Friday, June 30, 2006

Wait for the Bling?

I found this online somewhere. Not sure what to say about this poor attempt of "being cool" and I am in a hurry anyway. Post your comments...

Donate today if you can

The deadline for Congressional fundraising this quarter is today. If you are able to send a donation to your favorite candidate please do so. It doesn't matter how much or little. I just sent $10 online to 2 candidates. Kos put this out yesterday talking about this...

I would ask for one thing -- that everyone contribute $10 to a candidate. Any candidate. Whether from the ActBlue Netroots Candidates list, or a candidate off the list, local or not, everyone can afford to throw $10 to a candidate of her or his choice.

While overall cash numbers are important, so is building an army of supporters. Perhaps even more important. Let's support our best leaders, show them we have their back. And if we can't afford to throw real money at them (which most of us can't), at least we can show them that we're standing behind them. So please, $10 to one candidate.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gore on the Daily Show last night...Here's the clip.

Al Gore was on the Daily Show last night talking about his movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

Here is the clip
, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

The movie opens in Ames this weekend and is showing in Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities.

Last Day to Vote for Selden Spencer in Warner's Map Changers Contest

The last day to vote in Mark Warner's MapChangers contest is today. Dr. Selden Spencer, candidate for Congress in Iowa's 4th District, is the only candidate from Iowa in the contest. If you have not voted for Dr. Spencer, please do so and tell your friends. The top 5 in the West and East get $5,000 each. You can see who I voted for on the graphic on the righthand column.

It would be a big win for Spencer if he could make it. Endorsements at this stage would mean a lot in the uphill battle Dr Spencer has in front of him. Let's get some attention (and some money) on this race.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Open Thread

For some reason I decided to search through some Rightwing blogs tonight. I came away with one interesting observation... a ton of Rightwing blogs don't allow users to post comments and if they do most of the time the blogger has to approve them (Iowa's own Krusty Konservative is one of the few who allows anyone to post comments) . From my experiences, I would say it is close to 2/3 of the Rightwing blogs that I visited don't let you post comments. What's up with that?

I love getting comments on this blog. I think the open dialogue is one of the best features of a blog. It seems that Rightwing blogs would rather preach and stay away from open discussion. I guess even though the technology might change, some things never do.

I guess there isn't much of a point to this post. So please just post you comments about anything. How am I doing with the blog, what issues would you like to read about, what are your thoughts on something, whatever. If you disagree with something, let er rip. Open debate is always a good thing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We are Watching You

No, this is not about the Bush Administration and domestic spying. There are 2 new sites that take a close look at 2 Republican politicians here in Iowa and have a little fun while doing it.

Jim Nussle - Nussle and Flow
Steve King - King Watch

Chris at Political Forecast has a more in depth writeup on the new sites.

Met Denise O'Brien Over the Weekend

I had the chance to meet our next Sec. of Agriculture, Denise O'Brien over the weekend at the Iowa State BBQ Contest in Marshalltown. After talking to her, I found out why she won the primary. She is a very nice, caring, and thoughtful person. It would be hard to find a person that wouldn't vote for her after talking to her.

O'Brien didn't give any speeches, she just went around talking to people. She talked about her vast experiences farming and being an activist for 30 years. She was very interested finding ways to bridge the urban-rural gap in the state. She even talked to someone from the Iowa State BBQ Society about ways that group can be connected to the agriculture community in the state. She also discussed renewable energy. The green bus was not there. They loaned to a group that takes medical supplies to Central America, so it was in Milwaukee getting loaded up for the trip. They will have it back and ready to go in time for RAGBRAI. And yes, there was some great BBQ eaten.

O'Brien is throwing a party this Friday, June 30th on her farm in Atlantic to celebrate her victory in the primary. It sounds like a lot of fun. Here is what her site says...

Denise's win was the biggest primary victory in the state of Iowa and we now have the opportunity to bring her vision to Des Moines. Come help us celebrate on her family's farm and begin the push to November. Donations are welcome and encouraged.

Please bring a covered dish, your own drinks and lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of live music and fun!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where's the Water?

It looks like State 29 beat me to this story. Oh well, here's my version.

I read yesterday in the Des Moines Register about the new casinos in Iowa not being on rivers. To comply with state law one of the new casinos was built on just 6-12 inches of water.

