comics, des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, Movies, politics, Pop Culture

COVID Kim Reynolds cracks, issues mask order but not before making Iowans look like a bunch of dummies

ITEM FIRST: COVID Kim cracked. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds finally issued a statewide mask order. The long-overdue order came 9 months into a pandemic that has killed more than 2,000 Iowans. It came a day after COVID Kim made national headlines babbling about science on “both sides” of masks for preventive measures against the spread. After all that, COVID Kim bent her knee and issued the order. Who knows what prevented her from doing so earlier? Pride? After yesterday’s laughable assertion that there is science that suggests masks might not help the spread, was she playing to her base — the big dummies who shout “I have a right to breath O2 and not CO2” at Starbucks clerks? Then again, who knows how many lives could have been saved if she’d ordered it back in March when things started to get bad. Even one would have been worth it. Reynolds doesn’t face reelection for another three years. One hopes Iowa voters remember her haplessness and foolishness in times of crisis. She is unfit for office and has made Iowa look like a state governed by morons.

ITEM TWO: Former U.S. Sen. Roger Jepsen died Nov. 13 at 90. The Cedar Falls native had a colorful single term before being ousted by Tom Harkin in 1984. Law enforcement caught Jepsen using the commuter lane in Washington, D.C. Such lanes are meant for carpoolers, but Jepsen didn’t think such things applied to a member of Congress. Jepsen also admitted to using kinky massage parlors while serving as senator. His constituents were not pleased and moderate voters dispensed with Jepsen in favor of liberal street fighter Harkin. Thirty-five years ago, some bad driving and a trip to a “massage parlor” was enough that Iowans sent a politician into the private sector. Today’s Iowa voter gave An 8-point victory to a known philanderer who never knew a rule that applied to him and likes to “grab (women) by the pussy.” Growing up, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker read story after story about the “brain drain” — young, college educated people leaving Iowa for the bright lights and big city. The typist never thought much of it, but between COVID Kim and now living in Trumpistan, maybe this is what happens when most of the smart people leave.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker slurped ice tea over lunch at the bar of a local restaurant when the manager rushed out into the hall and asked everyone to leave the bar area. The word on the street was a restaurant had been fined $500 for not obeying the governor’s new COVID restrictions, which included not having people sitting at bars. What agency levied the fine or where it was laid down, the typist didn’t know. It’s good there’s an effort to put some enforcement teeth in these regulations. Restaurants probably should be closed as should all other non-essential businesses. The typist doesn’t want businesses to suffer any more than they already have, but hard choices need to be made if this pandemic is ever to lift. Of course this would be a lot easier if those greedy, grandstanding hustlers had passed a meaningful stimulus package that would have provided money to soften the blow for businesses and extended unemployment for people displaced by COVID. But of course those fuckers aren’t going to do anything except pound their chests in tribal grunts and nobody wants to interrupt Trump’s golf schedule.

ITEM FOUR: Let’s get to something fun, namely new comics Wednesday recommendations.

  • Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: Defender of the Daleks — The Doctor has been absent from our TV screens for a long time and the hero’s return is welcome in this multimedia event that ponders what would happen if the Doctor turned evil in the Time War.
  • Rick and Morty Presents Vol. 2 — The “Rick and Morty” cartoon on Adult Swim is the best thing ever, but it suffers massive gaps between releases of new episodes. The comics really help with that. These side trips involving ancillary characters such as Unity and Mr. Meeseeks salve the burn for more animated adventures.

ITEM LAST: Rumors suggest Warner Bros. might release potential blockbuster “Wonder Woman ‘84” in hybrid form to theaters and on HBOMax. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker loves the idea of not having to leave the house to see new movies, but he hates the idea that it might drive a stake into what was once a staple of American entertainment. Regardless of what happens, when it comes to “WW84,” take my money and let me see it.

Daniel P. Finney is calm like a bomb.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

humor, mental health, People, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

HOT SHEET: 2020 Sadness Machine cranks out two more blows; more jokes to learn and say; and trick-or-treat rules

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: Two dozen of us stood under and around a tent spiked to a hilly expanse at Highland Memorial Gardens to say goodbye to our beloved Lois Newcomb, mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother.

The pastor reminded us Jesus shared our grief. When Jesus went to the tomb of his old friend Lazarus, he saw the sadness in the faces of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus knew he was about to perform the miracle of raising Lazarus. And yet he sanctified grief, expressed in perhaps the greatest sentence ever written: “Jesus wept.”

