Sunday, April 30, 2006

Speaking Truthiness to Power

Last night Stephen Colbert (official site, Colbert Nation, Colbert Report Wikipedia #1 and #2) spoke at the White House Correspondent Dinner and it was great. Colbert's played his role to perfection and no one was safe from his jabs. It was just like his show, except the people were in the room. Colbert sure has some brass balls.

Some of his jokes were not getting many laughs in the room, but my wife and I sure were at home. Speaking of my wife, she is very moderate and unfortanately she voted for Bush, she doesn't like Colbert's show, but was cracking up watching it last night.

Here is a great writeup on Colbert's performace. You can download it from Crooks and Liars or check CSPAN for a replay. And a taste of Colbert's speech about the President...

Now, I know there’s some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in “reality.” And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

So, Mr. President, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass — it’s important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it’s 2/3 empty. There’s still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn’t drink it.

The last third is usually backwash. Folks, my point is that I don’t believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull, before a comeback.

Colbert describes himself as "A journalist with gravitas... with dignity... with balls." ("And I'm not afraid to use them"). He sure isn't. Thanks for speaking truthiness to power, Mr. Colbert!

Tell Colbert thank you yourself by visiting this site and leaving a comment!

4th District Convention Report

I attended the 4th District Convention yesterday in Ft. Dodge. It was my first district convention experience and was pretty fun, though somewhat long. I met Drew Miller and Gavin there, both had laptops and Drew did some live-blogging from the event. Yes, Mr. Deeth, we did have wireless Internet. I didn't take any notes, so I am just going to toss out a summary.

Daryl Beal, State Senator from Ft. Dodge was the convention chair. He did his best to make the day exciting, and yes glamorous. State Sen. Jack Kibbie, Senate Co-President, was there and spoke later in the day. I didn't know much about Kibbie, but from the sounds of it the Iowa Democratic Party owes a lot to him for his years of great service. These 2 State Senators showed me once again how bad Larry "Quite your Fibbin" McKibben is.

Denise O'Brien, candidate for Sec. of Ag, was the first speaker. She was very enthusiastic, which was really good early in the day. She said that will be traveling in a green bus during the 30 days before the primary that will run on homemade bio-diesel. Her son-in-law has been collecting firer grease from local restaurants for awhile and making the homemade biodiesel. (Doing a little research when I got home O'Brien has a blog that is actually updated frequently.)

Selden Spencer, running for Congress against Tom Latham, spoke next. His message was great and he had some fantastic lines. He explained how he decided to run, how the Republicans have failed us, and what he wants to do when he is elected. His message really excited the crowd. He mentioned being a rubber stamp and empty suit in the same sentence as Latham often and got loud cheers each time. You could tell that Spencer is new to running for office. His message was great, but he could use a little more polish on his delivery. One piece of advice from this amateur is to make sure you take up a bottle of water with you when speaking. As he speaks more and more, he will get better. His message was there and the excitement was overflowing.

Perhaps, the most interesting part of the convention was the voting for the state central committee. There were 4 females and 5 males running with 3 females and 3 males getting elected. To be elected you needed to have a majority of the votes, which meant that we would vote over and over until people got over 50%. After it got narrowed down to just 2 females, the two woman tied, so one of the them decided to drop out, so we wouldn't have to vote over and over. For the most part, the people I voted for made it!

Sec. of State candidate Michael Mauro spoke. He stressed how important it is to have a Democrat as Sec. of State, pointing to Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Mauro talked about his experience running elections in Polk Co. and how that would be valuable as Sec. of State.

Dusky Terry came and spoke. He had a lot of the same ideas as O'Brien and made it sound like whomever was the last Sec. of Agriculture did not do a very good job with factory farms and water quality. He did not say this, but that is the feeling I got from the speech. Terry said that Iowa needs to improve a lot in those areas. Terry speech was really good, he had it down. It eerily seemed like a TV commercial. Terry is young and seems smart, so he should be a part of Iowa politics for a long time. I liked his ideas, but I also like O'Brien's bus idea. (I couldn't find a website for Terry, maybe I need another cup of coffee.)

Vilsack couldn't make it because of the weather, so he called in. He had some good comments about the same old stuff. It would have been nice to have him there in person, then you could compare the current candidates to him a little easier.

Ed Fallon had John Tapscott, a former candidate for Governor in the 197o's , speak for him. He focused on campaign finance reform and gave a very passionate speech. He said, "if you read the platform that will be approved today, there is only one candidate that stands up for that and that is Ed Fallon. Ed is for a woman's right to choose and against the death penalty." He really showed the differences between Fallon and the other 2 candidates.

The platform process started up and I left the main room to go chat with some people. At this point, my attention span was wearing down and I was getting tired of sitting. I got to talk with Drew, people from the Spencer campaign, Tom Harrington and some other people from Story Co.

Russ Feingold showed up at the same time as Chet Culver. Being a Senator trumps being a candidate for Governor, so Feingold spoke first. He kept his speech short and to the point. He was very enthusiastic and so was the crowd. I think the Democratic base does support the censure by the sound of the applause Feingold got. There was bit of confusion when Feingold said "it is very important that Iowa elects a Democratic Governor and we have 3 great candidates including our next Governor right here!" Culver waiting to speak next, was the only candidate for Governor in the room. Feingold came back later and cleared it up that he did not endorse any candidate for Governor.