"Most of them(casinos) will have some type of a water feature, but the customers probably wouldn't know it when they are on the casino floor, although it kind of depends upon the facility," said Jack Ketterer, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Maybe it is a good thing there is not any more water features at the new casinos. With the polluted waterways in Iowa, it might have been a health risk to the patrons of the casinos. At least the state decided against polluting the rivers anymore and built the casinos elsewhere.

Pictures from "Eyes Wide Open" in Cedar Rapids this weekend

I wrote on Friday that the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit was going to be in Cedar Rapids on Saturday. I was unable to attend, but you can see pictures of the event here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Learn More AboutSwitchgrass

In Bush's State of the Union address he mentioned switchgrass as a renewable energy source. Many people, myself included, were unsure exactly what switchgrass is. Richard Doak of the Des Moines Register takes a look at a switchgrass operation in southern Iowa. The results look positive.

Bring 'Em Home - Springsteen

Springsteen sings "Bring 'Em Home" on the Conan O'Brien show this past Friday.

You got to love Springsteen for standing up and saying what most Americans are thinking.

Thanks Bruce!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Local Blogs Will Lead the Way

This week I came across 2 articles about the power and influence of blogs on the political scene.

The first was posted on DailyKos about the need for local blogs. The author states that, "Unless you are a big-time blogger, get a job with a big-time blogger or major media outlet or have some kind of national-level expertise or connections, you shouldn't spend all your time blogging about national issues."

The author then explains why small time bloggers should not focus on national politics. Here are 3 reasons why...

1. It's been done...The blogosphere is a crowded place and it is really crowded at the top, where there are a lot of blogs handling national issues.
2. You're needed elsewhere...In all likelihood, there are few people covering politics in your state in an in-depth manner. You can fill that void. National elections are won at the state and local level.
3. You'll have more success and fame elsewhere...There is a demand and a market, but little competition. How better to make a name for yourself.
In the other article, Julien Borger discusses the effect blogs are having on the Lieberman - Lamont primary in Connecticut and their influence on the Democratic Party as a whole. Over the past 2 months Lieberman's lead in the polls has gone from 27 points to just 6. Here is how Borger describes the race...
It is a test of strength between the old way of doing politics built around a hierarchical party machine and the new campaigns fought by the so-called "netroots", who organise themselves and raise money on the web...

If Mr Lamont stages an upset in the Connecticut primaries on August 8, it may signal the point of no return for American politics. "It will change the kind of person who goes into politics," said Arianna Huffington, who runs the political blog Huffington Post. "It will end the dominance of consultants who have been running campaigns in the same focus-group, poll-driven way that has taken the soul out of politics."

No one now doubts the power of the internet to fuel anti-establishment candidates such as Ned Lamont. It allows them to raise large amounts of money in small contributions with minimal outlay, bypassing the big corporate donors who were once the kingmakers.
Iowa is lucky to have some very good local blogs. However, the Iowa liberal blogosphere is filled with a transient population, where we have seen some very good blogs fall by the wayside. As time goes on, some of the blogs will shut down, some new blogs will show up, and some of the current blogs will mature into great blogs. By focusing on state and local polticals we might be able bypass the corporate donors and help the common Iowan become kingmakers in the Iowa political map. We have seen the beginnings with Chris, Drew, and Kyle interviewing potential Presidential candidates Mark Warner, Russ Feingold, and Mike Gravel respectively. The next 2 years should be very interesting.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Leach Votes to Give Rich Another Tax Break and Hurts Working Iowans

Dave Loebsack comments on Jim Leach voting to repeal the estate tax.

“Jim Leach’s vote on the estate tax defies fiscal responsibility and his own rhetoric, at the expense of working families in Iowa,” Loebsack said.

“After thirty years in Congress, Leach has apparently decided it is more important to give millionaires a big tax break than it is to balance the budget, more important to heap more debt on the backs of middle-income families than it is to assure that our critical needs are met,” Loebsack continued.

