templeton Rye earns national branding
American whiskey is having something of a double-shot Saturday night. Sales are booming. Prospects are hot. And Templeton Rye Spirits very much has a stool at the long and growing bar, says a New York Times editor who authored a cover story on the flourishing whiskey business for the most recent issue of Fortune magazine - "Drink Up! The Story of How American Whiskey Got So Damn Hot."
Internet browsers should have Segebart Locks
Parents and educators concerned about teens' digital wandering have resources. Controls or locks are available to guide youngsters away from corrupting websites and influences, keep them within the Net's guardrails of decency - to the extent that is possible.

Could you (today) handle the truth of Lincoln?
At Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington, D.C., visitors encounter a overwhelming visual - a 34-foot tower of books written about Abraham Lincoln, 6,800 titles representing well under just half of the 15,000 volumes published on the Great Emancipator.
Clinton paces the race with British oddsmakers
Ladbrokes, the British oddsmaker with a global reach into the betting markets, shows Hillary Clinton with Big Horse advantages in both a potential Democratic primary and general election.
The Third Motive: Christie scandal builds bridge to regional stereotypes
Let's say you are on the Jasper County Republican Central Committee.
Dam the river to the creek
LaVern Dirkx isn't a spy, some Stasi-style operator earing in on the lives of others.

All parasites aboard! A rip-roaring tour of America's 'town'
What better place to start a book about parasites than a funeral.
A belated funeral for '80s word
We are gathered here today to pay our final respects to a word no longer relevant... nerd.
Can Hatch dish-towel Brand Branstad?
He's Uncle Ben. The rice. Charmin. Ivory soap. The Folgers in Iowa's cup.
Will Jacobs' Texas shoe fit Iowa
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy built an industry with one of the best joke set-ups since "Knock-knock, who's there?"

Time ripe to find inner 'Rich Dad' in Greene County housing
In his wildly popular financial advice book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not," author Robert T. Kiyosaki charts a course for financial independence that involves, among other things, real-estate investing.
'If you aren't already related to a Latino...'
One in six Americans is Latino. The ethnic group is the fastest-growing in the nation. More than half of all babies born in the United States are minorities - and the average age of a Latino is 27.6.
Pedestals and patriots from Matt Whitaker's perspective
Kentucky's Rand Paul based an extraordinarily effective Cedar Rapids speech on its contents. His colleague in the Senate who compiles it annually served as a key source in a "60 Minutes" segment on outrageous fraud in government disability programs.
Area baseball will see fitting end
Saturday night will be flush with baseball action among area teams. And if you've been paying attention this summer, that's not a surprise.
You cannot be serious, Congressman Wikipedia
They are ever-present bit players on the modern political stage, ragamuffins with recorders at rallies and town halls.

No stretchers in streets - or consistency
Here is the essence of opposition to the Affordable Care Act, health reform widely known as Obamacare: It's an Orwellian overreach by the federal government to make purchase of a product, health insurance, compulsory.

Reality check: The City of Carroll is not a person
Four quarters makes a dollar. So does 10 dimes.

But not all government spending is equal.

Graham Park, rural Iowa's Rucker Park
Around Iowa, Carroll is known for a host of attributes.

We have strong public and private high schools, a separating quality.

Target acquired: Branstad up-selling the upstart Ernst
He's not King Corn around these parts for nothing. Gov. Terry Branstad, knows the strings to pull - where, and just how hard.
Wards are for Chicago - not Carroll
In 16 years of covering the Carroll City Council I've never seen a cross-ward dispute.
Schweers's active partisanship opens doors for city
Purists may have a problem with Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers serving as a co-chairman for Gov. Terry Branstad's re-election campaign, introducing the governor at events, and even launching a campaign for a GOP state Senate seat from the Farner Government Building.
1 for 17? Carroll moms swing and miss on priceless gift
Bugs Bunny broke the news.

Not the cartoon, but this wonderful plastic transistor radio shaped like the silly rabbit. No trick for this kid.

Will 'family values' folks embrace a bare branch?
There's a term in China and India for men like me and U.S. Senate candidate David Young: bare branches.
Jumping at a blend of boldness and common sense for Carroll's library
Library Board of Trustees president Tom Louis is right: the people of Carroll, and its elected officials, should see estimates and a draft plan of what an expansion of the current library at the Farner Government building would cost - perhaps at varying sizes.
King's chart topper: Making fun of old lady
In 2006, U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Kiron Republican, suggested that iconic journalist Helen Thomas, then 85 years old, was ugly, in a joke about radical Islam's belief that martyrs will be rewarded with lusty virgins in the afterlife.

