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Friday, February 29, 2008

The South of Iowa: Smoking ban proposal

Excerpted from this post at The South of Iowa

So, our Legislature is now debating the merits of a statewide smoking ban in all public places, except limousines and casinos. The first go-round of this bill was suppose to allow cities or counties to make the decision whether to disallow smoking in these places, but it's apparent that some folks in the House think that decision should be taken away from us. Here's my spin on it: Smokers stink as bad as if they spent a couple hours in a hog confinement. They reek, and their odor precedes them everywhere they go. They probably don't realize it, but they stink. That being said, if they want to smoke, and if a business chooses to allow them to smoke in their confines, then that's their choice.

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Price of Politics: Iowa's Really Locking 'Em Up or Maybe Not

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

The New York Times ran a story showing that Iowa has the second fastest increase across the country in incarcerations. But according to the Iowa Department of Corrections, that's not quite right. The Times' story shows the lockup rate is up 6.1% from last year. Corrections' Spokesman Fred Scaletta told me the lockup rate is actually down 1.6%. Is someone a little dyslexic? Here are the highlights of the release Scaletta sent out: "The Iowa data in the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report, "Prisoners in 2006" consists of the on-count prison population of 8,838 plus the 37 Iowa inmates held in other states at year end for a total of 8,875. These figures in the report are correct..."

Cyclone Conservatives: Senator Dave Mulder Up To His Old Tricks Again

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Iowa Senate Republican Dave Mulder represents arguably the most conservative Senate district in the entire state. I challenge you to find me one that is more conservative in its make up or demographics. However, the good people of Sioux, Lyon and Plymouth Counties have someone who certainly does not hold up his end of the bargain. Mulder has been criticized for being too much of a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and after last night's vote to push forward with a statewide smoking ban, Mulder is up to his old tricks again. Being from that area of the state, there's plenty of loud whispers that Mulder might find himself in a primary challenge in the coming months. He'd be challenged from the right, where he would be extremely vulnerable.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Essential Estrogen: Lawmakers Asked to Reconsider Federal Abstinence-Only Funding

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

At a state policy briefing scheduled for Thursday morning, Iowa
legislators and other state officials will be asked to end federally
funded abstinence-only sex education in the state. The move would make
Iowa the 17th state to reject Title V abstinence-only funding. Rep.
Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, sponsored and floor managed a
bill during the 2007 session that required all sexual education taught
in accredited Iowa schools to be medically- and scientifically-based.
Signed into law last spring, the bill did not necessarily put an end
to abstinence-only sex education teaching in Iowa, but it did ratify
standards and guidelines that directly conflict with those associated
with federal funding streams.

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Politically Speaking: Iowa GOP sets up team

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

The reworked Republican Party of Iowa is getting up to speed. On the
heels of the (encouraged?) departure of Sioux Cityan Ray Hoffmann from
the chairmanship and former key Congressman Steve King strategist
Chuck Laudner from the executive director post, the new state
leadership team is taking shape. Former state senator Stewart Iverson
now is the chairman and yesterday Iverson announced that Caleb Hunter,
28, is the new executive director. The chairman generally picks the
director. And today we get word that Ida Grove native Tim Albrecht
will be the RPI spokesman, er, communications director for the 2008
election cycle.

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Iowa Insider: Albrecht new state GOP spokesman

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

It didn't take GOP operative Tim Albrecht (known as "Timmy" among
members of the press corps) to find work after Mitt Romney's
presidential campaign came to an end. The Republican Party of Iowa on
Wednesday named the eternally cheerful Albrecht its new communications
director. He replaces Mary Tiffany, who served as the party's
spokesperson during the caucus campaign. Albrecht, 30, is an Ida Grove
native. He most recently served as the Iowa spokesman for Romney's
campaign and stayed on past the caucuses as the national media
coordinator. Before that, he served as a press aide for Christopher
Rants.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: The Elesha Gayman Case Study: Definitely Worth Trying

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Trolling through one of my favorite websites, IowaPolitics.com, I
found a link to a nice story that appeared in Quad-City Times that
notes that there is an advertising campaign going on to highlight
Gayman's liberal views on issues of importance to Iowans. This is
outstanding and is something that I advocated back in September. In
fact, Campaigns and Elections Magazine contacted me after I wrote that
post to discuss it further... I am very excited to see that such
actions are being tried. If we are to take back our majority in the
House come November, it will be because we tossed aside liberal
Democrats like Elesha Gayman and McKinley Bailey.

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John Deeth Blog: Absentees May Get A Bit Easier

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The process of getting an absentee ballot may get slightly less bureaucratic this fall, if a bill that passed the Senate overwhelmingly Monday makes its way past the House and Governor Culver. Senate File 2089 by Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, would roll back a 2004 change that required auditors to accept absentee requests only if they were on one specific statewide form. "I am just trying to restore the prior practice, which as far as I know was never a problem," said Quirmbach.

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Iowa Insider: Fallon to Nader -- "Just hang it up"

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

Democrat Ed Fallon, who endorsed Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential
race, doesn't have kind words for Nader now that he has announced he
will run again in 2008. Fallon is challenging Congressman Leonard
Boswell in Democratic primary in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District.
Fallon's support for Nader already has been an issue in the campaign.
"Ralph Nader has done great things in his life for the consumers, for
the average American, and this makes no sense," Fallon said this week.

