Friday, July 27, 2007

The Breck Girl getting paranoid in Southern Iowa

Found this on Drudge...He was speaking in Creston, which is about 60 miles from here. So that was where all those black helicopters were headed the other day...!

By the way, nice hair, John. Oops, more silly frivolous stuff.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Congressional Order of Merit for little ol' me?

I came back to the house this morning from delivering feed to find a message waiting for me on the phone. I listened to it, then had to play it again to make sure it was correct.

The caller was from a Representative Tom Cole's office and the National Republican Congressional Committee and was offering me the Congressional Order of Merit. I was to return his call as soon as possible.

Wow, an award, nay, a Congressional award! Must have been that hard hitting blog I wrote about those in Lineville who don't have running water...forget the fact that I'm still technically a registered Democrat from 2006 when I switched before the primary to support Ed Fallon.

(Note to self - switch to Independent immediately lest thy be inundated by mailings from Hillary.)

But, a little search of the Internet helped burst my visions of banquets, awards ceremonies, and schmoozing with the elite.

Come to find out, you have to donate to the NRCC to get your Congressional Order of Merit. $200, $300, maybe $495 will get you the prestigious award, suitable for framing.

Forget that, buddy! For $495 I want some real sway with my congressman, like a big dinner at 801 Steak and Chop or something. This is phoney baloney BS, and what's worse, it comes from the Republicans. Boo on them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Supporter-created ad for Huckabee

This is an ad put together by a blogger and supporter of Mike Huckabee. It says it all about abortion:

If a country cannot even protect the innocent unborn children, how do we then believe it will protect the rest of us?

Some would like to frame the abortion debate as a religious one, and say that it's your religious belief to say abortion is wrong, but who is to say which religion is right...

The issue of abortion is better framed in a civic debate - that is, the fact our government allows, condones, and prevents states from criminalizing, the mass murder of unborn children for the sake of convenience for the "mother" shows that it is marginally (if at all) able to protect the rest of the citizens of this country.

We kill more unborn children in this country in a day than have died in Iraq so far.


My wife Jackie is on RAGBRAI this week. She is and will be blogging about her experiences on the ride through her own blog, which you can reach here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A new rig...

I mentioned before that my feed truck had died due to a scored cylinder. It was towed back here to the farm last night, so that will make it easier to remove the feed body and associated parts.
Today a friend and I went to Des Moines to get the replacement truck. It's a 1999 International F4900 with a DT466E 250 hp engine, 9 spd tranny, tandem axles, and a 24' van body. I got it from Ryder; this truck, according to its history, moved paper products around Conneticut and New York, then later to Chicago. It came off lease in Millwaukee, and it came to Des Moines from there.
The van body is for sale on EBay if anyone is interested. If you're interested in the dead truck, let me know as well. bob (at)
I think I have a strategy to remove the body in pretty much one piece and set it on the ground. I'll have to add a PTO to the new truck, and I'm trying to get the old one off the dead truck to see if it will fit. The exhaust system may have to be moved a bit, and Lord knows what else I'll run into. But, it should be an interesting week coming up!
After driving the rig around tonight, I feel like it is stable enough to drive further distances to pick up and deliver feed. I might look into getting an apportioned license so I can LEGALLY drive in Missouri in order to serve a larger customer base. Anything to pay its way.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A phone conversation with Mike Huckabee

Today I was heading back from town to the farm when I got a call on my cell phone from none other than Mike Huckabee, Republican candidate for President. I had contacted the campaign staff about doing an interview with the former governor, possibly by submitting questions via email and getting a reply. I wasn't expecting a phone call, but I was glad I was able to take it.

I asked the governor primarily about agriculture policy and trade, two issues that affect what we do here in The South of Iowa. After getting home to the computer, I was able to record some of his responses.

Huckabee said there were three things that must be produced at home in our country if we are to maintain our country: The ability to feed ourselves, the ability to fuel ourselves, and the ability to protect ourselves (i.e. domestic defense production).

Governor Huckabee is a supporter of free trade, but our trade policy is not free because it is not fair. In regards to China, Huckabee would want to see that country start to adopt similar safety, health, labor, and environmental standards that we have in this country. They are basically on a different playing field, and because they can skirt standards that we have to live by, they can exploit those differences and produce cheaper products.

Governor Huckabee is also a support of Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, for food products. This is especially important in light of contaminated feed and food products brought in from China.

