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Monday, March 31, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Democratic Legislators Reframing Collective Bargaining Bill

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Eastern Iowa legislators at a weekend Leauge of Women Voter's forum in
Iowa City worked to shift the rhetoric on the collective bargaining
bill. "This just allows public sector people equal rights," said Sen.
Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville. "But the press is so biased they talk about
'union demands.'" "I think it just equalizes the playing field as to
what issues can be bargained," said Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City. "I
don't understand why an equal playing field creates problems for
administrators." Governor Chet Culver has threatened to veto the bill,
saying it hasn't received enough public debate, but Mascher countered:
"It's something Democrats have supported for many many years. It
needed to be done a long time ago."

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Iowa Progress: For what shall it profit Chet, if he shall gain Yepsen, and lose his party?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

David Yepsen was singing the praises of Chet Culver today for
undermining efforts to allow teachers and other public employees the
same rights as private sector employees. Apparently if this happens,
there's a chance that teachers may negotiate for smaller class sizes
as part of collective bargaining and why would any Iowa school want
smaller class sizes? Except, of course, that there is a definitive
link between class size and academic performance among students.
Yepsen also brings up the scary fact that the collective bargaining
bill would mean more binding arbitration which Yepsen is sure means
higher costs to government. However, Ed Tibbets in an exhaustive piece
for the Quad City Times shows that binding arbitration only happens
rarely.

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Politically Speaking: Hillary, belatedly, pays the bill

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Lots of Siouxlanders had fond memories of seeing Democratic
prsidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Sioux City Art Center on
Jan. 1. Art center director Al Harris-Fernandez, on the other hand,
had a bill he was trying for weeks to collect from the appearance.
Clinton appeared before an estimated 700 people on New Year's Day,
trying to nab more supporters before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. The
cost for the venue was $3,400 - $2,400 for the typical rental fee,
plus $1,000 more because Clinton's event ran long. Her Sioux City
campaign office closed shortly after the caucuses, so Harris-Fernandez
left phone messages and sent faxes trying to get payment.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Politically Speaking: King's year to debate?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

In recapping his list of controversial statements earlier this week,
Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King created an opening. King told
the Downtown Sioux City Rotary Club members that he always knows what
he says, that he speaks with unvarnished directness in order to start
a dialogue on important issues. Rob Hubler, the Democrat who's running
to unseat King, pounced, again. Hubler has previously challenged King
to a debate, and used his 'starting a dialogue' comments as yet
another opening to raise the debating topic. In prior congressional
runs, King has contended he wouldn't debate the Democrats who have
opposed him because they weren't legit candidates. Hubler is looking
to be the most imposing candidate to date -- he'll raise more money
than either Paul Shomshor did in 2002 or Joyce Schulte in 2004 and 2006.

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Iowa Independent: Steve King's 'Hate Comments' Provoke Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

"Our commissioners were following the story in the media about
Congressman King's comments regarding presidential candidate Senator
Obama, and they were wondering what role the commission should have,
if any, about that kind of speech," said Ralph Rosenberg, the
commission's executive director. On Thursday, the Iowa Civil Rights
Commission will discuss how it should respond when public officials --
like controversial U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron -- make "hate
comments." King earlier this month said if Democratic presidential
candidate Sen. Barack Obama were elected president, Al-Qaeda would be
"dancing in the streets." Rosenberg said a commissioner found King's
remarks distasteful.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Popular Progressive: Chet Culver Union Breaker?

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

The repercussions of the Collective Bargaining Bill that was approved
by the Iowa Legislature are being heard around the state and from some
unlikely sources including city and county governments. At stake is
the ability for public employees to have the ability to go through
arbitration to settle labor disputes. Sadly, they find no friend in
Governor Chet Culver, who has threatened to veto the bill. The
governor who is feeling heat coming from anti-union groups, city and
county lobbying groups, and others who are reframing the outcome to
suggest that property taxes are likely to rise if this bill is signed
into law. The foes argue that if lawmakers do not have the power to
stymie labor costs then the cost will be passed on to the taxpayer.

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Essential Estrogen: Grassley Thanked for Health Care Reform

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

It was only last fall that Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on
the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, took an unpopular party stance
against Pres. George W. Bush's domestic health care policy. Grassley
took some hits on the Hill as a result of his stand, but one Iowa
group wants him to know they appreciate his effort. Iowa for Health
Care met Grassley during a stop in Linn County on Tuesday to thank him
for his "leadership on positive health care reform" and to ask him to
continue to fight for the issue. Grassley not only voted in 2007 to
expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover
nearly 4 million more uninsured children throughout the nation -- a
figure that included thousands in Iowa -- but took a notably activist
stance, circumventing House Republican leadership, to recruit
rank-and-file Republicans to rally against the wishes of the White
House.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Politically Speaking: Culver in a corner

