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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Popular Progressive: Is equal fair?

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Chet Culver, like Solomon, has said he will cut the state budget by
1.5% across the board. That's fair, right? No one gets special
treatment, everyone has to tighten his or her belt -- that's the Iowa
way, eh? With respect to my fellow Iowans, equal is not fair. If we
have state departments that are underperforming, should they receive
equal budget consideration as those that are performing well? How
about those agencies that have the ability to receive funding in ways
other than the budget? Should entrepreneurship not be encouraged? And
finally, what about those agencies whose primary purpose is to keep a
safety net under those Iowans who are laid off, ill, hungry, or
homeless? Usually during economic hardship, the need for aid to human
service agencies increases, shouldn't this be considered?

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Chet Culver: Ransoming the future to pay for the present

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I have a quick question for our readers. What do you do when the state
that you govern carries approximately $500 million in debt? I would
hazard a guess that a large majority of us would dramatically cut
spending, but not so for our governor Chet Culver. Last week during a
taping of Iowa Press our lovely Governor Chet Culver made the
following comment: "If we want to modernize our infrastructure-our
sewer treatment facilities, our water treatment facilities-I don't
know how bonding can stay off the table." That's right, with over $500
million in debt Culver wants to send the state even further into the
hole to fund his pet projects. Culver completely disregards the hard
facts that most Iowans face on a daily basis.

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Krusty Konservative: Waiting on the dark horse

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

On Saturday the Des Moines Register did a story about Chairman's race.
It's just another story that paints the Republican Party of Iowa in a
poor light if you ask me. The article states that we are looking for
"stability." Again, I couldn't disagree more. We need a new approach,
a new vision, and better results. With Christmas just a few days away,
and a public chair forum the following weekend, the race for chairman
is deadlocked and little will change until 2009 rolls around. If I was
a SCC member, the mere fact that nobody is able to get close to the
required nine votes for a victory would make look outside of the
current list candidates, rather than compromise my vote just so
someone can win. Let's look at what votes are locked up (for now).
Gopal Krishna is the frontrunner. Don't let anyone tell you
differently.

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Bleeding Heartland: Thank heaven for paper ballots

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The recount to determine the winner of Minnesota's Senate race has been going on for six weeks, with a court challenge likely if Al Franken, who leads narrowly, is declared the winner. (WineRev's diaries tell you everything you need to know about what's going on in that race.) Imagine how much more contentious this process would be if Minnesota did not use paper ballots in every county. Less than one one-hundredth of a percent of the vote separates Franken from Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. If touchscreen voting machines had been involved in any way, large numbers of people would surely believe the election had been rigged in favor of whoever came out ahead.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Repositioning for redistricting: Beat Latham in '10, retire Boswell in '12

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

It's an unspoken truth of Iowa politics that we're losing a seat in Congress in the 2010 census. (As a blogger, it's my job to say rude, uncomfortable, yet true things). That sets up the ultimate in hardball politics, since five members don't go into four districts. As a partisan, I want to come out of the carnage with a 3-1 Democratic split. We can do it, but it's a two-cycle process: 1) Take out Tom Latham in 2010. 2) Get Leonard Boswell to retire in 2012. ... simple population math indicates there will be two eastern Iowa districts, a Polk County dominated seat, and a Republican western district. ... Leonard Boswell represents an urban-dominated district (by Iowa standards), yet he votes like he's still in his old rural state senate district. I want better, and I think better can win. ... Last time Iowa lost a seat, in 1991, the Legislature accepted a "fair fight" district that paired Jim Nussle and Dave Nagle. ... Let's say we get a fair fight district again in 2011. Odds are the members who'll get paired are the two who are geographically closest together: Latham and Boswell.

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Bleeding Heartland: More reaction to Vilsack's nomination and good ideas on food policy

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I don't recall nearly as intense a reaction to Bill Clinton's or George Bush's nominees for secretary of agriculture. Either food and farm issues are much more salient now than they used to be, or I am noticing it more because Barack Obama is tapping an Iowan to head the USDA. Tom Vilsack's friend Jennifer Donahue says Vilsack is the "best possible" choice for secretary of agriculture. Denise O'Brien urges sustainable agriculture advocates not to give up hope, because as governor Vilsack was accessible and did some good things on food and environmental issues. Another Iowan, Food & Society Policy Fellow Angie Tagtow of Elkhart, wants Vilsack and incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle to work together.

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Constitution Daily: CD's list for Santa

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

1. RPI chair with a spine of steel, mind of Gingrich, speaking ability of Reagan, principles of King, alliances of Latham, success of Grassley, and Teflon coating. 2. RPI staff installed by said chair who know Iowa has 99 counties, 99 county organizations doing grassroots heavy lifting, where the R votes are, how to communicate, and frequently travel beyond the Polk County border to see the real world. ... 5. Courage and commitment for the activists who feel beat down, let down, and double down after Obama carried Iowa, Loebsack and Boswell were re-elected despite their vulnerability.

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Iowa Political Alert: Culver looks to go FDR in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Gov. Chet Culver is touting an intriguing massive public works program in Iowa that he says the state can issue bonds to finance. He thinks a combination of state money and federal stimulus funding could help Iowa develop a major infrastructure renewal -- that would in turn lead to more private investment in Iowa. We need to hear more specifics but the money would go heavily toward transportation and bread-and-butter needs. Here in rural Iowa we will be watching to see that this means more than just DSM and Cedar Rapids improvements.