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Radio Iowa: Gronstal as grammar policeman

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The Iowa Senate debated state education policy this evening for nearly
four hours. The grammar police in the crowd cringed when Senator Brad
Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, declared his disgust with how the
debate "had went." Later, Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, the leader
of Democrats in the Senate, offered this critique of Zaun's speech.
"I've heard people tonight talk about what standards should be in the
core curriculum and I've heard the English language murdered on the
floor of the Senate here. 'What we done was'" Gronstal said, repeating
one of Zaun's mistakes. "What kind of language is that?"

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily Kos: Six Governors for Obama raise money in DC

Excerpted from this post at Daily Kos

With Arizona's Janet Napolitano in front, behind her you see Chet Culver of Iowa, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Chris Gregoire of Washington, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. In town for the National Governor's Association, they took time after a Democratic Governor's Association event for a dessert fundraiser at the Capitol Hilton in DC ... This event was organized on short notice by the MidAtlantic Finance Committee of Obama for America, several of whose members I know. Originally scheduled as a high-end event ($1,000 and up), near the end there were some people admitted for as "little" as $500. While I do not know the take for the night, there were over 120 people preregistered, and perhaps one or two dozen who registered at the door. Remember, this was an event done on short notice, without the presence of the candidate. For point of comparison on fundraising, the Clinton campaign recently held 3 events in New York with HRC for which the total was about $500,000.

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The Real Sporer: Protection of property rights: Fallon joins Republicans in looking out for the little guy

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Republican Representatives Jodi Tymeson, Pat Grassley and Jeff
Kaufmann were joined today by Democrat Congressional candidate Ed
Fallon in presenting a well conceived response to Gov. Culver and the
legislative Democrats' attempts to circumvent existing limitations on
the eminent domain power of condemnation. Put another way, the
Democrat machines ability to seize your property in biased
condemnation procedures and give it to their donors. The bi-partisan
proposal is set out in the left margin under our General Assembly
section. Click the link, its well worth the read. Limitation of
condemnation powers is the genetic default position of every
Republican not involved in municipal development.

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Iowa Progress: Yet Another Open Competitive Seat In The Iowa House

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Polly Granzow, the Republican State Representative from House District
44, comprising Hardin County and most of Marshall County outside of
Marshalltown, is not running for re-election in 2008. This combined
with Larry McKibben's decision not to seek re-election in the Senate
District that includes all of Marshall and Hardin Counties, puts local
Republicans in a bind as Century for the Common Iowan notes. However,
it puts the State Republican Party into even bigger bind. So far, nine
Republican incumbents in the State House are not running for
re-election according to Iowa Independent.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Iowa Nursing Shortage a Symptom, Not the Problem

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

By Tom Latham, Member of Congress... It is not news that America has
entered a nursing shortage. Last year over 118,000 nursing jobs were
left unfilled. Employers want to hire, but the pool of qualified
nurses just isn't big enough to fill all those jobs. What might be
surprising is that nursing schools, the very programs delivering these
qualified nurses to Iowa's hospitals, turned away more than 40,000
applicants last year alone. Why? Because they're full. The nursing
shortage isn't the problem, it's the symptom.

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Radio Iowa: Iowa Supreme Court vacancy

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court has released a list of the people who have
applied for the opening on the Iowa Supreme Court… Seventeen Iowans
have applied with the State Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the
upcoming vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court that will occur when
Justice Jerry L. Larson retires on May 17. The nominating commission
will meet on March 6 and 7 to interview the applicants. Immediately
following the interviews, the commission will select a slate of three
nominees from the group of applicants. The commission will submit the
slate of nominees to the governor, who makes the appointment to the
court.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Iowa Independent: Nebraska Legislature Passes Veto-Proof Statewide Smoking Ban

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Just days after the Iowa House passed a statewide smoking ban, with a
controversial but likely surviving exemption for casinos, Nebraska's
one-chamber Legislature passed a statewide with more limited
exemptions. The Husker bill has major implications for western Iowa,
particularly Council Bluffs and Sioux City, places with casinos that
would pull bar-goers and gamblers and even others just looking for an
indoor place that still allows smoking. Here is the Omaha
World-Herald: "Voting 34-14, lawmakers passed Legislative Bill 395,
which prohibits smoking in all public buildings and workplaces
statewide, including bars and restaurants." ... The bill would go into
effect June 1, 2009.

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HawkeyeGOP: Iverson picks Hunter

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

Dave Price at The Price of Politics reported today what those in the
know have been murmuring about for days. RPI Chairman, Stew Iverson,
has tapped longtime Iowa politico, Caleb Hunter to be RPI Executive
Director. Hunter of course has a history with the party, but as a
grassroots guy, I really don't know him very well. Therefore I would
call myself cautiously neutral as to whether he is a good candidate
for the job. In fact just today I noticed that the bookmark in my
current read is an old RPI Caleb Hunter Regional Field Director
business card -- what a coincidence! Qualifications not withstanding,
when the State Central Committee meets this weekend for their retreat,
I hope that they reject Hunter's appointment.

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John Deeth blog: Federal, Legislative Candidate Filing Starts

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

In the next three weeks, the political parties will lay most of their
cards on the table for this fall's election. Filing begins Monday for
federal and state legislative offices, and runs through March 14.
Filing season usually provides a few surprises, as unexpected
candidates show up and unexpected retirements are announced at the
last second. The big picture is emerging on the federal level, and at
the state level it's already clear Republicans will have more open
seats. The marquee race looks like the 3rd District primary between
Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell and 2006 gubernatorial candidate
Ed Fallon. The Republicans are still seeking a candidate to face the
winner.

