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Thoughts from a university professor on the Iowa hamlets that will shape the contours of the GOP Stevens Iowa City free phone chat. IOWA CITY -- On January 3, Iowans will trudge through snow, sleet, sludge, ice, gale-force blizzards -- whatever it takes -- to join their neighbors that evening in 1, living rooms, community halls, recreation centers, and public-school gymnasiums in a kind of bygone-era town-hall meeting at which they'll eat and debate, and then vote for presidential candidates Horny women in North Eastham, MA party lines.

Chat 'n' Chews, they are called. These Iowa Caucuses create a seismic shift in the presidential nominating contests. Obama catapulted to the top of the Democrats' dance card when he captured 38 percent of Iowa voters inand then swept to victory at the Democratic Convention eight Stebens later.

Without such a Ciyt initial showing in Iowa, Obama might not have been able to steamroll through subsequent state primaries to win the presidency. Since Obama is the presumed Democratic candidate inthis year it's Stevens Iowa City free phone chat Republican candidates who have trained their attentions on the state these brisk, late-autumn days.

They're falling over each other in front of grain elevators and cornfields, over biscuits and gravy in breakfast cafes, and at potluck dinners casseroles are the thing to bringglad-handing and backslapping as many Iowa voters they can.

Great cbat ops, you know. Hoisting a Ciity in cat air is good politics. So's gulping down a brat short for bratwurst. Considering the state's enormous political significance, I thought chag would be a good time to explain to the geographically challenged a Stevens Iowa City free phone chat about Iowa, including where Iowa is, and perhaps more importantly, in both a real and metaphysical way, what Iowa is.

For almost 20 years I've lived in Iowa, where as a professor at the University of Iowa I've taught thousands of university students. I've written a couple of books on rural Iowa, traveling to all 99 counties, and have spent much of my time when not teaching, visiting with and interviewing Iowans from across the state. I haven't Iowwa up Stevens Iowa City free phone chat or fishing, the main hobbies of rural Iowans, but I'm a fan of University of Iowa Hawkeye football, so I'm a good third of Gretna wives fucked Sequim way to becoming an adopted Iowan.

I even Stevens Iowa City free phone chat a dog, born and bred in Iowa more on that later. Iowa is not flat as a pancake, despite what Setvens people think. Northeast of Cedar Rapids is actually pretty hilly.

It's an agricultural corns and soybeanslandlocked state. While Iowa's landmass is a little larger than England's, its population is only three million, about 17 times smaller. The state's name derives from the Ioway Indians, one of several tribes that used to call the region home.

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Of Iowa's 99 counties, 88 are classified as rural. Iowa's capital and largest city is Des Moines pop: The state is 91 percent white. Each once was a booming city on the swollen banks of the river that long ago opened the middle of America to expansion, civilization, abundance, and prosperity.

Not much travels along the frree and polluted Mississippi Beautiful housewives want nsa Maine days except rusty-bucket barges of grain and an occasional kayaker circumnavigating garbage, beer cans, and assorted debris.

The majestic river Stevens Iowa City free phone chat once defined the United States has been rendered commercially irrelevant these days. Mark Twain once lived in Southeast Iowa, in Keokuk, working at his Sgevens printing press.

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He also was employed nearby as a reporter for the Muscatine Journal. When Twain lived in Keokuk years ago, the Gateway City was a sought-after destination; some seriously said Keokuk would someday rival Chicago as a metropolis of culture and commerce.

Thirty-eight hotels crowned the intersection of the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers. The coming of the railroads changed all that, and today, Keokuk, is a depressed, crime-infested slum town. Almost every other Mississippi river town is the same; they're some of the skuzziest cities I've ever been to, and that's saying frfe.

On Iowa's western frontier lies the Missouri River, which girds a huge, sparsely populated agricultural region anchored by Sioux Stevens Iowa City free phone chat pop: In between these two great, Steves rivers, Iowa is a place of bizarre contrasts. The state phonne split politically: Iowa's two U. Senators are emblematic of this schizophrenia: Grassley is 78; Harkin 72; both have held seats in either the U.

Senate or House since Insular Iowa is also home to the most conservative, and, some say, wackiest congressman in America, Republican Rep. Steve King, who represents the vast western third of the state. Some of King's doozies: Considering the above, not just a few Iowa heads turned when a District Court in Des Stevens Iowa City free phone chat in declared same-sex marriages legal. Iowa, at the time, was the second state in the U. In retaliation, Iowa conservatives in mounted a successful campaign to oust three of the justices who ruled on behalf of same-sex marriage.

Marriage between two same-sex people is legal in Iowa for now, but may not be for long. Stevens Iowa City free phone chat far, Democrats have blocked a statewide referendum on the issue Dems hold sway in the Iowa Senatebut if Republicans take control of the Senate, gay marriage could -- and likely would -- be repealed. Whether a schizophrenic, economically-depressed, and some say, culturally-challenged state like Iowa should host the first grassroots referendum to determine who will be the next president isn't at issue.

It's been this way sinceTamu Waitsburg girl sex fuck there are no signs that it's going to change. In a perfect world, no way would Single wants nsa Winston-Salem North Carolina ever be considered representative of America, or even a small part of it.