Relating specifically to farm policy, Huckabee did not have a specific comment about farm program payment limitations. Here in the northern states, payment limitations are favorable, as they would only affect the very large farms. Medium sized farms in the South, however, would be affected quicker by payment caps due the high level of subsidies for cotton and rice. Huckabee did say he did didn't want drastic changes to be made to the farm policy that would potentially put farmers out of business overnight. When I suggested that we should have a regional farm policy, with different caps and programs for different regions, he was favorable to that.

Huckabee also had much to say about his proposed FairTax program. He cited this as a way to bring our national debt and foreign trade deficit in line by eliminating barriers to internal investment.

I would encourage everyone to take a serious, hard look at Mike Huckabee for our President. He has a solid message to get across, and one that I believe can cut across party lines. Support for COOL and for fair trade is not something found often in the Republican party, but it shows that Huckabee does see how so called "free trade" policies have hurt our nation, not only its people but its sovereignty.

Mike Huckabee is the real deal, folks. Check him out at

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More on Iowa Farm Bureau's E-85 chopper...

I reported a while back about the Iowa Farm Bureau's E-85 powered chopper, custom built by Orange County Choppers. It is billed as the first renewable energy chopper. It is being taken around the state of Iowa this summer in an attempt to raffle it off.

Being the nerd I am, I totalled up the number of miles this rig will have to be hauled this summer from one showroom to a parade to another.

2850 miles.

I wonder if the vehicle pulling this thing is also E-85 powered? I don't think half of the towns it is going to have E-85 pumps.

Also, word from respected source is that while this chopper is supposed to run on E-85, it will overheat very quickly if allowed to run very long on the fuel.

That's right, folks - the first renewable energy chopper cannot even run effectively on the fuel it's touting.

Are you sure you want to buy that raffle ticket?

Monday, July 16, 2007

More ethanol bashing

It appears the London Times has jumped on the anti-biofuels bandwagon with their latest article. They claim that ice cream prices are rising because of increased milk prices, which is caused by higher corn prices.

This is false, and shows how the media doesn't perform their due research.

Yes, milk prices have increased, but primarily due to the increased worldwide demand of milk protein products. As many farmers can tell you, the market price of their output and the cost of their inputs have little or no correlation.

Of course, the British press wants to scare their citizens into thinking that their ice cream will be priced out of their reach due to us rich American Farmers and our desire to *gasp* make a profit.

Either the press is ignorant/stupid, or they have an agenda. Or both.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heil Bert!

In an attempt to entertain my kids, I went on YouTube and found videos of the new Tickle Me Elmo Extreme. They LOVE Elmo on Sesame Street, and of course, they were entertained by the TMX Elmo videos.

Then I found a video with the TMX Elmo and what was called the KMX Ernie. I don't know what the "K" stand for, but in the video, Elmo was laughing in English, and Ernie was in Spanish. OK, no problem.

But then, I found a video for KMX Ernie in German. Wow, you talk about things not translating from one culture to another and back. Here's the vid:

For those of you not fluent in Toy German, let me translate:
- Ha, ha, we are the master race!
- We shall reclaim the Sudetenland!
- The Beer Hall Putsch was compromised by Big Bird!
- Heil Bert!

Or something.

To be honest, would you really want a toy that sounded like an old man hacking up his left lung, grabbing its crotch, and saluting the Fuhrer?

There is just something wrong with hearing a toy laugh and speak German, the language of obedience, and flail around on the floor at the same time.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lies, darn lies, and statistics

I came across this website discussing how much carbon dioxide various states put out, and their CO2 emissions per capita are.

According to this, we Iowans put out 27 tons of carbon dioxide per year. We are the 15th highest carbon dioxide producing state per capita.

I don't exactly know how they came up with these numbers, but as Mark Twain once put it, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

I guess the authors of this website failed to mention that because of the great amount of corn and soybeans we produce here, all of which take in CO2 and expel oxygen. Corn and soy love CO2, and can convert this gas into carbon building blocks for plant growth.

However, if these figures are true, then I am doing my part to reduce my "carbon footprint." With the 700 acres I have signed up in the Chicago Climate Exchange to keep in no-till for 5 years, I am sequestering 350 tons of CO2. So, that pretty much covers my family and 9 others.

Of course, if you are no-tilling, but have not signed up with the CCX, then you are continuing to pollute the atmosphere with deadly CO2. Only by signing up your acres will you actually start saving the planet. Jumping through bureaucratic hoops is the only way to save the planet, you know. I'm sure watching "An Inconvenient Truth" will also reduce your carbon footprint, too.