Family recalled Lois’ open heart, empathy and ability to forgive. Others remember her teaching grandchildren how to drive in the wide lanes of the same cemetery where Lois was laid to rest.

We prayed. A grandson played one of Lois’s favorite songs. We hugged. We shook hands. We cried.

The typist was silent. He saw Grandma Lois as the linchpin that kept a big family together. He hoped her death reminded us we are stronger together than apart and that periodically renewing our shared connection would be the greatest tribute we could pay her.

ITEM TWO: The typist learned late Friday that one of his closest friends has cancer. His wife, a respiratory therapist, contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. It passed to the typist’s friend. His symptoms lingered. Doctors eventually found a mass the size of an orange on one of his kidneys. Treatment includes the loss of a kidney. The prognosis is uncertain.

Again the typist is reminded of how precious life is. We live never really knowing how much time is left on the clock. The typist doesn’t believe in living every day as if it were your last. That would be exhausting.

Instead, look for a moment each day that you can be kind, extend grace and friendship or remind someone they are worthy of dignity and respect. Forgive. Love.

ITEM THREE: Left blank for you to allow readers a moment of peaceful reflection.

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say for Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:

Q: What is a tree’s favorite drink? 

A: Root beer.

Q: What do you call a broken window?

A: A plain in the glass.

Q: Why don’t ducks tell jokes while they are flying? 

A: Because they would quack up.

Q: When does it rain money?

A: When there is a change in the weather.

ITEM FIVE: The maximum age for trick-or-treating is 13 or eighth grade, whichever comes first. High school kids are close enough to jobs and driving that they can get their own candy. Stop begging off the neighbor.

ITEM SIX: Your trick-or-treat mask should be worn over your pandemic mask this year, but you still have to wear your coat over your costume if it’s below freezing.

ITEM LAST: Say thank you. This also applies for anytime someone gives you something or shows kindness.

One day, Daniel P. Finney held aloft his magic sword and said, “By the power of Greyskull …” and after a long pause realized everyone was staring at him, so he put the sword away and went back to eating lunch.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, Faith and Values, humor, Iowa, politics, Pop Culture, Unemployment

HOT SHEET: Apple buys Charlie Brown and drives another nail in network TV

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighbored Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The typist doesn’t like to brag, but when he called his insurance company the other day, he was specially selected to participate in a survey after his business was concluded. Things are looking up.

ITEM TWO: The holiday classics “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will not be on ABC-TV this year. Instead, they will be on streaming service AppleTV+.

A couple of thoughts: First, fuck you, Apple. You greedy hustlers didn’t need to shake down parents and kids for $5 a month just so they can see holiday staples. Your company may make pretty things, but you’re still pretentious assholes.

Second, if network TV can’t afford the rights to cartoons that are both more than 40 years old, what the hell is left? There’s only so many rehashed game shows and garbage soft-core porn reality shows — we’re looking at you, “The Bachelor” — humans can take.

At this point, the networks are a football delivery service with a few sitcoms between games.

ITEM THREE: Mark Twain said: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

Millions of us lost our jobs in the pandemic. Our government failed us. They lied to us about compromise and they played us all as pawns in their political power game.

But if these assholes maintain control after the election, our country failed itself and gets the government it deserves.

ITEM FOUR: As a service to the Des Moines metro youths who will brave the COVID-19 wilds of Beggars’ Night, Item Four will publish four jokes for them to memorize and recite in order to receive candy:

Q: What did the egg say to the frying pan?

A: You crack me up.

Q: How do bulls write?

A: With a bullpen.

Q: How do you get an alien baby to sleep?

A: You rocket.

Q: What did the hurricane say to the island?

A: I’ve got my eye on you!

ITEM FIVE: No, it is not too much to ask children ages 5 to 13 to memorize and recite a silly joke like those above. We’re not asking for a tight 5 for the Funny Bone. Tell a riddle. Get some candy. It’s a nice, innocent tradition.

ITEM SIX: New comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • STRANGER THINGS HALLOWEEN SPECIAL — With the pandemic, it may be a while before we see the series again. Enjoy a spooky one-shot for the season that spawned a show with two great seasons and one “meh” outing.
  • SILVER SURFER: BLACK TPB — One of artist Jack Kirby’s trippiest heroes gets a fresh, poppy book that looks like it needs to be read under a blacklight.
  • ARCHIE AND KATY KEENE TPB — Archie Comics committed to fresh takes on their classic characters about the time the CW series “Riverdale” launched. Katy Keene isn’t the brand name that Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty are, but their revised predecessors were good enough to give this a look.

