Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Political tales and other divertissements

"The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them." — Will Rogers 

Who would guess that I'd ever have anything worth tattling. Well maybe I do, and maybe I don't. 

Michele Bachmann

I was running around the East Village a couple of months ago putting up posters for the last TCJO concert and popped into a makeup salon. Being beautified were a drag queen for a performance later that night and a club DJ. This was not your Merle Norman sort of a place. 

I was unaware that such an emporium existed in Des Moines and curious about the range of clientele they see. Color me surprised to learn that Michele Bachmann has had her makeup done there on several occasions prior to appearances in Des Moines. Considering that only two of the five of us present were straight, and given her ultra-conservative and outspoken view that marriage is only for heteros, it seemed counterintuitive that she would patronize this shop. She was a perfectly pleasant customer, they said, but my take on it is this: apparently gay people are equal to making her look good, but not equal to being married.

A good friend was in town for a visit a couple of months back, and we took him to Alba for dinner — or rather he took us, which was nice of him. Alba, by the by, is probably our favorite restaurant in Des Moines. (Oops, now there I was getting shiny.) His daughter, of whom he is justifiably proud, works at a major national news network, and she says that Michele Bachmann calls her five days a week to offer herself as a fill-in interview in case someone scheduled bails.

Ellen DeGeneres

Another friend's daughter is on the staff of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen's latest book, she has three out, is called Seriously...I'm Kidding. Guess who wrote it? Not her. Her staff did. All of it. Paul said, "Did you actually think she would have written it?" 

Call me naive, but yes. In my mind, if you didn't write something, you shouldn't list yourself as the author. He asked me if I think Stephen Colbert writes his books. I don't know; I hope so. I assumed both Ellen and Stephen would have lots of help, but wouldn't credit themselves as the author unless the bulk of it was their work and all assistant writers were acknowledged. Bummer. She went down a notch in my book.

Roxanne Conlin

For those of you live out of state or country, Roxanne is a living (thank goodness) legend around these parts. For one thing, she's utterly brilliant. Coming from poverty, she worked her way through Drake University, graduating at 19, and then law school, graduating at 21. The rest of us mere mortals were only undergraduate juniors or seniors by the time she was ready to practice law. A few years later she also got a Masters degree in public administration.

She served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa for four years before running unsuccessfully for Governor of Iowa and the US Senate. As the leader of an extremely successful law firm, she has only represented individuals seeking redress for wrongs they've suffered — not for corporate entities. (At least she can tell the difference between a corporation and a person, as opposed to our Supreme Court who can't!)

She and her husband have also rescued hundreds and hundreds of cats and kittens! And did I mention that she has four children. In short, she's the

Two days before she was about to be 'roasted' to benefit Variety Club of Des Moines which raises money for children's hospitals in Des Moines, she suffered a stroke. As strokes go, it was relatively mild, but she still is having to relearn walking and writing. Paul and I visited her in the hospital (where she had a whole florist shop of flowers and had already sent an equal amount she'd received to area nursing homes), and we found her annoyed by this hitch in her busy life, but in good spirits and intent on a full recovery. She's rehabilitating at home now. She's a fighter — obviously. She'll make it all the way back.

Jeff Danielson

You may remember that I mentioned this State Senator from Waterloo in a recent post. I had spent the day at the Iowa State Capitol, or "on the hill" as it's informally called around here and listened to him speak about his efforts to take down Citizens United, that abhorrent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that says corporations are people. I came away thinking that he has definite higher-office potential. A couple of weeks later Senator Tom Harkin announced that he would not seek sixth term in 2014, and CityView, a local weekly newspaper with actual reporters and staff, ran an article saying that Congressman Bruce Braley would run for Tom's seat, and Jeff Danielson was mentioned as a potential candidate for Bruce's seat in CongressIt sounds like Jeff isn't going to run, but . . . you heard it from me first that he has the makings.

Iowa State Senator, Jeff Danielson

United States Senator Tom Harkin

Congressman Bruce Braley

Governor Terry Branstad

This is old gossip I know, but here you go anyway. You may recall that a year ago I had the unexpected pleasure of sitting with Senator Tom Harkin at the Iowa Girls' High School Basketball Tournament. The seats were in a special reserved VIP section in the first row at center court, and it was great fun.

Governor Branstad was sitting two rows behind us, and I have to say that he looked perfectly awful. He was ashen and hardly moved or talked or reacted to anything going on. I kept looking back to see if he was still alive! Obviously he was because he's still with us, but it certainly didn't look like he had any blood flowing in his body. Conspiracy theory: Maybe he doesn't!!!!!! 

Governor Terry (I'm alive) Branstad

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