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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Culver appoints Elderkin to Power Fund, La Seur to Environmental Protection Commission

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I love it! Governor Chet Culver announced four appointments today:
Shearon Elderkin for the Iowa Power Fund board; Carrie La Seur for the
Environmental Protection Commission; John Mathes as the Interim
Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home; and Tomas Rodriguez as Iowa's
State Public Defender. ... Earlier this month Iowa Senate Republicans
blocked Elderkin's appointment to the EPC and La Seur's appointment to
the Power Fund board, despite both women's strong qualifications. I
appreciate the governor's commitment to giving these women the chance
to continue their volunteer public service. Republicans also rejected
Gene Gessow, Culver's nominee to head the state Department of Health
and Human Services. It will be interesting to see where Gessow lands.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Wall of Shame for Matt Strawn?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I wrote an earlier post criticizing Matt Strawn and the RPI's lack of
action in regards to the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of
Marriage Act. It seemed to me that this issue exploded the grassroots
and the activists while bringing out warriors in the Republican
political class. Instead of capitalizing on this renewed enthusiasm
of the people and highlighting the politicians who were taking a
principled stance, we heard crickets chirping from the RPI. In fact,
in the last two Chairman Reports Mr. Strawn did not even mention the
fight for traditional marriage which happens to be one the top planks
in the Republican Party Platform. As you know, IDA has something
called the Wall of Shame and we were wondering if we should place Matt
Strawn on this wall for his lack of conviction on the marriage
subject.

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The Iowa Republican: Congressman King: "The specter of Toomey chased Specter from the Republican Party"

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is finished with the Republican
Party. Yesterday, the fifth longest serving Senator in the Senate
announced that he is switching parties and will run for re-election as
a Democrat. His move to the Democrat Party, coupled with a likely Al
Franken victory via the courts in Minnesota, will give Democrats a
filibuster-proof 60 seat majority in the United States Senate.
Political pundits from across the country have begun to weigh in on
the political impact of Senator Specter's decision. As one would
expect, it didn't take long for the media to paint Specter's switch as
a serious blow to the GOP and another sign that the Republican Party
is only focused on social issues.

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John Deeth Blog: All Specter all the time

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

I'm in six days to election busy mode so haven't had as much time to
dig into the Specter stuff (or for that matter the end of the
Legislative session) as I'd like. With all my rambling on seniority I
can't believe I missed the Tom Harkin angle, but Bleeding Heartland
has it covered. And apparently Vice President Joe is the guy who made
this happen, with five years of serious work and groundwork going all
the way back to the Robert Bork hearings. Biden is more a Man Of The
Senate than any VP since LBJ; you don't spend 36 years in an
institution like that without leaving some mark. And now it seems
Biden may have even more influence on the Senate than Johnson did, in
part because he's been just deferential enough (whereas LBJ tried to
keep running the Senate and was quickly shot down.)

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Returning to sanity

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

After all the talk from some unelected folks on the radio, how many
county recorders ignored the Supreme Court's ruling and refused to
offer licenses to same sex couples? According to the most current
count by the Des Moines Register, there were zero refusals and 47
counties complying with the ruling. The other 52 counties didn't have
any gay couples requesting a license. So now we have gay marriage in
Iowa… just as most of us thought we would. Now we must help our
leaders get us back on track. We have some great conservative minds at
all levels of government in Iowa. We need the leadership and the
up-and-comers in the Iowa House and Senate but we also need Latham and
King to lend their services and strategy expertise.

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John Deeth Blog: Specter joins Dems

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the
Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than
200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to
become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with
Democrats than Republicans." ... So welcome aboard, Senator Specter.
You're one of us now, and we expect you to vote accordingly. Another
way this gets us closer to 60: without a new Senate organizing
resolution, Specter keeps his committee seats -- seats which come out
of the GOP's share. And the Democrats could put a big condition on
that re-organizing resolution: seating Senator Franken. Specter
referred to Reagan's big tent, and while he doesn't explicitly say
that the big tent is Obama's now his action says so loudly.

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Bold Color Conservative: Benedict Specter makes the switch

Excerpted from this post at Bold Color Conservative

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has decided to switch from the GOP
to the Democrat party. Not that we'll miss him much, but the switch
gives Dems 59 votes in the Senate. Barely a month ago Spector said,
"I'm staying a Republican because I think I have a more important role
to play there. I think the United States very desperately needs a
two-party system. ... And I'm afraid that we're becoming a one-party
system..." But Specter's switch effectively ends two-party rule in
America as Republicans can no longer stop legislation in the Senate.
Should Al Franken successfully complete his theft of Norm Coleman's
Senate seat in Minnesota, then Dems will have a filibuster-proof
majority of sixty votes in the Senate.

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24-Hour Dorman: Breaking: Legislature adjourns

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Yeah, I know it's been at least three full sleep cycles since the
Iowa Legislature adjourned early Sunday morning, ending an
around-the-clock vigil commemorating the death of good, open daytime
government. Zombies, not Democrats, actually controlled the
Legislature in the final hours, according to my sources. Which
explains that huge tax break for the undead tucked into the standings
bill. For the first time in 11 years, I did not cover any of the
legislative session in person. Like most Iowans, I watched from afar.
Unlike most Iowans, I paid attention. So I feel obligated to offer my
late, long-distance analysis.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: So far, so good on first day for marriage equality in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

As of midday on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa had not heard of any same-sex couples having problems obtaining a marriage license in Iowa. Iowa Independent reported today that "marriage applications have been received in Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Dallas, Dubuque, Fayette, Floyd, Fremont, Grundy, Guthrie, Howard, Linn, Mitchell, Pottawattamie, Polk, Harrison, Johnson, Mills, Winneshiek, Woodbury and Worth counties." Various local media are covering the story from outside county office buildings or courthouses, and I haven't seen any reports of disorderly conduct. Some couples have already been married, having received a judge's permission to waive the normal three-day waiting period before marriage.

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John Deeth Blog: Johnson County marriage licenses outnumber petitions

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Having spent most of the day at ground zero of the Gaypocalypse, I am
pleased to report that the world did not end, my hetero marriage is as
good as ever, and I boldly predict the sun will rise tomorrow. The
Register is reporting roughly 18,000 signatures on anti-marriage
equality petitions ("that amounts to less than 1 percent of the
state’s population") and 386 same sex marriage licenses today. In
Johnson County: more marriage licenses (46) than objections (17
signatures). I love the People's Republic. Pottawattamie can claim the
same distinction, thanks to Nebraskans.

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The Iowa Republican: What will be the major issues of 2010?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

With marriage licenses being issued to gay couples all across Iowa,
political pundits and strategists have begun to discuss what the
political ramifications will be for candidates in 2010 and beyond.
Since the Iowa Supreme Court's decision on April 3rd, the issue of gay
marriage has been front and center in Iowa, and it is expected to
remain there for quite some time. While it is safe to say that gay
marriage will be an issue in next year's elections, the 18 months
between now and Election Day represents a lifetime in politics. In the
most recent presidential election, Sen. John McCain was able to win
the Republican nomination mainly because the surge in Iraq was
successful. McCain was the main advocate for the strategy, and thus
was rewarded for it.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Final results from the Iowa Legislature's 2009 session

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Iowa House adjourned for the year a little after 5 am today, and
the Iowa Senate adjourned a few minutes before 6 am. I'll write more
about what happened and didn't happen in the next day or two, but I
wanted to put up this thread right away so people can share their
opinions. Several major bills passed during the final marathon days in
which legislators were in the statehouse chambers nearly all night on
Friday and Saturday. The most important were the 2010 budget and an
infrastructure bonding proposal. Legislators also approved new
restrictions on the application of manure on frozen or snow-covered
ground.

