Friday, March 31, 2006

Domsteic Wiretap and Censure Hearings Today

The Senate Judiciary Committee will beholding hearings on domestic wiretapping and Russ Feingold's call for censure today. They start at 10 am est. Check out CSPAN today or Olbermann tonight for information. I will post updated when I get home from work later.

Check Iowa for Feingold for updates.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Our Debt for Diploma System

Our higher education institutions have become a debt for diploma sytem. The DM Register has a story today about how Iowa St. students average over $29,000 in debt.

The consequence of the debt is that fewer students are choosing lower-paying public interest careers, as they seek higher-paying jobs to pay off loans, said Chris Lindstrom, higher education program director for the Public Interest Research Group, which manages the student debt campaign.

She blames the debt on less federal and state aid, which results in higher tuition and fees. "Debt limits opportunity, which is counter to what higher education and affordable and accessible higher education is supposed to be about," she said.
I just finished reading a book on this subject called Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-somethings Can't Get Ahead. I heard the author on Al Franken and decided to pick the book up since I am a 20-something and just graduated.

The theme of the book is the debt for diploma system that getting a degree has become. In the 1960's and 1970's college was affordable because of financial aid (which is not student loans) and if you did not want to go to college you were able to get a decent job with just a high school degree. Now, the financial aid is mainly in student loans, tuition has skyrocketed and students who do graduate from college have dug themselves such a deep hole already. They then put off traditional markers of adulthood such as buying a house and having children until later in life. Worse, is that many students see the high tution costs and don't want loans, so they attend community colleges or don't go to school at all. The author calls this "downsizing your dreams."

Here in Iowa, tutition at our state universities have gone up something like 55% in the past five years. I applaud the current Governor for talking about the importance of pre-Kindergarten for our children. However, I feel instead of a K-12 education system, we need a K-12+ system that provides affordable community colleges and universities.

Great Quote

I found this quote today and I think it is incredibly important in these times.

"Government isn't an enemy of the people, it is the people."
-Lyndon Baines Johnson

A Common Iowan Struggling in Today's Economy

I posted a comment on another Iowa blog about the economy not being very good and we might have to wait until 2008 for it to pick up after the blogger mentioned he is struggling to find work. What does that blogger do? He bans me from his site. I guess that is a Republican blog for you.

Well, in an attempt at reaching across the aisle, I am posting this. Maybe a few extra visitors to his site will change his mind about banning me. I am in the same boat as this blogger and am currently job hunting. So good luck. I know the market is tough out there now.

If you like to get the other side's viewpoint once in awhile, I encourage you to visit Krusty Konservitive. They are much more civil over there. I post a lot of comments there and have never been banned. Thanks Krusty.

And yes, things will get better after 2008.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Grassley talking about the importance of laws

I heard Grassley on the local news talking about the importance of laws. I started getting excited thinking he was talking about Bu$h tearing up the constitution and wiretapping Americans, tossing out the 4th Ammendment, ignoring the Geneva Conventions and tortoring prisoners, or a handful of other actions.

Nope, Ole Chuck was talking about deporting the 12 million illegal immigrants living in the US.

Feingold, Russ Feingold

I read a good article from MSNBC on Russ Feingold's censure motion and a meeting involving Bush and Russ. The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on Friday discussing the domestic wiretapping and Feingold's call for censure.

Mr. President, meet your Censurer

Feingold had to leave early from Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on how to legalize the National Security Agency surveillance program — he had an appointment at the White House to meet with the man he wants to censure.

Then there's Sen. Biden, the Senate's top used-car salesman, who thinks that ignorance is strength. That would be Bush's strength, not the Democrats.
Specter opposes censure, as does Judiciary Committee Democrat Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who said at Tuesday’s hearing, with exasperation in his voice, “The idea of censuring the president — we don’t know what he did.”
I don't believe that Feingold introduced the censure solely for political gain, the Senator has stood on principle too many times in his career to do that. The article had this interesting to say...
Friday’s censure hearing sets up what both Feingold and Senate Majority leader Bill Frist want: a roll call vote on the Senate floor on censuring Bush.

This would force all 100 senators — and especially the potential Democratic presidential hopefuls — Sens. Biden, Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton — to go in the spotlight and make their choice: either condemn Bush for taking an action which the president argues is necessary to defend the nation from al Qaida attacks — or give Feingold a potential weapon to use against them in the event that he too seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

And here is the issue at question according to Arlen Specter (R-PA)...
Specter’s view is that Bush has violated the 1978 FISA law by ordering the surveillance program but he adds, “It may well be that the program is within the president’s inherent (constitutional) authority. But it seems to me that determination has to be made in accordance with tradition by a court, by judicial review.”
For more information on Russ Feingold, check out my other blog, Iowa for Feingold.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Some numbers on immigration from Clinton and Bush

Number of workplace arrests made by U.S. immigration authorities in 1997: 17,554

Number in 2003: 445

source: Harper's Index Feb. 06

Monday, March 27, 2006

High Schooler asks Jimmy Carter why she should be a Democrat

I found this on DU and thought I should post it over here. Jimmy Carter gives a great answer.

