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Thursday, May 31, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Super Sunday, Super Tuesday: Football In The Way Of Campaigning

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Has anyone else noticed that the Feb. 5 mega-primary is two days after the 2008 Super Bowl? Why does this matter? # Real People who do not live, sleep, eat and breathe politics will be distracted. Sunday nights are a great time to catch people at home, but in this case, the whole critical two-days-out evening is shot for campaigning and phone banking. Will some campaign, in crunch-time isolation from the real world, be dumb and call into San Diego when the Chargers are third and goal? # With the first de facto national primary, a Super Bowl ad might be a good buy -- or would it? The first rule they teach you when you campaign in Iowa is don't door-knock during the Hawkeye game, and a political ad could be seen as an unwanted intrusion.

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Essential Estrogen: Millions Poised To Cast Vote... Before Iowa Caucus

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
So where are all these million of votes which might be cast prior to the Iowa caucus? As the saying goes, timing is everything. While votes may have not been counted in other states, there will have most definitely been votes cast prior to Iowa's current caucus date of Jan. 14. Voters in five of the Feb. 5 primary states -- California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Utah - will be able to cast ballots well before Iowans begin lining up at their caucus locations through the advent of early and absentee voting. According to one Iowa political insider, all the Presidential campaigns are aware -- or at least should be aware -- of the absentee ballots that will be cast prior to the Iowa caucus. "This dynamic, however, is so new and untested," the source said, "no campaign is going to discuss its particular strategy in dealing with it." California, in particular, poses a unique opportunity to presidential hopefuls. As of November 2006, the state had nearly 4 million voters signed up to be permanent absentee voters. That is, nearly 4 million California voters will have an absentee ballot automatically placed in the mail to them on Jan. 7, 2008.

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The Real Sporer: Big hit for Mitt

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
... Mitt was also on rhetorical target tonight, the best performance I've witnessed live from him. Mitt's stage and room presence are increasingly impressive. The two strong Romney performances show that more than his poll numbers have felt a bounce in the last week. Tonight he made two themes very central, I thought. The first was the need to apply more of the results driven principles of business management to government to produce the changes necessary for the very different world we now occupy. This position is persuasive because it recognizes the fundamental changes in the world and our imploding society and it contains a solution to at least the governmental part of the fix. The second argument is American exceptionalism-without using the words. Mitt consistently returns to the theme that America is truly an exceptional place, that our problems are just that, problems, not crises, and that every problem can be overcome with ingenuity and effort. Romney was sharp in his answers, although, in all fairness, the questions somehow didn't seem all that surprising to him.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Roth & Company Tax Updates: Governor Signs Iowa Amnesty Bill

Excerpted from this post at Roth & Company Tax Updates
If they have a confessional at the Iowa Department of Revenue, this would be a good time to remodel it. Nobody will be using it for the next 13 weeks or so. Governor Culver has signed the tax amnesty bill, SF 580. The bill forgives penalties and 1/2 of the interest during the amnesty period, which runs from September 4 thorugh October 31 of this year. The Governor's website touts this as a "one-time" amnesty. Yes, one time, just like the last one in 1986. The Tax Policy Blog has a post on the policy implications of tax amnesties: "What we wrote in 1985 holds true today: if lawmakers decide to implement tax amnesty programs, they should be accompanied by fundamental tax reform that makes the tax code simpler and easier to comply with." Iowa has gone in the opposite direction, adding more loopholes targeted tax incentives to its tax law while doing nothing to lower rates or broaden the tax base.

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John Deeth Blog: Obama Health Care Live 5/29/07

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
... This is today's national centerpiece - "biggest event since the announcement" says one staffer. ... Discusses Decorah small business owners who got hit with cancer. Now facing bankruptcy and spending 40% of income on health insurance. He's sticking close to prepared text. Calls the uninsured "a hidden tax." Talk of administrative costs, outdated technology. ... This feels very very different from the other times I've seen Obama. The relaxed feel was there in the introductory remarks, but this is all business, no casual asides. "Every American has the right to affordable health care" is the first applause line. ... Allow "temporary Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to expire" gets applause. He saves the more memorable description of info technology for himself: "moving from a 20th century health care industry based on pen and paper to a 21st century industry based on the latest technology."

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State 29: Snake Oil Obama

Excerpted from this post at State 29
Barack Obama delivered his snake oil health scare plan to the University of Iowa Hospitals yesterday. It was long on baloney but short on specific details. ... You know, I hope that some day the United States will have a "universal, single payer" health care system. The "universal" should be cash money backed with a catastrophic insurance policy and the "single payer" is you. The days where employers are paying 70% to 90% of an employee's $10,000+ health insurance plan will eventually end. So will the idea that insurance should cover every little thing under the sun or that "co-pays" should be small amounts. ... We need to be getting back to the days where a family can buy a cheap catastrophic coverage plan, but fund regular ongoing expenses out of a Health Savings Account (HSA). Insurance was made to protect people from excessive financial liabilities, but it has been abused by individuals, health care providers, and the government.

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From DC2Iowa: UI Held Hostage Day 494 - Healthcare, Search, Downtown

Excerpted from this post at From DC2Iowa
... If you're hoping for "universal, single-payer" healthcare (as I lean toward) -- as is provided to the citizens of virtually every other industrialized nation -- this ain't it. But until we get meaningful public financing of campaigns, I'm not sure that's in the cards from this "best Congress that money can buy." So maybe this is a much better plan in its details than the "universal, single-payer" critics give it credit for. Maybe it's the most that a pragmatic, politically savvy healthcare policy wonk can honestly and realistically put forward. Those who oppose any changes in the healthcare system will oppose this plan, just as they would oppose any other. But those who have a major economic stake in the present system, have disproportionate political power in shaping future changes, and are aware that some changes are simply going to have to come, may well get on board, figuring that this is the least-worst of the possible scenarios.

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Back roads to the White House: Greetings from 'Mount Yepsen'

Excerpted from this post at Back roads to the White House
... In Iowa, the Des Moines Register's political guru, David Yepsen, is one of those prolific writers that candidates can't afford to offend. He has been covering the Iowa caucuses for more than a quarter century, and so, as one writer points out, candidates joke about going to Iowa to "pay homage at Mount Yepsen." Today, we got a chance to chip away at him during a LIVE CHAT at Rocky Talk Live with Mark Wolf. ... * Is there room for former Vice President Al Gore in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination? Yepsen says: "No." ... * Who's winning the war of words between former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain? It's Romney, Yepsen says.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Iowa Independent: Northey sees dynamic times ahead for agriculture

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent
... Northey comes to the office at a time when Iowa agriculture has intersected with the national debate on energy policy. He sees significant potential for growth in proven renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, as well as growth in new technologies like cellulosic ethanol. "There's probably been as much attention on agriculture in our legislative session, and from non-ag folks, as what there's been at almost any time for decades," said Northey. "Certainly there was a lot of discussion across the street on ag activities, around renewable fuels, around livestock, around DDGs, around being able to get the full advantage of this opportunity we have right now." The fact that Northey is a Republican serving with a Democratic-led Legislature and a Democratic governor has not caused any real divisions involving agriculture policy. "It's a great time to be secretary of agriculture," said Northey.

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Century of the Common Iowan: John Edwards in Marengo

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... He stayed on the same theme as Elizabeth and said it is not enough to say we support the troops. America must policies that truly support. He then layed out four things he would do to support our troops. First, when our soldiers return he would assess their needs, so we can help them transition back into civilian life. Second, we should have dedicated funding for the VA, so they have the health care they need. Third, we must support the families and narrow the gap in civilian pay and military pay. Finally, we must make sure our soldiers get educational support, job training, and help them with student loans if they need it.

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The Real Sporer: Lunch with Mike Huckabee

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
Several people had questions. Perhaps the two most important were inter-related. When asked to discuss the larger War on Terror, Gov. Huckabee began by stating perhaps the crucial, if far too infrequently expressed, fundamental nature of the WoT-it is very much theological in nature. The enemy, amorphous though they are, unify around a more 9th or 10th Century version of Islam with a 9th or 10th Century ethic. In recognizing our enemy has a religious belief that they should kill us to re-establish the Caliphate then we cannot negotiate with them like a rational actor. The Governor certainly appeared to have hardened his line with respect to the WoT and he certainly described a need for a larger and more powerful military. Music to my ears, of course. Gov. Huckabee also talked about a national energy policy with a goal of complete independence from Middle Eastern oil within 10 years. His analogy to the moon challenge seems utterly apropos.