ITEM LAST: This week marked the first days of the reduced schedule at Jethro’s Drake. The restaurant is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Monday was, of course, Monday Night Football. It would’ve been nice to have a beer and watch the game.

Tuesday was the first game of the World Series. Again, a nice barbecue pork sandwich and green beans would have been a fine accompaniment to the Fall Classic.

Alas, yet more dreams snuffed by the pandemic.

The typist is worried. Hot Sheet is told this move is temporary. But not all Jethro’s survive.

The company tried a pizza and Italian joint in Altoona. It crashed and burned. The first sign of trouble was closing on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The idea that replaced it, Bigfoot, similarly struggled and took Mondays and Tuesdays off before actually crashing and burning.

The biggest problem Jethro’s Drake faces is Drake University. COVID-19 put off fall sports at the school. Winter sports are undecided.

People come to Jethro’s Drake because of all the things at the Knapp Center, Harmon Fine Arts Center and so on.

The survival of Jethro’s Drake is symbiotically related to life at and around Drake. With the students going home for good at Thanksgiving, the near future is bleak.

Daniel P. Finney is a bad boy for breaking her heart. He’s free, free falling.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Newspapers, People, politics, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: If you can figure out what this Hot Sheet is about, you could work for the CIA

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: Remember when everyone thought COVID-19 could be defeated by hoarding toilet paper? The typist just cracked the plastic on the first roll of TP he bought in the hoarding phase in March. 

ITEM TWO: Vice President Mike Pence and challenger Kamala Harris will be separated by plexiglass for their debate Wednesday. This is the only way Pence is comfortable being in the same room with a woman who’s not his wife

ITEM THREE: The typist recently ate a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. It made him rethink his maxim that the worst meal he ever had was wonderful. 

ITEM 4: Has been suspended for 81 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He was found curled up in tech support with a former Mets clubhouse boy and a Hy-Vee sack of Adderall. 

ITEM FIVE: The typist is amused when local radio stations proudly state they are “terrestrial” stations as opposed to those bastards in satellite radio. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker wants true extra-terrestrial radio. He, for one, wants to receive messages from the Vogons when they show up to destroy Earth to make way for another hyperspace throughway. 

ITEM SIX: The previous joke included a reference to Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comedy masterpiece “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” If you have not read it, stop reading the Hot Sheet, acquire a copy of the book and read it at once. The typist takes no responsibility if you laugh so much you pee your pants.

ITEM SEVEN: Two trains leave stations 60 miles apart at the same time heading toward one another on parallel tracks. Train A is traveling 30 miles per hour, while Train B is going 50 miles per hour. When do they pass each other?

ITEM EIGHT: The Hot Sheet has joked. The Hot Sheet has scolded. The Hot Sheet has begged. Now the typist is on the verge of giving in to despair. Congress and the White House have failed to act on a stimulus bill to help America’s unemployed and struggling, numbering at about 21 million nationwide. That number includes me, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker. He has faithfully searched for employment as he started graduate school to become a high school teacher, hoping that our political leaders could put aside their pettiness for the good of the American people and produce a package that enhanced unemployment benefits and gave a stimulus check. The latest news from CNBC quotes Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, as saying both sides remain far apart. The typist foolishly held to the notion that political leaders would act in the best interest of people, if not with everyday legislation, at least in crisis. The typist was wrong. The typist now firmly believes both Democrats and Republicans would rather let this matter fall apart, make Americans suffer and go home to their voters and say, “See, it’s those other jerks who are screwing this up. Vote in more people from my tribe.” Americans don’t trust their government and have grown weary of its impotence. This failure to negotiate in good faith and to reach compromise is a betrayal of the people our Congress serves at a core level. Our government does not have our backs. The typist doesn’t wish to encourage cynicism in advance of an election, but forgive the ol’ Paragraph Stacker if he feels like it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference who occupies those high offices, because in the end, we’re all screwed.

