MORNING BUZZ: Lockdown, Start-up and Fun Haters

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Good Morning!
Lots to catch up on from the week…

Those of you who’ve read this for a while have seen me write this phrase often: It’s more complicated than that. I had that thought again as the threat, lock-down and manhunt unfolded around Merrill Middle School. Full Disclosure: This is my neighborhood…sort of. It’s where my kids will go to Jr High.
So, I think we learned again it’s worth getting the entire story before we jump to any conclusions.
First Kudos to the Des Moines Schools for “over protecting” the kids. The Administrators could have taken the threat less seriously and it would have worked out in this case. The man didn’t have a gun. Instead they acted to make sure they minimized any threat to the students. It may have caused some panic among parents but I think they did the right thing.
To the Parents critical of the District’s “lack of security”? The building is the same today as it was yesterday. Yesterday it didn’t bother you. This incident didn’t expose anything we didn’t already know.
These teachers and Administrators are doing the best they can in environments that are supposed to be welcoming to students and open to parent involvement. This was a man who, it is easy to assume, administrators may have seen before. He may have picked kids up at the school. What administrator or teacher is going to see a parent as a threat?
The bottom line here is the same as it is in any school. If someone was motivated enough to hurt kids under the right circumstances they could probably find somewhere to do it. It is sad. As a Parent I don’t like the uncertianty…but as Sally and I start to widen the circle our Children inhabit every day…I have to give up some certainty and control. The best you can do is have conversations with your school about safety. Make your kids appropriately aware of potential threats. If you don’t like the procedures in place, volunteer at your PTA and help out. Run for School Board! Public buildings will never be perfectly safe but we aren’t just passive victims…there are ways to get involved.

Stepping up
How about Ryan Collier’s Mother? It’s just my opinion but her interview was revealing, helped provide some context and was refreshing in that, she did not try to blame anyone else or make excuses.
She stepped up and faced a tough situation with a fortitude and grace many people wouldn’t have.
The context she provides, her son’s Marine service, PTSD, and depression, give us some insight. Her insistence that what he did is still inexcusable assures us that she isn’t try to blame anyone else for what her son did. I share her hope that this man who served his country can get some help dealing with his problems from the VA.

The website continues to have problems. Some people are getting discounted plans…some people are finding plans much more expensive. I have written here…often that the healthcare system is broken. we have to stop paying to treat people who are already sick and find a way to start putting resources toward people being well.
But can we call this what it is? The exchange is going to end up being a way to tax higher incomes and spend the money on lower earning Americans. The lower earners are finding cheaper Healthcare plans…good for them. Theoretically this will be less of a drag on the economy and on the Healthcare system as a whole. Higher earners are finding plans that are more expensive. NPR featured a Farmer in Illinois whose plan for his self-insured family went up more than 50% because he makes more than 90k. A more straightforward way of doing this would have been to call this what it is…a tax. But it’s not a fair tax…because I don’t have to pay it…yet.
The nightmare for the Obamacare Law is if the younger, healthier folks don’t sign up in the numbers projected. If the pool of unhealthy older people who are likely to sign up on the exchanges right now aren’t pooled in with lower risk people…the system will collapse on itself quickly. There’s still plenty of time for this to work…and None of our Lawmakers are doing anything productive to help. I think it’s fair to say the rollout and been rough at BEST.

Fun Haters
A prominent Democratic group tried to be “cute” with a Halloween News release. The Governor announced he was going to dress up as a Ghostbuster for the Terrace Hill Halloween Party. Here’s what the Dems said:

“The Ghostbusters costume is a perfect fit for Governor Branstad. His agenda is a product of the 1980s, and its sequel has been incredibly disappointing,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “The scariest part about this Halloween and every day for middle class Iowans are Branstad’s failed promises on job growth and income growth.”

Really? First of all…Don’t diss Ghostbusters 2. It’s a classic that only gets better with time.
Second, Is this the best you can do? Our Insiders program last week revealed one of your party’s biggest donors is giving his cash to the Republican Governor’s Campaign. Three candidates and he can’t find one he supports…and you’re making fun of Branstad’s Halloween Costume?
The Democrats will find a serious candidate for Fall of 2014 and we should have a serious debate over the future of the State of Iowa. That debate should include holding the Governor accountable for the work of his latest Administration, but if this is the kind of nonsense debate we’re going to have,, I’m not looking forward to it.

Fat Letter
A woman in North Dakota gave out candy to some kids and gave kids she deemed “too fat” a letter that basically chastised parents for letting their obese kids go out and get more candy. The backlash is predictable.
Parents are rightly put of by someone they don’t know giving them a lecture about their kids’ health. I can see why. This woman’s heart may have been in the right place but her message and delivery were all wrong.
If you want to fight Childhood Obesity in your town there are ways to do it. You can write an op-ed at Halloween if you like and have it printed in the paper. the woman isn’t wrong about the fact that there are too many kids who are GROSSLY obese. It’s going to get worse before it gets better for Them. This isn’t the way to fight it.
That said, I don’t disagree with the premise of the argument. The obesity problem…especially among kids amounts to child abuse…
I would be mortified if my kid came home with that note in their bucket. The embarrassment of someone “calling you out” like that might evoke some rage from me as well. I might also be worried about what the label “fat” would do to my kid long-term. But do we imagine that kids who are overweight don’t understand they’re overweight at an early age? New studies show about 10 percent of our weight can be blamed on genetics. 90% is choices we make.
We should all look at ways we can help this problem. It’s OUR problem. These are the future adults, co-workers, and parents themselves some day. If we as adults are overweight and struggling to find a way to lose…this is not what you want to hear. But do we all NEED to hear it more?
I don’t know about you but I see a lot of Parents in McDonald’s demonstrating BAD eating habits to their kids. None of them need me calling them out in Public over it.
Finding ways to make the healthier choice…the easiest choice is a big way we can all help.

-New Music: I was watching the trailer to Vince Vaughn’s new movie yesterday and the song on it is great. It’s by a group called American Authors. Best Day of My Life is the song. Give it a listen.

-Oh Deer: Coming back from break yesterday a HUGE deer darted out on to Ingersoll. It’s that time of year again. Watch out…and no just on the highway!

-Favorite Jokes:
“Want to hear a Halloween joke?, ‘You can keep your Healthcare Coverage'”
“The Past Present and Future walk into a bar…it was tense”

I hope you have a great Halloween. Be safe!