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Bleeding Heartland: Tom Vilsack's disappointing campaign

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
... Vilsack talked a good game when he was running for president. I liked what he said about a lot of issues, including Iraq. The joke in my circle of friends was that Vilsack was sounding a lot better as a presidential candidate than he had as governor. I settled on Edwards as a candidate, but a few progressives I know, including my husband, were considering Vilsack. ... If his friendship with the Clintons and ambition for the VP slot or a cabinet post are that important, then he shouldn't have wasted other people's time and money on his presidential bid. Everyone has known for a long time that Hillary was running for president. Vilsack just wasn't serious about taking her on, and it makes all of his presidential campaign rhetoric--especially on Iraq--look empty. Reminds me of why I voted for Mark McCormick in the 1998 gubernatorial primary.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Auditors Examine Changes in Election Law

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The 2007 legislative session, the first with Democratic control and a Democratic governor in 42 years, completed several major changes in election law. In the state's courthouses, 99 county auditors are looking at those changes and figuring out how to address them. Same-Day Registration: In the single-biggest change, Iowa joins neighbors Wisconsin and Minnesota in allowing Election Day voter registration. Same-day registration passed a Democratic-controlled Legislature in the 1980s, but was vetoed by the Republican governor at the time, Terry Branstad. Gov. Chet Culver signed House File 653 on April 4. Under Iowa's new system, voters registering after the old deadline (10 days for primary and general elections, 11 days for other elections) would have to show identification and proof of their address such as utility bills or leases. Democrat Jamie Fitzgerald is the new Polk County auditor. After serving as first deputy for 4 1/2 years, Fitzgerald took office in January when his predecessor, Mike Mauro, became secretary of state. "There have been numerous studies throughout the United States to ascertain why so few of our citizens participate in our election process," Fitzgerald said. "An often-cited factor for this dilemma includes making the voter registration and voting process seamless. Minnesota has had same-day registration for 30 years and has enjoyed higher participation rates amongst their citizens."

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The Real Sporer: Breaking News -- Highest level of RPI officials in immigration discussions...

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

In anticipation of releasing a public policy position. Needless to say, every one of us in Republican leadership here in Iowa is very aware of the firestorm that has exploded in the wake of the immigration semi-agreement. I won't speak for anyone else, or disclose anyone's position; suffice it to say that we have heard the public complaints, complaints that are shared by many of us. The level of complaint gives this issue the ability to divide our party. While our state leadership can't do much about the larger conflict, we can preserve and protect our state party's unity. One thing we can do is make the positions held by the Iowa Congressional delegation clear to our voters. It is my understanding that Senator Grassley, Congressman Latham and, of course, Congressman King are all opposed to the immigration compromise in anything like its current form. I'm sure they will let me know if I have inadvertently misrepresented their position. Not surprisingly I am involved in these discussions. This is one issue where I will probably "vote my conscience" but I do want to hear from you, our Republican voters, particularly our local leaders, like county officers, Federation leadership and elected officials. So, tune in, turn on and speak your mind.

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Bleeding Heartland: Sigh. Can't we do better than Boswell?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

So Leonard Boswell voted for the Iraq War supplemental funding bill today, just like we all knew he would. Sad as that is, it's not why I felt compelled to write this post. Pretty much every vote Boswell has ever cast related to Iraq has been the wrong vote, in my opinion. What prompted this post was a press release from the Center for Food Safety, which came to my attention this evening. Leonard Boswell apparently inserted language into the 2007 Farm Bill that would preempt any state prohibitions against any foods or agricultural goods that have been approved by USDA. That would include genetically modified foods. The press release does not name Boswell as the author of the language in question, but advocates have learned that he was behind the move. How disappointing that as the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry (a subcommittee of the House Ag Committee), Boswell is using his influence to weaken consumer protection. Does he think the Farm Bureau will reward him for this? They're always going to endorse his opponent, no matter how much he delivers for big agribusiness in the Farm Bill. As a resident of Iowa's 3rd district, I have long felt that we could do a lot better than Leonard Boswell. He is often not with us on environmental policy, energy policy, tax policy, or foreign policy. Even so, this move disappoints me.

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Cyclone Conservatives: ICA Draws Nice Crowd at Orange City Event

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Tonight, I attended an Iowa Christian Alliance dinner event in Orange City tonight and I was very impressed. This certainly isn't the first ICA event I've ever attended, but I was very pleased by the quality of the event and the organization. A major kudos to new ICA organizer Jessica Anderson, a veteran of the Brian Kennedy and Tom Latham campaigns, for recruiting a really good crowd and for a very smooth order of operations. It was a very professional event. Bob Vander Plaats was the emcee of the event and as always, he really is a truly inspiring man. Please Bob, run for something soon again. Eight candidate representatives (in some cases, MANY from each campaign) were there representing Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback. Nobody from Ron Paul, Jim Gilmore, John Cox, or anybody else. Certainly no Democrats to be found anywhere. Their featured guest this evening was Dr. Laurence White, a pastor from Houston, TX. He truly did give a fire and brimstone speech about the importance of voting and behaving like a Christian. A very talented speaker who truly does have an ability to command an audience. Overall, a nice crowd and a nice event.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Deeth Blog: "Leaked" Clinton Campaign Memo on Iowa

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
The buzz of the moment is the Hillary Clinton strategy memo, leaked and quickly denied with much love for corn and pigs offered, arguing for a Screw Iowa strategy. Ohhh, this is no accident. This isn't a sign of lack of discipline or intra-campaign strife. This is a deliberate, strategic move. ... By publicly considering the Screw Iowa strategy, she in effect does devalue Iowa, and gets to have it both ways. She dramatically reduces expectations by making the case for Screw Iowa and acknowledging weakness. But by not openly dissing Iowa (as Gore `88, McCain `00, and Lieberman/Clark '04 did) she keeps a hand in the game and avoids offending Iowa supporters (most prominently the Vilsacks).

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Essential Estrogen: The Memo We'd Like To See

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
To: Interested Parties; From: A. Voter; Re: An alternative candidate strategy ... I think this old system, which has served a successful winnowing process for many years, is about to collapse because of the impact of primary elections that are being held on Feb. 5. Proposal: I believe we need a new approach to interaction with the Democratic candidates. This approach involves shifting the focus away from big money and toward in-depth issues which can be discussed in smaller groups. More specifically, I propose skipping any candidate event where an individual cannot have at least 60 seconds of one-on-one time with a candidate and dedicating more of our time and human resources on candidates who both understand and respect the importance of allowing the American people to have more than a 15-second video clip or sound byte. ... After assessing this proposal against the best interest of our nation, my recommendation is to avoid candidates who pull completely out of Iowa; who spend money only in our nation's largest states; and who avoid one-on-one interaction with voters of all walks of life.

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The Corn Beltway Boys: I Believe Hillary

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys
Yesterday an internal Hillary Clinton memo was leaked to the press suggesting that she skip the Iowa caucuses to focus on other primaries. Shortly after that revelation, the Clinton campaign strongly refuted the memo and said they were committed to winning Iowa. "It's not the opinion of the campaign, Mrs. Clinton told Radio Iowa on Wednesday, referring to the memorandum. It's not my opinion." That's not political, face saving spin...that's the truth. When a Clinton says something, you can bank on it. Honest and intergrity are the back bone of a Clinton. It's about trust people. Clinton's aren't the type to simply tell people what they want to hear. They don't read opinion polls and change their beliefs just to pander to some hick voters. Hell no.

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The South of Iowa: Want to spend less on gas? Here's one way ...

Excerpted from this post at The South of Iowa
... Here's my solution: Let's go back to fuel ration cards like they had in WW II. That will put an artificial clamp on the demand, and lower prices, right? Back then, to get a ration book and a certain classification, one had to appear before the local ration board and plea their case. ... Half of our oil supply comes from an area that is openly hostile to us, maybe more than half if you include Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. We are at war, or so we're told by those in DC. If our oil supplies fell into the wrong hands, we'd be in real trouble. Rationing is one answer to reduce over-consumption and leaving ourselves vulnerable to dictators. ... Of course, I'm being a bit facetious here. Nobody in their right mind is going to propose, much less ratify, petroleum rationing until the straits are dire. ... However, if push came to shove, and we were headed to $10/gal gasoline, I think fuel rationing might become a viable option and worthy of discussion.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iowa Voice: Another Iowa Poll, Another Romney Win

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
This new poll at Strategic Vision shows Mitt Romney leading in Iowa with 20%. Everyone who reads this site knows I'm very skeptical when it comes to polls, but I have said, time and time again, that when you get a bunch of polls showing you the same thing, then you can start to plot a trend. I think we've established the trend. The question is, though, what is his real margin? We've seen a poll with him at 30%, one showing him at 19%, and now this one showing him at 20%. Real Clear Politics has Romney leading Iowa at 21.3% (that's his average across several polls). But Giuliani still leads across the nation, with an average of 27.4% across seven different polls. So clearly, Romney leading in Iowa isn't helping him in other places. I have to admit, and I've said so in a couple of other posts, that I have been leaning slightly towards Romney*. He's been explaining his "flip-flops" mostly to my satisfaction, and that will go a long way for most conservative voters. Whether or not it will be enough, I'm not sure.

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Bleeding Heartland: Richardson running a gutsy campaign

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Ever since Tom Vilsack dropped out of the presidential race, I have thought there was a big opening in Iowa for Bill Richardson, the only governor and the only candidate with extensive legislative, executive and diplomatic experience. ... He's been moving up in the Iowa polls, reaching 10 percent in the latest Iowa poll commissioned by the Des Moines Register. ... Playing up his diplomatic background is not surprising, but I find it interesting that Richardson is not afraid to highlight the fact that he has negotiated with dictators. His first tv ad, the biographical one, included a still photo of himself with Saddam Hussein. His ad about Iraq, in which he stands in front of a wall, alludes to the tough diplomatic work that will begin once we get our troops out of Iraq. In his "job interview" ad, the interviewer mentions Richardson's experience negotiating with dictators.