The bill exempts almost all estates from tax, slashes the tax rates on the rest and will cost at least $760 billion during its first full decade. Another $600 billion would be added to the deficit along with an additional $160 billion in the interest on that borrowing, to be paid back by future generations so today’s wealthiest families can get another Republican tax break.
Leach also voted against a livable wage. Loebsack responded by saying...
“I am appalled that our incumbent Representative does not support requiring companies that get federal help to employ American workers at decent wages," said Loebsack. “This is another example of how Jim Leach is out of touch with the priorities of hard working Iowans. When elected to Congress, I will immediately sponsor legislation to increase the minimum wage by at least two dollars,” he continued. “Once again, when we needed leadership from Jim Leach, working Iowan’s didn’t get it.”
Jim Leach has failed eastern Iowa over and over again. Leach is not the moderate than many people believe. The Republicans can count on his vote when they need it the most. It is time for real leadership. It is time for a real Progressive in Iowa's most Democratic district. The answer is Dave Loebsack. Please support Loebsack against the fake-moderate Jim Leach.

"Eyes Wide Open" at the Freedom Festival In Cedar Rapids on Saturday

The "Eyes Wide Open" National Guard memorial focuses on the cost of the Iraq war to our citizen soldiers, to Iraqi civilians, and to our nation. The exhibit consists of hundreds of combat boots and civilian shoes, each bearing the name of a National Guard member or an Iraqi man, woman, or child who has died in the conflict.

Women For Peace Iowa is helping with this event, which will be held in downtown Cedar Rapids on the busiest day of the Freedom Festival. The location is directly across from the barbecue contest, and should get a lot of foot traffic.

When: Saturday, June 24
When: 9am - 7pm

Where: 8th Avenue and 1st Street SE, Cedar Rapids
I saw this last summer in Iowa City and it was very moving. It really put the conflict in Iraq into perspective.

Chet Culver will also be at the Linn Co. Democratic Headquarters at 11:45. The Linn Co. Democratic Headquarters is located at 601 2nd Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Senate votes to stay in Iraq

The Senate voted today on 2 amendments that would have brought our troops home safely.

Just 13 Senators voted to bring the troops home in a year.

Just 39 Senators voted to bring the troops home sometime.

That leaves 60 Senators wanting to leave our troops in harm ways and continue the occupation.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Senate defeats Democrats minimum wage increase

Today the Senate voted against raising the minimum wage to $7.15.

Congress gets an automatic pay increase unless there is a direct vote. Last week the House agreed to increase their pay for the seventh straight year by refusing to vote on the issue. The Senate will be taking up the issue of their own pay raise in the coming week. Sen. Russ Feingold plans on attempting to block the Senators pay hike.

Check out Blog for Iowa for a good story on history of the minimum wage in terms of current dollars.

Occupation, Not War

Here is a great article from Air America Radio's Thom Hartmann about the mess in Iraq not a war anymore, but it is an occupation. Here is part of the article.

Every time the media - or a Democrat - uses the phrase "War in Iraq" they are promoting one of Karl Rove's most potent Republican Party frames.

There is no longer a war against Iraq. It ended in May of 2003, when George W. Bush stood below a "Mission Accomplished" sign aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and correctly declared that we had "victoriously" defeated the Iraqi army and overthrown their government.

Our military machine is tremendously good at fighting wars - blowing up infrastructure, killing opposing armies, and toppling governments. We did that successfully in Iraq, in a matter of a few weeks. We destroyed their army, wiped out their air defenses, devastated their Republican Guard, seized their capitol, arrested their leaders, and took control of their government. We won the war. It's over.

What we have now is an occupation of Iraq.

The occupation began when the war ended, and continues to this day. According to our own Pentagon estimates, at least ninety five percent of those attacking our soldiers are Iraqi civilians who view themselves as anti-occupation fighters. And last week both the Defense Minister and the Vice President of Iraq asked us for a specific date on which the occupation would end.

The distinction between "war" and "occupation" is politically critical for 2006 because wars can be won or lost, but occupations most honorably end by redeployments.

You can hear Thom Hartman on Sunday mornings in the Iowa City area on KXIC and you can listen to him online at the White Rose Society.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gavin's back with a great piece about the Fallon Campaign

Gavin has come back out of hiding and has a new entry on the new version of his blog. He writes about his experiences with the Fallon Campaign and has some great stuff.

Check it out.

Feingold and Kerry (and Boxer) call for Troop Redeployment

I got an email from Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund saying that Feingold, Kerry, and Boxer will be introducing an ammendment in the Senate about redeploying our troops from Iraq. Here is the blurb from the Progressive Patriot Fund site...