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FromDC2Iowa: From nation's economy to Iowa City's theaters, approach should be similar

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

What does Iowa City's Englert Theatre have in common with Detroit's General Motors? Read on. ... The Englert, an Iowa City gem that owes its current existence and condition to a combination of taxpayer and wealthy donor support, shares with virtually every other institution in America today, like the auto industry, economic hard times. It has proposed that the City provide it $50,000 a year for three years from community development funds ... just as I've argued for an economy-wide approach to our current onrushing economic depression to end all depressions -- rather than merely providing trillions for bankers and billions for auto executives -- so too do I think we need a community-wide approach to the economic challenges confronting our local theaters.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Department of lousy optics

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

When Governor Chet Culver scheduled a $5,000 a head fundraiser in Des Moines, he probably didn't expect the event to fall on the same day he announced about $100 million in "painful" budget cuts. Trust me, Bleeding Heartland's resident troll won't be the only one to use this convergence to push Republican talking points about Democrats no longer being the party of working people. Last week Iowa legislative leaders appeared at a forum organized by Iowa Politics, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy characterized the Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections bill as "flat-out bad" ... Of course, the real problem with our current system of funding politicians isn't the lousy optics, it's how narrow interests are able to push through bad bills or block legislation that is in the public interest and has broad bipartisan support.

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Krusty Konservative: Culver's first draft of his letter sent to state employees

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Dear Fellow AFSCME Member, Over the last few weeks, I have ordered all state departments to reduce spending. This will have an effect on state employees, and the services you provide Iowans. I want to take this opportunity to tell you directly why I took these actions, and what the next steps will be as we respond to our economic situation. As you know, I'm the most incompetent Governor is our state's history. Now that we are in the midst of an economic challenge my incompetence has become more apparent. My advisors like Bonnie Campbell want me to blame Wall Street and the Federal Government for our state's financial mess, but that wouldn't be truthful and while I might be a complete moron who's in way over his head, I don't often lie.

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In Flyover Country: The chairman's race: A view from 40,000 ft.

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Your captains In Flyover Country have been closely monitoring the race for chairman over at RPI. While our air controller picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue, we're hoping for a soft landing on this one. Congrats to those wanting the job - we respect your willingness to share your vision for this party, and for stepping up to lead. There has been a dearth of leadership lately, and we're glad to see that turning around. Here is the ranking as we see it, as of today: 1. Dark Horse - Krusty provided a great post and ominous picture with his take on this. Currently, with nobody attaining the requisite nine votes to be chairman, something is going to have to break open. We just don't believe there should be this many undecided SCC members at this point. All the men running are known quantities to the members, so clearly they are hoping for someone to break out.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

24-Hour Dorman: Mr. Secretary

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Last Summer, at the Democratic National Convention, former Gov. Tom
Vilsack told a small group of journos that he was still seeking a
calling 18 months after leaving office. Sure, he had about a
half-dozen jobs. He lectured at Harvard this fall and is still
practicing law while advising Iowa State and others on biofuels. He's
been writing on the merits of biotech crops. He co-chaired a state
health coverage task force, where he pushed an effort to cover to
expand state coverage to the children of illegal immigrants. Busy. He
had just returned from a trip to Africa with Bill Clinton, and envied
the former president's foundation work. "I need to figure out how to
do that (focus his talents). I haven't figured that out," Vilsack said
at the time.

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Popular Progressive: Tom Vilsack not a suitable choice as Ag secretary

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Barack Obama nominated one of "our own" to his cabinet. But is Tom
Vilsack qualified to be Secretary of Agriculture? If by agriculture
you mean Big Ag, the folks who brought you GMOs, Cloned cattle, and
CAFOs, you betcha. But if you mean agriculture that is sustainable and
healthy, well let's just say Obama could have done a whole lot better
than the Pittsburgh, PA raised Tom Vilsack. According to the Organic
Consumers Association, Vilsack's positions have included the
following: Vilsack has been a strong supporter of genetically
engineered pharmaceutical crops, especially pharmaceutical corn. The
biggest biotechnology industry group, the Biotechnology Industry
Organization, named Vilsack Governor of the Year.

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In Flyover Country: Why our job just got harder

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Our good buddy John Bresnahan writes at the Politico that Nancy Pelosi
is exerting her power, and made it clear to Rahm Emanuel that under no
circumstances was the Congress to be counted on as an "automatic" for
Obama's agenda. What a nice change. Too bad it's about 8 years too
late. We often hear how social conservatives are the root evil of the
party. If social conservatives would just fall in line and act like
good little boys and girls, they say, then our party could move
forward and get new voters. What they fail to recognize is, the social
conservatives have been working hard and been loyal foot soldiers, yet
they never get thanked. They always just get blamed. Take this last
election, for instance.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Well, I guess Vilsack's plans changed

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

AP and the Reg are now reporting that Tom Vilsack gets named Secretary
of Agriculture tomorrow. Iowa's other ag secretaries, the Henry
Wallaces, had deep deep ag roots with Wallace's Farmer and Pioneer,
but what is there on the Vilsack CV of trial law and governance that
says "Ag" other than "Iowa"? So does that mean that the Grassley 48,
Vilsack 44 poll last week was for nothing? Or is he taking the Mike
Johanns route to the Senate: a brief stint in the cabinet to boost the
resume, then back home to run? (Of course, Johanns was aided by an
open seat, as opposed to taking on a 30-year incumbent...)

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Constitution Daily: Updated ranking -- Governor 2010

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

As promised last week, the following is my updated list of possible
gubernatorial candidates. I've made changes since Election Day and
also after seeing the newest voter registration statistics. Please
note, these are not in order of who I think would be the best governor
of Iowa, these are in order of who I think has the best chance of
winning without sacrificing conservative ideals. #9 -- Christopher
Rants affected Iowa Republican politics and campaigns more than almost
anyone else. He's been the go-to-guy in the Iowa legislature but
either the stars were aligned against him or he was ineffective in his
leadership. I didn't have Rants in the original five, in fact, I
called him a non-starter. I still believe he is a non-starter but
since he lost his leadership position, he may take a shot at a
statewide race.