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At the Statehouse: Approving of Chet

Excerpted from this post at At the Statehouse
... The Des Moines CBS affiliate's poll of 600 likely voters found that 46 percent approve of how Iowa Gov. Chet Culver is doing his job. Another 32 percent disapproved and 22 percent were undecided. The Democratic governor's backers shrugged off the relatively low approval rating, arguing that the poll was designed to survey likely caucus-goers and was not an accurate snapshot of Iowans in general. The poll's marquee feature was the latest standings in the presidential horserace. ... If there are Iowans out there who voted for the big lug and are now unhappy with those accomplishments, they weren't paying very close attention. Maybe some folks are unhappy about things he didn't mention much on the campaign trail. He pushed for politically radioactive pro-union "fair share" legislation, although lawmakers eventually shelved it. His party, which controls the Legislature, approved a budget that increases state spending by 9 percent even while experts warn of economic storm clouds in the distance.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Joe Republican: Rastetter for Senate in '08?

Excerpted from this post at Joe Republican
Rumors are flying that Iowa Falls native Bruce Rastetter may run against Tom Harkin in '08. Rastetter is CEO of Hawkeye Renewables and has the money to personally finance a top-notch campaign. He also has an acute knowledge of Iowa's new goldmine, ethanol & renewable fuels. While Rastetter would be a great conservative candidate, I don't think he will run. He has been around GOP politics long enough to know the uphill battle of running against Harkin, but more than that, he is the CEO of a fairly new company that is really just getting started in the ethanol movement. While Rastetter has not formally said he will not run, I'm interested to know who you think should be the GOP candidate against Harkin in '08? ... The fact that Rastetter's name has come to such prominence should tell us something about the type of candidate the GOP should run against Harkin. We need a candidate that doesn't fit the traditional mold of a current office holder running for a higher office.

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The Real Sporer: Breaking News-Troy Cook for U.S. Senate?

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
Rumors are now circulating hot and heavy here in the Capitol City that Des Moines businessman and former VanderPlaats campaign manager Troy Cook is contemplating a run for the U.S Senate seat now held by Bahama Tommy Harkin. Troy certainly showed his ability to maximize the benefit of minimal resources in the 2002 gubernatorial primary. Troy would be a very articulate and aggressive young candidate if he were to run.

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FromDC2Iowa: UI Held Hostage Day 486 - Secrecy Issues & Other UI Items

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa
[Regarding] N. William Hines, "Law Doesn't Support Charges," Iowa City Press-Citizen, May 14, 2007, p. 11A ("Before the open meetings law zealots storm the university with torches and pitchforks, they and the media that hypes their concerns would do well to real carefully the Iowa law they so righteously champion . . ..") ... Bill Hines is a distinguished legal scholar and teacher, one of the longest serving law school deans in American history, and one who was selected by his colleagues as President of the American Association of Law Schools. ... In short, his analysis of the Iowa Open Meetings Law is somewhere between persuasive and entitled to great respect. ... I agree with his unstated assertion -- as Professor Arthur Bonfield and I have argued elsewhere -- that the Legislature needs to revisit many of the provisions of the Iowa Open Meetings Law, including those affecting this search. Where I respectfully disagree -- as I have repeatedly argued in these blog entries -- is that the language of the act can only be interpreted in the way he suggests. I analyze it differently. I believe that Search Committee II is covered by its terms. All of them.

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Back roads to the White House: 'Rock star' on a smaller stage

Excerpted from this post at Back roads to the White House
The "rock star" comparison might not be fair to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. After all, even the world's greatest band would be envious of some of the giant crowds he has been facing out on the stump. ... Obama's campaign has set the bar pretty high. And sometimes he's being judged not only on his own merits, but by whatever excitement that surrounds him on any given night. Take one recent speech at an almost academic setting in Johnston, Iowa, where he toned down his presentation and got fewer interruptions of wild cheers and applause. In effect, it's like reading an opera script, seeing Seinfeld without the laugh track, or watching a NASCAR race with the sound on mute and no announcers hollering "Boogity-boogity-boogity!" over the roar of the engines.

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John Deeth Blog: Hamburg Inn's Coffee Bean Caucus is OK Online, But It's Better With That Breakfast Smell

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Visits from two former presidents and one fictitious one, and a little creative self-promotion, have turned an old fashioned diner on Iowa City's north side into one of the ritual stops on the caucus campaign trail. And this year the Hamburg Inn's Coffee Bean Caucus -- where diners vote for their favorite candidate by dropping coffee beans into labeled jars -- has expanded onto the Internet. ... it was in 2003 that the Hamburg Inn really cemented its reputation as a must-stop for caucus candidates. That March, former President Bill Clinton visited while in Iowa City for a University lecture. The Clinton table is two booths down from the Reagan table. The other presidential candidate named Clinton has not yet visited. ... While the first Coffee Bean Caucus was a publicity smash, its track record as a predictor is 0 for 1 -- Dean won the beans but John Kerry carried Johnson County and the state on caucus night. So far this year, both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have mentioned their Hamburg Inn visits in their local speeches.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Iowa Voice: In Iowa, Romney Leads The Pack

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
The Des Moines Register has a new poll out showing Mitt Romney with a double-digit lead over McCain and Giuliani. Romney has 30%, McCain has 18%, and Rudy has 17%. The recent Zogby poll, I must point out, shows the race a lot closer. Which goes back to what I always say: take every poll you look at with a grain of salt. ... On a side note, take a look (on both polls) at Ron Paul. Notice anything? Yeah, he's not even registering. Even Kucinich, the biggest nutjob on the left in the race, is posting some numbers, so that really says a lot about how much real support Ron Paul has in the real world. ... The only people that are paying attention to Ron Paul are the people on the left…which Sullivan clearly is these days. They think he's the REAL face of conservatism in America when he's not even close. He's nothing but a parody, and a rather bad one at that, of what the left thinks conservatives are and what they believe.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll: A Look at the Democrats

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... John Edwards continues to lead in Iowa, Obama and Clinton are basically tied for 2nd. The big news is Bill Richardson's jump to 10% in the poll. Richardson has been running TV ads for awhile now and they are playing well. I hope this Richardson motivation to make a greater effort in Iowa. The people I talk to are interested in Richardson, but want more information on on him. Chris Dodd is not catching on, which is a shame. He has taken some strong progressive positions, including supporting the Feingold-Reid bill last week. He is getting out polled by Kucinich and Gravel who haven't even campaigned here.

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Iowa True Blue: The Straw That Broke the Donkey's Back

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue
When I was chair of the Iowa Democratic Party (back in the day), one of the questions I heard most often in the months leading up to the 2004 Iowa Caucuses was, "Why don't Iowa Democrats do a straw poll like Iowa Republicans do?" ... There's a simple, clear cut answer to why the Iowa Democratic Party doesn't do a straw poll and doesn't allow county parties to do them either: it's against the Democratic National Committee rules. That's because it would give Iowa two bites at the apple -- a pre-contest in addition to the one that counts in January . . . or December as the case may be). ... Don't get me wrong -- I'm a junkie for almost any kind of poll. I remember watching with fascination on C-Span the phenomenon that was George W. Bush at the 1999 straw poll (at that event, the Bush campaign blew through its self-imposed spending cap of $750,000 to buy even more $25 tickets to hand out). And I must admit I admire with envy the gobs and gobs of money the Iowa Republican Party is able to raise through the event. I'm not naive about the importance of money in presidential campaigns -- it's a valid measure of a candidate's strength and without enough of it, a campaign is doomed. Still, though, a contest of who can buy the most votes in a straw poll doesn't seem like a very rational way to determine the serious contenders, which is what the Iowa Republican straw poll will do.

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John Deeth Blog: Jim Leach Interview: Academia, Moralistic Politics, and Iran; Declines Comment on World Bank Post

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach says the potential for war with Iran is not getting the attention it merits. In a phone interview Thursday, Leach said: "The largely unfollowed issue is whether there will be another war with Iran, and what is the role of Congress. The likelihood is there will not be a pre-emptive strike, but whether the possibility that there will be one is 5% or 45% ... those are not trivial." ... Leach declined comment on mention of his name for the World Bank presidency; we spoke just minutes before current head Paul Wolfowitz announced his resignation. Leach was also mentioned for the job while he was still in Congress at the time Wolfowitz was appointed. He seems happy with his new career: "My wife and I have enjoyed being in an academic community. We prefer living there rather than in a political community."