I didn't listen to closely to Culver. I went and talked with Feingold and the people from the Progressive Patriots Fund and talked to people running the Spencer fundraiser. From what I heard Culver said all the right things, but it is just hard for me to get excited about him.

Feingold's speech at the fundraiser was full of excitement. He got many ovations, most were standing ovations because most of the people were standing around the pool at the hotel. Many of the people attending totally agreed when Feingold said Democrats need to stand up and show some spine. From what I heard from people in the crowd is that Democrats need to stand up for us because we have their back out here. I think that was the whole theme from Feingold's speech. Hopefully, Feingold comes back to Iowa often in the future.

Spencer and Blouin followed (too bad Fallon couldn't make it), but I didn't pay much attention. I went to shake Feingold's hand before he left and then found the beer cooler. After a long day, a cold one sounded real good.

2nd District Convention Report

I asked some friends over at DU if they would writeup a recap of the 2nd District Convention. Cornfield agreed and was very speedy in getting it to me. So here it is. Thanks Cornfield!

2nd District Democratic Convention – April 29, 2006

The fire alarm at Mount Pleasant High School went off, proving to everyone in attendance that the Second District Democrats were on fire.

The Second District seated 287 regular delegates (out of 337) at their convention on Saturday, April 29. On the whole, the day ran smoothly and without incident.

One of the first speakers was gubernatorial candidate Mike Blouin. Those in the audience were again instructed to repeat after him: “Jim Nussle will not be governor of Iowa.” (This seems to have become the Blouin mantra – and one the Democrats stomach very well.) He spoke at length about keeping young people in Iowa and bringing back those who had left. One of his ideas for doing this was for Iowa to offer “real jobs” that “pay real money.” He also hit hard on the state’s educational system, stating fears of economic hardship should not be limiting educational opportunities. He closed by telling the audience he wanted to build on the Vilsack legacy.

Blouin is typically a very strong speaker and Saturday proved no different. He currently holds strong support in the Second District and received at least four standing ovations (in addition to the typical coming and going).

In probably the most embarrassing event of the convention, Elaine Baxter took the stage to introduce Mary Culver (wife of gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver). Her introduction was very good. She received good crowd response. Unfortunately, when the call was made for Mary to take the stage, no one came. The few moments which followed were awkward and did not shine favorably on the Culver campaign.

Secretary of Agriculture candidates were the next to speak. Dusky Terry was represented by his wife while Denise O’Brien was represented by her daughter. Iowa is fortunate to have two very qualified candidates who have a vision for this position and for the state. Both stressed the need for our state to value rural Iowa, clean up our waterways and continue Iowa’s leadership in the world’s agricultural endeavors.

If forced to choose based solely on the two representations today, I would choose O’Brien. Terry’s wife is both articulate and intelligent, but she doesn’t convey a sense of passion. O’Brien’s daughter, however, captivated the crowd with her memories of their family’s organic farm and their belief that all people should have access to safe and nutritious foods.

Rod Perdue spoke on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon. He was sincere as he complimented all of Iowa’s wonderful candidates. The most applause was garnered when he spoke of campaign finance reform – “based on need and not greed.” There are a fair number of Fallon supporters in the Second District. While it was obvious they were disappointed time constraints could not allow Fallon to address the group personally, they supported their candidate’s representative with several standing ovations.

Baxter returned to the stage and was finally successful in introducing Mary Culver. Mary spoke very briefly before turning the stage over to Culver’s Lt. Gov. pick, Patty Judge. It was difficult to recall the embarrassing moments earlier in the day once Judge began to speak. She hit on several hot button issues – women’s reproductive rights, education, healthcare, poverty, economic development, agriculture, minimum wage – and the ideas and viewpoints she expressed received wide-spread report. That is, those cheering and standing were not just the delegates with Culver stickers on their lapels. Several Blouin and Fallon supporters could be seen not only paying attention to her speech, but joining in the standing ovations. Perhaps the line which received the most unilateral support was “Iowa will not only feed the world – we’ll fuel the world.”

While someone might have walked on the convention floor and mistaken the focus for support, it is difficult to know whether applause will translate into votes during the primary. Judge has always been a passionate and effective speaker. Her energy today was high and it seemed to translate to those in attendance.

Sal Mohamed spoke later in the afternoon and, as always, spoke of how he planned to bring science back into government and how he wanted to place more money back in the pockets of our residents. Although I might be ripped to shreds for saying this, I feel it is important. Mohamed has a sound message. He speaks and his voice vibrates with his own passion for what he is saying. Unfortunately, his accent is difficult for many Iowans to understand (your author included). I believe out of all the gubernatorial candidate web sites, Mohamed’s has received the most visits. I listened as at least 50 separate people discussed their visit to his site and what they discovered there. People can tell he believes in what he is saying and they want to understand. In person, however – especially when there is a temperamental sound system in the mix – as he becomes excited about his plans for our state and his speech speeds up, it is difficult to understand him word-for-word.

When looking at the gubernatorial candidates, despite the early morning snafu, I believe the speaker who excited the crowd most was Patty Judge of the Culver campaign.