Senators Feingold, Kerry, and Boxer will offer an Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that calls for a redeployment of American troops out of Iraq. Please sign our petition to support this amendment.
I also heard that Kerry was on Imus this morning (Crooks and Liars has the video of the interview) responding to Republicans that say Democrats want to "cut and run."

"My plan is not 'cut and run,'" he said. "Their plan is 'lie and die.' And that's what they are doing. They lie to America, what's happening on the ground. They lie about why we're there. They lie about what's happening. And our plan is very simple. It's redeploy to win the war on terror. Change to succeed."

It is good to see Kerry start to fight back.

Feingold discusses this topic in a piece on the Huffington Post a couple weeks ago.
The first step in creating a strong national security policy is recognizing that our massive presence in Iraq weakens our national security. Our Iraq-centric policies are diverting resources and attention from other places around the world where terrorist networks that threaten the U.S. are operating. We need to redeploy troops from Iraq so that we can focus resources on global terrorist networks and the conditions throughout the world that allow them to take root and thrive.
If you wonder why Harkin is not a co-sponsor of this bill, maybe Nicolai's post today is on to something.

Salon has an article discussing the Feingold/Kerry ammendment about troop redeployment. Here is a quote that about how troop redeployment isn't exactly an oppinion of the fringe, but within the mainstream.
Back home, a new CNN poll shows that a majority of Americans also want a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, and 47 percent of the public wants to see a deadline of a year or less -- suddenly making that "extreme" Kerry-Feingold-Boxer measure, which calls for the withdrawal by July 1, 2007, of all troops not involved in training, seem pretty darned mainstream.

Gore on Countdown with Olbermann last night

Al Gore was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night talking about his movie The Inconvenient Truth.

Crooks and Liars has the video.

Vote for Culver in Feingold's Pick a Progressive Patriot

Another email from the Iowa Rapid Response Network...

Vote for Chet Culver

Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund wants your help identifying a candidate for Governor to support in this year's elections. The candidate chosen by the grassroots as a Progressive Patriot will receive a $5000 contribution from the Progressive Patriots Fund. These candidates were selected by you through the candidate suggestion form, and we hope to do more of these events in the future.

You do not have to create an account to vote.

Thanks for voting,
Ellen and Trish

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fallon's Speech at the Democratic Convention

Here is Ed Fallon's speech from the Democratic State Convention...

First, I want to thank those who supported me in the recent Democratic Primary. We sent a strong message that issues are important.

We sent a message that campaign finance reform and clean elections must become the law of the land.

We sent a message that it's unacceptable to put another band-aid on Iowa's ailing healthcare system when what's needed is universal reform.

We sent a message that economic development must be focused on small businesses, not on corporate giveaways, not on the kind of tax cuts for the rich that Jim Nussle supported in Washington, D.C. and wants to do here in Iowa.

There are two things I want all of you to know. One: there's still plenty of work to do. Two: I am not done fighting!

I want to thank Chet Culver, Mike Blouin and Sal Mohamed for running a spirited campaign, and I want to congratulate Chet for his victory on June 6th. Chet and I have been meeting to discuss issues, and I can assure you that all of us, in fact most Iowans, have a lot more in common with Chet Culver than with Jim Nussle. Jim Nussle must not become

How do Democrats win this fall? We win with grassroots organizing, by focusing on issues and by making it clear that Democrats support people over profits. A lot of folks became Democrats in this election because I made it clear that people have to come before profit. Let's keep these new Democrats in the Party by being the Progressive Populist People-Before-Profit Party. If we sound that theme, we will be the majority party in Iowa and nationally.

Let's show Iowans that Democrats care.

Let's show Iowans that Democrats care about the abuse of eminent domain. And if you don't think there is abuse, talk with the family of a 70-year-old woman here in Des Moines who was evicted from her home because the City needed her property "immediately." The trauma of the move was so significant that she died 6 months later - and her home was still standing.

Talk to Brad and Nate, who own a business in Des Moines' East Village and who have had to fight to keep that business from being condemned and turned over to a private developer.

Talk to the family of Delores Robins in Clarke County, who died prematurely last year, in part due to the stress brought on by fighting to save her farm from a lake.

