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Friday, February 27, 2009

Iowa Political Alert: Vaudt says Iowa may want to decline some fed stim dollars

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

State Auditor Dave Vaudt, a potential GOP candidate for governor in
2010, says Iowa shouldn't hold out a fully opened hand where federal
stimulus monies are concerned. In fact, like a fellow Republican, Gov.
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Vaudt said the state should consider the
nearly $1.9 billion expected to flow to Iowa through the package in
cafeteria style -- taking millions here but potentially leaving money
on the table elsewhere if he thinks the short-term gain would give
birth to unwieldy bureaucracy down the road. "I would sort through
each piece of the stimulus package and try and say 'where does it fit
Iowa the most,'" he said.

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FromDC2Iowa: Infrastructure insights

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Lessons from Iowa City's Crumbling Infrastructure ... With our President
talking about spending billions on "infrastructure," I thought it
might be useful to bring this concept "FromDC2Iowa." But how? What
might be an Iowa City-sized example of an "infrastructure" in need of
repair? And what lessons might it hold for our current global economic
collapse? Walking to town the other day, coming round and down the
circular walkway across Riverside Drive to the Burlington Street
bridge, I noticed some chunks of concrete and rust in a pile on the
walkway. Curious as to where it might have come from, I looked up and
saw: Apparently the steel used to hold the concrete together was
beginning to rust through.

Herd on the Hill: Bicyclists in rearview mirror may be going faster than they appear

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Today one issue took up the majority of the day in the Senate: Bill
#117 or the Bicylists Bill. We are all about sharing the road for our
recreation-loving bike friends but the bill is a bit much. It offers
cyclists extra protection from motor vehicle operators but Senate
Republicans argued today that the protection offered puts drivers at a
disadvantage and in some cases doesn't go far enough. Senate
Republicans offered nine amendments to truly improve the bills but all
failed along party lines. Among the amendments: Requiring cyclists to
attach flags to their bikes so drivers and farm machinery operators
can see them.

Krusty Konservative: Bruce Braley and Leonard Boswell -- Iowa job killers

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Through Wednesday's passage of H.R. 1105 – The Omnibus Appropriations
Act of 2009 - the U.S. House voted to kill a program that allows
private sector collection agencies to help the Internal Revenue
Service recoup old outstanding tax debts. I'm told that Federal
Treasury Union Employees never liked the program because its success
could have made the case for more effective collections by the private
sector. And the last thing we want to do is create private sector jobs
and reduce the size and scope of government... They had reason to fear
the program's success. As of October 2007 the IRS' Private Debt
Collection Program, which launched as a test program only a year
earlier, successfully closed 9,000 old cases, collecting more than $30
million in outstanding debt.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: To stimulate the economy, increase food stamp participation rates

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Jill Richardson's post on extremely low food stamp participation rates
in San Diego got me wondering how well Iowa does in getting eligible
people enrolled in this program. Bleeding-heart liberal that I am, I'd
like to see 100 percent of people who qualify for food stamps get
them, just for the sake of reducing hunger in our communities. But
let's leave ethical concerns aside for now. Economic researchers, most
recently Moody's Economy.com, have calculated that expanding the
food-stamp program produces more economic stimulus than any other kind
of government spending, and much more than any form of tax cuts. Every
additional dollar spent on food stamps translates into $1.73
circulating in the economy. ... The report for 2004 put Iowa in 22nd
place for food stamp participation and estimated that 61 percent of
the 286,000 people eligible for food stamps were receiving them.

In Flyover Country: Here's an idea we can rally behind

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Last week, state senator Matt McCoy blew the barn doors off rural Iowa
schools by suggesting that smaller schools should close. He argued
that it's not cost efficient and the state could save some major funds
by doing so. This met with huge resistance from all political stripes.
For the most part, our rural schools actually churn out some of the
best graduates in the state. Key word here is: graduates. In McCoy's
home county, where the largest (i.e. most "cost efficient" by his
standards) schools in the state are located, they aren't exactly
graduating their kids. Have you looked at the dropout rates in Polk
County and the Des Moines school system lately? Yeah - why don't you
work on what's right under your nose, before sticking said nose where
it doesn't belong.

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Krusty Konservative: Jindal is more than a flash in the pan

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

So there is a lot of chatter today about Bobby Jindal's poor
performance in delivering the response to Obama’s speech to a joint
session of Congress. In the comment section a fellow krustacean asked
if Jindal's presidential aspirations ended last night. The answer is
absolutely not. If we were to follow such logic, then Jindal would
have been the undisputed 2012 nominee on Sunday when he turned in a
stunning performance on Meet the Press. I know we always say it's too
early for these types of setbacks to matter, but that is the case with
Jindal. While his national introduction last night wasn't very good,
meaning he's not the shiny new penny anymore, he has plenty of time to
recover. Now, I know this isn't widely known, but President Obama was
defeated in congressional primary by a two to one margin in 2000. Was
that the end of the road for him?

Radio Iowa: Nussle enters biofuels industry

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

An alert reader of The Blog sends along news of former Iowa
Congressman/2006 Iowa GOP gubernatorial candidate/George W. Bush
Administration OMB director Jim Nussle's latest move. "Former OMB
Director Jim Nussle today signed on as a part-time senior adviser to
Growth Energy Inc., a pro-ethanol lobbying group established by Jeff
Broin, a builder and operator of ethanol plants. Nussle will work with
outgoing National Farmers Union President Tom Buis, who will become
Growth Energy's CEO on March 15. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is
co-chairman of the firm." Broin's ethanol company is now known as Poet
(follow link above to company website), operating plants in the
following Iowa towns: Ashton, Coon Rapids, Corning, Emmetsburg,
Gowrie, Hanlontown and Jewell.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Irrelevant state vs. Electoral College

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

No, it's not my 2009 Humanitarian Bowl dream match up. Republicans are
giving Iowa Senate Democrats a lot of guff over proposed legislation
that would allow us to join a compact of states trying to
short-circuit the Electoral College. The bill would seek to hand
Iowa's 7 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote,
regardless of whether that same candidate wins Iowa's vote. The change
wouldn't kick in until legislatures in a critical mass of states
approve it. Many Democrats like the idea, sensing that it's their
presidential nominees who are most likely to end up like Al Gore,
popular vote winners but Electoral College losers. They voted 8-7 to
send the bill out of the Senate State Government Committee Monday.