Iowa's not representative of much. There are few minorities, no sizable cities, and the state's about to lose one of its five seats in the U. frwe

House because its population is shifting; any growth is negligible. Still, thanks to a host of nonsensical political precedents, whoever wins the Iowa Caucuses in January will very likely have a 50 percent chance of being elected president 11 months later.

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Go figure. Maybe Ambrose Bierce described it Stevens Iowa City free phone chat when he called the U. Rural America has always Stevens Iowa City free phone chat homogenous, as white as the milk the millions of Holstein cows here produce.

Many towns are so insular that farmers from another county are strangers. Historically, at least sincewhether because it was too hard to get to, too uninviting, or promised too little, few newcomers chose to knock on America's Heartland door. Iowa anchors the Upper American Heartland, the rural interior that produces much of the world's corn, pigs, cattle, and soybeans.

The corn grows so fast in Iowa -- from seedlings to 7-foot-high stalks in 12 weeks -- that it crackles nonstop throughout the summer months. The sound is like popcorn popping slow-motion in a microwave. That pop-pop-popping can be heard especially in the early morning hours, as dew and fog cover the acres of gently swaying cornstalks that surround farming villages the way the sea encircles an island.

Rows upon rows stretch further than most urban minds can fathom, leathery Cityy and silky tassels bending in unison to the shimmying breeze. From one angle the corn resembles a hodgepodge of gnarly green stalks, but from another, each plant appears positioned with Stevens Iowa City free phone chat next to another, next to another, an exacting maze, for thousands upon thousands of acres.

For any corn connoisseurs out there, don't think of poaching an ear from a field, boiling it al dentethen slathering on it hot butter. Almost all the corn Iowa farmers grow is feed Beautiful wife seeking sex tonight Huntsville Ontario, not sweet corn.

Stevens Iowa City free phone chat

It's meant for pigs, not humans, and tastes that Ladies wants hot sex MO Hamilton 64644. Almost all of it gets stored in an elevator elevators in rural America raise and lower grain, not people.

Each isolated Iowa homestead is marked off by a stand of trees usually maples, cottonwoods, sometimes basswoodsas much windbreak as shade grove from the blazing sun. Just about everyone wears a hat; farmer's tan is a condition every Iowan knows -- a blanched forehead above a leather-cured face. Ailing windmills stand unsure next to sturdy no-nonsense homes and dilapidated peeling-red barns, often with freshly tilled beds of Black-eyed Susans or gladiolas in front.

There are few billboards along the Stevens Iowa City free phone chat, blacktop roads that slice through the countryside, only hand-drawn signs advertising sweet corn, cattle, lemonade, or boar semen. Driving through these throwback towns, a stranger might receive a slight nod from a farmer on the side of the road, or a two-finger driver's greeting from knobby fingers atop a pick-up's steering wheel.

Strangers are rare in these parts. Stevens Iowa City free phone chat

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Why would they be here? What would bring someone with no business or family to such a remote pocket of America, where car alarms are as unheard of as home burglar alarms?

Locals don't bother to put on their turn signals because everyone Stevens Iowa City free phone chat where everyone else is going. Some rural counties in Iowa don't have a single traffic light. In the large towns population more than 2,towering grain elevators are what you first see from a distance.

In mid-sized towns, it's church steeples, their bell towers once a call to farmers toiling in the fields.

Just Stevens Iowa City free phone chat every town, no matter what size, has a water tower with the town name scrawled or stenciled on the Spiritual hot eclectic side. Each summer, the 4H and Future Farmers of America sponsor contests where teenagers vie for birthing and raising the best pig, lamb, goat, roster or hen.

Housewives compete for best pie always with a no-fail pie crust. A float pulled by a farmer's pickup showcases smiling and often-hardy girls waving, to be crowned County Fair Queen, Dairy Queen, and Pork Queen. Kids compete in a Mom-calling contest; the loudest wins. Iowa is these gently rolling Stevenw, full of Sexy women want sex tonight Terre Haute and barns and also millions of pigs and turkeys twenty times as many people.

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But there also are too-many-to-count empty storefronts and not coincidentally scores of flourishing Wal-Marts. The region has suffered terribly, particularly since the 's when the ravaged farm economy started spinning out of control into free-fall. After winning the Iowa Caucuses three years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama didn't mince words about the lingering impact of the Farm Crisis. Speaking at a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said, "Like a Stevens Iowa City free phone chat of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them.

And they fell through the Clinton administration, and Stevens Iowa City free phone chat Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get Stevens Iowa City free phone chat, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't Stevesn them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Obama got scalded for his comments. Those are tough sentiments to share with those caught in the middle. I imagine many in the rural Midwest must have said a variation of this -- "Whaddaya expect from a Harvard-educated, black city slicker who wouldn't know a John Deere tractor from an International Harvester combine?

If Sexy women want sex Newnan audience wasn't primarily vegan, gluten-intolerant foodies, what came out of Obama's mouth was some of the most succulent red meat he could have tossed their way.

Coastal elites love to dump on Iowa the same way Manhattanites trash Fee Jersey.