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New Generation Republican: Final wrap up of session

Excerpted from this post at New Generation Republican:

Overview: As your state senator, I was your voice in Des Moines this
session and I thank those that that sent e-mails and called concerning
their thoughts and opinions on the many issues we worked through. I
received a lot of great advice from Northwest Iowa. ... Good Policy
Created this Session: Sex Offender Legislation. This bill makes
changes to Iowa’s sex offender laws in order to comply with the
Federal Adam Walsh Act and to strengthen sex offender law against the
worst offenders. The bill repeals the 2000 law for some sex offenders
but retains it for the worst offenders in addition to adding greater
restrictions against all sex offenders.

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John Deeth Blog: Ecection exception in new sex offender law

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The most unenforceable aspects of the 2000 foot sex offender zone are
finally going away once Governor Culver signs Senate File 340 (which
he's said he will). Instead of focusing on where offenders live, the
new law will focus on where they can be. The bill aims to keep
offenders 300 feet away from schools, libraries and other such
facilities. Only the most serious offenders will still be under the
2000 foot restriction which has concentrated sex offenders into the
tiny handful of places where it was legal for them to live. There's a
few reasonable exceptions, one of which went unreported: On election
day, and offender may go to their polling place if it's in a school
"solely for the period of time reasonably necessary to exercise the
right to vote in a public election."

Iowa Guy 2.0: It's almost here

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Guy 2.0

Monday morning, for the first time in Iowa's history, same-sex couples
will be able to apply for marriage licenses all across the state. This
is a momentous day and one that will be celebrated by many people
statewide. ... But there are those who would try to take away our
rights. Already, religious bigots from out of state are rallying
people to put pressure on their legislators. They are well-organized
and well-funded. They want to bring Iowa its own version of
Proposition 8 and make discrimination a part of our constitution just
like they did in California. The Supreme Court decision was quite
clear: this ruling is about civil marriage and has no affect on
religious marriage.

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Blog for Iowa: Another reason to not like CAFOs - Swine flu

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

Industry calls these massive compounds "confined animal feeding
operations," or CAFOs (KAY-fohs), though most people know them simply
as "factory farms." ... Officials from the CDC and USDA will likely
arrive in Mexico soon to help investigate the deadly new influenza
virus that managed to jump from pigs to people in a previously unseen
mutated form that can readily spread among humans. One of the first
things they will want to look at are the hundreds of industrial-scale
hog facilities that have sprung up around Mexico in recent years, and
the thousands of people employed inside the crowded, pathogen-filled
confinement buildings and processing plants.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Gay marriage: The war begins

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Iowa conservatives are trying to find a creative way to force a vote
on a marriage amendment to the Iowa Constitution before the
legislative session concludes, which could now come at any time.
Others, including WHO Radio talk show host Steve Deace, don't think
that the Republicans in the Senate have done all they can since they
have not made a motion to suspend the Senate rules and force the
Democrats' hand. State Senator Merlin Bartz and the Iowa Family Policy
Center are encouraging county recorders not to issue marriage licenses
to same-sex couples on Monday when the Supreme Court opinion become
effective on Monday.

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Radio Iowa: Former high school teacher & coach, times two

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Iowa Governor Chet Culver often reminds audiences that he is a former
teacher and coach. Bob Vander Plaats was a Republican candidate for
governor in 2002 and 2006; he was the GOP's lieutnenant governor
nominee in 2006 and he is a likely candidate for governor in 2010.
Vander Plaats is also a former teacher and coach. (Vander Plaats also
played on the first boy's basketball team from his high school
(Sheldon) to reach the state tournament.) Today, Vander Plaats held a
statehouse news conference to again urge Governor Chet Culver to issue
an executive order on the gay marriage issue. Culver's deputy chief
of staff, Phil Roeder, issued a statement in response. Governor
Culver, during an improptu news conference following a bill signing
ceremony in his office, had this to say in response to a question
about Vander Plaats' statements today.

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Coralville Courier: Asking taxpayers to "prevent" Mother Nature is foolhardy

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

Johnson County has been hit hard by Mother Nature in recent years and
make no mistake it will happen again. Remember the flood of 1993? It
caused millions of dollars in damage. In knee-jerk reaction, millions
of taxpayer dollars in flood mitigation projects for the area were
spent. That worked out well didn't it? Not thinking things through and
getting it right cost us. So now as a result of the 2008 flood and
under the guise of "solving Mother Nature," local government is
hurriedly trying to slap you with a Mother Nature tax. I've heard
Coralville city councilors like Tom Gill tell us that they want to
move forward with flood mitigation projects with arrogant lines like,
"It has been decided to solve the problem once and for all."

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iowa Independent: King, NOM polling eastern Iowans

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Eastern Iowa residents have received a telephone poll on same-sex
marriage in which caller ID shows the same Washington, D.C. phone
number, several recipients tell the Iowa Independent. In some cases,
the first voice on the recorded call is U.S. Rep. Steve King
(R-Kiron). Similar calls were reported in central Iowa last week.
Residents have reported that their caller ID reads "FRNKCMPN" or
"WASHINGTON, D.C." along with the phone number 202-461-3452. In some
cases, the caller is a representative of the National Organization for
Marriage, a conservative group against same-sex marriage. In other
cases, however, the call begins with a welcome message from King.

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John Deeth Blog: How come u don't call me anymore part 2

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Last week it was just Crazy Ed, but this week: "House Majority Leader
Kevin McCarthy blamed the governor as activity ground to a halt in the
House, days before the Legislature was expected to adjourn." ... So
Liebercrat Kevin McCarthy is saying roughly the same thing as Ed
Fallon. That pretty much covers the whole spectrum of the Democratic
Party (with the exception of DINO's Geri Huser and Dolores Mertz).

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The Iowa Republican: Doug Burns -- Attempting candidate recruitment

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

There are only a few journalists at the local level I can't stand and
Doug Burns is one of them. ... As Doug always does, he includes numerous
insults and negative comments about King in his article. But Doug's
main point, or fantasy, is for Ashton Kutcher to move back to Iowa and
run against King... Because King is Doug's personal punching bag. If you
do find the article, you will likely get an awkward feeling when
reading Doug's words. You won't be able to put your finger on it right
away, but after a few articles you will know the only word to describe
Doug's one-way relationship with King -- pitiful.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Leadership... a study of contrasts

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Governor Culver is on a legislative "fishing trip" and when it comes
to his Republican "catch," the stringer is very, very empty. Thanks to
the real-time technology afforded by Twitter, your publisher was aware
of the communications breakdown between the Governor and Democrat
leaders almost 48 hours before this information hit the state's news
outlets, newspapers and blogs. I reported on this early yesterday and
then the story broke wide open in the Des Moines Register. Leadership
is a uniting principle between groups of disunited interests. It
provides vision, clarity and true leaders have a unique ability to
cast "visions" and then build coalitions of support.

