Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mom's "Never Alone" Redux

Since my family has had a tumultuous week dealing with my mother's progressively worsening Alzheimer's Disease, I don't feel much like writing.  I hope you'll indulge me as I repost a piece I originally posted on April 3, 2010.  As I watch my mom disappear further into the mists of Alzheimer's, it seems even more poignant now.
As I was knocking about the internet the other day I found an online version of a magazine article, titled “Never Alone,” that my mother got published back in 2003. The article is about how Mom’s faith in God and a big black dog comforted her when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of 60.

According to the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, “Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” That’s the clinical definition. It takes on a much more personal tone when it strikes someone in your family. It slowly takes away who that person is before it takes their life.

Rereading her article now, seven years after it was published, is like a window into the past for me. I can once again see the woman I once knew, expressing the thoughts and fears that she can no longer fully articulate.

Mom wrote: “Tank sprang out the door and galloped down the road. Eighty solid pounds of black Labrador retriever, he certainly lived up to his name. He loved barreling through our 160 acres. I used to enjoy it too, but not lately. Not since I heard the word Alzheimer’s. ‘You seem to be showing some early signs,’ the neurologist had told me, after a checkup with my family doctor and a battery of tests, including a brain scan. […]

“I remembered the flyer I’d picked up from an Alzheimer’s support group. It said that I should get an ID bracelet with my name, address and phone number. More than likely I’d end up forgetting who I was and where I lived. The thought horrified me. I was going to lose myself, remembering nothing and nobody. Would I eventually forget who God was? Lord, I can’t bear the idea of being so utterly alone. Please stay with me.

“’Tank!’ I called. No sign of our big black Lab. Would I forget him too? ‘Here, boy!’ I called. Tank careened out of the woods. The dog was so big that when he stood on his hind legs his paws rested on my shoulders. Still, he was one of the most gentle creatures I’d ever known. Tank circled me then dashed back into the trees, chasing something I couldn’t see. I’m being chased too, I thought. To a place where no one will be able to reach me.”

Medicine has slowed it somewhat, but the predator that stalks my mother is closing in swiftly now. She has difficulty now with common tasks that my four-year-old takes for granted. My words, my guns, even my love for my mother are all powerless against this killer.

Mom is a good, hard-working, church-going woman, totally undeserving of being slowly stripped of a lifetime of memories, then of life itself. I often use this blog to impotently speak out against injustice. If you’re listening God, I’m speaking out now.

If anyone else has some time, please read the short article by my mom, Judy Cashner, here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The Hemorrhoid" Baudler Cleared Of Ethics Violations

Demonstrating that government oversight of itself if usually a joke, the House "Ethics" Committee unanimously cleared state Representative Clel "The Hemorrhoid" Baudler (R-Greenfield) of any wrongdoing on Wednesday.  Baudler was being investigated because he admittedly flew to California and fraudulently obtained a prescription for medical marijuana in that state by lying about suffering from hemorrhoids and depression.  California authorities declined to prosecute Baudler, who didn't take possession of the marijuana.

Iowan  Mike Pesce, who filed the ethics complaint against The Hemorrhoid, pointed out in an early February Des Moines Register article that "the state constitution denotes grounds for impeachment as the commission of any misdemeanor or malfeasance and what Baudler did violated the law of another state."  And it certainly was malfeasance, which defines as "the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law; wrongdoing (used especially of an act in violation of a public trust)."

State Rep. Scott Raecker (R-Urbandale), Vice Chair of the House "Ethics" Committee, explained to the Register why The Hemorrhoid's malfeasance didn't warrant so much as a finger-wagging from the group, before he rejoined the committee in hitting paddleballs.  "The committee’s jurisdiction is limited, [Raecker] said. They can only ascertain whether there was a violation of [Iowa Code section 68b or House ethics], and neither addresses a lawmaker who allegedly broke a law in another state or told a lie, he said."  So, the House "Ethics" Committee doesn't have jurisdiction over stuff like, oh, ethics.

We should not be surprised when government is less than ethical.  We should be surprised whenever it is ethical.  The legislative "ethics" police aren't going to want to set any precedent that may be used against themselves later down the road.  Also, when you think about it, ethics is anathema to government in general.  Politicians are elected by winning popularity contests where they must lie more convincingly than their opponents.  If they win, they get to help run the government which is itself nothing more than legalized theft and coercion.  No wonder Americans from Mark Twain on have cursed crooked politicians and ethics can never seem to take root.