ITEM LAST: The typist is profoundly humbled by the many cards and letters he’s received by postal mail in support of this site and those who have donated money to support it. That money supports not only fees to keep this website independent, but also helps a middle-aged graduate student turn his life around and become a teacher. It embarrasses the typist to solicit money — and he would remind everyone that he thinks no less of those who can’t or choose not to — but if you wish to contribute, the information on how to send money can be found at this link: https://paragraphstacker.com/donations/. In addition, Daniel P. Finney can be found on Venmo and Zelle. The typist thanks all of you for your eyeballs and your kindness. When he lost his job at the local corporate news outlet store, he thought the time of people reading his words were over. You have given the typist new life. He remains humbled and honored.

Daniel P. Finney sleeps ion bedsheets with a pattern of buck-toothed red and blue sharks.

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Cyclones’ brutal bummer, Democrats caught eating meat, Pizza Hutt woes and COVID playlist

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

ITEM ONE: Iowa State fans should thank their higher power of choice for unanswered prayers. Some 25,000 were to be admitted to Saturday’s debacle in Ames before officials came to their senses and remembered the pandemic. The Cyclones stunk up the joint with dropped passes on offense and a poor showing on special teams and defense. Running back Breece Hall provided the lone bright spot with 103 yards rushing including a touchdown. A reader recently suggested the Cyclones could contend for the Big 12 Championship Game. That’s true in the sense that there are only so many teams in the conference and since they are a member of the conference they are competing for the championship. But based on Saturday’s play, the typist considers that a technicality.

ITEM TWO: Polk County Democrats held their annual steak fry fundraiser in social distance fashion. The event drew no interest from Hot Sheet except for mild surprise there are any Democrats who still eat meat. The typist figured it would all be vegan couscous by now.

ITEM THREE: Hot Sheet admits we make fun of Democrats more often than Republicans. There’s one reason for this: Republicans have lots of guns.

ITEM FOUR: Pizza Hutt closed 15 of its 100 locations Iowa last week, reports KKWL-TV. Hot Sheet fondly recalls birthday parties and after-football gatherings at the Winterset Pizza Hutt as a boy. Corporate owners spared that restaurant, but the typist thinks the Grim Reaper stalks the Hutt. Domino’s nearly doubles the Hutt’s market share, per the consumer tech company Edison. Plus, the last time the ol’ Paragraph Stacker ordered from the local Hutt, he wished he’d just made a salad like a Democrat.

ITEM FIVE: A full 25% of Iowans now take medication to control anxiety, per a recent Iowa Department of Health report. Hot Sheet blames 2020 being leap year. The typist always believed it was unfair that years with a presidential election had an extra day. Throw in the pandemic and delete almost everything fun and suddenly everyone gnashes their teeth and chews their fingernails. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker recommends self care, sleep hygiene and writing to your state lawmakers to urge them to legalize weed.

ITEM SIX: This wretched pandemic finds ways to make even good turns bad. Example: Since losing his job and taking grad school classes online, the typist seldom drives more than once or twice a week. That’s a savings on gas. Alas, his Hy-Vee fuel saver rewards are expiring before he can use them. The COVID gives, the COVID takes. Mostly it takes.

ITEM LAST: Five songs to help you kick the COVID-19 funk:

  1. “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World,” Neil Young
  2. “Land of Confusion,” Genesis
  3. “All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix
  4. “Hound Dog,” Elvis Presley
  5. “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga.

Well, I guess we can close the book on this one.

Remember to listen to our podcasts and contribute if you can through PayPal or you can find me on Venmo and through the mail listed here. The money goes to keep the site running and keep the lights on while the ol’ Paragraph Stacker studies are Drake.

Behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney has a cat on his hat and you don’t.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Crime and Courts, des moines, Des moines police, humor, Iowa, News, People, Pop Culture, sports

Roll Call: Des Moines schools’ fall sports doomed, Iowa State in dire straits, Des Moines cop retires with internal affairs on his tail

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Station:

ITEM ONE: Des Moines school administration’s decision to start the school year online-only placed fall sports in jeopardy. The state associations for girls’ and boys’ athletics ruled if you’re not physically in school, you can’t play football, volleyball or other fall sports. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker remains baffled by Iowa public policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Des Moines school leaders believe it too dangerous to pack 30 kids into a classroom, but somehow finds football games less intimate affairs. The desk concedes it’s easier to socially distance for coaches and those on the sideline, but it’s tough to mount a useful defensive or offensive line when players are six feet apart. The push to both play ball and have students distance learn earns a penalty flag from this typist.