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver has been placed in something of a corner -- by
his own party, the Democrats controlling the statehouse. Yesterday's
passage of a contentious bill broadening the list of items that can be
the part of contract negotiations by public-sector unions means Culver
will be the ultimate arbiter on whether it becomes law. Culver can
veto the bill, something Republicans are urging him to do. Culver has
quite a dilemma. He likely favors the bill, he just didn't like how
quickly it was shepherded or railroaded (the word preference probably
depends on whether you're a Democrat or Republican) through the
Legislature in a matter of days. Republicans tried a walkout to stop
passage last week in the Senate; that didn't work. So the bill passed,
27-23, after six hours of acrimonious debate.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Herman Quirmbach trying to kill important student textbook bill

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Extreme liberal Herman Quirmbach is working overtime these days to
screw over college students. As Chair of a three person Education
Subcommittee, Quirmbach appears to be holding up the important
textbook bill that I blogged about several weeks ago. What happened to
the bill in the Iowa House? It passed 96-0! NO VOTES against it. Yet,
Quirmbach continues his crusade to keep students from knowing what
their textbooks will be before classes get started. This bill seeks to
provide information ahead of the start of each semester so that
students can know which books they will need so they can find them at
the cheapest possible price.

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The Woodbury Democrat: Poor little Congressman Steve King

Excerpted from this post at The Woodbury Democrat

One has to give Steve King credit... He certainly knows how to turn his
own gratuitous insults into an opportunistic chance to claim personal
victimization. Why, King asks, do those pesky Liberals time and again
misinterpret what he says for "political purposes?" In reference to
his latest incivility, King now claims he wasn't really trying to
insult Obama when he boldly claimed that the terrorists would be
dancing in the streets if Obama was elected president, or that Obama's
middle name would send a welcome message to the terrorists, or even
when he implicitly equated an Obama inauguration with the attacks of
9/11. No, according to our poor misunderstood Congressman, all he
wanted to do was make a larger point about the need to persevere and
be forceful in the fight against terrorism.

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Essential Estrogen: Leadership tickled pink by potential female surge

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Roughly a week before the final primary filing period ended, the state
legislative races were number-crunched in relation to gender. At that
snapshot in time, it seemed that Iowa might, at best, maintain its
mediocre record in terms of percentage of women serving in Des Moines.
What a difference a week can make. While it's difficult to craft a
political crystal ball in the best circumstances, the primary filings,
based on their sheer numbers, are good news for women, and that's
something that has leadership in both political parties optimistic. A
total of 34 women currently serve in the Iowa Legislature. There are
28 women in the House and six in the Senate. Percentagewise, that
places Iowa at 23 percent -- roughly the national average.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Demo Memo: Obama backers gone wild

Excerpted from this post at The Demo Memo

My dear friend Gordon Fischer got caught in his own trap yesterday,
succumbing to the negativism that has characterized the Obama campaign
rhetoric in recent weeks. He wrote a post on his Web site (it's not a
blog, because he doesn't allow comments) that compared Bill Clinton to
Joe McCarthy and brought up the "blue dress" incident of the Clinton
impeachment. Those are two historical events that I've personally
heard enough about to last the entire rest of my life. When they are
brought up, it's usually by a Fox News anchor who is trying to draw
attention to himself and ingratiate himself to a rabid republican
base, who can't seem to get enough of this type of blithering
bullcrap.

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Iowa True Blue: A sincere and contrite apology

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue

I sincerely apologize for a tasteless and gratituous comment I made
here about President Clinton. It was unnecessary and wrong. I have
since deleted the comment, and again apologize for making it. It will
not happen again. I hope my readers will accept my apology and we can
move on to the very important issues facing our state and country.
Thank you.

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Popular Progressive: Will (Miller-) Meeks inherit Congressional District 2?

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Not quite seeing eye-to-eye with Dave Loebsack, Dr. Mariannette
Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist from Ottumwa, Iowa, today announced
her bid for the Republican nomination for Iowa's 2nd Congressional
District. Dr. Miller-Meeks is a long time resident of Ottumwa, a
retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army Reserve, and is the past President
of the Iowa Medical Society. Apparently distancing herself from both
Congressman Loebsack and former Republican Congressman, Jim Leach,
Miller-Meeks said, "It is with great humility and honor that today, I
announce my bid to represent the great people of the 2nd District of
Iowa."

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Politically Speaking: Young guns running for city House spots

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Could the Sioux Cityans serving in Iowa House next year all be under
age 45? There could be a considerable youth movement in representation
if two young Republican newcomers can unseat two, let's say, more
wizened Democrats who hold seats. Christopher Rants is in low 40s in
his District 54 seat and his opponent, Democrat Carlos Venable Ridley,
is of similar vintage. And in House Districts 1 and 2, two guys under
40 are seeking to upset Roger Wendt (age 74) and Wes Whitead. In a
recent address to supporters, Jeremy Taylor (District 2) noted he and
Rick Bertrand (District 1) are in the race to win. Taylor used the
phrase "older incumbents" for Wendt and Whitead...

