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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Iowa Republican: State tightens its belt: Will only spend something like $7-8 billion next year

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

By the end of this week, Governor Chet Culver is required to submit a
new budget to the legislature based on the most recent projections
from the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). Governor Culver's
original FY 2010 budget totaled $6.2 billion, the largest in Iowa's
history, but the REC estimates revenues for 2010 to only be $5.7
billion, meaning Culver will be forced to increase taxes or scale back
his original budget. Despite the news of government workers on
furloughs and legislators making budget cuts, Governor Culver and
Democrats will spend more money than ever in fiscal year 2010. First,
there is the federal stimulus money which will total $600 million, and
second, they are poised to borrow $750 million to spend on various
projects around the state.

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Essential Estrogen: Kiernan contrasts politics of hope with politics of nope

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan traveled to Hiawatha in
eastern Iowa today to promote the Democrats' plan to create jobs, grow
the state economy and rebuild Iowa. Kiernan said that while Democrats
are offering concrete proposals to the challenges the state faces,
Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (of Hiawatha) and Republicans in the
legislature have "simply said no." "Democrats are united," he said.
"We are working everyday to put Iowans back to work, fix the economy
and rebuild our state. Unfortunately, Republicans in the legislature
have continues their 'campaign of nope' to every proposal Gov. [Chet]
Culver and Democrats have put forward."

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Public hearing on House Study Bill 284

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Last week the Democrats controlling the state legislature outlined
their proposal to eliminate one of the most widely used tax
deductions, the federal deductibility. This bill is known as House
Study Bill 284. There is plenty of opposition to this bill. And at the
same time there is support for the bill. No matter which side of the
issue you fall on make sure that you attend the public hearing being
held at the capital building tomorrow evening (Tuesday March 31, 2009)
at 7:30 PM in the evening. As I stated, regardless of which side of
the issue you are on, please be sure to attend this hearing to let
your voice be heard.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Essential Estrogen: Grassley goes from suicide to sexism

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

... I nearly spit my morning caffeine across the keyboard when I read about Grassley's latest: "...Grassley (R-Iowa) was reminding [Sen. Kent] Conrad (D-North Dakota) of a past favor, apparently at a speaking function, and how he expected something in return. "I would hope you would return the favor," Grassley said. Conrad said "Oh, you are good," to which Grassley responded: "Your wife said the same thing." Conrad tried to laugh it off. "I used to like you," he told Grassley..." No doubt this exchange, if it gets reported at all, will be under the guise of Grassley disparaging a colleague's wife. The truth is that Grassley, a supposed happily married man, is disparaging himself. Implied in this statement is Grassley "having an intimate exchange" with Mrs. Conrad. Implied in this statement is that Grassley broke a promise to his wife in order to do so. This isn't political rhetoric. This isn't painting a verbal picture to show one's displeasure for a policy or a current event. Shoot, this isn't even being folksy or eccentric. It's nothing more or less than Grassley behaving like a spoiled, under-sexed frat boy during a budget committee hearing.

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Battleground Iowa: What Shawn Johnson can teach us about Iowa's concealed carry bills

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

I have to say I was shocked and a little shaken when I heard the horrible news story about the man who is apparently obsessed with Iowa's golden girl, Shawn Johnson. ... It made me think about what would have happened if all this had occurred in Iowa. More specifically, it made me think about what the consequences would have been for this disturbed man under the two competing concealed carry permit bills that were introduced in the Iowa Legislature this year. ... basically, in Iowa, if HF 596 were in place, this guy would probably be charged with a relatively minor misdemeanor, or nothing at all, and he'd probably be back out on the streets right now... still obsessing over Shawn, or perhaps moving on to being obsessed with one of your kids. This is why there needs to be some reasonable rules that could prevent certain deranged people from carrying guns around. I don't think a sheriff in Iowa should have total discretion to deny permits, but there are certain cases in which permits should be denied, which is why I supported HF 193 instead.

24-Hour Dorman: Deductibility spawns creativity

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

... All I know is that if the Legislature is going to take away a deduction, they ought to add some back in. It's only fair. I have 5 ideas. 1. Drinkability Deductibility - This break would recognize the economic and environmental benefits created by Iowans, like myself, who buy beer by the keg - which save aluminum and glass, are reusable and slice fossil fuel demand by requiring fewer beer runs. And what was I doing when I came up with this concept? I'd rather not say. 2. Gullibility Deductibility - Iowans should get to deduct the cost of any product they buy late at night - Snuggies, Shamwow, Loud 'N Clear etc., or the loss of any unused gold jewelery they put in a durable envelop and sent to strangers far away. ... 5. Twitterability Deductibility - A 0.0001-cent tax cut for every Tweet. That ought to deal the final death blow to the last remaining remnants of your internal dialogue.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Iowa Legislative leaders slap small business owners across the cheek today...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Is this the beginning of the end for many small business owners? Iowa
Democrats have proposed the elimination of federal deductibility on
Iowa income taxes. Making matters worse, while in the midst of severe
economic conditions that directly resulted from two years of fiscal
irresponsibility and massive spending increases in our state's budget.
If you're not a small business owner as I am... Let me walk you through
a couple principles that truly govern the success or failure of Iowa's
economy. 1) In business, it's all about percentages. I know of
several business owners who are perceived to be "millionaires" by
many, who in fact are simply living on the 5% margin that remains
after capital expenses, supplies, payroll and taxes.

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The Iowa Brigade: Democrats to eliminate Iowans' largest tax deduction

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Brigade

To feed their insatiable appetite for spending and increased government, Democrats today rolled out their plan to eliminate Iowans' largest tax deduction, federal deductibility. "At a time when Republicans are standing for truth and transparency, liberals are trying to trick Iowans into believing they're going to get a tax cut," said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha). "In reality, this is a major tax increase." Because of the Democrats' plan, beginning in 2010 when the federal tax cuts expire, middle class Iowans see will more than a $100 jump in their state tax bills.

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John Deeth Blog: Grassley's priorities: Helping his Senate buddy

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

CQ writes: "Charles E. Grassley is thinking about passing up the top
spot on a committee he really likes in order to help colleague Arlen
Specter." ... Of course, they both have to get re-elected before they
play musical chairs. Specter needs all the help he can get, pinned
between a primary challenge from the right and outrage from his
sometime allies in labor after he flip-flopped on card check. On the
other hand, I'd rather have Specter as the top Republican on Judiciary
when a Supreme Court nomination rolls around than non-lawyer Grassley.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: "Pork" and bonds

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

In the "Tower of Invincibility," Republicans think they have found an
exploitable weakness in Gov. Chet Culver's big bonding plan. Instead,
they're showing empty-headed, inch-deep partisan politics. The tower
is a 12-story office building planned by folks in Vedic City, the
southern Iowa town built on the principles of transcendental
mediation.The governor's office told communities to submit any and all
ideas for using a potential $750 million pot of infrastructure money.
Vedic City sent in its tower. Once the list became public, Republicans
eager to shoot down the Democratic governor's signature legislative
proposal swiftly wielded the "Tower of Invincibility" as a weapon.

