Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Starving our universities?

On Monday the Des Moines Register Opinion page took a look at the issue of funding for our state universities. I have written about this issue a couple times including here.

The Register included letters from all 3 university Presidents and an interesting graph. The graph showed that in 1981 the state universities got 77.4% of their funding from the state and just 20.8% from tuition. In 2006, the state universities got 49.1% of their funding from the state and 44.1% from tuition. This is a massive shift in priorities over the past 25 years. The President's of the 3 state universities argue that it hurts the quality of faculty, the state loses research dollars, and our children lose out on a quality education.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Rockin' the Suburbs

Yesterday, I ran across 2 links online (1 article and 1 song) that just strengthen my desire to never live in Suburbia.

Rockin' the Suburbs by Ben Folds (rewritten for the movie "Over the Hedge"). Here are some of the lyrics...

Let me tell y'all what it's like
Watching idol on a friday night
In a house built safe and sound
On indian burial ground
Sham On

We drive our cars everyday
To and from work both ways
So we make just enough to pay
To drive our cars to work each day

We're rocking the suburbs
Around the block just one more time
We're rocking the suburbs
Cause I can't tell which house is mine
We're rocking the suburbs
We part the shades and face facts
They got better looking Fescue
Right across the cul de sac

Hotwheels take rising stars
Get rich quick seminars
Soap opera magazines
40,000 watt nativity scenes
Don't freak about the smoke alarm
Mom left the TV dinner on

Yet we're rocking the suburbs
From family feud to Chevy Chase
We're rocking the suburbs
We numb the muscles in our face
We're rocking the suburbs
Feed the dog and mow the lawn
Watching mommy balance the checks
While daddy juggles credit cards

The Suburban Fantasy by James Howard Kunstler

Contrary to a faction of wishful thinkers, the earth does not have a creamy nougat center of oil. Oil fields do not replenish themselves. Also contrary to the prevailing wish, no combination of alternative fuels will allow us to keep running the interstate highway system, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney World and the other furnishings of what Dick Cheney called our “non-negotiable way of life.”

People who refuse to negotiate with the circumstances that the world throws at them automatically get assigned a new negotiating partner: reality. Reality then requires you to change your behavior, whether you like it or not. With global oil production peaking, we are now subject to rising oil prices, as markets are forced to contend with allocating a resource heading in the direction of scarcity. Oil prices are only likely to go higher—though there is apt to be a ratcheting effect as high oil prices depress economic activity and thus dampen demand for oil which will depress prices leading to increased consumption which will then kick prices back up, and so on. The prospects for more geopolitical friction over oil also self-evidently increase, as industrial nations desperately maneuver for supplies.

The Primary is just 1 week away and Culver Can't Shake Opponents

The primary is just one week from tomorrow and it seems that it is going to be a close race. Here is a good article from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier talking about how Culver, though in the lead in polls, can't seem to pull away.

A poll released last week by KCCI-TV showed him with 38 percent of the vote among likely Democratic voters.

That’s just 3 percent more than the 35 percent he needs to win the primary outright. And with the poll’s 5 percent margin of error, it’s not a comfortable cushion.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fallon endorsed by the Iowa City Press Citizen

The Iowa City Press Citizen has endorsed Ed Fallon for the Democratic nominee for Governor. They did a really good job outlining the candidates attributes and limitations and explain why Fallon is the best candidate. It is well worth the read.

Fallon has most democratic vision for Iowa

Over the last 13 years as a state legislator from inner city Des Moines, Fallon's message has stayed consistent but has become more polished and more palatable. Recently, when he's spoken out for health care reform, election reform and education reform, he's not sounded like the ideologue rivals describe. Instead, he's sounded ... well ... right.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fallon to be endorsed by the Sierra Club

State Representative and Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines) will hold a press conference Thursday at noon to announce he has been endorsed by the Iowa Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental group.

“I’ve served on the Environmental Protection Committee in the State Legislature for 14 years, and I’ve worked together with the Sierra Club on a lot of key issues,” Fallon said. “I share the Sierra Club’s concerns for protecting Iowa’s unique natural environments, our soil and our water.”