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Iowa Progress: New Jersey sets an example for Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Jon Corzine has recently introduced a plan in New Jersey to force many
of that state's 566 municipalities to merge together. New Jersey has
almost no county government and most local governmental functions are
performed at the municipal level. However, over the half of the
municipalities in New Jersey have a population of less than 10,000 and
the resulting map looks like that of Germany in the Middle Ages, a
landscape speckled throughout by innumerable miniature jurisdictions,
each of which have their own police force, fire department and school
system. The result is a massive wastage of taxpayer money as services
are duplicated and triplicated within miles of each other.

Iowa Independent: Senators agree to debate collective bargaining bill on Monday

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Senate Democrats and Republicans ended a 24-hour stalemate at mid-day
Friday and will delay a vote on sweeping legislation that could
drastically alter Iowa's collective bargaining laws. The agreement
means the Senate will adjourn for the weekend holiday. The Senate's 20
Republicans holed up in the Iowa Statehouse Thursday and Friday trying
to stall the bill's passage until more public comment could be made.
They refused to come back for the rest of the day and into the night,
while Democrats stood on the floor and waited. The legislature
typically adjourns on Thursday, but Republicans remained in a
conference room behind the senate chambers for more than a day as a
way to slow fast-track legislation that would give labor unions more
power to negotiate salary and working conditions.

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John Deeth Blog: Michigan delays district conventions

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Hoping to buy some time to get out of their self-imposed delegate
dilemma, the Michigan Democratic Party has postponed congressional
district conventions scheduled for Saturday. The Detroit News reports
that the conventions have been pushed back to April 19 -- one week
before Iowa's district conventions and three days before the next
major event in the nomination fight, the Pennsylvania primary. The
Michigan conventions will choose 83 national convention delegates, who
as of this writing will be split along the lines of the state's
calendar violating Jan. 15 primary and are not going to be seated.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Democrats Begin Election Year Love Fest With Unions

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

This is a sad day for the future of Iowa's economic well being. Early
this morning, when most of Iowa was asleep, Democrats, along party
lines, succeeded in starting their love affair with big labor in this
state. I am guessing this is the first of several ways that Democrats
are working to thank organized labor for their help in taking the Iowa
legislature in 2006. This legislation, should it get through the
Senate (and sadly, I'm sure it will), will really strip school boards
of a lot of their authority over personnel and as the story in the
Register points out, will also probably result in massive tax
increases. I ran for School Board in 2004 partly because I was very
concerned over the power that the Iowa State Education Association was
getting in our local districts.

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Iowa Progress: Is Ed Fallon A Hypocrite?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Iowa Independent just published a story that reveals that
congressional candidate Ed Fallon has been hiding contributions to his
political organization, IM For Iowa. Although IM for Iowa's goal is
"further develop a broad movement committed to progressive reform in
state and local politics," it is legally a for-profit partnership
between Fallon and his campaign manager and girlfriend Lynn Heuss. As
a result, IM for Iowa can take an unlimited amount of contributions
and does not have to reveal its contributors or how it spends its
money. However, it is highly questionable how a building a grassroots
movement in Iowa for causes like advocating Clean Elections can be a
moneymaking, for-profit entity. IM for Iowa does not sell any product
or produce anything of tangible commercial value.

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Blog for Iowa: Let's be number one: Improving Iowa's utility-run energy efficiency programs

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

Electricity is such an integral part of our lives that we may rarely
give a thought to the number of things we plug in and turn on each
day. Now, however, thinking about our electricity use is vital. Our
spiraling consumption of energy from fossil fuel sources is seriously
affecting our climate and our pocketbooks. This report describes
Iowa's electrical consumption and production and focuses on the role
energy efficiency (EE) can and must play in Iowa's future. It
describes Iowa's laudable efforts to invest in EE through utility-run
programs and make suggestions for how to effectively carry these
efforts further. Iowa's Electricity Consumption: Iowa's electricity
sales per capita are higher than the nation's, our neighboring states,
and states that are leaders in EE.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Get ready to battle: Iowa Democrats planning assault on right to work

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Iowa Republican Senators, Representatives and candidates for those positions have just received a beautiful election year issue: The protecting of Iowa's Right to Work status. The question is, will Republicans forcefully utilize this to our advantage. I sure hope so or else there will be a lot of Republican political and legislative leaders who are going to find themselves a very angry group of grassroots Iowans. I can assure you that this is one issue that will rally the troops if the Generals in Des Moines are ready to don the armor and pick up the jousting sticks. While it is true that this proposed amendment does not explicitly come right out with the anti-Right to Work language like last year's bill, make no mistake about it, this is a clever away of at least getting more than just a foot in the door.

