It did not take the Iowa Legislature long to pass and implement a 10-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax increase: Jan. 12 to March 1. But it took them 10 years to eliminate the income tax I pay on my Social Security benefits. Why?
–West Des Moines
Denny Arthur’s is a safe place
I am writing to commend you for your most accurate description of Denny Arthur’s dance bar as having something for everyone, old or new. The music starts out old and ends up with the latest new songs, as do the patrons from senior citizens to those just reaching legal age to drink. However, it is considered an adult bar for those older than 40. Most patrons come from the metro area, and some come all the way from Corning in southwest Iowa and Mason City way up north. Most dance bars have a short life expectancy, but not Denny’s on 86th and Hickman. He has had a steady and loyal fan base for more than 30 years. Couples who met there and got married 20 years ago (or less) get a divorce and return to their old stomping ground to recover their lost years and meet old and new friends. The only thing you overlooked is that there are other bar animals besides female cougars. Male wolves of all ages, size and pedigree congregate there to prey upon many willing women or to just growl at each other. However, there is a code among the packs and lone wolves that they will not engage in disputes for supremacy or for the females. So there are no fights, and Denny’s is a safe place and great place to have fun, drink some, converse and, of course, dance. By the way, I am that 70-year-old guy grooving with the knock out 30-year-old referred to in your article. Care to dance? Ahhwooo!
Issuing Iowa drivers licenses to immigrants would make us all safer
The Iowa legislature is debating issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who are currently prevented from qualifying for them. (SF1092, HF305). Ten other states allow licenses for these drivers because they have recognized that everyone’s safety is dependent on the ability of all drivers to pass both driving and written tests. Currently, you and your loved ones are sharing the road with approximately 75,000 undocumented immigrants in Iowa, many of whom are driving but have never had the opportunity to have their basic driving skills tested. Some undocumented immigrants currently have auto insurance but many do not. It’s estimated that the increased insurance premium cost to all drivers is $116.90 per year due to accidents caused by unlicensed and uninsured drivers. We should take the advice of the many Iowa law enforcement agencies that support this because they recognize it would enhance the public safety of all Iowans. Legislation that makes our roads safer potentially saves money and has proven to work in other states should be a high priority for passage.
A warning courtesy of Alabama
A federal district court judge ruled Alabama’s ban on marriage equality as unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court declined to issue a stay on the federal judge’s ruling. As such, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples should now be able to marry in Alabama. Except, well, not so fast. The Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice ordered Alabama judges to not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This order directly contradicts the federal court’s ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to issue a stay on the federal court’s ruling. What does this mean? It means our nation’s great judicial system on both the federal level and the state level entered a crisis. The word “crisis” possibly seems too strong a word for some, but not for me. This is about something more — something about our very existence as citizens. As an Iowan and an American, I am not sure what binds our wonderful country together. Did God create, or at the very least, have a hand in guiding our founders to craft such an elaborate government? Does our respect for the rule of law hold our delicate country together in a way God and/or the founders hoped the rule of law would do just that? Unfortunately, I have no answer. Whatever you think, I hope we can all agree on several basic points. First, we live in the greatest country ever known. This is a fact. Second, our system of government, although sometimes imperfect, is a system we as people rely on for justice. Third, and finally, without the federal judicial system and each state’s judicial system fully operating and existing in comity with the others, we quickly become a nation not of united citizens, but a nation whose citizenry exists without purpose. Our purpose, after all, is to become whomever we wish, believe whatever want, et cetera. Let us remember our individual, family, group, state, and federal purposes while the needless constitutional crisis unfolds in Alabama. We must not allow the system we should be so proud of having to fall into the hands of people like the Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice. After all, the judiciary protects our freedoms. The judiciary is the last stop when others wish to harm us. We cannot let one judicial officer trample upon our system of nearly boundless freedom. This is the United States of America where no one person is able to trample over our rights. One last thing: As an Iowa boy, I cannot thank God, my family, my friends, my fellow citizen and the state and federal governments for the blessing I received by being born, raised and now settled in Iowa. Even though our politics get a little shaky at times, I am confident in the goodness of my fellow Iowans.