The Sierra Club has worked for over 100 years on issues involving the protection of public resources.

“We simply need to be willing to stand up to polluters and do the hard work necessary to enact change,” Fallon said. “My campaign is all about hard work, and I’ve been working hard on environmental issues for two decades.”

Thursday, May 25, noon
Ed Fallon/Sierra Club Press Conference
Thomas Park
343 Marion Blvd

Drinking Liberally in Iowa City Thursday

Drinking Liberally

Iowa City

When: 7pm
Where: The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City
Why: Why the heck not?
For more info check out my post about their last meeting here.

Common Iowan Exclusive: Culver's next commercial

I have come across a clip from Chet Culver's next commercial. In the commercial Culver rides around on a horse trying to catch his nemesis invariably without success.

Blouin's campaign is preparing an ad questioning if the horse was provided by IBP.

The Fallon campaign is busy running a grassroots campaign and talking to voters.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Governor's Forum on Radio on Tuesday at noon

KUNI Candidates Forum

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 12:00 PM
Ed Fallon, Mike Blouin and Sal Mohamed will take
part in this one-hour gubernatorial forum, which
will be broadcast live on KUNI across Iowa.
KUNI Studios Cedar Falls, IA

FM 90.9 in eastern Iowa


Not sure where Chet is at. If you can't listen to the forum,
I am pretty sure it will be on the KUNI's website later on.

What do you get when there is an oil man in the White House?

I saw this on The Daily Show and had to look it up. It is from a August 2001, White House Press briefing.

Q : Is one of the problems with this, and the entire energy field, American lifestyles? Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we're able to get those resources in an efficient way, in a way that also emphasizes protecting the environment and conservation, into the hands of consumers so they can make the choices that they want to make as they live their lives day to day.

Fleischer then goes to add...

MR. FLEISCHER: But the President also believes that the American people's use of energy is a reflection of the strength of our economy, of the way of life that the American people have come to enjoy.

What do you get when there is an oil man in the White House? Yep, high gas prices.

Al Franken thinks Jim Leach is a "good guy"

Over the past year that we have been able to get AAR in Eastern Iowa, I have heard Al Franken repeatedly refer to Jim Leach by many positive terms. Like many people Al Franken has been fooled by the Jim Leach mystique. Just last month Franken posts this nice blog about how he wants to beat Republicans. Then last week I heard Franken refer to Leach yet again as a "good legislator."

Can you help me get through to Al Franken that JIM LEACH IS NO DAMN MODERATE!?!

And here is the proof on Leach:

  • supported DeLay nearly 75% of the time
  • supported the odorous Roy Blount for majority leader.
  • supported lightening the ethics rules specifically for Tom DeLay
  • supported the horrible medicare part D
  • voted for the Patriot Act
  • voted for NCLB
Ask that Franken give Dave Loebsack at least an opportunity to show that he (Dave) is the kind of congressman we need in from Iowa's 2nd district.

To contact Franken, click here.

Thanks to ruralib over at DU for this information.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Framing Immigration

I will admit that I don't know quite what to think about the immigration issue. I know that we need to protect our borders, but I also want to do it in a compassionate and intelligent manner. The immigration issue is definitely one that isn't divided down the political lines.

Yesterday, I found this article written by George Lakoff, author of "Don't Think of An Elephant." Lakoff provides a great look into the language used in the discussion about immigration.