The Demo Memo: Ralph Nader: As Irrelevant Now As Ever

Excerpted from this post at The Demo Memo

Ralph Nader has decided to run for President AGAIN. Nader is perhaps
the most egotistical and tone-deaf person on earth. In a year when
democrats have perhaps the most exciting nominees in decades, each
with truly democratic messages and promise of real change, Nader's
announcement strikes me as particularly disingenuous. As we all know,
Nader was the spoiler who ran in 2000, who many (dis) credit as
causing the now disastrous presidency of George Bush. Even though I
believe there was a clear choice between Al Gore and George Bush in
2000, Mr. Nader had every right to propose a different opinion back
then. All of this was at the tail end of the era when a personality
was all you needed to win (Bush).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Iowa Insider: King on the shake-up in the Iowa GOP

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

If U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, has an opinion of the recent house
cleaning at the Republican Party of Iowa, he isn't sharing it with
outsiders. Last week, new state chairman Stewart Iverson fired RPI
executive director Chuck Laudner and political director Craig
Robinson. Laudner is King's former chief of staff. "I can't measure
the motive at this point. It doesn't seem to be, it doesn't seem to be
the kind of move that one could have anticipated," King said Thursday
during a visit to the Iowa State Capitol. King said he doesn't know
what the current state of the party is in Iowa. "I need to have that
face-to-face conversation with the new chairman," King said.

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John Deeth Blog: Absentee Votes Could Be Counted by Precinct

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The second-biggest statistical secret in Iowa politics could be out in
the open if a Linn County Republican's bill passes the Legislature.
The biggest secret, of course, is the raw vote total from the
Democratic caucuses. That's still hush-hush. But the second-biggest
mystery is how the absentee votes break out by precinct. Current Iowa
law, drafted in an age when the only absentee voters were shut-ins,
service people and expatriates, requires that all absentee ballots
across a county be counted as a separate precinct. The law forbids
auditors from releasing any breakdown below the county level.

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Radio Iowa: Culver and the penny

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Governor Chet Culver spoke Wednesday morning to about two dozen
members of the Iowa State Education Association. The topic of the
local option sales tax came up during Culver's discussion with the
group. Culver indicated he was "open" to using the sales tax revenue
on teacher salaries and he urged the ISEA members to contact their
legislators and lobby on the issue. Local option sales taxes are
currently reserved for school infrastructure projects. Voters in each
of Iowa's 99 counties have approved a local option sales tax for
schools, but for a duration of 10 years. Legislators are mulling a
bill which would make permanent the penny sales tax -- statewide --
and distribute the money back to schools on a per pupil basis.

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The Real Sporer: Democrat Debate Coverage

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Obama admits American decline is his foreign policy objective; Hillary starts a trade war... The Drama of Obama literally just said that it was his goal to change
foreign policy to reflect an America that didn't think it was better
than other countries. While refreshingly candid, it is most
disconcerting that a man who could become President of the United
States denies the concept of American exceptionalism as a both an
ideological and factual premise of our relationship with the rest of
the world. Even more frightening, the crowd went wild. Not to be
outdone, Hillary then said that she would take a "trade time out", and
said it in the context of stopping American international trade to
"evaluate what works".

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Essential Estrogen: Legislators Mirror Mobsters: They Can't Leave the Blood Money Behind

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

There's something disingenuous about the cigarette conversations
taking place in Des Moines. On one hand, Iowa residents are being told
that the statewide ban currently under consideration -- recently
passed through the Iowa House of Representatives -- is in direct
response to public health concerns. On the other hand, we're learning
that the word "ban," much like the word "sex," has several different
levels of meaning. The proposed statewide ban isn't really a ban at
all. It will effectively remove tobacco use from most public spaces --
except casinos. The "ban" also allows for cigarettes to be smoked at
private clubs such as local veterans' halls. People can still smoke in
their cars, in their homes and on private property.

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John Deeth Blog: Obama Needs A Woman On The Ticket

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The general election campaign began with Tuesday night's victory
speeches by John McCain and Barack Obama, and when nominations are set
pundits need a new parlor game to play. Thus, the veep-stakes talk is
sure to start. Hillary Clinton's last bastion of ardent supporters,
older white women, face a demographic disappointment in her failure,
and presumptive nominee Obama needs a way to address this. While the
historic identity politics of the 2008 Democratic race have swung more
dramatically in Obama's favor, with his 90% margins with black voters,
it's Clinton who has played the identity politics card more
explicitly.

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Popular Progressive: Teachers, A Penny For Your Thoughts

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

According to Iowa Radio, Governor Chet Culver says he's open to the
idea of letting schools use local sales tax revenue to pay for teacher
salaries. "If we can work on this in a bipartisan way and get some
consensus I'm confident we can use this as a vehicle to address a lot
of different needs and that might be one of them," Culver says. Voters
in each of Iowa's 99 counties have established a one-cent local option
sales tax over a decade to be used for school infrastructure. Culver
says he's willing to look at all options. "You know my goal, if you
will, is to make sure we're giving equal educational opportunities to
young people regardless of where they live," Culver says. "That fact
is we do have some concerns."