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Iowa True Blue: Tom, Dashing

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue
Daschle began by saying America's prestige around the world is very low ... He noted our foreign policy is at a real crossroads -- we have unmatched power, but at a time of unprecedented interdependence. This creates huge challenges, which Daschle believes must be met in five ways: (1) Power of Example -- the U.S. must be the beacon of hope and democracy for the world (2) Regain the World's Trust -- The U.S. "doesn't always have to be loved, but should always be trusted." (3) Embracing Alliances -- recognizing the importance of allies. "After all, we need to isolate the extremists, not ourselves." (4) Confronting Shared Threats -- after the Iraq disaster, we must improve our intelligence capabilities, among other things. (5) Flexibility over Ideology ... The most dramatic moment of the talk, by far, came when Daschle addressed whether the war in Iraq was the "right or wrong call. Let me say emphatically and clearly -- it was the wrong call." As such, Daschle called for immediate redeployment. This would include sending some troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, to protect the fledgling democracy there and "finish the job." But by early 2008, Daschle was adamant, the U.S. should have just a residual force in Iraq.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Essential Estrogen: Dodd Campaign: An Open E-Book

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

It's difficult to know the exact number of personal contacts that translate into vested interest and, eventually, into caucus goers. At least one Presidential campaign, however, is betting more is always better. Presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd will address a group at Drake University in Des Moines tomorrow on ending the War in Iraq. Throughout the state, however, individuals at satellite stations will use technology to interact with him in real time. "What we are doing tomorrow is special, but that doesn't mean it will be unique," said Matthew Browner-Hamlin, recently hired as the campaign's official blogger and key member of the online communications staff. "We plan on putting together this type of interactive event as often as possible as the campaign moves forward." The campaign has set up five community satellite locations. Conference calls will connect participants located in Sioux City, Charles City, Decatur and Burlington with the Drake event. Participants in Iowa City will be connected via a live internet feed. The internet connection, made possible through the beta Internet application UStream, has roughly a one second delay.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Governor Romney's Iowa Tele-Townhall

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Since I've been spending some time back here on the homestead taking care of the farm while my parents are busy traveling, I've been obviously answering their phone. Tonight, their phone rang to the voice of Governor Romney inviting them to participate in a live Tele-Townhall meeting. So I did. I must say, this was perhaps one of the coolest political ideas that I have seen come down the pipe in a long time. From one telephone, Romney can speak directly to literally thousands (and yes, there were thousands of people in on the call) of Iowans all across the state, who can stay in the comfort of their own home. They didn't have to get dressed up (I was in an old t-shirt and jeans from doing my farm chores) or use up expensive gas to go hear him. And, they could hang up at any point and end their participation in the event, if they chose to do so. He took maybe 10 or 15 questions (atleast while I listened) and after every 3 or 4, would ask people on the line to press #1 on the phone if they were interested in supporting him/attending the straw poll in Ames on August 11.

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A Year in Iowa: Biden's give (mostly)-and-take

Excerpted from this post at A Year in Iowa

Joe Biden came to see us this morning. By us, I mean the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He spent an hour and 10 minutes giving very long answers to very short questions from the editor, the vice president/general manager, the political writer, and the newsside columnist, who also has a role in the paper's editorial department. Oh, and there was me, the dilettante. "My only shot is you guys grilling me and making conclusions if I should be hanging around," Biden said, "because it sure won't be the money." Meaning, the Democrat U.S. Senator from Delaware who is running for president isn't playing in the Clinton-Obama league when it comes to fundraising. So he, like most of the presidential candidates seeking to attract as much possible attention in Iowa, Biden pays visits to local television and newspaper people in Iowa when the opportunities arise. The most obvious benefit: He'll get a story and a photograph in tomorrow's Gazette, and the same on Gazetteonline.com and its Iowacaucus.com site. In turn, the newspaper can say it hosted Biden, asked him direct questions on the public's behalf, looked him in the eye.

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Bleeding Heartland: Pettengill Comes "Clean"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

So, the newest member of the Republican House Caucus has published her first "post-flip" column on the website of the Des Moines Register. In it she says: 'All of my columns are written like a letter to my mother, because I want her to know what I'm doing and to be proud of me. And I want you to be proud of me too.' So, in her constant search for approval she has decided to participate in fundraisers with the same Republican leadership that did this: Iowa Democrats are decrying Republican campaign tactics after two state lawmakers were falsely accused of voting for a bill to aid illegal immigrants - before the two legislators ever took office. A flyer mailed to voters attacking Democratic Reps. Bob Kressig of Cedar Falls and Dawn Pettengill of Mount Auburn said they supported a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to be eligible for in-state tuition. But the vote was taken in the Iowa House in 2004, months before Kressig and Pettengill were elected. House Minority Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque said the attacks by Republicans have gone beyond negative campaigning to "outright lying." "Iowans should be upset at that. Republicans have set a new low by breaking the public trust," Murphy said.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Leapfrog Update: Florida Dems Considering Options

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Miami Herald has a must-read for any Iowan worrying about leapfrogging caucus dates. Reading between the lines, it seems that Florida's move to January 29 was driven by the GOP legislature and governor, and the Democrats are left trying to choose from a series of bad options: Hold a post-Feb. 5 caucus, in which activists around the state would gather to pick their favorite candidate. Top winners would split the full slate of convention delegates. Any Iowan who's ever been to a March county convention after the nomination is clinched knows the downside of this one. You're watching the ball game on tape delay, but someone already told you the final score. Beg the national party to bend the rule that only four states -- New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada -- can vote before Feb. 5. That's like expecting Officer Obie to thank us for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely and we didn't expect it. Michigan, long an enemy of Iowa's pole position, will pounce on anything that violates the IA-NV-NH-SC-Everyone Else dance that was so delicately negotiated last summer.

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Politically Speaking: No gas conservation, King says

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

While spiraling gas prices have created an outcry, the proper place for the frustration isn't clear. Siouxlanders have seen the price of unleaded climb from $2.00 in early February to $3.20 per gallon today, and some say they'll cut back on driving. To date, that's apparently not discernibly happening nationally. And it shouldn't, according to Northwest Iowa Congressman Steve King, which puts him at odds with President Bush, who earlier this week called for conservation. As the gas price spikes in recent years have occurred, Republican King has held firm in his conviction that it's a form of surrender to conserve. I've been wondering since Friday, when prices went over $3.00 in Sioux City, when we'd hear from King on the recent spike, and it came today with an op-ed piece. King says America is "held hostage to high gas prices by the environmental lobby that prevents us from producing more of our own energy," and for cutting off domestic drilling of known oil supplies. King said "we need more oil and natural gas production, right here within our borders from our own vast reserves."

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Bleeding Heartland: Grassley floats the worst idea I've heard in a while

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Way back before Tom Harkin was elected to the Senate, Iowa had two Republican senators: Roger Jepsen and Chuck Grassley. We used to call them "Tweedle Dumb" and "Tweedle Dumber." For those of you too young to remember, Tweedle Dumb lost to Harkin despite the massive Reagan landslide of 1984. His campaign faltered when it became public knowledge that he had frequented "massage parlors." Why did it become public knowledge? Because Tweedle Dumb used his personal credit card to pay for the massage parlor services. But I digress. It's easy to forget Chuck Grassley was ever known as Tweedle Dumber, but I remembered when I saw this piece in the Des Moines Register: Grassley: Ethanol plants should use coal. Responding to worries that the ethanol boom will drive up the price of natural gas used to power the ethanol plants, Grassley had a brilliant idea.

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John Deeth Blog: Leapfrog Update: Florida Dems Considering Options

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
The Miami Herald has a must-read for any Iowan worrying about leapfrogging caucus dates. Reading between the lines, it seems that Florida's move to January 29 was driven by the GOP legislature and governor, and the Democrats are left trying to choose from a series of bad options: Hold a post-Feb. 5 caucus, in which activists around the state would gather to pick their favorite candidate. Top winners would split the full slate of convention delegates. Any Iowan who's ever been to a March county convention after the nomination is clinched knows the downside of this one. You're watching the ball game on tape delay, but someone already told you the final score. Beg the national party to bend the rule that only four states -- New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada -- can vote before Feb. 5. That's like expecting Officer Obie to thank us for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely and we didn't expect it. Michigan, long an enemy of Iowa's pole position, will pounce on anything that violates the IA-NV-NH-SC-Everyone Else dance that was so delicately negotiated last summer.

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Politically Speaking: No gas conservation, King says

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
While spiraling gas prices have created an outcry, the proper place for the frustration isn't clear. Siouxlanders have seen the price of unleaded climb from $2.00 in early February to $3.20 per gallon today, and some say they'll cut back on driving. To date, that's apparently not discernibly happening nationally. And it shouldn't, according to Northwest Iowa Congressman Steve King, which puts him at odds with President Bush, who earlier this week called for conservation. As the gas price spikes in recent years have occurred, Republican King has held firm in his conviction that it's a form of surrender to conserve. I've been wondering since Friday, when prices went over $3.00 in Sioux City, when we'd hear from King on the recent spike, and it came today with an op-ed piece. King says America is "held hostage to high gas prices by the environmental lobby that prevents us from producing more of our own en ergy," and for cutting off domestic drilling of known oil supplies. King said "we need more oil and natural gas production, right here within our borders from our own vast reserves."