Framing is at the center of the recent immigration debate. Simply framing it as about "immigration" has shaped its politics, defining what count as "problems" and constraining the debate to a narrow set of issues. The language is telling. The linguistic framing is remarkable: frames for illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals, undocumented workers, undocumented immigrants, guest workers, temporary workers, amnesty, and border security.
All the talk is about how it is a immigration problem when it could really be viewed as a foreign policy issue.
Such a framing of the problem would lead to a solution involving the Secretary of State, conversations with Mexico and other Central American countries, and a close examination of the promises of NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank to raise standards of living around the globe. It would inject into the globalization debate a concern for the migration and displacement of people, not simply globalization's promise for profits. This is not addressed when the issue is defined as the “immigration problem.” Bush's “comprehensive solution” does not address any of these concerns. The immigration problem, in this light, is actually a globalization problem.
Or it could be viewed as a humanitarian issue.
Perhaps the problem might be better understood as a humanitarian crisis. Can the mass migration and displacement of people from their homelands at a rate of 800,000 people a year be understood as anything else? Unknown numbers of people have died trekking through the extreme conditions of the Arizona and New Mexico desert. Towns are being depopulated and ways of life lost in rural Mexico. Fathers feel forced to leave their families in their best attempt to provide for their kids. Everyday, boatloads of people arrive on our shores after miserable journeys at sea in deplorable conditions.
Or it could be viewed as a civil rights issue.
The current situation can also be seen as a civil rights problem. The millions of people living here who crossed illegally are for most intents and purposes Americans. They work here. They pay taxes here. Their kids are in school here. They plan to raise their families here. For the most part, they are assimilated into the American system, but are forced to live underground and in the shadows because of their legal status. They are denied ordinary civil rights. The “immigration problem” framing overlooks their basic human dignity.
Why is this issue framed as an immigration problem? (Emphasis added is mine)
Perhaps most pointedly, the “immigration problem” frame blocks an understanding of this issue as a cheap labor issue. The undocumented immigrants allow employers to pay low wages, which in turn provide the cheap consumer goods we find at WalMart and McDonalds. They are part of a move towards the cheap lifestyle, where employers and consumers find any way they can to save a dollar, regardless of the human cost.
A solution to the “immigration problem” will not address these concerns because they are absent from the “immigration frame.”
This article really opened my eyes. If real progress is to be made on immigration, we must talk about the issue in a different manner.

Governor Candidates Fundraising Reports

The fundraising numbers from the Governor's Race were released this week. Chris at Political Forecast does a nice job looking into the here. Over at John Deeth Blog, he has a great post about what the money and TV ads mean during a primary election.

Whomever the Democratic candidate is, they will not have as much money as Nussle. Luckily, I have never seen a check for $5,000 walk out of a voting booth.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

DM Register Governor Debate on Now

I am watching the Gubernatorial Debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register and aired on IPTV (it will be replayed Sunday at 6:00). Culver, Fallon, and Blouin are in attendance. Not sure where Sal is. Here are some thoughts I have...

  • The segment where the candidates ask each other questions was interesting, but pretty odd. It would be interesting to hear what the candidates thought about that format.
  • Blouin is now saying that a lot of the jobs the Iowa Values fund has created are "in the pipeline." All the other times I have heard Blouin he has said the jobs have already been created.
  • Culver takes a cheap shot at Blouin on education about knowing which students are so far behind on the first day of class. Culver says that as a teacher he could tell the same thing, but as most every teacher, he worked his hardest to help those students. Then Culver goes and gives the same answer that Blouin gave.
  • The moderator has a stone like stature which gives the debate a cold feeling. At least Fallon is trying to liven it up a bit.
  • Blouin's answer to the abortion is pretty good...finally. Too bad he didn't say that from the beginning. He really fumbled the issue because no one is for abortion. The government needs to do everything to reduce the number of abortions by reducing poverty, providing health care, and sexual education. If Blouin would have said this from the beginning this would not be an issue right now.
  • Culver talks about his achievements as Sec. of State making it easier for people to vote by expanding doors, having more polling places, and paved parking lots. Those are all nice, but the thing that really matters is the use of computer voting machines and verifiable having paper trails.
  • Fallon is in a tough situation standing in between Culver and Blouin. This would have been more interesting if Culver and Blouin were standing next to each other.
  • The lightning round is great. It cuts all the gray area and bs out.
  • Closing statements
    • Culver talked about creating jobs close to the land? Compared to jobs in the air?
    • Blouin: Spoke about faith traditions. The next time consultants say to talk more about religion, they will use this as a bad example. It didn't make any sense with the rest of what he said.
    • Fallon: We are in trouble when campaigns come down to big endorsements and big money. His campaign is about big ideas.
The debate will be replayed on Sunday at 6:00 on IPTV.