From Carter's diary at KOS:

A high school girl asked me why she should be a Democrat. I asked her a series of questions that all bloggers should use in discussions: Do you prefer peace or war? Do favor tax breaks for the richest Americans or working families? Would you rather destroy the environment or protect it? Do you approve the torture of prisoners? Do you think our government should secretly spy on your family? Do you think we should abandon every nuclear arms control agreement negotiated since Dwight Eisenhower was president? Do you approve of your part of the national debt now being $28,000 and increasing by $300 each month? Do you think we should meld religion and government?

Vilsack pushes Cigarette tax after death of friend

Vilsack pushes the cigarette tax again after a death of a close friend over the weekend.

Gov. Tom Vilsack, visibly shaken from the loss of his friend and former-chief of staff over the weekend from an apparent suicide, called this morning for support of his proposal to increase the tax on cigarettes in hopes of preventing others from beginning a life of addiction.
I am in total agreement with the cigarete tax and this pretty much sums up my feelings.
“Bottom line, it's about saving lives. Sometimes we have a tendency to forget that in this debate. I think, for me any way, that's been utmost in my mind and this weekend underscored it,” Vilsack said.
Of course Christopher Rants, basically an employee of the tobacco industry, is against the tax because it will hurt business. Well, Chris, if people die, businesses have a smaller customer base.

Senate has more sense than House on Immigration

I guess the Senate has more sense than the house when it comes to immigration. HR 4437 or the Senselessbrenner-King bill passed out of the House would basically make everyone a felon who helps an illegal immigrant, including churches (hospitols and school too maybe). This bill sparked some very large protests over the weekend, including 500,000 people in LA, 10,000 in Phoenix, and 30,000 in Milwaukee.

Well, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an ammendment taking these in humane provision out.

The Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that would protect church and charitable groups, as well as individuals, from criminal prosecution for providing food, shelter, medical care and counseling to undocumented immigrants.
This is a step in the right direction over a tough issue. You will surely be hearing more about this issue in the coming months.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

James and the Giant Site of the Week

I forgot to post a site of the week yesterday. Then in my in box last night, I got this from the Iowa Democratic Party. Please visit James and the Giant Deficit site and then stop in at the No Nussle blog.

Iowa Democratic Party Launches
“James and the Giant Deficit” Website

Today, the Iowa Democratic Party launched the “James and the Giant Deficit” website that features Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle’s disastrous record on federal deficits. The website address is

Just like the peach in Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach”, Nussle’s deficit just keeps growing and growing. In his four years as budget chair, Nussle has turned a $236 billion surplus into a $412 billion deficit, the largest deficits in America’s history.

This is unacceptable. In Iowa, the law requires governors and legislators to balance budgets and make tough decisions, and Nussle has failed every year as budget chair to successfully balance a budget.

If Nussle's so-called family values don't bring him down then this his poor handling of money should. As Thunderhawk says over at Iowa Underground, "my goal for 2006 is to have every voting Iowan associate 'Nussle' with 'Slimeball' by election day."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Story County Honored for Energy Savings

Story County has won a national award for its energy savings and building a sustainable community. Here are excerpts from a news article...

County government building designs, remodeling efforts and collaboration with Alliant Energy and area school districts impressed National Association of Counties officials in Washington D.C. earlier this month. Story County received the Center Partner Award, one of only 10 awards given to the 21 national finalists represented at the National Association of Counties legislative session.

I think it is great that the county is taking the inititive to save taxpayers money and use our resources wisely.
The energy saving work has progressed in the last seven years. Geothermal energy first replaced the need for a boiler room and cooling tower in the design of the Human Services Building in Ames and Justice Center in Nevada, built in 1999 and 2002, respectively, Hahn said. A geothermal system also replaced an old and aging boiler-chiller system in a recent remodel of the Story County Administration Building. Features such as T-5 florescent lamps, window glazing, insulation and efficient water monitoring were implemented for energy savings in these buildings also
To go along with this theme, the City of Ames is holding an Energy Fair on Saturday. If you are interested in renewable energy and how to save some money on your energy bill, stop in. Here is the info:
Ames City Energy Fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25
Ames Community Center Gym, 515 Clark Ave
The fifth annual City of Ames Electric Services Energy Fair
promises an exciting, educational, and fun event for all ages.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the Community
Center Gym, 515 Clark Ave.,participants have the opportunity
to attend seminars, interact with vendors, and learn about
advancements in energy efficient technologies.

Some Loebsack news

Dave Loebsack has picked up some support from unions in Eastern Iowa.

3 labor organizations endorse Loebsack in bid against Leach

By James Q. Lynch The Gazette
Iowa 2nd District Democratic candidate Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon received the support of three major labor org a n i z a t i o n s Thursday.