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Bleeding Heartland: Grassley floats the worst idea I've heard in a while

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Way back before Tom Harkin was elected to the Senate, Iowa had two Republican senators: Roger Jepsen and Chuck Grassley. We used to call them "Tweedle Dumb" and "Tweedle Dumber." For those of you too young to remember, Tweedle Dumb lost to Harkin despite the massive Reagan landslide of 1984. His campaign faltered when it became public knowledge that he had frequented "massage parlors." Why did it become public knowledge? Because Tweedle Dumb used his personal credit card to pay for the massage parlor services. But I digress. It's easy to forget Chuck Grassley was ever known as Tweedle Dumber, but I remembered when I saw this piece in the Des Moines Register: Grassley: Ethanol plants should use coal. Responding to worries that the ethanol boom will drive up the price of natural gas used to power the ethanol plants, Grassley had a brilliant idea.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Real Sporer: Republican Debate Review

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
... Fox asked much harder questions and allowed the candidates to go at it. We, the Republican voters, are adults and we should demand far more of this and far less of the commercials, the stump speeches etc…. Nothing instructs like dialogue. It also makes the Democrats look like the intellectual cowards that they have become. ... we're going to rate each debater on a scale of 1-30.
Sam Brownback ... 1st debate/25 2nd debate/21;
Jim Gilmore ... 1st debate/24 2nd debate/21;
Rudy Giuliani ... 1st debate/21 2nd debate/27;
Mike Huckabee ... 1st debate/25 2nd debate/27;
Duncan Hunter ... 1st debate/23 2nd debate/24;
John McCain ... 1st debate/23 2nd debate/24;
Ron Paul ... 1st debate/21 2nd debate/20;
Mitt Romney ... 1st debate/25 2nd debate/24;
Tom Tancredo ... 1st debate/21 2nd debate/22;
Tommy Thompson ... 1st debate/21 2nd debate/21.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Thoughts on the Republican Debate

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
Tonights Republican debate was a lot better than the last one. The questions were better and the crowd was more involved. Here are some thoughts I jotted down during the debate...
* Everytime I see Mike Huckabee, I wonder why he isn't gaining any traction. His counter to Rudy on abortion was clear and a lot better than Brownback's simplistic attempt.
* I think Rudy Giuliani won because of him interjecting on Paul's comment, even though I think Paul had an important point.
* Tancredo did pretty well. His line about people should have conversions on the road to Damascus and not on the road to Des Moines got a loud ovation and was a clear shot at McCain, Rudy, and multiple choice Mitt.
* I think Gilmore, Brownback, Tommy Thompson, and Hunter should drop out. Hunter might have some credibility on immigration, but is overshadowed by Tancredo.

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Iowa Independent: Fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel: Unfiltered

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent
Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, is running, at age 76 and after years out of the public arena, the longest of long-shot candidacies for the presidency. Gravel, now living in Virginia, served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981. ... Gravel conducted a one-on-one, 45 minute conversation with Iowa Independent fellow Douglas Burns. Iowa Independent: When I watched the debate the other night, and don't take this the wrong way, but you seem awfully angry for a 76-year-old. Why are you so angry? Sen. Gravel: I'm angry because every day you and I are talking about this thing people are dying. How would you feel if you were over there (Iraq) getting shot at, getting crippled, because your leaders didn't exercise proper judgment. What about the people who are going die between now and Christmas because we don't end the war? That's a reason to get angry. That's blood. That's people dying and we sit here complacently and say, "That's far away."

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iPol: Chris Dodd Goes on the Air

Excerpted from this post at iPol
... Here's the script for the first spot, a 30-second ad called "Civil": CHRIS DODD: Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq's civil war. That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the President's blank check and set a timetable to bring our troops home. Unfortunately, my colleagues running for President have not joined me. ... OK, so I guess the kidding around is just about over for Dodd. I've been seeing stuff coming out from his campaign about calling the other candidates to find out where they stand on Feingold-Reid (or, as the campaign started referring to it, "Feingold-Reid-Dodd"), ... this is a pretty in your face move, and it looks like Dodd is swinging at everybody: Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Richardson, even Biden, who's no slouch when it comes to pushing the administration on ending the war. ... I think this is the right time for Dodd to make this kind of move: the fundraising process stories have receded, the top three candidates are playing so safe that they're in danger of atrophy, and Dodd has an opportunity to use these ads

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Price of Politics: Please Pass the Pie, Pork, Chips and Cookies

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
Sugar, ham, tons of cheese and cookies...not a bad week, huh? No wonder I felt like I was carrying around a small child during my runs this weekend. Ah, life on the road. How do these presidential candidates do it? I'm going to guess that's why I don't see these folks on the cover of my Men's Health every month ... Here's a lowdown on the candidate, city and food served... Hillary Clinton--Red Oak--pie; John McCain--Ft. Dodge--ham sandwich, chips, cookie; Tommy Thompson--Anamosa, then West Des Moines--pizza buffet, then just pizza; Barack Obama--Indianola--not a dang thing; John Cox--his West Des Moines campaign headquarters--Jay's Potato Chips; I wonder what I'll think the next time I hear one of these people talk about tackling the obesity problem?

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Essential Estrogen: The Iowa Media Gender Gap

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
For at least this moment in time, television news in Iowa is a man's game. Overall, the employees who produce Iowa's televised newscasts are divided 58 percent male and 42 percent female. Of a total of 219 persons (news, weather and sports) throughout the state, 126 are male while 93 are female. Iowa Anchors: 30 percent women; 70 percent menOf the 219 total, there are 63 individuals serving as primaries or anchors throughout the state. When we look at these individuals the gender gap widens to 70 percent male and 30 percent female. The picture looks more balanced in the lower levels of the newsroom where 53 percent of workers are male and 47 percent are female.

Blog for Iowa: Action Alert - Call The Governor Today And Ask For A Halt To Building New Coal Plants

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
On Tuesday, May 15th, New Jersey's LS Power plans to apply for their permits to build a 750MW coal-fired power plant just east of Waterloo, Iowa. This plant will pour out carbon dioxide equivalent to nearly a million new cars on Iowa's roads for its 40-50 year lifetime. We are in a desperate fight to reign in global warming and this plant will dig us a hole that all our best efforts can't remedy. The plant will also pollute eastern Iowa's waters with heavy metals, including hundreds of pounds of mercury annually, which settles into rivers and lakes and bioaccumulates in fish across a wide region. ... The Governor has a chance to put a delay on the permitting process but today is the best day for it. Call the Governor at 515-281-5211 and ask him to tackle global warming solutions and put a temporary stay on the permitting process for new coal plants until the legislature has had a chance to act on the Climate Change Advisory Council's recommendations for greenhouse gas reductions in Iowa.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Gronstal and McCarthy on Clean Elections

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
Sen. Mike Gronstal and Rep. Kevin McCarthy were in Marshalltown this afternoon to speak about legislative accomplishments. ... Someone else asked about VOICE before I could get a chance to. ... Gronstal responded by saying that he is a fan of getting the influence of money out of politics, but the VOICE legislation had somethings in it that weren't the best. Gronstal talked about the study group created to look into the issue of clean elections. He then said that he will work with groups that are friendly, a clear shot at the incident at the State House with clean elections supporters. ... [McCarthy's issues with VOICE: ] First, the bill includes primaries. McCarthy said that if someone in his district is upset with one of his votes all they would have to do is get 100 people to donate $5 each and they would be eligible for tax payer money to run. Second, McCarthy said the VOICE legislation would make it illegal for House leaders to funnel money to other races. Right now the House leaders are able to raise unlimited amounts of money and then can dish that money out to candidates in targetted races.

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The Real Sporer: Thompson (Tommy) in West Des Moines..............

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
........... demonstrated what appears to [be] caucus strength in the most traditional of ways. ... Team Tommy generated a turn out of around 100 almost entirely new faces. Having attended several Tommy events it appears that he has a great ability to work a crowd, very dynamic (although uncharacteristically passive in the recent mockumentary on MSNBC) and very likeable. Tommy and Mike Huckabee continue to front run for the Dale Carnegie Cup. Reliable and unbiased sources travelling with Tommy confirmed pretty much the same result for his other recent Iowa events. Tommy certainly is working this state like his life depends on it. ... Tommy Thompson is rolling out a powerful ground game. More of a 2000 Rams flexible approach than the '72 Dolphins ground pounders but pretty darn good none the less. Twenty five percent could win the blue ribbon next January so the affable Badger is not all that long of a shot.

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Essential Estrogen: Two Legislators Discuss the Impact of Motherhood

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
... It is impossible to celebrate our mothers or our lives as mothers without taking a moment to consider how that very important life role has helped to shape who we are and what we do. "My mother was hard working, had a great sense of humor, enjoyed life, always tried to fix what was wrong, and loved herself," said Iowa Rep. Helen Miller. ... "I see my legislative role much like that of a parent working to do her best for individuals and groups who may be needy, confident, pushy, sensitive, unreasonable, helpful, angry, and more. It helps to call upon memories, analogies and quotes from my child-rearing days -- those child-rearing days are not unlike my work now." ... fellow legislator Rep. Vicki Lensing agrees. "Becoming a mother is life-changing and the only training we have is what we know – from our own mothers and women in our lives that have taught, modeled and influenced us," she said. "It brings us skills, strengths and weaknesses. It releases within us feelings that we have never felt before in quite the same way as motherhood brings to us.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Bleeding Heartland: Rudy's staff to farmers: You're not rich enough to be his prop

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Greg Sargent had a great catch today at his TPM political blog Horse's Mouth. He spotted an amazing article in the Journal-Eureka, based in Anamosa, Iowa (Jones County). I would link to the original article, but the newspaper's site appears to have crashed from all the attention Sargent's piece generated. Click through to read Sargent's account, but here is the short version: Deb VonSprecken, who farms with her husband, donated to Giuliani and got a call from his campaign asking if they would host an event for him at their farm. They were excited and started preparing the event. Then they were asked to call Giuliani's campaign office in New York, where someone asked about their assets. They own a small farm. Afterwards, Tony Delgado at Giuliani's Des Moines office allegedly told Deb VanSprecken, "I'm sorry, you aren't worth a million dollars and he is campaigning on the Death Tax right now."