Scoop this Iowa-straight job jackpot, or watch your neighbors do it
Preachers in Greene County have a luxury.

They probably don't have to worry much about job security.

Was Branstad in trunk as Car 1 Seattle Slewed state's highways?
Historically speaking, politicians use the trunks of their vehicles to stash cash and cold-stow any dead hookers.
Political Siamese suicide or pure calculating genius?
Mixed in with the blonde Bond Girls and gotcha gadgets, umbrella guns and lethal cigarette lighter sneakiness, The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., features a display with a cyanide capsule, the quick out for spooks pulled in from the cold to the heat of interrogation.
Recalling some family, Carroll history
In organizing files following the passing last Monday of my uncle, our longtime publisher James B. Wilson, we've been delighted to find many historical items - related not only to our family, but the community and the newspaper, and the media business itself.
With aces in the polls, Iowa political King Branstad could seek two offices in 2014
Let's play a word-association game.

When you hear "governor" what's the first word your mind summons?

Why Sen. Grassley started running, really running
When Charles Grassley turned 65 - 14 years ago - the veteran U.S. senator started taking notice of the surroundings in nursing homes, watching the residents for more than just their reactions to his campaign and policy points.

Can we live forever?
Compound interest. Of all the strands of imagination and provocations and fear and excitement that engage one during Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Weiner's terrific book, "Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality," the one that rushes to the fore for me is compound interest.

The sizzle in Carroll's strategy
Call it the document brought to you by Ambien.

Well, not totally, says Carroll banker Michel Nelson of the City of Carroll's newly minted Strategic Plan, one crafted in recent weeks by a panel of citizens and elected officials.

Drunk driving worries don't end with proms
We used to call it the Carroll County Death Lottery. Most springs in past decades, amid the celebration of graduation and prom and senior skip days, we would face the awful task of reporting a death, sometimes more, stemming from teen drunken driving. It could be any kid, really, a great athlete, top student, or a trouble-making discipline case. Rich, poor, popular or on the social fringes. The death lottery literally was just that.
King: 'I can build that wall down there'
National Republicans are struggling with strategies and angles for the party's relevancy and viability in the 21st century.
Don't hurt the ones you love
Mark Segebart wants to advance a Christian agenda.

His two strongest allies in this endeavor in Carroll have been around long before the Vail state senator came on the scene.

King: America's been 'played' by Iran, time to draw a line
"We prefer to resolve this diplomatically, and there is still time to do so," Obama said.
Segebart takes Carroll DMACC hostage in gay wars
"It's one of the hills I would die on," Segebart said of his eagerness to fight same-sex marriage, now legal in Iowa. What Segebart didn't tell us is that he's prepared to take political hostages down with him in the ever-brewing imbroglio.

Carroll Schools invigorate learning with pioneering use of computers
As a junior in college, I watched with classmates as euphoric Germans scaled the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. Over the next weeks, the wall would fall. History changed before our eyes. The Cold War - which so many of us in our youth thought perpetual, a defining element of our existence as Americans - was ending.
For Segebart minimum wage is just kids' stuff
The minimum wage, according to Segebart, a Republican state senator from Vail, just doesn't have any place in adult discussions, in the business of raising families and paying utility bills.

Hatch would bring rolled-sleeve liberalism to governor's race
Can a state legislator from the heart of Des Moines, a Democrat, with a big, unapologetic "D" after his name, and before his hometown, have a shot at connecting with voters in rural Iowa to the degree necessary to have a sporting chance at becoming the next governor?

Shop in the name of love for Carroll
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

In the downtown business community, merchants have been gearing up for some time.

Entrepreneurial Kasperbauers eschew beachcombing days
Rick Kasperbauer answered the call on his daily run, this one 4 miles with a stretch of beach at Marco Island, Fla., where the longtime Carroll businessman and wife, Laurie, are spending more time these days.
The Republican reverse Midas Touch with single people
Much GOP hand-wringing in the election post-mortem necessarily centers on the canyon-sized advantage President Obama and the Democrats have with Latino voters. Having spent a good deal of time in Iowa’s Latino community I can tell you this is deep and real.

Remembering Steve King's greatest hits
Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King is a master at finding or manufacturing controversy, issuing provocative statements, and reveling in the national media attention that follows.

Is Gronstal-bashing smart politics in Carroll?
Mark Segebart’s line of attack is fair.

The one-liner isn’t.

ESPNU lead anchor: Siepker spots "perfect for us'
ESPNU’s lead anchor Dari Nowkhah tells the Daily Times Herald that a recent arrangement to showcase the comedic work of Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker holds great promise for the college-sports-focused channel in ESPN’s considerable network.
King raises 'Red Dawn' specter of tyranny in America
The urgency in Congressman Steve King’s words sent me searching for a 1984 movie I hadn’t seen since, well, 1984 — on VHS.