Not even Judge, however, came close to the thundering, roaring, screaming, clapping and stomping crowd which greeted Congressional candidate Dave Loebsack. As Tom Petty swooned how he wouldn’t back down, Loebsack made his way up the center aisle and onto the stage. He told the participants his campaign was about two things: Change and Leadership. He urged the audience not to confuse this with “change in leadership” because he didn’t give “the current occupant that much credit.”

Loebsack has never been a slouch in the speaking department. (I wish I had more professors at my university with his talent!) From discussing Leach’s vote for the birth tax to reminding those in attendance that “election year conversion does not equal leadership,” Loebsack simply stole the show. He closed with one of his signature lines: “I will lead when it matters, not when it is safe.”

There were also two non-candidate speakers who brought down the house: Gov. Tom and Christie Vilsack. When Mrs. Vilsack proclaimed, “It should not have taken our legislators so long to help our educators,” when discussing teacher pay increases, the audience erupted. Neither of the Vilsacks took a position in the current gubernatorial race, but Christie did state that "we have some great candidates and we need a competent governor.” To me, when compared with some of the recent attacks questioning Culver’s IQ, this almost appeared an indirect endorsement. Perhaps it wasn’t meant that way, but I know I’m not the only person in the audience who thought it was.

In one of the most genuine speeches I’ve ever heard him provide, Gov. Vilsack spoke about our state, our accomplishments, his recent trip overseas and the call to a fallen soldier’s family he will never forget. The man who died while following his orders was 42 years old, father and husband, a helicopter pilot. When Vilsack spoke with the widow, he said she could see his difficulty in speaking the traditional lines of service, honor and country. As it turns out, the man had a choice on the day that he died. He could have chosen to save himself, but instead he chose to place himself in mortal danger so that he could try to protect those soldiers traveling with him. When all was said and done, the man and his co-pilot died – 18 others lived. Once this was explained the wife told Gov. Vilack that those 18 soldiers needed her husband more in that minute than she did for the rest of their time together.

It was obvious Vilsack was having a difficult time holding onto his emotions as he thanked everyone for their support. He had to stop speaking several times in order to pull himself back together.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Feingold's visits Iowa

I have been posting about Feingold's visit to Iowa this weekend over at Iowa for Feingold. Please stop and take a look. I have a video link of the Iowa City speech on Friday, news articles, and a Wisconsin blogger who followed Feingold around during the weekend.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Full Weekend Ahead

Posting this weekend will be a little slim. Today, I went to Iowa City to hear Sen. Russ Feingold speak at the University of Iowa. Check Iowa for Feingold for a recap and some pics. I am getting up early on Saturday to head to Ft. Dodge for District 4 convention where I am a delegate. Then after the convention there will be at a fundraiser for Dr. Selden Spencer where Sen. Feingold will be speaking again. I will probably get home late Saturday evening. On Sunday, I am going to Des Moines for a reception with Tom Vilsack. My sister-in-law will be recognized for earning a scholarship and will be one of many honored there. Luckily, I have Monday off.

Is Ankeny a city of Condos and Townhomes?

The Des Moines Register has an interesting article on the land use planning and the sense of community or lack of it in Ankeny. Welcome to Suburbia!

Is Ankeny a city of Condos and Townhomes?
Some residents complain that's the image projected. City leaders wonder whether to change the land-use plan.

Ankeny leaders are considering updates to the city's land-use plan following complaints from some residents that townhomes and condominiums are too visible from the city's main streets.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

How long does it take a CEO to earn your pay?

How long does it take a CEO of a Fortune 500 company to earn your pay?

Follow the link to find out...
Make Work Pay

Fair Tax? Only for the most wealthy

Yesterday, Krusty Konservative posted about the Fair Tax system that strips all taxes on income, institutes a national sales tax, and ends all taxes on corporations.

The FairTax proposal is a comprehensive plan to replace federal income and payroll taxes, including personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security/Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes. The FairTax proposal integrates such features as a progressive national retail sales tax, dollar-for-dollar revenue replacement, and a rebate to ensure that no American pays such federal taxes up to the poverty level. Included in the FairTax plan is the repeal of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. The FairTax allows Americans to keep 100 percent of their paychecks (minus any state income taxes), ends corporate taxes and compliance costs hidden in the retail cost of goods and services, and fully funds the federal government while fulfilling the promise of Social Security and Medicare.
There is nothing Fair at all about this tax. Let's say a husband and wife are a teacher and a nurse and make $60,000 a year combined. Then look at a CEO who makes $600,000 a year and his wife does not work. Just because the CEO makes 10 times as much money, does that mean his family buys 10 times as many clothes, eats 10 times as much food, goes to the doctor 10 times as many times, buys 10 times as many prescription drugs, buys 10 times as much gas for their cars, and goes on 10 times as many vacations? The answer is no. Does the CEO work 10 times as hard as the teacher and the nurse? Again the answer is no. There is nothing fair at all about this tax.