Friday Folk Music: Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions"

In this weeks installment of Folk Music Friday I am going to plug, not just one song, but an entire CD. A couple weeks ago I picked up Bruce Springsteen's newest CD called "We Shall Overcome (The Seeger Sessions)." After I first popped the CD in, I wasn't sure what to think. It didn't quite sound like Seeger and it didn't quite sound like Springsteen. The CD has the folk music feel with banjos and fiddles, a coupe songs are Irish Folk songs, and is a little rough around the edges. As I kept listening to it the songs have grown on me. Now I find it is a great CD to listen when your in the mood for some fun, high energy music.

Here is an interview of Springsteen with NPR about the CD...

If Pete Seeger's versions of these songs were spare, sing-along anthems -- often just his sweet, clear voice and his five-string banjo -- these are full-bore rockers. I spot another sign in the audience: "Bruce folkin' rocks."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Drinking Liberally in Iowa City tonight

I know aren't people drinking liberally in Iowa City every night, but I got this email earlier in the week and thought I would pass it on. Sounds like fun.

I wanted to let you know that a new Drinking Liberally
chapter will convene for our first weekly meeting in
Iowa City on May 18th. Drinking Liberally is an informal,
progressive drinking club with 144 chapters
across the country and one in Dublin, Ireland.

Come raise your spirits as you raise a pint. Drinking
Liberally is an informal gathering of left-leaners and
progressives. Share you ideas while you share a pitcher.
Everyone is welcome; you don't need to be a seasoned
activist to join us in enjoying a stiff mix of socializing
with a dash of politics.

America was born in the taverns... and now we're returning
to promote democracy one pint a time.

The Revolution begins at 7pm.

May 18th at 7:00 pm
The Mill Restaurant (in the front room)
120 E Burlington St.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Hillary Kills the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton attacked young people at an event for the US Chamber Commerce. Clinton had this to say...

"Kids, for whatever reason, think they're entitled to go right to the top with $50,000 or $75,000 jobs when they have not done anything to earn their way up," the Dems' 2008 White House front-runner said.

"A lot of kids don't know what work is. They think work is a four-letter word," she told a Republican-leaning audience gathered at the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention.

"We've got to send a different message to our young people. America didn't happen by accident. A lot of people worked really hard. They've got to do their part, too."

Is it so wrong for 20-somethings to want a good paying job after doing everything they are supposed to do in their lives? They graduate high school where they participate in many activities and get good grades. Then they head off to college where they likely have to work a part time job to help pay for the raising cost of tuition. They do all of this because their entire lives they hear about the importance of a college degree and the Surburban Dream. Finally, they graduate, knee deep in student loans, ready to get out in the working world. Welcome to our debt-for-diploma system.

When I first heard that Hillary said this I didn't believe it, but then I saw the clip of her saying it on the Daily Show tonight and was shocked. It just looked like she was pandering to the so-called swing voters. All politicians do that, however, you can do that without turning your back on the people that elect you. If you look at the people that staff campaigns the majority are 20-somethings that are working long hours for little pay. I have one question for Hillary...

What is the only age demographic to vote for Kerry in 2004?
Answer: 18-30 year olds

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tax Cuts for the top 3.5% of Americans!

On Friday, The Woodbury Democrat posted about how much you will actually get from the tax cuts the Republicans pushed through congress.

Under the just passed Republican tax deal ...

If you make less than $10,000/year, you will save $0 in taxes annually.
If you make $10,000-20,000/year, you will save $3 in taxes annually.
If you make $20,000-30,000/year, you will save $10 in taxes annually.
If you make $30,000-$40,000/year, you will save $17 in taxes annually.
If you make $40,000-50,000/year, you will save $47 in taxes annually.
If you make $50,000-75,000/year, you will save $112 in taxes annually.
If you make $75,000-100,000/year, you will save $406 in taxes annually.
If you make $100,000-200,000/year, you will save $1,395 in taxes annually.
If you make $200,000-500,000/year, you will save $4,527 in taxes annually.
If you make $500,000-1 million/year, you will save $5,656 in taxes annually.
If you make more than $1million/year, you will save $42,766 in taxes annually.