The Communications Workers of America — Iowa State Council, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building & C o n s t r u c t i o n Trades Council and the Hawkeye Labor Council all endorsed Loebsacks challenge to U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, an Iowa City Republican. Together, these unions represent over 17,000 workers.

Loebsack was previously endorsed by the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.
The Hawkeye Labor Council, AFL-CIO, executive board also announced its unanimous vote to recommend Loebsack for an endorsement at Saturday’s Iowa Federation of Labor Committee on Political Education convention.

The Hawkeye Labor Council is a coalition of over 40 unions representing the interests of working families in Linn, Iowa, Benton, Buchanan, Delaware, Jones and Cedar counties.
Also, please vote for Iowa's Dave Loebsack in Russ Feingold's Pick a Progressive Patriot. The vote is sponsored by Feingold's PAC, the Progressive Patriots Fund. At last check, Loebsack was less than 1% point from the lead. So please take a minute and vote for Loebsack. I am pretty sure that voting ends Friday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Panel discussion on Iraq in Iowa City on Wed.

I got this in an email today and it looks pretty interesting.

"15 Minutes to Stop the War: A teach-in"

On Wednesday, March 22, a panel of University of
Iowa faculty members
will hold an open forum at
C-20 Pomerantz from 6-8 p.m.

Although the event is called a "teach-in," organizers
expect the resulting education to happen between
the panel members and those in attendance.

"We really hope for an open dialog," said Mark Andrejevic,
assistant professor of Communication Studies. "The
reason for taking this discussion outside of the
classroom is to open things up, flatten them out-to give
students a chance to talk back as citizens."

The format of the event is novel. Each of the half dozen
speakers will be given 15 minutes to stop-or to promote-the
war. In turn, audience members will get to react to a range
of points focusing on the war.

The invited speakers include anti-war protester David
Goodner, who was recently arrested outside the White House
for protesting without a permit. He will be joined by UI
professors Mark Andrejevic, Barb Biesecker, David Depew,
Frank Durham, and Gigi Durham.

"We chose the name, '15 minutes to stop the war' to signal
a fast-paced and varied set of discussions about the War in
Iraq," said organizer Frank Durham, an assistant professor in
the Journalism School. "It would be false to pretend that all
sides of this issue are equal: they represent profound
differences. But to resolve them, public debate is essential.
That is why we are inviting everyone, opponents and
supporters of the war to speak up at the teach-in."
I will be in Kansas City on Wed, otherwise I would try and
attend this.

The 4th Year in Iraq

Last night on the Colbert Report, they talked about all the "good" wars lasted 4 years. The Civil War, WWII, etc. If Democrats like Russ Feingold and John Murtha were in charge, this would be the last year we are in Iraq. Rebuilding Iraq would be done with the help of the global community.

Instead, our soldiers are over there with targets on their backs. As of today, 2317 US soldiers have died. Our troops need to come home to safety.

Here are two stats that tell a lot about the situation over there:

  • In February 2004 (1 year after the invasion) 88% of the homes in Iraq had electricity. This month, just 55% of the homes have electricity.
  • Halliburton's stock has doubled since the War started.

On Sunday, I attended a Peace Rally in Ames. There were over 300 people there. It was good to be part of democracy. The best sign I saw said, "Blind Faith is not Patriotism."

At a candlelight vigil in Des Moines there were 175 people in attendance. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, there were 200 people braving the cold in Iowa City on Monday. There were also activities going on in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities. Cedar Falls is holding events all week long.

Hopefully, next year our troops will be home and people won't have to gather for peace.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Third Year Anniversary of the Iraq War

This weekend marks the Third Year Anniversary of the Iraq War. There are rallies going to be held all around the state...

Davenport - 4 separate events going on

WHEN: Saturday, March 18
WHERE: in front of the Borders off I-74
WHEN: Sat, March 18 from 2:00-4:00
"Imagine a World at Peace" will take place on Sunday, March 19, 2006, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm in The Warehouse at 1000 Jackson St. in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. Come and join with others who believe that we should make art not war, and that each of us has something important to offer in creating a more peaceful world. This is a one-day, family-oriented event commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. It will open with a drum circle, and will feature live music, poetry reading, two- and three-dimensional works of art, and children’s art activities. There is no charge to attend, and you are invited to come for all or part of the afternoon.
Des Moines
WHAT: Candlelight Vigil for Peace
WHEN: Sunday, March 19 from 6:30-7:30
WHERE: West Steps of the State Capitol Des Moines, IA
On the third anniversary of the U.S. War in Iraq, join this remembrance of fallen soldiers, Iraqi citizens and the loved ones they left behind. Please bring a candle and holder.
WHAT: Peace March & Rally
WHEN: Sunday, March 19, 2006
2:30PM--March from Iowa State Center (Lincoln Way and Elwood Drive)
3:00PM--March from Roosevelt School (9th St. between Northwestern Ave.
& Roosevelt Ave.)
4:00PM--Rally at Lincoln Center (Lincoln Way and Grand Ave.)
WHERE: Lincoln Center (Lincoln Way and Grand Ave.), Ames
INFO: Bring peace signs and lots of friends… some signs will be provided.
There will be speakers, music, free soup and coffee at the rally beginning
at 4 p.m.
Cedar Rapids
WHAT: Three Years Too Many Candlelight Vigil
WHERE: First Avenue Bridge Downtown Cedar Rapids
WHEN: Sunday, March 19th at 7:00
Cedar Falls is having events all week long. For more info on the Troops out NOW! week click here.