Why I'd have wanted Mitt Romney advising my teen mom
It’s a great irony. Not cruel. Just there.

I’m in the business of conversation, recording it, creating it to illuminate issues, people, the many communities we cover.

Obama and Manning, Iowa: The way it works
MANNING — It’s one of the more significant stories in terms of long-term economic and cultural impact for Carroll County we’ll report in decades.

War paint or church potluck civility? Your call
Shelve for a moment partisan instincts, ideological positioning. Consider the race for the 4th District congressional seat in much the way an employer would the writing of a help-wanted advertisement in the Daily Times Herald.

Origins of kittenball, Carroll as a wealth center
Mary Baumhover unearthed a terrifically interesting nugget in her “Do You Remember When?” piece in our paper last week.
An atheist-inspired fox in the Republican right's hen house
Of the voluminous reporting and opining about Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan one quote is quite striking.

FBI historian: Be cautious about lionizing Capone
It’s important to remember, says the FBI’s historian John Fox, that Al Capone was real.
The common-sense vote Tuesday is 'yes'
Let’s forget for a few moments this scorched-earth, dry-tongue of a summer.

Think back to Christmas 2003.

After all, who doesn’t like remembering Christmases past. It even worked for Scrooge in the end, once he wiped the sands of greed from his eyes and saw the world clearly.

The Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 2003 ran a “shop Carroll” promotion, aimed at keeping people out of the malls of Des Moines and Omaha, Neb., and here with our merchants. The Chamber collected 20,643 contest entries, 10,989 (or 53 percent) of which were from outside of the 51401 ZIP code.

Branstad bullish on South American trade, Rubio as VP
Just hours after returning from a trade mission to South America, Gov. Terry Branstad said prospects for Iowa on that continent are second only to China — a country with whom he has well-established and chronicled ties.
Can going to the movies be the same again?
Seven dollars is a spectacularly fine price for a two-hour ride in a time machine.
Romney avatar released into real world
In his leafy prep days at Michigan’s elite Cranbrook School the Mittster earned a reputation as something of a prankster.
Council should channel cable guy on Corridor work
Larry the Cable Guy is booked at the Iowa State Fair. The internationally known Nebraska comedian most certainly will roll out his signature line, “Git ‘er done,” a few dozen times to fans in the East Des Moines grandstands who will have paid $35 a seat to laugh and cheer in uproarious fashion at the predictable punchline.
Dude, why won't my car start?
So you leave a bar or restaurant, get in your car or sport utility vehicle, turn the ignition, and ... nothing. Or maybe a computer voice, a Detroit-fashioned Hal, a Siri in your Chevy, scolds: “Driver exceeds alcohol limit. Vehicle will not start.”
Promises made, promises broken by forgetful council
If you are a relative or friend of a Carroll city councilperson, and your birthday passes without a card, or an anniversary slides off the calendar with no kiss or rose, don’t take it personally. You are not alone.

The council, it seems, has some memory issues. Want to stump your council member? Ask him this: “Quick, where are your car keys?”

Move here, we give you eight more weeks a year
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As a former resident of the Washington, D.C., area I did the commute thing — for four years. I recall these days each time I visit.

It took me about 45 minutes to get to work, and at least 45 minutes to get home. The Washington Post home/style sections last Saturday carried a piece about a house for sale in a trendy neighborhood. One of the selling points: you could sit on the patio and watch people snarled in traffic on a nearby bridge.

Obama immigration decision brings to mind "Twilight'-ed Denison teen
The carne sizzled outside. The Spanish festively bounced around the kitchen. Families poured in for the Sunday birthday celebration in a warm middle-class Denison neighborhood, Latinos and white folk on the same block. The host family stood on the ready. Another glass of horchata? A piece of tres leches cake?

History-minded Fighting Irishman helms Manning hospital expansion
MANNING — John O’Brien knows exactly where he was on the night of Dec. 31, 1973. And three weeks later.
Why we need at least six political parties

Raising  the topic of more viable parties in American politics is an awful lot like speculating about a cure for the common cold. It would seem inevitable, and do so much good. It’s also something of a head-shaking lost cause. But if New York Mayor Michael “Nancy Nanny” Bloomberg thinks he can pry gulpish-sized sodas from the fleshy hands of millions of overweight people in his city, envisioning an American political system with more than organized Democrats and well-heeled Republicans isn’t entirely ridiculous.

Republican notion of age of political consent a joke
Just yards into the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., visitors walk into a exhibit showing our 16th president in a log cabin, reading a book as a teen by candlelight. That’s part of his iconic image, a young man so earnest in learning he didn’t let his less-than-modest upbringing stop the page-turning.