Or something.

OK, I'm being a bit facetious here. I will not disagree with anyone who thinks the CCX is simply trading paper (or electrons) for profit by others. But hey, if they're offering $$$ for me to do something I'm already doing, why not?

Anyway, in this big debate about carbon dioxide pollution and carbon neutral footprints, there are going to be claims thrown out there, usually with numbers, in an attempt to convince you one way or another. Statistics are just another way to get you to believe a certain way.

Of course, a recent statistic said that 90% of all statistics are skewed or used to pursuade and influence decisions.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What's been happening

Here's a bit of an update of what's been happening here.

My father-in-law passed away last Friday at his home in Tripoli, IA. It wasn't necessarily unexpected, but it wasn't something we prepared for a long time, either. He died of congestive heart failure, probably brought on by an infection he had in his toes and foot. One toe had already just been amputated, and if the infection wasn't brought under control, the leg may have come off as well.

So, my wife and kids went up on Friday of last week, and I joined her on Monday. We had the visitation and funeral on Monday and Tuesday, then the reading of the will on Wednesday.

Am I sad that he passed on? To be honest, I'm glad God called him home at this time, rather than having to struggle through a possible further amputation and the stress it would have caused on everyone. He relied on my mother-in-law for everything, to the point where he didn't take care of himself as well as he should have. Getting out and walking, doing some exercises, not sitting around and watching TV probably would have helped. He probably took 20 pills at a sitting, trying to control blood pressure, cholesterol, you name it. I half wonder if he went cold turkey on the pills he would have done better.

My wife, her siblings, and their mother are doing pretty well. I think Grandma will find a level of stress taken off her shoulders, one that she has carried for 39 years. She's looking forward to watching the kids while Jackie is gone on RAGBRAI in the next week or two. I think it will be good therapy for her.

On the same day my FIL passed away, my feed truck decided to pass into the afterworld as well. Or at least try to.

I was unloading some DDGS at a customer's when I noticed it was losing power, the temperature rising, and some oily smoke coming out. I stopped unloading and told the customer I'd run it down the road to see if it would cool down - it was a hot day, and I thought it was simply overheating.

I drove the rig down to the town of Lucas. By this time, I could tell a noticeable knocking sound, especially when I accelerated. I parked the truck in the lot of an empty factory and turned it off, then tried to immediately turn it back on again - it wouldn't turn over.

So, I called a friend who knew of a mobile repairman, going by the name of Smiley. I called Smiley, left a message, and finally talked to him later in the day. After describing the conditions, he thought it was a scored cylinder wall. Ouch.

To make a long story short, I decided that yes, I could fix this truck for not a great amount of $$$, but I'd still have an old truck (1979 International F2275 w/890K miles). On the way back from Tripoli, I stopped at Ryder trucks in DSM. I found a used 1999 Intl 4900 for sale that would suit my needs. It has a 24' van body and a lift gate on it, but that can come off easily.

The tough part will be moving the feed body to the new truck, especially with 4 tons of feed still in it! If any of you out there have any ideas on how to do this, I'd be eager to know.

I was glad to hear that Project Destiny failed. And failed miserably, I might add. I like the fact that a few towns, like Granger and Carlisle, voted 100% against the project.

Unfortunately, we've lost another great blogger, State29. He's hanging it up for the time being, but man, I wish he wouldn't - he is a source of cutting wit and analysis, even if he is a bit crude at times.

And they are called rocket scientists?

As many of you know, I am a bit of a stickler about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It is important that Americans have a command of the English language, and this command increases as the level of responsibility increases.

I will also admit I am not perfect, and we all make mistakes.

Having said that, check this out:

It appears that even rocket scientists have problems with language. Granted, "Endeavour" is not a word we use every day, and phonetically, the extra vowels don't appear to be required.

But, nonetheless: You'd think they'd have the spelling of one of their greatest projects down pat by now.

Oh well, we could be in Kansas City and see a sign saying "Go Chefs".

Friday, July 06, 2007

A fight between rats and snakes

As I sat down to supper last night, I looked over the latest copy of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman. In the "Opinion" section I found this article concerning a protest action by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement against Prestage Farms in Webster City, IA.