Talk to my friends in Page County who have endured so much financially and emotionally while fighting to keep their farms from being taken by eminent domain.

Talk to the rural residents in Madison County, who are fighting to keep Doug Gross from flooding their property so he can have a lakefront home.

Talk to people in Mahaska, Dallas, Jefferson, Marshall, Johnson and many other counties. I've looked into the eyes and heard the cracked voices of far too many Iowans to not know that eminent domain is abused in Iowa. For their sake, and for the sake of many, many others, let the Iowa Democratic Party state clearly that when it comes to eminent domain, people come before profit.

Let's show Iowans that Democrats care about education, unlike Jim Nussle, who had the audacity to hold a press conference in front of Des Moines Area Community College recently. Nussle announced that he wanted to restore Iowa's prominence in education, and then prescribed more tuition tax credits, which would only further undermine Iowa's public education system.

Let's show Iowans that Democrats care about diversity, unlike Jim Nussle, who announced that our quality of life would be protected somehow if we prevented John and Mark or Susan and Betty from marrying. Give me a break!

Nussle wants to be the candidate of division. Fine. Let us be the Party of unity, of inclusion, the Party whose tent is so big that we welcome all who have had their voices ignored at the Statehouse. Our Democratic tent should be big enough for family farmers, rural residents, small business owners, gays, lesbians, working families, immigrants, minorities�all who are tired of seeing profit take precedence over people.

I want to close with a chant that I recommend you use to help motivate you in the campaign this fall. "Out-muscle Jim Nussle, out-hustle Jim Nussle, let's tussle with Nussle and win!" Thank you!

Vote for Selden Spencer as a Mapchanger in 06

I got this email from the Iowa Rapid Response Network about Selden Spencer being a nominee in Mark Warner's PAC, Forward Together, as a Mapchanger in the next election. If every Iowan votes for Spencer there is no reason he can't be one of the 10 finalist and reviece $5,000. You can see who I voted on the sidebar on the right.

Selden Spencer is the only Iowa Dem. candidate who made the list.....please vote for him, below. Dr. Spencer is running against Republican, Tom Latham in Iowa's 4th District.... TOGETHER, LET'S BRING IT HOME IN NOVEMBER!!
VOTE HERE....from June 19-29 ...spread the word. Begin to check the rankings on Tuesday, 6/20
1. You'll need to create an account, password and user name, if you have not already done so....takes 15 secs.
2. You'll receive an immediate email confirmation.
3. Click on the link in the email.
4. Vote for Selden Spencer (IA-4) in the "West" column.
Thanks to Trish and Ellen for a doing a great job running the Iowa Rapid Response Network. I get a ton of great updates from them. Follow the link above and sign up in are interested.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Crazy Steve King hits it big at the Republican Convention

I did a little reading about the Republican State Convention tonight and saw these 2 quotes from crazy Steve King's speech. The first one comes from the Johnson Co. Republicans who had this quote from King, "There are probably not 72 virgins in the hell Al-Zarqawi is in. If there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."

Then Krusty Konservative had this about the King speech... "He (King) said that when Saddam was captured, he went out and celebrated Iraqi style by going outside a shooting his shot gun in the air. The reason it’s so funny is you don’t really know if its true or not, because you can see him doing it." You bet I can see him doing it. What a nutcase.

I was sure glad that Krusty used the word crazy (krazy in Krusty language) in the same paragraph describing King's speech. Krusty also hoped that King runs against Tom Harkin in 2008. Well, this common Iowan sure hopes King runs against Harkin too.

3 Way Race in 2008?

Washington Whispers: "We know, we know, the race for the White House is a long way off. But there is already a growing buzz on the Democratic side that there are just three worthy candidates likely to end up in a pitted primary battle starting in 19 months: New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, and one-term ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. Here's the 411 from a top Democratic maven: Clinton is the, well, elephant in the room, the "uber" candidate; Warner gets the mainstream moderates; and progressive Feingold is attractive to the activists who seem to be taking over the party."

Democracy for America Linn County Movie Night on Tues. June 20

On Tuesday, June 20th Democracy for America in Linn County will be showing Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room at 8PM in Grandview Pavillion in Bever Park. To get to the pavilion, enter the park through the back way (Grande Ave) and follow the road up the hill. It is the shelter at the top of the hill by the tennis courts and a play area.

