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Friday, March 30, 2007

Krusty Konservative: Stupid or Brilliant?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
There is never a week that goes by where a presidential kandidate isn't somewhere in the Iowa. That said; it looks like there is some unspoken rule that says if your running for president you must squeeze in an Iowa trip right before Easter. Maybe they are picking up an Easter Ham, or maybe there is some special on peeps I don't know about. Next Tuesday Rudy Giuliani comes to Iowa for his first presidential kampaign event, his Des Moines visit will be covered by all the major media outlets. What I find odd is that Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson will be coming to town the next day, and Thompson is announcing his kandidacy when he comes to town. I don't know whether Thompson's announcement koming on the heels of Rudy's first Iowa visit is brilliant or stupid. Maybe Grubbs & Ko realize that its difficult for their kandidate to generate national press koverage, so by piggybacking off of Rudy's event Thompson might be able steal a few lines in all Rudy's earned media.

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Political Fallout: DLC Merger Complete: Hillary, Inc. Adopts Vilsack

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout

The inevitable finally happened when Democratic Leadership Corporation Diva, Hillary Just Hillary, acquired former DLC Chair Tom Vilsack. Even though Vilsack, Inc. went into the red after its failed presidential bid, Hillary, Inc. went ahead with the merger, promising to help Vilsack pay off his $400,000 campaign debt. Wow, that's some dowry, eh? Maybe Vilsack should throw in a couple of goats to sweeten the deal. Although this is a mere pittance when compared to the multi-trillion dollar debt our next President stands to inherit, not including the Iraq War Bush threw in for good measure. King George may want to consider throwing in his two daughters as a peace offering. The world of corporate politics works just the same as the traditional corporate world, meaning there's no such thing as "money for nothin'." So how's Vilsack going to earn his keep?

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Political Forecast: A Drop in the Bucket

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast

Following up on my post below about the cost of implementing the VOICE legislation (HF 805), I just spoke a bit with Adam Mason of Voter-Owned Iowa to clear up and talk about a few things. Nothing specifically quotable, but just some discussion. Clearly, the cost is an issue with the legislation - but let's put it into perspective. When considering the overall budget of the state, $10 million is 1/10 of 1% of the total budget. That's a mere drop in the bucket. Of course, we have to take into account that spending that will be limited in other fields that are critical to successful legislating and policy implementation. But, if CityView's Civic Skinny column from last week is right, then we're doing just fine when it comes to state revenue and the ability to pay for things that both Gov. Culver and the Legislature want.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Open Country: Bruce Braley Interrogates Bush GSA Chief

Excerpted from this post at Open Country
Another Bush appointee in trouble for what looks like corruption? Another fox put in charge of the chicken coop? Say it ain't so! Lurita Doan, the Bush-appointed General Services Administration chief, was questioned under oath by trial lawyer and brand-new U.S. House Representative Bruce Braley of the Davenport, Iowa area ... Doan describes herself as "an unabashed entrepreneur" and Republican fund-raiser who allowed a White House operative to brief her managers in the GSA on Democratic "targets" in the November 2008 election. ... Do you like the fact that Bruce Braley, a Democratic trial lawyer, won in November, and the Democrats put a trial lawyer in charge of questioning Lurita Doan under oath? I love it!

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Essential Estrogen: Iowa Republicans Can't Get No Satisfaction

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
... What a difference a week makes! Just 10 days ago, Senate Minority Leader Mary Lundby was praising Gov. Chet Culver for his four nominees to the Iowa Board of Regents. ... Within hours praise had turned to grumbling as the Register announced two of the nominees "gave almost as much to [Culver's] gubernatorial campaign as more than 100 new appointees to state boards and commissions combined." ... For those wanting to make an issue of the campaign contributions, there was also another big roadblock: the other two nominees to the Board of Regents weren't supporters... they weren't even Democrats. ... When it became obvious that Iowans weren't buying the 'buying appointments' memo, a new complaint emerged. If confirmed, the new Board of Regents would have no representatives from Western Iowa serving. ... When the nominees appeared before the House Education Committee, Evans highlighted his governing role at Coe College while also pointing out that he was originally from Early (Sac County) in northwestern Iowa and continues to maintain a family farm in that area.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Corn Beltway Boys: Tom Vilsack's Crazy, Insane Blowout Endorsement Sale

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys
***He's overstocked with 2007 endorsements, political favors, and back room deals. Campaign staffers? He's got it. Union ties? He's got it. A last name that sounds like a pickle? He's gooooot it!!! Everything has got to go as the 2008s are arriving daily. Tom Vilsack's cRaZy, insanE blowout endorsement sale, where you don't have to be a rock star...just a carpet bagging, corrupt Senator from New York. Come and get it...*** Vilsack endorses Hillary Clinton at the same time the Clinton campaign pays off Vilsack's remaining campaign debt. But don't you for one second believe the two are related. Don't do it! ... Of course you know why it's ridiculous? Because a Vilsack endorsement isn't worth $400K. Maybe $1.25...$1.75 tops...possibly $2.25 if he was a family member in need of a hand out. Now Christie Vilsack's endorsement on the other hand...

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John Deeth Blog: Food stamp fraud or survival?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
"Food stamp fraud" brings up the image of Ronald Reagan's apocryphal welfare queen, and the Des Moines Register tut-tuts its disapproval. But they don't have tales of thousands of dollars or even tens of dollars. ... Yes, some of the actions described in the article seem tacky to someone raised in the middle class. But the tone is condescending. Every example in the article is the stereotype of cash for cigarettes. But there's a few other things you can't buy with your food stamp cards. Like toilet paper. Or food for the pet that may be your only source of comfort, your only "luxury." ... We support our weakest neighbors with just enough money to fill their bellies with sugar and starch, deny them a hand in getting a bar of soap, then look down upon them because they're dirty. We brainwash people with cigarette ads, berate them when they're too poor to sustain the addiction, and won't even pay for a patch to slap on their arms.

Iowa Voters: Senate Passes Paper Trail

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
It passed 45-5. It spells the end of touchscreen voting in Iowa, since current equipment can be replaced only with scannable paper ballot systems. That's good news. Unfortunately there's more. The bill allows the new paper trail to be "machine readable" as well as visually readable by real people. This opens the door to misuse of the paper trail, wherein one set of software creates the trail and another set of software reads it. If no one's eyes are ever employed to examine the paper and compare it to the alleged vote tally, we are hardly better off than we were.