'Iowa Nice' vaults to more prominence in Webbys
Which one of these things is not like the other?

ESPN, Epoch Films, Warner, Walt Disney, Politico and Iowa Filmmakers.

Actually, according to one esteemed international measure, they belong together.

Carroll strokes a winner with Graham tennis plan
Andre Agassi, eat your heart out.

At times over the past three years it appeared as if the vision for a six-court tennis complex at Graham Park would whiz past Carroll like an Andy Roddick rifle serve.

The Packinghouse, one of Midwest's best restaurants
GALESBURG, Ill. — Count me as an advocate for our nation’s places in between.

Yes, we are situated in Carroll, Iowa, a crossroads for Sioux City, Omaha, Neb., and Des Moines. But my affection for communities attached to roads less traveled goes beyond that. I feel at home in places like Galesburg, Ill. The rhythm is right — and if I measured life as Mitt Romney does, I’d probably even think the trees were the right height.

For King, no stretchers in street, but consistency question
Here is Congressman Steve King’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, health reform widely known as Obamacare: It’s an Orwellian overreach by the federal government to make purchase of a product, health insurance, compulsory.

Medicare Viagra ban ruining public golf courses
In a crammed catalog of things I know happen but just don’t want to think about — in a kind of running and screaming and kicking way — the human enterprise I’d most like to avoid considering, the clear topper in a Canadian football-sized field of contenders, is old people having sex.

Bruner getting credit for Senate work as candidate
Carroll Democrat Mary Bruner, a candidate for the new Iowa Senate District 6, is getting positive press in the northern part of the newly drawn political territory on a crucial issue: dredging in Storm Lake.

For years, The Storm Lake Times has aggressively advocated for improvements to the lake.

Limbaugh's Cheetos moment revealing
Every other week or so for years I’d encounter this astonishingly creepy guy at the convenience store near my Arlington, Va., apartment in the ’90s.

With a grease-fed gut in full bloom, matted hair and funeral home-pale skin this middle-aged man would haul himself to the convenience store and buy the same three things — every time: two 12-packs of beer, a bag of Cheetos and a king’s ransom of porn magazines like Juggs and Penthouse.

Think about income inequality 'In Time,' not money
Of the thousands of story assignments in my career to this point one stands out as something of a bay-window-sized view into misplaced human calculation.

Spreading the pain and gain of new Carroll library
In a six-hour goal-setting agenda at the Carrollton Centre in late August, the Carroll City Council and members of city staff delved into a number of policy and process issues, reviewing ongoing initiatives and hatching new ones.

British bookmaker has Romney heavy favorite
The British bookmaking giant Ladbrokes shows what bettors think of Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul.

Background noise for the Republican presidential nomination.

Red to blue? Or black eye for Christie Vilsack in 4th?
Ames Democrat Christie Vilsack, a former middle school, high school and college instructor, is running not just against U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, in the November race for Iowa’s newly drawn 4th Congressional District.
Ludwig's speech shows why we celebrate golf
Kyler Ludwig has uncorked beautiful drives, slammed birdie putts and feathered wonderful wedges to greens during his still-young golf career.

What do you think of Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker's 'Iowa Nice' video?
A Mount Carmel native and Carroll High School alum stars in a nationally recognized YouTube video that has garnered major media attention for its creative, laugh-out-loud defense of the Hawkeye State.

Scott Siepker’s “Iowa Nice” short film — produced on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in response to stereotyping of Iowa by the media — has well over 1 million views (and counting).

The two-minute video seeks to debunk certain coastal narratives about Iowa being a cultural monolith of prejudiced reactionaries. The more popular version (874,000 hits) contains some profanity, but Siepker’s team has posted a sanitized version as well (265,000 hits).

“Iowa is not what you think it is,” Siepker said in an interview with The Daily  Times Herald. “There are so many misconceptions out there.”

Siepker, 29, and “Iowa Nice” director, his longtime theatrical collaborator, Paul D. Benedict, have seen their work go viral with features on CNN International, MSNBC and BBC World News.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow termed “Iowa Nice” “the single-most-entertaining ad to come out of Iowa this political season.”

What is your reaction to the video?

Click here
to watch the popular version with some profanity and click here to watch the clean version.


What are your thoughts on the new school calendar and early start for 2012-2013?
Carroll Community School Board on Monday approved 3-2 an early start for the 2012-13 school year.

The early-start calendar will make the first day of next school year Tuesday, Aug. 14, with the first semester ending Friday, Dec. 21, before the start of winter break.

Second semester will begin Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, and the school year will end Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

Is this the right decision?