Please bring a lawn chair, insect repellent, and, if you wish, soft drinks and snacks.

Donations will be accepted to help with the cost of the pavillion rental.

In addition, our scheduled date conflicts with a fundraiser for Rob Hogg. We had already made a nonrefunable deposit for the shelter so we were unable to reschedule. But we want to support Rob in his bid for the Iowa Senate, and will be happy to forward donations to his campaign.
I actually watched this movie last night and it is very good. I highly recommend it, so if you are in the Cedar Rapids here is your chance to see it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iowa Teachers Endorse Culver

It was no surprise that Culver won this endorsement. It sure didn't take the ISEA long to announce it. They interviewed the candidates on Thursday and come out and announce it on Friday. Here is the writeup from Radio Iowa. It seems that ISEA President has nailed down what Nussle is all about with the 2 quotes that I highlighted.

The Iowa State Education Association -- the state teacher's union -- today (Friday) endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver. I-S-E-A president Linda Nelson of Council Bluffs says Culver's past classroom experience played a role in the decision. "It was important to support Chet Culver because he is one of us," Nelson says.

Culver taught history and was an assistant coach in two Des Moines high schools before he was elected Secretary of State in 1998. "I know what it's like to be on the front lines," Culver says. "What we need to do in Iowa is stand up and fight for education." A dozen Iowa teachers -- six Democrats representing the I-S-E-A's Political Action Committee questioned both Culver and his Republican rival, Jim Nussle, today, then the group unanimously endorsed Culver even though Nussle has promised heftier teacher pay raises than Culver has.

Nelson says Nussle's record in congress led them to believe he wouldn't follow through on his promise. "His voting record with the National Education Association -- our parent organization -- ranged from zero percent to 25 percent at the highest point," Nelson says. "Certainly both candidates talked about raising teacher salaries, and that's what we wanted to hear," Nelson says. "But what was important to our members was that Chet Culver truly had a plan in place that we intend to work with make that happen."

Nelson says Nussle has had an opportunity to show his support of education at the federal level but that record doesn't suggest he'll keep his promise on teacher salaries. "His demonstration the last 16 years don't match with what he is saying," Nelson says. Only once in the past 24 years has the I-S-E-A PAC endorsed a Republican candidate for governor. Former Governor Terry Branstad got the I-S-E-A's backing in his 1986 reelection bid when he promised to raise teacher pay to the national average. Thirty-two thousand Iowa teachers are members of the I-S-E-A.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Poll for June

I realized last night that I have not put up a new poll yet for June. This months poll question is would you support Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack if he runs for President in 2008? The poll is in the sidebar on the right of the page.

With the Des Moines Register coming out with a poll that had Vilsack recieving just 10% of Iowans support in 2008, I thought it would be good idea to get a feel of the Iowa netroots. So go vote and tell your friends about the poll.

James and the Giant Deficit

Just wanted to remind people about this site that outlines Nussle's lack of fiscal sanity. So go check out James and the Giant Deficit and tell your friends about it too.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Vote for Loebsack in DFA poll and then Drink Liberally in Iowa City

Due to the crazy phone banking schedule at the Loebsack for
congress campaign Drinking Liberally will begin at 8:30 pm

Only three days left to make sure Dave advances to the second
round of Democracy for America's Grassroots All-Star
endorsement vote. Tell your friends!

The DFA chose 35 congressional candidates to participate in
their 2006 Grassroots All-Star vote. Five semi-finalists will
receive a $2,000 contribution from DFA's PAC. The winner will
receive an endorsement from DFA and an email appeal from DFA's
Chair Jim Dean to all 500,000 DFA members asking to support
the candidate.

The DFA has helped raised over $250,000 for congressional
candidates so far this year. Inspired by the presidential
campaign of Howard Dean, DFA is dedicated to supporting
fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all
levels of government.

The first round of voting ends Friday, June 16. To vote visit

I look forward to seeing you tonight at Drinking Liberally.

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

The Revolution begins at 7pm most weeks, but at 8:30 pm

Every Thursday
The Mill Restaurant (in the front room) 120 E Burlington St.

U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,500

U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,500 and 18,490 U.S. troops have been wounded since 2003 invasion. Read the story here.