I'll Put That on My Credit Card

The Senate voted to increase the US National Debt ceiling to $9 trillion. Then they went and spent over $100 billion more while keeping Bush's irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy. According to the site, US National Debt Clock, that means each citizen owes $27, 696.

As a twenty-something that really concerns me because it will be my family and I who will have to pay this thing off. I had thought a key principle of the Republican party is being a fiscal conservitive. Weird that Democrats are the only ones who can balance budgets then.

3 Crazy Things Democratic Politicians Believe

I found this interesting article by Cenk Uyger on the Huffington Post. Uyger lays out 3 crazy things that our Democratic leaders believe. Here they are (read the rest of the article for more on these.)

1. My base is the loony left. The Republican base is the mainstream.
2. If we oppose Bush's ridiculously aggressive foreign policy, we will be seen as weak on defense.
3. We don't want to appear angry because Fox News Channel will yell at us if we do.
I think the author is spot on with these. There are far too few Demorats who stand up for what they believe.

Say good bye to the 4th Ammendment?

On Countdown with Keith Olberman on Friday night, Johnathan Turley of George Washington Law School was asked about a US News and World Report article that is coming out saying someone from the Bush White House has said the President has the power to call for warrantless physical searches under the same power they have to perform warrantless demostic wiretaps. Turley response?

That would effectively remove the 4th Ammendment from the United States constitution...(they) treat the constitution as a legal technicality instead of the thing we are trying to protect.
Thanks to Can O Fun for the video.

This is just another example of Bush's pre-1776 mentality and reminds of a quote by Russ Feingold.
Without freedom, we are not America. If we don't preserve our liberties, we cannot win this war, no matter how many terrorists we capture or kill.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Site of the Week

I ran across the site of the week on DU and spent waaay too much time playing around with it. The site of the week is a game called "Make Your Own Bush Speech." On this site you can pick words to create your own speech for Comander Cuckoo-Bananas to delightfully say.

Go to the site and then click on PLAY THis GAME and enjoy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

First week on the job

The Century of the Common Iowan blog now has 1 week under its belt. I would like to thank everyone for stopping by and checking it out. I realized yesterday that I had moderating comments on, so I approved all the comments and changed it so the comments would appear right away. Please feel free to post comments and I will try to respond.

I also have received some criticism about being too hard on Rep. Latham and King for not having a college degree. I can see how my posts could be interpreted that way. As I blog more, I will surely write better entries that are shorter and too the point. I have also learned that sarcasm is harder to detect in blogs than in real life conversations.

Let me try and explain why my thinking on why our Representatives should have a college degree.

Is it fair that I attacked Latham and King for not having college degrees? I think so. However, I don't think it is fair to the thousands of Iowans who work hard everyday and do not have college degrees. This question that I wrote in the entry about Steve King sums up my reasoning:

Not having a degree might be ok for King's previous profession as a Earthmoving Contractor, but US House Representive?
I think it is reasonable to ask our elected officials to have a certain level of education. Our elected leaders are in Congress debating many issues that affect a lot of people. I don't want just an average Joe representing me and making difficult decisions that affects everyone in my community and state.

I am a teacher and value education a great deal. That doesn't mean I think everyone has to have a degree to be successful in life, though in today's globalized world, it sure helps to have one. In today's world, it is vital to have some training after high school. In classrooms I see many hard working students who will be successful because of their work ethic, not because of their intelligence. I know many adults who are successful that do not have college degrees. It is not realistic to think everyone is going to become a doctor. Our elected leaders might have gotten to where they are because they are hard workers, but I would want my leaders to be educated enough to be able to debate all the issues that come up in Congress.

Hope that helps clarify my position. Please post any comments if you wish.

Politicians believe (rightfully so) that every classroom should have a well qualified teacher in it. That qualification is based on education level. It does not take it account that a teacher that doesn't have a physics degree has been teaching physics for 20 years. As a teacher, I believe that politicians should also be well qualified. I don't think it is wrong to hold our elected leaders to a higher standard. This is just something that I consider before going to the polls.

Harkin comments about censure

Tom Harkin sent out an email explaining his reasoning behind supporting Sen. Feingold's censure resolution. The first line of the email is fantastic! (emphais added is mine).

Dear Friend,

We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises – and broken faith – with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.