ITEM TWO: Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard warns of a budget shortfall of more than $30 million after pulling the plug on fans at games. Some sports teams could be cut and CY Stephens auditorium could be closed. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker wonders how much money Stephens was losing after Wells Fargo opened in Des Moines. A lot of great concerts and events that once went to Ames now play in Des Moines or at the even bigger CI Health Center in Omaha. The desk would hate to lose Stephens — especially for the support staff who work there — but it may be a facility due for retirement.

ITEM THREE: The Valley and Dowling football game had a shot to be on ESPN, but they couldn’t broker a deal. There’s a lot of bad rumors about why this collapsed. The desk urges everyone to stop assuming bad intentions. Instead, marvel at a time when a high school football game could make it on big cable TV due to the pandemic handicapping an already ailing ESPN’s program schedule. For the record, this typist is an East High Alumni Hall of Famer and has no flips to give for the Valley-Dowling game other than a wish that both teams could somehow lose.

ITEM FOUR: The desk’s beloved New York Yankees made no moves at the trade deadline, proving once again what a dull boy Hal Steinbrenner is. His pop, the late George “The Boss” Steinbrenner, knew how to throw around prospects and cash to bring in free agents and make a winner. Hal acts like an accountant in love with his spreadsheet rather than a baseball owner. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker concedes this frugal attitude has developed fine prospects, but no Yankees fan ever thought they would be envious of the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline. This Yankee inaction proves this typist’s long-held belief that it is better to work for a megalomaniac down the hall than absentee bean counters.

ITEM FIVE: Polly Carver-Kim says she got sacked from her job as spokesman for the Iowa Department of Health because she responded to routine public records requests. She’s suing the state. This surely couldn’t have anything to do with the state government’s epic mishandling of the back-to-school debacle that’s left Iowa with one of the fastest growing per-capita rates of coronavirus infection in the world.

ITEM SIX: Longtime Des Moines cop Stew Barnes hit the retirement parachute just as an internal affairs investigation into his behavior started to simmer. Without official documentation, Roll Call declines to speculate on the rumors other that to note it was not a use-of-force or race-related foul. Barnes had a long career and was a union leader. He was pugnacious and willing to duke it out with administration on behalf of his fellow officers. He once sued former Chief Judy Bradshaw. Based on what the desk has heard, his conduct was unbecoming in extremis, but not duty related. Roll Call issues a general reminder that anyone with a badge needs to be on their best behavior both on duty and off. The political tides are against you and every cop pays full price for not only their mistakes but also for atrocities of officers across the land. This certainly fits with Chief Dana Wingert’s philosophy. Bottom line: Don’t be a dummy.

ITEM SEVEN: An update: Since the last Roll Call, Iowa Workforce Development announced its plans to start paying the extra $300 per week in unemployment insurance for those dejobbed by the coronavirus pandemic. The desk criticized Gov. Kim Reynolds and her buddy in Republican blood red, President Donald Trump. The strike is officially removed. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker grudgingly recognizes that Trump acted when Congress failed to do so. This does not change the desk’s general opinion that the president is just the worst.

ITEM LAST: The pandemic and politics have dialed up social stress way past 11 to the point of breaking the knob off and blowing out the speakers. Let’s all remember a few things as we head into the Labor Day Weekend. 1. Sports are not as important as we think they are. 2. You don’t owe anyone an argument. And, finally, no time is a good time to take and send pictures of particular portions of your personage.

The desk is clear.

Be careful out there.

And behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney has never successfully completed the KXNO Eat The Mic Challenge.

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Newspapers, sports, Unemployment

ROLL CALL: Pandemic makes fools of Iowa’s top officials

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake University Station:

ITEM ONE: Iowa State University reversed it’s dunderheaded plan to have 25,000 fans at the Cyclone’s opening football game next Saturday in Ames during the COVID-19 pandemic. ISU President Wendy Wintersteen punted after “receiving feedback from the community.” No word on whether the Center for Disease Control plans to release news that one of the symptoms of coronavirus is making public officials look foolish.

ITEM TWO: Speaking of public officials who continue to look poorly prepared in the pandemic, President Donald Trump issued an executive order for an extra $300 to those unemployed because of COVID-19. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Hawkeye State up for the bonus, but nearly a month later the beneficiaries bank accounts are as empty as Trump’s unconstitutional order.