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In Flyover Country: Democrats stroke education's front, steal from taxpayers' behinds

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

This article in the Gazette today shows the true intentions of
Democrats when it comes to their "priorities" in spending. They
announced that in 2011, they will approve a 2% allowable growth for
our schools. They went on to say that this shows their commitment to
education. Despite all the doom and gloom, the draconian cuts, the
gnashing of teeth - by God, they got our schools funded. See! We
love the kids! What we can't understand is, why in the hell do they
set this funding so far in advance? Two years? How does that even
make any sense? We saw the problem this year, where they had a 4%
increase for education funding, but that's had to be scaled back
because nobody foresaw the plunging economy.

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Iowa Political Alert: Neu's school plan could overcome old odds

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Former Lt. Gov Art Neu understands the rural-urban interplay as well
as anyone in Iowa. And it is this insight that it is behind the
thoughtful idea Neu is promoting for K-12 schools: creating countywide
districts that maintain high schools and distinct sports teams in
rural locations where possible but share more high-level classes. The
plan could thwart draconian consolidation measures being advanced by
Des Moines-centrics like State Sen. Matt McCoy, a Democrat from that
city who wants state bureaucrats to sweep in and create large
districts. Neu, the Carroll Community School District attorney and
former member of the State Board of Regents, wants to preserve what's
best in our small district while correcting deficiencies.

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Popular Progressive: More farms, less farmland according to ag census

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

The latest National Agricultural Census Service census shows
small-scale farming operations are making a comeback. The number of
farms nationwide has increased 4 percent from 2.1 million farms to 2.2
million as farms have become more diverse in ownership and in
offerings. At the same time however, U.S. acres used for farmland in
2007 totaled 922 million acres. This is down 16 million acres from
2002 (a 2% drop). The NASS census shows that Iowa farms continue to
expand as an agricultural state with 2,201 new farms started between
2002 to 2007. However, the total amount of acreage for farming in Iowa
has declined by just under 982,000 acres, a 3% drop, since 2002.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

God, Politics & Rock 'n' Roll: The courage to vote against your party

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

While out on the campaign trail, voters tell candidates that they want
to support people who "will vote their district, NOT their party."
This Radio Iowa story featuring Representative McKinley Bailey shows
the difficulty of staying true to that principle. Bailey is a
Democrat. Unions spend an eye-popping amount of money and utilize a
great deal of manpower and hours in the field in order to elect
Democrats. They expect that a Democratic majority will deliver a
union-backed agenda. Bailey is being pressured to vote for a
prevailing wage bill. He believes that a majority of his constituents
don't favor the current bill and he agrees with the reasons that they
stand in opposition.

Bleeding Heartland: House votes down prevailing wage bill: now what?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The "prevailing wage" bill fiasco finally ended on Monday. ... As Iowa
Politics reported, McCarthy's vote-switch will allow the leadership to
bring this bill up later in the session, if they can find 51
supporters. The logical thing would be for one of the holdout
Democrats who represents a safe district to switch his or her vote,
but Geri Huser and Brian Quirk have made clear that they are not team
players and for whatever reason don't see the benefit to helping local
workers earn an extra dollar or two an hour.

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Krusty Konservative: Murphy's Madness

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

If the defeat of the Prevailing Wage legislation wasn't enough,
Speaker of the House Pat Murphy drew more attention to the situation
by staging a sit in all weekend long in hopes to switch a no vote to a
yes vote and pass the legislation. There is just one problem with his
strategy; there is no way he comes out looking good. And while I'm
sure he would celebrate the 51st vote, the court of public opinion
would bemoan the fact that Murphy had to resort to strong arm tactics
and a rules loophole to get his way. Today I want to discuss the
fallout, and the winners and losers of what transpired at the Capitol
on Friday night and throughout the weekend.

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Radio Iowa: Murphy & his "Irish temper"

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

House Speaker Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque) just talked with a gaggle of
reporters behind the House chamber. The last question came from James
Q. Lynch of The Cedar Rapids Gazette who asked Murphy: "What was the
highlight of your weekend?" Murphy paused, for several seconds, and --
since I'd interviewed him this morning -- I asked if the highlight
might have been the dinner he got to have with his wife on Sunday
night. Murphy picked up that story and then praised the 25 Democrats
who volunteered to stay in DSM this weekend to "spell" him as the
voting machine in the House remained open.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Sick and tired of Iowa being a low wage state

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan

I try not to rant too much on this blog. I will leave that to Krusty.
But after the prevailing wage bill failed to pass in the Iowa House I
have to get something off my chest. I am sick and tired of Iowa being
a low wage state. There is no reason that we have to be a low wage
state except that some Iowans think things shouldn't change, that
things should always remain the way they used to be. They think that
because they grew up watching Leave it to Beaver in small town Iowa
then it should just stay like that. I wouldn't be surprised if these
people want to change Iowa's name to East Dakota.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: The price of a flawed coordinated campaign

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The "prevailing wage" bill, one of organized labor's top legislative priorities, stalled in the Iowa House on Friday as Democrats were unable to find a 51st vote. ... This post is about why Democratic House leaders now face two unappealing outcomes: either they fail to pass a good bill supported by a key Democratic constituency, or they force one of their members into an embarrassing about-face that could affect the next election campaign. ... Earlier this week, Republican Chris Rants wrote on his blog that "Republicans were relying on 'the Sovereign Seven - the 'conservative pro-business' Democrats who were going to block' union backed legislation like prevailing wage. ... I'd never heard the term "Sovereign Seven" before, but I knew that several Democratic legislators were not going to be reliable votes for the majority. That's one reason I was so upset about the failure of Barack Obama's presidential campaign to run a truly coordinated get-out-the-vote effort last fall. During the summer the Obama campaign took over the "coordinated campaign" role from the Iowa Democratic Party and promised to work for candidates up and down the ticket. But staffers and volunteers in the unprecedented number of Obama field offices didn't even collect voter IDs for our state House and Senate candidates. Our legislative candidates weren't usually mentioned in scripts for canvassers and rarely had their fliers included in lit drops.

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Constitution Daily: Prevailing wage

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

Since Krusty has the status of the legislation and the Republican amendments, I thought I'd jump head first into a quick diatribe of what's wrong with this legislature. This legislature is nuts. Have any of you actually read the prevailing wage bill? I did. It is the height of social engineering. Obviously those in charge in the state capitol don't believe in free market capitalism. In 2004 could you have ever imagined in 5 years our state and national governments would go socialist... err... umm... communist?