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Herd on the Hill: Say goodbye to federal deductability

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Senate Democratic Leadership is making a bold move by recently
announcing that they will attempt to eliminate federal deductibility.
The message signals that Iowans should brace themselves for a tax
increase. Based on the most recent information, eliminating federal
deductibility would be a tax increase of $594 million. An Iowa
household earning $45,000 would receive an average of a 5% increase in
their taxes or $222. Iowa is one of a handful of states that allows a
100% deduction for federal income tax payments on the state individual
tax return. It protects Iowans from paying a state income tax on money
used to pay their federal income tax.

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The Iowa Republican: Chet Culver: Two faced on taxes

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Just a little over two weeks ago, Governor Chet Culver told Iowans he
would VETO any form of a gas tax increase if it hit his desk. In
making his statement Culver told Iowans he refuses to increase taxes
during a severe economic recession. Now Culver and the Democrats are
on the verge of passing a $600 million tax increase by eliminating
federal deductibility. But what about not raising taxed during a
"severe economic recession" Governor? Since the stock market is
inching closer to the 8000 mark, does that mean now is the time to
raise taxes?

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Iowa Political Alert: Iowa casinos eye NJ lawsuit aimed at opening sports betting

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Iowa's top gaming industry representative said this morning that his
association is closely watching a federal lawsuit in New Jersey aimed
at opening up sports betting nationwide. "Certainly we're aware of
it," said Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association. "As
far as the industry I think this certainly would be of interest to our
members." With New Jersey facing major budget problems and with
Atlantic City casinos suffering, a state senator there has filed a
suit in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J. against the Justice
Department that seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Pork calling

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

It was inevitable. Gov. Chet Culver would ask Iowa communities to submit proposals for how to spend $750 million in infrastructure bonds. The list would come out, a few projects would seem a little goofy, and Republicans would race each other to call the whole thing pork. The Des Moines Register plays its fateful role in this narrative by leading its story on the bonding wish list with the "Tower of Invincibility" proposed by the folks in Vedic City. Locals say the $8 million to $12 million 12-story tower would be a big attraction, with restaurants and office space etc.

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Herd on the Hill: Guest column by Senate Republican Whip Steve Kettering (Lake View)

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

When your act is not quite ready for Broadway, you see how it plays in Peoria. This week the Governor took his Bonding Play to stages around the state. The lights dim, the curtains part. The Governor rushes on stage. The set is the Capitol rotunda. The Governor is dressed in Sunday's best. The temperature is warm. He is sweating as he excitedly runs across stage, his right hand held high above his head, a credit card in hand. "I've got a higher limit, we can spend more he says to those assembled. We don't have to accept that Senate baby bond bill of only $175 million. It is not enough. We can do more."

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Essential Estrogen: Iowa, did you hear that?

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

I don't have a transcript or video yet, but Pres. Barack Obama just said in his televised press conference that (paraphrasing): "It is time to start offering [Medicare/Medicaid] reimbursements on quality and not quantity. States should not be rewarded for how many procedures they do." For those who are interested in quality health care in Iowa, this is an amazingly wonderful statement to hear. We have truly wonderful health care quality in Iowa, that has been challenged for years because our state's reimbursement rate is near the bottom of the national rankings. In particular, increasing the reimbursement rate would make it easier for all of our hospitals (but especially those non-critical access hospitals in rural areas) to attract and maintain physicians.

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John Deeth Blog: Leapfrog 2012: Tom Miller on calendar commission

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The most important battles for the survival of The Caucuses As We Know Them have already been won, with Obama's nomination and election. But part of the peace deal between then-rivals Obama and Hillary Clinton was a "calendar reform commission," which has now been named. The designated defender of the caucuses is to be... Attorney General Tom Miller, one of Iowa's earliest Obama backers. "President Obama has repeatedly shown his commitment to Iowa's First-in-the-Nation status, and his commitment was demonstrated once again with his appointment of Miller," says the blurb from the IDP.

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The Iowa Republican: Failor: "I am not going to run for Governor"

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Ed Failor, Jr., the President of Iowans for Tax Relief, has told The Iowa Republican that he will not run for governor in 2010. This afternoon Failor said, "I am not going to run for Governor. I have a son graduating high school in 2010 and another in 2011. I will be a present father. The timing is not right." Earlier this month, Failor told The Iowa Republican that he was considering a run. At that time he also indicated that he had been approached by friends about a potential gubernatorial run, and that he had discussed the possibility with his family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Iowa's $270 million (and growing) problem...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

The announcement last Friday from the Revenue Estimating Conference brought into sharp focus one thing: the decisions that are being made in Iowa over the coming weeks have the power to alter the economic course of this state for decades. For those that missed the details, see the Chicago Tribune's take on it here. Namely, this year's revenue -- or to be more precise, taxes and fees on citizens and businesses -- will be $130 million less than expected. Iowa's law requires a balanced budget, so the legislature and Governor Culver must now cut deeply into their budget. Furthermore, next years estimate is $270 million less than originally projected, reflecting a recession that does not improve.

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Politically Speaking: King decries plan to tax AIG bonuses

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Call it the dueling Steve King/AIG news views. Late last week, the U.S. House voted 328-95 to place a 90 percent tax on the sizable bonuses some executives of the American International Group received. There's been a firestorm over the fact that floundering AIG received billions in federal government funding and loans, then executives got big bonuses. But Iowa 5th District Congressman King, a Republican, voted against the instituting the 90 percent tax. That caused both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Iowa Democratic Party to jump up and down in outrage. Well, we can't be sure they leapt, but the Dem groups issued tsk-tsk-tsking press releases.

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John Deeth Blog: Bob Krause in Senate race

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Iowa Demosphere is abuzz with the news that Chuck Grassley's first opponent has emerged. But the question is still "Bob WHO?" Even among party activists, the name Bob Krause is little-known. His party work has focused on the Veteran's Caucus which he chairs. Krause was once a wunderkind, elected to the legislature at 23 in 1972 and running statewide for state treasurer before he was 30, in 1978. In 1982 he tried a comeback in the state Senate but lost the primary. He now lives in Fairfield but his House district was on the north central border in Kossuth, Emmet and Palo Alto counties. So the profile fits the pattern of Grassley opponents, all of whom would have been great candidates in 1986.