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: SurveyUSA Has New Iowa General Election Data

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Quite frankly, I'm not taking a whole lot of stock in these numbers for a few big reasons. First and foremost, the poll was taken over the weekend. Weekend polls will always produced a slightly different set of numbers than polls that were mostly taken during a work week. Next, they only polled registered voters and not "likely voters". I think a sample of "likely voters" will be more indicative. ... Nobody has yet laid a finger on Barack Obama (if indeed he is the nominee) and I predict that he will be viewed quite differently than the media darling that he is now by the time November rolls around. Once he is exposed as an inexperienced extreme leftist that will not be prepared to take the seat behind the big desk on day one, we'll see some swings in his support, that's for certain.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John Deeth blog: "Idiot Amendment" Could Confuse Voters

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

An amendment on this fall's ballot will more than likely accomplish its short-term goal of modernizing the Iowa Constitution's language. But in the short term it's likely to produce a fair share of insensitive humor, and a fair amount of voter confusion. The so-called "Idiot amendment" would delete the words "idiot" and "insane" from the Constitution's section on voting rights, replacing them with the more PC phrase "mentally incompetent." The amendment is the brainchild of Rep. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, who the mother of a child with a mental disability. ... the amendment has been pushed from the gubernatorial election, with its relatively less turnout, into this year and what's likely to be the highest turnout presidential election ever. And obscure items like this have a history of confusing voters. An amendment removing references to dueling from the Constitution was on the ballot in 1992 at the behest of the late Rep. Clay Spear, who was known to fellow legislators for scouring the law for such anachronisms. It passed overwhelmingly, but not without a lot of confusion.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: A Message & Changes from RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

The following is an e-mail from RPI Chairman Stew Iverson: "Thank you for your comments from last week’s email. I certainly caused a stir when I used the term Big Tent. Many assumed that my thoughts meant we will let anyone in the door and do whatever they wanted regardless of what we, the majority, desired. This is not the case. I invite everyone to come in and have discussions. We cannot get our point across about limited government and fiscal responsibility if we don't talk to people. So in other words, we can bring people into our Party while maintaining our core principles."

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Iowa Progress: Dueling Headlines for Iowa GOP

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

While Christopher Rants proclaimed that Iowa House Republicans will regain their majority as the party of health care and education, the two leading staffers at the Republican Party of Iowa were fired by new Chairman Stu Iverson. While Iowa Republicans had a mixed record in 2004 and a colossal collapse in 2006, it doesn't help to be starting from scratch nine months before the election.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Democracy for America endorses Fallon

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I got an e-mail today from Democracy for America, confirming that they are backing Ed Fallon in the primary to represent Iowa's third Congressional district. Excerpt: "Last Tuesday, our Primaries Matter campaign delivered results and helped lead Donna Edwards to a resounding 24-point victory over Bush-Democrat Al Wynn in MD-04. Ed Fallon is the next DFA-List endorsement and he's taking on Bush-Democrat, Rep. Leonard Boswell in IA-03. Contribute $20.08 right now and support a Democrat with the backbone to stand up for progressive values. ..." I don't know how many members Democracy for America has, but it will be interesting to see how much money this appeal raises for Fallon's campaign. Donna Edwards' convincing victory may make people more willing to invest in another primary challenger. ... As of 10:30 pm, this appeal has raised $20,024 for Fallon from 582 donors. That's an average of just under $35 per donor. Looks like a lot of those people will be willing and able to donate again before this race is over.

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Blog for Iowa: Rove Protests Planned

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

So, while Bruce Braley ignores Rove, Rummy and the War, and focuses on steroids and Roger Clemens, responsible local citizens are taking action! The University of Iowa Lecture Committee may be paying Karl Rove $40,000 to speak on campus, but Rove's presence in Iowa City won't be met without opposition. The University of Iowa Anti-war Committee has formed a coalition with other student and community groups to protest Rove's paid presence in our town.

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The Iowa Conservative: Democrats looking out for the people again

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Conservative

Senator Jack Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg) wants to try and fool Iowa motorists in to using Ethanol in our vehicles. The Senator wants to remove the "ethanol" labeling from gas pumps across Iowa. So much for consumer protection. "My goal is to increase the use of ethanol in Iowa," said Kibbie Aren't there better ways to accomplish this besides trickery?

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Power Fund Still Culver's Power Trip

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Last session, nearly all General Assembly Democrats and yes, sadly, even some Republicans voted to establish a $100 million dollar Iowa Power Fund which was something that the Big Lug campaigned for in the fall of 2006. After it passed last April, I wrote a post called "Power Fund Appears to be Democrats' Power Trip" and I cited several reasons why I would have been a staunch opponent of such a slush fund if I were a legislator. I just fundamentally do not believe that government should be getting in the way of what private enterprise could probably do much better and certainly more efficiently. I'm also yet to be convinced that there is a shortage of private capital available to fund these projects.

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Politically Speaking: Congressional candidate Chambers gets signatures

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

It was just a formality, but Iowa 5th District congressional candidate Bob Chambers of Essex has gotten the necessary petition signatures to officially file nomination papers for the post held by Republican Steve King. Democrat Chambers met the requirement of getting 16 counties with 793 signatures. The 5th District is composed of 32 counties. Chambers noted he got a lot of signers from Carroll, Pottawattamie and Page counties, and takes that as enthusiasm for his campaign. Nomination petitions are to be filed with the Iowa Secretary of State office from Feb. 25 to March 14… As for King, he now has 30 days to file his nomination papers for either the congressional post or the U.S. Senate position some want him to pursue.