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Price of Politics: The 10

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

10 Iowa legislators will try to do what 150 could not: agree on a smoking ban for the state. The ten will start work Thursday as members of a conference committee, charged with coming up with a compromise. The debate would seem not to be on a smoking ban, but rather what exemptions should the ban have. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal has already said the senate won't go for exemptions for bars and restaurants. And since this conference committee is only to consider previous exemptions, that would seem to leave casinos as the center of argument. Gambling only on casino floors seems to be the best bet now. One guy to watch in all of this is Cedar Rapids Democratic Representative Tyler Olson.

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Popular Progressive: Support from PAC supporters v. taking PAC money

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Ed Fallon is being accused by Leonard Boswell's campaign of being hypocritical about receiving support through PACs. At issue is that Democracy for America, which is a PAC has encouraged its members to support Ed Fallon, who has not received a SINGLE dime from DFA, but did receive direct contributions from 730 DFA members to the tune of about $20,000. Many people are members of organizations that encourage supporting candidates, the National Board of Realtors as an example encourages its membership to choose pro-real estate candidates, but that doesn't mean the same thing as the NBR cutting a check for a candidate.

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Iowa Independent: Former IDP communications director hits Florida and Michigan in Times Op-Ed

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former Iowa Democratic Party communications director Carrie Giddins, who for more than a year dealt with the hordes of national and international media in Iowa for caucuses coverage, had a front-row seat for the calendar wars with Florida and Michigan. In an opinion piece in today's New York Times entitled "Rules Count," she reminds Michigan and Florida of some of the earlier statements and ugly tactics involved in trying to line jump in the Democratic presidential nominating process. Giddins, who is now a Washington, D.C.-based communications consultant, concludes: "Florida and Michigan must face the consequences of their decisions."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Popular Progressive: A House Divided

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

We are at a telling crossroads in our country. We are divided on
matters of race, of economics, and of peace. Today, as the US enters a
sixth year of war in Iraq, as a recession, caused in part by this war
and in part on a war between those who have and those who have not,
causes strain and anxiety, and as a stymied conversation on race
relations and classism has been pushed front and center in the heat of
a presidential nominating process, we are challenged to find common
ground. And still, I believe, the greatness of this country is that we
will find a way. Self-reflection tells me that I have not always been
the best emissary in trying to understand or communicate to those who
I disagree with and I feel lessened for it.

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The Real Sporer: We are guilty, but are we wrong?

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

An interesting statement by brother rf prompted this post.
Surprisingly, I agree in part with the following: "... but some of the
stuff [Wright] said about American foreign policy is more or less
standard political fare for an R congressman (who may still be running
for prez) and certainly for a good chunk of us D's." TRS concedes the
point. Many aspects of our foreign policy have provoked the Islamic
fundamentalists against us. Ron Paul, Jeremiah Wright and many
Americans have observed the cause and effect relationship between
American policy, and culture, and the fundamentalist Islamic hatred of
us. I am sure that many of our readers would agree that the following
are among a few of such well-established causae bellus.

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John Deeth Blog: Top November Iowa House Matchups

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

November may seem like a long way off, but many of the top races that
will decide control of the Iowa Legislature have already taken shape.
Some fall matchups will be settled in the June 3 primary. But in other
seats, the picture is already clear. Here's our top five Senate races
and top ten House contests. Senate District 16: Tom Hancock,
D-Epworth: Hancock knocked off short-term GOP incumbent Julie Hosch
narrowly in 2004. Hosch took the seat narrowly in 2002 after incumbent
Tom Flynn got burned in redistricting. Cascade car dealer Dave
McLaughlin and Gary Lee Culver of Wyoming will face off in a
Republican primary.

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Bleeding Heartland: Someway, somehow, Michigan and Florida votes must be counted

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

As I've written before, I believe that some compromise must be found
to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida at the Democratic National
Convention. By "compromise," I don't mean the Obama campaign's
proposal to give both Clinton and Obama 50 percent of the delegates
from each state, which would disregard the will of the people. I mean
a compromise that would reflect how Democrats in those states voted. I
was open to a re-vote, but that idea has been killed in Florida and
appears less and less likely in Michigan. Obama supporter Gordon
Fischer celebrates the way they Obama campaign ran out the clock on
re-votes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Media Gets Iowa Wrong -- Again

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The actual count of Iowa's elected Democratic national delegates is
Obama zero, Clinton zero, Edwards zero. Iowa won't elect any national
convention delegates for six weeks. But you wouldn't know it from the
national press coverage of Saturday's county conventions. Most reports
at least implied that the national convention delegates have already
been chosen, and that Edwards national delegates were switching their
support to Obama. Here's what actually happened Saturday. The county
convention delegates elected on caucus night met and elected delegates
to the congressional district and state conventions (the same pool of
people go to both). Most of the national delegates are elected at the
April 26 congressional district conventions; the rest are elected at
the state convention June 14.