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iPol: Disembodied Voices, Talking Heads

Excerpted from this post at iPol
I attended the Good Morning America healthcare forum with Hillary Clinton. ... Once inside, the audience was put into a staging area in the SCI café, where the production staff would periodically arrive to summon groups of people onto the set. Notably, one of these groups consisted of people pre-selected to ask questions. So, yes, the questions that were broadcast during the show appear to have been entirely pre-selected, either by ABC, or the Clinton campaign, or both. That's show biz. ... During commercial breaks, Clinton mingled with the audience. It was quite different from the massive kickoff event I attended back in January; with a crowd of merely a couple hundred, rather than thousands, on a television set, rather than a gymnasium floor, the dynamic between the candidate and the crowd was less rope-line frenzy and more actual one-on-one conversation.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From Right 2 Left: Xenophobia is not cool

Excerpted from this post at From Right 2 Left
Tom Tancredo's visit to Iowa over the weekend has awakened me to the fact that Americans need to face some history. Between comments to articles and some stuff in the blogosphere, American defense of "our culture" takes some disturbing tones. ... The US annexed Texas and disputed territories, with full knowledge that it was still claimed by Mexico. Further, we failed to obtain the rest of the southwest by purchase. Because of these facts, we went to war. In that war, US claims to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California were fully realized. Our war not only deprived Mexico of its rightful territory, but also led to decades of continuing slavery for blacks in those areas ... The US is the great country that it is today in spite of these facts, but these facts should humble us in considering our responsibilities to our less fortunate neighbors to the south.

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At the Statehouse: Fading Away

Excerpted from this post at At the Statehouse
Hopes for action on some big issues are fading with roughly a month left in the 2007 legislative session. ... Here are a few issues hanging by a thread as the session winds down. TAX REFORM – There was a lot of talk on the campaign trail about fixing Iowa's property tax system, but almost no talk under the golden dome this year. ... ROAD FUNDING – As gas prices inched higher in recent weeks, the chances that lawmakers will raise the state gas tax to fund road improvements faded. Democrats who just voted to increase the cigarette tax are wary of voting for another tax hike. ... FAIR SHARE – Democrats insist pro-union "fair share" legislation is alive, but all signs point to a slow fade. The controversial bill would give unions the power to charge a service fee to non-union workers.

Popular Progressive: Jumping on the Train

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive
... I purposely did not want to support anyone this early in the cycle, but there is something about John Edwards that makes me believe he is the real deal. Maybe it is the way he has made fighting poverty a centerpiece to his campaign. Maybe it is his populist message. Maybe it is the way he handles extremely difficult things with integrity, like the decision to keeping running despite his wife's health issues ... at the end of the day, what I ask myself is, does he demonstrate a depth of character and could he handle the rigors of being president? This is what I hang my hat on. When it all comes down to it, we need a president we can trust to do the right thing and won't wither when a tough decision crosses his desk. I think John Edwards is worth my support.

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Political Forecast: Raise your VOICE!

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
Today, we need action at the grassroots and netroots level to the bring Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections law out of subcommittee, to the full House Appropriations Committee, and then to the floor for debate in the Iowa House. Ed Fallon (and his group I'm For Iowa) and former Governor Tom Vilsack both support HF 805 and right now the bill is in an appropriations subcommittee with instructions to kill the bill. ... . The subcommittee is expected to meet either tomorrow or Wednesday — without large citizen support and efforts to communicate that support to them, they'll kill the bill. We cannot allow that to happen. If the bill comes out of the subcommittee, it essentially becomes "funnel-proof" and must then be considered before the full House Appropriations Committee and would likely make it to the floor of the House for consideration.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Bleeding Heartland: Where's Fair Share?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
It's being held up in the house by around ten Democratic legislators who are all either firm no votes or on the fence. A disproportionate number of them are women, suggesting that Speaker Pat Murphy's strong-arm tactics might not work so well on legislators of the fairer sex. Whatever the problem with getting these legislators on board, it almost goes without saying that they are wrong for holding out. Almost. ... Most of this is academic though, since enough of the legislators holding out signed pledges that they would support Fair Share legislation if it came up. Anyone who goes back on their word now - I'm looking at you Doris Kelley - deserves a vigorous (and I suspect well-funded) primary in 2008.

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Political Fallout: Vilsack Expected to Curse Hillary's Campaign

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout
After being the first to officially drop out of the '08 presidential campaign, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is planning to put a political curse on Hillary's campaign next Monday. The two notable figureheads of the Democratic Leadership Corporation will co-opt their wonder-DLC powers together in the form of one slightly more notable figurehead of the DLC. The DLC is expected to recognize the cursed occasion by expanding their merchandising and releasing a monolithic bobblehead doll that features both of their likenesses.

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From Right 2 Left: Does privacy matter?

Excerpted from this post at From Right 2 Left
... The publication this weekend in the P-C of the names and addresses of people with permits to carry weapons was a gross violation of their right to privacy. Many people seek a permit to carry weapons because they have reason to fear for their safety. Anyone who is interested in targeting one of these people received a great boost from the P-C. Moreover, we are all protected when the identities of permit holders is kept private. ... Each of us not on that list is a easier mark because of its publication. Of course, there is also the problem that the list can serve as a scarlet letter. Employers might ask these people questions that they have no right asking. Neighbors might become unreasonably suspicious.

Political Forecast: Thank you, Senator Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
There is a lot of intrigue and there are a lot of details surround the dismissal of eight US Attorneys by the Justice Department and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. And it seems like there is a lot of detail missing as well, which is what led to the DOJ releasing thousands of pages of documents and emails — and also led to House and Senate Committees to issue subpoenas to White House staff about the decision to fire the attorneys. On the Senate Judiciary Committee, only one Republican Senator voted in favor of issuing the subpoenas: Iowa's own Chuck Grassley. ... Whatever differences I have with Sen. Grassley (and there are many), I do sincerely thank him for his responsible vote in this endeavor.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

The Corn Beltway Boys: Shattered Glass

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys

In case you haven't previously read this on a liberal blog or Sam Brownback's blog, Rudy and Judith Giuliani have six previous marriages between them. Apparently this is a big deal to ultra conservatives. I am sorry, let me rephrase that: apparently the press thinks this is a big deal to ultra conservatives. Now I can't speak for the ultra conservative base in this country (the press does a better job of that anyway), but I am pretty sure they are not perfect either. I am sorry, let me rephrase that: I know they're not perfect. There is only one thing worse than being pious and that is stereotyping someone as pious based on your own interpretation of how you think they will react to certain socio-behaviors. And that is exactly what the press and political gurus are doing.