ITEM THREE: Iowa is one of the hottest spots in the nation for coronavirus spikes. COVID-19 cases are up 81% in the last week, per the Washington Post. The state trails only South Dakota in per capita increase over the same period. Reynolds responded by closing bars and nightclubs. But restaurants that serve booze are still open. Can the good governor explain what magic ingredient in food keeps the coronavirus away from restaurants? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker suspects that the said additive is the powerful lobby of the Iowa Restaurant Association. This is not to say the desk wishes restaurants and bars shuttered. Lord knows those businesses and their employees have suffered enough in this rancid year. Rather, the desk advocates public policy that makes sense and feels less willy-nilly.

ITEM FOUR: The White House coronavirus task force dubbed Iowa a “hot spot” for COVID-19 outbreaks and encouraged a statewide mask mandate, according to the local Gannett Outlet Store. This column previously poked fun at Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie’s citywide mask mandate, but we now admit we were wrong in the face of this new data. Reynolds should issue the order. Her coronavirus policy largely appears to be moves to placate her buddy Trump and a pathological inability to admit her errors. Some might tell her that the White House task force on the coronavirus works for Trump. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker worries she might not know that.

ITEM FIVE: School districts continue to grapple with the Iowa Legislature’s back-to-in-person-school mandate. A friend tells the ol’ Paragraph Stacker that Carlisle started the year with seven teachers on coronavirus quarantine the first day. Ames, in COVID-19 slathered Story County, is online only. West Des Moines and several other districts went with a hybrid model. Des Moines lost a longtime teacher to the virus, per KCCI, though a reader wisely notes the teacher had not been with students for some time. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker reminds parents that they all have the option of taking their kids online only and right now, that seems like a damn good idea if you have the resources to make it work. Don’t expect any help from your state government, which has neutered local control of schools and kowtow to Trump’s high body count, low common sense style.

ITEM SIX: Sen. Joni “Empty Suit” Ernst continues to prove her mettle as a Trump backup singer. At a campaign stop in Waterloo, Senator Do Nothing babbled a conspiracy theory that the U.S. pandemic death toll was inflated, per the Washington Post. But experts — smart people who use actual data — say the death toll likely is underreported because the largest cities lacked the ability to count their dead. Here’s hoping Iowa’s Dollar Store Sarah Palin receives irrefutable data from the ballot box in November so she can go back to her favorite pastime: pig castration.

ITEM LAST: This column is more political, and decidedly more leftist, than the usual paragraphs issued from this desk. Don’t be fooled. Your friendly neighborhood paragraph stacker has not joined anybody’s team. The desk opposes stupidity and ignorance regardless of its form. This collection of sentence slinging might please the overzealous lefties who suggested I supported white supremacy a few weeks back. But this column shall surely elicit at least one “cuckold” comment from the irascible righty rage machine. So it goes. I will say this in response to all extremists inclined to such chatter: Honorable people disagree.

The desk is clear. Let’s roll.

Behave and be kind, my friends.

Daniel P. Finney covers novelty stocking caps for ParagraphStacker.com.

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, sports

How a restless girl from Eldridge became a star athletics administrator at Grand View University

Britt Erps was a restless toddler as she grew up in Eldridge. She ran and yelled and struggled to sit down.
“Even today, I can only sit and chill for about 20 minutes before I have to get up,” Britt, who now goes by Britt Einerson, said. “I can’t sit and watch a movie or TV.”

Britt’s parents signed her up for soccer at age 3 “just to get some energy out of me.”

Britt directed her energy into soccer, volleyball and dance.

Soccer quickly consumed her focus. She played defense. She thrilled at stopping people attempting to drive up the field and score.

Britt was often her own worst opponent. She got down on herself when she got beat on a play. She got angry with herself.

“There was definitely a different side of me competing that I wouldn’t say I was too proud of,” Britt said.

Her internal turmoil settled in high school. She made the varsity team as an eighth grader. The coach named her co-captain her junior year. She evolved into a leader.

She wanted to play soccer in college. She considered Cornell College in Mount Vernon. But Grand View University in Des Moines called.

“I had never even heard of Grand View before they recruited me,” Britt said.

Britt visited. She really liked her future teammates and her coach, Ventsi Stoimirov.

She picked Grand View. The move to Des Moines from Eldridge enriched her.

She would have done well at Cornell, but Mount Vernon was too similar to Eldridge. The added challenge of living in Iowa’s largest city thrilled the once-restless girl.

