Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The moose are to blame!

According to Norwegian technical university research, a grown moose in Norway produces 2100 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting. In more common units, that's about 4600 lbs of CO2. How this was determined is not listed, but I bet it wasn't a fun job - probably some grad student had to do it to write his thesis.

To offset the carbon footprint of these gastronomic impaired beasts, I'd have to plant at least two acres of no-till corn for each grown moose. Of course, that no-till corn will be made into Earth-saving, life-giving ethanol and DDGS (nevermind the CO2 release from the plant).

So there it is: The moose are to blame for our ills. Liquidate the moose, and life will be peachy.

But what if they drove Prius? (What's the plural of Prius, anyway)? If they drove them over 100 mph, like the co-founder of Apple did, then I'm sure their carbon footprint would be bigger than the tundra-pies they leave behind.

Sales tax increase passed

The sales tax increase, voted on August 7, was passed 606 to 215. This one cent increase, to be in effect for 20 years, will go to pay for a new jail located in Corydon.

Although I'm not a big fan of increased taxes, we do need a new jail. It's either this or we spend $$$ on transporting prisoners to other facilities. Do we want deputies patrolling the roads and streets or driving ner' do wells to Osceola and other locations?

Feed truck ready to roll

I think I've got the truck ready for the road for the most part. I re-did the hydraulic lines yesterday, and except for one, the leaks have been taken care of.

Went to courthouse to get plates this morning - OUCH! A little over $1000 to register it for 25 tons.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pipe Sealants

Tonight I'll try to disassemble, clean, apply Permatex #14 Thread Sealant w/PTFE to all joints, and reconnect all of the newly added hydraulic lines on the feed truck. That's the one on the blue card.
The Pnuematic/Hydraulic Sealant looks like its more of a liquid, which would probably work better on smaller high pressure hydraulic lines than the #14 paste. I think the #14 paste should work better on the pipe threads that I'm dealing with.
Thanks again for the great technical discussion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feed truck update

Here's an update on how the new feed truck project is going.

Got the feed body moved over to the new truck last Thursday with the help of the guys from Agriland FS. They brought their forklift out and we were able to put the feed body on the new truck. In the process, however, it tipped over and dented a couple of the compartments, but I should be able to hammer them out in the future.

Started mounting the hydraulic tank Monday when I noticed it had a leak in it. I was going to Des Moines on Tuesday, so I got a new aluminum tank for it. I got it mounted on the truck last night right before dark.

Today, I plumbed up the hydraulic lines, put oil in the reservoir, and started it up.


I realized that the rotation of the pump was reversed from when it was on the old truck, and therefore, it was sucking when it should have been pushing, and vice versa.

So, I spent the afternoon re-plumbing everything, switching the lines from side to side. I finally got it finished around 6 PM. Loaded some feed on the truck, and off I went to deliver some DDGS to a customer who was past overdue needing it.

I got to the farmer's place and started unloading. Everything was OK, but then I noticed a fairly good stream of hot oil coming out of one of the many joints in the plumbing. Then, the PTO stopped working. My guess is that the set screw on the U-joint to the PTO slipped out. It was too hot to work on it tonight, so I got a ride back home from my father.

So, after working on this rig for the last three weeks outside in the heat, sunshine, and mud, and a limited number of tools, I finally got something to work. Sort of.

Does anyone know if a special pipe joint compound is required for high heat demands, such as hot hydraulic oil? I'll research on the 'net, but any advice would be great. Thanks!

State 29 is back!

Back from his month long vacation, State 29, the blogger that tells it like it is about the scandals in Iowa, returns with a newly formated blog.

Welcome back!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That's her real name

From the Polk County Jail website:

Book Date: 8/6/2007 10:07:30 PM
DOB: 10/13/1979

Height: 5' 03"
Weight: 125
Race: White
Sex: Female
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

Cash or Surety
Cash or Surety
Cash or Surety
No Bond
No Bond
No Bond
Cash or SuretyCHARGES

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cost per vote at the straw poll

It appears that Huckabee had the lowest cost per vote at the Straw Poll yesterday, at around $58/vote, according to this article. His nearest competitor, Sam Brownback, spent almost three times that amount to get his votes. And, Romney eclipsed all of them at over $440/vote, maybe more, as his team has not released the amount they spent at the event.