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24-Hour Dorman: Capitol offenses

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

The curious case of Marshall Clemons, the Cedar Rapids custodian/local union leader who was arrested last week at the Statehouse and charged with trying to steal money from lobbyists' purses, proves yet again that the Capitol is no place to try anything funny. And by funny I mean illegal activity. Although it's worth mentioning here that Clemons is innocent until proven guilty. Anyone who has spent much time at our gilded Capitol knows almost nothing happens without someone seeing or hearing it. The place is full of very nosy people paid to watch stuff closely, and not only the official proceedings, but also all the unofficial happenings. Who's doing what? Who's talking to whom? What's that smell coming from the cafeteria?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Organic farmer plans to run for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

It's not yet clear whether Iowa's Republican Secretary of Agriculture,
Bill Northey, will seek re-election in 2010 or run against Governor
Chet Culver instead. But at least one Democrat appears ready to seek
Northey's job next year. Francis Thicke, an organic dairy farmer near
Fairfield with a Pd.D. in agronomy and soil fertility, announced
yesterday that he has formed an Exploratory Committee to consider
running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. … Thicke would be an
outstanding asset to Iowa as Secretary of Agriculture. A working
farmer and expert on many agricultural policy issues, he currently
serves on Iowa's USDA State Technical Committee and has an impressive
list of publications.

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The Iowa Republican: Kevin McCarthy's night court

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Many times leaders are prophetic. They have an uncanny ability to see
into the future. Iowa has its own prophetic leader, Democrat Majority
Leader Kevin McCarthy. You see, last fall Leader McCarthy was so
concerned about the safety of people at the State Capitol, he alerted
the Des Moines Register by giving them every speeding ticket and
misdemeanor committed by various Republicans seeking office. The
Register quickly printed the list of violations in an effort to
protect the public. McCarthy even said, "If these candidates were
elected to office, would not be a stretch that we would need to
establish night court at the state Capitol, together with a bailiff
and maybe bring in Jerry Springer to cover it."

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Blog for Iowa: Energy independence in Iowa redux

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

If the pursuit of energy independence in Iowa devolves into an us
versus them showdown between the electrical utilities on one side and
concerned citizens on the other, our hope for achieving this goal may
be diminished. Each side has an interest in Iowa becoming energy
independent. What remains most challenging is finding the common
ground where we can meet and progress towards an energy policy that
would be better for Iowa. It is challenging to see the middle ground.
We should not expect the power companies to initiate any
reconciliation. For them, it is about earnings. Ryan Steensland,
spokesperson for Iowa Power and Light was quoted by the
Minneapolis-Saint Paul Star Tribune regarding the cancellation of the
Sutherland 4 power plant in Marshalltown.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: How Iowans voted on the bonus tax for bailout recipients

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The U.S. House of Representatives approved by 328 to 93 a bill that
would put a 90 percent tax on bonuses over $250,000 that any financial
institution receiving bailout money pays to employees. The bill is not
limited to AIG, which sparked public outcry by paying at least 73
employees bonuses of more than $1 million. Here is the roll call. All
three Democrats representing Iowa in the U.S. House (Bruce Braley,
Dave Loebsack, and Leonard Boswell) voted yes on retrieving most of
the taxpayer dollars being squandered on excessive Wall Street
bonuses. Steve King was among the 87 House Republicans who voted no.
It would be interesting to hear his reasoning.

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The Iowa Republican: Washington shares guilt in AIG outrage

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

By Iowa Congressman Tom Latham, Iowa's 4th Congressional District...
American taxpayers are once again being played for fools on Capitol
Hill as the president and members of Congress shed crocodile tears and
gnash their teeth over the fact that American International Group
(AIG) used part of its $170 billion grant from the Troubled Assets
Relief Program (TARP) for hefty employee bonuses. As you know, the
TARP was created last fall and is often referred to as the Wall Street
bailout. For those of us in Congress who voted against creating the
Wall Street bailout-TARP mess, this theater of the absurd is playing
just as we had predicted last fall.

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In Flyover Country: Iowa gets a break - Collins to the RNC

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

As has been reported around the blogosphere today, Gentry Collins was
tapped today to serve as the RNC Political Director. A few months ago,
Krusty had posted a rumor that Collins was heading out to California
to work with Meg Whitman's campaign. He's been rumored for other posts
as well, but today it became official. This is significant for a
couple of reasons. First, it's always good when an Iowa operative gets
a big role in national politics. We want our local folks to succeed.
However, the best news for Iowa is that there will be someone inside
the RNC at a high level who can keep an eye on the Iowa Caucuses and
our first-in-the-nation status.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Culver's bonding bill in jeopardy - Return of the gas tax?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Governor Chet Culver's $750 million bonding proposal is has met
serious objections with Democrats in the House and Senate. Legislative
Democrats want to change everything in Culver's proposal from what the
money would be used for to the types of bonds that will be used to
fund the program. The news of the dissension from fellow Democrats
comes as Culver is on a statewide tour trying to build support for his
proposal. Democrat lawmakers are offering a different $700 billion
dollar bonding plan that would not provide one dime for bridge and
road repairs.

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Bleeding Heartland: How to win friends and influence state legislators

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The first "funnel" deadline passed at the end of last week, leaving
most of the bills introduced in the Iowa legislature dead for this
session. Summaries of notable bills that did and did not make it
through the funnel can be found here and here. Bills that have been
approved by a full committee remain alive for the 2009 session, and
Iowa House and Senate leaders can still introduce new measures. Also,
amendments affecting various programs could be attached to
appropriations bills that won't be finalized until next month. That
means advocates should be informed and ready to help persuade
legislators in the weeks to come.

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Essential Estrogen: Pay equity bill passes Iowa House, heads back to Senate

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Members of the Iowa House overwhelmingly supported passage of a bill
that seeks to add pay discrimination into the Iowa Civil Rights Code.
The bill, which was first past along party lines by the Iowa Senate on
Feb. 16, had minor changes in the House version that will require
another nod from the Senate before heading to the Governor's desk. The
House changes are primarily cosmetic. Information that was previously
placed into an existing subparagraph of the Civil Rights Code was
pulled out and then given its own new subparagraph. Therefore, it is
highly likely that the bill will once again gain Senate approval.