“Soccer was the focus at that point in my life, but Grand View wasn’t just a soccer team,” Britt said. “I remember walking on campus and just being around the university and thinking about how big Des Moines was and how much there was to experience here.”

Britt continued to excel in soccer. The team stayed in the top three of the conference throughout her playing days.

She studied business administration with a focus on health promotion but eventually shifted to sports management. She took 18 credit hours her senior year so she could finish in four years.

Britt graduated and went to Illinois State for graduate school. She worked as a graduate assistant in the event management department. She worked with the campus facilities.

She graduated from Illinois State and earned an internship with the University of Minnesota football stadium.

Britt got a call from the Grand View athletic director. They had an assistant coaching opening with the women’s soccer team.

“I was like, ‘Why are you calling me? You know I don’t want to be a coach,’” Britt recalled.

The athletic director pitched the job as an experience. She wanted to be an athletic director and she had lots of facilities and management experience. Coaching would add another line to her resume.

Britt applied for the job. She thought it would be a way for her to give back to the soccer program that had given her so much.

She worked with the Vikings’ defenders. She installed a little of her boundless energy into them.

“I taught them about work ethic and not being soft and being motivated,” Britt said. “I got them to grind a little bit.”

Britt was giving back, but she was getting some more too. She loved the women she coached. She worked at the career center to help athletes connect with jobs. She felt as fulfilled when one of her players found work as when one of them made a sliding kick save.

About two and a half years into her coaching gig, the administrative assistant for the athletic department left. Britt offered to take on the role in addition to her coaching duties.

Finally, Britt found a limit to her boundless energy. For six months, she handled her athletic department duties and then her soccer duties at night. She took a two- or three-hour break in the middle of the day.

After six months, she finally gave up her coaching duties. Britt is now the assistant to the athletic director at Grand View. And just like when she was a little girl, Britt keeps moving.

This year proved the biggest challenge of her professional life. Almost half the schools’ athletic events were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s tough enough to herd athletes when you’ve got them on campus. Now they’re scattered home. But Britt helped coaches stay in touch with athletes and tried to keep the Viking family together despite being so geographically separated.

Britt’s efforts earned her the Grand View Excellence in Service Award for her outstanding contributions in 2020.

Her husband, Justin, coaches basketball at Lincoln High School in Des Moines.

The couple have a daughter who is nearly 2, so one thing is certain: the restless girl from Eldridge is not slowing down anytime soon.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Crime and Courts, des moines, Des moines police

Why Des Moines’ racial profiling ordinance is a failure before it starts

A well-meaning Des Moines City Council passed a racial profiling ordinance this week. The idea is to prevent police from picking on minorities when enforcing the law.

Racial profiling ordinances feel good, but they don’t amount to much.

Make an ordinance that says don’t do it.

Fine.

The problem is it’s unenforceable.

Then a cop pulls over a minority.

The minority says he was racially profiled.

The cop said it was a broken taillight.

Cop said. Minority said.

Now what?

Des Moines police already have a policy against racial profiling.

There’s one important difference: A police policy allows the department to investigate patterns of behavior.

The city can only look at the single instance in a single complaint.

Single complaints are weak when it comes to something as complex as racial profiling.

How do we know what the cop was thinking the moment those lights came on?

Is he thinking that’s a black guy where he shouldn’t be or is he thinking that’s a car with a violation?

Even the best detectives aren’t psychic. You can’t do much from a single instance, especially involving vehicles at night where darkness often makes the race of a driver difficult to spot through the back window.

Des Moines police also do spot checks of body and car cameras for racial profiling and other tactics.

A single incident of racial profiling is unacceptable.

It’s also hard to prove.

But a pattern?

That’s a trail of evidence that gives police administrators the power to discipline or fire cops who can’t get with the program.

This system is imperfect, too. It requires trust that police can police themselves, a belief some in our community mark akin to fantasy.

The easiest and most reasonable move would be to ask the Iowa Department of Transportation to include race on driver’s licenses.

Then, every time a cop runs a license for any reason, it’s recorded. Because the state collected the race data, there is less potential for police tampering.

You get hard data that shows who is being pulled over or otherwise stopped by police.

That data can also help shake out patterns of bad behavior and lead to getting rid of bad cops or reforms in how officers’ do their jobs.

This ordinance may evolve, but right now it’s a feel-good measure that doesn’t even satisfy the protestors and reformers who pushed for the change.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.