Krusty Konservative: A Krusty Value Pack

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

1. I'm told Romney had a good event in Council Bluffs yesterday, I was told they had about 300 RSVP's for the luncheon. I was unable to get a number of what they actually had at lunch. In addition to the lunch I'm told that Romney attended a business roundtable meeting, which also went very well.

2. I'm told that Former Secretary of State, and Former Mayor of Cedar Rapids, Paul Pate is going to endorse Rudy Giuliani. I don't think endorsements really do much, but they don't hurt either.

Essential Estrogen: Bee Double-E Double-R You In -- Beer Run

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

I'm one of the lucky quarter of all Iowans who live in an area requiring those purchasing a legal substance to leave their name and number behind... for eternity. That's right, if you're gonna buy a keg in Marion, you're gonna register your keg in Marion. (Unless, of course, you drive the five minutes into Cedar Rapids.) Let me first mention I'm a little concerned about the fact that I'm once again getting ready to plant my ass firmly on a Republican point. (Whoa, boys, it's not to be taken literally!) The keg registration legislation is the same for the state as it was for Marion: pointless. Here's my disclaimer: I'm not a drinker and I don't believe I've every purchased a keg in my entire life.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Fix: The Line: Let the Senate Rankings Begin!

Excerpted from this post at The Fix
... after several Senate Lines in which we listed the ten most competitive race alphabetically, this week's installment kicks off our attempt to rank them based on their likelihood of switching party control next November. ... 10. Iowa: Sen. Tom Harkin (D) presents something of an electoral conundrum. On one hand, he has held his Iowa Senate seat since 1984. On the other, his reelection percentages suggest vulnerability -- 54 percent in 2002, 52 percent in 1996, 54 percent in 1990. Unfortunately for Republicans, close doesn't count in politics, and they have yet to figure out the formula to beat Harkin. The national party seems committed to trying again in 2008. Rep. Tom Latham (R) is their preferred candidate, but Rep. Steve King (R) and former Rep. Jim Nussle, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, are also mentioned. We fully expect Republicans to find a serious candidate and for that candidate to make a strong race against Harkin. But beat the incumbent? That's another story.

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Krusty Konservative: Pipe Dream

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Everything that Cillizza writes is correct, however I don't think there is anyway that Latham or King give up their safe seats in congress to run against Tom Harkin. I also don't think that Republican activists in Iowa are excited Jim Nussle running against Harkin. The only way that I can see Nussle running against Harkin is if Rudy Giuliani is the Republican nominee for President. ... Since I'm a kind and generous person, I thought I'd throw out a few names that should be konsidered. Ron Corbett – Former Speaker of the Iowa House, Former Cedar Rapids Chamber President. ... Bob Vander Plaats – Bob is a perennial kandidate, he has spent the last six years running for Governor or Lt. Governor. Part of me thinks that some people might have grown tired of Vander Plaats, he does has a following of social konservatives that can not be ignored. ... Bill Salier – Bill gave Kongressman Ganske a tough primary fight in 2002 even though he was probably outspent 1000 to 1. Salier is another champion of grassroots konservatives and is now reengaged in Iowa politics, after agreeing to chair Kongressman Tom Tancredo's presidential kampaign here in Iowa.

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Iowa Voice: Harkin is Pro-Pork

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
Via the Fort Dodge Messenger: "When members of Congress set aside federal money for projects in their districts or states, they call it earmarking. Others may call it pork-barrel spending or worse. And while the practice can be controversial, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin believes it's both necessary and protected by the Constitution." Harkin's reasoning is not sound. 1. Just because Congress has the "power of the purse" doesn't mean they can spend with impunity. Does not the President have the "power to wage war," yet Harkin wouldn't say Bush can do whatever he wants with that power. 2. Harkin states that earmarks are necessary because bureaucrats wouldn't otherwise be able to find the "worthwhile local efforts." ... The real point is that if earmarks were "worthwhile" they wouldn't need to be earmarked. They could be voted on in their own bill. Besides, no one complains about earmarking of "worthwhile" efforts.

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Hawkeye GOP: Fred Thompson

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP
Like others, my interest was piqued when I heard that Fred Thompson was considering a run for president. ... I don't really know much about Thompson. But if the buzz is correct, he is a conservative and as Krusty says, he looks presidential. I don't know if he is the one — but I am anxiously waiting. The common wisdom is that Thompson can raise the money ecessary to make a race of it. If Thompson is going to get in the race and compete in Iowa, he needs to start soon. He is behind but using name recognition (or face recognition) he just might be able to pull it off. I was getting ready to throw my support behind a minor candidate, but now I think I will wait and see what Thompson is going to do.

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Price of Politics: Elizabeth Edwards Health Announcement

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
... I had expected to talk with Senator Edwards Tuesday night during a house party in Indianola. But just two hours before the wine and cheese party was scheduled to start, the Senator called the host to say he had to cancel. Edwards said his wife got some unexpected news from the doctor following her checkup earlier in the day and he had to fly back home right away. Edwards' campaign seemed to have a different spin on what was transpiring. A release said Mrs. Edwards just had a routine followup appointment scheduled for Wednesday and that the Senator wanted to be with her, since he usually accompanies her to the doctor. ... Let's hope all the worry is unneeded. Let's hope Mrs. Edwards breast cancer isn't back. Let's hope we don't have to watch the Senator halt his campaign while his wife gets treatment. Let's hope everything is really o.k. Let's hope.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bleeding Heartland: IDP and RPI Chairs talk politics at Drake

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
... My initial opinions of the two leaders was that Brennan clearly came prepared and ready to talk about the issues as a seasoned political professional while Mosley was the down-home Republican who said what he meant, even if it was offensive or wasn't politically correct. Largely, it made me wonder how this man could possibly be chosen to represent a party as their chairman. While his down-home style, seemingly like most ordinary Iowa Republican caucusgoers, might be appealing to some I think it was a big turnoff to those in the audience seeking a more enlightened and vigorous discussion about the issues, not just gut reactions.

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State 29: Car-Title Loans To Be Capped, Finally

Excerpted from this post at State 29
This blog has been beating the drum about car-title loans for nearly two years, so I'm happy to see Democrats finally doing something good for poor people for a change. You Republicans out there ought to suspicious about politicians carrying the "R" tag who claim to be fiscal conservatives, religious conservatives, or conservatives of any type who take money from lobbyists and support what is basically legalized loansharking. They need to be removed from office in the next election.