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The Bean Walker: Collins new RNC national political director

Excerpted from this post at The Bean Walker
The Bean Walker confirmed that Iowa campaign operative Gentry Collins has been named political director of the Republican National Committee, in an announcement set for later today. Collins, who most recently served as the Midwest regional campaign manager for Sen. John McCain's 2008 general election campaign, is viewed as a solid choice by Republican insiders. ... The move is seen as strategically sound for Chairman Michael Steele, who conducted a top-to-bottom review of the RNC, ultimately waiting until he could put together the best, most qualified individuals into place.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: Comrade Harkin and comrade Braley: Socialist lapdogs

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Iowa's Great American Hypocrite, US Senator Tom Harkin, is at it
again. This time he has joined with several other irony-impaired
Senators to compose a warning to American International Group Chairman
and CEO Edward Liddy. In this letter the group of Senators have
ironically lambasted the employees of this company as failures and
that they are responsible for the worldwide financial meltdown. Not
once do they consider their own actions and inactions as a
contributing factor. Not once do they consider their blind defense of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as contributing factors. Instead they
ridicule a company that has it's own contractual obligations to meet.
In House of Representatives a group of naive Congressman have joined
together to author a letter to Department of Treasury Chairman Timothy
Geithner, you know, the tax cheat.

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Essential Estrogen: Linn County Republicans switch leaders

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

The Linn County Republican Central Committee voted last night to
replace Chairman Jim Conklin with Tim Palmer. If I'm not mistaken, I
believe this is the same Tim Palmer that blogs at Hawkeye Review.
Since party chairman are often the the key spokespersons for their
organization, it will be interesting to see if the election impacts
the blog... or, for that matter, even if the blog impacts the next
election. If this is the same Palmer, then he's lucky that he has
already had the blogging path cleared for him by David Chung and Ted
Sporer -- both having balanced serving as a GOP elected official and
as a blogger. Today I'm also left wondering the thought process behind
those in the Linn Co. GOP who decided to switch leaders.

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Politically Speaking: King takes to floor to tout Fair Tax

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

The April 15 federal tax filing deadline is approaching, so you'll be
hearing more from Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King on his
efforts to abolish the federal income tax. For the seven years he's
been a congressman, King has flogged a national consumption/sales tax
called the Fair Tax as a replacement for income tax. In fact, if you
turn to C-SPAN right now, you'll see King touting the Fair Tax. King
at 6 p.m. began using the special order speech time after the House
shuts down for the day to deliver his case (to an empty room, yes, but
also for the cameras) for the tax conversion. He'll say the Fair Tax
is true economic stimulus, in contrast to the initiatives of President
Obama.

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Daily Yonder: Is 'cap-and-trade' a tax on rural?

Excerpted from this post at Daily Yonder

Rural people use more energy. So when limits are placed on carbon
emissions, will there be a redistribution of money from the center of
the country to the urban coasts? ... Bruce Bailey says the farmers and
other rural residents who buy power from his relatively small
electrical cooperative in Iowa could be in for a big surprise if
President Barack Obama's cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions becomes the law of the land. In fact, Bailey, who heads the
Glidden Rural Electric Cooperative, and other REC sources say that the
nation’s countryside, and reaches of America more dependent on coal,
could be disproportionately affected by the environmentally minded
emissions program contained in the Obama budget plan now before
Congress.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Reining in Culver? Too late

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

O. Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa brings news of Democratic state
lawmakers rebuffing Gov. Chet Culver's push for a bill to make it
easier for him to spend money from the state's reserves in the event
of a natural disaster. He wants to give the Executive Council, which
he chairs, the power to spend up to a third of the economic emergency
account. Dems are balking: "Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from
Coralville, says the bill's dead for the year." ... Where were these
separation of power concerns while leadership stood by and watched
Culver make $40 million in transfers without any legislative
authorization?

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Iowa Independent: Culver, newspaper clash over open records

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Gov. Chet Culver is once again sparring with the media over open
records laws. The governor has told the Des Moines Register it will be
charged $630 for a state lawyer to determine whether e-mails relating
to the Atalissa scandal can legally be kept confidential. ... The policy
started at the end of the 2008 legislative session. Culver announced
that state agencies can charge residents for the time it takes
government attorneys to review public documents requested under the
state’s open-records laws. That "reasonable" fee is estimated at $25
to $35 an hour. The Iowa Attorney General's Office has reviewed
Culver's policy and said it is legal. However, open-record advocates
have said they worry the new policy will institute a costly barrier to
openness throughout state government.

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The Iowa Republican: Vaudt: Short-term approach limits options for elected officials

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Hard times have made Iowans nervous about the future. The problem is
simple -- for years, our state has spent more than it has taken in on an
ongoing basis. Our elected officials were able to do this by playing
shell games with funds and accounts designed for other purposes. Now,
with those funds drying up, coupled with an economic downturn and last
year's flood damage, Iowa faces a perfect fiscal storm -- the likes of
which we have not seen in a long time. The solution to this problem is
obvious -- bring expenditures back in line with revenues. Since our
elected officials have the ability to adjust both sides of the
equation -- spending and revenues -- they must cut spending, raise
taxes, or a combination thereof.

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Bleeding Heartland: Redistricting the Iowa way

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

For some fascinating reading, take a look at the 2001 Report of the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission (TRAC) to the General Assembly. Four arguments dominated the public comments: population variance statistics should meet or exceed past redistricting standards. Iowans desire an urban-rural mix; (related to above) District 5 is too large; Corridors of economic/community interest should be preserved, with Johnson/Linn mentioned most frequently. The minority report dismissed these arguments, citing political theatre managed by citizen-ringers and their sponsors: During the public hearings, Commission members heard from perhaps a couple hundred individuals, many of whom were there at the request of one political party or another.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Chuck Grassley: the face of the GOP (for a day, anyway)

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Chuck Grassley ... took another step forward as the national face of the GOP Saturday with the Republican response to the President's address. ... There's risks for Grassley being the face of the GOP when he faces re-election next year in a state that's trending blue. The Iowa race remains at the outer fringes of the national radar screen, mostly premised on the idea that Grassley may retire. You all know my theory on that: one more term and then grandson state Rep. Pat Grassley is old enough in 2016. But even with Grassley in the race we were briefly on the radar, until the president took Tom Vilsack out of the mix. That's really my biggest beef with The Prez so far (well, second biggest; I want the troops home last week and not in 20 months).