Less than 3.5 percent of U.S. taxpayers fall into the category of making $200,000 a year or more.

So, this is a targeted tax cut -- at a $70 billion cost to the Treasury -- for less than THREE AND A HALF PERCENT of the population.

The small tax cuts the common American will be getting won't be enough to offset the rise in health care, gas prices, college tuition, etc. The Republicans make their base happy while making it harder for the common American to get by.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

But everyone else is doing it!

Ed Fallon is the guest on Iowa Press this weekend. I saw the show on Friday and it will be replayed on Sunday morning at 11:30 and you can catch it on their website later on.

Fallon was asked by David Yepsen and Mike Glover about the Iowa Values Fund and his plan for economic development. Fallon believes that money should be invested in growing our communities, on education, entrepreneurial opportunities, small business creation, and making the workforce in our state the best around. To learn more about Fallon's plan for economic development, check out his website.

Yepsen and Glover just could not understand why anyone would not want to hand out millions of dollars to large corporations who already making millions and millions in profits. They kept hitting on the subject and their argument basically was, "But everyone else is doing it." We wouldn't accept that response from our children, so we shouldn't accept that response from our elected officials when our tax dollars are being used.

Maytag and Central Iowa

The folks at Iowa Progress wrote about the Maytag closure and asked how it would effect the surrounding area. Since I live a mere 20 minutes or so of Newton, I thought I would weigh in.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Maytag closure is bad for Newton and bad for Iowa. I also know of a couple people that commute from where I live to Maytag, so it is a very difficult time for them. However, I don't think my town will be hurt more than other Iowa communities since people in Newton are more likely to travel to Des Moines for shopping than to where I live. In fact, they could benefit from it if other businesses in central Iowa pick up the slack.

I have heard second hand from someone in management at one of the main employers in town that they are always looking to hire good workers and have had a hard time finding them. If this is true then the Maytag closure is a great chance for this company to add some good workers to their workforce. We will see if this company takes this opportunity to grow their workforce and add to the community.

Check out the good post from Iowa True Blue about Republicans blaming the Maytag on the workers.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bush is Crippling Unborn Children with Debt and Giving the Rich Tax Cuts

Yesterday the Senate voted to pass Bush's tax cuts for the most wealthy Americans. The bill passed 54-44, so at least it was good to see most all of the Democrats sticking together on this one. Sen. Boxer discussed how these tax cuts affect Americans...

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) noted that someone earning more than $1 million a year would get a tax break worth $41,977.

"Well, you might say, `What does someone who earns $41,000 get back?' $46. Not even enough to fill up your gas tank in some cases," she said.
The tax cuts worth $70 nillion over the next 2 years just adds to the gigantic deficit that Bush (and Jim Nussle) has piled up. No other President in US history has cut taxes in a time of war and now Bush has done it at least 3 times. While our children are over fighting the war, these tax cuts just mean that they are the same ones that will be paying for it.

Domestic Wiretaps in the News

A couple weeks ago, I was getting the feeling that the NSA domestic wiretapping was falling off the radsr. Sen. Feingold issued the censure in hopes to revive investigation into the matter, but after a half-a** attempt at a hearing by Sen. Specter back in March, the censur, investigations, and news reports were dying down. Then in an arrogant move, Bush (or was it Rove) decided to nominate Gen. Hayden, the head of the NSA wiretapping program and key cheerleader, as CIA Director. Now the domestic wiretaps are back in the news. Here are some articles from the past few days...

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.
The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The 71 Democrats and one independent filed an amicus brief in two federal courts reviewing challenges to the warrantless wiretapping program in Detroit and New York, joining the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights. Both suits demand the program be stopped.
Including this from Dianne Feinstein...
“I believe we are on our way to a major Constitutional confrontation on Fourth Amendment guarantees of unreasonable search and seizure. I think this is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden (to be CIA Director)."
It will be interesting to see where this goes. Will our elected leaders stand up for the rule of law and hold the administration accountable?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Beer or Gas?

Chris has finals this week. Drew, Nicolai, and Gavin had finals last week. Many students are filling their cars and making their trips home.

