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Monday, January 15, 2007 ISSUE #439
 

Iowa converts from food to energy production

#439, January 15, 2007

COLUMBUS: In Washington there's already a change in the President's plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. He still intends to send 20,000, but they will be soldiers from Ethiopia.

Just returned from Iowa. I stayed in Des Moines at the Marriott, on the 29th floor. That may come as a surprise to you East Coasters who figured the tallest thing in Iowa was corn. I opened the window curtains expecting to see halfway across the state, or at least as far as Ottumwa, and the view was blocked by two buildings across the street even taller.

Iowa inaugurated a new governor Friday, Chet Culver. He announced Iowa will become the "new energy capital of the world". Iowa has been the food capital for years, and it's time to move on to something Americans need and are willing to pay for. So he's putting a hundred million dollars into building ethanol and soydiesel plants. He aims is to wean us off crude oil and reduce obesity at the same time.

Ohio's new Governor Strickland took over last week also. The Iowa and Ohio governors both held their Inaugural Balls at their State Fairgrounds. But they had them decorated up so you would never recognize those old barns that are more often home to hogs, chickens and horses.

Ohio was overrun with candidates in 2004, and Iowa is bracing for an onslaught for the 2008 caucuses. At the Marriott they told me I was one of the few tourists to show up without Presidential ambitions.

Iowa is changing their image. There'll be no more hay bales and pitchforks in sight when candidates hold a press conference. Spectators will have to wear a dress suit and shined shoes, and if they expect to ask a question they have to take elocution lessons in Shakespearean prose. I think the best plan would be to have the TV newscasters set up on the top floor of one of these Iowa skyscrapers with the camera pointed out the window, like they do in Washington.

The reason I was in Iowa was for a big No-Till farmer conference. There was over 700 of 'em from all over the country and they said if the Governor and the whole country want more corn for ethanol, we can grow it. And we won't have to plow up more ground to do it.

Another state lost their Miss USA contestant. Donald Trump better hold a new contest every month or two; a whole year is too long for these pretty girls to hold off the boys.

The National Football League is down to four teams. Except for the other home teams, the country is pulling for the New Orleans Saints. I'll go out on a limb and suggest the Chicago Bears will play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. It'll be the I-65 Battle.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"I just rushed in here from the football game. The Pros are playing here. You'd think the football season was over, but football isn't started until they start playing it. So they're out here playing today, the Chicago Bears is here. Red Grange was supposed to play a little bit, but he wasn't in there before I left. But they didn't show up as good as last year. Honest, today they played like college boys; you wouldn't think they was paid for it at all." Radio broadcast, January 13, 1935.

[note: for you young folks, this was not a Super Bowl game. The Bears played the Chicago Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals) in a post-season exhibition game in Los Angeles.]


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