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Politically Speaking: A second Hubler running

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Kurt Hubler has his hands in two campaigns now, which could get a
little confusing. He'll have to make sure on the first name of the
candidate wanted for that event in Cherokee or in Glenwood. Hubler for
the past year has overseen the Iowa 5th District congressional
campaign of his father, Democrat Rob Hubler of Council Bluffs. Then on
March 14, the final date for filing nomination papers to be on the
June primary ballot, Kurt Hubler announced that he himself will seek
elective office, pitching his candidacy for Iowa House District 99. So
you could have a Hubler in the Iowa House and one in the U.S. House. I
suspect he'll have to step back from some of the congressional
campaign duties, meaning more staffers could be hired as Rob Hubler
takes on sitting Republican Steve King.

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Democratic Party Inches Ever So Close To Election Disaster

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

Florida Democrats have abandoned plans to hold a "do over"
presidential primary while Democrats in Michigan are reviewing plans
for a June "do over." Meanwhile, Florida Democratic party chairwoman
Karen Thurman says the FLA party's decision does NOT mean there won't
be representation for Florida at the national convention. "... This
doesn't mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters. It means
that a solution will have to come from the DNC Rules & Bylaws
Committee, which is scheduled to meet again in April." The DNC has
refused to seat delegates from the two states after they violated
party rules by moving their primary dates up.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Iowa's Next Member of Congress: Kim Schmett

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Yesterday, Clive Republican Kim Schmett announced his run for United States Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. Schmett, 55, says the district needs a representative who will fight for lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and more quality jobs for Iowa workers. "My goal in Congress is to rein in spending, so people can keep the money they have worked so hard to earn," said Schmett. "They should be able to spend it on their families, not support a bloated government. For far too long, government has failed to weed out inefficiencies and waste. Congress just passed a Democrat budget bill that will cut the earned income credit in half and increase an average family's taxes by $3,000 dollars. Too often, politicians forget that it's the people's money first, not theirs."

FromDC2Iowa: "Least-Worst" Florida, Michigan Solution

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Here's a 'Least-Worst' Solution for Florida, Michigan... As president, Bill Clinton used to talk about those who "work hard and play by the rules." He and his wife are still working hard. They just don't want to play by the rules. The Democratic National Committee's rules for this primary season -- agreed to by all -- were that the penalty for additional states moving their primaries earlier would be the inability to have their delegates seated at the party's national convention. Candidates were not to campaign or otherwise participate in such states' primaries. The nominee would be whoever got the most delegates (elected and super) from rules-abiding states.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Woodbury Democrat: King the Ignorant on Obama

Excerpted from this post at The Woodbury Democrat

Honestly, I don't know whether or not to be more ashamed of Representative Steve King the Ignorant, or the legion of gullible yahoos who support the guy no matter what, and who mistake King's utter lack of civility for 'speaking the truth.' Seriously, I think the terrorists would be much more likely to dance in the streets should we continue to elect Representative King, who apparently prefers to launch gratuitous, ad hominem attacks and make momentous decisions concerning our nation's future based more on uninformed prejudices than on the facts. Honestly, despite the old adage, ignorance is not bliss when the times demand strong, intelligent leadership!

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Essential Estrogen: 2008 Election Not Looking Good for the Women

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Although a few days remain before Iowans will know all the 2008 candidates for the state Legislature, retirements and switches already appear to have taken a toll on the number of women who will be seated in Des Moines when the next legislative session begins. Women currently occupy 34 of Iowa's 150 legislative seats -- 28 in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate. Five of those have announced retirements at the end of this term: Sen. Mary Lundby, R-Marion, District 18; Rep. Sandy Greiner, R-Keota, District 89; Rep. Polly Granzow, R-Eldora, District 44; Rep. Libby Jacobs, R-West Des Moines, District 60; Rep. Carmine Boal, R-Ankeny, District 70.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Culver's Numbers Starting to Tank

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

I had been meaning to write a quick post about this but have been very busy as of late. Guv Lug is starting to run into some serious turbulence just 15 months into his term as Governor according to numbers released late last week by SurveyUSA. Culver has a 49 percent DISAPPROVAL rating and a 48 percent approval rating. Clearly, many Iowans are starting to grow weary of his big government ways. I would love to see some new numbers in a few weeks after this advertisement has had a chance to really take its full affect. Starting in 2009, when our candidate(s) for Governor get their campaigns underway, they will have plenty to run against. We just need to keep the pressure on.

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John Deeth Blog: Florida U.S. Reps: No Do-Overs

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Florida's U.S. House delegation threw another monkey wrench into the state's delegate dilemma Tuesday night. "Our House delegation is opposed to a mail-in campaign or any redo of any kind," the House members said in a joint release. Their preference is to seat the delegates chosen in the rule-breaking Jan. 29 primary, a move that would give Hillary Clinton an advantage. Momentum had been rapidly moving toward a do-over primary on mail in ballots, a plan pushed by Sen. Bill Nelson, a Clinton supporter. The state Democratic Party has been preparing a new delegate selection plan and was expected to send it to the Democratic National Committee as soon as Thursday. Florida chair Karen Thurman wants to get ballots sent to overseas and military voters as soon as possible.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Karl "The Architect" Rove in the Land of Hawkeyes

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Yesterday, I trucked it over to Iowa City to take in the circus that
was Karl Rove's much anticipated appearance at the Union on the campus
of the University of Iowa. The event was originally scheduled for
several weeks ago, but due to the ferociousness of the Iowa winter, it
was postponed. I picked up my sister in Des Moines and then headed to
North Liberty to see my brother and sister-in-law and enjoy some
dinner with them in their new home there before making the adventure
to the campus. The University of Iowa College Republicans were granted
an opportunity to have a private one hour meeting with Mr. Rove at
5:30, 2 hours prior to the commencement of the main event.