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Hawkeye Review: Landing a punch on Big Labor...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

... readers who visited "The Morning Roost" last Wednesday took note of my final topic which was aptly titled, "The Paulsen RopeADope." Included in this post is a You-Tube video that defines the brilliant boxing career of Muhammad Ali. What Ali did was, "defy the expected conventions" of his sport. ... Word from legislators this past week made it clear to me that Minority Leader Paulsen was immersed in his preparations for Prevailing Wage debate and amendments. Kraig put his time, energy and preparation into a set of carefully crafted amendments and now that "this round" of Prevailing Wage is finished, it appears one of those amendments emerged to become the crushing blow to big labor in Iowa. The short version, one ammendment cost one vote... enter McKinley Bailey. Big Labor is now hurt, not necessarily down for the count, in fact, I would characterize them as stunned, hurt and now running around the ring, flailing away with wild punches in every direction. Certain legislators are now targeted by their own caucus and big labor... a classic replay from movies I'm sure you can name!

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Battleground Iowa: Reality check needed at the Statehouse

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

You know the old saying, "Give 'em an inch, they'll take a yard?" I can't help but think about that when I think about the Democrat-controlled Iowa legislature this year. The Dems have had a firm grasp on the reigns of power for quite a while now here in Iowa, and it's almost as if they think they are invincible... that their power can never be taken away. And because of that, I think they might be getting a little careless. Take, for example, the gas tax. I don't know anyone (outside of the Legislature), Democrat or Republican, who is an average, non-political "Joe" who thinks the gas tax is a good idea. A lot of people I know are hurting financially, and the idea of paying more for gas right now really angers them. Yes, I'm seeing actual anger. Then you've got the prevailing wage legislation. Sure, it sounds great... let's pay the little guys more. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over... until you get your next property tax bill and/or increased assessment, which has gone up drastically so that your local governments can fund their now-much-more-expensive infrastructure projects.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Coralville Courier: Unions prevail, taxpayers are defeated on wage bill

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

Yesterday the Iowa House took up House File 333, which will enact a
prevailing wage in Iowa. The "prevailing wage" is an administrative
wage, set by government officials, based on union wage rates where the
work would be performed. They are, in effect, required by law to spend
more money than necessary. "We're over one-third of the way through
the legislative session and Democrats have yet to move a bill that
puts one Iowan back to work and this prevailing wage bill is nothing
new," said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha).

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Krusty Konservative: A Republican comeback? Maybe...

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Michael Jordon did it, as did Lance Armstrong, Mario Andretti, and
Brett Farve seems to do it on a yearly basis. They retire, and walk
away from the game or sport in which they are dominate only to see
those who try to fill their shoes fail miserably. If you want to
understand why Republicans in Iowa don't have a long list of potential
gubernatorial candidates, or even future legislative leaders, you need
look no further than the long list of excellent legislators who have
walked away, or sought higher office. People like Sandy Greiner. Chuck
Larson, Jr., Jeff Lamberti, Steve Sukup, Willard Jenkins, Bill Dix,
Jeff Elgin, Kitty Rehberg, Libby Jacobs, Paul Pate, Bill Schickel,
Chuck Gipp, Brent Siegrist, and Dan Boddicker. And that's just the
folks off the top of my head.

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John Deeth Blog: Here's some government spending to cut

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Irony alert: a bill to spend a million taxpayer dollars on the
centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth. The Gipper hinself would probably
find this a waste of taxpayer dollars. He'd praise the private sector
and then get some military contractor to pony up the money. I think
they should use it to hire this guy, seen literally dancing on
Reagan's grave. (I only did so figuratively.) With Ranking the
Presidents out earlier in the week, I mentally started organizing the
Top 42, but I get bogged down in the mediocre zone. And I can't do the
"objective historian" thing. Reagan was too formative an experience.

Politically Speaking: Obama's fiscal responsibility summit

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Still weighing the $787 billion stimulus package? Concerned about the
$75 billion mortgage bailout proposal released yesterday? If that's
not enough to ponder regarding the Obama administration and fiscal
matters, sink your teeth into the fact that the president on Feb. 23
will hold a fiscal responsibility summit. Yes, lots of people will say
the time has long ago passed for the federal government to be more
fiscally responsible. Some say it nearly every day, now that Congress
and the president are willingly approving multi-billion measures to
shore up the recessionary economy.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: Will the Republicans please stand up?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

There is an old saying about people who are power hungry or just plain
out for themselves: "If you give them an inch, they will take a mile."
This reminds me of the Democrats at the Iowa Statehouse and why all
Republicans should stand against them. Normally I am not for such a
partisan attitude, but when it comes to issues such as the ones being
discussed right now party lines must be drawn if the GOP is going to
survive, and more importantly, if our state is going to survive. Most
of these topics have been covered on the other Iowa blogs, but it is
for times such as these that I believe repetition is needed in order
to get the lawmakers and the grassroots fired up.

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Bleeding Heartland: Tell us if you catch King or Latham taking credit for stimulus spending

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Although GOP leaders are boasting that zero House Republicans voted
for the stimulus bill, I have a sneaking suspicion that once this
so-called "wasteful spending" starts working its way through the
economy, Republican members of Congress will find a way to take credit
for it. We saw last fall that Steve "10 worst" King used his first
television commercial to take credit for progress toward widening Iowa
Highway 20. The TIME-21 plan approved by the state legislature last
spring -- not King's work in Congress -- made that project possible.
Nevertheless, King continued to mislead voters about his role in
moving the Highway 20 project forward. At least two House Republicans
are already playing this game with respect to the stimulus

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John Deeth Blog: Bipartisanship and the parliamentary era, part 4: The Gingrich era

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

As the 1990s dawned, the status quo of the Nixon years had returned to
Washington. A Democratic controlled Congress had recovered from the
1981-86 Republican Senate interregnum. The Republicans had become more
conservative and more Southern, and the Bush 41 Administration's
legislative hoped depended on a "conservative coalition" of the GOP
and Southern moderate Democrats. ... But the deck was about to shuffle
wildly in 1992 and 1994. The next key phase of our transition to
parliamentary style party discipline in Congress, defined
ideologically, was the Gingrich Era. I call the 1990s "the Gingrich
Era" rather than "the Clinton era" deliberately.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Battleground Iowa: Senate GOP the big, bad wolf?