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FromDC2Iowa: A car in every garage

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Harkin Didn't Write Again Today ... Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin is drawing
on the politics of fellow Iowan Herbert Hoover, who once promised "a
chicken in every pot, a car in every garage" -- but you have to get
your own chicken. If all a CEO wants to do is keep her company from
going bankrupt laying off workers makes economic sense -- especially
if the top priority is hanging on to her multi-million-dollar salary
and benefits package. And if she's a friend of yours, and you are a
government official with the discretionary ability to dispense
trillions of dollars, giving her a few billion also makes sense. But
if what you're trying to do is turn around the economy, it doesn't
make a lot of sense to give money to the CEOs who are trying to sell
stuff rather than the consumers who would like to buy stuff, have the
power to drive 70% of our economy, and are out of work because of some
CEO's decision.

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Bleeding Heartland: Denise O'Brien on prospects for a "secretary of food"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Like many Iowa progressives, I strongly supported Denise O'Brien
(creator of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network) for secretary of
agriculture in 2006. Still have my O'Brien for Secretary of
Agriculture t-shirt, in fact. Although she fell short in the election,
the sustainable food movement continues to grow, with unprecedented
online and real-world activism about whom the president should appoint
for secretary of agriculture and what policies that person should
implement. Some people think it's time the U.S. had a "secretary of
food" focused on a broader range of interests than the agribusiness
sector. Kerry Trueman asked O'Brien about these efforts and posted her
answer at Open Left. ... "As a farmer of thirty plus years, I am
intrigued by all of the emails, blogs and websites devoted to the
selection of the United States Secretary of Agriculture."

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Essential Estrogen: Group calls for ouster of Mertz as agriculture chair

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Democratic Iowa House leaders Kevin McCarthy and Pat Murphy have
received a call from the members of Iowa Citizens for Community
Improvement to remove Dolores Mertz (D-Ottosen) as chairwoman of the
House Agriculture Committee. The group cites Mertz's voting record and
close ties to the factory farm industry as reasons for the action.
Mertz, an 11-term member of the House, was re-appointed last week by
leadership to serve as chair of the committee for the 2009 legislative
session. "For more than a dozen years, she has consistently voted for
policies that benefit corporate factory farms and worked against the
interests of hundreds of thousands of everyday Iowans," read the ICCI
press release. "In addition, Mertz's son, Peter, owns a 4,000-head hog
factory, which raises other questions about her votes." Kevin
Shilling, a member of ICCI and a livestock/poultry farmer, accused
leadership of caring "more about the factory farm industry than the
quality of life of everday Iowans."

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Krusty Konservative: There is more to leading the Party than being well versed in BlogSpot, Twitter, and YouTube

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican Party in Iowa needs
to do a better job in communicating its message to voters, and
communicating with its county organizations and activists. Last week
it seemed to me that many of my colleagues in the Iowa Blogosphere
went a little overboard on the importance of New Media. Yes it's free
and we should be using it, but it's really a small piece of the
puzzle. Last week technology buzz was largely created by Matt Strawn's
chairman announcement which was made done on YouTube which was
followed up with a blog and email communication. Krusty Kudos to
Strawn for doing using these mediums, I think it was a very wise move
on his part. As for the technology debate, I think these conversations
are more pertinent in the discussion of what type of person the party
should hire to be its communications director.

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Popular Progressive: Electoral College declares Obama President-elected

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Despite a twenty-minute delay in Colorado so that an alternative
elector could be seated, the Electoral College convened across the
United States and declared Barack Obama the President of the United
States. The Des Moines Register reports Governor Chet Culver saying
the Electoral College system worked as it should, "If we were ever
going to change it we would have done it over the last eight years,"
said Culver. "You have to give small states an opportunity to be
relevant." All of Iowa's seven electors are Democratic activists who
were involved in the campaign early on and signed a formal document
declaring their official support for Obama. "They got involved very
early in the presidential selection process," said Culver. "Since the
Democrats won, these seven electors get to cast their votes."

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Monday, December 15, 2008

24-hour Dorman: Visions of light rail

Excerpted from this post at 24-hour Dorman

Local pols all over the country are salivating at the prospect of a big federal stimulus package bulging with infrastructure bucks. Visions of superhighways and bridges dance in their heads. So what should be on our wish list? If I were king, I'd include light rail service between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Last I heard, the price tag for fixing up and expanding the old Crandic line to provide service to Cedar Rapids, North Liberty and on to Iowa City is around $70 million. If you think about it, that's the same cost as only 70 U.S. Senate appointmentsin Illinois by Gov. Blago the Bleeper. That ain't bad. If someone has different numbers, let me know. It's also a lot less than it would cost to add an extra lane to I-380, which, according to a story I found in our archives, would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Bleeding Heartland: Why did Huser lose the Transportation Committee chairmanship?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I was asleep at the wheel when the Iowa House Democratic leadership made the committee assignments last week. I didn't notice that Representative Brian Quirk of New Hampton will replace Representative Geri Huser of Altoona as chair of the Transportation Committee. ... Does anyone know why Murphy would have wanted to replace Huser? As the Register notes, she is among the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus. I am not sure whether she was committed to the "fair share" bill that never came to a vote in the Iowa House in 2007. ... Some activists have suggested Huser has a conflict of interest because some of her work in the legislature and on the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization could financially benefit her family's business interests.