The response from one of Krusty's readers to my commments...
The CEO probably gets a tailored suit, not one from JC Penney. The CEO probably drives a BMW, not a '98 Taurus. The CEO probably eats at Splash, not at Applebee's. The CEO probably goes to Tahiti for vacation, not to Adventureland. There's nothing wrong with being poor, you're just really dumb if you are.
I agree that the CEO probably buys nicer things, but is it fair that they do? Do they really need 8 cars in their driveway, a closet full of designer shoes that is bigger than my house when so many Americans are without health insurance and children are growing up in poverty?

Any tax based on consumption is regressive. There should be a tax system that provides the help to end poverty, provide the basic needs a person has, and to invest in our future. The government should not be giving hand outs, rather hand ups. A Fair Tax does not do that, it just allows a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Perfect 2006 Election Scenario - or - How to Get Al Gore as President!

I found this post on DU and what a great dream it would be.

... perchance to dream:

1. Democrats regain power of both the House and Senate in the 2006 elections. Al Gore is elected on a write-in campaign as a representative from Tennessee and subsequently elected Speaker of the House.

2. Cheney and Bush are both impeached. Bush for violating FISA and Cheney in connection with the Plame leak.

3. The trial for Cheney is quickly pushed through. He is convicted and removed from office. Bush immediately appoints Karl Rove, who is unable to take office without approval of both Houses, per the 25th Ammendment.

4. Bush is subsequently convicted. The country is briefly without a President or VP. Under the terms of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the Speaker of the House ascends to be President Al Gore.

... which is why the impeachment shouldn't happen before November. ;-)
posted by Mr Stickfigure at 5:03 PM PST on April 25
Yes, it is a stretch, but it would be fitting that the last Democrat elected would finally become President.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Olberman on Tony Snow as White House Press Secretary

Olberman: Does the White House owe Tony Snow 5 years back pay?
Got to love Olberman.

DFA Training: Introduction

I promised that I would post somethings about the DFA training I went to in the Quad Cities. It's finally here!

The training took place on a Saturday and Sunday from 8:30-5:00 and covered a lot of topics from campaign fundraising, canvassing, recruiting volunteers, phone banking, the media, framing your message, and planning campaigns. Bascially it was a lot of information in a short period of time.

The first thing I learned at the training was that I was not normal, actually I was very strange. They were not talking about mulitiple peircings, purple hair type strange. They were talking about people who are willing to give up an entire weekend to come and talk about politics. So I am strange, and because you are reading this blog, you are probably strange too. Once I got over being strange, I could focus on the them of the entire training:

"The biggest lie told by people like me to people like you at election time is that, 'if you vote for me, I'm going to solve all your problems.' The truth is, the power to change this country is in hands, not mine." -Gov. Howard Dean
It was discussed a lot over the weekend that the Republicans are doing great harm to the nation and a lot of people want to change. The people that can change the country are the people who attended the training and the people who read political blogs online. There are too many people who are stuck in watching reality TV and too many people stuck working 2-3 jobs.
"We are the people that we have been waiting for."
-from the Hopi poem, "The Great River"
Since we are the ones that must work for the change and that we are strange then we must remember that for the strange to talk to the normal, the strange must talk normal. We can't go out and start talking about the Downing St. Memo, single-payer health care, geothermal heating, TIF districts, CAFE standards, the Iowa Values Fund, and on and on. Sadly, a lot of people don't know enough details about those topics. We must talk about the values that make up our message and then work on developing that message in a clear, concise way.

Gubernatorial Debate on tonight

WOI TV in Des Moines and KCAU in Sioux City announced that they will join KCRG in Cedar Rapids in televising Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate in Cedar Rapids. The debate starts at 7:00 pm and will be televised live.
Tune in to see all of the Democrat candidates for governor. As you watch ask yourself the most important question when choosing who to vote for...which candidate would I rather have a beer with?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Welcome to Money Press

I watched Iowa Press this morning. On the show, they discussed 3 races here in Iowa: Governor, District 1, and District 3. As they handicapped these races, the so-called leader in every race was the candidate who had the most money. I tune into these shows to get some insight, not just a run down on who has raised the most money. Anyone with basic computer skills can look that stuff up on the internet. The media looks at the fundraising numbers because it is easy and can be put into a nice chart. They might actually have to actually make an effort to analyze the race by looking at name recognition, grassroots support, as well as the money. The last time I voted I didn't see any checks for $2,000 going up to the voting booth. I will keep tuning into Iowa Press, but will call it Money Press from now on.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

People-Powered Politics

I got home not too long ago from a House Party that I helped organize for the Ed Fallon for Governor campaign. A group of 4 of us put this house party together in a weeks time, making phone calls, food, and sending postcards in the mail. All in all, we invited around 140 people. We had 39 people show up. It was a great time. Ed came, gave a great speech, and chatted with the people there. The people we invited were mainly undecideds coming in, but I know of quite a few who made up their minds at the event to support Ed. It was great to see people taking yard signs and bumperstickers home with them. We also raised a nice chunk of money. It was a great time for everyone.

A lot of the people there told me that they really appreciated Fallon coming and wish they would get a chance to meet all of the candidates. I think this is Fallon's 6th trip to town. I would be surprised if the other candidates have been here more than 2 or 3 times. I have found a lot of people who are undecided still and the personal contact with the candidate can go a long way in persuading voters. That is the basis of Fallon's campaign. I kind of get the feeling that other candidates are waiting for the last month to air their ads. Iowa voters are smarter than that. Ed will have some TV and radio, but it is House Parties like the one tonight that will get people out to vote.