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

So, do you ever read a news article and feel like there is some
crucial information missing? That's how I felt when I read the
Register's article about the statehouse bill regarding equal pay for
men and women. You'd think that would be a no-brainer, but apparently
not. Some business interests seem opposed to the bill because they
think it would result in more paperwork... "a bookkeeping nightmare"
according to one business lobbyist. I'm not sure I really buy that. If
you did a detailed employee evaluation on a regular basis, which most
businesses do, wouldn't that pretty much cover what you'd need to know
to make salary decisions? Am I missing something here?

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Iowa Political Alert: Citizenship desirable?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

For a western Iowan I'm pretty open-minded, but come on Iowa
Democratic Party. Your next spokesperson should at the very least be
an American citizen. I'd go so far as to say the new press hire should
have some Iowa ties, too -- current or past resident. But to say in a
news release that U.S. citizenship is "desirable." This is the kind of
thing that just hands red meat to people like Steve King. Here's the
list of qualification a la the party. ... U.S. citizenship desirable.
Active voting status desirable.

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FromDC2Iowa: Financial crises for dummies

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

An Open Letter to Secretary Geithner and Congress ... This parable
showed up in my email this morning. ... In any event, it's as good an
explanation of how we got into this mess as I've seen. It's also a
warning to Washington that "we know what you're up to." My solution?
1. Kill the zombie banks before they strike again; shareholders take a
bath, FDIC protects depositors. 2. Let investors, not taxpayers,
evaluate the value of, and buy, "toxic assets" (what an oxymoron that
is!) with no government guarantees. 3. Temporarily nationalize any
banks that believe they need taxpayer funds, buying their stock at
current market value.

Blog for Iowa: Health care reform update: Mental health parity in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

Although I am excited about the potential for health care reform at
the federal level this year, we need to do what we can on the state
level as well. Last fall Congress passed Mental Health Parity
legislation which was signed into law. There is a bill in the Iowa
House, HF 234 requiring insurers in Iowa to cover mental health
conditions at the same level as they cover physical health conditions.
Although Iowa already has some mental health parity laws, the current
laws exclude some mental illnesses and alcohol or substance abuse
treatment. Likewise, the federal legislation exempts some plans,
whereas this Iowa legislation would apply to all plans (at least all
plans subject to state law, which is not really "all" plans).

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Iowa Independent: Culver: Increasing gas tax a 'mistake'

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Allowing a proposed increase to the state's fuel tax to come to the
floor of either chamber of the legislature would be a huge mistake,
Gov. Chet Culver said Monday. Culver said the money Iowa would receive
from the recently passed federal stimulus bill, estimated at about
$358 million, makes a gas tax increase an even worse idea. "So I think
[legislators are] going to have a very tough time making the case to
average Iowans that, given the recession and given the fact that we
just received $358 million for road projects, that we need to raise
the gas tax right now," he said.

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John Deeth Blog: The end of bipartisanship and the new parliamentary era

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

In the wake of the partisan passage of President Obama's stimulus
bill, many electrons and dead trees have been devoted to Obama's
"failure" to win bipartisan approval. Most of this has focused on
short-term Republican strategy. But I think something bigger is at
work here. What we've seen this month is the fourth, and final, stage
of a decades-long shift in the American party system toward the model
that the rest of the world has: political parties centered around
consistent ideology. For decades, divisions in Congress were dominated
by a "conservative coalition" of Republicans and Southern Democrats.
That day is done.

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The Real Sporer: Rep. Lance Horbach highlights union payoff's harm to rural Iowa

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Representative Lance Horbach (R HD 40) raised another very well made
objection to the Prevailing Wage bill. Rep. Horbach's interview in
today's DMR webpage is must reading for those Republicans who oppose
the union payoff and for anyone else (which means 90% of Iowa's
employees) who isn't getting the big union payoff from the
Culver/Murphy/Gronstal/McCarthy crew. For those of you who don't know,
the Prevailing Wage bill requires all public entities to pay the
prevailing union wages for all construction projects in Iowa.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Questions for our president

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I'm not a sore loser, I'm a scared one. And I'm not as scared by the
fact the economy seems to be going down the tubes as I am by our
President's performance in the weeks since he took office. I now have
more than a little concern about his integrity. Obama is behaving very
differently from what he promised. My questions to Obama are: 1)How
will you stop the "bleeding" in Washington if you don't control
spending by congress? 2)How can you claim a bill has no pork by
limiting the definition of pork as having to be specifically requested
by special interest groups?

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Monday, February 16, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Love note

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Back in September, I wrote a post chronicling Gov. Chet Culver's somewhat contentious visit with The Gazette editorial board. It was the session where he testily asked us, after repeated questions about not calling a special legislative session, "What is it you don't understand?" Fast forward to today. The Iowa Progress Project, a conservative group critical of Culver, used an open records request to get its hands on a ton of e-mails sent by the governor's staff. They found one mentioning me and sent it along. The September post I mentioned above was included in a daily packet of press clips e-mailed to Culver's staff.

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Hawkeye Review: Losing our minds -- The Great Iowa Migration

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review:

... Without a change to our strategy, Iowa's working age population will shrink ... We simply must have the power of the ideas and energy of our educated next generation to reverse the trends shown in the Census Bureau graph, and get our state into the New Economy. Saying that we, as a state, are going to use our limited capital to educate them, then ship them out-of-state as they graduate is akin to -- let me pick some on-line adjectives for impact -- replacing our state logo with one of those barfing face emoticons. Purposefully paying to train, then not retaining, our young people is a profoundly idiotic, losing strategy. ... Iowa doesn't pay very well for smart people. We pay our least educated about 15 percent above the national median, and our most educated about 17 percent less. It is, frankly, a failure of our economic development models over the previous decades to create New Economy jobs -- jobs that can attract and retain the very people that will drive long-term growth in the state.

Krusty Konservative: Kevin McCarthy's night court comments come true

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

It seems that the police report from Rep. Kerry Burt's arrest is creating more questions than providing his constituents answers about what really happened early Wednesday morning. Even personal information that is typically released has been blacked out. Charlotte Eby has the story here: http://www.wcfcourier.com/articles/2009/02/13/news/local/doc49946cf8d50a5168299181.txt. In Eby's story the Ankeny Police Captain said, "Let me put it to you like this, we took an accident report, but I cannot put Kerry Burt behind the wheel at the accident, OK?" So, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I can't specifically say that he was driving at the time of an accident. However, I can say that when our officers stopped Mr. Burt, that he was driving and we are -– as a result of our investigation -- charging him with operating while under the influence of alcohol." I think people need a little more than the generic apology that Burt issued yesterday when he said, "I will work to assure that I never have a similar incident." Maybe he was still hung over, but that sentence doesn't really make sense.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Views from the Linn County Auditor: Transparency: Walking the talk

Excerpted from this post at Views from the Linn County Auditor

One of the words frequently batted around in discussions about
government is the word "transparency". Wikipedia defines transparency
as implying openness, communication, and accountability. One of my
on-going goals has been to walk the talk when it comes to transparency
in my office. For example, since taking office on February 20, 2007,
we have added or updated 388 of the 532 documents posted on the
Auditor's portion of Linn County's web site. We have posted Election
Results, GIS Data, Accounts Payable information, Flood Related
Contracts, Minutes of Board of Supervisors meetings, and many other
documents.