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Constitution Daily: Vilsack v. Grassley? Good luck!

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

A recent Research 2000 poll found a Sen. Chuck Grassley v. Governor Tom Vilsack match-up a feasible win for the Democrats (Grassley 48, Vilsack 44). As far as Iowa blogs, Krusty has the scoop on this one. For those not familiar with Research 2000, they had Becky Greenwald within 5 points of Tom Latham. Latham ended up winning with 61% of the vote. In the presidential contest this year in Iowa they were 6 points low on McCain. ... The lefties have it figured out. If they can find any indication that a Republican is weak, disliked, said something offensive, or has a past demon, they will pounce with all of their liberal blogging allies. That is exactly what happened to Michelle Bachman and that is exactly what they want to happen with Grassley. ... Grassley is entrenched in Iowa and has nothing to worry about. I would like to see Grassley step up and take on the voter registration disadvantage Republicans have in Iowa.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Matt Strawn: Welcome to the Strawn for chairman blog

Excerpted from this post at Matt Strawn

I know it is tradition in Iowa political circles to have one's supporters create a seemingly organic and neutral blog that over time becomes all but a mouthpiece for a particular campaign. Well, that's not my style as I have always been a "cards on the table" kind of guy. That is the spirit in which I am waging my campaign for Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. In football terms, I've always believed that you play how you practice. The race for Chairman is no different. I will conduct my race for Chairman with the type of accountability, transparency and leadership that will define my service as Chairman.

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Krusty Konservative: Iowa GOP chair race

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

By now you have probably figured out that I don't think Gopal Krishna should be elected to be the Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. How this liar is still even an option is beyond me. So with that out of the way I want to assess the field of candidates and look at the other candidates weaknesses. ... In an effort of full disclosure I'm a long way from throwing my support behind any candidate. While many people want to know who it's going to be sooner rather than later, these kinds of elections are very fluid. ... As a reminder at this time in 2006 Ray Hoffmann wasn't even an option, yet he won in a convincing manner when the vote was taken.

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Essential Estrogen: Cedar Rapids forum highlights plight of same-sex couples in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

... Linda Langston, a county supervisor in Linn County, waved off emotions as she spoke about the different futures she sees for her two sons if the current law stands. "My marriage of 33 years is something that's very important in my life," she said. "So these discussions make me sad because I hope for both of my children that they have that same opportunity in life -- to be married, to have that important, significant-other relationship. It also angers me because I can't believe that anybody who has been a parent, or a brother, or a sister would say, 'I don't ever want you to be able to have this.'" It's bittersweet, Langston said, to watch as her sons have grown and are now embarking upon their lives as independent adults.

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John Deeth Blog: Poll: Grassley 48, Vilsack 44

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos gives us the above number in a hypothetical 2010 Senate race. (Note to Christie's fans, the poll specified TOM Vilsack.) ... Vilsack, lost in the cabinet shuffle, could be looking for something to do. Vilsack has the network to raise the money he needs, both in Iowa and beyond, and he'll clearly be the national party's pick for the seat. Watch first to see if he does any work on rebuilding his Democratic base. ... From an Iowa-base perspective, Vilsack backed the wrong horse when he left the presidential race, and to some extent he's seen as a Hillary, DLC Democrat in a Barack Obama party. But he did what he needed to do in the fall, and the Hillary vs. Obama war is fading into the distance with Clinton in the cabinet. Watch to see if the fiery populist Tom of 1998 is seen at get-togethers around the state. (He may still have to answer to the party activists for signing English Only, though. Was he really that scared of Doug freakin' Gross?)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Culver should release details about proposed budget cuts

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Governor Chet Culver announced on Tuesday that he will reduce Iowa's
general budget by $40 million during the current budget year (which
runs through June 2009) and will ask the state legislature to retract
an appropriation of $37 million to replace the Wallace Building, which
houses many state offices. The Des Moines Register reported that the
$40 million in cuts will come from "freezing most hiring, halting
out-of-state travel, reducing purchases and making cuts to the state's
public universities." ... After reviewing those recommendations, Culver
decided how to reduce spending by $40 million, which represents about
two-thirds of one percent of the current-year $6.1 billion budget.

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Constitution Daily: Tax hike is coming

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

Yesterday I wrote a little about our state's budget problems and how
Chet is going to cut or freeze new spending. The Des Moines Register
actually has a decent article on this today. Culver did take the easy
way out. Rather than slashing programs that don't work or are
inefficient, Culver chose to dance around the edges with cuts in the
publican universities, out-of-state travel, freezing most hiring and
delaying a $37 million new state building. State Auditor Vaudt warned
the legislature and governor last year about the future budget
shortfalls. Of course politicians can't seem to understand a budget.
How are these guys not homeless? They spend and spend our taxpayer
dollars like there is no limit but at home they are fiscally
conservative?

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FromDC2Iowa: Today's quick fix: Controlling tuition

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Yesterday this blog offered "Three Quick Fixes," December 10, 2008,
for the public policy challenges involving gay marriage, foreclosures,
and the declining newspaper industry. Today's entry solves the problem
of rising college tuition and graduates' debt burdens -- in response
to the 4.2% tuition increase just voted by the Iowa Board of Regents.
Yesterday's Des Moines Register forcefully put the case for holding
the line on tuition increases. ... But after their 90 minute discussion
later that day the editorial had failed to persuade more than two
members of the Board (Regents Gartner and Harkin) and tuition was
ordered increased 4.2% by a vote of 6 to 2.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Trouble in paradise: When egos collide

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

A few weeks ago we discussed Tom Vilsack and the false hype regarding
his potential appointment to lead the US Department of Agriculture
which you can read here. At the time we contemplated that it was
really Vilsack or someone close to him that had created the false
hype. Now some revelations have caused me to conclude that Vilsack
most likely did not have anything to do with the rumors that claimed
he was likely to be appointed by Obama. Instead I now believe that it
was Tom Harkin or someone on his staff that leaked this information.
In an article in today's Des Moines Register Iowa's Democratic Senator
Tom Harkin takes exception with President-elect Barack Obama. Harkin
is upset because Obama and his staff have failed to seek advice from
Congressional Democrats.

