Ending months of talks, and a lockout, the National Basketball Association (NBA) will resume play on Christmas day. Talk about a lousy gift -- a lump of coal in the stocking looks good compared to watching ten millionaires with oversized egos (height, too) playing a game similar to one of yesteryear, where finesse and teamwork were important.
The hittee, to the hitter in the airport lounge -- "I like your approach... I'd like to see your departure."
If you'd like to see Iowa's political importance diminished, attend your Republican caucus on January 3 and support one of the candidates with very little chance of winning the presidency. If Bachmann, Cain (9-9-9 now is nein/nein/nein), Paul or Perry (and maybe Santorum) win or run strong, Iowa will be viewed as selecting a loser. Really, please don't do that, for the caucuses are very important to improving Iowa's image and economy.
The rest of the nation continues to claim, with some accuracy, that Iowa's views don't represent the country. Accuracy aside, the east coast and left coast would be better off if they followed us in many respects -- but not the one above.
A group, Iowans for Christian Leaders in Government, does not like Bob Vander Plaats liking Newt Gingrich. Vander Plaats, head of the The Family Leader group, has been perceived as leaning toward supporting Newt Gingrich, according to several sources. Bob Vander Plaats, like many of us, wants to be with a winner. Gingrich (who secured $200,000 for The Family Leader, led by BVP), might be his "ticket outta here," if indeed, as some say, that is what he is aiming for.
Several of Iowa's social-conservative groups announced some time ago that they would meet and select (anoint) a presidential candidate. Ringleader Vander Plaats now finds himself between the proverbial rock and a hard spot. After limiting themselves to considering only Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum, the group has been unable to reach a conclusion. I imagine some lively, and probably heated, conversation took place. Of the four, only Gingrich has a chance to become president this time around and he really doesn't fit their mold.
Partially because he hasn't spent much time here, the group would not consider Mitt Romney, who other than being a Mormon, fits their mold better than Gingrich. He is perhaps (with Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul) the most untainted of the leading candidates. His campaign is relying on some carryover support from the last go-around and has been up to now, concentrating on other key states. That doesn't sit well with Vander Plaats, and others who are accustomed to Republican candidates "kissing their ring," so to speak.
So, if BVP and the group endorse Bachmann, Perry or Santorum, they are leaving the best horses in the barn. If he individually endorses Gingrich his standing with social conservatives will be diminished.
After seeing Black Friday advertisements by retailers offering ridiculously low prices known as "loss leaders," I was reminded of our domestic fair-trade laws. While foreign trade laws are intended to protect Americans from foreign "dumping" goods on us at below the cost of production, domestic laws protected the manufacturer and distributor. Distributors and wholesalers, by the way, are becoming a thing of the past as larger retailers can buy direct.
Resale "price maintenance" was first used in the 1880s after brand names became more important, and competition among retailers increased. Had those practices continued, the mega-stores wouldn't have the major purchasing advantage they now enjoy over mom and pop retailers. For many consumers the huge selection, and advertising by the "megas" trumps the superior service, the local convenience and prices that are often competitive, which is offered locally by merchants who own their own stores.
Domestic fair-trade laws were first enacted in California in 1931 to protect small retailers and druggists, and most states followed suit. Although often contested in court, they were exempted from antitrust laws in 1937, so a manufacturer could continue to dictate minimum retail prices.
By 1956, eight state supreme courts had ruled against fair-trade statutes and by 1975, fair trade had been eliminated in 25 states. Manufacturers were no longer able to dictate the retail price at which their goods could be sold, which was at the heart of fair-trade laws. Although declining after World War II, some elements remain, although the practice is prohibited in some countries.
You can still add your number to the free Do Not Call Registry. Call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register, or go to www.donotcall.gov
Don Paulin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236 -30-