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Politically Speaking: King: Obama victory would please terrorists

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

During the March 7 announcement of his re-election plans for Congress,
Steve King said "I've taken a few arrows" for telling the hard truths
that people don't like hearing. Later that very day, in an interview
with a Spencer newspaper reporter, the three-term Republican said yet
another thing that infuriated many people. King has a habit of holding
forth in a way that causes a furor -- and harms his chances of winning
statewide office. King said terrorists would "be dancing in the
streets" if Democratic candidate Barack Obama won the presidency. King
said that was true, because of Obama's pledge to pull troops out of
Iraq, his Kenyan heritage and his middle name, Hussein.

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Radio Iowa: County Conventions

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The two Democratic candidates still fighting for their party's
presidential nomination have sent email messages to supporters in
Iowa. The subject? This coming Saturday's county conventions. The
dynamic here is that delegates are to be elected at these shindigs,
and the Clinton camp would dearly like to be able to pick up a few
delegates here and there around Iowa's 99 counties. (Follow the link
and find Newsweek article in which Clinton is quoted talking about how
already "pledged" delegates may not be, well, pledged.) Compare and
contrast the two email messages from the campaigns after the jump. The
Obama campaign sent out an email on Friday afternoon, March 7, 2008,
with a link directing supporters to Obama's still functioning Iowa
campaign website which contains very detailed information about the
county conventions.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Cheap Shot at Veterans

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

By Royd Chambers, Iowa House of Representatives... This week I voted
against a bill that would create two new pull tab Lotto games to
generate dollars for the Veteran's Trust Fund. This fund is used for
veteran services. What a cheap shot at Veterans when Democrats can't
find 3 to 5 million dollars out of a 6.4 billion dollar budget to
improve veteran services at the state and county levels. Once again
this proves that if you aren't a powerful union the majority party
just isn't going to pay attention to you. This bill is a smokescreen
to make Iowans believe something is being done for Veterans when, in
fact, they are passing the buck. However, I must admit that this
proposal is a step up from the Democrat proposal a year or two ago for
a new tax on pornography sales to fund veterans needs.

Ben and Bawb's Blog: Iowa Weapons Bill Clears 1st Hurdle

Excerpted from this post at Ben and Bawb's Blog

Last week was "funnel week" in the Iowa legislature. During funnel
week all bills that haven't been approved by the respective committee
considering them are dead for the year. Bills that have been approved
then proceed to the full House of Representatives or Senate to be
voted on. Among the survivors of this winnowing process is HF 2092,
the bill seeking to provide uniformity to Iowa's concealed weapons
permit system. [I wrote about this bill previously.] Passing the
committee by an impressive 18 to 3 majority, IowaCarry.org reports
that the bill will probably be voted on by the full membership of the
House within the next two weeks. Iowans who care about this issue are
encouraged to contact their state representative and urge them to
support House File 2092.

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John Deeth Blog: Johnson County Republican Convention

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Man bites dog, fish jumps out of water, Deeth attends GOP convention.
Just doin' my job. Greetings from the Johnson County Republican
Convention, where I'm embedded as Al Jazeera's special correspondent.
(Actually, they're making me feel a little more welcome than that.)
It's 9:13 and we -- we? --just kicked off with a Pledge of Allegiance;
the pledger, Gen. Robert Sentman, says "I wish we still did this in
every classroom in the nation." Prayer is "in the name of Jesus." I'm
sort of doing double duty here since the JCDems will be in the same
hall at West High in exactly 168 hours. Sally Orr was working the
coffee table and says she's happy with McCain; "I got my picture with
him on the front page of the paper eight years ago," she says, though
she wasn't happy with how she looked in the pic.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Iowa Independent: McCain May Have Troubles in the Corn Belt

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Sen. John McCain has clinched the Republican nomination for president, but can he clinch the vote of the Midwestern farmer? The Arizona senator's presidential campaign almost met an early demise last summer here in Iowa, and it's often said that his troubles were due in part to his well-documented opposition to ethanol tax credits. Now that McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, those troubles may come back to haunt him once again in the battleground states of the Corn Belt. Corn growers in particular have reason to question McCain's positions on agricultural issues. He didn't do himself any favors by skipping important votes on the Farm Bill in December, and he didn't score well on an in-depth study of the presidential candidates' positions conducted last year by the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

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Cyclone Conservatives: George Eichhorn Begins Campaign To Take Out Tom Harkin

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Former State Representative George Eichhorn has announced, according to a story in the Des Moines Register, that he will be running to be the Republican nominee to take on Democrat Tom Harkin. Eichhorn joins Cedar Rapids businessmen Steve Rathje and Christopher Reed in their quest to be the GOP standard bearer against Harkin. Eichhorn starts the race, like Reed and Rathje, as relative unknowns statewide. Undoubtedly, Rathje and Reed are better known where their natural bases are: Eastern Iowa. Eichhorn, who is from Central Iowa, will have higher name identification there. Eichhorn lost his 2006 re-election bid to liberal freshman State Representative McKinley Bailey.