Bleeding Heartland: Employment numbers belie Steve King's high-school research

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Representative Steve King bragged about his 11th-grade research
project in the Thursday edition of the Des Moines Register: "As a
junior at Denison High School, I wrote a term paper on President
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. ... As I searched for
information proving the New Deal stabilized the American economy, I
instead found the exact opposite: high unemployment, a struggling
stock market and continued hard times." ... Ah yes, the "poor results"
of big-government programs introduced by FDR. Programs like Social
Security, which dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly, and
the Fair Labor Standards Act, which "set maximum hours and minimum
wages for most categories of workers."

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John Deeth Blog: Jochum has National Popular Vote bill

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Seems I spoke to soon on the National Popular Vote bill. The Reg says
Pam Jochum is introducing it in the Senate this session, though the
Legislature site doesn't have it posted yet. The Republican bloggers
are quickly opposing the idea and putting it in partisan light, though
at least now they acknowledge what happened in 2000. David Chung at
Hawkeye GOP: Gronstal is suggesting and end run around the
Constitution. Of course all of this is in response to the 2000
election where George W. Bush lost the popular vote but became
president after winning in the Electoral College. Not only does
Gronstal not respect the Constitution -- he also does not respect
Iowans. Electoral College reform was a nonstarter for eight years
because it required admitting to at least part of the injustice of
Bush taking office with fewer votes than Gore.

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Radio Iowa: Boswell, Loebsack join Braley's "populist" group

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The news releases which went out earlier his week indicated there were
21 members in the new "Populist Caucus" Congressman Bruce Braley
(D-Waterloo) has formed. Today, Braley's two Iowa colleagues --
Congressmen Leonard Boswell & Dave Loebsack, both Democrats -- joined
the "Populist" group, too. ... "The middle class is the economic engine
of America, but too often in Washington, the needs of the middle class
are ignored." Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Chair of the Populist
Caucus, said. "During these tough times, we need a renewed focus on
strengthening the middle class and improving the lives of working
families."

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Iowa Political Alert: Don't let Iowa's small schools fall to the Des Moinescentrics

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Yes, yes, there are no doubt some inefficiencies with smaller schools
in Iowa. And as a resident of the county seat of Carroll, I've often
wondered if would make sense to fold some of the area schools into our
district. By the numbers, K-12 consolidation, voluntary or forced,
would seem logical many places in Iowa. But having spent a great deal
of time in small schools in Carroll and Story counties, there is an
intangible value associated with these environments, the seamless
connections they provide between classroom and home and town.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Consolidation: cheaper, but is it better?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

The Des Moines Register had an article yesterday about Iowa Senator
Matt McCoy's push for school consolidation in districts with less than
750 students. This is yet another lazy attempt from the Democrats at
the Iowa statehouse to fix a problem by making across the board
decisions. Do they even know which school districts are in this
demographic? Are some of those schools over-performing? Are some of
those schools not in the red? Are you punishing districts that are
doing almost everything right but just so happen to fall under 750
students? Who cares, right? That's the Democrat way. If you don't
know what is best for you, the government does.

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Radio Iowa: Ellen Gordon, FEMA director?

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

The Associated Press is reporting Ellen Gordon, the former chief of
emergency management operations for the State of Iiowa, is being
considered for the job of FEMA director. FEMA, of course, is the
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Gordon was administrator of the
Iowa Emergency Management division in the Department of Public Safety
for Governors Branstad and Vilsack. After 9/11, Vilsack changed her
title (and duties) to reflect her role as Homeland Security advisor to
the State of Iowa as well.

Krusty Konservative: The gas tax can wait

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

So you all know I absolutely hate the idea of raising the Gas Tax
during these difficult economic times. That's not to say that I don't
believe in investing in our roads and infrastructure. If you listen to
any of the legislators who support the gas tax increase you would
think that Iowa hasn't done anything to recently to help fund road
improvements, which simply isn't true. Last year the legislation was
passed and signed into law that increased vehicle registration fees
substantially in our state. The increase in registration fees was one
of the recommendations from the Time-21 study. The problem the
legislators are having is that money isn't rolling in fast enough.

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HawkeyeGOP: The Electoral College

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

According to the Des Moines Register, Democrats in the Iowa Senate are
proposing a change to Iowa law that would grant Iowa's electoral votes
to the winner of the national popular vote. Currently Iowa's electoral
votes go the winner of the vote in here Iowa. Democrat Senate majority
leader Gronstal said: "I think there's broad support for the concept
that a majority of the people in the country should elect a president.
... This is a mechanism to get there and it doesn't require a
constitutional amendment." Wow, the Democrats take control and they
think they can do anything. In this case, Gronstal is suggesting and
end run around the Constitution.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts: Grassley's AMT a target

Excerpted from this post at On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley's $70 billion Alternative Minimum Tax fix is
turning out to be a choice target of the left now that the economic
stimulus bill is going to a conference committee. (The Senate passed
the $838 billion measure today on a 61-37 vote). A writer on the
Center for American Progress web site said today the fix "fails
utterly and completely to meet any rational measures of job creation."
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, also said today it's got to go. "Congress
must fix the AMT, but it's not needed in the stimulus," he said. It
may be tough to get it out. Even House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer,
D-Maryland, says the AMT piece will probably be in the final bill,
according to Congressional Quarterly.

Politically Speaking: How would choose between King and BVP?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

So we have a piece in which Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King
remains coy about a possible run for the governorship before voters in
2010. He's been the subject of speculation about running for governor
for roughly as long as he's been in the U.S. House, and King won't
deny there's a certain appeal. For now, he's saying he's not closing
the door to any political office opportunity. If King runs, that could
put him in the contest with three guys living in the same
congressional district: State Rep. Rod Roberts, just down the road in
Carroll from King's Kiron, business consultant Bob Vander Plaats of
Sioux City and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey of Spirit
Lake.