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Krusty Konservative: The Iowa Flood Center: Pure Iowa pork

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The problem I have with the Iowa Flood Center is that it creates another duplicate government entity, just like the Rebuild Iowa Office did. We already have The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division. The Emergency Management website clearly states their objective is to help coordinate activities before, during and after emergencies through partnerships with local, state, federal and private agencies. ... So why again did we need to create an entire new state agency called the Rebuild Iowa Office? All it does is skim money off the top that should be going to flood victims. In regards to the Iowa Flood Center, we already have the Corps of Engineers, the national weather service, DNR, and the above mentioned Iowa Emergency Management Division. And we should also remember that there was plenty of warning before the flood.

Iowa Defense Alliance: I Jobs = I Joke

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

... According to Governor Culver his proposal would create approximately 30,000 new jobs across Iowa. Unfortunately the majority of these positions would come from the construction field where they would experience an artificial boom created by the massive public works program. They would be temporary in nature created by an artificial construction boom with a finite time span. I Jobs does very little to create real long term jobs. There is no sustainability in it. Financing this bloated bill will cost the State of Iowa more than the advertised $750 million. Add $420 million on to that number and you will get a true representation of the monetary cost the state will have to endure with this plan. ... Instead of looking for ways to encourage business and individuals success Governor Culver has decided to follow the same road he has for the last two years. Spend.

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In Flyover Country: Brand new video of Vander Plaats' Iowa Press appearance

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

See above. That's where we have embedded the brand new video of Bob Vander Plaats' Iowa Press appearance this weekend. In the first 10 seconds, you can see an empty suit. At about minute 14, you'll see as he says nothing. Oh! Watch for that zinger 20 minutes in. Plus, if you watch the entire thing, you'll see every single piece of major policy he rolled out. Pretty entertaining video, isn't it? What - you say there is no video there? You don't see a candidate, policy proposals, a zinger or anything of substance? Well, if you want that, you're going to have to make it up. Because there wasn't any.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts: It's all about openness

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

I just heard about this. Iowa is one of 16 states the General
Accountability Office has selected to give extra scrutiny in the
spending of federal stimulus money. Here's a Reuters article that
includes the news. And it's not just states that will get the eye. A
federal official testified to Congress last week (see page 4) that
cities in those 16 states will be getting extra scrutiny, too.
Illinois is one of the 16, too. The stimulus law, formally known as
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is a big piece of
spending, and as I wrote in this morning's Times, transparency is
getting a big push. President Obama is holding a conference today to
talk about spending stimulus money effectively.

The Real Sporer: Senator Steve Kettering and the consequences of a decade of Democrats

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

The consequences of Democrat irresponsibility, ambition and cronyism
are now being made glaringly obvious to Iowans in need of flood
relief, food inspection, education, roads and courts-Democrat
governance cannot fulfill the basic functions of government without an
infinite regression of taxing, borrowing and spending. The legislative
Labor/Socialist/Democrats just added another $175 million to the
State's already crushing fiscal obligations. Republican Senate Whipp
Steve Kettering drew the connection between Democrat policy and that
infinite regression of Democrat spending, taxing and borrowing.

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The Iowa Republican: Culver and the labor unions -- An interesting pattern emerges

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

A year ago, it was well reported that Chet Culver and the labor unions
were at odds with each other. The major dust up back then occurred
when Culver vetoed one of the labor unions' top legislative
priorities: open-scope bargaining. Since then, it seems as if Governor
Culver and the labor unions have made up. The following is a list of
labor groups that contributed to Culver in 2008. Great Plains Laborers
District Council - $70,000.00; Iowa State UAW - $47,500.00... The
$227,900.00 that the labor unions donated to Culver makes up almost
22% of the total dollars his campaign committee took in for 2008.

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Bleeding Heartland: The failure of leadership behind that pig odor earmark

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

President Barack Obama proposed reforms to the Congressional
earmarking process on Wednesday: Members' earmark requests should be
posted on their Web sites. There should be public hearings on earmark
requests "where members will have to justify their expense to the
taxpayer." Any earmark for a for-profit company would have to be
competitively bid. The reforms are intended to deflect criticism after
Obama signed the $410 billion 2009 omnibus spending bill, which
included about $7.7 billion in earmarks. I have no time for the
Republican Party's blatant hypocrisy on what is really a "phantom
problem." Republican members of Congress secure plenty of earmarks for
their own states even as they posture against "pork."

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John Deeth Blog: The Jean Westwood line

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

In the realm of political celebrity, chair of the out party usually
ranks somewhere below the Secretary of Agriculture who parties with
Cookie Monster. Sure, Howard Dean raised the bar, but he had a
presidential campaign and an unforgettable, parody perfect moment
behind him. Yet Michael Steele has been chair of the Republican Party
all of 42 days, and he's already the punchline of Saturday Night Live
humor. All Dean had was one YEEEEAH! but already Steele's given us hip
hop Republicans, the buzzer controlled by Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann
saying "you be da man"... oh, the laughs. How many late night comedy
fans can even name Tim Kaine?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Iowa Independent: Atalissa causes tempers to flare in governor's office

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Rumors of Gov. Chet Culver's temper are nothing new, but according to Cityview gossip columnist Civic Skinny, the recent discovery of worker abuse at Henry's Turkey Service in Atalissa has pushed that temper into overdrive. The newspaper received an e-mail from "a friend under the Golden Dome" detailing a testy exchange between Culver and U.S Sen. Tom Harkin. Apparently Culver was upset at Harkin's comments at last week's hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee wondering how state inspectors had allowed the Atalissa situation "to go on year after year after year."

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Bleeding Heartland: Is the Big Lug in big trouble?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

There's a batch of poll data out from SurveyUSA, and it's bad news for the Big Lug. Governor Culver doesn't break even in the poll of 600 adults. 47% of voters surveyed said they disapprove of Gov. Culver's performance as governor, with 46% approving, and 7% not sure. What's particularly troubling is that Culver only has support from 59% of Democrats surveyed and 41% of self-identified independents. Separate polls found that Sen. Grassley edges out Sen. Harkin as the state's most popular politician. Grassley carried a 71% approval rate, with Harkin ten points behind at 61%.

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The Iowa Republican: Iowa Christian Alliance kicks-off their 2009 efforts

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

More than 350 people turned out for the Iowa Christian Alliance's 2009 spring kick-off event last night. The event was held at the Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights. This was the first time the event was held at Walnut Creek, in previous years the event had been held at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee. The featured speaker was former Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen. McEwen is a champion of Pro-Family policies and is an out-spoken defender of freedom and personal liberties. McEwen told those in attendance, "There are only two political philosophies. The first trusts individuals to be free to invent their own standard of living and engage in enterprise."