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John Deeth Blog: Bartz urges breaking the law

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

With Republican legislative efforts to attach gay marriage amendments
as non-germane riders to must-pass legislation, opponents are now
trying to stop marriage equality with civil disobedience. State
Senator Merlin Bartz is urging county recorders to break the law
they're sworn to uphold and encouraging an astroturf petition effort
by the Iowa Family Policy Center. But one leading recorder says she
expects her colleagues to follow the Supreme Court's ruling in Varnum
v. Brien and begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples on
Monday. The petitions urge recorders "to refuse to issue marriage
licenses to same sex couples on April 27th, 2009, and every day after,
until such conflict between the Supreme Court's opinion and the law
(sic) is addressed by a VOTE OF THE PEOPLE OF IOWA."

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Hawkeye GOP: Only Nixon (or Jim Leach) could go to China ...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

Only Nixon could go to China ... In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered
Country, Mr. Spock quotes this old Vulcan proverb. This morning WHO
radio reports that former 2nd District Republican congressman, Jim
Leach may be the next United States Ambassador to China. Of course, on
this blog, I have referred to Jim Leach as a RINO and a traitor.
(Congressman Leach is the only person I have ever called a RINO on
these pages.) In that post, I also noted that I know Jim Leach
personally to be an honest man and a gentleman. So I find myself in
the strange position of applauding Obama's choice (or potential
choice) of Jim Leach for Ambassador to China.

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Iowa Political Alert: Why Ashton Kutcher should run for Congress in Western Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Celebrity activist and new media pioneer Ashton Kutcher just beat CNN
in a race for 1 million followers on the Internet social networking
site Twitter. A suggested next challenge for the Iowa native: move
back to your home state - the western side, say Council Bluffs - and
run for the 5th Congressional District seat. As much as anyone in
America Kutcher has brilliantly blended fame with substance to create
an interactive organization that he's trained on fighting malaria and
child sex trafficking. An obvious new platform for the earnest Kutcher
would be a run for political office. And the place to do it would be
in heavily conservative western Iowa where U.S. Rep. Steve King,
R-Kiron, appears to have a Gordian knot on elections, anchored as he
is with an eye-poppingly reliable GOP vote in many northwest counties.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Time for another look at Culver's re-election chances

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

In January I went over some of Governor Chet Culver's strengths and
weaknesses looking ahead to the 2010 campaign. Click the link for the
analysis, but to make a long story short, I saw three big pluses for
the governor: 1. He's an incumbent. 2. Iowa Democrats have opened up a
large registration edge since Culver won the first time. 3. He has at
least $1.5 million in the bank. I saw his problem points as: 1. The
economy is lousy and could get worse before 2010. 2. The first midterm
election is often tough for the president's party. 3. Turnout will be
lower in 2010 than it was in the 2008 presidential election. 4.
Culver's campaign had a high burn rate in 2008, so may not have a
commanding war chest going into the next campaign.

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The Iowa Republican: Is Culver enticing a primary with Fallon?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Last Friday, I had a little fun with Ed Fallon and Governor Culver's
public tiff. Today I want to give that situation a more serious look.
There is something very serious going on between the Governor and his
former primary foe. Many people, including the Governor's staff, blew
Ed off by saying the guy just wants a state job. There is a good
chance that could very well be the case, but is that any way to treat
a guy who got almost 26% of the vote in a three-way primary with
almost no money just a few short years ago? It's not like Governor
Culver is some tower of invincibility. Culver is responsible for a
huge budget mess, tax and fee increases that hurt small business,
while at the same time, he has doled out millions of dollars to
out-of-state corporations like IBM, Microsoft, and Google in hopes
they will locate here.

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Politically Speaking: Where's that per diem?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

That will be on the minds of (some? all?) Iowa lawmakers tomorrow,
when the per diem expense money for serving in the Legislature runs
out at the end of the day. They receive $130 per day for the session,
but won't starting Wednesday, since 100 days have gone by. When the
per diem runs out, you can count on the adjournment to follow within a
matter of minutes. OK, days. Getting out early to save tens of
thousands of dollars didn't happen, and wrapping up this week still
involves setting the 2009-10 budget and acting on Gov. Chet Culver's
$700 million infrastructure bonding plan. That and other important
tasks will be more difficult to do in a quick fashion after many hours
will be lost Wednesday when lawmakers take in the presidential visit
by Barack Obama to Newton.

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Capitol Strategies: State agencies: No green-cleaning products for schools

Excerpted from this post at Capitol Strategies

The Green Cleaning Bill HF823 -- also one of McCarthy's leadership
bills -- will not be going forward this year. State Agencies
(Department of Public Health, Department of Education, and Department
of Administrative Services) that would be responsible for overseeing
the use green-cleaning products in public schools expressed concerns
about money and resources required to implement the initiative. The
cost-benefit ratio would have been very high. School children and
school staff across Iowa would no longer be subjected to toxic
cleaning products, while State Agencies would merely be required the
publish a list of green cleaning products on a state website.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Running out the clock

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

... As we enter into the final days of the legislative session, there are a number of big issues that are still stuck in limbo. Democrats have been going to vote on the elimination of federal deductibility for more than three weeks now. Last Friday, they let it be known that they only have 50 "yes" votes in the House, one less than is required for it to pass. Similarly, there are a host of labor bills that many thought were dead, but could be resurrected. ... The Democrats' procrastination and inability to get their own members to agree on their legislative agenda might force them to throw in the towel on a few of these issues and wait until next year. With each passing day, it seems more and more likely that the Democrats will pass their budget, will probably pass Culver's bonding proposal, and call it good and go home. If that indeed happens, this legislative session will have been a disaster for legislative Democrats and Culver.

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John Deeth Blog: How come u don't call me anymore: Fallon and Culver

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

In the small world of Iowa politics and journalism, "Chet Culver's not returning my calls" is not a unheard-of sentiment. What's unusual is that someone said it on the record. But what's not unusual was that the person who said it on the record was Ed Fallon. In a release issued to his email list and all media Thursday, Fallon denounced and detailed the governor's lack of responsiveness. ... Ed's many sins, if you want to call them that, are all variations on the same theme: he doesn't play ball. That's both his strength and his weakness. ... People either love Ed for that kind of stuff or hate him for it. It gets you a base between 26 and 40 percent in a primary, but it doesn't get your calls to the governor returned, and during his legislative tenure Fallon was one of the least popular members under the dome. ... But Fallon's uncompromising progressive streak is symbolic of a big chunk of the Democratic base that's often forgotten and needs to be part of the dialogue, whether that's in the person of Fallon or not.

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Bleeding Heartland: Governor Culver, please take your Democratic critics seriously

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

... I'm not privy to the conversations Fallon and Culver had, but I would encourage the governor's staff not to brush off Fallon's criticism as the outburst of a man who wanted a Terrace Hill job. You don't have to look hard to find Iowa Democrats who are disappointed with what's been achieved since Culver took office. Many labor activists feel the governor hasn't been supportive enough of their priorities. I don't think the governor is solely to blame for last year's mess surrounding the collective bargaining bill, and it's definitely not Culver's fault that there haven't been 51 votes in the 56-member Iowa House Democratic caucus to pass good labor bills this year. But rightly or wrongly, many people in the labor movement feel Culver hasn't been the champion they were looking for. By the same token, I've heard environmental-minded Democrats (not just Fallonistas) complain that Culver's office is less accessible than Governor Tom Vilsack's was. Some of these people prefer Culver's overall record to Vilsack's, but they don't meet as regularly with the governor or his staff, and they often don't know where Culver stands on a given issue.