No Bacon for breakfast

I woke this morning and found that there is no Bacon for breakfast. Who's Makin Bacon is offline. I hope he comes back soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yeah, I think Global Warming is Real

I found this article on MSNBC about how Alaska is worried about wildfires. Alaska? Wildfires? Whatever happened to the Arctic Tundra, glaciers, ice fishing, igloos, permafrost, and sled dogs.

Feingold in Iowa City on Friday, April 28th

On Friday, April 28th Sen. Feingold will be in Iowa City speaking on campus. Here is the info...

Speech at the University of Iowa.
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Iowa City
Sponsored by University Democrats
River Room at the Iowa Memorial Union

Check Iowa for Feingold for more details

Feingold in Cedar Rapids on Friday, April 28th

Russ for Feingold will be in Cedar Rapids doing a fundrasier for Dave Loebsack on Friday, April 28th. Check Iowa for Feingold out for more details.

Leach refers to Democrat as a "Radical" at forum

A friend of mine who posts over at DU posted this yesterday and said I could post it here. I guess my friend went to a forum Leach was holding in Cedar Co. and this is what he wrote.

Other folks weren't asking any questions, so I filled the dead air with about 5 or so questions and would interrupt to clarify some 'facts' that weren't quite right. About 10 minutes into it he looked kind of quizically at me and asked if there were any more radicals like me in Cedar county?

The questions I asked were about things like the debt, the signing statements, Iran and the run up to war, whether or not we are building permanent bases in Iraq. Never got a chance to ask about 'kitchen table' issues like the price of gas, health care, college and the medicare prescription drugs.

And of course I got no answers. On each issue Leach said that it was a very serious issue, went into his little civics lesson and tailed off. And as he tailed off I asked him (in a civil manner) "well, what are YOU doing to do about it?".

His aide Gary Grant was staring me down.

The funny part was that some ass-kisser came in with about 10 minutes left and lauded Leach as "probably the best representative in congress. I thank God every day you are my congressman". It was just sickening. I heard Leach got a hard treatment in CR also.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let's just make it a Feingold Thursday

This week Russ Feingold released an ad called W about the domestic wiretapping. It is a response to a RNC attack ad released on radio stations across Wisconsin last month.

Feingold's W ad

RNC attack ad

Feingold Gets Big Spike in PAC Donations

I reported last weekend that Vilsack's PAC raised just over $400,000 in the first 3 months of 2006. A NY Times article on Russ Feingold's PAC motivated me to do a little research and I found that Feingold's PAC has raised $452,000 in 2006, but most of that has come since Feingold's call for censure.

The NY Times has an article reports that Sen. Russ Feingold's PAC, the Progressive Patriots Fund, raised $282,000 in March ($186,000 was in donations under $200) after Feingold announced his intention to censure Bush. In Feb. Feingold's PAC raised $105,000.

''I bet that really did stimulate contributions a lot,'' said Charles Franklin, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ''The censure resolution, and lack of any other Democrat backing it, really put a lot of Bush-haters onto Feingold.''

Politicians use leadership PACs to make contributions to other candidates and finance political travel. The Progressive Patriots Fund has helped Feingold do both, elevating his profile in the process. That will help Feingold if he decides to run for president in 2008.

The article fails to give the total amount Feingold has raised in 2006, but says the Progressive Patriots Fund has $466,000 cash on hand. I am guessing that Vilsack has more cash on hand since he had $1 million on hand at the beginning of the year (which probably means Vilsack has been running for President longer and Feingold spent his money running for re-election in 2004).

And just wanted to remind people that Feingold will be in Iowa April 28 and 29 fundraising in Iowa City on the 28th for Loebsack and Ft. Dodge on the 29th for Spencer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scott McClellan Resigns

According to MSNBC and many others, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has resigned.
It's about time.

I would say more, but it is policy to not comment about ongoing investigations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oil sets record at $71-plus a barrel

On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of oil reached a record high of $71 and don't look for it to go down anytime soon. So, where are you going on vacation this summer?

Values Fund may not be so valuable

Blog for Iowa posted this article on the shortcomings of the Iowa Values Fund over the weekend, courtesy of Nicholas Johnson.

What's the value of the Iowa Values Fund?

Its promoters say it's a "jobs program." Its detractors say it smells more like corporate welfare. Who's right?

Admittedly, it's a little bizarre ideologically. The recipients are often the same folks who praise free private enterprise, repeat "marketplace regulation" like a mantra and oppose universal health care and safety and environmental regulation as "socialistic."

Governments run programs such as schools and libraries and contract for services such as road building.

But I always thought private enterprise was supposed to rely on private capital, dangling before investors both the risks of bankruptcy and the rewards of riches.

One of the reasons I am supporting Ed Fallon for Governor is his stance against the Iowa Values Fund. There is no reason my neighbor who owns a paint store pays for a company like Wells Fargo to get millions of dollars from the State. Corporate welfare only lines the pockets of the rich.

Is that what you REALLY want?

Thanks to Woodbury Democrat for posting this via Needlenose.