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Century of the Common Iowan: How Does California Moving Up their Primary Affect Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
There could be a total of 23 states that hold their primaries on February 5th, just weeks after Iowa and New Hampshire. ... The condensed calendar will only make Iowa more important. Candidates will need that momentum because they will not be able to simultanously campaign in all 23 states that hold their primaries on February 5th. It is looking like we will have our nominee by Valentines Day of 2008 or we will have a 2 or 3 candidates split enough of the states on February 5th and that have enough money to hold out and the nomination will go all the way to the convention.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Iowa Progress: Candidates Take Varying Approaches to Hiring Staff in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
After the Edwards campaign released its list of "senior Iowa staff" the other day, I thought it might be prudent to discuss how each campaign's staff is shaping up. Their differing approaches are interesting, at least, and they could make a difference by the time the caucuses come around next January. First up, the Obama campaign has been doing quite a bit of hiring over the last month. ... Some have compared Obama's staff to Howard Dean's from four years ago, because it seems to include an unusual number of ideologically motivated young people, many of whom have never worked a caucus before. ... Next, the Edwards campaign has staffed all or most of its key positions as well, and has begun hiring field organizers. In contrast to Obama's staff, most of Edwards's staff so far have Iowa political experience ... And finally, Hillary Clinton's campaign has been a bit slower to announce their hiring decisions here, but those whom they have hired have impressive resumes.

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Mainstream Iowan: Considering Jumping On The Fred Thompson Bandwagon

Excerpted from this post at Mainstream Iowan
Having been contacted by numerous Republican campaigns, I as many others have not been able get excited about the prospects of any current Republican candidates for president in 2008. Although I have really tried, I simply cannot force myself to support McCain or Romney. I had pretty much resigned myself to conceding the Democrats controlling Congress and the White House in 2008. That is until Fred Thompson started sending signals. The Draft Thompson movement already has traction, and I do not see it as a ruse as the Draft Condi movement was. I had seen another Draft Fred Thompson blog, but just noticed a new Iowa blog, Iowans For Fred Thompson. Check it out...

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Essential Estrogen: Bipartisanship Does Live!

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
It appears at least one issue is able to draw bipartisan support in Des Moines this legislative session: Brain Drain. ... Earlier this month, we told you about a bill seeking the formation of a Generation Iowa Commission. Now there is a similar bill in the Iowa House sponsored by Rep. Tami Wiencek (R-Black Hawk), Rep. Dawn Pettengill (D-Benton) and Rep. Jeff Kaufmann (R-Cedar) dubbed the "Iowa Advantage Fund." This new bill has duel aims: 1. Make Iowa employers more attractive to young graduates just starting out; 2. Help new graduates pay down college debt ... In addition to the three sponsors, the measure is also - surprisingly - being supported by Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Johnson) who anticipates introducing similar legislation on his side of the dome. The support is surprising because the measure is the original brain-child of University of Iowa professor Jay Christensen-Szalanski, a gentleman who ran against Bolkcom.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Roth & Company Tax Updates: Iowa Department Of Revenue: Foreign Exchange Police?

Excerpted from this post at Roth & Company Tax Updates
Just when you think that the Iowa Legislature couldn't possibly find stupider tax legislation to propose, they surprise you. Consider SF 547, introduced yesterday by Dubuque's Senator Michael Connolly. It would add the following to Iowa's tax law: "422.76 TAX HAVENS AND SHELL CORPORATIONS. ..." There is so much wrong with this bill that it's hard to know where to begin. The bill in effect imposes state-level foreign exchange controls on Iowa businesses and financial institutions - an economic approach usually associated with failing third-world dictatorships. It would give the Department of Revenue almost unreviewable power ("beyond a reasonable doubt") to impose punitive taxes on offshore investments. Never mind that it's entirely normal to conduct cross-border operations using corporations set up in the country where operations take place. If the sophisticated financial geniuses at the Hoover Building decide you are doing it to avoid taxes, you are out of luck.

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Essential Estrogen: Senator, We Are Not Amused

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
While speaking in Clinton last weekend, Sen. Obama made an off-hand comment (or at least that's what Lyn thought it to be at the time) about Iowa people wanting to grill all the Presidential hopefuls before making up their minds. He went on to add that he knew we all wanted to hear what "good-looking" Sen. John Edwards had to say. ... Paige arranged to be in attendance at the Senator's stop the next day in Burlington and there heard him use basically the same strange statements, but with a twist: This time Edwards was referred to as "cute." ... The core, however, of what we find offensive in the comment is Obama seems to believe Iowans -- arguably the most politically attentive and issue-driven people on the planet -- are swayed by a person's physical appearance, good or bad.

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NewsConference: A slow news day? Perhaps

Excerpted from this post at NewsConference
In her Marketplace report, Ramy Inocencio interviewed some experts and offered these conclusions: "When releasing good news, Mondays are often better than Fridays. ..." ... OK, that's the situation with national newsmakers. What about the tri-state area? Dubuque is not a media-saturated market. There is no TV newscast originating from Dubuque. The Cumulus radio stations in Dubuque have abandoned local news. (Radio Dubuque maintains a slimmed-down local news staff.) ... After more than three decades working for daily newspapers, I have observed that there is a flow to news events. It tends to build through the weekdays, then slows on weekends, when there are more scheduled events, such as festivals, than major announcements. Does that mean that a "good news" announcement is a lock for the TH's front page? Does that mean that "bad news" announced on Friday and reported on Saturday will have less impact? As stockbrokers often stipulate, "past performance is no guarantee of future results." However, as the professionals in the Marketplace report observed, newsmakers hoping to manage their visibility might consider all that.

Krusty Konservative: Spartans!

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
By Christopher Rants
... House Republican felt a bit like the 300 Spartans this week. We knew we were vastly outnumbered but knew we had an ideal worth fighting for - freedom. Make no mistake that is what is at stake in this vote to force non-union workers to pay dues or fees. ... Republicans prepared for battle as the Spartans. We stocked our offices for the siege about to begin. Extra clothes, food, caffeine... We were (and still are) prepared to debate around the clock. The press reports that we filed over 150 amendments to block this bill are true. But I dispute that there is anything frivolous about them. There is nothing frivolous about defending people's freedom and liberty. ... At 4:30 the Democrats pulled the plug on debate for the day and adjourned for the week. Before anyone declares victory let me tell you this is far from over. Republicans didn't have a victory party afterwards, we had another strategy session.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

A Year in Iowa: Thompson: Town to Town, Week After Week

Excerpted from this post at A Year in Iowa

They aren't talking about Tommy Thompson on the Sunday morning news shows, or on O'Reilly, Olbermann or Matthews. They aren't writing about him in Newsweek, Time, or In Touch. His comments don't instantly show up on Drudge or the Huffington Post. When it comes to the Republican candidates for president, it's all Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney. But as many people in Iowa, and maybe more, are at least as vaguely aware of former Wisconsin governor Thompson as former Massachusetts governor Romney. Tommy's from a border state, after all. And that neighbor has logged a lot more time trying to woo support in next January's Iowa caucuses than Romney. Or Giuliani. Or McCain. Or the three of them combined.