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John Deeth Blog: FISA Fight Focused on Boswell, Blue Dogs

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Leonard Boswell prominently displays a "Blue Dog Conservative Democrat" logo on his House web page. And this week, his Blue Dog partners control the fate of federal legislation granting telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for cooperating with the government in warrantless surveillance. Boswell and other self-described Blue Dogs are bucking Democratic leadership and joining with House Republicans to keep the retroactive immunity provision the Bush Administration wants. The Protect America Act, a stopgap measure, has been in place since a classified ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reportedly imposed limitations on the government's warrantless eavesdropping activities.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Essential Estrogen: Former IDP Communications Director Named to 'Top Politicos' List

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Carrie Giddins, recently departed Iowa Democratic Party communications director, was named the top political operative to watch by the Politico. Giddins, 33, left the IDP after a year stint there where she coordinated press coverage for the Iowa caucus -- an endeavor that had her working with over 3,000 journalists from around the globe. She is currently heading into the beltway, where she plans to start her own political communications consulting firm.

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John Deeth Blog: Dems Marriage Stance Irks LGBT Activists

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The vote count is close on the question of gay marriage in the Iowa Legislature, but the personal feelings are overwhelming, according to a Des Moines Register survey published Sunday. Only six legislators -- three Senators, three Representatives, all Democrats from urban districts, answered no when asked "Do you believe marriage should be only between a man and a woman?" And it's that idea, as much as the policy stance on a proposed constitutional amendment, that's got some in Iowa's LGBT community upset. ... The question won't be on this fall's ballot, as it would have to pass two consecutive sessions. But if it comes to a roll call, those votes are likely to be prominently featured in GOP campaign ads. Democrats must trade that fear against the money and volunteer time LGBT activists offer to campaigns. "Shame on me for investing my time, money, and efforts supporting candidates that believe I'm not fully equal to them," said Democratic activist Janelle Rettig of Iowa City, citing Johnson County legislators who won't commit to the principle of full equality.

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Iowa Voters: Rep. Mary Gaskill: "Count Some By Hand"

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters

State Representative Mary Gaskill wants to check on those computerized ballot scanners by counting 5% of the ballots by hand. She has filed a bill creating a state election audit board to oversee the process. The board would also have broad authority to review election administration in five randomly chosen counties after each general election.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: How do we get 270 electoral votes against McCain?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

One of the many reasons I supported John Edwards was that I thought he would expand the map for Democrats in the general election. I thought he would hold all of the Kerry states, adding Iowa and Ohio with ease, and would make things competitive in several other places too (like Missouri). I think Clinton or Obama could beat McCain or lose to him. Clinton's winning scenario is obvious: turn out record numbers of women and Latinos, rack up a big lead among seniors, thereby holding most if not all of the Kerry states and adding Florida and/or Ohio. ... Obama's winning electoral vote scenario is less certain for me. Although nationwide polls show him doing slightly better against McCain than Clinton, he runs behind Clinton against McCain in several key states

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Price of Politics: It's Not the Problem with Bill; It's Bills

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

The Presidential candidates have long since left town, but at least one person (or at least her campaign) forgot to take care of something. She apparently didn't pay her bills. We're hearing Hillary Clinton has been a little tardy in that area. Top Job Services, a cleaning company in West Des Moines, said the campaign stiffed him for $7561 (that includes service and late fees) for cleaning both Clinton campaign offices in Des Moines over three months. ... The campaign called Reese again Monday and said the check had been mailed. Reese told us he never had any similar problems with Chris Dodd's campaign. In fact, he told us he cleaned Dodd's office, as well as the home the Dodds rented in Des Moines. Dodd's campaign paid him promptly, he said. He added that whenever he went to the Dodds' temporary home t0 clean, Jackie Dodd always had a check on a counter waiting for him.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Chester's Fantasy World: The White House

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

But if the cold and snow has you down (if it's cold and snowy where you are), I have something that will make you laugh a little bit. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. Brightens the spirits a bit. Ready for the laugh? Chet Culver says someday he might run for President. Yes, seriously. I read that in the Saturday paper and found myself laughing pretty hard. ... But seriously Mr. Governor, the way things are going, you'll be lucky to get another term, let alone be let anywhere near the Oval Office.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Super Delegates, Not Super Tuesday, May Settle Dem Nomination

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Democratic Party flipped a coin on Super Tuesday, and it landed on its edge. With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton seemingly evenly matched, and no obvious advantage ahead for either, the nomination fight is turning in a direction it's never gone before. In past years they've simply gotten on the bandwagon at the right time, but in 2008 the Democratic party leaders called "superdelegates" may determine the nomination. ... The superdelegates are a post-reform... well, un-reform. After the 1968 convention, where the battle for the nomination literally became a battle in the streets of Chicago, the Democratic party appointed a commission headed by George McGovern to rewrite the nomination rules and open the process up... Those changes had several unintended consequences, one of which was Iowa's caucuses happening first.

The Demo Memo: Youth Voters Weigh In Due to 1990 Baby Boom

Excerpted from this post at The Demo Memo

In previous posts, before the Iowa caucuses, I predicted that the young Obama supporters wouldn't actually turn out on caucus night. Traditionally, this group of voters disappoints pollsters when it actually comes to showing up to vote. I am pleased to say that I was dead wrong. These young folks are turning out in droves this year, but their candidate of choice, Barack Obama, is only partially responsible for this overwhelming turnout. ... In 1990, the largest group of babies born in the United States since the baby boom made their debut. This year, those young people are coming of age in the most fortuitous way. They are eligible to vote!