In brazen violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), he ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. And, despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Let’s be clear: No American – and that must include the President – is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

So it is time for Congress to stand up and say enough! That’s why, this week, Senator Russ Feingold proposed a resolution to censure George W. Bush for breaking the FISA law. And that’s why I fully support this resolution of censure.

Nothing is more important to me than the security of our country. Of course, we need to be listening to the terrorists’ conversations. And sometimes there is not time to get a warrant. That’s why the FISA law allows the President, when necessary, to wiretap first, and obtain a warrant afterward. But that’s not acceptable to this above-the-law President. He rejects the idea that he should have to obtain a warrant before or after wiretapping.

We have an out-of-control President whose arrogant and, now, illegal behavior is running our country into the ditch. It’s time to rein him in. And a fine place to start is by passing this resolution of censure. I hope that Senator Feingold’s measure will be brought to the floor. And when it is, I will proudly vote yes.

Best Regards,

Tom Harkin

Sen. Harkin, thank you for standing up for democracy, the constitution, and the rule of law. I have been waiting for a leader to stand up and say the things you just said. Iowa is lucky to have you as their Senator.

Please head over to the Backbone Campaign to print off a Spine Card and send a thank you to Feingold, Harkin, and Boxer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I said hey, what's going on?

As I was getting ready for work I heard a song on the radio that I haven't heard for a long time. The song is What's Up by the 4 Non-blondes.

And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Ooh, ooh ooh
And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
I wish I would hear this song more today. Every American (especially every Senator) should be singing this loudly and scream at the top of their lungs, what's going on?

The TV Show Boston Legal said, "what's going on" with their latest episode by asking why Americans are not standing up for what is right. You can see the clip from Crooks and Liars.

Here's a quote from the character on Boston Legal.
At a presidential rally, parade or appearance. If you have on a supportive t-shirt you can be there. If you're wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed, This in the United States of America.- This in the United States of America! Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?
Here is a link to the speech by Adlai Stevenson given in 1952 that the actor references in the speech. The speech is a great read.

Harkin backs Feingold's censure resolution

Iowa's Tom Harkin is the first Senator to sign on as a co-sponsor of Russ Feingold's (D-WI) censure resolution.

Harkin Signs on to Censure Measure
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has become the first co-sponsor to Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-Wis.) controversial resolution to censure President Bush for authorizing an allegedly illegal domestic surveillance program.

I have also seen on DU that CA's Barbara Boxer has said that she is sponsoring the resolution also. That makes 3. Kerry is strongly considering it, but hasn't announced it.

Head over to the Backbone Campaign and print off a Spine Card and send a thank you to Feingold, Harkin, and Boxer.

Iowa for Feingold has a lot more posts about the Feingold censure resolution including video's of interviews, a mp3 of his speech on the Senate floor on Monday, and petitions to sign in support of the resolution.

Feingold was on the Ed Schultz show today. Check out Ed's site for audio of the interview and take a look at this article that shows what other Democrats have said about Feingold's censure resolution.

The Daily Show's segment on Paul Hackett

The Daily Show had a great segment on Paul Hackett dropping out of the Ohio Senate Race and how Hackett failed to fit the "Democrats Matrix."

You can download it from Crooks and Liars.
See the clip on WMP here.
See the clip on Quicktime here.

The Democrats need to stand up and fight. Paul Hackett has courage and is a fighter. It is a shame that he dropped out of the race.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another IA Republican with no college degree

Steve King is not the only Iowa Congressman who did not graduate from college. I guess Rep. Tom Latham from Iowa's 4th District also did not finish his college career. Latham attended Wartburg College for 1 year and then Iowa State for 3 years, but never earned a degree. Even though D's still earn degrees, I guess R's don't get you much of anything.

To be fair, here is one Iowa Republican who is educated: Jim Leach, who graduated from Princeton. I hope he shares his vast knowledge with the other Iowa Republicans in Congress.

This is yet another reason to elect Dave Loebsack. Loebsack, who is running against Leach in Iowa's 2nd District, is a Political Science professor at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon. He might actually be able to help King and Latham earn those credits they need to graduate.

Sensenbrenner-King Illegal Immigration Bill is very cold

Last night I attended a candlelight vigil held in Marshalltown to support a campassionate immigration policy and to oppose the Sensenbrenner-King Illegal Immigration bill. The events was sponspored by Latinos en Accion and Iowa CCI.

The evening was extremely cold (wind chill probably near 0 degrees), so I wasn't expecting a huge crowd. Despite the cold weather, the event went great. There were some good speakers, great signs thanks to students from Grinnell College (such as "Say no to Sense-lessbrenner") , and amazingly there were close to 150 people there. The speakers outlined how NAFTA has affected farmers in the United States and Mexico, how the Sensenbrenner-King bill harms immigrants and communities, and the need for real immigration reform.

The Sensenbrenner-King (Peter from NY, not Steve from IA) Bill passed in the House in December and will be debated soon in the Senate. The bill would pose harsh penalties to not only illegal immigrants, but to anyone who aids illegal immigrants. That would include churches and non-profits, maybe even schools and hospitals. It would make all local police into immigration agents, harming the safety of our communities by making immigrants scared of being arrested if they report illegal behavior.