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24-hour Dorman: Crowd counts and you

Excerpted from this post at 24-hour Dorman

There's been a fair amount of grumbling from the right about how the media somehow under-counted crowds at yesterday's tea party events. ... Based on my own experience, trying to count a crowd at political events is a no-win endeavor. No matter what, someone thinks you're wrong. The one hard and fast rule is that event organizers are the last people you ever want to ask for a crowd count. Ask a campaign staffer for a crowd count at a candidate rally, and you can be assured of hearing a vastly overestimated whopper. If you divide their estimates in half, you might be in the ballpark. ... I always tried to give an honest estimate. The idea that reporters are out there trying to downplay a story they're covering makes no sense to me. If anything, I had to fight the impulse is to make my event seem like a bigger deal than it really was.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hawkeye Review: The eleventh hour...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

I have a lot of friends in the Iowa Legislature. I like them. I admire
their dedication. But like a novice skier nearing the end of a
double-black ski run, this session now begs the question, "Will they
actually make it to the end, or crash and be hauled off the course on
a stretcher?" I'm speaking of the mad rush to accomplish
something... anything. They act as if they have not. I happen to think
that a balanced budget is something to cheer, as is disaster relief
(loud cheers from me, as the President of Corridor Recovery). But now
we near the end. Human nature is strong to believe wrongly this truth:
The eleventh hour propels otherwise rational people into thinking that
action is always better than inaction.

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Iowa Independent: Fallon lashes out at Culver

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former State Rep. Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines) has released a statement
through I'M For Iowa, his for-profit advocacy business, lashing out at
Gov. Chet Culver for not listening to his concerns. Culver defeated
Fallon in the Democratic primary for governor in 2006. The I'M For
Iowa press release alleges that Fallon and his group have contacted
Culver's office several times without responses, and that he has only
gotten to meet with the governor once. Fallon makes no mention of a
possible primary challenge to Culver in 2010, and it is not clear what
other means of leverage he might have on the governor. Still, he is
probably the highest-profile Democrat to make his concerns about
Culver public in such a direct way.

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FromDC2Iowa: Banks declare their bailout a success

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Cash, Credit, and Mortgage Foreclosures ... Things may not be quite as
bad as the Onion News Network portrays, but its report sure fingers
the problem -- as we'll explore in a moment, below. Let's see now, why
was it we were told we had to "right now, no questions asked or
answered, trust us" give billions of taxpayer dollars to some of
America's largest banks and their wealthy executives? Oh, yeah, the
suggestion was pretty heavy that ordinary taxpayers weren't
sophisticated enough to really understand, which is why we had to
leave the solutions to the guys who created the problem -- guys who
tend to rotate back and forth between Wall Street and the Treasury
Department.

Essential Estrogen: Editorial implies resolution of one inequity while continuing another

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Two days ago in downtown Cedar Rapids a diverse group gathered to
discuss what could be done about recent upticks in crime, especially
violent crime that appears to be perpetrated by juveniles. As in many
meetings and discussions of this sort, the topics of absent fathers
and single mothers were persistent concerns. Today, on the opinion
page of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the editorial board gives a brief
outline of the problem and their choices as to the most important
action items developed by the speakers. The Gazette editors are keenly
aware -- as are most area residents -- that such discussions need to
be balanced.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Nominees kneecapped

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

They're piling up Gov. Chet Culver's failed nominees like chord wood
at the Statehouse today. Before I even had my lunch, DHS director
nominee Eugene Gessow and Iowa Power Fund board nominee Carrie La Seur
of Mount Vernon had been shot down by Republicans who denied them
needed votes. Yesterday, Environmental Protection Commission nominee
Shearon Elderkin of Cedar Rapids failed to get the 34 Senate votes
needed for confirmation. Democrats control the chamber 32-18, so you
need a couple of Republican votes to make it. But La Seur also got a
pair of no votes from Democrats.

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Battleground Iowa: The gay master plan and liberal lies

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

There have been a few stories in the news lately that are really
eye-opening in regard to the liberals' tactics that they use to get
what they want. The Gay Strategy (and no, it's not a happy one): The
first was a nauseating feature story from the Washington Post about
the Lambda Legal lawyer from Illinois who has been plotting for seven
years to get gay marriage legalized in Iowa. They plotted, they
planned, and they waited for a time when they thought they'd have a
friendly court. They held town halls to discuss gay issues all over
Iowa, but the point was really to scout out the perfect plaintiffs.
And, they're doing the exact same thing in lots of other states at
this very minute. This is a published battle plan that every
conservative needs to read.

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John Deeth Blog: Iowa City tea party gets A for turnout, incomplete on message

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

What's it like being a liberal blogger at the Iowa City tea party?
It's taking your life into your hands. No, not because my conservative
friends would harm me. It's because the location on the Burlington
Street bridge was fraught with potential peril: four lanes of zooming
traffic that literally shook the bridge, a six inch wide center
walkway, and a raging dam below. Yet I have survived to tell the tale.
The tea party in "the San Francisco of Iowa" (as one speaker put it)
gets an A for effort but an incomplete on message. The A for effort
goes to a crowd of, my estimate, 300: the north side of the bridge
lined across the river, the south side maybe 3/4 full, all one person
deep (Deb Thornton was duly making sure the pedestrian traffic wasn't
blocked).

Politically Speaking: Grassley won't be surprised to get GOP challenger

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has long been a dependable Republican voice
in Washington, but he's now deemed not as valuable as he could be by
some in the Iowa Republican blogosphere. In an eye-opening move, he
didn't get a position in the Iowa delegation to the 2008 national
convention. Some are suggesting that a more conservative GOP candidate
could arise for the 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in which Grassley is
running for re-election. At the conclusion of his town hall meeting in
Onawa in a two-week tour of 33 Iowa counties, Grassley told me he
hasn't heard the names of any potential challengers, but he won't be
surprised to get a GOP opponent. Grassley hasn't had a primary since
his first U.S. senate win in 1980.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: Democrats postpone federal deductibility debate again

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Once again the people of Iowa have won a minor victory against the
Democrats controlling the state government. The debate on the highly
volatile issue of federal deductibility was scheduled to take place
this morning. However, after opponents of the legislation swarmed the
state house Democrats felt the dire need to postpone the debate once
again. Public opposition to House File 807 has grown tremendously over
the last several weeks. Part of this opposition must be credited to
Iowa's For Tax Relief President Ed Failor, Jr. due to his
organization efforts. He turned a massive surge of public disapproval
into a grassroots movement Iowa has rarely seen. As a result of this
organization Statehouse Democrats are feeling the heat of the
disappointed public.

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Bleeding Heartland: Brief memo to county recorders in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

No one who applies for a marriage license needs your blessing.
According to Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz, at least one of
you (or perhaps several of you) may be ready to resign rather than
issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We all can think of
marriages we disapprove of, but if your moral objections to marriage
equality render you unable to perform the duties of your job, by all
means resign. Filling a county government position with good benefits
is never a problem, especially in this economy. Rest assured, as much
as you dislike the idea of gays and lesbians getting married, people
like me dislike the idea of taxpayer dollars going to someone like
you.