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Bleeding Heartland: Tom Harkin, stop asking me for money

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

A week or so ago I got another fundraising e-mail from Senator Harkin's campaign. Don't take this the wrong way, because I strongly support and admire Harkin, but the $35 I spent on my ticket to the steak fry in September was the last money he'll see from me for a while. When you start the election year with $3.4 million in the bank, and your only declared opponent has $58.07 in the bank, I think my political donations will be more helpful to other Democrats.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Iowa Gay Marriage Debate: Fascinating Legislative Responses

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

After the August ruling by judicial activist Robert Hanson, this issue has been thrust into forefront of our debate here in Iowa. It's completely irresponsible to allow one unelected person to determine the social mores and policies of this state. If Iowa wants gay marriage, the people ought to vote either directly or have their legislators serve as their proxy. If those legislators screw up, the voters can throw 'em out. And rightfully so. ... It's embarrassing how powerful we've let the judicial branch become. And that's why I don't buy the bogus arguments presented by legislators who are against amending the constitution but for traditional marriage. They are clearly living in a bubble world.

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Blog for Iowa: Sarah Swisher on the 2008 Legislative Session

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

The Iowa Legislature has begun what will prove to be a very exciting year for health care reform in the state. This Tuesday legislators presented a health care bill that would bring universal coverage to Iowa's approximately 45,000 uninsured children. This would be accomplished by expanding already existing programs to afford covering 25,000 more eligible kids, and providing subsidies to cover a remaining 19,000 in private plans. This goal is to be reached within three years, but in order for it to reach the Governor's desk it will need legislative support. SEIU and Iowa for Health Care are setting out to assure this support by holding its 5th Annual Lobby Day at the Capitol on February 14th.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Radio Iowa: Harkin suggests Clinton campaign may be "running on fumes"

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Senator Tom Harkin talked with Iowa reporters by phone this morning. Here's the roughly two-and-a-half minute mp3/audio file of his commentary on the Clinton campaign. Here Harkin is transcribed: "Well, I agree with our chairman Howard Dean. I sure hope this gets settled before we go to convention. That'd be very late. That'd be at the end of August. We've never had anything that late before we've had a candidate. So I don't know, I think, you know, looking at Super Tuesday, things came out pretty even. Now, again, I'm not a real expert in this but just listening to the pundits and sort of reading what I can on it it looks as though the calendar for this month favors Obama."

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Iowa Insider: Big Lug backing Obama

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

Gov. Chet Culver, who stayed neutral during Iowa’s presidential caucus race, said Thursday he is throwing his support behind Democrat Barack Obama. Culver is traveling to Omaha to appear at a rally tonight with Obama, the U.S. Senator from Illinois who is locked in a tough fight for the Democratic presidential nomination with Hillary Clinton. In an interview Thursday afternoon, Culver cited Obama's commitment to change as the reason he is backing him. Obama won Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses, beating out Democrats John Edwards and Clinton along with rest of the field. "I think it's clear that the American people are hungry for change," Culver said in an interview with Lee Enterprises.

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Popular Progressive: Congressional Democrats Go Soft Again

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

A vote on the President's economic stimulus bill by the US Senate and House that will provide rebate checks and add yet another $167 billion to the national debt while actually providing little relief to the American people. The Democrats made only the smallest of dents by getting the Republicans to agree to $300 rebates for 20 million older retired Americans and 250,000 disabled veterans while dropping demands to extend jobless benefits 13 weeks, offer heating aid for the poor, and give tax breaks to certain industries. About 111 million Americans who show at least $3,000 in earned income or who pay income tax. Will receive a rebate check for $600 to $1200. The rebates phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and couples earning more than $150,000.

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Iowans for Romney: Way to go Mitt!

Excerpted from this post at Iowans for Romney

What an amazing campaign that Mitt Romney put together! He went from a widely-unknown candidate in January 2007 to a frontrunner! He also became the one candidate that the conservative republican base rallied to. In a way, I feel that it is partially their fault that McCain is leading at this point. The conservative media and pundits have had Mitt Romney in front of them for over a year now, and they kept hoping for something "better" to come along before they endorsed. Suddenly McCain was leading and they all feared a liberal Republican nominee, and rallied to Mitt's side. Unfortunately it was too late. But not for us here in Iowa.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Radio Iowa: Iowa's "Super" Delegates

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

It appears delegate counting is a new pastime in America these days. Iowa Democrats, like their counterparts in other state parties, have a group of so-called "super" delegates to their party's national convention who get to cast their votes in Denver. How will those 11 folks vote? Governor Chet Culver is at the top of the list of super delegates from Iowa. He confirmed during a recent appearance on Iowa Public Television that he was being lobbied by both the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps, but he is not ready to announce a preference. Culver's wife, Mari, endorsed John Edwards in December at a rally in Des Moines. Senator Tom Harkin is a super delegate. Harkin stayed out of the endorsement game before Iowa's 2008 Caucuses and has not indicated a preference between Clinton or Obama at this point.

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Essential Estrogen: Olson Managed Smoking Ban Bill Through Committee

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

A statewide smoking ban was approved Tuesday by the Iowa House Commerce Committee. The bill, managed by Rep. Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids, was approved with two additional exemptions -- casinos and federally chartered veterans organization that are closed to the public. "Secondhand smoke contains 60 chemicals that cause cancer, asthma and other respiratory diseases," said Olson, a Democrat. "There is no risk-free secondhand smoke exposure for Iowans or workers. This creation of smoke-free places will protect Iowans in 99 percent of public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants."

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The Real Sporer: Diversity?

