Finally … Someone Actually Gets to Vote

Never been to Iowa.

Rarely, if ever, have looked at a map of Iowa.

Usually don’t figure the state of Iowa into my thinking.

However, today, Iowa will have the first say – and perhaps the most important – as to who I get to choose as my next President.

The Iowa caucuses are set to take place today. After months of what amounts to the political version of forelplay, there will be an actual vote this evening. It has been the focus of the longest – and most expensive — Presidential campaign in U.S. history for months now. The dozen or so people running for the Presidency have poured their time and millions of dollars into this state with the hopes of winning – or coming in second – and using it as a springboard for success.

I understand the race for the White House has to begin somewhere, but why Iowa? Why in a state that hardly represents a cross-section of this country. Why should a small sample of middle America narrow my choice for Commander-in-Chief?
Would I vote for Ron Paul? Might I select Bill Richardson? Who knows? I’ll never get the chance to consider these candidates because Iowa – and its fellow small state New Hampshire – will narrow the field before I ever get to vote.

There was a cartoon done by one of the great political satirists of our time – the late Herbert Block. “Herblock” – as he was known – penned a cartoon years ago which showed two men eating apples out of a bag while a group of people stood and watched with sad faces. The men chomping down on the apples represented Iowa and New Hampshire … and the apples represented Presidential campaigns. That’s kind of how I feel today. Someone is gobbling up the apples and leaving me the cores .. and there’s something rotten to the core about that.

One more thing …

You might know that I rarely criticize those who criticize us in the media. Getting ripped by the so-called “critics” is just part of the job. However, one recent criticism left me no choice but to respond.
Frances Monahan is the TV critic for the Pittsburgh City Paper. Her usual job is to take some of the stories the local stations do and poke holes through them like a pinata. That’s fine with me. Local TV takes its lumps and that’s just part of the game. But a recent entry left me a little bit disturbed. I share it with you:

speaking of the defunct blogs and the blogs we wish were defunct, WTAE’s web site ( the pittsburghchannel.com ), will stop publishing online blogs written by its “talent” pool, as this defeats the purpose of showcasing the “talent” in the first place.

To be fair, she did complement Bob Mayo’s blog, which I agree is excellent and informative. However, for someone who works in journalism ( a business that relies on the first amendment ) to advocate the removal of another form of free speech is wrong. Look, I never said this blog was supposed to be a deep, insightful look at the pressing issues facing Pittsburgh. It’s just me – a regular guy – expressing his feelings about the world around him.

Frances ( who I have never met ) get a grip: It’s just a blog. A way for me to speak beyond the soundbites of TV news. Whether I have “talent” or not when it comes to writing is irrelevant. It’s me being honest and judging by the world around us that truly takes talent. Censorship should never be an option — especially when the call comes from a journalist.
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