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The Iowa Republican: Where do we go from here?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

In a matter of days, the Iowa legislature will adjourn and will not
return to Des Moines for another nine months. It is probably safe to
assume that the Iowa legislature will end their session on or before
Friday, April 24th, just before the first marriage licenses are
granted to same-sex couples that next Monday. We have seen a flurry of
rallies, speeches, and news stories about those of us who are opposed
to the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion that has opened the door to
same-sex marriage in Iowa. But, what happens when the State Capitol
goes from the bustling hub of political activity it is now to a quiet
and empty tourist attraction? How will the supporters of a
constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and
one woman continue to advocate for its passage?

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Iowa Independent: Rural broadband stimulus program faces increased scrutiny

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

We reported last month that a USDA program to expand rural broadband
access was set to receive billions of stimulus dollars despite its
less-than-perfect record of effectively spending money, revealed by an
Inspector General's report. Undeserving suburban communities were
getting loads of money to expand broadband to places that already had
it, and deeply rural towns that needed it were not getting it. Now, a
new Inspector General's report (PDF) reveals ongoing problems with the
way the Rural Utilities Service's broadband program hands out cash,
even now, and questions the program's worthiness of stimulus dollars.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Retribution, where is thy sting?

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Conservative firebrand Bill Salier spoke out at today's anti-gay
marriage rally at the Statehouse, according to Radio Iowa. He had a
message for lawmakers who don't go along on a constitutional
amendment. ... So then I started thinking, what happened to those brave
souls who opposed the constitutional ban when it failed in the
Republican-controlled Senate in 2004? They all must have been voted
out by now. The vote, incidentally, was on March 23, 2004, according
to the Senate Journal. You can look it up. By my own figuring, of the
25 senators who voted no, 19 are still serving in the Senate. All are
Democrats.

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The Iowa Republican: Rants rattles Democrats with marriage amendment

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

State Representative Christopher Rants is once again attempting to
attach an amendment to a piece of legislation that would define
marriage as the union between one man and one woman; this time the
language would only deal with Iowa's tax code. Tomorrow, the Iowa
House is scheduled to debate House File 807, the repeal of federal
deductibility. This week marks the third time that the Democrats have
attempted to move this piece of legislation, but opponents to the bill
have been successful in creating a number of road blocks that have
caused Democrats to go back to the drawing board more than once.

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Century of the Common Iowan: Is McCarthy going to leave the state Legislature?

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan

Iowa Independent had a story last week about Civic Skinny reporting
that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy might not run for reelection
in 2010. ... Civic Skinny says McCarthy has talked with Gov. Culver
about a job in his administration. When I first heard about this, I
thought McCarthy might be eyeing a run for Congress in Iowa's 3rd
district that is currently held by Leonard Boswell. This is all pure
speculation, but maybe McCarthy knows Boswell is going to retire.
McCarthy would be the logical choice of party insiders to be the
nominee.

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John Deeth Blog: Primarying Grassley? Naaah, just sending a message

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Political junkies love fantasy scenarios, clashes of the titans. The
ultimate fantasy is the old-fashioned brokered presidential
convention, but we've all grown older and wiser and wistful and
realistic about that. Next on the list is The Killer Primary: donkeys
and elephants eating their own, with ostensible differences in policy
but really about interpersonal drama and raw power. We had the primary
of a lifetime last year and we're jonesing for more. So we turn to...
Iowa Republicans? The rumblings on the right about primarying Chuck
Grassley won't lead to a serious challenge, but they do shed some
interesting light on the state of the GOP in 2009.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Dream scenario: A primary challenger for Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Angry social conservatives are speculating that Senator Chuck Grassley could face a primary challenge in 2010. The religious right has been dissatisfied with Grassley for a long time ... Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn denies that party activists are unhappy with Grassley. I hope Salier is right and Grassley gets a primary challenge, for reasons I'll explain after the jump. Before anyone gets too excited, I want to make clear that I don't consider Grassley vulnerable. His approval rating is around 71 percent (if you believe Survey USA) or 66 percent (if you believe Selzer and Associates). Either way, he is outside the danger zone for an incumbent. ... So why am I hoping a right-winger will take on Grassley in the Republican primary? Here's what I think would happen. 1. A conservative taking potshots at Grassley would intensify the struggle between GOP moderates and "goofballs" just when Iowa Republicans are trying to present a united front against Democratic governance. ... Every prominent Iowa Republican will have to take a position on the Senate primary, if there is one. I assume almost everyone will back Grassley, which would offend part of the GOP base.

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The Iowa Republican: Senator Grassley starting fires

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

This past weekend, Senator Grassley suffered a burn on his leg as a small brush fire at his farm in Butler County got out of control. Thankfully Grassley is okay, but he still has to tend to another fire of sorts - the one he ignited last week when he said that he would need a month or so to figure out where he stands on the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that purports to allow gay marriage in Iowa. Grassley also indicated that he might support civil unions rather than marriage for same-sex couples. Grassley is known for his awe-shucks demeanor, but on the issue of gay marriage, Iowans want to know where their elected officials stand, and many of Iowa's Republicans found his answer to be inadequate. ... Conservatives have already voiced their disappointment with Grassley on the gay marriage issue, and some have even insinuated that he could potentially face a primary challenge. While there have been whispers of someone running against Grassley in a primary for years, talking about it and actually doing it are two very different things. A primary campaign against Grassley would prove to be extremely difficult.

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John Deeth Blog: Equality if we can keep it, part 2: The Campaign

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Supporters of marriage equality are basking in the glow of victory now, and the legislative leadership has decided to uphold the Iowa constitution. But at some point the Iowa ballot may see a vote to take away equal marriage rights. ... So we need to figure out what to do when that day comes, and the hard lessons of California in 2008 can be useful. Start now. California saw massive protests and endless navel-gazing after Prop 8's win, which prompted the LA Times to ask, "Where were these marchers before the election? Like nearly every aspect of the fight against Proposition 8, the recent protests come too late to make a difference." ... As hard as it may be sometimes, don't alienate the middle of the roaders by calling opponents bigots (even if they are). ... We can't count on the coordinated campaign. Depending on the cycle, the state party will care more about the presidential or governor's race, and they'll definitely sell out marriage equality to keep the likes of Dolores Mertz and Geri Huser, who never vote with us when it really matters (as we saw yesterday when they voted with Republicans in a failed effort to move the inequality amendment to the House floor. That primary challenge to Huser last year was really a lost opportunity.)

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Essential Estrogen: Guest blog: Culver's silence speaks volumes

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

Governor Chet Culver's silence following the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling that marriage is an equal opportunity institution spoke volumes. Those troubled by the Court's decision would do well to listen to that silence. When he broke silence, the governor acknowledged that he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman. When a lifelong, deeply held and seemingly incontrovertible belief is confronted-unanimously-by a bench of our most respected and distinguished judges, the only responsible thing to do is slow down and take another, conscientious, look. That is what Governor Culver did. And that's why Chet gets it.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Equality if we can keep it, Part 1

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Varnum v. Brien is a beginning, not an end. It's a beginning of both a
new era of equality and a political shooting war. "A republic, if you
can keep it," said Franklin, and now we have equality if we can keep
it. As we engage the marriage debate in Iowa and define the terms of
debate, think back to the Kennedy years. In Engel v. Vitale in 1962,
the Supreme Court ruled against officially sponsored and organized
school prayer. In its way, that ruling was ahead of the curve of
public opinion as Varnum v. Brien is now. President Kennedy did not
denounce "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench."
Instead, he said: "We have in this case a very easy remedy, and that
is to pray ourselves."