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Krusty Konservative: Trouble with the truth

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Last week we all took a little time to look back at Gopal Krishna's
first go around with the Republican Party of Iowa. If you weren't
around then or didn't read my posts on the subject you just have to
know it wasn't what some would call constructive, and Krishna
ultimately faced removal from his post as Co-Chair and resigned from
the Party. I'm told that Mr. Krishna was angered with my posts on his
time at the party and told people it was a bunch of lies. ... I was a
little surprised to see Krishna tell the Iowa Independent that there
was never a Krishna/Sporer slate, and he's not even decided that he's
running for chair. These are bold faced lies. Let's look at the time
line of events last week.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Braley to start a populist caucus in the U.S. House

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Bruce Braley is once again showing leadership in Congress. Braley sent
a letter to colleagues in the U.S. House about becoming a founding
member of a populist caucus to help the middle class and working
families. The letter outlines six goals... "1. Fighting for working
families and the middle class through the establishment of an
equitable tax structure, fair wages, proper benefits, a level playing
field at the negotiating table, and secure, solvent retirement plans."
... Both John Edwards and Mike Huckabee were described as being
populists during their presidential runs and that helped them do well
in the Iowa Caucuses. This shows the issues outlined have some support
on both sides of the aisle.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: What is Chet Culver hiding?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

According to a State of Iowa website, Governor Chet Culver and Patty
Judge are "committed to making Iowa government open and transparent."
Perhaps Governor Culver forgot about his pledge on the website
openup.iowa.gov or perhaps he just doesn't care. Recently Culver had
requested that his department heads provide him with recommendations
on what he could safely cut out of the state budget. Apparently he
received those recommendations from his underlings because today he
announced over $70 million in budget cuts. On December 2nd the Des
Moines Register submitted a formal written request for the documents.
The request was denied. According to the Register they received a
letter from Culver's attorney, Jim Larew, stating that the documents
in question are "privileged communications between the governor and
officers of the executive department."

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Krusty Konservative: Marriage on trial

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The Iowa Supreme Court begins hearing a case that could bring gay
marriage to Iowa. Battleground has a link to where you can listen to
the proceedings. To be really honest I feel pessimistic about this
trial. I think it has to do with how quickly the moral foundation of
our country has been compromised. Less than nine years ago someone
told be that this day would come, I didn't believe them. I could never
foresee our government thrown out the institution of marriage. I also
didn't see the quick march to socialism either but that's what we have
here today. One of the things that bothers me the most about this case
is how it ended up in the courts. You may remember it was the Democrat
"leaders" in the State House and Senate who punted the issue to them
because there was no way they would go on record by voting on whether
or not gay and lesbian couples should be afforded special rights that
allow them to marry. Ahhhh politics.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa Supreme Court and the case for equal marriage rights

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral
arguments in the case of Varnum vs. Brien. In August of 2007 Polk
County District Judge Robert Hanson ruled in that case in favor of gay
couples seeking to marry. He determined that the statute that
prevents them from marrying, Iowa 535.2, which states in part: "Only a
marriage between a male and female is valid," violates the Iowa State
Constitution. Hanson then issued stay of execution of his order, but
not before one couple had legally obtained a marriage license and
gotten married. Continue on as I try to explain what might happen if
the Supreme Court upholds Hanson's decision, his logic contained in
the ruling, and give some interesting exerpts from the ruling itself.

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In Flyover Country: Big day in court

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

The Iowa Supreme Court today will begin deliberations on the gay
marriage case in Iowa. If you'll recall, it was just before Labor Day
weekend 2007 that produced the explosive decision by Polk County's own
Judge Hanson that said homosexual couples could indeed marry in Iowa.
Iowa's case is a little different, because unlike other states where
gay marriage is recognized, it applies ONLY to those states. In
Iowa's case, same-sex couples from across the country can converge on
our state to marry. That is, IF the Supreme Court rules that our
Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This should make liberals
more than a little uneasy. Their inaction on this issue, with their
weak-kneed statements that say, "We already have a law, don't need a
constitutional amendment, and if the courts decide otherwise we'll
revisit the situation," just isn't going to cut it.

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Politically Speaking: Iowa GOP to pick chairman from at least five

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

You'll have to wait a month to find out who the next Iowa Republican
Party chairman will be. Looked at another way, the GOP guys who want
to be the next chair have some more time to make their case with the
members of the state central committee. We know Stewart Iverson won't
be back, we just don't know who the successor will be, but the answer
will come on Jan. 10. Polk County GOP Chairman Ted Sporer was the
first person publicly to announce he wants the chairmanship. Five
other names are in the mix, according to state central committee
member Bill Anderson of Pierson, and he said he's hearing Sporer now
isn't interested in the top spot. Anderson said he has been asked for
his support by five people...

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Eastern Iowa Conservative: Moving forward

Excerpted from this post at Eastern Iowa Conservative

2008 was a tough year. As a party, we went from the euphoria created
by a massive turnout at the January caucuses to the bitter taste of
defeat yet again. Not that I or anyone else didn't necessarily see it
coming. This election cycle the writing was on the wall -- I saw very
little enthusiasm among many of the party faithful when compared to
the '06 cycle. It almost seemed like many in our ranks had relegated
themselves to losing so that they could fight another day. That was
their prerogative, but now we have dug ourselves into quite a hole
indeed. The question is -- what do we do about it? The even bigger
question is, are we going to actually do something about it?