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

One of the most perplexing of liberal concepts is diversity. No one, including the liberals who intone the word like the priests of Sennacherib, can precisely define the liberal, PC meaning of "diversity." We do know that Iowa is subjected to a constant stream of criticism that our first in the nation Presidential status is unfair because we here in Iowa lack sufficient diversity. In that sense, it is pretty clear that "diversity" is code for "too white" which, in turn, means that the racism that liberals believe universally inheres in all white people, would prevent candidates of "color" from a fair hearing in the states that lack diversity.

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John Deeth Blog: Let Michigan And Florida Count - By Going Last

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Long ago, in the days of polyester, Super Tuesday was the last big day of the nominating contest, not the beginning. The first time I ever heard the term used was back in the last two-way dead heat nomination contest: Ronald Reagan vs. Gerald Ford in 1976. That Super Tuesday was a three state contest -- California, Ohio, New Jersey -- on June 8. June 8. Back in the Bicentennial era, states tried to maximize their influence by going last. Of course, now that wisdom has been turned on its head, and 24 states tried to grab a bigger role by going as early as the rules allowed. But they watered down their own influence and got roughly one airport rally each if they were lucky, while patient Pennsylvania stands to get six weeks all to itself by waiting until April 22.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: My Text Message & Voicemail to Legislators: Quit Your Assault on Cell Phones

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

I thought this was the Hawkeye (Cyclone) State? I guess we've all been
duped. I'm going to start calling this the "Nanny State". Because that
is apparently what many legislators in Des Moines are interested in
fostering. It's shameful. I will be watching the vote on this, should
it come forward, very closely. We are allowing government to take on
more and more power. The recent legislation sponsored by big
government leftist Swati Dandekar to ban the use of cell phones in
vehicles is another big swipe at our liberties. Do I agree that people
should use cellular telephones responsibly while driving or riding in
a car? Yes. Absolutely. That's common sense. However, there are many
other distractions that could be put forward too.

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Essential Estrogen: Proposed Budget Cuts Impact Iowa Domestic Programs, Law Enforcement

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Funding for many domestic programs is on the chopping block as
President George W. Bush's 2009 federal budget proposes increased
military spending and permanent status for earlier tax cuts. The
budgetary cuts take aim at Child Care and Development Block Grants,
Community Development Block Grants, Improving Teacher Quality State
Grants, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, Section 8 Housing Choice
Vouchers and the Social Services Block Grants. Congressman Dave
Loebsack, a Democrat representing Iowa's 2nd District, announced his
disapproval this morning at Bush's attempt to slash funding for Iowa's
law enforcement and drug prevention efforts in the recently released
fiscal year 2009 budget.

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Radio Iowa: New Iowa Fed head

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The Iowa Federation of Labor has a new leader. It's Ken Sagar
(pronounced SAY-ger). We chatted by phone for a few minutes this
morning and I wrote a story. At the conclusion of the interview, I
asked this question: "I don't think I've ever interviewed a union
leader who's quite so soft-spoken." Sagar said this in reply: "Many
years ago when I was at my local union I realized that I can't yell
louder than 300 people in a room. I found that if I talked quietly,
everybody has to be quiet or they can't hear the details of the
contract and so calm and cool and collected, so to speak, has served
me fairly well. It does help in some of those tense situations if
there is somebody who is just a little softer-spoken."

Price of Politics: The Caucuses Don't End

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

The Iowa Caucuses were more than a month ago. And, no, I still haven't
recovered. But I found two Iowans this week who don't see to want to
move on yet either. Tim Albrecht served as Mitt Romney's Iowa
Communications Director. He's one of the favorites of Iowa reporters,
much like he was during his time in a similar role for then-House
Majority Leader and, later, Speaker of the House Christopher Rants. I
forgot to ask Tim his title these days, but he's traveling the country
with Romney. I talked to him right before he jumped on a plane for a
late add to the schedule. He (and Romney) had already started their
day at the Pancake Pantry (my kind of place) in Nashville in the a.m.
and then moved on to Atlanta.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Super Tuesday prediction open thread

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

It is strange for me to feel so detached the day before an election. I
don't have a dog in this fight anymore. I see advantages and
disadvantages to both Clinton and Obama as candidates and as
presidents. I could live with either and would be enthusiastic about
neither. Super Tuesday, which looked a couple of weeks ago like it
would be a blowout for Clinton, is up for grabs now with Obama surging
in some key states. Put your predictions in this thread. 1. How many
of the 22 states will Clinton win, how many will Obama win, and how
many will be split decisions (with one candidate winning the popular
vote and the other winning a majority of the delegates)?

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Politically Speaking: The Nebraska caucuses

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

With all the practice, I think I could type the phrase 'Iowa caucuses'
in .01201 of a second by the time Jan. 3 arrived. Now the political
world is looking with some anticipation to Feb. 9, when the Nebraska
caucuses will have heft. The caucuses will be held by Nebraska
Democrats, while long after the GOP presidential candidate is settled,
Nebraska Republicans will weigh in at the May 13 primary. I'm finally
typing the phrase Nebraska caucuses this week. The expectation is that
Super Tuesday tomorrow, in which voters in 22 states (including
Minnesota) will express presidential preferences, may not settle the
race, so the caucuses will be important. Last week Barack Obama began
airing ads in post-Super Tuesday states, with Nebraska among them.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Sugar Shock Stimulus?