That leads to the important question: Beer or Gas?

On campus you can actually live without a car. In the real world, good luck trying to do that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fallon's TV ads coming to a station near you!

Ed Fallon released his TV ads and you can see them on his website. The 1st one is your basic campaign ad, the 2nd one is hilarious, and the 3rd one is very creative. They will be hitting 12 cable outlets throughout the state now and then will be on the broadcast networks on 12 channels in 7 markets in a couple weeks.

Also, Fallon will be on Iowa Press this weekend (Friday at 7:30 and Sunday at 11:30) on IPTV answering questions from Yepsen about how money means everything in politics.

I have heard that Fallon has made an ad buy of around $130,000. That's competitive with Culver and Blouin.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Win Ben Stein's Money?

I liked the show Win Ben Stein's Money, then in 2004 I saw Ben Stein cheering on Bu$h's reelection on some cable news show and got turned off on Stein. This morning, I was shocked when I read that Stein is now calling for the rich to pay their fair share in a NY Times article entitled "You're Rich. Terrific. Now Pay Up."

But if they are superrich, they derive special benefits from life in the United States that the nonrich don't. For one thing, they can make the money in a safe environment, which is not true for the rich in many countries. It is just common decency that they should pay much higher income taxes than they do. Taxes for the rich are lower than they have been since at least World War II — that is to say, in 60 years.

This makes no sense in a world at war, in a nation with so many unmet social needs, in a nation with so many people without health care, in a nation running immense and endless deficits.

America is becoming a nation of many rich people. I recently read that there were close to 10 million millionaire households. I read that there were hundreds of thousands who made more than $1 million a year. Good for them.

But it's unlovely for them to pay as little tax as they now pay. The real problem in this country is only temporarily about oil. That will right itself, or we'll get used to it and adjust.

The real problem is saving a nation that is beset by terrorism, and we cannot do that unless we feel that we are all in the same boat, pulling at the oars together. That includes the rich.

Whatever rationale there may have been in 2001 for lowering their taxes is long gone. It's time for them — us, because it includes me — to pay their (our) share.

It's not about oil. It's about fairness.

It is good to see some Republicans coming to their senses. There are some things in this world that are more evil than taxes. It is time to start investing in our future once again.

He will lie about anything

Is there anything this man will not lie about?

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Link to the entire article.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Kerry speech at Grinnell College today

John Kerry spoke at Grinnell College today. I did not attend, but after reading the transcript I wish I did. He had some really good stuff to say about dissent, speaking the truth, patriotism, and activism. Now, I am not one who thinks Kerry was he best Presidential Candidate ever, but I think he is a great Senator. Here is some of what he said...

So we need you to speak out. Speak out if you want an America that is finally and forever independent of Mideast oil – an America that relies on its ingenuity and innovation – not the Saudi royal family.

Speak out so that instead of making a mockery of the words No Child Left Behind when China and India are graduating tens of thousands more engineers and PhDs than we are, we build an America where college education is affordable and accessible for every student willing to work for it.

Speak out so that instead of letting a few ideologues get in the way of progress that can cure Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and AIDS, we build an America where the biology students here today will do the groundbreaking stem cell research tomorrow.

Speak out if you want to restore a politics of big ideas, not small-minded attacks.

Speak out if you’re tired of seeing America divided into red states and blue states, because you know we can be one America — red, white, and blue.

Dissent from this unacceptable status quo because you know the job of leadership is to prepare for your future - not ignore it. The people who run Washington today give in to special interests and rob future generations. Real leadership stands up to special interests and sets the course for future generations. You must demand leadership that works to solve problems - not create them.

Our challenge today is to speak out so loudly that Washington has no choice but to make choices worthy of the sacrifice of our neighbors here at home and our troops all around the world.

When we protested the war in Vietnam some would weigh in against us saying: “My country right or wrong.” Our response was simple: “Yes, my country right or wrong. When right, keep it right and when wrong, make it right.” That’s our mission – to get off our rear ends – go out – and make it right today.

I bet Iowa Progress will post more about his speech.