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hawkeye GOP: The SCC meeting - Censure

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

... In the weeks leading up to the meeting, several county central committees from the Second Congressional District had passed resolutions calling for Lehman's censure, removal or resignation. ... So, it was no surprise when several people showed up at the meeting to air their views on Lehman. RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson told visitors that they could address the committee around 1 pm. I did not keep track of who spoke but all the speakers urged the SCC to act and/or Lehman to resign. Iverson did a good job of allowing people to speak without letting things get out of hand. Well done Stewart. ... While I informed other members that a censure motion would be introduced, I did not lobby any members to support it. During the debate, Kim expressed regrets over her actions and stated that she was stepping down from her position as president of IRLC and that should prevent any further conflicts of interest. She said that there would be a transition and a new IRLC president would likely be introduce at their Spring event. Ultimately the censure motion passed 8-7.

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Krusty Konservative: Lehman censured

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The Republican State Central Committee censured National Committeewoman Kim Lehman at this weekend meeting. To read the censure click here. The motion passed by an 8-7 vote. I think this was the correct action to take against Lehman since she was clearly in the wrong. However I think the censure motion is poorly written. The issue at hand was not that Iowa Right to Life "attacked and distorted" Miller-Meeks the pro-life position, it was that our National Committeewoman sent out the email containing these comments and she did nothing to show her support of our Republican nominee for Congress in the 2nd District.

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Essential Estrogen: SCC meeting results

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

If only I could have been a fly on the wall. It's nothing official yet but Kim was attacked by the people of Iowa's second district today. They just can't seem to understand and accept the fact that we VOTED her into her position. What is it with those people in Linn County? Reports are coming to me of screaming and yelling and other unprofessional behavior. It seems they all told Kim that if she did not resign as National Committee Woman they would not let her play in their sand box any longer and she would not be invited to any more birthday parties, and furthermore she should ride naked through town with a red scarlet M on her. Ok, I added the last part.

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Iowa Independent: Parsing the House Democrats' committee assignments

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

House Democrats seem to have made strategically smart decisions in assigning their members to committees for the 2009 legislative session. ... Almost all vulnerable Democratic incumbents have been kept off the Ways and Means committee. In a year of budget shortfalls, Ways and Means will likely have to send some tax-increasing bills to the floor. Members of the committee who vote to send those bills to the floor will be said to have voted for tax increases an absurd number of times because negative direct mail does not typically distinguish between committee votes and floor votes. As with Ways and Means, the Labor committee also has few vulnerable incumbents this year. ... But after a campaign that was dominated by attacks on Democrats for taking tough votes on labor issues, Democratic leaders may be content to let union resources go into their general campaign fund so that they can redistribute it as needed, rather than relying on unions to provide direct support to at-risk incumbents.

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Blog for Iowa: The long good-bye to the Des Moines Register

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

By now you've heard the news about the dozens of Des Moines Register staff lay-offs that occurred on Wednesday, including Brian Duffy, award-winning editorial cartoonist and, according to Iowa Independent, the only front page newspaper cartoonist in the country. I can see why they had to get rid of him. Who has ever made money selling quality and excellence? Seriously though, one has to wonder if Gannett is trying to kill the paper rather than save it. If they are merely trying to save a few bucks by cutting back on personnel, how much sense does it make to give the ax to a uniquely talented Iowa institution whose presence on the front page we must assume is there because it helps sell papers?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Iowa Defense Alliance: RPI wildfire

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

As I toured the various Iowa conservative blogs today one the thing becomes very evident, the base of the party is not happy. As we know an alliance of sorts has been forged between Gopal Krishna and Ted Sporer. I would naturally assume that they hoped to keep this newfound alliance quiet until it sprang into action during the vote for RPI Chair, this however is not the case. ... Now I would like to address the members of our party's State Central Committee. By now you know that cat is out of the bag. Those of you that have jumped on board with this alliance must have your reasons. I surely hope that you are not simply taking orders from some ringleader. Because that would imply that you are corrupt and I am not ready to make that accusation without any proof. Instead I believe that you are simply misguided. I feel it is my duty and obligation to inform you that your constituents are not happy.

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Krusty Konservative: Gopal as RPI chair -- Really?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I'll be posting a series of things about Gopal Krishna who seems to have the inside track to be the next Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa. The intended purpose of the following posts are to educate current SCC members and County activists about what lead Krishna to resign from the party in 2000. The following is a letter to all Republican District Caucus Delegates and Alternates from April 24, 2000. The Letter is signed by Leon Mosley, the National Committeeman and Committee woman, and 11 SCC members. Including current members of the committee like John Hulsizer and Steve Scheffler. I think Mosley, Hulsizer and Scheffler should inform us how Mr. Krishna changed since April 24, 2000 that would warrant a complete 180 from removing his as Co-Chair to now possibly electing him Chairman of the Party.

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John Deeth Blog: Republican infight update

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Iowa Republicans are going through some soul-searching the the wake of last month's defeats, and the in-fight action is playing itself out in the Iowa rightosphere. Republican National Committee member Kim Lehman, who also heads Iowa Right To Life (sic), is under attack from 2nd District GOP leaders for an IRTL newsletter that called congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks a "great pretender" on the issue and said, "Miller-Meeks is pro-abortion." ... True, MMM has a good backstory, and she did well in the district's southwest tier. But Miller-Meeks kept pointing out how often Loebsack voted with Democratic leadership as if that were a bad thing. I think that just reinforced Loebsack's bona fides in a Democratic district. ... The GOP can't retroactively change the national climate or MMM's campaign tactics. But they can punish those in their own midst. Lehman says she was not reponsible for the newsletter, but a group of county chairs is calling for Lehman's removal from the RNC.