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Cyclone Conservatives: Tommy Thompson visits ice cream capital of the world

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Tommy Thompson made his first visit to Northwest Iowa today and I think at the end of the day, the Thompson campaign has got to be quite pleased with the outcome of how things went. I was able to go to a 11 AM luncheon at the LeMars Family Table restaurant where Tommy spoke to a group of about 30 or so activists and curious on-lookers. Since LeMars is the Ice Cream Capital of the World, Tommy walked into the event eating an ice cream cone and continued to eat it as he shook hands and introduced himself to the people in attendance. The crowd was predominately comprised of senior citizens and this was largely, I'm sure, because of the early lunch hour. There happened to also be a lot of bikers there and I think this group is becoming a good group for Tommy to tap into. Most working aged people probably couldn't get off work for lunch until about the time Tommy's visit in LeMars was over. After getting a really nice introduction from a friend of his from Plymouth County whom he sometimes goes on motorcycle trips with, Tommy started into his stump speech.

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Politically Speaking: Obama event in Denison, Thompson tomorrow

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Apparently Barack Obama is churning up interest to spur strong attendance at events he isn't even attending. The U.S. senator from Illinois pursuing the Democratic Party nomination for president has slated an organizational meeting tonight at Cronk's restaurant in Denison. Obama drew more than 500 people in Denison on a March 31 stop at the high school, and 65 people are anticipated to attend the 7 p.m. meeting at Cronk's. Obama and his Iowa spokesman said having such a turnout for planning meeting in the middle of the week so far out from the November 2008 election is indicative of great support, and they're right. In other presidential candidate news in Northwest Iowa, if you get up early tomorrow you can attend the 7:30 a.m. stop by Republican Tommy Thompson at the Village Inn on Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City. After that, the former Wisconsin governor will attend events in Le Mars, which we plan to cover, and Sioux Center and Rock Rapids.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blog for Iowa: Guest Opinion: What Has Democrats Running Scared in CAFO Regulation?

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
Proponents of reinstating local control of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) approached this year's legislative session with great optimism. ... Reestablishing local control—abolished by the legislature in 1995—would give counties authority over the siting of CAFOs, to allow additional protections for the environment and communities beyond statewide standards for CAFOs. Our optimism was short-lived. Immediately after the fall election, Democratic Party leaders—Patrick Murphy in the House and Michael Gronstal in the Senate—began stonewalling, saying they would not allow local control to come up for a vote in this year's legislative session. Furthermore, Governor Culver was completely silent on the issue ... Why are we still left with the reality that although less than one percent of Iowans have a vested interested in hog CAFOs, they hold sway over all the rest of us with the legislature? ... Some of the answers to those questions are obvious to anyone familiar with the influence of big money in politics. First, the Iowa Farm Bureau and other agribusiness groups—who lobby relentlessly for the privileges of CAFO owners over the rights of ordinary citizens—made campaign contributions to legislators of both parties and both legislative houses. ... Second, those same organizations employed an army of lobbyists to incessantly hammer any legislator who dared consider voting against their directive that there be no legislation regulating CAFOs.

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Back Roads to the White House: A tale of two Romneys

Excerpted from this post at Back Roads to the White House
It was the best of days. It was the worst of days. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney faced highs and lows today while stumping down the Interstate 35 corridor in central Iowa. He won political converts in Clear Lake. He drew a standing-room-only, elbow-to-elbow crowd in Ames. There, an enthusiastic young staffer pulled aside reporters afterwards, asking, excitedly, whether they had ever seen such a large crowd for a presidential contender. ... Still, in between these events he got involved in a public spat with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had made controversial comments about Romney's Mormon faith. And he had to answer reporters' questions about his wife's small, long-ago contribution to an abortion-rights group. Both those issues drew immediate, online headlines about two issues that continue to dog Romney -- questions about whether voters are ready to elect the first Mormon president, and questions over his famous change-of-heart on abortion, which he vehemently opposes these days.

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Iowa True Blue: Krappy Konservatism

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue
I hate to kick anyone when they are down, but I have to make an exception in the case of the anonymous Iowa blogger, "Krusty Konservative." Muttering darkly about being "blackmailed," Krusty announced today he'll stop blogging.* Krusty's blog was a perfect metaphor for today's conservative movement: intellectually bankrupt, out of ideas, and offering nothing but rage. He called himself a fiscal conservative, but ardently supported Budget Chair Jim Nussle for Governor, a man who turned a huge surplus into the most gigantic deficit in world history. He claimed to be a social conservative, but again, looked the other way when it came to the "family values" of Jim Nussle, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich. ... Instead, Krusty's idea of political debate was to, say, repeatedly refer to our Governor's weight. He would make ridiculous, outlandish, and bogus claims ("Chet Culver skipped a debate because he went to a bar!" is one of my favorites), then never apologize when he was directly proved wrong.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Krusty Konservative: Blackmail and Extortion

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Politics is a nasty business, the stakes are always high and some people will do whatever it takes to win, yes even resort to blackmail and other unsavory tactics. I'm not naïve enough to think that this blog would be immune to those tactics, in fact I've been threatened many times over the 12 plus months that this blog has been in existence. ... I disdain people who feel the need to tear down or blackmail people to get their way or to advance their own agenda. If these threats only affected me, I'd give this little wimp a piece of my mind and continue business as usual, but it doesn't affect just me, other people could suffer far greater consequences than I, and I just don't think its right for the lives of innocent people to be ruined because somebody thinks that they are involved with the creation, maintenance, and content of this blog. As much as I've enjoyed this blog and the important conversations it has initiated it's just not worth dragging innocent people through the politics of personal destruction. ... While I will no longer post on this blog, I will continue to check my email and keep a keen eye on the political landscape in Iowa. I'd like to thank those who have shared their thoughts and observations here over the past 14 months.

Essential Estrogen: Live Blog: Sen. Edwards Conference Call

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
... Heading into questions. ... Kay Henderson -- Do you admit to having an advantage in this debate because you do not have to cast a vote in the Senate while your colleague do? Senator -- No. I'm a candidate for the President of the U.S. and I'll be held responsible for every stance I take. Our we doing everything in our power to bring this conflict to an end. ... Mary Ray from Dubuque Telegraph Herald -- Republican candidates coming through Iowa have said the November election was not about war... how can you or other Dems specifically point to something which says those elections were about the war. Senator -- This isn't a guess... I was campaigning and heard it. People are very frustrated with a bull-headed president who refused to change course. It wasn't just Iraq, but it was a significant part of it. Also wanted bold changes in other areas -- healthcare, Katrina, globla warming -- but Iraq was at the top of the list.

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Politically Speaking: Capital/Capitol for the Day

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
You write capitol, I write capital. Depends on the state, apparently. I suspect Iowa has it wrong, although as someone who is bailed out by copy editors, I'll not make a major point of it. But let's rehash the American Heritage Dictionary. Capitol — The building in which a legislature meets. Capital — The town or city that is the official seat of government in a political entity. In a release yesterday, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, who assumed the governorship in January, announced launching a new venture that will bring the state's heavyweights and resources out to various Iowa towns. In announcing the new Capitol for a Day pursuit, Culver said many Iowans traveled to Des Moines to visit the "beautiful state capitol" (spelling could be right, could be wrong, depending on what he meant) during the legislative session, and now "it is time to bring the state capitol to the people of Iowa." ... Unless Culver means that he's bringing the capitol building out on the Iowa stops, he should make it Capital for the Day. But let's not call the whole thing off, because the Capital for the Day is a fine idea.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Krusty Konservative: Krusty Kalls for new Iowa Senate Leadership

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... the most disappointing thing about the past legislative session was not the hard left agenda coming out of the Democrat Leadership, which was expected. What bothers me the most is the complete lack of any organized opposition from the minority party in the Senate. Forced unionization sailed through the chamber with barely a murmur or a single tactic to slow it down. What about same day voter registration? I didn't hear about press conference, I didn't read about anyone reciting stories of voter fraud in other states (and the examples are plentiful) on the floor. ... House Rs stopped forced unionization and that was a huge win for not only Republicans but Iowans. Did Senate Republicans win anything out of the last session? The one tool Republicans in the Senate have is the ability to veto any nominations from the governor. So, what did Republicans get utilizing that power? They got an irrelevant promise for a Regent appointment from Western Iowa in 2009 (NOBODY CARES!) and a ton of bad press and pissed off metro area Republicans from the Gene Meyer debacle for their trouble.

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John Deeth Blog: McCain in North Liberty

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
The last place I expected to be on a Monday night was listening to Martina McBride's "Independence Day" waiting for John McCain to show up. But with the new professionalism (and professional status) with the Iowa Independent connection comes a stretching of the boundaries, so I hit my first Republican event in about 15 years in North Liberty Monday. ... Why the GOP lost `06. "I don't believe it was the war." Cites Lieberman. He thinks being in government post-1994 changed the GOP and spending is too high, gets first applause. ... "Chuck Grassley and I have a glass of ethanol every morning" is the funniest line of the night. McCain acknowledges he was not a fan of ethanol when oil was $10 a barrel, but the situation has changed and now energy independence is more important. Climate change is real. "Ethanol and nuclear power - and nuclear power" (repeated for emphasis) are important. ... McCain says we can't deny our prestige has slipped. "I would close Gitmo." (Very scattered applause.) "I'd actively attack climate change." If we are wrong that humans have caused warming, we've made the world cleaner. But if humans have caused change and we do nothing, it's catastrophic.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Krusty Konservative: Tommy tops Rudy in Cedar Rapids

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... When any two kampaigns visit the same kommunity on the same day, people are going to kompare the events, especially when the events are in Iowa's second largest city. Tommy Thompson had 150 at his event, while the presumed frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani only had around 100. Rudy's poor showing is a good example of the problems he is having in Iowa. ... Rudy's problems in Iowa have nothing to do with his pro-choice stance on abortion; instead it has everything to do with the staff on the ground here in Iowa, and the level of kommitment to Iowa from the folks in New York that are calling the shots. Now, I'm not slamming the Giuliani Iowa staff. They have some good people in the state, but a caucus kampaign requires a large staff with caucus experience and that's where they are lacking.