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John Deeth Blog: What's Your Shade Of Green?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Interesting article at Worldchanging that argues there's really three different types of environmentalism going on: bright green, light green and dark green. Shorthand definitions: Bright green: "any vision of sustainability which does not offer prosperity and well-being will not succeed." This reminded me of Rep. Jay Inslee's book, Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy. "Light greens strongly advocate change at the individual level. The thinking is that if you can get people to take small, pleasant steps (by shopping differently, or making changes around the home), they will not only make changes that can begin to make a difference in aggregate, but also begin to clamor for larger transformations."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Choice of doctor debate reveals Republican hypocrisy

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Iowa Republicans are mobilizing against House File 530, which would
allow employees to select their own doctor in case of a workplace
injury. The workers' compensation reform has already cleared a
subcommittee (over the objections of its Republican member) and will
be discussed at a public hearing tonight at 7 pm at the capitol. Iowa
GOP chairman Matt Strawn held a press conference on the issue
yesterday in Davenport, and most statehouse Republicans agree with the
business interests working hard to defeat the bill. Opponents claim
the bill would let injured workers go "doctor-shopping," even though
the text states clearly that workers would have to designate a
personal physician before any injury occurs.

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The Iowa Republican: Doctor shopping bill passes out of committee, but what's next?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Many have deemed this week "labor week" in the Iowa House of
Representatives. Last night some 40 Iowans spoke out at a public
forum. Following the forum, the bill quickly passed out of the House
Labor Committee. The bill is expected to be debated on the floor of
the House on Friday if Democrats can find the 51 votes needed to pass
it. Democrat leaders in the House might have a hard time finding the
necessary votes to move forward with the bill. It is rumored that as
many as ten Democrats oppose the legislation. If that is indeed the
case, it will be another embarrassing loss for the labor unions who
have yet to see one of their legislative priorities be signed into
law.

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Herd on the Hill: Retirees and your community

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Yesterday, Senate File 291 passed and is on its way to the House. The
bill calls for the Department of Elder Affairs to create a "certified
retirement community" program that would encourage retirees to make
their home in Iowa. The program is also supposed to aid in rural
economic development. There are no costs associated with the bill
unless a community pays for the certification. Yesterday this was our
quote of the day and it is worth repeating: "If a community can
attract a retired person, that is the equivalent of attracting
three-and-a-half manufacturing jobs to that community." Senator Daryl
Beall, D-Fort Dodge. Since when do retired citizens equate to any
manufacturing jobs? Retirees don't work -- that's what retirement is!

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: On the budget, legislators are scorpions

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

...Voters often tell politicians to "put partisanship aside and just do
the right thing." In putting together a budget, legislators aren't
driven by ideology... they are driven by their nature: they make
trade-offs to benefit the districts they represent. Senator Ben Nelson
supported "card check" in 2007...the proposal to end secret balloting
when employees decide whether or not to unionize. Now he's unsure.
Why? He and other Democrats are making trade-offs on the
budget... Nelson is unhappy that the President wants to end federal
support for private lending. A company which provides such lending to
students happens to be within Nelson's district.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Redistricting 2011: Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

At Daily Kos, I've been posting a series of diaries taking an early
look at redistricting after the 2010 Census in each state. ... The
redistricting process in Iowa should be among the least contentious in
the nation, with an independent commission redrawing the lines. Of
course, Iowa is expected to lose a seat in reapportionment, bringing
its total down to four (for a Midwestern state that once had 11
districts, it is quite a sobering development to now be on par with
Nevada, Utah, and Kansas in population). Mapmakers last had to
eliminate a seat after the 1990 Census, and back then they opted to
pit freshman Republican Rep. Jim Nussle against Democratic Rep. Dave
Nagle in a competitive eastern Iowa district. It is widely assumed
that their solution this round will be a race between Dem Leonard
Boswell of Des Moines and Republican Tom Latham of Ames, and my map
reflects that conventional wisdom.

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The Iowa Republican: Gerrymandering!

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

My liberal friends over at Bleeding Heartland are trying to predict
what Iowa's congressional map is going to look like for the 2012
campaigns. Before I totally destroy their proposal, I would like to
point out that this usually takes a lot of time and effort to do.
Krusty Kudos to them. Now let's compare their map, to the one I
created back on January 6th. Just more proof that I'm always setting
the agenda in the Iowa blogosphere... The rules of the game: The Iowa
Code requires that districts have a population as nearly equal as
practicable to the ideal population for a congressional district in
the plan. Specifically, the Code provides that the deviation
percentage variance for any congressional district in a redistricting
plan shall not exceed 1 percent.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Iowa's hog problem: More than a Harkin earmark

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Tom Harkin has requested an earmark for the research of pig odor. The
article I link has been spread all over the world. A quick Google
check found pages of news about this earmark. One I clicked was at
Taiwan News. FOX News and other media outlets have covered the story.
Taxpayers and voters will look at this story as a way to criticize
pork spending, perhaps get a laugh. Iowans should not be laughing. I
am not here to debate if Harkin's one of many earmarks is worthy of
being put in the current spending bill. Instead, I wish to focus on
the Pork Industry in Iowa. If you pay attention while traveling almost
anywhere in Iowa you will see long buildings all over the Iowa
landscape. Many of these are hog confinement buildings owned by out of
state interests.

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Radio Iowa: McCoy: Gay marriage good for the economy

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines who is openly gay, has
introduced a bill which would rewrite Iowa laws to omit words like
"husband" or "wife" and insert "spouse" if the Iowa Supreme Court
upholds a district court judge's decision and gay marriage becomes
legal in Iowa. It's Senate File 353. I just interviewed McCoy at the
statehouse, and he concluded with this statement: "I think it's a
good bill and it's something that shouldn't be controversial. We
should just be thinking about how this is all going to work once Iowa
becomes a Mecca for gay marriage." I immediately asked a follow-up
question: "Will Iowa become a Mecca for gay marriage?" "Well, that's
what Chuck Hurley says," McCoy replied, adding, "I think it'd be good
for the economy."

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Blog for Iowa: Towards energy independence in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

... For those of us who opposed the construction of new coal fired power plants in Iowa, the road ahead is not as clear that the path we walked to raise awareness of our issues with coal power. The work of challenging coal power plants in Iowa and determining what will be our "baseload" remains unfinished. The proponents of the Marshalltown and Waterloo plants abandoned their plans more because of economic conditions than because of the noise we raised to call attention to them. These proposals will be back in some form, when economic conditions are more favorable, when the regulatory environment stabilizes, or when legislators can be persuaded to change the rules. ... If energy independence will be based on a large scale solution, closely regulated by the government, then the electrical grid will need re-making.