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

By Steve King, Member of Congress... Economic Stimulus Bill Will Help,
But Only in the Short-term. Our American economy is strong and will
remain strong primarily because we are a hard working nation. Some
recent signs of economic weakness, however, have led government
leaders in Washington D.C. to cobble together a stimulus package to
keep the economy growing. At least that's the hope. What's more likely
is that our economy will benefit from short-term growth, not
long-term. It will be almost like having sugar shock from eating too
many sweets at once. I voted in favor of the economic stimulus package
that passed the House of Representatives on January 29th. The Senate
will also act soon and a final package will likely be on President
Bush's desk shortly after that.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: King & Latham top Braley, Loebsack & Boswell in 4th quarter fundraising

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

The Des Moines Register had a lovely little chart in their Saturday
newspaper today that showed the cash on hand and 4th quarter numbers
from the five districts in Iowa but I cannot seem to find it on the
web version of the website at all. What I can tell you is that Steve
King and Tom Latham BOTH topped Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and
Leonard Boswell in fundraising in the 4th quarter which ran from
October 1 through December 31. For being in the minority party in
Washington D.C., I think that is an interesting development. Normally
it is easier to raise money when you are in the majority because, lets
be honest, you have a bit more access to the legislative calendar and
agenda.

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The Real Sporer: Mac & Huck & the friendly ghost of Rudy -- the team becomes more apparent

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

TRS watched and compared John McCain's "Face the Nation" appearance
this morning with Mike Huckabee's on the Canis Lupus' "Late Edition".
It certainly appears that we are watching the birth of the 2008
ticketAs expected, both candidates subjected the suggestion that Huck
drop out of the race to complete derision. Both Huck and Mac delivered
hard and rather personal attacks on Mitt; both Huck and Mac emphasized
the inconsistency in Mitt's positions. In a very powerful attack, Huck
built off Mitt's Peterine denial of the Reagan/Bush legacy back in
Mitt's '94 Senate Campaign against Edward Kennedy...

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Beware the Superdelegates!

Excerpted from this post at God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll

Superdelegates are elected officials and prominent party activists who
do not have to reflect the will of the people in choosing who they
support in a presidential nomination contest. In the Democratic Party,
there are 796 such delegates out of 2,025 delegates needed to secure
the nomination. On the Republican side, 463 "unbound" delegates exist
among the 1,191 needed to win the race. In an extremely close race,
they have tremendous power. At the moment, superdelegates give the
edge to Clinton, staking her to an overall lead in delegates though
Obama has won more delegates in primaries and caucuses.

Ben and Bawb's Blog: More political choice for Iowans

Excerpted from this post at Ben and Bawb's Blog

Well, it's official. You're now reading the rantings of a registered
Libertarian kook. It took a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Iowa to get
it done, but Iowans can now register as Libertarian or Green Party
members. Unwilling to let go of the old political duopoly completely,
the two newest parties are technically referred to as "Non-Party
Political Organizations" on the official voter registration form.
Really the Libertarian and Green Parties make good opposing bookends
on each side of the two Republicrat Parties. Now that neither of the
major parties is advancing small government principles, the
Libertarian Party gives an option for those who still believe in those
principles.

Friday, February 01, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Grocers, recyclers split on bottle bill direction

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

One of the raps against Iowa's bottle bill is that grocery stores are
in the food business, not the recycling business. But folks who are
in the recycling and redemption center business say expanding the
container law to cover more items would help the state's recycling
rate. "When you look in the ditches and the landfills, you see water
and juice bottles," said Jim Hansen, co-owner of the Can Shed in Cedar
Rapids. "Those are products that didn't exist 28 years ago" when Iowa
passed the bottle bill. Hansen told Iowa Independent that the economy
has also changed a lot in 28 years. "We're still unclear about the
guts of the Governor's proposal," Hansen said of Governor Culver's
proposal...

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Cyclone Conservatives: Latham gains powerful new Appropriations position

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

After eleven years of service and leadership on the United States
House Appropriations Committee, including positions on the
Agriculture, Homeland Security, Energy and Water,
Commerce/Justice/State, Financial Services and Legislative Branch
Subcommittees, Iowa Congressman Tom Latham was named the top or
"ranking" Republican on the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
Wednesday afternoon. Latham is one of only twelve Republicans on the
Committee who have earned such a position on the influential
Committee. "I am honored by this vote of confidence by the members of
my conference to serve in this leadership position in the House of
Representatives," said Latham...

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Essential Estrogen: Braley's 'Plain English' push succeeding

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Congressman Bruce Braley's hope that government documents be written
in simple, easy-to-understand language is one step closer to becoming
a reality. The Plain Language in Government Communications Act, or HR
3548, was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Braley
last fall and overcame its first major hurdle when it was passed
unanimously by the Subcommittee on Information Policy this week. The
bill will now move to the full House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee for consideration. "The subcommittee's passage of the Plain
Language Act is the first step in making government more accessible
and accountable to American taxpayers," said Braley, a Democrat who
represents Iowa's First District.

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The Real Sporer: The McKinley Plan: Republicans protect the borders - Democrats don't

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Last Tuesday the DM Register headlined the McKinley Task Force
recommended changes to Iowa's immigration laws. Don over at Cyclone
Conservative gave the details of the proposal a thorough review last
Tuesday and we here at TRS urge everyone to watch the video. The
Senate Republicans produced the nearly perfect Republican immigration
position. Long ago TRS called for a Republican immigration plan that
enforced existing laws while helping streamline the legal entry
process, particularly for shrinking states like Iowa. Now we have it.
The only downside is creating fourteen new trooper positions to
expedite enforcement.

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