So, maybe I shouldn't complain about the small tent and lack of t-shirts at Camp Huckabee. It shows me they have a team that uses money wisely. Sounds like a team I'd want to have in the White House directing the budget, wouldn't you?

The article claims that Romney probably had the greatest cost per vote. I would disagree and say that John Cox has that position. I don't know what Cox spent, but lets say it was around $50K, possibly more (I don't know what it cost a candidate for just the space). He got 41 votes. That's $1219 per vote. Ouch! Heck, I'm wearing one of his t-shirts right now, worth, say, $10 (I got it for free), and he received no vote from me. Not a good return on investment, Mr CPA.

Romney sons tour of duty

Here's a clip from the Daily Show concerning how the Romney boys are serving their country by traversing our fair state in a Winnebago.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

At the Straw Poll

Today I ventured north of I-80, out of the comfortable confines of The South of Iowa, to the Ames Straw Poll. Here is an account of what I saw and heard.

I met my friend Greg and he, two of his children, and I left their rural Ames home and caught a ride on from the east side Hy-Vee parking lot via Mitt Romney sponsored buses. Greg had signed me up the night before, but I apparently had to fill out the paperwork again, including pledging that I'd vote for Mitt once I got there. Hmmm. I also got some water and a free yellow Team Mitt t-shirt. We boarded the bus, and once we got going, our hostess, Emily, informed us that once we arrived at the lot, someone would shuttle/guide us from the bus to the Romney tent, then on to Hilton to immediately vote for Mitt. Hmmm.

So, once we got there, I told Greg there was no way I was going to be herded like cattle and promised to meet up with him later. Off I went, looking for the Huckabee tent. On the way I passed through Brownback territory. A B-Back staffer immediately saw me and asked me if I had voted yet. I replied no, and upon hearing so, she asked who I was planning on. I told her Mike Huckabee. She replied that Brownback and Huckabee were so close to each other in values, why not vote for Brownback instead, and that she had come all the way from South Dakota to support B-Back. I politely told her thanks, but I was pretty certain. She followed me for what seemed like half a block or more, almost over into Romney's area. I was finally able to shake her.

So, up to the Fair Tax tent, which was easy to spot - it had a Ferris wheel in front of it. Slipping inside, I noticed that it was cooler inside the tent - they must have had some sort of A/C going. They also had great grub - grabbed a burger, chips, and Mt Dew, and I was set. Afterwards, I slipped outside and found a gal handing out Fairtax caps, t-shirts, and bags. I asked what I needed to do to get a t-shirt; she said just smile, so I did and dropped a small donation. Cool, free t-shirt #2. If anything, I'm going to walk out of here with a new wardrobe of work shirts.

I headed north out of the Fair Tax tent and came across my first taste of the Ron Paul militia. They were marching along, with a leader yelling a charge, and the crowd responding "RON PAUL!". "Who's our leader? RON PAUL! Who do we want? RON PAUL! Who's your daddy? RON PAUL!" Or something.

After seeing this, I found the Ron Paul tent just around the corner, near Fisher Theatre. How could you miss it? Signs all along the way with great quotes of great thinkers. Across the sidewalk was Tommy Thompson's area. It was quite vast, with a large tent, play equipment for kids, etc. Problem was, not a whole lot were there.

Heading east on the north side of Scheman I noted John Cox's tent, also quite deserted, and then Tom Tancredo's. To be honest, Tancredo's area looked a little imposing, with his gaze fixed upon you like he's going to deport you if you're not a 4th generation American. He also wanted $15 for his shirts. No way, dude, I want free shirts!