Krusty Konservative: Bullying in the Iowa House?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Apparently, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had to get tough with Rep. Dolores Mertz, a Democrat from Ottosen. Mertz is a pro-life Democrat, and a solid legislator. I find it ironic that this is the same leadership who passed an anti-bullying bill a few weeks ago, thinks it is ok to publicly intimidate legislators from your own caucus if they don't agree with you.

Politically Speaking: Obama to Campaign in Sioux City March 31

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will make his first stop as a presidential candidate in Northwest Iowa on March 31. Obama has plans to hold events in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, although the places and times have not been set. The Orpheum Theatre was reportedly sought, but it has an event booked for that day. The senator will kick off the day with a western Iowa house party visit, which will then be streamed live on the Interent to persons interested in viewing it. Obama has campaigned in central Iowa and did an extensive swing through eastern Iowa on March 10 and 11. Obama's campaign stop in Sioux City will mean that two of the top three Democrats seeking the 2008 presidency have finally been in Sioux City, with the other stop coming from John Edwards on March 9.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Price of Politics: McCoy Indicted: Dems to the Defense?

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

Those long-whispered rumors about trouble for Des Moines Senator Matt McCoy got a lot louder with a criminal indictment. The U.S. Attorney's office charged him with one count of extortion. The attorney charged that McCoy used his power as a public official to threaten a former business partner and extort money out of him (the feds say they provided the money). The two men were setting up a private company that puts motion detectors in a home so you can check on elderly relatives over the internet.

Krusty Konservative: Strengths and Weaknesses: Mitt Romney

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Strengths. Romney has many strengths in this kampaign. Those strengths are the reason that even though he polls in the high single digits in polls both in Iowa and nationally he is still mentioned in part of the top tier of kandidates because of his strengths. I'm going to do some strength and weakness subheadings on Romney. Fundraising: Romney is a tremendous fundraiser. His $6.5 million day wasn't so much about what Romney did on that day alone but more about what he was able to do before that day in lining up Bush Pioneers and Rangers and his own finance team to make those dollars happen.

Political Fallout: Hillary's "That's for Me to Know and You to Find Out" Campaign Strategy

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout

When asked on ABC News whether or not she thought homosexuality is "immoral," Hillary took her husband's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" stance by not telling: "Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude..." Since this policy has already been trademarked by the military, Hillary has officially adopted her own variation: Hillary's '08 "That's for Me to Know and You to Find Out" Campaign Policy. For a policy that says nothing, this sure is a mouthful. Although, inside sources claim this is an abridged title of Hillary's original proposed title, but, armed with a plethora of test market results, her campaign consultants managed to persuade the Political Diva to drop "...So Na-Na-Nana Poo Poo" from the tail end.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Iowans for Romney: Look for this story from the Washington Post: "Mormon Iowans: A Force for Romney"

Excerpted from this post at Iowans for Romney
Alec MacGillis, a journalist for the Washington Post has been contacting several Iowans who support Romney. In his intitial contact to me he stated he was "trying to gauge the level and nature of support for Mitt Romney around the country, particularly in early primary and caucus states." As we spoke on the phone, his questions quickly moved to how the LDS community here is responding to Romney and to what level we are "organizing" for Romney. ... I told him how apolitical our church is and how I've never even seen a "voting guide" anywhere near our churches. I re-affirmed the church's stance/policy about not endorsing candidates, parties, or platforms and that all LDS know that neither the pulpit nor church membership lists (with contact info) are not to be used for political purposes etc

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Iowa Voice: What A Surprise: Minimum Wage Hike Hurting Local Business

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
Can't say I didn't tell you so: "...For 30 years, Tenco Industries and other places where soda drinkers take their empty cans have given back a nickel per can. The redemption center then gets six cents from the pop manufacturer. That's a net gain of one cent for the center. But officials said a mandatory increase in Iowa's minimum wage is going to have a negative impact on the non-profit program operated by Tenco. ..." Now, I know this isn't a perfect example, but it just goes to show you the kinds of damage that "feel-good" policies like the minimum wage can and almost always will do to the marketplace when liberals are put in charge of things. When you artificially raise wages, rather than let the market decide, you put an enormous strain on businesses and the people they employ. Yes, it helps for a little bit, but inflation and increased costs always catch back up and you end up being right back where you were before (or even further in the hole).

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Jack Hatch: Defending the Tobacco Tax

Excerpted from this post at Jack Hatch's Blog
Despite the doubt and criticism we've all heard about the proposed sales tax on tobacco products, the fact remains that an increase will improve the health of Iowans. Underneath all the political jargon and maneuvering, the one thing to remember is that this is about making Iowa a healthier state and a better place to live. ... Some people will say it's not about getting people to quit smoking and it's not about making Iowa a healthier state. We've all heard the argument that this tax is simply a revenue booster that will be used to balance our budget. This is not the case, and in fact the revenue will be going to a Health Care Trust Fund which will ensure that the money raised by this tax will be used for health care, substance abuse treatment and prevention, and tobacco use prevention and cessation. Again, this tax is about the health of Iowans.

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Iowa Progress: Edwards Follows Vilsack's Lead on Carbon Neutrality

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
Today John Edwards announced that his presidential campaign will aim to be carbon neutral. As the email the campaign sent out explains, "In February, Governor Tom Vilsack announced he would be the first presidential candidate to plan a carbon neutral campaign. Edwards shares his commitment to protecting our environment and reducing our carbon footprint." Edwards is angling to fill the "Vilsack Vacuum," only weeks after Vilsack announced he would drop out of the campaign. He is trying to recruit as many former Vilsack supporters as possible at this point, and this was one of the Vilsack campaign's more novel ideas — although the Vilsack folks seemed to want to use it more for fund raising than anything else.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Privatized Government Is Not A Smaller Government

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
One of the key principles of the Republican Party is a smaller government. ... Over the past 6 years in Washington, the Republcian leadership has been privatizing government in the attempt to make it smaller. However, a privatized government is not a smaller government. It is just a government that gives your tax dollars to companies to provide poorer quality services. ... We shouldn't complain that our money is being spent, we should demand that our money is being spent well. We shouldn't be giving our tax dollars away for these services to be done by the lowest bidder.