Suggesting some sights and eats in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What’s the best lunch in Kansas City, Mo.?

Opinions no doubt vary in one of the Midwest cities most frequented by people from the Carroll area.

Romney's Manning problem, the Santorum surge and an ugly political 'Google bomb'
MANNING — The takeaway from the Iowa Caucuses site in Manning isn’t what was said.

It’s what wasn’t.

For Mitt Romney.

(1) Paul (2) Santorum (3) Gingrich (4) Romney
First things first: the candidate best positioned to win the Republican presidential caucuses next Tuesday in Carroll County is clearly Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the U.S. House has put the work in here with three visits to Santa Maria Winery involving generous allotments of time, unhurried posing for pictures with folks and intellectually engaging speeches.

Gingrich Iowa senior adviser hails from Carroll
URBANDALE — These are intense days for Katie Koberg, a Carroll native who is now a senior adviser for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
DTH exclusive interview with Santa Claus
The Daily Times Herald editorial board recently interviewed Mr. Santa Claus, 67, North Pole, about his Carroll County delivery schedule.

Mr. Claus usually starts in Breda on Christmas Eve, makes his way to the City of Carroll and the rest of our readership area, hitting Templeton at the end of the route. Santa tells us he enjoys the beverages some Templeton people place out for him instead of the milk (when he’s through sledding and home safely for the night, of course).

Why Ron Paul is the way out for Iowa Republicans
DES MOINES — So here’s your dilemma: You’re a Republican but you don’t trust Newt Gingrich or like him much for that matter, what with the lobbying for Freddie Mac, the Julius Caesar complex and the Henry VIII thing with all the wives (minus the beheadings).

What should be city of Carroll's priorities in the next year?
The Carroll City Council on Monday approved a framework for a Capital Improvement Plan to lead into discussions early next year about the city budget, and other matters related to the future of the community. What should the council and mayor consider in these deliberations? What should the top priorities be for Carroll?

Voting for Gingrich? The greatest act of hypocrisy in Carroll County history
One of our newspaper’s more popular and meaningful sections is Wednesday’s Today’s Living page. Each week, we print announcements of wedding anniversaries — 25-year and 50-year celebrations, and once in a while, a diamond anniversary of 60 or 70 years of matrimony. Several years ago I wrote a story about (the now late) Jack and Grace Juergens who had been married for 70 years.

Can Carroll survive generational surrender?
One of the dominant voices in Carroll government now is older residents frightened they’ll outlive their savings.

You can’t blame them, either.

How Newt Gingrich can separate in Iowa
Sometimes they bring baby dolls as props. Other times they raise signs with depictions of children aborted late-term. They fund billboards outside of cities in western Iowa, telling us every child matters.
Support your trail, think off-street long term
The good news: revenue from fees on the Sauk Rail Trail is on the climb.

The bad news: many users still aren’t paying their fees.

One way to get about correcting this is something we’re doing here at The Daily Times Herald as part of our holiday package for full-time employees — providing annual permits for use of the trail.

Is Jensen a grandstander or will he back platform?
In getting himself elected to the Carroll City Council Dr. Eric Jensen did something really easy: he promised to cut spending.

Beginning in January we’ll see if he can do something really hard: actually come up with firm proposals to cut people from the ranks of city staff or slash programs provided by the city.

'White Chicks,' Herman Cain and Hispanics
The Wayans brothers, they of the American funny family, wrote and starred in the 2004 film “White Chicks,” one of the most clichéd, awful movies ever. Ever.

Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans “star” as African-American FBI agents who go undercover disguised as two white girls from the Hamptons set — the 1 Percent Club. The Wayans don wigs and bring in a geek-squad makeup crew to transform them from black men into blonde white women. They then spend most of the rest of the 1:49 film preening and prancing around playing on stereotypes of a certain kind of white woman.

Whose number is next in Drunken Driving Lottery?
In the mid-1990s, when I was a reporter for The Ames Tribune, a police sergeant said something I’ll never forget. Following a fatal pedestrian-train accident on the Union Pacific Railroad line the sergeant said: “When you walk down the bed of a train track and pick up body parts it gives you new respect for the power of a train.”
Occupy Wall Street protest backs Carroll's Main Street
Two strong school systems. Rich, black-coffee-colored-soil. Geographic good fortune as a commercial hub between Sioux City, Des Moines and Omaha, Neb. A junction for two federal highways.

When we discuss Carroll’s advantages, the reasons for our comparative success as a rural city, the above factors come to the fore.

Ron Paul interview: 'Too old?' Ax ag, straight parenting superior
Is 76 too old?

“Too old for what?” said Congressman Ron Paul.

