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.

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.

HOT SHEET: Bye, bye Kardashians; Hawkeyes and Cyclones sports broke; wireless society lies and why Bob Woodward is a shameless self-promoter

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

ITEM ONE: Word reached Hot Sheet early Wednesday that the reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” will end after 20 seasons in 2021. Oh, how one longs for the the halcyon days of yesteryear when all we cared about was the ridiculous bullshit spouted by rich dilettantes. The typist admits ignorance that the show remained on a broadcast schedule. That the series finally concludes — hopefully forever ridding our screens of this vapid and indulgent bunch of hedonists — means that there is yet another reason to look forward to 2021.

ITEM TWO: COVID-19 continues to leech the lifeblood from the Iowa and Iowa State athletics. The Big Ten’s decision to move football, the moneymaker for big college athletic departments, forced Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta to cut 40 job and order furloughs for non-contract employees in his department. This follows the ending of the men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams to ease budget woes for the Hawkeyes. The virus similarly saddled the Cyclones, who cancelled plans to admit fans at football games due to the pandemic, with a $30-million budget shortfall that may close CY Stephens Auditorium, cause 10% pay cuts, and potentially cut sports. The typist knows the woes of unemployment in the pandemic and wishes speedy reemployment for all. Brave heart, fellow travelers.

ITEM THREE: When your typist was a young man, the futurists talked of a cashless society. They meant money would eventually be all digital transactions, no paper or coins. Though much has changed, you can still buy a hamburger and fries with a $10 bill and get paper and coin in return. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker notes this because the term “wireless” is recklessly thrown about in the present century. This sounds terrific until we look at the electrical outlets in our houses, cluttered in the extremis with adapters and cords for smartphones, tablets, computers, AirBuds and other essential gadgetry of the age. The cords strangle us as we desperately seek juice for our fading batteries. The desk submits “wireless” is false advertising. They should call it “temporarily un-pluggable.”

ITEM FOUR: The pandemic proceeds as the brutal bummer of the century. This constant state of concern and confusion may induce decidedly darker thoughts as days grow shorter. The desk reminds readers to monitor their depression levels on the DEPCON — that’s depression condition — scale. DEPCON 1 is no depression and DEPCON 5 is hospitalized for suicidal ideation. To combat serious DEPCON, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker has issued a list of movies to distract you based on level of depression.

  • DEPCON 5: “The Big Lebowski”
  • DEPCON 4: “Beavis and Butt-head Do America”
  • DEPCON 3: “Batman” (1966)
  • DEPCON 2: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
  • DEPCON 1: “Airplane”

ITEM FIVE: The desk received his fourth solicitation from the Center for Voter Information in his mailbox containing voter registration information. The Hot Sheet acknowledges the organization means well by encouraging voter registration in the age of COVID-19 and with a president who openly courts Russian interference in the democratic process. Still, the typist worries the multiple mailings might confuse people into requesting an absentee ballot more than once and potentially voting twice. Iowa law classifies this as election misconduct and it’s a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum of a $7,500 fine. Hot Sheet supports all ways to vote — and would go as far as to make Election Day a national holiday and voting a legal requirement of all citizens. But let’s not gum up the works with duplicate paperwork.

ITEM LAST: Wednesday, Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward revealed a recorded interview from February in which President Donald Trump speaks directly to the deadliness of the oncoming coronavirus pandemic. About a month later, Trump downplayed the virus to the public. Social media exploded with the usual rage and anguish upon Woodward’s revelation. The typist is not surprised that the president is a liar. The typist, however, remains baffled that people are still surprised the president is a liar. Hot Sheet instead condemns Woodward for sitting on this definitive confirmation of the president’s betrayal of the American trust until it was time to release his latest book, “Rage.” This reduces Woodward to another shameless profiteer on the misery of his country. Perhaps if the public had heard Woodward’s tape of Trump earlier in the pandemic, they might have done a better job listening to public health officials and ignoring the ignorant hate machine in the Oval Office. Alas, given the state of political discourse and our collective confirmation bias, people trade more in fear and loathing than truth. This breaks the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s heart that such is the state of the republic.

Daniel P. Finney just can’t even right now.

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.