News Conference: More about you than about me

Excerpted from this post at News Conference
... Open government and freedom of information — the theme of Sunshine Week — should be more about you, as a citizen, and less about me, a journalist. ... If only this were limited to the FBI. All across the country, day in and day out, some (not all) local, state and federal government officials disregard and violate laws regarding public access. (For examples, visit the SunshineWeek Web site.) Just keep in mind that, when these violations occur, you might be denied — indirectly, through news reports, or directly — information that might be important to you, your family, your business or your neighborhood. It's all about you.

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iPol: Joe Biden's Iraq Town Hall

Excerpted from this post at iPol
... Biden characterized this approach as "federalism," and said it was fully within the letter and intent of Iraq's constitution. The answer, according to Biden, is to work with the Iraqi government and factions on an internal settlement while convening multilateral diplomacy to address issues concerning the entire region. ... Biden concluded by stating that the future pillars of American foreign policy will need to be behavior change, rather than regime change, to address foreign governments with whom we have conflicts, and prevention, rather than preemption, to address future threats to American interests and security. ... Biden was professorial, authoritative, sophisticated in his appreciation of the nuances and complexities of the challenges awaiting the next president.

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Price of Politics: Holy Smokes, What's Up, Chuck?

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
So just how close will that vote be tomorrow at the Statehouse to up the cig tax? Governor Chet Culver with his Catholic, former smoker, Lt Gov Patty Judge, by his side, told us that the Catholics are behind the effort. That's an argument I haven't heard so far in this debate. But Tom Chapman, the Exec Director of The Iowa Catholic Conference, said this is a pro-life issue. A higher cig tax will stop people from smoking, so it will save lives and it will help insure the uninsured and Catholics, he says, believe in covering the uninsured. Jamie Van Fossen, the anti-taxer and Catholic Republican Rep. from Davenport, called the approach, "interesting". He doesn't remember learning the parable in Church of the importance of raising taxes.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: John Edwards Community Meeting in Newton

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... Edwards spoke about 15 mintues about health care and then opened it up for questions. Edwards did very well in this setting. He was asked about a wide range of topics, answered honestly, and threw in a joke here and there. ... The next question was on immigration and was the most interesting exchange of the day. The man began asking if Edwards considered himself a politician or American first saying that everyone is playing politics and not doing what is right for the country. Then he started asking about immigration. All in all, the man spoke for a couple minutes before Edwards could answer. When Edwards responded, he said that maybe the man should be running, which drew laughter from the audience and the man asking the question. The man responded by saying that he would rather work to get Edwards elected. This type of exchange would not have been able to take place in a larger venue, like the ones Obama and Hillary have had here, or Edwards' announcement in Des Moines in December. It is these exchanges that make the Iowa Caucuses unique and helps Iowans really get to know the candidates.

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Iowa Voters: Iowa Is A Red State

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
There is a new map at Verified Voting. It shows Iowa in red. Red states have fallen behind in the open elections department. Verified Voting's map used to concern itself with whether states had paper trails for their balloting. Now they have moved on to asking whether states with paper trails are conducting audits to see if the machine count actually reflects the real count on the paper ballots. States in red (danger!) on the new map have neither an audit nor even a paper trail. Woe is Iowa.

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State 29: Tom Harkin's Half-Assed Competition

Excerpted from this post at State 29
... That just shows how utterly incompetent the Republican Party of Iowa is at fielding viable candidates for a Senate seat that should be easy pickings. ... Don't use old jokes against Tom Harkin. Hit the MFer below the belt. That's the only way to get anybody's attention. Harkin has money and will play dirty, so constantly kick him in the nuts. Show up at a press conference wearing a T-shirt with Ramona Cunningham and Tom Harkin on it. Accuse his wife of being a tool and employee of big oil while Harkin rants about "windfall profits" of oil companies. ... Harkin's beatable, but only if you have some brass balls and don't mind playing down and dirty. Otherwise, Republicans like Rathje (pronounced ain't-gonna-win-evah) might as well quit wasting their time.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Krusty Konservative: Rudy and Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Newsday has an article that wonders if Rudy Giuliani is having second thoughts about kompeting in Iowa. I find the timing of this article interesting. Just the other day the Giuliani kampaign announced that they are planning an Iowa trip for early April. Craig Gordon of Newsday thinks that Giuliani announced his travel plans a full month in advance in a bid to head off a spate of Rudy-skips-Iowa stories. I don't understand his logic, and it makes me wonder if Mr. Gordon is backing a different presidential kandidate. None of us know if Rudy is going to focus on Iowa or not. What we do know is that he is koming to the state, which is a good indication that he does plan to play in Iowa.

Tusk & Talon: Zombie-like 'Fair-Share' Bill Rises from the Dead

Excerpted from this post at Tusk & Talon

Rumors of the demise of Iowa's so-called Fair Share bill have proved premature, according to Charlotte Eby's report in this morning's QCT. Your humble correspondent (me, not necessarily Charlotte) suspected that Democrat lawmakers would make a second try at paying off their union sponsors and so it is happening in the form of a revised bill. Democrats took out parts of the proposal that would have applied to the private sector when they failed to get the votes from pro-business Democrats. The bill that cleared the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee on a party-line vote would apply only to the public sector and exclude private employers.