Approximately 40,000 Iraqi Civilians have died during the invasion.

Press Sec. Tony Snow was asked about this at a press conference today. Here is how the exchange went...

QUESTION: Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?

SNOW: It's a number. And every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks, people want something.

Sorry, Tony. It isn't just a number, they are human lives. And the Republicans call themselves Pro-Life.

Challenging the Center: Lamont vs Lieberman

Following the theme of yesterday's post about the falsehoods of moving to the center, I saw 2 articles about CT Sen. Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is the epitome of center and has been called Bush's favorite Democrat by people in the White House.

Lieberman is facing a stiff primary challenge by Ned Lamont. The first story is the latest poll results that have Lieberman leading Lamont by just 6% (46% to 40%) with a +/- of 7%. So what is so wrong with Lieberman? Sam Seder of the Majority Report points out that everytime a blue state Democrat like Lieberman vote against Democratic ideals, it gives cover to Red State Democrats to vote against it. That is why you see so many bills that have a dozen or so Democrats voting with the Republicans. Lieberman undermines unity in the Democratic Party.

The latest poll results have led to rumors that Lieberman will run as an independent. Even Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) head of the DSCC has refused to rule out support for Lieberman if he decides to run as an independent.

Take a look at the DSCC's mission statement...

Our mission is to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate. We are the largest organization committed to electing a Democratic Senate in the country. From grass-roots organizing to candidate recruitment to providing campaign funds for tight races, the DSCC is working hard all year, every year to increase the number of Democratic Senators.
It seems that Sen. Schumer's mission statement isn't inline with that of the organization that he heads up. Schumer is more interested in keeping the status quo than he is at improving the Democratic Party. If he keeps this up, Schumer will probably be having a tough primary race coming next time around.

Visit DailyKos for more updates on Lieberman and Lamont. They are big supporters of Ned Lamont. To find out more about Lamont check out his site and this great site. I sent him in $10 in March, so send him a couple bucks if you can.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where does "Moving to the Center" get us?

Yesterday, I read this great article written by David Sirota about the so called centrists in Washington and how they undermining the Democratic party.

If Democrats ever want to regain their status as a majority party, they must move to the center. But that means moving to the real center -- one very different from Washington's definition of the term.

Inside the Beltway, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) is called a "centrist" because he still supports President Bush's misguided policies in Iraq; Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) proved his centrist credentials when he helped gut consumer bankruptcy protections; Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) is a centrist because he votes for corporate-written, wage-destroying trade deals. And former senator John Breaux (D-La.), now a corporate lobbyist, was labeled the ultimate centrist after working to stop Congress from cracking down on the drug and health industry profiteers who backed his campaigns.

These are just a few examples of how many high-profile Democrats promote the Beltway's idea of centrism -- focused on perpetuating the status quo and abetting the influence of corporate interests that finance political campaigns. But with a centrism like this, so far outside the real center of public opinion, no wonder the Democratic Party keeps losing congressional elections.

On the Iraq war, for instance, polls show a majority of Americans want a timetable for drawing down troops. On economic policy, most Americans support stronger government regulations to protect citizens. On trade, polls show the public is widely suspicious of free-trade deals that have destabilized the middle class. And on health care, surveys show that about two-thirds of those asked want a government-guaranteed universal health-insurance system -- even if it means tax increases.

This article reminded me of what Paul Wellstone wrote in Conscience of a Liberal.
I have never understood arguments for the need for politicians to "move to the center" to get elected. What is the operational definition of "the center"? If what is meant is that you need to have more votes than your opponent than I am all for being in the center. But that is too obvious.

If what is meant by the center is the dominant mood of the populace- the issues that are important issues to Americans and what they hope for- then I would again argue for the need to occupy the center. A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.
Sirota ends his peice by saying...
By pursuing similar policies at the national level, and rejecting Washington's faux centrism, Democrats will be able to reclaim a congressional majority.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Newest Resident in Ames

I have heard that Rep. Tom Latham has recently purchased a home in Ames and will be moving there this summer. Supposedly this is going to be a longterm home, but I doubt that. To me this seems like he wants to move into Selden Spencer's backyard to help with campaigning.