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John Deeth Blog: No big action in Iowa election bills

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

There's no election bills on the docket of the Iowa Legislature that
are as big as 2007's election day registration law, 2008's elimination
of even-year school board elections, or the pre-trifecta era
Republican efforts at requiring photo ID to vote. But there's still a
few interesting proposals sitting at the subcommittee stage. Thursday
I looked at the recall bill, which probably got the oomph knocked out
of it on Friday when the Linn County Supervisors reversed course and
took their pay cut. Yesterday I noted Mark Kuhn's bill requiring
special election rather than appointment for U.S. Senators, but that
was mostly an excuse for old war stories.

The Next Right: What will Michael Steele do with the presidential primary calendar?

Excerpted from this post at The Next Right

The power of the chairman to impact the future of the party is, to a
degree, limited. Michael Steele will be able to attract a range of
people that other candidates may not have been able to. But there is
one area in which the Chairman's race for the Republican National
Committee will have significant power. He will pick the committee that
sets the next primary calendar. RNC rule 10(d), added this year,
creates a "Temporary Delegate Selection Committee" which Steele "shall
convene ... as soon as practicable after the 2009 Republican National
Committee Winter Meeting", at which he was elected.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Senate Republicans (including Grassley) fail to block stimulus

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Senate is on track to pass the deeply flawed compromise stimulus
bill Tuesday after a motion to invoke cloture passed by a 61-36 vote
today. (To overcome a filibuster in the Senate, 60 votes are needed
for a cloture motion.) All Senate Democrats, including Tom Harkin,
voted yes, joined by Republicans Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and
Arlen Specter. Two Senate Republicans did not vote on the cloture
motion, and all the rest, including Chuck Grassley, voted no. Last
week Grassley said he would vote for the stimulus bill if it included
a provision on low-cost mortgages. Looking here I couldn't find any
sign that the amendment Grassley supported made it into the Senate
version, so I assume it did not.

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Battleground Iowa: Everyday America says federal stimulus package doesn't do enough for American people

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

If President Barack Obama and Congress are hell-bent on spending more
than $800 billion to revive the economy, then they should consider an
economic stimulus plan that will actually work, Everyday America
co-founder Bill Salier said Monday. Salier, a former U.S. Senate
candidate and a leading voice of American ideals, suggests the
government must significantly reduce unconstitutional spending in the
federal budget. Then, Everyday America's economic stimulus proposal
would pay $950 billion into the Social Security and FICA trust funds.
This figure is the estimated amount Social Security and FICA will
collect this year.

Krusty Konservative: Big Labor Week

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Big Labor is going to be the focus this week in the State Legislature.
While we celebrated the defeat of Fair Share and the expansion
collective bargaining agreement is years past, they keep coming back,
and they will continue to do so until their wish list is enacted. This
year the game plan is to spread the field. So instead of focusing on
what they really want, they instead are advancing four separate pieces
of legislation; Fair Share, Prevailing Wage, Choice of Doctor, and
expanding Iowa's collective bargaining law. With this approach they
will get some of this legislation passed. The question is how much and
which ones. If I was a betting man, I think their main objective is
passing some version of Fair Share.

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John Deeth Blog: History lesson: Iowa Senate appointments

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

U.S. Senate appointments are a hot issue these days. Assuming Judd
Gregg's confirmed, an unusually high total of five Senators will be
sitting by appointment, and we've seen all kinds of scenarios: the
blatant placeholder in Delaware, the deal-making in New Hampshire, the
Caroline Kennedy song and dance in New York and the Blagojvich-Burris
opera buffa. So it's not a shocker that proposals to ban the practice
are in the works. Russ Feingold wants to do it at the federal level by
constitutional amendment, and Mark Kuhn wants to do it at the state
level through legislation. It's not an issue that's come up in Iowa
since great-grandfather's day, when we saw a run of three Senate
vacancies and two appointments in 14 years.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Start your watches, let the budget countdown begin

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

... I see dark storm clouds on the budget horizon. The national bureau for common sense in government has issued a "budget watch" for the entire state of Iowa, effective immediately, with no expiration! The Iowa Department of Management -- which includes the Revenue Estimating Conference, issued a summary report from the December 12th quarterly meeting. If you'd like your intelligence insulted, open the link and take a peek at the most recent revenue estimate. Let's go straight to the bottom line here: The REC estimate from December is off, way off! Not even in the ballpark-off! If this critical state function was a guessing contest on the "Price is Right," host Drew Carey would be on the floor laughing, it's so far off. Of greater concern to me is the inaction by Legislative leaders to address the impending real declines in tax revenues that we all know will occur.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Centrists cut 600,000 jobs from stimulus and decide to bankrupt states while they are at it

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan

... Paul Krugman wrote this morning that the cuts made as part of the compromise will be cutting approximately 600,000 jobs. ... The cuts made by the Senate include $40 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization, $16 billion for School Construction, $7.5 billion of State Incentive Grants, and $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity. The most troubling cut is the $40 billion in state fiscal stabilization. Iowa is looking at a very tight budget and we are hardly in the worst shape out there compared to other states. This report by the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities was written BEFORE the cuts were made by the Senate and says the money is the Stimulus will help, but is not enough.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Radio Iowa: Harkin in the mix

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

For those of you who've been pondering the idea of this
row-of-dominoes -- President Barack Obama naming Iowa Senator Tom
Harkin to head the Department of Health and Human Services (the post
Obama originally asked Tom Daschle to take), then Governor Chet Culver
appoints himself to Harkin's seat in the U.S. Senate and then
Lietuenant Governor Patty Judge becomes the governor -- hold your
horses! Harkin has said some nice things about the idea of Howard
Dean as HHS secretary. Harkin, as you may recall, endorsed Dean's bid
for the White House in 2004 and wound up on stage, behind Dean,
holding Dean's coat on Caucus Night when Dean did "the scream."

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John Deeth Blog: Partial Recall: Linn County GOP legislators introduce recall bill

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Linn County salary war has escalated to the legislative level, as
Republican House leader Kraig Paulsen and Linn County freshmen Nick
Wagner and Renee "Landslide" Schulte have introduced a bill that would
bring recall elections to Iowa for the first time. The bill applies
only to local officials, and the exclusion of state legislators from
their own bill is already a bone of contention. I'm not sure yet
whether this is a serious effort. More likely, I think this is a
message to the Linn County supervisors: "Reconvene your compensation
board and get the pay cut recommendation that you promised during the
campaign."