Political Fallout: Iowa Legislature 82nd General Assembly Declaration of Human Rights

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout

In Iowa, the Legislators first came for the school-yard bully, and I did not speak up, because I was not a bully. Then they came for the paroled sex offenders, keeping them exiled to seedy motels 2000 feet from all tangible temptation, and I did not speak up, because I was not a sex offender. Then they came for people who dismember human corpses with the intent of concealing a crime, and I did not speak up, because I am not one who indulges in criminal acts with human corpses. Then they came for 16 and 17 year-old high school drop outs, and I did not speak, because I am not a 16 or 17 year-old drop out. Then they came for the smokers, banning them from public buildings, and I did not speak up, because I am a not a smoker.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Political Fallout: "The Blue Scare": Edwards Names Names

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout
The ripple effect of "The Blue Scare" has begun in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls are naming names. First Vilsack named names, and now that's he's dropped out of the race, John Edwards is naming the names of those previously named by Vilsack. Naming names is catching on and the Blue Menace is lurking behind every political corner in Iowa (or five if you buy into Jim Nussle's conspiratorial fifth corner theory), waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting Democrat caucus goers. ... before you sign anything and commit your support to a presidential candidate, keep in mind that you may be "outed" in the future if your candidate decides to name names. Although, should you waver on your support and/or cross over to the dark side, you may be subpoenaed by the Iowa Democratic Party on Un-Democratic Activities:

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FromDC2Iowa: UI Held Hostage Day 410 - March 7

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa
... The Interim President and Athletic Director think there's nothing wrong with gambling that sufficient UI revenues won't cure. ... If "revenue is needed" is the standard, why not a line of cigarettes, or handguns, with Herky emblazoned on them? Why not change the rules and sell alcohol throughout the football stands (rather than just in the skyboxes)? Better yet, why not have coeds dressed like Hooters waitresses making the sales? Why just take pocket change from the Lottery and Casino; why not set up our own little gambling casino outside Kinnick and have folks place their bets on the game right there? After all, "revenue is needed."

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Essential Estrogen: Bottle Bill, Adoption Sneak Out Of Committee

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
... While it wasn't really a full bill, members of the Iowa Senate Human Resource committee have passed enough of a bill summary to keep adoption regulation alive in this session. ... The bill takes aim at adoption facilitators by allowing the Iowa Department of Human Services to oversee their operations. ...The bill was prompted by problems which surfaced with a company known as Adoption Insight out of California. ... When the Florida woman who was relocated in Sioux City and then refused to sign the final papers to release her newborn daughter to the chosen adoptive family, she says the adoption agency retaliated by evicting her with one day notice and phoning the hospital with concerns about the woman's ability to care for her newborn and older daughter. The state, upon discovering the woman had no home, took both children and placed them into foster care. Unfortunately, this legislation comes too late for the mother mentioned above.

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Spin Cycle: Rudy: Second Thoughts on Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at Spin Cycle
Is Rudolph Giuliani thinking about skipping the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses next year? He just might be. On Monday, after a campaign seminar at Harvard University, Giuliani campaign chief Mike DuHaime refused to commit his candidate to competing in the Iowa contest, which officially kicks off the race for the GOP nomination on Jan. 14, 2008. Then yesterday, Giuliani's campaign announced he would indeed make an Iowa swing in April – announcing his travel plans a full month in advance in a bid to head off a spate of Rudy-skips-Iowa stories. ... Giuliani might decide he doesn't want to take his chances with Iowa Republicans who tend to be strong religious conservatives. If so, he'd be betting that the emergence of a mega-primary day on Feb. 5, 2008 – where Giuliani could do well in states like New Jersey, California and Florida – would diminish the importance of Iowa anyway.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Iowa Voice: Iowa Will Be Energy Independent by 2025

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
Iowa is going to be energy independent? Iowa? Well, I hope they know something I don't know, like the fact that a giant oil reserve is beneath Waterloo ... Oh, right, I forgot about ethanol. I applaud the sentiment and the idea, but to think that Iowa could be self-reliant and a leading exporter of energy…is a pipe dream. ... Again, although I applaud the efforts, Iowa just isn't big enough, nor is the technology anywhere near where it needs to be, for Iowa to be self-reliant, much less a leading exporter, in the next 18 years. One should mention that the ethanol we do produce is already very heavily subsidized. ... It's only been a few months, but already I feel like the Iowa legislature thinks its constituents are Berkeley professors.

Iowa Progress: A (Partial) Defense of the Iowa Caucuses

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
... I should say that before I moved to Iowa for college four years ago, I shared the opinion that the importance of the caucuses is unjustifiable, and that a national primary would be more democratic. Then I experienced the caucuses (in 2004), and I changed my mind. ... The caucus system (according to our own Geraldine) "favors the old over the young, the rural over the urban, Western Iowa over Eastern Iowa." Why is this wrong? Well, while the caucus system seems to create inequalities on the surface, it can compensate for deeper inequalities. ... here's a question nobody has asked: what is the harm in giving Iowa's downtrodden rural hamlets and agricultural areas a little attention from the rest of the country every four years? ... At the end of the day, Keokuk and Grundy still represent a tiny fraction of the total delegates needed to win, and putting on events and doing GOTV work is easier and far more efficient in urban areas like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

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Krusty Konservative: Gone but Never Forgotten

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Last night I received news that Nancy Streck had lost her battle with cancer and went home to be with the Lord. Streck was a major force in the konservative movement in Iowa. I hesitate to list the campaigns she has been involved with because I'm sure to miss a few. Streck was a major player in Iowa Caucus campaigns, she had worked with Robertson, Buchanan, and Steve Forbes. I think her most noticeable political accomplishment was helping Steve King win his kongressional seat in 2002. Streck was a rare kommodity in politics, it never was about a pay check, or who she thought kould win, it was always about the konservative kause and the kandidates who promoted those issues.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blog for Iowa: Iowa Caucus-goers Track the Presidential Candidates

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
Many Iowans have grown accustomed to meeting each of the candidates before they decide who they will support during their precinct caucus. The "rock star" status some of the candidates hold makes a house party or coffee shop meeting unlikely this caucus season for many Iowans. That's why Iowans for Sensible Priorities launched a candidate calendar and bird-dogging blog as part of the organization's effort to find out where each of the candidates stand on issues related to the federal budget. The calendar allows users to look at both Republican and Democratic events and sort them by candidate, city, or date. Go to sensibleiowans.org/birddog_calendar.php to view the calendar.

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The Real Sporer: The Rathje Report

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
Steve Rathje's U.S. Senate campaign website is up and running. Steve is an interesting guy and the website is well worth the visit. Steve is also the only Republican in the field against the archtype of liberalism gone bad. This is no endorsement, 'cause I don't think SCC types shold endorse in most primaries, and we might have a primary, but history seems to indicate that we won't beat Harkin running a status quo campaign. Don't you all think we need to start bleeding Harkin a little right now? Why wait until Bahama Tommy is twenty points up in October of '08 to expose the Real Harkin-a uniquely disingenuous and destructive socialist.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Rants Kicks Republican Out of Republican Caucus for Disagreeing With Him

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
I teach 2nd grade and occasionally have to settle arguments that take place on the playground. The incidents usually begin with 2 students disagreeing with each other over little things. Then the students will say they don't want to be friends with each other and one says the other can't play with them anymore. This is basically what happened in the Iowa House last week when Minority Leader Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) kicked out Walt Tomenga (R-Johnston) from the Republican Caucus debate on raising the cigarette tax. Tomenga favors a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax, a move that Rants has been working hard to stop.