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The Iowa Republican: The philosophy of Mike Gronstal

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

This past Monday, Senator Paul McKinley, the Republican Leader in the
State Senate, asked Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal if he would
allow his collogues in the Senate to vote on a measure that would let
the people of Iowa decide if they want gay marriage in or not. By now,
you have undoubtedly heard that Gronstal’s answer was a resounding no,
but his answer to Senator McKinley provided an unfiltered view on what
Gronstal really thinks about the people of Iowa. Gronstal doesn’t care
about the will of the people. When it comes to a massive $750 million
plan that will plunge the state into debt, Gronstal doesn't care that
71% of the people oppose it. The only thing that matters is what he
thinks.

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Bleeding Heartland: The real threat to Iowa marriages

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Letter to a GOP Senator ... Iowa Republicans, in concert with the
Huckabee Evangelicals, supposed "Family values" activists, and
organized anti-gay marriage groups today went into a full court press
to respond to The Iowa Supreme Court Marriage decision of last week. I
moved back to Southern Iowa from Minnesota with my partner last year,
to a house in a very small town (pop: under 300) partially to be
around some of my remaining family, but mostly because we found a
house on three lots we could just about afford to buy, and that would
allow us to enjoy the quiet life of gardening and critters we'd always
hoped for.

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Popular Progressive: Iowa DHS head caught between a rock and a hard place

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

When Gene Gessow was called on by Governor Chet Culver last fall to
head the state's Department of Human Services, he would not have known
the misery it could cause him, but he could have guessed given the
political football that DHS has been for lawmakers. With a budget
shortfall and needs for human services likely to increase for the
foreseeable future, it is troubling that Senate Republicans are lining
up to block his confirmation. Gessow must receive 34 votes to be
confirmed by the 50-member Senate (there are 32 Democrats and 18
Republicans in the Senate). The DHS, which has 5,700 employees and a
$4.6 billion annual budget is in a constant state of flux as Democrats
and Republicans play tug o' war with its budget.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Is the repeal of federal deductibility in doubt?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Over this past weekend, we were told that Democrats in the legislature
and Governor Culver had come to an agreement of the repeal of federal
deductibility. It's now mid-week and legislative Republicans know very
little about the plan, and the people of Iowa are totally in the dark.
We are told that the compromise plan would lower all tax rates or
increase the standard deduction for every taxpayer. What has me
concerned is that when the Democrats rolled out their original
proposal they claimed that it was revenue neutral and taxpayers in the
lowest tax brackets would receive a tax cut. The media took the
Democrats at their words and proclaimed the bill as revenue neutral.
They were wrong.

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Blog for Iowa: Recession 101 in a right-to-work state: Business alone cannot save Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

... Iowa, along with the rest of our nation, is in a deep economic
recession. And we are not recovering very fast. There are many
thoughts and theories as to how to stimulate our economy to recover.
Waiting for business and industry to bring jobs into Iowa is not going
to do the trick. Remember macro economics 101 says that stimulating
industry to create more supply when there is not the demand, is a
failing grade. Our governor and our president want to stimulate the
economy by creating jobs through new and existing infrastructure
projects. That will create demand for goods and services which in turn
creates additional supply. It is a simple theory. And it works!

24-Hour Dorman: Does Rove still rule?

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

So, is gay marriage still the golden Rovian ticket for Republican
electoral success? ... In Iowa, the issue definitely doesn't help
Republicans if it means they end up with U.S. Rep. Steve King as their
nominee for governor. For all of Culver's weaknesses, King is not
going to win a statewide election. For starters, Iowans aren't going
to put anyone from kooky, unpopular Congress in charge of state
government. Second, he's far more conservative than most Iowans on a
list of issues. Issues people care about. Maybe gay marriage helps
them pick off a few legislative seats, but local issues and
personalities still drive those races. Basically, I'm just not sure 18
months from now this will be the end-all, be-all issue. It's possible,
but I think a lot of Iowans will have moved on.

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Politically Speaking: Lambda Legal, One Iowa working it

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Lambda Legal, the national organization that had a hand in making
same-sex marriage the law in Iowa, is touting the wave of opportunity
for gay marriage in America. Lambda Legal backed the six gay Iowa
couples in their court case that was supported by the Iowa Supreme
Court on April 3. Now LL is trumpeting (gloating sounds too harsh) "a
week of victories" in a press release. "First Iowa, then Vermont, then
D.C. -- all emphatically embracing equality, respect and consistent
treatment of all families under law. We have turned another critical
corner in this equal rights movement," Lambda Legal Marriage Project
Director Jennifer Pizer said.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Culver finally weighs in

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

After four days of reflection, Gov. Chet Culver has a statement on the
Supreme Court's ruling in Varnum v. Brien. ... I appreciate how the
governor articulates a separation between his personal beliefs and the
content of laws that impact all Iowans. I'm just not sure why it took
several days for his folks to think that up. It's the very same
concept that lies at the core of the Supreme Court ruling. Of course,
Culver will be ripped up and down by many for not trying to impose his
personal beliefs on the state constitution, but none of his harshest
critics would vote for him even if he supported a ban. He also has no
formal role in the amendment process, at least no more than any other
Iowan who shows up to vote.

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The Iowa Republican: The constitutional convention option

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

From out of nowhere yesterday, Iowa Secretary of State Mike Mauro
informed Iowans that there is another route to amend Iowa's
Constitution besides relying on the House and Senate to pass an
amendment in two consecutive general assemblies. Iowans will have the
opportunity to vote to hold a constitutional convention in the 2010
general election. If a majority of voters agree that a constitutional
convention should be held, the state legislature would then determine
the bylaws for the convention and how delegates will be selected. Any
amendments that the convention approved would then be on the ballot in
2012. Mauro warned that when a constitutional convention convenes,
there is no limit to the issues that the convention could address.

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Politically Speaking: A week full of King

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

This will be a big period of news about Steve King. Last night in
eastern Iowa he decried (again) the April 3 Iowa Supreme Court ruling
that makes Iowa the third state with gay marriage, and King also said
the ruling makes him more likely to run for governor in 2010. We're
working now on a piece (for tomorrow) to have King talk about that a
bit more concretely. And the following day on Thursday, King will be
holding a town hall meeting in Sioux City, and we've got major
coverage plans for that. We'll be live blogging from the event and
hope to get some reader questions to him as well after the meeting.
What better time and place for King to make up his mind on a
gubernatorial bid, than when in the largest city in his congressional
district.

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Coralville Courier: Local option sales tax 'pitch'

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

Most of you are already aware of the proposed one-cent sales tax
increase in Johnson County which will be voted upon in a special
election May 5. The implied need for this tax is to generate revenue
(approximately $72.8 million over a four year period) for various flood
projects in Coralville and Iowa City. Iowa City and Coralville are
two of the (11) municipalities which comprise Johnson County. The
psychology behind the support of this tax is intriguing. First, it
addresses compassion for those unjustly inflicted by the flood.
Secondly, it imparts our duty as citizens of Johnson County to assist
our neighbors in need. While I believe no one in our county is
unsympathetic to such needs, to sell the need for a one-cent tax is
questionable.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Generation Republican: Standing up for social morality (who runs this state?)