Next up was my man Mike Huckabee's area. I got my straw poll ticket there. Also, at the same time, Paul Shanklin, the guy who does the parody songs on Rush Limbaugh's show, was just taking the stage. Funny stuff. I tried to get a t-shirt from the Huckabee campaign, but they had run out. Same with buttons. I guess that's a good thing - a lot of people wanted them, and he didn't spend too much on SWAG to give away. Huckabee had a good area and good turnout, but a larger tent would have been nicer. Oh well, no big deal.

Duncan Hunter was further down, in the corner, and honestly, didn't look too appealing. I skipped it.

I also cruised around the smaller tents/booths between Scheman and Hilton. I shelled out a few bucks for a "Recruit Alan Keyes" shirt, got a free book that's about 3 inches thick from a guy named Blankenship, tried to score a free shirt from the Iowa Pro-Life group, but they were out of my size, and basically took in the circus atmosphere.

After this, I scaled the steps of Hilton to vote. I provided my driver's license and ticket to the folks at a table, and after scanning them, they gave me a ballot. I headed down the hall, checked Mike, pumped the sheet into the ol' reliable Diebold, and off I went. I cut back to the north steps again, went inside Hilton again for the rally, and found a spot to listen to the speakers.

First, Romney. Very polished. Very...over-the-top, trying-to-be-a-conservative. Some things I agreed with him on, but he also has some social issues that I thought were a bit too imposing. Yes, the family needs strengthening, but I don't want the gov't doing it for me, telling me what I can and cannot read, even if I don't in the first place.

Next up, Tancredo. His army marched in. His message was all about illegal immigration. Maybe he should have had the Emperor's March from Star Wars as his theme music. I know he's passionate about this issue, but dang, he's downright scary to me.

After this, Cox. Who? Huh? His introduction music included a remake/parody of Led Zeppelin's "Ahh ehh ahhh, ah!" song (Immigrant Song). Then it changed to a Rocky Balboa image with his face on it. Call in the men with the white coats, folks. He wants to be a Reagan II, but I don't buy it.

After Cox was some real fun - Ron Paul. If Tancredo has an army, Paul has a militia. The Paulines chanted his name into and out of the coliseum. Paul had a lot of good things to say, and I don't disagree with him on them. The problem is, how do we get to that point? Laura Ingraham, the MC, made some comments about Ron Paul's group that some felt were not so nice.

Then, Gov. Huckabee took the stage. Unlike the other candidates before, he focused on a general theme, and did not go into super detail. He was positive, hopeful, and full of passion about how America can do better. It was almost like listening to a sermon, which he's good at, too. He got a good amount of applause, but not as often as the other speakers.

After listening to Mike, I left and caught up with Greg and the kids over at the Fair Tax tent. We zipped around the grounds one more time. I was able to score another free Fair Tax shirt, a John Cox shirt, and did buy a Ron Paul Revolution shirt. After this, we headed back to the Romney bus, then to Hy-Vee, and onto home.

Greg had a great comment - "This place is surprisingly clean, considering the number of stickers, signs, food, and balloons here. It's cleaner than a Democrat Earth Day celebration!" I guess conservatives have a few good habits, including picking up after themselves.

So what did I learn? Brownback continued to turn me off, not only with his attacks on other candidates but by the way his volunteers went after me (or maybe she was hitting on me...? Naaa.) Tancredo is a single issue candidate that should scare the tinkle out of anyone named Jose or Maria. Ron Paul attracted a good following of rabid young adults. Tommy Thompson's area looked like a good place to retire to. John Cox is a nut case. Duncan Hunter should just campaign for Sec of Defense instead of President. Huckabee has a great message, but could have had a bigger tent. And Romney and the Romulans had a well presented, slicked over, easy selling message.

If you haven't seen the results, here they are:
Mitt Romney 4516 31.5%
Mike Huckabee 2587 18.1%
Sam Brownback 2192 15.3%
Tom Tancredo 1961 13.7%
Ron Paul 1305 9.1%
Tommy Thompson 1039 7.3%
Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
John McCain 101 1.0%
John Cox 41 0.1%

14,302 Total Votes
26,000 Total Tickets Sold

John Cox, Duncan Hunter, and Tommy Thompson should probably throw in the towel. Just my humble opinion.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Responsibility to the community

This topic has been brewing in me for a few weeks. It involves the question of what responsibility does a person have when they belong to a community.