Is it too old to be president?

Have job in Carroll area, but willing to change
Carroll Area Development Corp. executive director Jim Gossett is spot-on when he talks of Carroll County’s consistently low unemployment rate as a mixed-bag of news.

Sure, it is mostly positive. Better to have people working than occupying Graham Park with signs and sleeping bags. Our local economy is in a far better place than much of the nation — in fact, most of the United States.

Remember Earl Butz? Cain's remarks worse
What’s the difference between Herman Cain and the late Earl Butz?

Short answer: Cain’s comments — or attempts at humor (if you believe his explanation) with regard to a border fence and electrocuting immigrants — were worse than Butz’s joke.

Rules for the Vilsacks, Pelosi's gender-card reach
At his wife Christie’s announcement of her congressional candidacy in Ames this summer, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack politely declined to answer questions from the media.

The former Iowa governor didn’t have to completely muzzle himself. But he does have to watch it somewhat as a U.S. Senate-confirmed member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Grandma Weitl's love will light field Friday
It will be after 9 p.m. Friday before we know the outcome of a major Class 2A football game between Kuemper Catholic High School and OA-BCIG in Ida Grove.

But one contest is already over, scored and in the books.

Rooting for Redskins, probing on abortion
Many members of Washington, D.C.’s chattering class who are yammering and bobble-heading over the former name of presidential candidate Rick Perry’s family hunting camp in Texas were clearly rooting for the Washington Redskins last Monday night.
A mutually beneficial invitation for Mr. King
We’ll get right to the point.

In reviewing the map of the newly drawn 4th Congressional District in Iowa it becomes quickly apparent that the City of Carroll should be considered for a district office for our federal representative — which, until evidence emerges to point a different direction, is likely to again be U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron.

Why we should take a rooting interest in Al Capone
For a second time in a century Carroll Countians can be forgiven if they take a rooting in the fortunes of Al Capone.

During Prohibition, this was for real as the iconic Windy City mobster was the pipeline between the Templeton Rye trade and thirsty patrons at speakeasies in Chicago across the Midwest.

On gay marriage put math before hate
Here’s a statement that angers both conservatives and liberals: I support gay marriage as long as I don’t have to see the couples kiss.


HBO's authenticity search lands Templeton Rye hook-up
TEMPLETON — Atlantic City, N.J., and Templeton, Iowa, are not two cities that flow consecutively off too many tongues.

But that promises to change.

And perhaps in a big, national way.

Reagan and Nixon in 24 hours
LOS ANGELES — “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser,” Richard Nixon’s football coach at Whittier College in California was fond of saying.

The motto, which is featured in one of the first displays in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., comes as something of an “a-ha” moment, an accessible explanation for decisions that led to the lone presidential resignation in American history.

Moon-howling activists hijack Grassley event, decency
Using ambush tactics and perverting political protest into a beast more akin to anarchy, liberal activists, most of them from outside of Carroll County, turned U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s town hall meeting at New Hope Village Monday into a hostile environment, a showcasing of the rock-bottom worst contemporary America inspires in far too many of its people.

Carroll shouldn't have to "paper the house'
During the televised Academy Awards you’ll never catch an empty seat.

But not everyone in those comfy chairs has earned a spot through talent or competition. Some people you see on your screen have never been in a movie, not even as an extra.

King has makings of vice presidential candidate
AMES — U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was without peer on stage Saturday at the Iowa Republican straw poll in Ames.

He connected with the Hilton Coliseum audience, largely populated with the state’s most active conservatives, in a way not even his close friend, congressional ally and Iowa straw poll winner Congresswoman Michele Bachmann could.

If you grew up in Carroll, you remember ...
In an era of snarky exchanges and in which trolls rule the lower reaches of comment sections on blogs and Internet sites it’s terrifically heartening to follow the discussion thread on what is becoming an extraordinary Facebook group about Carroll.

As of presstime more than 1,100 people have joined a Facebook group named “If you grew up in Carroll, you remember …”

Don't disrespect past generations by snubbing future ones
“Because you don’t have kids, you don’t have a complete heart, Mr. Burns,” read a note from a subscriber angry with my recent “conservative” opinion about free-and-reduced lunches in public schools.

Looking back at Carroll's Big 3 with eye on future
If gamblers at the track get three good horses in a race, they call it a trifecta.

Trifectas involve a lot of luck — and they can pay off big.

Carroll residents, past and present, were fortunate to hit their own trifecta of sorts when it came to city leaders over much of the last century as three men of enormous character, integrity and vision played critical roles in turning a simple, western Iowa farming town into a thriving, progressive city.

Hitting campuses with all the right moves
It’s time for the annual college column.