If you live in Iowa's 2nd and 4th Districts, please post this everywhere.

Selden Spencer for Congress

Selden Spencer has a website up. Spencer is running in Iowa's 4th District against Tom Latham for US House. Thanks to Heather Youngblut for posting this.

Monday, April 17, 2006

2008 Straw Poll for April: Midway point

April is over half done, so I thought I'd post about the results so far. As of Monday night, there are 67 votes and a few surprises. Here are the results so far.

1. Russ Feingold 34%
2. Mark Warner 18%
3. John Edwards 12%
3. Al Gore 12%
5. Bill Richardson 7%
6. Tom Vilsack 6%
7. Evan Bayh 4%
8. John Kerry 3%
9. Joe Biden 1%
9. Hillary Clinton 1%

Saturday, April 15, 2006

VIlsack raises $400,000 so far in 2006

Tom Vilsack has raised $400,000 so far in 2006 according to a story in the Des Moines Register today. The article says that Hillary Clinton has raised $6 million in 2006, however Clinton is running for reelection this year. I will try and find what some other possible candidates for 2008 have raised.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Folk Music Friday: Phil Ochs "Power and Glory"

The first song for Folk Music Friday is "Power and Glory" by Phil Ochs. I first heard this song last week thanks to XM radio's Folk Village (Channel 15). Not only is it a nice song to listen, it is a great song to sing to (if your the only one in the car). The song was written in 1974 the lyrics are very relevant today. (I looked for a mp3 of the song, but no luck, sorry.)

The Power And The Glory
Come and take a walk with me thru this green and growing land
Walk thru the meadows and the mountains and the sand
Walk thru the valleys and the rivers and the plains
Walk thru the sun and walk thru the rain

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all)

From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
Texas and Ohio and the California shore
Tell me, who could ask for more?

Yet she's only as rich as the poorest of her poor
Only as free as the padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand

[ extra verse supplied by Sonny Ochs ]
But our land is still troubled by men who have to hate
They twist away our freedom & they twist away our fate
Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry
We can stop them if we try

Pictures of the Iowa City Storm Damage

There are some Iowa City locals that post over at Iowa Underground. They have posted some pictures of the storm damage last night. Some amazing stuff.

Miss Alenius

Miss Alenius called and said I had a few things to clear up, so here they are...

  • Last weekend at the DFA training one of the things I learned was that you should update your blog everyday. As you can tell, I have not done that. There's always next week, I guess.
  • I do have a good reason for not updating the blog though. I got a job! I was hired as an Elementary teacher here in central Iowa, so I will be hanging around the Iowa blogosphere for awhile. I am really glad to be done job hunting. I got to the point where I could tell how much my letter would be based on how many pages the school district's application had. It was usually $0.83, but that extra page would bump it up to $0.87. Since I am officially a teacher, I really think the Iowa Legislature should do all it can to increase teacher pay (sorry, I had to).
  • Since Drew has Music Mondays, I thought I would have a Folk Music Fridays. That means I will be moving the "site of the week" to another day. I got into listening to Folk Music after the Dylan documentary aired last fall. So look for the first post in that series later today.
  • And I will be writing more about the DFA training when I get a chance (which I hope to be later today or tomorrow morning).
I think that clears everything up. Thank you for the call Miss Alenius.

Howard Dean: President or people in the Administration mislead us into war

Howard Dean was on CNN yesterday and talked about the United States being mislead into war. Dean said that"either the President mislead us into war and sent our troops to war anyway, or people from the administration withheld that information from the president of the United States."

Here are exceprts from the show (complete transcript here)...

DEAN: That goes to the heart of two issues of this next election is going to be about. One is the qualifications and competency of this president. And the other is the honest and trustworthiness, honesty and trustworthiness of this president. The American people deserve to know if their president is honest."

COLLINS: Governor Dean, you came out yesterday and blasted the president saying that he ignored intelligence on WMD. Are you implying that the president lied about that?

HOWARD DEAN: We don't know, Heidi, once again, whether the president wasn't informed -- in which case the administration is incompetent -- or whether he did know and then he deliberately lied to the American people. We deserve to know that.

So I want the president to declassify that report, let the American people know what did the president know and when did he know it? Did he deliberately mislead us? Or did he do it because people kept information from him in his administration? "
Here is a link to video from some rightwing site.

Thanks to Madfloridian over at DU for posting the transcript and video.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Just saw Chomsky in Ames

Here is a recap of the Chomsky lecture on Tuesday night at ISU. I didn't take notes, so I left out some details, especially since it is late when I am writing this. Here it goes...

I just got back from seeing Noam Chomsky in Ames. The crowd was huge, standing room only, and Chomsky did not disapoint. Chomsky is so full of knowledge that he bombards you with facts and would bring you on the brink of being scared shi*tless. Then he would throw some dry humor in that would make you laugh, but if you really thought about it his joke wasn't funny, it was even more scary. One was about if we really thought we would have invaded Iraq if their #1 export was pickles and the one about the word that is too vulgar for any American to talk about, it is spelled O I L.