150 people braved the cold to stand up for compassionate immigration reform, so please call Senator Grassly and Senator Harkin and ask them to oppose the Sensenbrenner-King Anti-immigration (HR 4437) and to vote in favor of the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill.

Senator Grassley: (515) 288-1145
Senator Harkin: (515) 284-4574

Iowa Blog Roundup

So yesterday my high speed cable internet conked out. I have only had it about 3 weeks. I called and after being on the phone almost 2 hours the technician said they would not be able to fix it and would need to schedule a person to come to the house. To top it off, the next available time for a person to come is next Monday! So I called about getting DSL today and I am stuck using dial-up again until this gets figured out.

Here's a look at what other Iowa blogs are saying:
Bacon has an interesting post about the touchplay voting where he actually was at the Statehouse for the debate. I think Bacon has taken Iowa bloggin to a new level. What's next John Deeth live blogging at FAC from Bo James?

Speaking of Mr. Deeth, he has a post about Dave Loebsack supporting Russ Feingold's move to censure President Bush. Way to go Loebsack!

Charlie discusses an ad sponsored by Focus on the Family that links Iowans voting for a marriage ammendment to Iraqi women voting. I think a better comparision would be to link Iraqi women voting to expand the rights of gays and lesbians. Those actually expand people's rights.

And finally, Des Moines Democrat checks in once again to see if Culver has updated his website yet...nope guess not.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bye Bye to a great blog

Blog for Iowa went offline over the weekend. Blog for Iowa was the homepage of Democracy for Iowa (early called Dean for Iowa). The site provided some great links and information. The person running the blog could no longer keep it updated, which is a shame. I will miss stopping in at Blog for Iowa. I have a feeling with a DFA training coming up in April in the Quad Cities, restarting the blog might be a topic.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Recap of Marshall County Convention

This was my first convention, so I learned a lot and found it be interesting. I am a delegate to district and State, but I might not be able to make it to state.

Former Lt. Gov Bob Anderson spoke on behalf of Dr. Selden Spencer, who is running against Tom Latham in District 4. Anderson gave a great speech about how the time to get involved is now and we raised nearly $500 for Spencer. There was also a person from the Blouin campaign that came to talk (he was an hour late though and interrupted the dicussion on the platform). He talked about keeping the work they are doing now going, working with the state legislators, and the importance of providing all children preschool and health care. (note, Fallon wants to provide health care to ALL Iowans, not just children).

I passed a plank on Clean Elections and one revoking corporate personhood and there was a very good plank passed in opposition to the Sensenbrenner-King Anti-Immigration bill.

We sort of broke into preference groups. They asked who you were leaning to when you registered. I am supporting Fallon. Then they they came out with the totals and started to assign delegates with that amount. Culver had 18 people, Blouin 16, Fallon 10, and Undecided had 32. Fallon was 1 person away from being viable. It was moved to break into pref. groups and a 30 min discussion ensued about breaking into groups would taking too long (if we had just done it then it would have taken less than 30 min). 2 people even stood up and said they wanted to move to the Fallon group. It was voted to not break into groups, by 6 votes, so Fallon was considered not viable and his people went to the Undecideds.

So Culver had 4 delegates, Blouin had 4 delegates, and Undecideds had 12. Since all the Fallon people were in the undecideds, 7 of the 12 undecided delegates are Fallon supporters and 4 of the alternates are Fallon people.

So it was a bad day and then a good day for Fallon. Most of the people heavily involved with the party in the county are Blouin supporters (including our state rep who endorsed Blouin). That only translated into 16 people tipping their hat to Blouin, so I think he might have been the biggest loser in the end if there was one.

With 32 Undecideds it shows that most people haven't made up their mind, so the race will come down to who has the best organization on the ground in the end.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Something I had forgotton about Steve King

On Steve King's bio on CNN's election page it says he attended NW Missouri State. That reminded me that Steve King doess not have a college degree. Not having a degree might be ok for King's previous profession as a Earthmoving Contractor, but US House Representive?

Drinking Liberally, the Doctor is in, and off to the convention

I attended the Ames Drinking Liberally event tonight. There was some very interesting discussions and it was a lot of fun. Most of the discussions centered around Selden Spencer who is running against Tom Latham for US House in District 4. I meet a lot of dedicated people that are volunteering for Spencer's campaign and going out to County Conventions tomorrow to speak on Spencer's behalf.

I hope Spencer has come to fight and beat Latham and after talking to people there, I think he is up to the task. The reputation of the Republicans in Washington right now certainly doesn't help Latham out. Spencer will surely do better than Paul Johnson because he is from Story Co. and Johnson was practically from Wisconsin. Johnson was qualified, but people in central Iowa (Story, Marshall, Dallas, and Warren Counties didn't know him well since he was from Decorah). I am impressed so far with Spencer and the campaign considering they just got into this a couple weeks ago.