First, what is a community, and who defines it? Well, a community in rural areas (like this) might be defined as a town, a school district, or a county. In a larger city, it could be defined as a neighborhood, a sub division, maybe by interests and beliefs.

Almost everyone belongs to a community, possibly more than one. I suppose if you lived by yourself on the tundra of the Yukon you might have a rather dispersed community, but once in a while, you'd run into the same person again and find common items to share.

What benefits does one derive from belonging to a community? A number of tangible ones, including water, sewer, police and fire protection, roads, representation in government, etc. Intangible benefits include a sense of place, sharing of common happenings and events, like minded people to talk to, and more.

So, what responsibilities are there in belonging to a community? For the tangible ones, maintaining the benefits, such as paying taxes, fees, and dues as required. We may not like doing these things at times, but overall, they contribute to the well being of the community. For intangible benefits, attending meetings, participating in events, and being involved.

So, can one belong to a community, enjoy the benefits, and not participate in responsibilities? Yes, it's possible for some to "free load", but it's not sustainable, especially if too many do so. It puts a great amount of pressure on the few to provide to the plenty. Of course, not everyone is able to contribute equally, due to work, health, age, or involvement in other communities. But, in order for a community to be healthy and vibrant, all members should contribute what they can.

Of course, an extreme libertarian might say that one man is beholden to another, regardless of location or decision. However, when you decide to join a community to enjoy its benefits, responsibilities come with it, and so does a certain level of "service" to your fellow man to gain these benefits.

And, I am not talking about some sort of communist workers' paradise, either. Communities are not forced, or at least do not thrive and grow through outside coercion. Government has its place, but not to the point where it is intrusive and overbearing. A reasonable balance is necessary.

So, it bothers me when I hear certain individuals say they don't need to have a town, that they could get along without it, that it doesn't matter to them. If the main reason for existence is to farm large tracts of land or huge hog farms, then what need is there for a town? What use is a church? It just takes up valuable farm land. In fact, why do we need a fire department, roads, streets, sidewalks, and schools? There's certainly no need for clubs, town celebrations, and informal discussions over coffee, of course. Work is all that is required and needed, work to further a selfish goal.

There is more to life than building a bigger bottom line. There is peace and enjoyment of knowing your neighbors, interacting and sharing with them, and experiencing common opportunities. Yes, everyone can and should do their own "thing", such as employment, worship, family, politics, etc, but we must respect those things that are shared between us, that are the "glue" that hold us together. We gain benefits from this glue, this interaction, but in order to maintain it and keep it going, we have to put a little effort into it once in a while.

Monday, August 06, 2007

America's Top States for Doing Business

I found this on CNBC's website.

According to this data, Iowa is ranked 11th best state to do business. I'm rather surprised that we ranked this high. Our corporate tax system is not known to be friendly to businesses as compared to others. But, there must be worse states out there, as this survey claims we are 10th best in Business Friendliness. The report also says we are 5th best for Cost of Doing Business. Hmmm.

I'm going to guess that this data was skewed a bit, however. What state was ranked 1st in Quality of Life? New Jersey. I guess the authors must have some "connections" with the Sopranos.

Which state had the best transportation system? Florida. Again, I don't think this the best state for roads; probably not the worst, but first? Don't think so.

California ranked 1st in Access to Capital. While its true there is a lot of money floating around California, they cannot, by law, hold Iowa ethanol equity drives like we've seen recently. It must be raised privately, and not advertised via radio, TV, or newspaper. Having talked to a entrepreneur from Long Beach who wanted to start a biodiesel plant using chicken fat, I learned that they can't do the ol' fashioned equity drive like we do here.

The worst place to do business, according to the survey? Alaska.