Are you the type of person who writes little notes to yourself so that you can write a letter, a blog, or an article later?  I want to say that I’m that person, but I’m not.  It’s not from a lack of desire to be more organized; it’s just that my mind won’t let me slow down enough to remember where I was before I made the note.  It’s a sign of getting older.

I have questions.  Over the past few months, I have built up a memory of items that I need to get out of my head. 

This blog began when I read a May 9th article from Carol Hunter, the Des Moines Register’s executive editor.  Ms. Hunter was explaining why the Register used the word “approximately” when reporting the number of COVID19 cases in Iowa.  Her response to a writer:

It turns out that there was a math discrepancy in the numbers the state had reported that morning. The number of total cases in Iowa to date that it reported was five fewer than the number of new cases added to the previous day’s total. Math errors happen. Our staff decided, correctly I believe, to report the “nearly 400” estimate until the discrepancy could be resolved.

But hey, math errors cannot happen with the Iowa Caucuses?  The difference in numbers being counted – caucuses vs. Coronavirus cases – is huge.  If it can’t keep a small number like 400 accurate, the Register should move out of its glass house.  It was the media leader in beating the dead horse with stories about inaccurate counts of the caucuses?

That’s just an observation.

Rule 12 of the Iowa Rules Regarding Lobbyists states: “A lobbyist shall not cause or influence the introduction of any bill or amendment for the purpose of being employed to secure its passage or defeat.”  Basically, that’s what lobbyists do. 

Several years ago, Stephanie and I approached the Ethics Committees in both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.  We suggested a language change since the Rule 12 sentence was confusing.

The reply we received was that everyone knows what that sentence means, so there’s no need to change it.  Well, shortly after that, a new agency was born, and the first executive director of the agency was the lead lobbyist in creating the agency.  We asked the committees for clarification.  Did the lobbyist “cause or influence the introduction of” the bill creating the agency “for the purpose of being employed”?  No, supposedly, that’s not what it means.  Then, what in hell does it mean?

That’s just an observation.

I received my absentee ballot this past week.  I will have voted by the time this is posted.  Iowa’s very own stable genius, the Iowa Secretary of State, has provided instructions on completing my absentee ballot.

Instruction #3 states [in bold]:

If a secrecy envelope was provided, place the voted ballot in the secrecy envelope.  If no secrecy envelope was provided, go to step 4. 

Step #4 says to [also in bold]:

Place the voted ballot or the secrecy envelope containing the voted ballot in the return affidavit envelope.

I’m smart enough to figure it out, but wouldn’t it have been less confusing to use fewer words in step #4, such as: “Place the voted ballot in the return affidavit envelope”?  The instructions already indicated what to do if a secrecy envelope was provided.

That’s just an observation.

Now, I’m observing the media again.  There are several stories about face masks; who’s wearing them and who is not.  What about gloves?  I feel that gloves are more important than face masks. 

Granted, wearing a face mask may protect you from touching your face, but doesn’t it work both ways – protecting others from your projections, and protecting you from bad breath?  The hands are the instruments that touch things other people have touched.

Consider this.  You go to the grocery store and you are wearing your mask.  Good for you.  However, you pick up a can of green beans and you’re not wearing gloves.  How do you know that can of beans has not been picked up and put back in place by someone without gloves who is symptomatic?  Huh?  They could have coughed while holding that can of beans.  Now, their tiny little virus babies on are your hands.  You can go home and wash your hands, but the little baby viruses are on the steering wheel, the door to the house, etc.  Alternatively, you can rip those gloves off after walking out of the store and throw them in a trash receptacle that should be placed somewhere near the front door of the store. 

I think gloves are more important than masks, but that’s just an observation.

Finally, many people have now watched the Jimmie Kimmel film where he shows Vice President Pence moving empty boxes to the front door of a nursing home.  [Don’t look for it; it’s been taken down.]  USA Today conducted a fact check and discovered that those boxes were not empty.  That’s great investigative work!

However, the fact check story is missing some very prominent gaffes in the photo op.  First of all, that’s all it was – a photo op.  What purpose did the photo op serve?  That VP Pence is hard at work personally delivering Personal Protection Equipment?  I applaud him for finding a real job, but he was not wearing gloves (see statement above); he was not wearing a mask; he was at the front door of a nursing home where the rest of America cannot get within a sidewalk away; none of the supporting staff with him were wearing masks or gloves; and they were all grouped together – not six feet apart.  But the boxes were not empty.

It wasn’t that long after the photo op that two of his staff and several secret service agents tested positive.  I’m thinking: maybe the boxes weren’t empty, but the nursing home might have been.  If not, it might be today.  But . . .

that’s just an observation.

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1 Response to Observations

  1. Rita Carter says:

    I’ve wondered about the gloves, too. Grocery & other workers need them as well as shoppers.

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