The Marshall County Convention is on Saturday, so I will be attending that. It will be my first County Convention, so it should be interesting.

Site of the Week

Every week I plan on featuring a site on Century of the Common Iowan. These sites will vary from progressive blogs, to quality organizations, to candidates, to humourous sites, and to even Right-wing hangouts.

For the innaguaral site of the week I will grace you with 2 insteresting and funny sites. The first sites comes from Iowa and has gotten a lot of publicity this week from the likes of the New York Times and Washington Post!

Our first site of the week is Iowa Voice or as the folks at Iowa Undergound like to call them Voice Mart.

Iowa Voice made the NY Times and Washington Post this week in a story about Wal Mart paying bloggers to spread the good news of Wal Mart and how well they treat their workers. Now 2 things I do not like are Wal Mart (haven't shopped there for over 2 years) and people who will do anything for money. It looks likes Brian at Iowa Voice does both of those things. Also if you visit Iowa Voice, please be careful if you leave comments. He likes to ban people who leave any comment that disagrees with his posts.

After looking for some information about the Bill O'Reilly - Keith Olberman feud, I found the 2nd site of the week: Sweet Jesus, I hate Bill O'Reilly. Hope you enjoy it just as much as I do!

If you aren't aware of the feud it started with O'Reilly starting a petition for MSNBC to fire Olberman. Olberman shot back with some hilarious segments on his show. Then last week O'Reilly wouldn't let callers to his radio show even say Olberman's name and threatened that these people will be hearing from Fox Security. Well, at the beginning of the week, one of these callers actually did get a call from Fox Security. Olberman interviewed the man on last nights show. I am really not a fan of O'Reilly, and I like Olberman's show a lot. (I hope bill doesn't send the Fox secutiry to my door for saying that.) Olberman's show is one of the few where you can actually find news and not talking heads trashing each other. There is also a petition out to fire O'Reilly, so if you want sign it.

Catching up on issues: Touchplay and Education Funding

Since I just started the blog yesterday, I thought I would catch up on discussing issues going on in the state by talking about 2 of them in one post.

It seems every Iowa blog has talked about the Touchplay machines. I don't like them. I don't know much about them, but I know there is already too much gambling in the state.

Also being discussed in funding for education. So why not solve both problems by taking the Touchplay machines out of the conveniance stores and sticking them into the school cafeterias where the pop machines used to be. There would be 2 advantages (and since I am in a hurry, I won't talk about the disadvantages). First, the money from the Touchplay machines can be used by the schools where the machines are located. Second, it might actually get parents to come into the classroom and visit the school. "Hey, come volunteer for an hour and get an hour on the Touchplay machine!"

The idea of winning big with gambling is just as good as the idea of basing school quality and teacher pay on one standardized test. So lets combine the two and see our schools struggle some more.

For some more in depth analysis of the touchplay issue check out Political Forecast, Who's Making Bacon, and the conservative viewpoint from Krsuty.

Recap of Feingold's Online Listening Session

I participated in Russ Feingold's online listening session. I would say there were well over 100 people there. Feingold answered questions for an hour. I wrote a recap that can be found at Iowa for Feingold.

Russ's best line came on a question if the Dubai ports issue was now over. Russ's response, "We'd better continue to inquire given the Administrations abysmal record on candor."

It is statements like this that make Sen. Feingold so popular.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fallon on a Roll and the media finally notices

After the Des Moines Register failed to put Fallon's picture in an article about all the candidates and then tried to make up for it by letting Yepsen do hack job on him, City View comes out with a nice article that analyzes Fallon's success in the conventions in Polk, Story, and Johnson counties last week.

When we asked a top statehouse source what they thought of Fallon's chances, this person said the end of him will likely be his inability to raise money, but "stranger things have happened." "You got one candidate who is pro-life who has a lieutenant governor candidate who has given money to Republicans for years, while voting as one," this person said. "While on the other side, you got a pro-death penalty candidate with no record who has a running mate who is as wishy-washy as the other guy on abortion and has ties to people who are ruining the state's environment. Then you have Ed. If this thing were decided by issues and not TV commercials, Ed would win hands down." And because of such sentiment, Fallon told us that he is truly the only candidate who can beat Nussle. "The cynics don't believe because they think it's about money. But Republican light never wins," he said referring to Blouin. "Nor does having no track record (referring to Culver). You have to be right on the issues and be organized." Tom Harkin blasts corporate welfare and fights hard for the poor. Paul Wellstone was out spent six-to-one, Fallon points out. "These are people for the people. I mean, if politics is only about who can raise the most money and attract the biggest names, we might as well write-off American democracy." Fallon, who said that 20 percent of his identified supporters are Republican and Independent, told us that he will be up on TV and radio in the near future, and while he won't have as much as the other guys, he won't need as much as them either. "I actually have a message and a goal that doesn't end at simply being governor. They (Culver and Blouin) can have the old-school Washington types and the corporate money; I just want the people who think the government we have isn't working. I'm convinced they are in the majority and deserve a true Democratic voice as their leader."
People say that the Democratic Party doesn't stand for anything (see the Yepsen article). Ed Fallon does stand for something. Fallon stands on making the playing field fair and bringing a voice back to the average Iowan. He stands on principle on his clean elections law. He continues standing on that theme being against corporate welfare. He wants to grow Iowa by supporting small businesses, Main Streets, our schools, and through sustainable agriculture. He wants health care for every Iowan and wants to take the burden of providing health care off the backs of Iowa businesses. Just check the issues, Ed Fallon stands for the issues that matter most to Iowans.