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FromDC2Iowa: Voting for Our Great-Grandchildren

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

This morning there's a lot more at stake on the forthcoming November 4, 2008, election day -- less than eight months from now -- than there was yesterday morning. No, I'm not talking about the three senators, Obama, McCain and Clinton. I'm talking about something that is going to have a lot longer-lasting impact on eastern Iowans than the good (or harm) caused by a one or two-term U.S. president. Yesterday morning the Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pursue the preparation of a ballot proposition that would authorize a $20 million bond issue to be used for the acquisition of additional land for natural resource preservation. To pass, it will require not just a 50% approval, but a 60% approval.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Price of Politics: No More Gambling for Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

Senator Charles Grassley thinks Iowa has enough gambling. He made it clear he wasn't talking as a U.S. Senator when he gave his opinion this afternoon. He only was talking, he says, as a private citizen. He said he is not "an advocate of taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another". He believes Iowa has enough gambling, so he's not hoping the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decides to grant more licenses in the state. (He did say his grandson, Pat, who is a state legislator, may have more influence on this topic than he would). Grassley also said he's fine with his party's nominee for Prez, Senator John McCain. Grassley said this year was the first time since 1980 (he thought it was 1980, he said) that he didn't endorse a candidate during the nominating process.

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Essential Estrogen: Legislators, Accusations and Civil Rights

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

I know there must be a place -- somewhere either between or beyond the salvos of political rhetoric of Des Moines -- for Iowans to have a real conversation about civil rights in our state. Unfortunately, when the rhetoric is so loud and so obscene, everyday Iowans tend to switch to a different channel and tune out important issues. Monday, for example, House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, a Sioux City Republican, decided he would implement a rarely used legislative rule to move a proposal on the Iowa Marriage Amendment out of committee. Rants was prompted to make this move due to the fact that the Iowa Legislature is entering it's first "funnel week" -- a time when bills not moved out of committee die on the vine.

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Iowa Guy 2.0: Thank You Iowa Democrats

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Guy 2.0

Yesterday in the Iowa Legislature, House Minority Leader Christopher Rants (R - Screamer) tried to use a procedural motion to move a proposed Defense of Marriage Amendment out of committee onto the floor for a vote. Showing solidarity, Democrats voted against the motion, keeping the bill in committee where it will die a natural death by the end of the week. I'm so proud of the Democrats in the Iowa House today. As one, they took a stand against bigotry and discrimination. Realizing that the state constitution is a document that enshrines our rights as citizens, they refused to write discrimination into state law, forever disenfranchising a segment of the state's population.

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John Deeth blog: Will the Nomination Stalemate Kill the Iowa Caucuses?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

Someday, Iowans may look back on the election returns from March 4, 2008, and remember that as the day the caucuses died. It's as if at each step of the way, at each opportunity for Barack Obama to clinch the nomination, Democrats are saying," no, we want more time, we want everyone to have their say." The price of peace in this dead-heat battle may be comprehensive nomination reform. The living room meet-and-greets of Iowa tradition may vanish, replaced by tarmac rallies at the Des Moines Airport. The Obama-Clinton fight may go down as the Florida 2000 of nomination politics, with the margin of victory smaller than the margin of error.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cyclone Conservatives: Senator Mulder Changes Course, Decides To Throw In The Towel

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Moderate Republican Senator Dave Mulder, who announced in early December that he would seek a second and final term to the Iowa Senate, reversed course yesterday by announcing that he would instead retire after first being elected in 2004. I cannot say that I am all that surprised or that I am all that disappointed. Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not terribly fond of Mulder's knack for espousing a liberal voting record and bucking the party caucus position on several issues of importance to his constituents back home. Last week, I wrote a post highlighting several of Mulder's incongruities with his constituency and noted that I had been hearing rumblings for several months that Mulder could get primaried.

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What Happened to My Country?: Rants to No Avail

Excerpted from this post at What Happened to My Country?