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Essential Estrogen: Sen. Biden in Cedar Rapids (Part 2)

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
Delaware Sen. Joe Biden is proud of the fact that he hasn't changed much since 1994. "If I could wave a magic wand," he told the standing room only crowd in Cedar Rapids Sunday night, "the one thing in world politics I would do would be the empowerment of women." Biden was responding to an audience member who questioned what could be done about the declining status of women in Iraq. "I don't want to empower women because they are sweet and nice," he added. "It needs to be done because that's 51 percent of the world's population and because it would better us all." Although the primary topic for Sunday's stump speech was the Iraq War, the U.S. Senator and author of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act often answers audience questions or follows a train of thought which leads him to discuss women and/or women's issues.

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John Deeth Blog: Dodd Offers Bilingual Cinco de Mayo Message in West Liberty

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Chris Dodd delivered roughly a third of his remarks en espanol for a crowd of 60-75 at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in West Liberty. The Spanish remarks were not repeated in English. Yo comprende pequitito espanol, but I did pick up "el presidente" and "la Casa Blanca" in his conclusion. During the Spanish portion of his remarks, he also discussed the importance of reading for children (the event was hosted by the West Liberty library) and talked about his experiences in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. "I had to learn Spanish in the Peace Corps," he told me after the speech, noting that immigrants and their children would be well served by learning English - a remark he made in Spanish during the speech. ... Dodd favors a "humane" path to citizenship for people who are already here, but adds that we need to respect people who have waited through the process. "We have people lined up at embassies around the world waiting to come here."

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Bleeding Heartland: News Flash: Candidates repeat jokes on the campaign trail

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Radio Iowa notes that Dodd keeps telling the same joke at every campaign stop about being the only guy in the race who gets mailings from both the AARP and diaper services. After seeing Dodd speak before a group of young Democrats, Radio Iowa had a chance to ask a question: "... I'm wondering how a guy tells a joke like that, obviously exhibiting that he has the coin for a diaper service, and how he squares that with his discussion of how the middle class is being pinched. ..." ... I must have heard Chet Culver's joke about his daughter and the letter-carriers' endorsement half a dozen times last year. ... John Edwards has talked about being the son of a mill worker so many times that he added a joke to his stump speech about how the audience may have heard once that he is the son of a mill worker. Now, if Radio Iowa's complaint is that people in Iowa don't use diaper services and can't relate to the joke, that's partly true, at least concerning young voters. As a mom of two kids in cloth diapers, I can confirm that there are no cloth diaper laundry services in Iowa ... If Radio Iowa's complaint is that someone who can afford a diaper service may seem out of touch with middle-class concerns, I disagree. People who remember the days of diaper services could tell you that they were affordable for middle-class families.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Krusty Konservative: First Republican Debate

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

If it's not bad enough to front load the nomination kalendar, the media outlets are just adding fuel to the fire by having these early debates. I'm afraid to think how many debate threads I'll have to post between now and the Iowa Caucus. Here is the problem with early debates; none of the kandidates and especially the frontrunners will say anything of any substance this early, unless they're getting their butt kicked already. Frontrunners tend to avoid konfrontation, give politically korrect answers, and avoid nailing down their policy on most any topic. On to the debate, I thought Chris Matthews did a great job, much better than Brian Williams did with the Democrats last week. Maybe Matthews and MSNBC used the days between the two events to improve on the first debate. I'd like to do winners and losers but I don't think anyone walked away with a victory last night. So here is a list of disappointments. Sam Brownback: Someone wake me up when he is done speaking. The guy just lacks energy. He could give the best answers of the night but it will not register with me because I was probably getting popcorn, checking my email or taking a nap while he talks.

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Essential Estrogen: The Republican Debate

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Although I watched the GOP debates tonight, there was only one moment on which I care to comment: Did Sen. John McCain really hesitate when asked if he believed in evolution? And, after the slight waffling, did he then interrupt the conversation to "qualify" his answer? Bah. That just makes my head hurt. So, in lieu of hearing from me on this event, I'm putting together some links which readers might find interesting: Anti-War Blog live-blogged the proceedings. Goofyblog dubs it a Republican smooch fest. Confederate Yankee covers it all in 10 words. Alphecca thought it was all about Chris Matthews. New Pairodimes also gets a bit stuck on Chris Matthews (strange because I've never found him to be much to write home about). Point Five Blog pretty much sums up some of my feelings... but I'd take it one step further: "When the dead guy is all you got, you roll out the coffin." Axis of Right has a thoughtful write up.

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Back roads to the White House: The invisible Tom

Excerpted from this post at Back roads to the White House

Short shrift. That's what Rep. Tom Tancredo's enthusiastic backers in Council Bluffs, Iowa, thought that their hero got out of Thursday night's nationally televised Republican presidential debate. The ink-stained version of the Rocky Mountain News reports today on the dejected folks leaving a debate-watching event at Tancredo's Pottawattamie County headquarters. His fans cheered each time the Colorado conservative's face was projected onto the wall, and they hooted and hollered in agreement with what he said. But he was cut short in some answers and was skipped entirely in one round of questions. In the crucial, first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, three analysts said Tancredo did little to break out of the "other" category below the three so-called "front-runners" in the 10-man field. As Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen told Iowans this morning: "Some candidates seemed lost in the shuffle. Tom Tancredo, who has led the national debate against illegal immigration, was the shrinking violet and never really got a good chance to argue the issue." Tancredo has been called many things. But "shrinking violet" is a new one.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Tommy Thompson promotes discrimination in debate

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan

I watched about 20 minutes of the Republican debate tonight. There isn't much worth writing about except this comment by former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson. Asked: "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?" Thompson's response: "I think that is left to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be." Does Thompson not know anything about our Constitution or the 14th Amendment? Has he never heard that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws? Cornell Law School defines discrimination as... Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. So basically Thompson is running on a campaign that promotes discrimination.

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Radio Iowa: Dodd and diaper service

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

At nearly every gathering in which I have seen Connecticut Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd give a speech or offer remarks, he has told the same joke. It's the one about how he is the only candidate who gets mailings from AARP and diaper services. This lets the white-haired Dodd, who will be 63 when he celebrates his next birthday at the end of this month, tell the crowd that he is the father of a two-year-old and a five-year-old. Dodd just told the joke over the noon hour during his appearance before a group of young Iowa Democrats, some of whom I presume have children. I just listened back to the tape and Dodd sort of raced through the joke, and I didn't hear any laughter. Checking the Des Moines phone book, there are no diaper services listed. I called directory information, and didn't find one that way, either. I called two laundry services in Des Moines and neither of the people who answered the phone had ever heard of being asked to launder cloth diapers. As Dodd was walking out of the restaurant where he had just given his 20-minute speech, followed by about 20 minutes of answering questions, I began asking about the joke. "You always tell that joke about the AARP and diaper services," I started.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Popular Progressive: Where Have All the Bees Gone - Iowa Angle

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive
... * Billions of bees have mysteriously vanished since late last year in the U.S. * Disappearing bees have also been reported in Europe and Brazil * One-third of the U.S. diet depends on pollination, mostly by honeybees ... According to the Iowa Honey Producers Association, "honey bees are an important part of Iowa's agri-ecosystem. Currently, about 1500 beekeepers in Iowa keep 30,000 colonies of honey bees. Less than 100 of these beekeepers operate bees on a commercial basis with the remainder being sideline or hobbyist beekeepers. These honey bees have produced an average of 3.1 million pounds of honey annually, valued at $3.5 million for the last five years. However, beekeeping is valued much more for the pollination of important plants in Iowa than for the honey that is produced. (see table below) Field and horticultural crops, home gardens and plants eaten by wildlife are dependent on bee pollination for the production of their fruits, nuts and seeds."

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John Deeth Blog: Missing May Day Peace Events

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Organizers of Tuesday's Missing May Day peace events in downtown Iowa City had energy beyond numbers. It was a "spiritual event," said one speaker and the message was simple: end the war now - no deadlines, no conditions - now, was the call of the day. ... The only politician sighted earlier in the day was Supervisor Rod Sullivan. (Reportedly, another elected person stumbled onto the event inadvertently and walked through the Ped Mall as quickly and as far from the event as possible. I didn't see it but it makes a good story anyway, as complaints about the rarity of elected Democrats at peace events are murmuring in the Iowa City peace community.) The Obama and Edwards campaigns had a presence, as did the Greens. The counter presence was anonymous. Downtown Iowa City kiosks (infamous in the late `90s for their five-figure price tag) were papered with red white and blue flyers: "Support Our TROOPS = Support the MISSION!"