Thanks to City View for pointing this out.

"Meet Your Farmer" article in Register

There was an interesting article yesterday in the Des Moines Register about Community-supported Agriculture.

Community-supported agriculture — CSA for short — allows customers to buy directly from farms through a weekly or biweekly delivery of produce, typically through a subscription.

For the fast-growing community of CSA subscribers, knowing the people who grow your vegetables and being familiar with their often "natural’’ farming practices is reason in itself to join. But many CSAs add services to draw customers, such as farm outings or a bouquet of flowers with shipments in growing season. In the Bhramdats’ operation, L.T. Organic Farms, part of the lure is weekly dinners and lessons in cooking and nutrition.
I think this is very interesting and would definitly sign up if there was one in my area. Added to the organic and health benefits, it would be a great boast to Iowa's economy.
"What we're really interested in is looking at sustainable living skills, and one basis for that is where your food comes from and developing a greater connection between people and the land," said Jan Libbey, who runs the farm with her husband, Tim Landgraf, and the help of their two children.

"This is the first step."

After members sign up, they get a "handbook" about the CSA. With each delivery of vegetables, there's a note included about the produce and what's going on at the farm. And once a year, they hold a field day, so people can visit and explore the farm.
It was brought to my attention that shopping at Farmer's Markets is basically the same thing and you get to pick the items you want. Both farmer's market and CSA's sound like a good thing for Iowa. Pick whatever one best fits your needs.

Feingold Makes an Iowa Move

According to this article from the Washington Post Politics Blog, Russ Feingold has hired a key staffer to begin organizing supporters in our great state of Iowa.

Feingold Makes an Iowa Move
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) has recruited veteran party operative Paul Tewes to help him begin the long process of courting Iowa voters.
Who's Making Bacon has a nice writeup on this, and Charlie chimes in here. Check them to see what this means for Russ Feingold in the state of Iowa.

The Century of the Common Man

Henry Wallace was one of the greatest Iowans to ever live. He developed the hybrid seed and founded Pioneer, which began the Green Revolution. He was the Sec. of Agriculture for 8 years under FDR and many of Wallace's policies helped lead the nation out of the Great Depression. Then FDR named Wallace Vice President in 1940. In 1944, through some political maneuvering at the Democratic Convention Harry Truman was put on the ticket as FDR's VP. Months after the election FDR died, making Truman the President.

Henry Wallace gave perhaps his most famous speech, "The Century of the Common Man," in 1942, as WWII raged in Europe.

When the freedom-loving people march; when the farmers have an opportunity to buy land at reasonable prices and to sell the produce of their land through their own organizations, when workers have the opportunity to form unions and bargain through them collectively, and when the children of all the people have an opportunity to attend schools which teach them truths of the real world in which they live — when these opportunities are open to everyone, then the world moves straight ahead.
Wallace believed that if we fought WWII and didn't solve the injustices in our nation by doing so, the high cost of war would not be worth it. So not only did he work to defeat Fascism abroad, he worked to benefit the common man all around the world.
We failed in our job after World War Number One. We did not know how to go about it to build an enduring world-wide peace. We did not have the nerve to follow through and prevent Germany from rearming. We did not insist that she "learn war no more." We did not build a peace treaty on the fundamental doctrine of the people's revolution. We did not strive whole-heartedly to create a world where there could be freedom from want for all peoples. But by our very errors we learned much, and after this war we shall be in position to utilize our knowledge in building a world which is economically, politically and, I hope, spiritually sound.
Wallace never became President. If he had the world would surely be a different place today. That doesn't mean his message should be forgotten. We have started a new Century, so lets call for the 21st Century to be the Century of the Common Man.

In a time when our nations priorities are backwards, we need a Century of the Common Man. There is no better place to start the call than in the state where Henry Wallace was born, Iowa.
Yes, and when the time of peace comes, The citizen will again have a duty, The supreme duty of sacrificing the lesser interest for the greater interest of the general welfare. Those who write the peace must think of the whole world. There can be no privileged peoples. We ourselves in the United States are no more a master race than the Nazis. And we can not perpetuate economic warfare without planting the seeds of military warfare. We must use our power at the peace table to build an economic peace that is just, charitable and enduring.