Chomsky outlined a Middle East made up of an alliance of nations that own a majority of the world's oil. Iran already hates us, Iraq (if they truly get a democracy) will be just like Iran, and the people of Saudi Arabia truly don't like us as much of their Kings do. This makes withdrawing all of our troops out of Iraq more difficult. If we just send a bunch of ships over there to pick them up, Iraq will be Iran the sequel. What the US Government wants is someone just like Sadaam to take over, but of course that person can't be too much like Sadaam.

Chomsky outlined how the Reagen Administration helped Sadaam gain power and start a WMD program and now Sadaam is in court on charges that were completely ignored and even encourage by Reagan and the first Bush (Chomsky called George HW Bush the liberal Bush). A quote that Chomsky repeated a few times was that it is easy to forget when you carry the club, but the victims don't forget.

Chomsky made it clear that there is a vast difference between the public opinion and the US Government's opinion. He quoted a poll that stated a majority of Bush voters thought Bush favored the Kyota Protocal and went on to say that so many people are in favor of Kyoto that they just assumed Bush was too. He said that every scientist in the world sees global warming as a problem except for the few that write for the Wall St. Journal and the one scientist that works in the White House.

Chomsky closed by saying that if peasants in Boliva can practice Democracy and change their country than we can here in the US. We sit here in the most privledged nation where we pride ourselves for our freedoms, yet we say we have no affect on what goes on. "Democracy takes more than shopping at Wal Mart and pushing a button every four years."

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Sign for Bush's Visit

I am not sure if I will make it to Des Moines tomorrow to share a great Iowa welcome with Bush, so here is what my sign would say (Feel free to use it). It comes from this great Dylan song.

All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

Sunday, April 09, 2006

DFA Training, Whew!

I am home from the DFA training this weekend. It was a great time. I learned a heck of a lot of stuff in a short amount of time and met some really great people who are doing some great things. My brain is a little fried right now to post anything that goes in depth. That will have to wait until tomorrow. I highly recommend this training to anyone who volunteers (canvassing, phone banking) for any compaigns or groups. It is well worth it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

DFA training this weekend

This weekend I am going to be attending a DFA training in the Quad Cities. I will post updates this weekend on how it goes. I don't really know anyone that is going to be there, but I hope to learn a lot and meet some nice people.

Democracy for America began as Howard Dean's group while he was running for President in 2004, but changed once Dean was out of the race. They are very much like MoveOn in that they support issues and candidates and encourage grassroots organization, but DFA also focuses on training and has local groups. There are very active DFA groups in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities.

DFA also sponsors DFA night school that starts Tuesday, April 11th. These are free online trainings.

I'll post updates about the training when I get a chance.

Site of the Week

This weeks Site of the Week is Jesus' General, which recently won a Koufax award for the Most Humorous Blog.

The first time I saw this blog, I wasn't sure if it was for real or not. The site is full of sarcasm, so don't take anything you read there seriously. It is definitely worth a look, you'll get a few chuckles out of it for sure. I personally like the letters Gen JC Christian writes to people, such as this one about waving Mexican Flags in the US.

Blog for Iowa is back

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the great blog, Blog for Iowa shutting down. Well, it is back under new management. It has the same address, same look, and same great resources. Glad their back.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

April Straw Poll: 2008 Demcratic Nominee for President

I made a straw poll for the 2008 Democratic Nominee for President. Krusty Konservative has one for the Republican side (which has Romney beating Pataki right now), so I thought I would make one for the Good Guys. You can find the Democratic poll on the right hand side above the links.

So, who do you support for the Democratic Nominee for President in 2008?

I will probably do one of these polls every other month.
Thanks for taking the time to vote.

I woke this morning, looked at the poll, and realized that I left Wesley Clark off the poll. I will put Clark on the next poll. I guess this is his punishment for skipping Iowa in 2004.

Fallon's going back to school

Gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon is heading back to school on Friday to speak to students at the three Regents Universities. He has also released a Students for Fallon website. It is worth checking just to see the picture in the main banner and the campaign button that says "Students for Fallon: We've got issues!"

Here is a press release about the tour of the Universities.


State Representative and gubernatorial candidate
Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines) will visit all three Regents Universities on Friday to discuss his plan to restore funding to the Universities and help stop rising tuition costs, which are causing fewer Iowans to attend college, and causing students at Regents universities to graduate with nearly $14,000 more debt than the national average, according to a March 30 Des Moines Register article.

“State government must be held accountable for its responsibility to provide affordable higher educational opportunities for our young people,” Fallon said. “Tuition increases and shrinking state support are causing some to not have the opportunity to attend college, and forcing students to drop out or graduate burdened with huge debt.”

Details for Friday’s events:

ISU: 10:00 AM, First floor lobby, Bearshear Hall

UNI: 12:30 PM, Student Involvement & Activities Conf. Room, Maucker Union

U of I: 4:00 PM, 3rd Floor South Commons, Blank Honor Center

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Guess What? Food costs more!

I saw this article in the Des Moines Register today about food is costing more. However, don't blame farmers, blame energy costs.

Report: Food is Costing More
by Anne Fitzgerald
April 4

It's costing more to put food on the table.

During the first quarter, U.S. retail prices for pork chops rose 15 cents per pound, while ground beef increased 30 cents and cheddar cheese jumped 50 cents, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported Monday.