I’ve run this the last several summers and received many letters and calls suggesting that we continue publishing the piece each year. I had decided to retire this column after 2005, but had a few more requests to run it from people last week. This columnist, a 41-year-old who went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., from 1987 to 1991 with an early generation home computer and made it through without a cell phone, may not be the right person to dispense advice to Carroll-area kids about their first weeks of college.

Why you should love your dentist
Three veteran Carroll dentists did something remarkable the other day.

They made me absolutely love the thought of thousands of people going to the dentist — as long as that doesn’t include me, of course.

WHATS?! REAL motivation behind library ATTACKS!!!!
WHENEVER! somebody sends you AN EMAIL with LOTS and LOTS!!! of words and numerals CAPITALIZED in a message bubble-gum smacked with excited punctuation!!!!! you wonder if it is worth your  eyes’ time — or whether it is just eye-rolling.


Republican door cracked for Jeb Bush
Newt Gingrich, with a strong and affable appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday in the books, is now on a major campaign swing through Iowa — one that includes a 4 p.m. stop Thursday at the Santa Maria Winery in Carroll. The Georgia Republican, and former U.S. Speaker of the House, is amassing an Iowa staff. Word is Carroll High School alum Katie Koberg is on board with Team Newt 2012.

Is Denison actually bigger than Carroll?
DENISON — The city manager and mayor here think Denison, which saw an official 13 percent population jump in the last decade, is actually, for real, folks-on-the-ground, hearts-beating-in-the-city-limits-at-bedtime now larger than Carroll. Maybe.

Which president should get first Trump elevator ride
For weeks and weeks one Donald Trump had the opportunity to fire facial contortionist, head-spinning philosopher Gary Busey from NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The 'toxically narcissistic' Democrat who fooled Iowa
Dirt bag.

A yellowed dictionary is within arm’s length, as is a thesaurus. And I have a 20-year career as a writer, full of analogies and published articles on which to draw, for terms to describe John Edwards. I’ve interviewed him personally as well. But after you read Andrew Young’s “The Politician,” the dishy but solidly sourced insider’s account of the political career of the former vice presidential candidate, the word hanging in the fore, refusing to give up its front row seat in my assessment of Edwards’ actions is “dirt bag.”

Mike Bruning: An American treasure
You could read an American history book.

Or know Merlin “Mike” Bruning of Carroll who passed away at St. Anthony Regional Hospital last week at age 85.

Don't be fooled by the 'smartest' guys in the room
Early on in the Academy Award-winning documentary “Inside Job,” a film chronicling the reckless investment behavior that led to the recession, we learn about a neurological phenomenon. It's revelatory.


The tragedy of waiting for Superman
There should be a test. What, you have a problem with that? As President George W. Bush said, “You don’t like tests? Too bad.” Here’s the test: All educators and lawmakers, and parents for that matter, should watch the devastatingly good documentary “Waiting for Superman.” If you don’t cry or slam your first on the coffee table in the final minutes, as you watch grade-schoolers endure a lottery system to determine whether they’ll attend college-prep charter schools or neighborhood dropout factories, you don’t get to vote on education issues — or raise kids.
Carroll's Nelson leading New York Times source

In a refreshing and exceptionally informative article on arguably the most important of family issues, what happens to money and assets when people die and how to manage such matters, The New York Times Feb. 10 quoted Iowa Savings Bank’s Michel Nelson, vice president and senior trust officer at the institution.

Most important Iowans? Readers say Hoover, Wayne
Over the last several weeks the Daily Times Herald has been running an online poll at carrollspaper.com. We do this from time to time, asking serious questions (about elections and public-policy issues) and supercilious ones (what is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?). The homepage poll, which remains active, now poses this sweeping question: Who is the most important Iowan in history?
The one-shoe Republican Party
At first blush the argument is flush with inspiration for the Obama suspicioners. We hear it all the time, from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to Tea Party rallies to the Rotary Club: This health-care reform is pinned on a mandate, the detractors say. “Obama’s forcing us to buy something, and that something is health insurance,” the opponents of health-care reform rail on. “And that’s as un-American as, well, things like the president’s name and the State of Hawaii and recycling and dudes buying facial moisturizers.”

Why supervisors should keep public work diaries
It’s perhaps the greatest open — and long-running — question about local government in the Carroll area. Are members of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors paid too much? Do they earn that $26,000 in annual pay, plus health insurance and a robust retirement plan.

Absent characters, our town loses some of its own
Somewhere between a drive and a 9-iron shot on hole No. 18 Dr. Jack Donovan made an observation that leaps from my memory to the foreground of so many events and situations here in Carroll today. Where have all the characters gone? We used to have so many, the good doctor despaired as we made our way around the Carroll Country Club with our friend David Wunschel, now living in Washington State, one morning a few years ago.

