HOT SHEET: Monkeys are taking selfies and the Peeps are on hiatus

From the Desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The knockdown, drag-out brawl between Des Moines public schools and Gov. Kim Reynolds continues. Iowa’s largest school district is suing the state for an exemption from Reynolds’ order that districts provide at least halftime in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Des Moines school officials argue they can’t adequately social distance, especially in their high school classrooms. Des Moines schools continue to defy the governor’s orders and offer online-only instruction. Meanwhile, Reynolds’ minions in the Iowa Department of Education are threatening to strip Des Moines schools of their accreditation. The whole thing feels like a Popeye-versus-Brutus throwdown and nobody has a can of spinach. We live in a society that doesn’t seem to give a good goddamn about right and wrong, only which team they’re on. So people inclined to believe Reynolds is the best governor Iowa’s had since Terry Branstad will likely back her “smack them on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper” approach. Those inclined to believe Des Moines schools are doing what they believe is best for their students, faculty and staff based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations will likely see the governor as a big meanie for asserting her lawful powers. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker can’t help but wonder how Gov. Bob Ray would have handled this situation. He tended to be the kind of fellow who found the middle ground with opponents and worked out compromises that served people rather than party or power. Of course, Ray is dead, and his brand of politics preceded his death by a good 20 years. So, in the absence of even a granule of moderation, Iowans are doomed to watch schools fight the state – apparently to the death.

ITEM TWO: Campaign minions for Iowa’s Dollar Store Sarah Palin, Sen. Joni Ernst, is lying about her challenger’s support of law enforcement to score points with her base, per an article on the left-leaning website Iowa Starting Line. The right-wing website Breitbart, which Hot Sheet refuses to link to the way one would not eat food off a gas station restroom floor, attacked Ernst opponent Theresa Greenfield for “calling all Iowa police departments racist.” What Greenfield actually said, in an interview with WHO-TV : “I can tell you we do need to address systemic racism, not only in our policing but in our housing policies and systems, in education, in health care, in financing, lending, and so much more.” Earlier this month, ol’ Empty Suit Ernst riled up her followers with more lies about Greenfield’s views on law enforcement. “My opponent, just about a week ago, said that our law enforcement officials, right here in the state of Iowa, are systemically racist … which means that every single sheriff’s deputy, sheriff, every police officer, every trooper out there, she’s calling them racist. I don’t believe that, do you? No. … I’m going to stand with our men and women in blue.” Surely, we haven’t gone through all of this social upheaval this year just to come to the moronic conclusion that one is either for Black Lives Matter or for the police. If all Ernst offers is more with-us-or-against-us mentality, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker hopes Sen. Pig Castration finds herself on the cutting room floor come November.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker must make an embarrassing correction. Earlier this week, the typist wrote about the death of his 92-year-old grandmother, Lois Newcomb. But it turns out, Lois’ first name was actually Margaret. The typist has been a member of this family for almost 30 of his 45 years and not once has heard the name Margaret mentioned until her obituary was published online Thursday. An investigation to the cover-up is ongoing.

ITEM FOUR: Quarantined pending COVID-19 test results.

ITEM FIVE: “Planet of the Apes” is closer to reality than you might think. A Malaysian teenager reported his smartphone was stolen by a monkey, who used it to take selfies and videos before burying it the mud behind his family’s home, the Associated Press reports. On the one hand, the monkey’s grasp of technology is terrifying. On the other, since the primate used it to take selfies, one can assume when the primates rise up to take control of the Earth, their culture will be as vapid and self-obsessed as it was under human control.

ITEM LAST: If there’s any good news to come from COVID-19, it’s this note out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Pandemic protocols forced the company that makes Peeps to pause production until next Easter, per the AP. That means none of those horrible marshmallow confections coated in a hard sugar crust dyed in colors that are an abomination to nature will be available for Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Hot Sheet respects this news may be triggering to some, but the ol’ Paragraph Stacker suggests you get yourself a couple bags of Snickers and learn what real candy tastes like.

We can close the book on this one. Donate if you can, we sure need the help.

Until next time, behave and be kind.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit


  1. droll53 says:

    Quarantined? Oh no. All my prayers your way.

    They say Peeps are fun in a microwave. I’ve watched YouTube.

    Racism is real. Everywhere. You will never make changes until we admit that. And we can’t change anything when our policy makers use fear mongering mass generalizations. I am proud of the police in DSM. They show compassion and restraint in scary and personally dangerous situations. Not all departments are like that. But you can’t call them bad just because they are police. You also can’t call them *good* because they are police. It’s how they do their job; the way they are either building community or trying “own” it. I want our country to be better; to do that we need to grow into the compassionate regard for all life, and make sure everyone has opportunity, not just the people we choose.

    Please stay safe and well. (These blogs are so good. And yes, that’s pretty selfish on my part. 😉


  2. Jen says:

    Too bad there isn’t an alternative weekly in Des Moines for your writing. You’d be a natural. (I’m old enough to remember Pointblank, Jon Gaskel’s breakaway paper that challenged Cityview for a few years.)


    1. I think for an alternative weekly to work, the thing that it is an alternative too has to be worthy of attention.


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