Vietnam Protest Pics at ISU from May 6, 1970

Thanks to Nicolai from AmesWire for posting about a photo essay on the ISU Library page about Vietnam protests.

These pictures makes me ask, where are the students now? I know they held a rally on the immigration issue, but what about war?

Is a draft the only way for the public's outcry to get to the point where it makes a difference?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tuition increases possible as universities discuss budget shortfall

It looks like the tuition at the state universities will be going up once again thanks to not enough funds in the state budget. Here is a story from the WCF Courier...

The Legislature's inability to fully fund the state's three Regent universities could mean an additional tuition increase, according to administrators from each institution.

Administrators told the Board of Regents Thursday they would be unable to guarantee pay increases to non-organized faculty and staff or pay their increasing utility bills without additional revenue.
What affect does it have on students?
If students were to make up the entire shortfall through a tuition increase at UNI their costs would go up an additional 8 to 12 percent. The regents already approved tuition increases ranging from 4 to 5.5. percent for the 2006-07 school year.
Great, our senior citizens get a tax break, and our young people in the state get to pay more for college. Heck, I am all for getting a couple extra bucks here and there, but I know that taxes are an investment in our future. This is a perfect example of how tax cuts are harming our future. The seniors might actually stay in Iowa a few more years because of their tax cut, but the rise in tuition just gives our young people another reason to leave the state instead of raising their families in Iowa. That is not a way to grow your state.

When I was at Iowa in 1999-2002, tuition hikes were commonplace ranging from 10-20% a year. Overall, in past 6 years tuition to the state universities have increased over 50%. Iowa also has one of the most expensive community college tuition rates in the nation. The education system in the state needs to stop being viewed as a K-12 system and viewed as a pre K-16 system. It is good to see that teachers have been promised increased pay, but this story isn't good at all for the state. However, for people to succeed in Iowa they need some college education and too many people are unable to afford it.

We won't have to worry about how to keep younger people in the state after graduation if we continue to make it diffilcult for our young people to afford to go to college. The number one way to keep young people in the state is to provide quality and affordable education at the college level. Budget cuts and tax giveaways over the years is seriously jeopardizing this.

Folk Music Friday: Bob Dylan "Masters of War"

Hey, I am actually posting this on a Friday! The last few weeks I have strayed a bit from posting actually folk music on Folk Music Friday. Today, I will go back to my intentions of this series and post some real folk music. I looked no further than to the CD that got me started listening to folk music. That CD is the soundtrack to Bob Dylan's "No Direction Home" that aired on Public Television last fall.

In honor of the 3rd anniversary of "President" Bush declaring mission accomplished this weeks song is Masters of War by Bob Dylan. Here are the lyrics and an audio sample.

Masters of War by Bob Dylan
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Vote in the Poll for Governor

I posted a poll earlier this week asking who you support in the Democratic Primary for Governor. Please take the time to vote. The primary is coming up fast. It will be interesting to see where the people in the Iowa blogosphere stand compared to the outcome on June 6th.

In campaign news, the Fallon campaign is on a 50 County, 13 day Rural Working Tour. Kyle is blogging the stops and has some good stuff. About Ed stopping at a Brewery in Amana, Kyle wrote...

After moving off the production line, Ed discovered he’s also not so good at tapping beer. Thankfully, Ed’s press secretary, Lynn, has some experience in the field.
Fallon has also been raising a bunch of money recently. In the last 2 weeks of April, they raised over $35,000 to surpass their media budget. In May, they have a goal to raise $75,000 and already have raised $17,000.

Culver has started airing TV ads. I haven't seen any on yet, but then I don't watch much TV beside Comedy Central from 10-11. You can see the ads online though. Chet goes over better on TV than he does in person. Not sure if that is a good thing or not.

I have a qustion for the Blouin campaign. What's up with your poll? They have a poll asking what issue is most important to you. They have the obvious choices: education, job creation, health care and then they have 2 others...protecting natural resources and capital punishment. Blouin's taking a left jab at Judge and right hook at Culver with those choices. However, a total of 8% of the people voting think those 2 issues are the most important. Good news for Blouin, the state legislature should be done tomorrow, so he will be able get those checks for the unions and PAC's a couple days before the primary.

