Elliot: The NSA knows; it just does

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JULY 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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So, is Kirk Ferentz one of the worst five coaches in college football?

Stewart Mandel of si.com thinks so.

Yes, yes, I know — there are many things in life far more important than college football, though that point would get lost in the hubbub of any game day in Iowa City in the fall.

So, yes; Egypt appears to be collapsing into chaos, what with a military coup tossing out the Muslim Brotherhood with what you might call a pharaoh-thee-well (or you might not, depending on how your day is going).

And yes, conservative Republicans appear to be upping their war on women, though they would stoutly deny that. (Yo, Republicans — there’s a reason Barack Obama stomped the GOP presidential nominees twice in the women’s vote, and it’s not because women are unreasonable. At least not more unreasonable than men, anyway.)

And yes, the semi-secret drone war drones on, much as the not-so-secret climate change drones on (though some still deny that, when they’re not making war on women), and Edward Snowden (he of the NSA leaks, in case you’ve forgotten) reportedly continues to hunker down in a Moscow airport.

Meanwhile, the NSA is reading your grocery list, and big government, Iowa City version, is invading our privacy by busting underage imbibers of alcohol.

No, really. A person interviewed in The Daily Iowan last week seriously (I think) proposed that the Iowa City government is invading privacy by policing underage drinkers.

Now, I am not in favor of the 21-ordinance or even in favor of 21 age limit for drinking alcohol. I believe that if you’re old enough to vote and old enough to sign a contract and old enough to put your life on the line in combat in the military, you’re probably old enough to have a drink or two.


The drinking age is 21. That’s the law, and I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon. Frankly, the way this society is going, one of these days the drinking age will be 31. Which won’t solve any of the problems involved with alcohol but will make some people happy, because then they can go back to stomping on women’s rights as human beings.

In any case, police officers enforcing the law is not invading anyone’s privacy. Neither, for that matter, are traffic-light cameras. You’re in public, you’ve given up a measure of your privacy. You want to dream about running red lights in the privacy (there’s that word again) of your residence, fine. (Although the NSA is probably listening to your dreams.)

But meanwhile, back at the story line (sportswriters’ favorite two words, though they usually write it as one), is Kirk Ferentz one of the worst five coaches in college football?

(This would be in what we used to call Division I college football but no longer do because we don’t want to hurt the tender feelings of UNI fans.)

(I first typed that as “collage” football, which I think I prefer. But then, I read literature, too.)

Seriously. Ferentz one of the worst? Sure, last season was a bummer (to use a word that’s been out of style since nearly the advent of the Edsel), but you have to remember what Ferentz walked into when he came here: The football program was in the deep freeze of irrelevancy. He brought Iowa football back. It might not have been quite what Hayden Fry did in bringing Hawkeye football back from the Antarctica of the Frank Lauterbur years, but it was close.

Besides, Ferentz’s name never belongs on any list that also contains Charlie Weiss. Unless it’s a list of people who like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

But NSA knows what you think about them.

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