Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 1-16-12
I only miss three things about Iowa since I left nearly eight years ago to return to Kansas – my friends, the pheasant hunting and the Iowa political caucuses.
Since Iowa held it’s caucus a few days ago, I want to talk a little about what an Iowa caucus is and how it’s handled. First, Iowans are a volatile political bunch. They take their politics seriously. They get engaged early in the process and stay engaged for weeks or months until the caucus is over.
In Iowa, a caucus is a full contact intellectual and persuasive sport that sometimes nears a physical full contact sport. The Democrats have their own set of rules for their caucus; the Republicans have another entirely different set of rules.
Anyone can participate in a caucus. If you’re not a registered voter, you can register at the door of your preferred caucus. By law, the caucus is supposed to start at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.
When you show up at the door of a schoolhouse, church basement or someone’s living room, you register. For Democrats you go to a room or area assigned to your initial choice of candidate. Then everyone starts arguing and trying to persuade you to join the group for their candidate. Multiple votes are taken to winnow the field down. Only candidates who garner at least 15 percent of the votes get to be included in the final results and forwarded on as a viable candidate. If your chosen candidate doesn’t get 15 percent of the first vote, you can join another candidate or exit the whole affair and not get your vote counted. Most times the arguments are cordial, but they can get heated.
Republicans take a more sedate approach to their caucuses. They simply get to the caucus, listen to arguments for the candidates and take a secret ballot. One person – one vote. The results are tabulated and sent to state Republican headquarters where the local and statewide results are announced.
I can say from experience, that you leave an Iowa caucus feeling very much as if you’ve been involved in a participatory political process.
After the Iowa caucuses are over, the state adds up the more than 150-million dollars spent in the state by the candidates and the media, Iowans take a deep breath, grin slyly to themselves, and wait four years for the next opportunity to fleece and fool the nation to roll around in four years.
I heard on the news this morning that The Prez decided to protect all of us from unscrupulous financial institutions by appointing Richard Cordray to head a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Of course, he did it by executive order, bypassing congressional approval.
Makes me wonder, who has the power to appoint a Citizens’ Protective Bureau to protect us all from both the president and the congress? That’s what we really need.
An old farmer visiting his children and grandchildren in the big city decides he needs a shave and a haircut. So, he walks in to the first barbershop he sees and makes his request. But then the elderly gentleman tells the barber do anything he can to give the farmer a really close shave because he’s going to his grand-daughter’s piano recital that evening.
He explains that he can’t get all his whiskers off shaving himself because his cheeks are deeply wrinkled from spending too many decades in the sun and wind.
The city barber replies, “No problem. I’ve got a little trick that will solve the problem.” Then the barber opens a drawer and gets a little wooden ball from a cup and tells the old farmer to put it inside his cheek and push on the ball with his tongue to spread out the wrinkles to let the razor get close to the skin.
The process works perfectly. When he’s finished, the old man grins, runs his hand over his face and tells the barber that was the cleanest shave he’s had in years.
But then as an afterthought, the old farmer said, “That worked slick, all right, but I almost swallowed that ball one time. What would have happened if I’d actually had swallowed that little ball.”
The barber replied, “I’d ask you to bring it back tomorrow just like everyone else does.”
I’ll close for the week with some words of wisdom about barbers, shaves and haircuts.
E.B. White said, “A barber is the only person whose conversation you can follow, even though he talks over your head.”
John Dryden said, “A barber will give you a quick shave if you haven’t time to listen to a haircut.”
Some wag named Thumper said: “Never get up in the morning with a long face, or you will have that much more to shave. And, the good die young, and the old dye for various reasons.”
Have a good ‘un and, if you want to change your hair color, dye or die trying.