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Elliot: Quantum nonsense

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JANUARY 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sometimes, you find a sense of where to go that’s not vertigo.

Although, according to AP, the top 1 percent of the wealthiest of the world’s population own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth.

Welcome to 2015, in which not vertigo does not seem to be quite so.

Take UI President Sally Mason, who saw fit to announce her coming retirement while the university was still on hiatus and a lot of UI people, including most students, were still out of town. Who does that?

Mason, apparently.

At first, I thought that Athletics Director Gary Barta had forced Mason out, because he seems to taking aim at all UI female leaders in order to take the attention away from the slide in the football program in recent seasons.

But no. It was just vertigo.

Take that Alfred Hitchcock movie and run with it. All the way to the future.

Not that we understand the future, because, well, it hasn’t happened yet. Of course. (And most Americans can’t use the future tense correctly, but we’ll pitch those tents when we come to them.)
But none of that stops us from thinking about the future. Especially, it appears, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. As he told Fox News (two words that, when juxtaposed, make me laugh uncontrollably):
“[T]he truth is, the 20th century is over. The 21st century is here. The future is now. We need to begin to address 21st century problems with 21st century ideas.”

Which is fine, except that Rubio doesn’t exactly practice what he preaches. (Or what he peaches, either.)

Take, for instance, his reaction to President Obama’s “new” policy on Cuba: Rubio, who is of Cuban ancestry, vehemently opposes it. He prefers to stick with what has been the U.S. policy for 54 years — beginning in 1960. Which, as most of us can figure out, is a 20th-century policy. It would appear, on this one, that Obama has the 21st-century idea.

Rubio, just for the record, also opposes same-sex marriage, doesn’t believe in global-climate change, and opposes Social Security and Medicare — which is pretty much 20th-century, standard Republican pablum.

But, 20th century aside, Rubio is a rising star in the GOP universe, which, as much as I can figure out, does’t include black holes or event horizons or any sort of quantum nonsense. Rising star, that is, according to the Great Mentioner, as former New York Times columnist Russell Baker once called him (or her).

As is new Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who has barely taken three breaths in the Senate chamber. But she will be the GOP’s answer to Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday. Pretty heady, pretty fast. Maybe she’ll be the GOP VP candidate in 2016.

But she, like Rubio, has some peculiar notions, 20th century or not. She has said Obama is a dictator who should be impeached, she believes zygotes are persons and abortion providers should be punished, she doesn’t believe in the federal minimum wage, she does believe that Iraq had WMDs, and, at one point, she said the U.N. had a plot to force Iowa farmers off their land.

Now, to be fair, when Ernst was challenged on those notions, she backed away from them. So that makes her perfect to deliver the GOP response to the State of the Union address.

Maybe, sometime in the future, Ernst could ask Rubio about the future.


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