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Somebody will win Iowa caucuses; won't matter much except among political reporters of spectacle

The Iowa caucuses are upon us. Hooray, whoopee, and two cheers.

The contests mark the official beginning of the 2016 presidential campaign, which already feels like it’s been going on for two years (because it has).

Some polls say that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican winner, others that Ted Cruz will be. Still others advise us to keep an eye on Marco Rubio, who’s sneaking up fast.

The 'Year of Trump' – The Donald wasn't the worst thing about 2015, but he was the most irritating

Is 2015 over yet? Is it safe to come out now?

What a bummer. Mass shootings, cops using unarmed civilians for target practice, the Middle East in rubble, terrorist attacks, Donald Trump.

Trump wasn’t the worst of it, perhaps. But he certainly was the most irritating.

It was a spectacle worthy of Tennyson — “Trump to the right of us, Trump to the left of us, Trump in front and behind. Into the valley of Trump rode the 300 million.”

Constitution upgrade alert! New Version 3.0 would align U.S. Constitution with actual practice

The United States was founded on U.S. Constitution Version 1.0 of 1789. Version 2.0, released in 1791, made 10 significant upgrades to protect citizens against viral government overreach.

Since then, Congress and the states have authorized incremental changes, culminating in version 2.27.

However, system administrators authorized in version 1.0 – the executive, legislative and judicial branches – have far exceeded the limitations expressed in the Version 2.0 Bill of Rights.

Bettendorf municipal debt margin drops, but decline has little to do with reining in capital spending

Bettendorf's elected officials must be getting the message from constituents about the city's sky-high debt.

No, they haven't reined in their free-spending ways; the city just issued another $10.2 million in general obligation (GO) bonds.

But they have figured out how to make the city's debt appear smaller to voters, particularly prior to municipal elections.

Martin Shkreli for 'Person of the Year': Symbolizes the year's spirit of lying, cheating and stealing

It’s time — past time, really — to name the person of the year. (TIME Magazine does it. Why not me?)

There were many worthy candidates in 2015: the Pope, the Donald, and Luke Skywalker, to name just a few. But only one symbolized the spirit of the year.

I speak, of course, of Martin Shkreli.

Older Iowans will select GOP candidate in caucuses

Older men declare war, but it is the youth that must fight and die. - Herbert Hoover

The top tier of Republican presidential candidates trumpeted a march to war during last Tuesday's debate, a call that can only mean boots on the ground.

Those boots will be filled by younger Americans, the ones typically absent from Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses just seven weeks away.

Iowa Partnership for Clean Water ads a smear campaign against Des Moines Water Works head

Editorial reprinted with permission from Des Moines Register, Dec. 10, 2015

It’s time for the Iowa Partnership for Clean Water to consider a name change that more accurately reflects its true mission. For example: The Iowa Partnership for the Malicious Persecution of Public Servants.

The partnership was formed last spring after the Des Moines Water Works sued Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties, alleging their drainage districts are largely responsible for Raccoon River pollution that’s costing central Iowa residents millions in clean-up costs.

Trump rhetoric in Iowa shows disdain for 3C's: Constitution, compromise and consensus

Size matters to Donald Trump.

His wall along the Mexico border will be the biggest, a foot taller than the Great Wall of China, he told Quad-Citians last week.

His wealth dwarfs his opponents’ and their funders'.

Terrorists are the right wing’s best friends

When Paris suffered attacks that killed 17 last January — at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket — it responded with great class.

Parisians filled the streets, locked arm-in-arm in solidarity against terrorism. Leaders from throughout Europe (but not, alas, President Barack Obama) joined them in a show of support.

Same old script for downtown redevelopment; taxpayers should demand a better return

Before Bettendorf aldermen approve another round of taxpayer subsidies for downtown redevelopment, they should take a drive along 53rd Avenue and ask themselves: why are businesses paying top dollar to build along the busy corridor without a nickel from city coffers?

If asked, they will hear why commercial businesses flock to 53rd Avenue and avoid downtown Bettendorf: a location with easy access to residents with moderate to high disposal incomes.

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