As the article reads, ICCI sent a chartered busload of activists to Webster City to protest the approval of a 4800 hd hog facility owned by Prestage in Cass County. They brought signs, chanted slogans, and entered the office without permission. One of the flyers handed out included the farm manager's personal contact information. After the Hamilton County Sheriff's office was called in, they scurried off to a nearby park for a pizza lunch.

So, why is this a fight between rats and snakes?

The RATS, ICCI, are not doing anyone any favors by pulling stunts like this. It comes off childish, unrestrained, and doesn't create any real solutions. What, do you think the manager, right there with your 50 activists, is going to say, "Yup, yer right, we're gonna not build that hog house after all 'cause you changed my mind"? Come on, Hugh Espy and Co! You are just making yourself look like a bunch of idiot Move.Org wannabes. You blow any sense of credibility with Mainstream Iowa when you invade other people's turf and publish personal information. I don't care how much you don't like them, that's not the way to get things accomplished!

The $NAKE$, Prestage Farms, has enough money to defend themselves without their co-SNAKES, the IFBF and Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers, carrying the water for them. The article didn't tell you that Prestage is basically a tool of Smithfield. This is not a family farm operation, folks. This is a factory farm. The article talks about how good this farm operation will be to local producers and feed mills. The farmers, at least the ones who contract with Prestage, sign up to be screwed over with contracts that are weighed heavily to Prestage's side. The feed mills are offered contracts that leave very little profit potential for themselves, just volume sales (quicker to wear out equipment, trucks, and roads). Who makes the money? Smithfield and Prestage do.

Neither one of these groups are angels. Neither one comes out of this smelling like roses. ICCI has evolved into a group of misfit activists on the brink of sanity and respect. Prestage and their corporate shills, IFBF and CSIF, represent the other extreme; $$$ at any cost, including setting up hog operations far away from their stockholders and pretending it will all be good for the local community. Instead of one 4800 head facility, why not support TEN 480 head family farm operations? That would mean ten families in the community, paying taxes, going to school, contributing to the general good. Instead, we have outside investors coming into an area, telling the locals how they want the game played, and using big bucks to do so. People don't matter, just the benjamins.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Started wheat harvest

Got everything ready today and started cutting wheat across the road from our house. After the normal go-stop-fix-go-stop-go that occurs when you start any process, we got maybe 10 acres done. The field is pretty weedy with ragweed, so I can't go too fast lest I slug the rotor and have a real freakin' mess. Fortunately, this 2188 has a lot of power to get through this stuff. I estimate the field is doing around 50 bu/ac, which is what I expected.

Why do people own horses? Looking at them objectively, unless you are using them to herd livestock, traverse terrain a machine cannot, or you're Amish, owning a horse really makes no sense. Owning more than one horse makes even less sense!

And the money these folks put into these walking glue bottles! The trucks, trailers, tack, clothes, not to mention the feed and grooming supplies.

Now, I can understand a smaller animal, like a dog or cat, but a big animal like a horse will nearly put you in the poorhouse (well, at least until the state did away with them - maybe the term should be "put you on welfare").

Oh well, I should consider them a potential customer for my wares at some point...what makes no sense still can provide an income to others, I suppose.

I think the Democratic outrage about Scooter Libby's commuted sentence is great fun and entertainment. Jesse Jackson Jr calling for impeachment, Hillary and Mr. Hillary speaking out with indignation, as if Bill wasn't in the same hot water before.

I think G Dub ought to do more things like this, more so toward the end of his term. Really turn the screws on the D's. It might backfire, however, if doing so costs the Republicans the election. But, anytime you can make a liberal Democrat squeal is great fun and frivolity.

Just got done watching the town's fireworks display with my wife and 2 year old daughter. The display was just over a mile away from our house (I counted the seconds between the explosions and the "boom", and it was between 8 and 9 seconds, just right!). It was fun to hear her say "boom", "pretty", and "rellow" (red and yellow). She really enjoyed it, and we did too. While going to the display would have been "proper", it was nice to be able to sit in our house, have a quiet conversation, and hear everything that popped out of our little redhead. The boy had already gone to bed, and while it would have been interesting to hear his thoughts about the fireworks, he probably would have started picking on his sister at some point, and there goes the fun. We'll try to take in a parade tomorrow and see how they get along.

Have a safe 4th of July, and remember the true reason we observe it: To help Lee Greenwood keep milking that cash cow of a song called "God Bless The USA".

Or maybe it's our declaration of independence from England. Yeah, let's go with that one.