The Real Sporer: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. vs. Steve King: Another liberal apocalyptic lie collides with factual reality

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

As we all know, the regressive socialists of the American left have
few rhetorical tricks and they practice them daily. The most prominent
and prolific such trick is the use of crazy apocalyptic claims to cow
a terrified public into grasping at the straw of radical social,
political and economic regressive socialism as the only alternative to
global or, at least, national catastrophe. Another day another finds
another prominent Democrat caught in another outright lie. But, before
we delve deeper into the family Suidae, we'd like to extend major
thanks to the folks over at Constitution Daily for republishing
Congressman Steve King's interesting dialogue with the radical
environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr.

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Bleeding Heartland: Get ready to make the case for gay marriage

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

In December the Sioux City Council tabled a resolution defining
marriage as between a man and a woman in order to seek an opinion from
the Iowa Attorney General's office on the legality of such a measure.
On Monday night, however, three of the five City Council members got
tired of waiting for the opinion and passed the resolution in a packed
room. The other two council members voted no because local authorities
lack legal standing on this issue, but according to the Sioux City
Journal, they emphasized that they do not support same-sex marriage.
The resolution has no legal force, and I find it ironic that the
self-styled crusaders against "judicial activism" want to use local
government to weigh in on a matter outside its jurisdiction.

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In Flyover Country: Who should replace Yepsen?

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

With the recent announcement by the Dean of the Iowa Political Press,
David Yepsen, a lot of national wags and newsies are talking about who
should replace him. There are two aspects to replacing Yepsen. First,
who replaces him at the Register. Second, who becomes the lead dog in
the press corps. ... Two questions we ask our readers. 1) Why does David
Yepsen need to be replaced at the Register? At this point, he is an
opinion columnist, albeit a good one with a great knowledge of Iowa
politics and government. There are plenty of less expensive ways to
get opinion into the newspaper, even though they may not be as good.
2) Mike Glover? Seriously? Everyone likes Mike, and our blogger board
has dealt with him for years in our real lives.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Constitution Daily: King takes on RFK, Jr.

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

This is classic Congressman Steve King. RFK tries to insult King and
all of Iowa and King fires right back. This is definitely worth
watching to the end. For those not familiar with RFK, you can read up
on him here.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: And Harkin oinks on and on and on

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I found this interesting information on IowaPolitics.com and the
oinking of Tom Harkin grew louder in my ears with each paragraph. I
firmly believe that this "crisis" is really just an excuse to spend
money. It is growth and expansion of government and our own Tom Harkin
is leading the charge to bankrupt us all. Iowa receiving 1.5 billion
in stimulus money may sound like heavenly D.C. music to some ears but
have you really pondered what YOU will get from this pork? Harkin says
he has not heard "any negative stuff coming in from Iowa." If this
really is a true statement, then Iowans must not care about the debt
that will be on the taxpayers. Sure, if welfare is all that matters to
our existence, no wonder we are not calling Harkin and burning up his
phone lines.

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Politically Speaking: Rod Roberts in the 2010 GOP guv mix

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

It was one of those moments that catch you off guard. I just got an
e-mail from a reporter in our Des Moines bureau with the subject line
containing the words "Roberts" and "governor." Huh? Oh, Steve Roberts,
the former Iowa Republican Party chairman, must be running. Wait --
isn't his political prime time slightly in the past? No, it's Rod
Roberts, the state rep from Carroll. Now there's a name that makes me
smile. Prior to coming here at the Journal in 2002, for six years I
worked at the Carroll Daily Times Herald. I covered Roberts when he
served on the Carroll School Board and wrote some features about him
too — he's a minister and pretty good in a chorus too. I last ran into
Roberts (it's hard not to call him Rod) in summer 2007, when we
chatted about the GOP presidential field.

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John Deeth Blog: Farewell to Yepsen

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

It's the end of an era, as we await the official announcement that Des
Moines Register ubercolumnist David Yepsen is leaving the paper after
three decades for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern
Illinois University. The hagiography from the national press corps is
starting. To them, with their quadrennial visits, Yepsen WAS Iowa
journalism, caucus history incarnate (and he seemed to love that). I'm
sure he'll stay in the rolodexes and show up on the talk shows in 2011
with a curmudgeonly critique of the GOP field. Those of us on the
ground in Iowa have more mixed opinions. It's no secret that I'm not a
Yepsen fan. Part of it was my hometown pride. Yepsen worked in way too
many cheap shots at Iowa City, the University, and espresso-based
beverages, implying that our academic liberalism was somehow un-Iowan.
Around here we adopted his "People's Republic of Johnson County" slur
as a badge of pride.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Krusty Konservative: The gas tax

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

If you want to see my blood boil, just send me some a news story or
show me a clip from Iowa Press of a Republican in the state
legislature agreeing to raise the gas tax if their Democrat
counterparts decide to act on the issue. While I agree that one of the
purposes of state government is to invest public infrastructure, state
government also must realize that raising taxes or fees during the
current economic crisis is risky, especially when you realize that the
state raised motor vehicle fees just last year to help pay for our
infrastructure needs. I love to hear how some legislators think an
eight to ten cent increase per gallon is really no big deal. Some
suggest that it would only cost Iowa's another $50 bucks a year give
or take.

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Battleground Iowa: Horrific bills = Happy Dems

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

So much to say, so little time. It's Baaaa-aaaack: Just when you
thought that the Fair Share bill was dead and buried after Chester's
veto last year, it has reared its ugly head yet again. The Register is
reporting that various union leaders are pushing the governor to
support a plan that is described as a "major expansion" of the bill
that was originally proposed two years ago. The bill would mandate
that certain non-union employees who benefit from union agreements be
required to pay union fees, even if they want nothing to do with the
unions themselves. Though Chester previously vetoed this bill, it
seems much more likely that he will support it this time around. This
time, the bill was drafted by the governor's office, but has not yet
been introduced in the legislature.

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Iowa Independent: FEC closes case against Iowa Christian Alliance

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

The Iowa Christian Alliance (ICA) and its president, Steve Scheffler,
did not violate campaign laws by trying to influence an election, the
Federal Election Commission ruled Monday. Iowa resident Stacey Lynn
Cargill filed a complaint with the FEC alleging the group violated
campaign finance laws by allowing political activist Marlene Elwell to
use its office space and database in efforts to influence potential
Iowa voters to cast their ballots for presidential candidate Mitt
Romney. Because ICA is organized as a 501(C)4 nonprofit it is barred
from trying to directly influence elections. It can only advocate on
behalf of issues.