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Politically Speaking: Edwards here Friday

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator from North Carolina and the 2004 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate, will bring his 2008 presidential campaign to Sioux City March 9. Edwards had visited Sioux City in 2006 while mulling a second run for president and now will visit the city as a bona fide candidate. ... I strongly recall a few Northwest Iowa Democrats describing in spring 2004 how if the Iowa caucuses had been held a few weeks later, Edwards might have won. They said his momentum was building in January 2004, and with a bit more time might have pulled ahead in Iowa — and it might have resulted in Edwards being at the top of the ticket that fall.

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Bleeding Heartland: Richardson Interview, Part 1

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
I skipped the blogger meeting in Des Moines that idiosyncratic was able to make it to, but I did get the opportunity to interview him on his drive time from Ames to Boone for two house parties. ... DM: It seems like your campaign more than any other one is really reaching out to blogs. ... What is your strategy with the netroots - do you think that that's going to be a big impact for you over the course of the primary? BR: Yes, I think that netrooters are important. You bring new people into politics - issue oriented. You increase the debate. I'm courting you because I think you're important. You're idealistic and you will drive people to the polls. ... I don't have the technology the other campaigns have, yet, to communicate with the bloggers - YouTube and all that. I consider bloggers important. I've had, on this trip, in two days, I've met individually with three bloggers, and one session with a bunch of bloggers yesterday. That's gonna continue. You wanna see me next time, I'll see you next time.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Iowa Progress: John Edwards Strikes First In Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
John Edwards recently sent out the first mailing of the 2008 primary season to 70,000 Iowans. The mailing includes a detailed description of his health care plan and a DVD (found here) that describes the plan. The video is quite effective though it's unclear how many of the 70,000 people who received it will actually watch it. However, it is a clear sign of how serious Edwards takes Iowa and also of the emphasis that he is placing on health care. It also gives away his campaign strategy.

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Bleeding Heartland: Election Day Registration

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
The Republicans have basically two arguments they are using against it - We shouldn't pander to uninformed voters, and it will increase the possibility of fraud. Both of these reasons are stupid. The idea that voters unregistered in their current precinct are uninformed voters is obnoxious and insulting. It assumes a perfect correlation between understanding election law minutia and important decisions, when people who feel very strongly about issues might not know that moving across the state requires them to reregister. ... The Republican argument of fraud is getting kind of stale, seeing as how they have trotted out for every attempt they make to restrict voting, from cutting poll hours, reducing access to absentee ballots, to forcing every voter to bring a photo ID to the polls. We haven't done any of those things, and we haven't had any voter fraud in Iowa.

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Krusty Konservative: Preschool for all?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
(Guest column by Rep. Christopher Rants)
Preschool for all – sounds like a good concept, right? The Democrats have proposed legislation that they say offers the opportunity for all pre-kindergarten children to attend pre-school. Unfortunately, that's the rhetoric currently being offered by Democrats, when in reality what they are proposing is a bureaucratic nightmare filled with red tape and even more regulation. Here's why: Currently, private preschools are licensed under the DHS, and public preschools are pre-K programs that are offered by school districts. What Democrats are proposing is for kids who are watched by grandparents, friends and stay-at-home parents to have new requirements mandated upon them and administered through the Department of Ed.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Caucus Coooler: Rudy's Judicial "Out"reach

Excerpted from this post at The Caucus Coooler

Rudy Giuliani hit some speedbumps in his outreach to social conservatives this week both in Iowa and nationally. First, according to friends of the Cooler who attended the Iowa Christian Alliance's annual spring event last night in Dallas County, Rudy Giuliani's campaign was missing in action. Many of the 2008 candidates had tables in the foyer including: Huckabee, Brownback, McCain, Romney, even Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. Rudy Giuliani's campaign on the otherhand was absent. As we've reported here, Rudy Giuliani has acquired a staff in Iowa. They've been making phone calls and have been present at a couple events in the last few weeks. It seems strange that they would skip that event.

Iowa Progress: The Health Care Connundrum

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Health care is shaping up to be the most important issue in the United States for the first time since the early 1990s in the coming election. It is an issue that all the Democratic candidates have been addressing here in Iowa and one that they will continue to address until the caucuses. A recent New York Times poll gives a lot of perspective about how the candidates are and should be addressing the issue. According to the poll, 90% of Americans think our health care system needs either fundamental changes or to be completely rebuilt and a disproportionate percentage of Americans, 62%, trust Democrats to improve the health care system. One may think this is an easy chance for Democratic candidates to push a massive reform like a single payer health care system but popular opinion about health care reform is much more complex than it seems.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Values Fund is a Dud

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
State Auditor Dave Vaudt issued a report stating that the number of jobs the Iowa Values Fund has created is greatly than what the Iowa Department of Economic Developement and top elected officials have promised. The total number of jobs actually created is less than 1/3 of jobs promised. ... scrap the program. Then use the taxpayer's money to make Iowa a better state for everyone to live in instead of giving our taxpayer's money to just a handful of large companies. Another option, that might shock some hearing this coming from a Democrat, would be to just lower taxes altogether.

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Iowa Progress: Fair Share Dead?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
The Republican Party has been solid in their opposition to this measure. It's part of their anti-labor and anti-working families agenda. One hopes that enough votes can be mustered up in the next few days to pass Fair Share and to help puncture the myth that weak labor unions are somehow correlated with a strong business environment. After all, aren't "right to work" states like Mississippi and Wyoming centers of economic growth. If Iowa wants to attract new businesses, emulating Mississippi is not the wisest way to do so.

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FromDC2Iowa: Optiva Voted Down

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa
For now, let me just say that getting 1437 people to come out on a stormy winter night in Iowa to attend a meeting of anything -- political party, union, coop -- is remarkable. ... At every turn, as I've written before, this has been conducted by the board and CEO with something between disdain, dismissiveness and antagonism toward the members. ... Notwithstanding these efforts -- or probably in some measure because of the backlash they created -- and notwithstanding that they started off with at least most of the 150-vote margin provided by bringing in the employees, once the dust had settled and the votes were counted, the members had taken back control of this "membership organization" that the law says gets its tax breaks because it is "democratically operated."

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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