Remembering what a congresswoman really does
The currency of our democracy is accessibility, the ability to walk right up to a member of Congress at a town hall and ask for help with your Medicare issue, challenge her on a health-care vote or solicit support for your son’s ambitions to attend the U.S. Military Academy. We so often think of our politicians through a “West Wing” sense, with high drama, a la the now-syndicated NBC show, and Lincoln-Douglas debates, eloquent speeches filling the days. High-minded stuff. But much of what makes a legislator is the schedule-taxing, not-so-thrilling work of constituent services, exactly what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was doing in Tucson Saturday morning
10 predictions for the New Year


No Dukakis moments in Sarah Palin's Alaska
No Michael Dukakis problems fester for former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose highly popular show on TLC, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” shows us that she’s an authentic rural gal, an outdoorswoman, who effortlessly handles guns, dogs and fish — as well as the shotgun seat of an RV.
No Tom Sawyer tricks, Rye volunteers lovin' it
TEMPLETON — Kevin Boersma shrugged and cracked a grin of disbelief. I returned the expression and added a double take for good measure. “You mean, they’re working for free?” I asked as we watched more than a dozen volunteers help bottle and label and otherwise prepare Templeton Rye’s eagerly awaited Batch 4 for shipment to state regulators and on to retailers like Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits in Carroll for early December sales.
Nielands inspire with Christmas dance
Randy and Debbie Nieland, thanks to the good- natured prodding of friends, found themselves a big part of the show one recent Sunday — as guest dancers on the C.Y. Stephens stage as well-known pianist and entertainer Lorie Line and her musical team played “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.” Stephens staff said the official attendance at the Line concert was 1,019 people.
Annual cost for Iowa prisoner stands at $31,500
This morning, the prisoner count in the Iowa Department of Corrections, the state’s prison system, stood at 8,907 convicts. It’s an expensive operation when one considers that the average annual cost to house an inmate is $31,500 — $86.35 a day to be exact.And the money comes from us, the taxpayers. “It’s not like we have a very effective alumni association,” quipped Art Neu, the Carroll attorney who is the vice chairman of the state’s Board of Corrections, which oversees the prison system.

Rubio: Settle for VP or shoot the moon?

It’s easy to dismiss Marco Rubio as a presidential candidate with the simple analysis that there’s not nearly enough time. He’d have to begin a campaign before he even dipped his spoon into the Senate soup. But, as he looks around the potential Republican presidential field, Rubio is well within reason, comfortable outside the boundaries of hubris, to believe he’d have a real shot at the nomination itself.

A Carroll teaching family that keeps on giving
In today’s Daily Times Herald we have a Page 1 feature on Sandy Edwards, a highly respected teacher who recently retired from Fairview Elementary School after a four-decades-long career. (She’s still an active substitute so her presence remains in the school she continues to help shape.) Mrs. Edwards taught about a thousand kids in her career, but if you listen to her former students, some speaking to us 25 years or more after their own third-grade experiences, one would think they were the only kids in the class, such was Edwards’ special skills at making individual students feel special.
The passing of a great neighbor
Good fences make good neighbors? Hah. The people who say that never met Gordon Harry Fordyce, the World War II and Korean War veteran who lived in the home just to the west of me in the friendly confines of Carroll’s Rolling Hills. We were neighbors for about five years.Mr. Fordyce, 83, died last week at his home of an apparent heart attack.

Check out our new online calendar
The new version of our Web site, carrollspaper.com, contains many features designed to increase interaction with readers and make it possible for you to get more information and news to us.
KAUL: Fly the unfriendly skies, if you dare
Before the old year passes out of sight and I’ve broken the last of my New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to relieve myself of a few opinions I didn’t unload when I should have. For example:

The Friendly Skies: I have never been a great fan of flying, an experience I compare unfavorably to being strapped into your seat in a stagecoach as it travels through hostile Indian country. At least a stagecoach has scenery.

5 travel questions for Cathy Greteman
In a feature story on Jan. 5 we focused on Cathy Greteman of Carroll who was just elected as chairman and CEO of the National Tour Association.

We asked Greteman her opinion on five travel questions. Here they are:

Health-care bill burns tanning salons
With controversy centering on the vague yet now-politically explosive term “public option” and long-running battles over abortion assuming center stage in the health-care reform debate some local businesses are feeling more than a bit blindsided by one element of a U.S. Senate-passed plan.

The U.S. Senate, on a party-line vote, passed a sweeping heath-care bill that includes a 10 percent federal sales tax on tanning salons.

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