# 344, November 19, 2004
WATERLOO, Iowa: This is farm country, and I’m in Iowa to pick up some tips on modern practices. Down near Burlington the Mitchell family is trying a lot of new ideas, not only for better farming but for better living.
This is a fine farm family, like most of them, with young Clay Mitchell, his dad and mom, and an uncle and maybe a cousin or two, thinking up fresh designs to grow more with less time and labor and expenses, and preserve this precious black Iowa topsoil. It wasn’t just me that was here to learn, a bus load of farmers from Germany came to look over the machinery. The way they run their planter, sprayer and combine is getting attention, and they deserve it.
Naturally I checked out the political news for you. I do have one surprise to report… I’ve been in Iowa two days, and haven’t seen or heard a single Presidential candidate. But that don’t mean there’s no news. I read in the Courier… the fine newspaper that has the challenge to satisfy subscribers in both Waterloo and Cedar Falls… that Senator Tom Harkin says the Democrats would be foolish not to name Governor Vilsack to lead the Democratic National Committee back from oblivion or wherever they went after Nov. 2. Well, not only is the governor a fine man, he is sure to get the job, because no Democrat running for President in 2008 would dare oppose an Iowa Democrat for DNC chair, unless maybe New Hampshire put up a candidate, and then they would want them both as co-chairs.
The big Democratic news this week is the dedication of the William J. Clinton Library in Arkansas. They held the ceremony yesterday and it rained all day on them. It’s a beautiful new building, they spent $165,000,000 on it (which works out to about $1750 per book), and you would expect them to set aside sufficient floor space to set up a stage and a hundred or so temporary seats under roof. When you’re putting on a show attended by a half dozen Presidents (counting former, current and prospects) you shouldn’t count on a $5 umbrella and a pair of galoshes to stand between them and pneumonia. President Clinton can be proud of this wonderful edifice, and I look forward to seeing it.
Now I couldn’t get down to Little Rock, but I did the next best thing. I stopped at another Presidential Library, one dedicated to Herbert Hoover in his home town of West Branch, Iowa. And not to be outdone by Arkansas, it rained here too. Now Mr. Hoover had the unfortunate distinction of presiding over the 1929 stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression, kinda like George W presided over September 11, so he is looked down on in some circles. But let me point this out to you… yes, it was raining yesterday at the Hoover Library, but not a single person was asked to sit outside.
You probably read recently about these overweight airline passengers costing millions of dollars in extra jet fuel. Seems we’ve gained 10 pounds on average in the last 15 years. Well, I ran into an airline that’s tackling this problem of obese passengers head on. I flew here on Comair… actually flew to Moline, Illinois, and rented a Buick…, but back to my story, these Comair flight attendants offered us not just your usual pretzels or raisins or half dozen peanuts, but rather these Atkins low carb Advantage bars. What a treat for us low carb dieters. They said it’s a trial, and if passengers like them, they’ll become a regular item. So fly Comair and they’ll help you stay on your diet.
I appreciate the effort from Comair, and once all these airlines get back to making a little profit I’ll suggest another tasty low carb menu item: steak.
The big excitement around here is tomorrow’s game between Iowa and Wisconsin.** The Hawkeyes haven’t lost at home is 3 or 4 years, so these folk are mighty optimistic. I’ve got to fly to Columbus tonight to go to another big college football game. See if maybe Ohio State can rain on Michigan’s Rose Bowl Parade.
**Update: Ohio State stormed Michigan 37-21 in a big upset. But then Iowa knocked off Wisconsin, which let Michigan back into the Rose Bowl after all.
Historic quote from Will Rogers:
“Should Mr. Hoover lose [the election this Tuesday], I don’t think there is a person that wouldn’t feel downright sorry for him, for he certainly has meant well and did all he could, and I expect it won’t be long till we will be feeling just as sorry for Roosevelt.
This President business is a pretty thankless job. Washington or Lincoln either one didn’t get a statue till everybody was sure they was dead.” DT # 1951, Nov. 4, 1932