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Radio Iowa: RNC chair picks two Michiganders for transition

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

I'm not pretending to read any tea leaves here, but new Republican
National Committee chairman Michael Steele has asked two Republicans
from Michigan and a Republican from Florida to serve on a "transition
team." As you may recall, Michigan and Florida are two states which
leapfrogged over Iowa's Caucuses this past election cycle. The news
release indicated the group will review "all party operations" and one
might assume that means the 2012 election calendar, although the next
reference in the same sentence is to preparing for "this year's
elections." In 2008, Michigan held its primary on Tuesday, January 15,
prompting officials Iowa and New Hampshire to move their contests
foward.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Culver's bonds aren't bottomless

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Gov. Chet Culver has been out selling his plan to float $700 million
worth of bonds to pay for infrastructure projects. And a big part of
that sales pitch has involved traveling the state to dangle the
possibility of big bucks for hometown projects in front of wide-eyed
local leaders. He's been to Council Bluffs and the Quad-Cities, CR and
elsewhere. Today, he dropped by a Board of Regents planning meeting in
Ankeny to suggest that money from his fund could help replace
flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium. There's nothing wrong with the
governor selling his plan. It is the centerpiece of his legislative
agenda, after all. But we should all remember that $700 million can't
buy everything.

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John Deeth Blog: Politico: Latham targeted for 2010

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

"The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a radio
advertising blitz against 28 House Republicans who voted against the
stimulus package last week," notes Josh Kraushaar at The Politico's
Scorecard. "The list of targeted Republicans usually approximates the
party's top targets for the upcoming election. Given the Democrats'
success over the past two elections, the list shows there aren't too
many pickup opportunities left for the majority party." The companion
article lists the list and gives us some ad copy: "The following ad is
the districts of Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Lincoln
Diaz-Balart (FL-21), Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02), Mario Diaz-Balart
(FL-25), Elton Gallegy (CA-24), Tom Latham (IA-04)" ... So perhaps the
DCCC is taking my advice on at least one half of my two part prep for
redistricting plan. Maybe they'll follow up on part two?

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In Flyover Country: Steve & Kim: Shut the &@$% up!!

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Here's some good political advice which will no doubt go unheeded:
Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman need to stop giving interviews to
reporters talking about other Republicans. In fact, why stop there?
How about the SCC passing a gag order so those two can't give ANY
interviews using their party by-lines. Here's how it could be worded:
Whereas: The Republican Party of Iowa is an organization committed to
advancing the Republican agenda by supporting our Republican
candidates for office, and Whereas: Our national committeeman and
national committeewoman spend more time advancing the agenda of the
Iowa Christian Alliance and the Iowa Right to Life Committee so that
they can raise money to pay their own salaries, and Whereas: Neither
Lehman nor Scheffler spend time appropriately contrasting Republican
views with Democratic views but rather focus on attacking Republicans
that aren't Christian or right-wing enough for their own narrow
tastes...

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Bleeding Heartland: Kiernan can't do it alone

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Congratulations to Des Moines City Council member Michael Kiernan, who
was elected to chair the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday, along with
First Vice-Chair Sue Dvorsky, Second Vice-Chair Chris Peterson,
Treasurer Ken Sagar and Secretary Dori Rammelsberg-Dvorak.
I was pleased to read Kiernan's remarks from his first press
conference: "We have over 100,000 new registered voters in this state
who are Democrats, hundreds of new activists. I think our key is to
keep these folks in the party, to bring them home permanently." ...
Kiernan echoed these points in the press release from the Iowa
Democratic Party, which I've posted after the jump. It's good to know
the IDP's leader understands that we can't count on first-time
Democratic voters to continue to support the party. This is especially
true because President Barack Obama will not be on the ballot in 2010.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa's RNC reps are not happy today

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Republican National Committee elected Michael Steele of Maryland as its new chairman today. He was far from a consensus choice and only obtained a majority of RNC members on the sixth ballot. Steele is a former lieutenant governor of Maryland and a frequent "talking head" on news analysis shows. He is black and pulled a significant share of the African-American vote in his losing bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006. On the other hand, he seemed to run away from the Republican label during that campaign. I don't see how other GOP candidates could pull that off. Iowa RNC Committeeman Steve Scheffler and Committeewoman Kim Lehman both supported South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, who turned out to be Steele's toughest rival ... Anyway, Scheffler and Lehman didn't just prefer a different candidate for RNC chair, they went on record criticizing Steele.

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Krusty Konservative: Michael Steele to lead RNC

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The RNC election was a wild ride to say the least. The race say the lead changes between former Chair Mike Duncan who led after the first ballot, then Michael Steele lead after the 3rd, and Katon Dawson with the lead after the 4th. ... In reading the comment section some are quick to think that the election of Steele means the end of the Iowa Caucuses. I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment even though I'm worried. If Steele is a chairman who enforces the rules and doesn't allow any shenanigans from a few larger states wishing to crash our party we will be fine. ... As for Chairman Strawn, Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman I don't think we can blame them for not supporting Steele. In Scheffler and Lehman's defense they backed the right conservative; their guy was only 8 votes away from victory. And even if they had backed Steele, there still would be questions about whether or not our First in the Nation status was in jeopardy or not. Strawn, Scheffler, and Lehman now must reach out and heal divisions that might now exist. Inviting Steele to the state might be a good first move. To be really honest with you, if Anuzis would have been the one that put Steele over the top I'd be more worried than I currently am.

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Coralville Courier: Despite sour economy County Supervisors to consider giving themselves a raise

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

The Johnson County Compensation Board last night recommended that the county's elected officials receive a 3 percent pay raise for fiscal year 2010. If you'll recall, Supervisors fattened up their budget for fiscal 2009 by more than 13% over the previous year, escalating up to approximately $75 million from about $64 million. Part of that increase included 3.5% pay raises for the likes of Supervisor Rod 'Blago' Sullivan and Auditor Tom 'Hickup' Slockett. The vote for this proposed raise was 4-2 in favor of the raise. Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek wants a pay raise so he can be the fifth highest paid Sheriff in the state... That's his argument, I work in the fifth highest populated county, so then I should be the fifth highest paid Sheriff in the state... Pay based on population, as opposed to merit.

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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