Tanks in Washington and other July 4 links

President Donald Trump has ordered a military parade and flyover in Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day. He’s been wanting to stage this kind of display since his first year in office.

The production will cost millions of additional dollars and shut down air traffic to and from Reagan National Airport for hours. Republican donors and VIPs will get special passes to watch the festivities in a restricted area. Traditionally, all July 4 events in the nation’s capital have been free and open to the public.

The National Park Service is diverting $2.5 million “primarily intended to improve parks across the country” to cover a “fraction of the extra costs,” the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe reported on July 2. The “entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million,” a former Park Service deputy director told the newspaper. Costs could escalate if the heavy military equipment damages streets.

Continue Reading...

Brent’s Trail: Envisioning a state trail through the Loess Hills of western Iowa

Patrick Swanson describes a project to highlight “the unusual geology and scenic value of the Loess Hills, their importance as a wildlife corridor and a home to the largest tracts of native remnant prairie left in the state, and the presence of many protected areas along the backbone of the hills.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Earlier this month, I attended the dedication of Brent’s Trail, a new eight-mile hiking trail in Harrison County, near the town of Little Sioux, that links Murray Hill Scenic Overlook, Loess Hills State Forest, and Gleason-Hubel Wildlife Area.

The idea of a long-distance trail through the Loess Hills was envisioned by Brent Olson, whose career as area forester for the Loess Hills State Forest spanned 25 years before his untimely death in 2016 from cancer at age 53. His vision was championed by those who followed to create such a trail and name it in his honor.

Continue Reading...

Come on, progressives

Bruce Lear challenges Joe Biden’s critics on the left: “For me, Biden’s record shows he understood tactics could be compromised as long as core principles remained untouched.” -promoted by Laura Belin

When I bargained educator contracts and became exasperated, I often resorted to the tried and true, “COME ON.” Until now, I really haven’t felt a need to use it.

So here goes: COME ON, progressives. Do you really think the way to separate yourselves from Vice President Joe Biden is to criticize him for getting stuff done in the 1970s by working with some pretty despicable, but elected senators? COME ON.

Continue Reading...

Society, socialism are collectivist concepts

In the turbid arguments of screen socialists and comment-section capitalists, Gwen Hope elucidates the ironic truth behind society’s collectivist roots. -promoted by Laura Belin

Socialism, along with its typically-juxtaposed companion, capitalism, are virile terms capable of inciting endless vitriol. Meaning countless different things to nigh-countless different people, these terms can singlehandedly turn friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and online threads ablaze like another of one of history’s great fires.

However, if you wade into those frothing comments sections, you’ll find more is similar than it appears. Most, if not all, of the systems and positions typically argued-for exist within the context of a society with formalized organization, a government, yet most of my fellow keyboard-tappers are oblivious to the true irony of the situation. For, in fact, the idea of a society itself is a collectivist notion which makes it kin to socialism, which also finds root in the collective.

Continue Reading...

Memorial Day: Iowans fallen in wars

President Donald Trump reportedly considered pardoning Americans accused or convicted of war crimes on this Memorial Day. Fox News personalities, not military officials, have pushed for the pardons, which “could erode the legitimacy of military law and undercut good order and discipline in the ranks.”

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner wrote, “These contemplated pardons represent a degradation — not a celebration — of Memorial Day.” Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, commented that Trump’s “idea that being sent to fight makes you automatically into some kind of war criminal is a slander against veterans.”

Since Memorial Day (first known as Decoration Day) is supposed to be about honoring Americans who died during military service, let’s take a moment to consider those soldiers.

Continue Reading...
View More...