But don't blame farmers, said Terry Francl, senior economist with the Washington, D.C.-based trade group. Expensive energy, not prices paid to producers, is the main culprit, he said.

In its first market-basket survey of the new year, the Farm Bureau found that the cost of 16 basic food items was $40.73, up $1.90, or nearly 5 percent, in the first quarter of 2006, compared with the fourth quarter last year.

Prices for 11 items increased, while those for five others fell.

At the farm level, prices fell for livestock, poultry and dairy products during the first quarter, according to the Farm Bureau, which has conducted the quarterly food-price survey since 1989.

Stupid Tom DeLay Quotes and some videos

I found these stupid Tom DeLay quotes on Randi Rhodes' website. Here is a sample...

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills." –Tom DeLay, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999

Here is a great video of CNN's Jack Cafferty going off on DeLay. And here is a Daily Show classic on DeLay that includes the laws that DeLay has not broken. Thanks to Crooks and Liars for both videos.

Please repeat Culture of Corruption, over and over again.

Monday, April 03, 2006

DeLay Dropping Out

Tom DeLay has decided to NOT run for re-election because he didn't want to take the beating that was going to go on. Here are the stories from MSNBC and Yahoo.

Just thought I would say that DeLay, a former exterminator, first ran for Congress because he was against the ban of DDT, saying that DDT is as safe as aspirin. I wonder if DeLay is going to go back killing bugs or maybe he is heading to...

ISU Governor's Forum

Drew Miller is live-blogging the ISU Governor's Forum tonight. I thought about making the trip, but decided against it. Thanks to Drew for taking the effort to do this.

Stagnant Wages? Made in USA

Thanks to Iowa Underground for digging up this article written by Robert Kuttner. It is a must read for all Common Iowans. Here are some excerpts...

As Congress grapples with immigration policy, most experts agree that wide-open immigration slightly depresses wages, especially among unskilled workers. But the main reason for static wages has more do with policies made in the United States.
Such as tax cuts for the wealthy, rising tuition costs for higher education, and health care costs that burdens businesses.

Census data show median household income fell 3.8 percent or $1,700, from 1999 to 2004, according to economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute (on whose board I serve.) And this drop occurred during a period when average productivity rose three percent per year.

Moreover, as economist Jeff Madrick has observed in his book ''Why Economies Grow," , the reality is worse because prices of commodities that make us middle class are rising much faster than inflation generally: housing, college education, health care, and also child care. These very rapid price increases are offset by falling costs of consumer electronics, basic food, and clothing, creating misleadingly low inflation measures.

It's great that shirts are cheaper than a decade ago, and that we all have cell phones. But that doesn't exactly substitute for a house, an affordable college education, or health care.

That is exactly the reason I don't shop at Wal Mart.
Don't blame it on immigrants. Blame it on the people running the government, who have made sure that the lion's share of the productivity gains go to the richest 1 percent of Americans. With different tax, labor, health, and housing policies, native-born workers and immigrants alike could get a fairer share of our productive economy -- and still have the nifty iPods.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Reporting the "good" news from Iraq

Last week some bloggers exposed Republican candidate for the US House posting photos showing how sage downtown Baghdad was, when the pictures were actually taken in Turkey. Howard Kaloogian is running for the US House in CA's 50th District, the seat formerly held by the convicted felon, Duke Cunningham. Kaloogian toured Iraq in 2005 with some radio talk show hosts. Kaloogian stated the fake photos were just a clerical error made by his staff.

Here is the picture that Kaloogian posted on his website saying it was taken in Baghdad, when it was actually a photo from Turkey:

The caption under the picture read, "We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it -- in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."

Here is the pciture the Bush administration really wanted him to post on his blog claiming it was a picture from the streets of Tikrit, Iraq from the same trip:

Another Republican Kahoolgianed his chances for election last summer by doctoring a photo from a Howard Dean rally and put his photo in place of Dean. Then there was the ad over Christmas showing the soldier in Iraq watching Democrats speak about pulling out of Iraq, when he was actually watching the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Does anyone see a pattern?

Site of the Week

This weeks site of the week is the blog The Colbert Nation, dedicated to discussing the show the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. The Colbert Nation posts recaps of each nights show and has other interesting sections. Here are some of excerpts...

March 29
On having a baby eagle named after him: "I'm so excited, Nation, my whole life's going to change after this. Even though I'm already a father of three beautiful humans, I've always wanted an eagle. You know, someone you can toss around the old mouse carcass with."
Colbert then took a hot dog, ate part of it, grabbed a FedEx envelop, and then spit the chewed up hot dog into the envelop. He then said his baby eagle would need this food later.
March 28
On bears: "For years, these ravenous brutes have had free reign to use our woods as their personal latrine, protected by their 'endangered' status. Now the government is wisely considering ending grizzlies' special treatment to protect our honey jars and Paddington Station."

March 16
On the previous night's Scarborough Country: "Don't know what the story was - I had the sound turned down. I don't need the sound on with Joe. He's so passionate, that I get the meaning like a dog with his master. I don't need words to know what he wants from me."
The Colbert Report brings a nightly does of humor to my life. I highly recommend the show and the blog Colbert Nation.