That age old cycle continues.  Having learned nothing, according to a Radio Iowa report, Baudler says the next time he’s out west, “you won’t believe what I’ve got planned.”  The House "Ethics" Committee slumbers at the ready for whatever it may be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Emergency Powers Reform Bill Advances Too

From Des Moines Gun Rights Examiner (Iowa Firearms Coalition President Sean McClanahan):
HSB18 passed out of the [House Public Safety Committee] with a vote of 14-5, so it now goes to the floor of the full Iowa House of Representatives for debate. HSB18 is a reform to the Emergency Powers Act; if passed, HSB18 would make it illegal for a citizen to be removed of his or her ammunition or firearms during a state of emergency, and it would protect a citizen's right to transport and carry firearms during that time. Essentially, it prevents another "Katrina aftermath" from happening in Iowa.

The vote was almost completely along party lines. Representatives R. Olson and Swaim were not present. All of the Republicans voted for the passage of HSB18, while all of the Democrats – with one exception – voted against passage. The lone Democrat who voted to protect the rights of Iowa citizens who own firearms was Representative Wolfe.

The final tally:
Voting AYE – to protect the rights of citizens:







S. Olson






Voting NAY – to allow your rights to be removed:





R. Olson


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iowa Abortion Ban Moves Forward

A fan of the ban.

A three member Iowa state House subcommittee approved a pro-life bill on Monday that would define human life beginning at conception. The bill, which purports to ban all abortions, likely won’t make it out of the state legislature.

The measure is an effort to go against the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason. The Supreme Court has affirmed the ruling and is currently split at least 5-4 in favor of continuing abortion on demand. It has also allowed states like Missouri to define human life beginning at conception, but said those laws can’t be used to prohibit abortions.

Because of that, the Iowa bill would likely be declared unconstitutional and court and would never go into effect — even if the state legislature approves the bill. But the bill may not likely get out of the state House.

Rep. Kim Pearson and Rep. David Heaton, both Republicans, sponsored House File 153 and both voted for it during the subcommittee consideration. According to the Des Moines register, Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat, voted against it and it passed 2-1.

“Life is sacred and worthy of protection … I believe that abortion is murder,” Pearson said of her bill.

The legislation declares human “life is valued and protected” beginning at conception and is given the same rights and protections as people after birth under the laws and state constitution of Iowa. The bill bans abortions but does not declare any penalties for an abortion practitioner doing one.

The Register indicates the bill now heads to the House Human Resources Committee, where Family Leader lobbyist Danny Carroll says it has a good chance of passing. He also says the bill is likely to make it out of the state House, but its prospects in the Democrat- controlled state Senate are more uncertain.

Ironically, Pearson and Rep. Glen Massie, who supports Pearson’s bill, have both blocked another measure pro-life advocates are promoting that would be more likely to get through the legislature and more likely to be upheld in court. The legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the scientific evidence that unborn children feel intense pain.

Opponents say HF 153 would prohibit many forms of contraception and could have many other unintended consequences. Judge for yourself; you can read the bill here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Braley Bytes: Knock Me Over With A Feather Edition

I've gone to great lengths on this blog to present my supposed U.S. representative, Bruce "Clunkers" Braley, as a big government liberal who's only interested in defecating on the Constitution and drowning my children and unborn grandchildren in red ink.  While I still think that's an apt description, there have been a couple of signs lately that Braley is, if not turning over a new leaf, at least running scared from the baying of the Tea Party hounds on his trail.

For instance there is Braley's recent call to avoid raising the national debt ceiling.  He said, "[W]e have to be able to draw the line somewhere because if we don’t start addressing this spending problem now, when will we?”  Since he helped nearly double the national debt, hearing Braley preaching spending restraint is a little like hearing Homer Simpson preach temperance (not that the average elected Republican has much more credibility on the issue).  In Washington words are cheap, but votes are more concrete.