The Iowa Republican: Endangered species

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

... With the inability of Democrats to pass pro-union legislation in the Iowa House of Representatives, the practice of recruiting moderate candidates may be a thing of the past. On this past weekend's Iowa Press, Ken Sagar the president of the Iowa Federation of Labor and Treasurer of the Iowa Democratic Party sent a clear warning to the six house Democrats who voted against prevailing wage legislation late last month. When asked if there will be some primaries next year, Sagar said, "I think we're clearly going to look closely at those people who have supported us and we'll look closely at some of the others." ... In 2008, the Iowa Democratic Party spent $41,512.42 on behalf of Rep. McKinley Bailey's re-election effort. Sources say that the Democratic Party sunk another $100,000.00 into his race the final week before the election. Iowa Democrats also spent $232,781.28 in getting Rep. Larry Marek elected last fall. With Sagar's comments, along with the fact that his hands are firmly on the purse strings of the Iowa Democratic Party, pro-business Democrats like Bailey and Marek could be left out to dry if they face a tough opponent in 2010.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Iowa Independent: Harkin ranks 8th for earmarks in spending bill

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin ranks 8th among senators in the value of
earmarks he won in the 2009 omnibus spending bill, according to
Taxpayers for Common Sense. The non-partisan watchdog organization
identified 8,570 disclosed earmarks totaling $7.7 billion in the
spending bill currently in the Senate. Harkin is solely responsible
for 56 earmarks totaling nearly $67 million. When earmarks sponsored
with other senators are added to the total, Harkin ranks 5th on the
list, with 177 earmarks totaling $292 million Republican Sen. Charles
Grassley ranks 76th on the individual list but rockets to 11th when
earmarks sponsored with other senators are included. Grassley helped
win inclusion of 119 earmarks totaling nearly $120 million.

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Herd on the Hill: Power plant goes down before it's even built

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Today it was announced that Alliant Energy will not
move forward with their plans to build a $1.8 billion coal plant in
Marshalltown. The Iowa Utilities Board set too much red tape around
the facility being built. Iowa currently receives 76% of it's power
from coal plants and because of that, rates in the state are some of
the lowest in the nation. Those in support of the Marshalltown power
plant have argued that another coal-fired plant is needed in order to
bring more accessible power to the state. A larger power base will be
more attractive to businesses as they explore moving to Iowa. And at a
time when everyone seems to be talking about bringing jobs to the
state, the IUB and with no help from the Governor, this plant plan has
died.

Bleeding Heartland: Legislators, show engaged citizens some common courtesy

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

During the caucus campaign, one of my pet peeves was the tendency for
Iowa voters to complain about all those phone calls and knocks on the
door. When volunteers care enough about the direction of this country
to advocate for their candidates, and all they are trying to do is
engage you politically, the least you can do is be courteous. People
in many other states would love to have as much influence over the
presidential nominating process as Iowans have. Similarly, politicians
who sought out the opportunity to represent Iowans in the state
legislature should not complain when engaged citizens contact them for
a cause they believe in.

Iowa Insider: And it's not even barbecue season yet ...

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are calling a proposed tax
increase on propane a "backyard barbecue" tax. "This General Assembly
just keeps finding more ways to take money out of people's pockets,"
said Rep. Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City. He opposed the measure,
which was approved by the House Commerce Committee Thursday. The
proposal -- which would double the levy on a gallon of propane to
two-tenths of a cent -- would pay for energy efficiency efforts.
Democrats took the ribbing in stride. "A fire burns in my heart to tax
barbecues," joked Rep. McKinley Bailey, a Webster City Democrat who
supported the measure.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Distractions? Or are Democrats really this stupid?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I don't really know what to make of House Democrats filing two Labor
Union bills yesterday. One of the bills, HF 530 would allow union
workers to choose their own doctor if they get injured on the job. The
other is the most contentious bill they could file, HF 555. HF 555
requires non union members to pay union dues. Talk about un-American.
I think there is a good possibility that the Democrats move on the
choice of doctor legislation. Like prevailing wage, it's an issue that
they can spin as pro-worker pretty easily. ... I have a feeling that the
Fair Share bill is another distraction, just like the bicycle bill and
the Electoral College bill was over in the Senate.

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Bleeding Heartland: Saving the Electoral College will not keep Iowa relevant

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Both Governor Chet Culver and Secretary of State Mike Mauro have now
come out against a bill that would award Iowa's electoral votes to the
winner of the nationwide popular vote. Their opposition in effect
kills any chance of the bill advancing. Although it has been voted out
of committee in the Iowa Senate, it may never come to a floor vote
there or a committee vote in the Iowa House. I don't know what so many
people have against one person, one vote for president, just like we
have for every other elected office. ... If the governor wants to buy
into Republican propaganda about this bill, fine. But let's not
pretend Iowa is bound to be a swing state forever.

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Politically Speaking: Let's get out of here early

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

As this session of the Iowa Legislature nears the two-month mark,
there's some thought being given to having an early shutdown. With the
economy sluggish at best, some editorialists in early January told the
lawmakers to pass a budget and get out. That might happen now before
the scheduled 110th day on May 1, which is when the per diems for
lawmakers run out. Shutting down early would save money, perhaps $30K
per day. The next big important date on the 2009 session timetable is
the March 13 "funnel," the final date for which
non-appropriation-related bills must be out of a House or Senate
committee to be considered. How soon in advance of May 1 the lawmakers
could be done is uncertain, but the legislative leaders are pondering
a shortened session.

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Price of Politics: Steve Rathje for Congress

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

Steve Rathje is apparently thinking about trying again to make his way
to Congress. Rathje failed to win the Republican primary last year to
earn the right to take on Tom Harkin for his U.S. Senate seat. Rathje
confirmed to me he is forming an explorating committee to look at
running for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by
Democrat Dave Loebsack. I remember Rathje as the one Republican
candidate who declined to appear in the Polk County Republicans'
senate primary debate last year on Iowa Public TV that was televised
statewide. This week Rathje sent out this message to friends on the
Facebook website: "We've formed the exploratory committee and I am
focused on bringing you the most useful information that I can to
ensure that you are the most informed voter you can be."

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Battleground Iowa: Chester's frenemy Gronstal gives him the political finger one more time

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

There has been a lot of people up in arms over the proposal backed by
some Democrats to mandate that all of Iowa's electoral votes go to the
winner of the nation-wide popular vote. I heard a very interesting
discussion of this issue the other day on a certain local talk radio
program, you know the one... the one no one admits listening to, but
everyone does. Anyhoo, some of the callers argued that the Democratic
proposal really wouldn't change much. If we go with the new proposal,
Iowa's say in the presidential general election will be based on
population. It's really not that different from the old electoral
college system, with which Iowa's say was based on population because
our number of congressional representatives is based on population.