As for Sal Mohammed. A friend told me he say Sal in Des Moines standing on corner on University holding up a Sal Mohammed for Governor sign. Not totally sure this is true. A person with some intelligent ideas about how to better run the state would have better luck working on getting his message out than holding up a sign. Maybe Sal should start a blog.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Grandma's going to Iraq!

Not much to say about this other than omg, wtf?

Grandmother deployed to Iraq 10 months before retirement

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) -- A grandmother in eastern Iowa is getting one last call to duty.

Janet Grass, 52, had planned to retire from the military in about ten months after spending 19 years in the Navy Reserve. Instead, she has been ordered to leave her job as a special-education teacher in Cascade and do security work in the Middle East.

Grass boarded an airplane yesterday at the Dubuque Regional Airport amid emotional goodbyes from her family, which includes four children and six grandchildren.

Grass will train in California and Texas before deploying to Iraq for 12 to 18 months.

National Day without an Immigrant

I could write some stuff about yesterday's immigration protests/rallies, but it wouldn't be anything you haven't heard before. It is a complicated issue that won't get solved unless people work together (jeez, I guess you could say that about most every issue). Also, I wouldn't be able to say it as good as Eric at Iowa Progress did in his post yesterday.

...the immigrants who are coming to Iowa are exactly the type of productive citizens that the state claims to need so badly. These are people who work hard, who raise their children here, who pay taxes (regardless of citizenship, the sales tax is always paid), and who only seek the opportunity to share in and improve the quality of this country. My family came to this country generations ago via immigration, and the idea that we as Americans, or we as Iowans, would deny others the right to the same opportunities our families had when they came to the country is outrageous to me. The sooner Iowa recognizes that immigrants are a boon to our culture, our economy, and our state, the better.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Friday Folk Music: Living With War by Neil Young

With Feingold coming to Iowa this weekend and the district convention, I never got around to posting a Friday Folk Music. I thought I'd get 2 birds with one stone and post about the new Neil Young anti-war CD, Living With War. You can here the entire CD here. Here are the lyrics to the title track...

I'm LIVING WITH WAR everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR right now...
And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man ...
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again...
and when the night falls, I pray for PEACE...
Try to remember PEACE...
I join the multitudes...
I raise my hand in PEACE
I never bow to the laws of the thought police
I take a holy vow
To never to kill again
To never kill again
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart and my mind
I'm LIVING WITH WAR right now
Don't take no tidal wave
Dont take no mass grave
Don't take no smokin' gun
To show how the west was won
But when the curtain falls, I pray for PEACE
Try to remember PEACE (visualize)
In the crowded streets
In the big hotels
In the mosques and the doors to the old museum
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
Try to remember PEACE
The rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air
Give proof through the night, That our flag is still there
I'm LIVING WITH WAR everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR right now

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am to be here getting the chance to get an education, be with my wife and family, play with my dog, and teach kids. I am in my mid-20's and see that I could easily be over there. Each time I see, hear, or read about someone dying in Iraq I think about how many lives just got changed forever. I know I do not sacrifice anything close to what our troops and their families are, but I feel that it is my duty to be living with war in my heart and my mind everyday.

Keep the troops safe, bring them home now.

2008 Straw Poll for April: Final Results

April showers have made way for May flowers, so the April straw poll is closed. Here are the final results with 84 votes being tallied...

1. Russ Feingold 35%
2. Mark Warner 19%
3. Al Gore 14%
4. John Edwards 12%
5. Bill Richardson 6%
6. Tom Vilsack 5%
7. Evan Bayh 4%
8. John Kerry 2%
8. Joe Biden 2%
10. Hillary Clinton 1%

Hillary who? Personally, I think the people that think Hillary will be the nominee tend to be Republicans and this poll shows that. The readers of this blog don't want the same old faces we had in 2004 and it doesn't seem that Vilsack would run away with Iowa if he runs. To see how many visits to Iowa potential candidates have made check Iowa Politics.

Thanks for everyone who voted. I will post another 2008 Straw Poll this summer. In May, I will have a poll on the Governor's race.