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Coralville Courier: County supervisors want to spend $18,000 on another survey

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

According to an article in the Daily Iowan, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors is considering hiring a firm to conduct a public opinion survey for the proposed Justice Center. The estimated cost of the survey is $18,000 and would take roughly six weeks to complete. ... Apparently there are no funds set aside for this, but Supervisors may take budget money away from the jail alternatives budget or the sheriff's account. ... One has to wonder if either of those two - the jail alternatives or the Sheriff's accounts - were projected to have an $18,000 surplus at year's end (fiscal year)? Is there that much discretionary spending or are we talking putting off equipment buys and/or delaying service needs? And here's a thought: Shouldn't county supervisors already know what the sentiment of the public is on this issue? Isn't it a Supervisor's job to know?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Krusty Konservative: The Lehman drama kontinues

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

...In the short time I have before I need to run out I want to discuss
the other hot button topic that will be discussed on Saturday, the Kim
Lehman fiasco. Now most of you know I advocated for Sandy Greiner
before the convention, and called out Lehman for her actions in
opposition to Miller-Meeks. I still think what Lehman did was wrong
and stupid, and all she ended up doing is widening the divide that
currently exists in our Party while confirming the argument used
against her at the state convention, that she's incapable of wearing
the hats of IRTL, and National Committeewoman for the Republican Party
of Iowa. So by now we all know that a throng of people from the 2nd CD
will attend the State Central Committee to demand her removal or
encourage her to resign her position with the Party.

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Questions, Comment & Insults: RPI chair low down...

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

...Breaking late yesterday, I got some scoop on the top story of the
Right of Center blogs... the race for the new Chairman of the Republican
Party of Iowa. Here's what's out there... The candidates -- Here's the
names being talked about: Danny Carroll, Matt Strawn, Matt Randall,
Paul Pate, Gopal Krishna and Ted Sporer. Another meeting? I hope
things were more calm than some others that have been held in the
past... sure enough it was. So... a meeting of State Central Committee
members was assembled last week to discuss a new State Chairman.
According to some people close to the situation, some SCC members were
invited... and some were not. We can only speculate that the ones not
invited were votes they couldn't count on... but that's just us
thinkin'.

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24-Hour Dorman: Will lawmakers mess with happy hour? Nope

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

The Gazette's front page carried news this morning of an effort by
Iowa City officials to convince state lawmakers to regulate drink
specials and even happy hour. Locals are working on their own city
ordinances, but they think a statewide approach would "level the
playing field" for bars. Now, we all know lawmakers like to legislate
sin. They like to tax them. They like to ban them from public places.
The indoor smoking ban is the latest evidence of legislative
vice-thumping. And binge drinking in Iowa City is a real problem, no
doubt. However, one reason lawmakers were so willing to tax smokes and
ban smoking in bars was that almost none of them smoke anymore.
Doesn't affect them. But the Legislature is still full of drinkers.

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Politically Speaking: That Rants knows his stuff

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

I got another chance Wednesday to view the fertile brain of
Christopher Rants, who has to have as encyclopedic a mind of anyone
serving in the Iowa Legislature. Rants, of course, was recently
demoted from Iowa House Republican leadership position he'd held for
six years, but he certainly didn't throw aside his institutional
knowledge when that happened. Typically my interactions with Rants
come from short phone interviews or a more expansive sitdown once or
twice a year. Today he was in top form at the annual Sioux City
Legislative Day, where 2009 legislative priorities of the city were
laid out before four of the five statehouse lawmakers from Sioux City
(the in-by-the-skin-of-his-teeth Wes Whitead was absent). Nothing
against Steve Warnstadt, Roger Wendt and Ron Wieck, but Rants was the
most verbal of the bunch.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Battleground Iowa: Changes to the smoking ban?

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

According to the Register, there are rumors that certain legislators
want to revisit the smoking ban that was put into law this past year.
Opponents of the ban seem to think they might be able to repeal it.
Proponents of the ban think they might be able to get casinos included
in the ban. I think both sides need to be careful here, but especially
the ban opponents. People have a tendency to think that others agree
with their point of view, not realizing that that could be a false
assumption. A lot of the ban supporters are Democrats. A lot of the
ban opponents are Republicans. In case you missed it, there are a lot
more Democrats at the statehouse right now than Republicans. I'm sure
some ban opponents think they'll be able to pull some Dems over to
their side. Unlike the GOP, Mike Gronstal doesn't take too kindly to
members of his ranks jumping ship.

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Constitution Daily: Christopher Rants for governor?

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

Having been defeated in his bid for re-election for Iowa House
minority leader, Christopher Rants has to be scratching his head
wondering what to pursue next. I can't see him just sitting there in
the House while not in a leadership position. I do know he's
aggressively trying to be the de facto leader of ramping up Republican
campaigning in Iowa, particularly early voting, but I just don't see
how that gets Rants what he wants. Back in August I purposely left
Rants off my list. Not because I didn't think he'd thought about
running but because I didn't think he had a chance of winning and
would see that before making his decision. Now that he's not minority
leader he has less to lose.

