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Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

Cheap Computers, City Councils and Pomposity

Monday, June 13, 2011

The lecture series giving some potential Republican presidential candidates an opportunity to broadcast their message throughout Iowa is a good idea, but calling political stump speeches a "lecture" seems a bit pompous. Truth in advertising would require using the words boring and repetitious.

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A few things I hope to never hear again; "Waiter, can I have...." (In the first place it is /may/, not can, and, you are placing an order, not requesting a favor). "That's just my opinion." (Of course it is). "Just a second." (Whoa -- it /never/ takes just a sec) "/They/ say...." (Tell me who they are). "I have a question." (Just state it). And, to a talk show host, "How are you?" (That's why you called, to see how he is?) "Please hold, your call is important to us," (Could just as well be followed by, "But not so important that we will actually /talk/ to you.") Hearing "I'm good," as opposed to "no thank you," makes me want to say, "I don't really care how you are, I just wanted to know if you wanted more coffee."Or finally, "I'm just sayin," (I /heard/ you).

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Many Iowans say they really don't care if government shuts down as long as it doesn't affect them. It would, maybe later, but more likely sooner.

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Some news media types are concerned that Governor Branstad won't reveal the plan for shutting down Iowa government, should no budget agreement be reached by July first. DUH! Although it would make interesting reading, announcing those details prematurely would be as dumb as announcing when we will pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. What? You say we did that?

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Confusion at the end of legislative sessions is the norm, although this year is especially chaotic. I threw sand in the gears a time or two, especially the time I put up posters announcing a softball game. It was traditional for the House to oppose the Senate, or both play the lobbyists and press, but no game had been played that year. We expected to wrap it up on Saturday, but on Thursday I dummied up posters announcing a game for the following Tuesday, and posted them around the Capitol.

Senate majority leader Bill Hutchins went berserk when he saw one. I had clued House leadership in on the joke so when Hutch stormed into Speaker Don Avenson's office waving the poster, Don let him ramble on and then said something like, "Hutch, you know Paulin -- he's just pulling your leg!" We adjourned on Saturday as I recall. By all accounts, humor is a scarce commodity in the Iowa Legislature these days -- I'm just sayin'.

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A good reason not to consider electing all council members at large in any city is to prevent "clustering." Clustering of several members geographically can result in similar, not diverse, thinking. Like minded people tend to live in the same area, particularly clustering in areas of churches, schools, even wealth, or the less wealthy. This isn't as prevalent as in the past, but council members should represent both geographic area and philosophical viewpoints.

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Most Americans still believe government workers work less and make more money than those employed by private companies. Only eleven percent of adults polled in a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey think those employed by the government work harder than workers in the private sector, while 66% say those employed by private companies work harder. Twenty-three percent are not sure.

Fifty-two percent now think the average government worker earns more annually than the average private sector employee, down from a high of 61% last April. Twenty-six percent disagree and say government workers do not earn more, while 22% are not sure.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans also believe that government workers have more job security than those employed in the private sector, a number that's been trending down from 77% in surveys since April 2010. Fifteen percent say government workers have less job security, and 14% say the level of job security is about the same.

Are you aware that hundreds of businesses offer discounts to federal government employees? Retailers, restaurants, insurers, hotels, on-liners, auto manufacturers, electronics, and travel business are offering the discounts, usually 5% to 15%. Many include military retirees, too.

I am all for active military personnel receiving breaks but why should any federal employee be able to purchase a refrigerator or a computer ten percent cheaper than you, a policeman, a teacher, firefighter, or a county employee, for example, can?

What do you think? Don Paulin 7557 30th AV, Norwalk, IA 50211. 2carpenterdon@gmail.com. 515-201-7236 -30-

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That