Recently Braley actually voted my way on a bill for once.  Braley voted to allow three onerous provisions of the misnamed Patriot Act to expire February 28.  According to the ACLU (conservatives, stop rolling your eyes, they're right on this one):
The overbroad provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire are the John Doe roving wiretap provision, which allows law enforcement to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped; Section 215, or the “library records” provision, which allows the government to gain access to “any tangible thing” during investigations; and the “lone wolf” provision, which permits surveillance of “non-US” persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group. All three provisions lack proper and fundamental privacy safeguards.
Although my fingers are starting to itch and stiffen up as I attempt to type these words, I'll endeavour to write them anyway: Good job, Clunkers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Zach Wahls Speaks About Family

Zach Wahls, a sixth-generation Iowan, speaks before the Iowa House of Representatives about his life as the child of same sex couple.  Although I have my own religious reservations about homosexuality, I don't want to see the rights of homosexuals stifled by the government through the Iowa Marriage Amendment.  Mr. Wahls certainly presents his case passionately and articulately.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Braley Bytes: Pyrrhic Victory Edition

In the November elections incumbent U.S. Representative Bruce Braley won reelection despite the fact that the majority of voters in his district voted for one of his three opponents rather than him.  However Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican says that Braley's victory may have come at a heavy cost.  Robinson analyses how all three of Iowa's Democrat members of Congress are now strapped for campaign cash while the two Republican reps, Steve King and Tom Latham, are doing well.  This will be important during the uncertainty of redistricting this year.
Bruce Braley has seen his cash-on-hand number plummet by 90 percent. Braley squeaked out a narrow victory in November over Republican Ben Lange. He won re-election by just two points, but only has $28,896 in the bank. The once rising Democrat star is now relegated to insignificant committees. With Democrats in the minority in the House for the first time since being elected, Braley is going to struggle at raising money.

The only fundraising advantage Braley still has is that he’s a trial lawyer. Braley is scheduled to travel to Miami later this week for a campaign fundraiser at the American Association for Justice’s Winter Convention.
I disagree with Robinson on one thing though.  He writes:
Braley and Loebsack [...] are not going to scare anybody. They [barely] won their 2010 campaigns, have little or no money in the bank, and their districts are going to get more rural, which is good news for their Republican challengers. [Emphasis added.] 
People who love and respect the U.S. Constitution should be scared to death of Clunkers Braley.

Post Topics

10 Questions with... abortion ACLU alcohol Alzheimer's Ames Straw Poll armed self defense assault weapons ban Audit the Fed Austin Petersen Barack Obama Ben Lange Beth Cody Between Two Rivers Bill Weld Bob Barr Bob Cashner books Bruce Braley Bruce Hunter Candidates Carl Olsen Cedar Rapids Gazette charity Chet Culver Christopher Peters Clel Baudler communism Confederate Flag Constitution Constitutional Convention Corey D. Roberts Crime Cristina Kinsella Dan Muhlbauer debt Declaration of Independence Democrat Party disasters Donald Trump drones drugs economy education elections Eric Cooper events Facebook Fast and Furious First Amendment food freedom foreign policy free markets freedom Gary Johnson gay marriage Glenn Beck gold gun control Gun Owners of America guns health care Hillary Clinton history Honey Creek Resort Iowa Iowa Caucus Iowa City Iowa Firearms Coalition Iowa First District Iowa Freedom Report Iowa Gun Owners Iowa Right To Life Jake Porter Joe Bolkom John Boehner John McAfee John McCain Judge Napolitano Keith Laube Lake Delhi law Lee Heib Lee Hein liberals Libertarian Party libertarianism marijuana Me media medical marijuana memes Memory Walk Michele Bachmann military Mom Nate Newsome Nick Taiber NRA NSA Obamacare police policy politics President Obama primaries privacy property rights Rand Paul religion Republican Party resistance Rick Santorum right to carry Rob Petsche Rod Blum Roger Fritz Ron Paul Rush Limbaugh Ryan Flood Sandy Hook Massacre Sarah Palin Second Amendment smoking Social Security spending Star Wars State Defense Forces Steve King Steven Lukan taxes Tea Party Movement Tenth Amendment terrorism Terry Branstad Tom Harkin traffic cams TSA TV/Movies war Wayne Jerman weapons Will Johnson Yuri N. Maltsev Zach Wahls