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Iowa Independent: Postville author rips Culver and Judge on Agriprocessors

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

'This is akin to foxes guarding the chicken coop' ... Long before
Postville made national headlines as the site of a massive immigration
raid at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant last May, author Stephen
Bloom had spent years in the community and detailed his observations
in a critically acclaimed book, "Postville: A Clash of Cultures in
Heartland America," published in 2000. With Agriprocessors now in
bankruptcy and eight former employees, including former CEO Sholom
Rubashkin, facing criminal charges, Bloom is uniquely qualified to
provide the historical context of what happened in Postville. In a
telephone interview with Iowa Independent, he spoke about how the
social and economic tensions he observed in Postville culminated in a
debacle that has disrupted the life of the town and exposed the
shortcomings of state regulations and national immigration laws.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Battleground Iowa: Hail to Hillary

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

When I first heard the rumblings about Obama possibly picking Hillary
for Secretary of State, I wasn't sure what to make of it. One side of
me thought that perhaps she leaked this story because she actually
wanted the job. The other side of me thought that perhaps she leaked
the story when Obama really had no intention of picking her, just to
make Obama look bad when he didn't pick her in an effort to gain
sympathy which might help her in future political endeavors. Either
way, I was pretty sure that she leaked the story. But, now it looks
like Hillary really did want the job after all. The mainstream media
is reporting that the official announcement will come today. I'm not
really sure why Hillary wants to do this. You have to think that every
skeleton in the Clintons' closet is going to be dragged out all over
again.

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Constitution Daily: Gubernatorial race -- Have things changed?

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

Back in August I posted a ranking of who I thought would be the best
candidate for the 2010 gubernatorial race. For those of you who
haven't seen it, you may view it by clicking here. More than three
months and an election have passed since I commented on who I thought
would be best to run against Gov. Culver. Some of you may think this
is early to be talking about Iowa's top of the ticket in 2010 but
believe me, meetings are taking place right now. My top five
candidates, in order, were Steve King, Mark Pearson, Matt Whitaker,
Bob Vander Plaats, and Chuck Larson, Jr. I didn't discuss some other
folks who were right on the edge at the time I wrote the original
post. Looking back on that now, I see where I should have broadened my
field.

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In Flyover Country: Northey for governor

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

While Constitution Daily solicits thoughts on Bob Vander Plaats' run
for governor, and offered up a new missive today, Iowa Secretary of
Agriculture Bill Northey is the latest to refuse ruling out a
gubernatorial run during a recent interview. While we In Flyover
Country ultimately think he will decide against a run, it's incredibly
smart for him to not shut the door on the corn crib any too soon. Bill
has a great resume, and won in a Democrat year -- 2006. Is it solely
because Denise O'Brien inhumanely treated her livestock and allowed
them to die? Absolutely. However, Northey effectively exploited this
awful situation to his gain. Let's face it, Chet Culver is popular
enough to be re-elected, but faces some major problems. Don't you want
an opponent who can effectively outline these differences, and a
proven winner at doing it?

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Bleeding Heartland: The paradox of the 2010 Senate race

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Nate Silver is handicapping the 2010 U.S. Senate races at
Fivethirtyeight.com and had this to say about Iowa's seat, held by
five-term incumbent Chuck Grassley: "Grassley will be 77 in 2010 and
could retire, in which case the race probably leans Democrat. Absent a
retirement, a kamikaze mission by someone like Tom Vilsack against the
popular incumbent is unlikely to succeed." ... Perhaps "kamikaze
mission" is too strong a phrase, but we need to acknowledge that Tom
Vilsack or any other Democrat would be a serious underdog against
Grassley. Yes, Iowa now has far more registered Democrats than
Republicans (about 106,000 more, last I heard), but Grassley has
always benefited from a strong crossover vote. Grassley will face
substantial pressure not to retire in 2010, in part because several
other Republican-held Senate seats are likely to be vulnerable.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: The famine of 2009

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Last week I received a very concerned call from South Dakota farmer and agronomist Bryan Lutter. "Neal, we're out of propane!" I figured this was personal distress - he and his family farm over three square miles of land and I know this has been a tough year for many people. He promptly corrected my misconception when I tried to console him. "No, everybody is out, all three grain elevators, we can't get fuel for the bins, and we're coming in real wet this year." There are equally dramatic issues due to the bankruptcy of Verasun and the apparent insolvency of the nation's largest private crop insurance program. Payments that would have come in June or July of a normal year are still not dispersed at the end of November and this has grim implications for next year's crop. I started digging into the details and unless I'm badly mistaken people are going to be starving in 2009 over causes and conditions being set down right now. It's a complex, interlocking issue, and I hope I've done a good job explaining it.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Grassley now busy making inquiries about rescue dollars

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

... So now Grassley to the rescue?! He's making "inquiries"? It is despicable to think that a Senator who must have received an enormous amount of phone calls, e-mails, and letters from Iowans begging him to vote NO is now going to ride to the rescue and make inquiries! May Iowans have long memories when it comes to re-electing any of our representatives who caved in and in a rush like shoppers on Black Friday to the nearest store, voted YES to debt, despair, and disappointment to many American taxpayers. I would have had far greater respect and more importantly TRUST had Grassley taken the time to really understand what his vote would mean to the future of Americans.

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ohn Deeth Blog: Few take advantage of Green, Libertarian registration

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Less than one Iowa voter in every 2,000 has taken advantage of a change in state law that allows people to register with two third parties. The Greens and Libertarians fought hard in court for the change, which established a petition procedure for parties to earn a place on the voter registration form without winning the two percent of the top of the ticket vote required for full party status. An out of court settlement, later enacted into law, kicked in on Jan. 1, and the first registered Green was "elated" at the chance to express his preference. But through Nov. 26 only 1357 voters -- 0.05 percent -- have registered with one of the third party "political organizations." 937 are Libertarians and 420 are Greens.

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