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Essential Estrogen: To be first, or not to be first. That really is the question

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

University of Iowa Iowa State University economist David Swenson took
a close look at the spending of the presidential hopefuls in the final
two quarters of 2007 -- those months in the lead-up to the Iowa
Caucus. What he found was the contenders from the two prominent
political parties spent $15.55 million in Iowa during the 3rd and 4th
quarters. While I would agree that this is a massive figure, the truth
is that the candidates didn't spend the most in Iowa, despite the
caucuses. The most money of all was spent in Virginia. The District of
Columbia, California, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania all garnered
more of the candidates' dollars than did Iowa.

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Radio Iowa: What reserves?

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Last Friday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines)
suggested the Board of Regents (the board that governs Iowa, Iowa
State and UNI) dip into reserves rather than raise tuition to deal
with the latest round of state budget cuts. At this hour, the
presidents of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the
University of Northern Iowa are supposed to be appearing before a
budget subcommittee at the statehouse to talk about their budgets. ...
As the entourage began its move upstairs to the committee room, I
asked Miles a question: "What reserves do (the Regents institutions)
have?" "I've been visiting with the institution heads about it this
morning," Miles said. "We're going to get a report back from all of
them tomorrow so that we have everything in terms of a line item, but
the high level answer is what reserves we have are not freely
available."

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Bleeding Heartland: More details on highway stimulus funds coming to Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The White House released detailed information today on the $28 billion
the stimulus bill directs toward highway construction. According to a
press release (sorry, no link), the highway spending will "lead to
150,000 jobs saved or created by the end of 2010." An estimated 95,000
jobs would come from the "direct impact of building new roads and
fixing old ones," while 55,000 jobs would come from "the economic
activity generated when these new workers spend more than they would
have otherwise." ... This page at Recovery.gov has a map you can use to
see how much money in highway funds will go to individual states. Iowa
is slated to receive about $358 million, of which about $240 million
can be used in any part of the state.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: Governor Culver succumbs to pressure on private e-mail accounts

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

After two years of thumbing his nose at open records advocates Iowa
Governor Chet Culver has finally succumbed to the pressure. For the
first two years of his term Culver and his lieutenant governor Patty
Judge refused to use their state provided email accounts for
government business. Instead the terrible twosome opted to use private
email accounts for all of their business, both state and personal.
Finally Culver and Judge are going to start regularly using their
state provided email accounts to conduct official business. According
to the Des Moines Register Iowa law forbids state computers and email
to be use for political and personal. Supposedly this is the law that
Culver and Judge were using their private email account to avoid
violating.

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John Deeth Blog: Republicans all out against national popular vote

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

We know the vote broke on mostly partisan lines in the state Senate
government committee last week, but not it seems to be a matter of
party policy. ... I'm trying not to repeat myself too much, but this
just seems so fundamental: The person with the most votes should win.
It would be better if the Constitution actually said so. But National
Popular Vote is a nice stopgap. If big states want National Popular
Vote, it will pass without Iowa. The caucuses, not the electoral
votes, are what makes Iowa important. I think this is residual
Bush-defending. Just as a lot of Dems saw presidential term limits as
a slap at FDR's memory in 1947, perhaps Republicans see National
Popular Vote as retroactive revenge for the butterfly ballot.

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Constitution Daily: Too big to fail

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

Every time I hear or see another report of AIG (and others) being too
big to fail, I think of Tony Mandarich. Maybe only a Packer fan would
remember Mandarich. But Tony was a Michigan State Spartan in the late
80s that was deemed the greatest offensive lineman ever. Ever. The
Packers took the "Incredible Bulk" with the second overall pick
(behind Troy Aikman). Most scouts, fans, and especially the Packers
coaches knew that Mandarich was too big to fail. ... Is AIG too big to
fail? Are any of the other banks, insurers, car makers, etc. ... too big
to fail? After a $787 billion stimulus and $700 billion in bailouts
with more to come, plenty has been shelled out by the taxpayers to
grease the skids. AIG reportedly lost over $60 billion in the 4th
quarter and so the bailout geniuses are sending another $30 billion to
prop them up.

Essential Estrogen: The true mark of a non-leader

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Have you ever noticed how you can walk in to almost any meeting and
quickly determine who among those present is the group's leader?
People tend to glance at leaders, to take their cues from them. Before
deciding how to vote on an issue, whether to cause an uproar in a
discussion, or how fiercely to oppose a measure, followers look to
leaders. No matter who stands behind the podium, or who has the
loudest voice, a leader's comment will be greeted by a dignified
silence. That is, whether you agree with the person or not, you
realize that what that person says will have value and impact on your
own actions.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Krusty Konservative: I'm out of here!

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

This past Thursday was the 3rd anniversary of Krusty Konservative. Usually I make a big deal out of such things and toss around some of my stats. As I've said on past occasions, I'm always amazed at the number of people who read this blog and participate in the comment section. Your participation has meant a lot to me over the years and has kept me going. As we enter year three, you will notice a significant change, as I will no longer be blogging on this site. As some of may have noticed, I've experienced a number of difficulties with blogger in the last few months. While blogger has been a great free service, it's time to find a better home for Krusty. Starting on Wednesday, my new home will be on TheIowaRepublican.com. What? You thought I was hanging it up again? Never, I'm having too much fun.

Price of Politics: Harkin interviewing Democrats for U.S. Attorney

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is apparently doing a little interviewing during his weekend in Des Moines. A source close to the senator confirms Harkin is interviewing Democrats so he can soon make his recommendation for the person who should take over as the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. Matt Whitaker holds the post now. But, as a Republican who now finds himself working under a Democratic president, he knows his days are numbered.

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Hawkeye Review: Iowa's formula for rural growth: Part 2

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

We can do the following to reawaken rural growth: 1) Reform and refocus the Iowa Values Fund, ... 2) Create a Rural Entrepreneurship Fund. ... 3) Support existing businesses' growth. The Rural Entrepreneurship Fund should support the expansion and generational transition of rural businesses. ... 4) Commit to bring high-speed Internet to communities of all size. ... 5) Recruit young educated people to rural areas. Contrary to popular myth that puts every hip young person in urban centers, 1 in 5 young, college-educated movers goes to rural areas. Focusing on these type of people, who usually are committed to communities, can help our smaller towns "buzz" with energy and activity for the next generation.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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