Excerpted from this post at New Generation Republican

As of today, 30 states have passed constitutional amendments through a vote of the people, which defines marriage as one man and one woman. Same sex marriage has been approved in three states, by activist judges or other government officials. NEVER, have people in any state approved same-sex marriage. Starting in 1995, bills were written to create "Defense of Marriage Acts" (DOMA). They were written to outlaw same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages recognized in other states. DOMA legislation was enacted in Iowa in 1998. Today, in floor debate, we noted this DOMA legislation in 1998. All 150 legislators, at that time, approved the definition of marriage as being between "one man and one woman."

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Bleeding Heartland: The coming battle to amend the Iowa Constitution

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

There's nothing opponents of marriage equality can do to stop gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Iowa starting on April 24. ... Statehouse Democrats met behind closed doors Monday to discuss the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, and at least a few Democrats support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. However, I doubt Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy would have released such a strong statement welcoming the court decision if they had any intention of letting a Proposition 8-style bill get to the floor of the Iowa House or Senate.

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Iowa Independent: Session could close Friday

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

The state's $6 billion budget and a $600 million tax system overhaul are still in the works, but legislative leaders are holding out hope the session could adjourn as early as Friday. Also on the legislature's plate is Gov. Chet Culver's $750 million bonding plan to pay for flood repairs and work on Iowa's aging infrastructure. On top of it all, opponents of same-sex marriage have said they will push for legislative action on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage before the session is over. Four pieces of legislation backed by labor unions are also still on the table, although their future appears bleak.

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The Iowa Republican: Furious and fast

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

All through the weekend, the only political item people talked about was gay marriage. No federal deductibility, no talk of the economy, just gay marriage. For those of you who actually believe elections can be won solely by talking about fiscal issues, the furor over this issue proves you couldn't be more wrong. Do fiscal issues matter to folks? Absolutely. But you can't win an election without talking about social issues. The year 2010 will be here before you know it. We will be talking about gay marriage and other social issues for one reason and one reason only - liberals have gone way too far, way too fast.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

FiveThirtyEight: Will Iowans uphold gay marriage?

Excerpted from this post at FiveThirtyEight

In Iowa, however, the hurdle to amending the constitution is fairly high: it will have to be approved by two consecutive sessions of the state legislature and then by a majority of the voters. Most likely, this means that Iowans won't vote on the issue until 2012. ... Unsurprisingly, there is a very strong correspondence between the religiosity of a state and its propensity to ban gay marriage, with a particular "bonus" effect depending on the number of white evangelicals in the state. ... Marriage bans, however, are losing ground at a rate of slightly less than 2 points per year. ... So what does this mean for Iowa? The state has roughly average levels of religiosity, including a fair number of white evangelicals, and the model predicts that if Iowans voted on a marriage ban today, it would pass with 56.0 percent of the vote. By 2012, however, the model projects a toss-up: 50.4 percent of Iowans voting to approve the ban, and 49.6 percent opposed. In 2013 and all subsequent years, the model thinks the marriage ban would fail.

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True Blue Iowan: A generational issue

Excerpted from this post at True Blue Iowan

It's old(er) people who vote. Last year California voters struck down gay marriage... California! If it is put to a vote in Iowa there is no doubt gay marriage will lose. If Democrats do the right thing and keep it off the ballot they will surely lose seats in the next election. Perhaps they'll even lose their majorities in the statehouse. This will reinvigorate the far right Christians in the Republican party. It will become a rallying cry for organizing and financing Republican candidates. Make no mistake: This is a victory. Unfortunately, this is a victory could very well backfire.

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Bold Color Conservative: Iowa - The weakest kid in class

Excerpted from this post at Bold Color Conservative

With a variety of seemingly more sympathetic venues and a nearly limitless supply of same-sex couples willing to argue their case in court, why would gay activists choose to have this latest battle be fought in Iowa of all places? Answer: Iowa is weak ... This wasn't an example of Iowans having their day in court-this was a nationwide coordinated attack on behalf of the gay lobbyists and activists. When the bully in school looks for someone to beat up, it's normally the smallest kid in class that gets picked on; in this case it was Iowa.

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Hawkeye Review: Iowa: This is our call to action!

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

You may assume that each of our state's politicians is firm in their support of certain "key" issues but we need to remember one universal truth in the political realm...survival. Polls this weekend show our Governor is losing support and approval, fast. I mean roller coaster plunge fast. Fewer than 25% of Iowans support the governor's bonding plan and that's after a 25 city promotional tour. ... I'm also informed by several sources that legislators were inundated by emails this past Friday and the pace didn't slow down over the weekend. ... You may also find yourself somewhat incredulous when you learn that many Democrat lawmakers failed to appear at their own legislative forums this past weekend...attempting to hide from "the real Iowa" at all costs. This in itself should be a key motivator to cause you to lobby in the next 48 hours.

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More reaction to Varnum v. Brien decision

24-hour Dorman: The Ruling

Bleeding Heartland: Early reaction from Iowa Republicans to the Varnum v Brien ruling

From DC 2 Iowa: Iowa's Civil Rights Leadership

God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: The Contradiction In The Gay Marriage Ruling

Hawkeye Review: In Defense of the Iowa Family

John Deeth Blog: It's our ideas that are winning

Political Fallout: Gay Marriage Hits Iowa, Homophobes Vow Revenge

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Iowa blogs react to Varnum v. Brien decision

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act

Blog for Iowa: Iowa Supreme Court declares gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Bold Color Conservative: Will Culver keep his promise to 'protect marriage'?

Century of the Common Iowan: Iowa Supreme Court Overturns Marriage Ban

God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: I love Iowa

Iowa Independent: Iowa GOP blames Democrats for court ruling

The Iowa Republican: Gay marriage: Legal in Iowa

John Deeth Blog: Marriage liveblog

Krusty Konservative: We have only ourselves to blame

Popular Progressive: Justice prevails in Iowa

The Real Sporer: Why tomorrow's homosexual marriage decision may not matter

Radio Iowa: Democrats' reaction to gay marriage ruling; Republicans, too

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The Iowa Republican: Waiting for the court's decision on gay marriage

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Regardless of how the Iowa Supreme Court rules on Varnum vs. Brien
tomorrow morning, the decision will have a lasting impact on whether
or not gays and lesbians are entitled to state-sponsored marriage here
in Iowa. If the court upholds Judge Hanson's ruling, gay marriage will
be allowed in Iowa. What makes Iowa unique is that the state does not
require residency to get married. Iowa would be the first state that
allows gay marriage that doesn't have a residency requirement. Under
this scenario, people from all around the country could come to Iowa
to be legally married and then return to their home state. This
creates an interesting predicament for their employers and their state
governments. Whose law applies?