The perfectly named Christopher Rants, Iowa's GOP House Minority Leader, this morning failed in his push to debate an amendment to the Iowa Constitution banning gay marriage. The drumbeat raving by conservatives over how Democrats try to interfere in personal lives is hard to square with the GOP's anti-gay, anti-choice, and interference in family end-of-life decisions agenda. It leaves one wondering.... just what interference are they talking about? It's their social agenda that would dictate from the cradle, to the altar, the bedroom and the grave. And, to fiddle with Iowa's Constitution to force their views upon Iowans. Democratic majority leaders have resisted debate on the gay marriage resolution as the issue is currently before the Iowa Supreme Court and a such a debate would subvert the process.

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Price of Politics: The Ads

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

It's been the topic of conversation for close to a week now. Who is behind those ads that rip on Governor Chet Culver? It's a group called the Iowa Future Fund. Reporters quickly started "googling" the group on the Internet. It listed a couple of Democratic attorneys who head the group. Ooh, this sounds juicy. Could it be that Governor Culver has ticked off his fellow Democrats so much they're running attacks against him? Was it the bottle bill idea...keeping some of Iowans' deposits? Was it that combined reporting idea that Tom Vilsack could never get the legislature to pass when he held the office? Nope, not at all. It's no "D" vs. "D" fight, after all.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Bottle bill expansion makes it through the funnel

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House Environmental Protection Committee on Monday approved a bill
that would extend the 5-cent deposit to bottled water, tea, juice and
sports drinks. It's a step in the right direction, although it would
be better to increase the deposit so that redemption centers could
receive more than 1 cent for each can and bottle they handle. Governor
Culver's original bottle bill proposal would have doubled the deposit
to 10 cents, giving an extra penny to the redemption centers. However,
Culver's bill also would have returned only 8 cents of the deposit to
consumers. The other 2 cents would have gone to fund some
environmental programs.

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John Deeth blog: Rathje Tops Week's Candidate Filing

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Rathje is the first, and so far
only, candidate to file for Tom Harkin's Senate seat. While the
Senator, and Iowa's five U.S. representatives, have all signaled their
plans to seek re-election, none of the state's D.C. delegation filed
at the Secretary of State's office through the close of last week. The
only congressional candidate to file was Lee Harder, one of three
candidates expected to vie in the 2nd District Republican primary for
the right to take on freshman Democrat Dave Loebsack. There was
considerably more action in filing for state legislative seats.

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Cyclone Conservatives: Jamie Johnson Has Sights Set On Taking Back Iowa House Seat

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Jamie Johnson is the President of Iowa News-Talk Radio. For four years
he hosted a popular daily radio show in which he interviewed
newsmakers and opinion-shapers from across the nation, discussing
political, economic, and cultural trends affecting American life. His
heartland perspective on politics has been sought by CBS News, ABC
News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The New York
Post, The Washington Times, The Associated Press, The Internet News
Agency, American Radio Journal, and WorldNetDaily. Jamie previously
taught economics, government, history, communication, sociology,
ethics, and logic at Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa
Central Community College.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

The Real Sporer: Hurley and Ratliff - even better than Murphy and Nolte

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Today's Des Moines Register has again returned to Chuck Hurley's fight
to preserve the traditional concept of marriage from disintegration in
the moral vacuum of liberal hedonism. Today's article focuses on the
alliance between the inner city black minister Rev. Keith Ratliff, and
his Maple Street Baptist Church, and Chuck and the Iowa Family Policy
Council. The Hurley/Ratliff alliance on what is perhaps the most
significant social question before Iowa's voters proves a couple of
important theories we have advanced here at TRS about the benefits of
openly and aggressively pursuing protection of marriage as a
cornerstone of the Iowa GOP agenda. The first, and more short term
benefit is the creation of a bright line issue between Republicans and
Democrats in which a significant majority of black voters side with
us.

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John Deeth blog: Florida Governor Considers Second Primary

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

Charlie Crist, Florida's Republican governor, says he'd support a
second Democratic primary to replace the results of the state's
rule-breaking Jan. 29 vote. The revote would solve one of the
Democrat's two delegate dilemmas. The Democratic National Committee
punished Florida, along with Michigan, for voting before an approved
Feb. 5 date by taking away all its delegates. "I think it's very
important though that those delegates are seated," Crist told CNN
Sunday. "I'm hopeful that the Democratic National Committee comes to
the conclusion it's the right thing to do." The question of seating
the delegates to avoid alienating voters in a large, swing state is
also caught up in nomination politics. Most observers expected that a
triumphant Super Tuesday de facto nominee would restore the delegates.

Cyclone Conservatives: Weekend Update From RPI Chairman Iverson

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives

Floor debate in the Iowa House had an interesting turn this week, when
House Democrats admitted that without a tax increase on Iowa
businesses, they will be unable to balance the state budget this
session. Prompting the comment was an amendment put forth by House
Republicans that would have mirrored the federal economic stimulus
package by allowing an accelerated write-off for businesses for
certain assets they own, called bonus depreciation. The Democrats
defeated this amendment on a partisan vote, 53 to 47, with every
single Democrat casting a vote against the bill. This was a great
opportunity to stand up for hometown Iowa businesses, who will be hit
with a tax increase of up to $30 million.

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