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Iowa Independent: Kevin McCarthy, Dawn Pettengill, and Fair Share

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent
As the Iowa legislative session came to a close early Sunday, House Democrats marveled that they had passed all but one of the items on their legislative agenda. The next day, they learned that they were short one more thing: a caucus member. The two issues were not unrelated. ... Fair Share, despite being passed in the Iowa Senate, never came to a vote in the House because, McCarthy said, "We just didn't have the votes to get it done." McCarthy said that the proposal had the support of 50 Democrats in the caucus but lacked that crucial 51st. "We don't have that large a majority." One Democratic representative, Ray Zirkelbach of Monticello is currently serving in Iraq, and in addition to Pettengill, two other members of the Democratic caucus refused to support the bill. McCarthy declined to name those representatives. McCarthy said that on the way to regaining the majority in the 2006 elections, some conservative Democrats ran, or were recruited, to defeat Republican incumbents. Keeping them on board for certain issues, he said was "challenging." In the interview, McCarthy did not seem angry that the bill failed to pass; he simply stated matter-of-factly that "the answer is to continue to try to educate [reluctant members] and to pick up a few more seats" in order to make up for deserters. ... McCarthy bristled at the suggestion that he had tried to strong-arm people for support. "I definitely didn't," he said. "We used tough arguments trying to convince people… We did that through civil and respectful conversation." McCarthy said, "The argument that we were strong-arming people was coming from right wing Republican propaganda." The charge, he said, was "a falsehood, a lie."

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Corn Beltway Boys: Come Visit Iowa And Enjoy Our Wonderful...Um...Um...Fields of Corn?

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys
... Queue a government funded study: "Among the findings: Iowa needs $150 million per year for 10 years to fund everything from better beaches and campgrounds to protections for soil, water and wildlife. Ways to secure those dollars include using a portion of sales tax or gambling revenues or state lottery proceeds. Bonding could be used to stretch dollars." $1 billion dollars over ten years?!? Holy crap. Better beaches? Did I miss California and the western 1/3 of the nation falling into the Pacific ocean? But don't worry, we can have our magical outdoor oasis by merely increasing even more taxes. Forget the fact that Iowa already has one of worst environments for attracting new businesses what harm would an additional billion dollars in new taxes do? ... We farm. And where we don't use our land for agriculture, we live. Aside from a few lakes, river beds and the occasional state park Iowa's land is meant for practical purposes. We are what we are. Don't for one second think that spending a billion dollars is all of a sudden going to bring tourists to Iowa by the droves.

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State 29: Iowa To Finally Get 1995-Era Campaign Disclosure By 2012

Excerpted from this post at State 29
... From the Iowa Senate Democrats web page: "HF 413 changes campaign finance law to begin the process of requiring campaign committees to file reports electronically and to assist the agency in dealing with the large numbers of reports which are faxed or brought in on the deadline day. The electronic filing requirements of the bill apply only to legislative and statewide candidates. All newly-formed committees must file electronically by 2010. Existing committees are required to file electronically by 2012." ... That's pathetic. Shameful, really. What a joke. 5 more years before existing committees are required to file electronically? 3 more years before new campaigns are required to file electronically? ... The Iowa Legislature could have mandated electronic filing and disclosure over 10 years ago. A database users could search via the web could have easily been in place by the late 1990s. Yet in Iowa it'll be 2012 before everybody is on board and the scanned PDFs are a thing of the past.

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Essential Estrogen: The Part That Makes No Sense

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen
... As Pettengill herself noted in a Des Moines Register article a month ago, "I don't fit in either place, really." At that time she indicated if she switched it would probably be to independent. If her voting record in the state legislature is any indication, she's wrong about not fitting with the Democratic Party. Her record shows her squarely in the middle on many key issues as outlined in the party's platform (and in direct opposition of many on the other side of the aisle). In looking at Pettengill's 2006 voting record on issues key to labor, she scores high. Seventy-five percent of the time she and the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO took the same position. ... Likewise, when looking at GLBT issues this session, Pettengill received a grade of B (Pro-Gay). She voted with this constituency on three out of five issues. ... Pettengill voted with the Iowa ACLU 50 percent of the time this session while the best a member of the Republican Caucus could muster was 30 percent. The votes were on such issues as the separation of church and state; employee rights; voting rights; and due process.

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Krusty Konservative: House Republicans Gain a Seat

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... While gaining a house seat in a good district for Republicans is nice, Pettengill's defection is an excellent illustration of how out-of-touch the Speaker Murphy and Thug Leader McCarthy are. ... I think Democrats are making a huge mistake by taking the 2006 election results as a mandate for their social and economic agenda. Were the voters upset with Republicans in 2006? Absolutely. Were the voters tired of the war in Iraq? Absolutely. Were Iowans voting for civil rights to be extended to gays and lesbians? No. Were Iowans voting to give students who are gay and lesbian special protections? No. Were Iowans voting to increase state government spending by more than 10%? No. Were Iowans voting to gut our election laws and open the door for fraud? No. I think that the Democrats have overplayed their hand. It's so bad that they are already have a legislator switching parties to join the minority party.

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Political Fallout: Rants Seduces Pettengill to the Dark Side

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout
Big Tobacco's Major Player, House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, used his behind the scenes charm* to seduce Dawn Pettengill to the Dark Side of the Minority Force. Dawn's supporters are hailing her defection as courageous. Meanwhile, her opponents are calling her move an act of betrayal, while Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader of the Democratic Empire dismissed her move as "...more of a shift on paper..." ... Mark Twain once said, "There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice." Tempted by the loss of power, it looks like Dawn may have succumbed to Rants's Svengali powers. (Extracted from George du Maurier's 1894 novel, Trilby, the word "Svengali" means a person who, with evil intent, manipulates another into what is desired.) Sounds like we have the ingredients for shooting another adaptation of Tribly here in Iowa. Now all we have to do is woo Hollywood, manipulating them with Iowa's new film tax exemption.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Pettengill Bolts Dems

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
The big news under the dome ... was the defection of State Rep. Dawn Pettingill ... to the GOP. This raises several questions: ... How long ago was this planned? Was it before or after Pettingill started going to Democratic caucuses again, and what kinds of conversations was she having? Will she be giving back the $38,611 (43% of her fundraising) that she got in direct donations from the Iowa Democratic Party, not to mention any other money from disgruntled Dems?

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The Real Sporer: The Big Tent .....................

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
............................ welcomes its newest member, Rep. Dawn Pettengill of Benton County. Dawn officially changed parties this week. ... Notwithstanding the lofty statement of goals embodied in the Democrat agenda, and the utterly disingenuous representations of an intent to govern from the middle, Iowa Democrats grew government, pillaged the taxpayers and promoted the most special interest dominated radical changes in Iowa culture and economics that Iowa voters have seen in generations. The entire Democrat campaign was, as it always is, near complete deception. Only this time, for a change, it worked. ... For all our faults, including our lack of party discipline, we GOPers remain the party of free speech. Almost our entire party culture is built around the spirit of individualism.

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Iowa Progress: Dawn Pettengill Defects to House Republican Caucus

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
This is going to make progressives -- particularly the ones I know who knocked doors for her during the last campaign -- pretty unhappy. Pettengill is known for her emotional outbursts, and my sense is that she perceives her district to be more conservative than it actually is. I posted a while back about why I didn't think Pettengill was going to defect. It turns out I was wrong. This kind of transition, from the majority to the minority (particularly when it looks like the Republicans will likely remain in the minority through next campaign cycle) is surprising, but Pettengill planted the seed for a defection months ago.

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Diary of a political madman: REACTION: A new presidential hotlist

Excerpted from this post at Diary of a political madman
... HOT: John Edwards: I've been calling him the likely nominee for some time now, but it's probably time to back off that. I think he's running a better campaign than he ran in 2004, and he's been the first out of the gate with specific proposals on issues, including a very specific health care plan. ... On the downside, I think the early spotlight is shooting some holes in his image. ... (HOT) Barack Obama: He draws huge crowds wherever he goes, he's charismatic and he seems to be able to run a campaign on broad themes without anyone asking him why he's not specific on anything. ... But, I don't think he's prepared to be Chief Executive. I think he lacks the experience. The fact that he's entirely non-specific on issues means I have no idea what I agree with him on. ... WARM Chris Dodd: He jumped into the upper half of my list by being the first to advocate for public financing of campaigns in the debate. ... I'm glad he's running in Iowa, but he feels like more of a "I have something to add to the conversation" candidate than a true contender. (WARM) Bill Richardson: He brings incredible foreign policy experience to the race. He may be the last presidential candidate in my lifetime to bring 4 Nobel Prize nominations to the table. He's the only candidate in the race from farther west than Illinois. He might also be the only candidate that doesn't scare the crap out of the NRA. However, his admission that he hadn't advocated for the firing of the Attorney General because Alberto Gonzales is Hispanic was flatly racist, and there's no excuse for it. ... COLD: Joe Biden ... Hillary Clinton ... She's putting a happy face on her years of controversy and blaming them on "sticking up for her beliefs," which is partially true. She's got enormously huge money and the capacity to out-advertise any of her opponents 2-to-1. ... I'm a firm believer that voters should never choose a candidate just because they can beat the Republicans, but there's an argument to be made that there's no way she could beat a Republican.

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