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John Deeth Blog: Painter prepares for possibility of gay marriages

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Johnson County Recorder said she's preparing for the possibility
that gay marriage will be legal in Iowa tomorrow. But Kim Painter said
she anticipates some delay will be included in the Varnum v. Brien
ruling. The ruling is scheduled to be posted on the Iowa Supreme Court
web site by 8:30 Friday. "I think it's very likely there will be some
sort of stay" to allow more preparation time, said Painter, adding
that the Supreme Court would not want to create 'stampede' situations
at courthouses. But if the Court's ruling is effective immediately,
Painter said she would promptly begin issuing licenses. "I'm checking
with the Department of Public Health on the forms," said Painter. "Do
we have to cross off 'bride' and 'groom?' I don't want some bureaucrat
to invalidate my marriages."

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Iowa Independent: Bell will oppose federal deductibility bill

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Rep. Paul Bell, D-Newton, has joined four of his fellow House
Democrats in publically stating he will oppose a bill to eliminate
federal deductibility. House File 807, which would end Iowans' ability
to subtract federal taxes from their income when figuring their state
taxes, was intended to make a fairer tax structure for Iowa and lower
the tax brackets to make the state more attractive to businesses and
families, Bell said. "Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to adjust
the tax brackets without adversely affecting many of the people of
Iowa," he said. "I do not feel enough time has been devoted to
studying the ramifications of the bill. Thus, I will not be supporting
HF 807."

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Politically Speaking: Harkin: Time is ripe for health reform

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says the time is right to enact
substantive reform to the national health care system. Some are saying
in a time of recession that the Obama administration should be pulling
back issues that were raised on the 2008 campaign trail. Obama
definitely wants health care reform, and Harkin in a call with Iowa
reporters today said the president should keep plowing ahead.
Legislators like himself certainly will do that, Harkin said. "We've
been working very hard on this since November, since Senator (Edward)
Kennedy set up the three working groups. I'm on one working group.
We've had numerous hearings, we are drafting legislation. We hope to
have this ready go to by June in the committee, July on the floor," he
said.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Stuck on 50: Repeal of federal deductibility is in doubt... For now

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Democrat leaders in the House are having difficulty finding the 51
votes required to pass the repeal of federal deductibility. House
Democrats originally planned to debate and vote on HF 807 tomorrow,
but the federal deductibility bill has been removed from the calendar
for the time being. As it stands now, the following Democrats are
opposed to the bill: Rep. Geri Huser - Altoona, Rep. Doris Kelley -
Waterloo, Rep. Brian Quirk - New Hampton, Rep. Dolores Mertz -
Ottosen, Rep. Elesha Gayman - Davenport, Rep. Paul Bell - Newton.
Democrats are working on an amendment aimed to get one or two of the
Representatives listed above to flake.

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Essential Estrogen: Political theater spinning out of control

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

"The tenants evicted the landlords." "Refused to allow the people to
speak." "Since when did applause become a protest?" Let's step away
from the spin machine long enough to evaluate the sorry spectacle that
occurred last night in Des Moines during a public hearing on proposed
legislation to eliminate federal deductibility. The first speaker was
Beth Pearson from the Iowa Policy Project. She voiced support for the
idea, citing that it would be a benefit for low-income taxpayers. In
response to her comments several individuals in the gallery -- most of
them wearing red shirts and representing Iowans for Tax Relief --
protested. To be blunt, the same people screaming this morning about
being removed from a public hearing booed an Iowan for expressing her
opinion on a proposed piece of legislation.

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Politically Speaking: Grassley cites "stupid people" in Obama Cabinet

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Is U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley getting more plainspoken? He got wrung
through the national news cycle two weeks ago after suggesting that
AIG execs getting big bonuses should either return them or commit
Japanese style hari kari. And today in a conference call with
reporters, he had a line that was so colorful it bears sharing.
Republican Grassley spoke about concerns that the Inspector General
has the staffing and means by which to oversee if the $700 billion in
financial sector bailout money goes where it is supposed to go.
Yesterday on a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Grassley said he
heard governmental oversight isn't working smoothly.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Culver will run for re-election

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

O.K., I guess this doesn't count as breaking news. But... I was
talking to Governor Chet Culver about all that happened last night at
the Iowa Statehouse when House Speaker Pat Murphy evicted about 500
people. … Anyway, the Governor told us Republicans deserve some of the
blame for what happened last night since they helped bring some of the
people there. He said they need to realize the election ended last
November. But then he told me this (I think this is the first time he
has really said this publicly) ... "Well have a very spirited election
next year. In fact, I'll be on the ballot. I look forward to getting
out there myself next year. For now, we gotta take care of the
people's business and lower the tone and focus more on solving
problems."

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Troopers ordered to remove 300-400 citizens from public hearing on federal deductibility

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Just an hour into the public hearing on House File 807, Speaker of the
House Pat Murphy ordered State Troopers to remove all citizens who
were not scheduled to speak from the House chamber. Murphy's decision
came after Rep. Paul Shomshor warned the people who gathered that if
they continued their outbursts, the galleries would be cleared.
Speaker Murphy's decision to remove the people who had taken the time
to speak out or listen to this debate was shocking and something never
seen before. While the crowd at times was rambunctious, it also
quieted down quickly for the next speaker. Instead of evicting
hundreds of concerned taxpayers from the State Capitol, Murphy and
Shomshor should have simply kept warning the audience about their
behavior and continued with the forum.

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The Real Sporer: Is this the Iowa House or the set of Gangs of New York?

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

I was there, it was cool. When provoked by public opposition to the
Labor/Socialist/Democrat confiscatory plan to repeal federal
deductibility at tonight's public hearing, Democrat Speaker Pat Murphy
gave a vivid exposition of Cromwellian politics at their worst. Rumors
of the jack booted tactics that Murphy and Majority Leader Kevin
"Bully" McCarthy employ behind closed doors in running the House have
been rampant, but tonight the world was treated to a public explosion
by Murphy. Yes, as you've heard, Murphy cleared the public from the
people's house because the 600 or so people who showed up to oppose
the Labor/Socialist/Democrat confiscation scheme politely clapped for
opposition speakers (who outnumbered the L/S/D confiscation proponents
8-1 or so) and less politely but quite discreetly and softly booed
proponents of the plan.

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John Deeth Blog: Republican rhetoric on federal deductibility is about the rich

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Republicans are responding to the effort to restructure Iowa's income
tax system to help working families and eliminate federal
deductibility in typical fashion: with a simplistic slogan ("Tax on a
tax") and a screaming performance at a conservative-packed legislative
hearing Tuesday night. But once you actually LOOK at the proposals,
you see why the Republican puppet masters are so upset. The Iowa
Policy Project notes (.pdf): "Federal deductibility overwhelmingly
benefits higher income taxpayers, since most low-income taxpayers
don't pay any federal taxes. A 2003 analysis of Iowa's income tax
system found that 80 percent of the benefits from federal
deductibility went to the wealthiest 20 percent of Iowa taxpayers." My
own anecdotal example: The federal refund goes to cover what I owe the
state.

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Bleeding Heartland: Detailed Republican poll on 2010 governor's race is in the field

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The phone rang early Tuesday evening, and the voice on the other end
was an interviewer conducting a survey for Hill Research Consultants.
I asked who commissioned the survey, but the interviewer said he
didn't know. Judging from the type of questions and their wording, I
assume this poll was commissioned either by a Republican considering a
run for governor in 2010, a Republican interest group trying to decide
what kind of candidate to support for 2010, or the Republican Party of
Iowa itself. As I always do whenever I am surveyed, I grabbed a
something to write with and took as many notes as I could about the
questions.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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