Speaking of Ames, I made the trip over to Ames this afternoon. I was getting a little discouraged after seeing 4 SUV's with Bu$h stickers on them until I saw the young woman at Borders with the t-shirt that says, "The only Bush I trust is my own." Thanks, there is still hope.

Fallon for Governor Update: Thanks for your support!

I got this email from the Fallon campaign today and thought I was share it here.

Dear Friends, Well, we didn’t win the Democratic Primary on June 6th. But through your strong support, we sent a message that politics as usual is unacceptable. We created a buzz across the state, and the issues raised in this campaign are not going away.

Last year, the political pundits predicted I’d get no more than 5 or 10% of the vote. I received the support of 38,000 voters – 26% - and finished a strong third on far less money than either of my opponents. I won 8 counties and finished second in 25.

Many people are asking, “What’s next?” While it’s too early to talk about running again, I assure you of one thing: I have a lot of fight in me! Right now, my focus is on two things. First, Chet Culver and I are meeting (and will continue to meet) to discuss issues important to my supporters. I certainly don’t want to see Jim Nussle become governor, but I also want to make sure our concerns have a voice in the fall campaign.

Second, this campaign assembled tremendous resources, which I intend to build on. We have a list of 12,000 solid supporters, 25,000 additional contacts, 1,500 donors, 1,300 volunteers and an e-mail list of 4,400. With your help, I will continue to nurture and develop these contacts to build an even stronger base for future activism, advocacy and elections.

Again, I thank you for all you have done. At a time when clouds continue to darken the political landscape, we have reason for hope and celebration. I will continue my work to assure a brighter future for all who call Iowa home. I would be honored to have your continued support in this effort. Thank you!

Ed Fallon

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Video from YearlyKos

I caught some video from YearlyKos on CSPAN this morning featuring George Lakoff, the person that founded Drinking Liberally, and a few others. It was pretty interesting. It will probably be replayed at sometime and watch it if you get a chance.

Here are a few other videos from YearlyKos including part of a speech by Howard Dean.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Some Risqué Flood Control in Des Moines

From the Des Moines Register.

City design with a vast difference
An anonymous source at City Hall tipped Iowa Ear off to this aerial photo on the Polk County assessor's Web page. It's of the city of Des Moines' detention basin at 2617 Easton Blvd.

The nearly four-acre basin was constructed about two years ago and "took some of the load off of the pipe downstream" and helps prevent flooding, according to Des Moines City Engineer Jeb Brewer.

Brewer swears that consultants who work for the city did not design the $5.7 million detention basin to resemble anything, but recent e-mails to City Hall from area residents seem to have found "art" in the not-so-subtle phallic design.

"It's pretty functional," Brewer said. "There's no artistic statement in our detention basin."
I saw this on Keith Olbermann last night and laughed hysterically. It was one of 2 referrences to Iowa on the show. The other one was a woman from Spencer, who as named as the Worst Person in the World. This woman was arrested on drug charges. With her 1 call from prison she called her 18 year old son and told him to sell the marijuana in the refirgerator for bail money. The police recorded the call and then arrested the son on drug charges.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thoughts on the Primary

This is actually the 3rd time I am writing this because Blogspot has been down today. Hopefully it works this time.

From my posting the past couple weeks, it wasn't hard to tell that I was voting for Ed Fallon. I have been volunteering in Marshall County for the campaign. I helped organize a group of volunteers and we knocked on over 700 doors the past 3 weeks. This was the first time I had done something of this sort. I learned a great deal and met a lot of people. We were disappointed with the results in Marshall County, as Culver got just over 50%, Blouin 28%, and Fallon 21%. The UAW support really helped Culver here.

Chris at Political Forecast wrote about Fallon winning Polk County and about their grassroots organization.

...Fallon’s winning of the county (Polk) show just how critical a grassroots strategy that focuses on volunteerism and activism, particularly with regards to some of Fallon’s key issues, can change the tide in a district one would expect establishment candidates like Blouin or Culver to win.
Another county where the grassroots strategy was out in full force was Story County. Fallon won Story County with 44% of the vote with Blouin getting 28% and Culver 26%. Merlin, Marcia, Gavin, Susie, David, and a host of others did a great job on the ground in Ames.

Besides Polk and Story, Fallon won Adair, Decatur, Jefferson, Poweshiek, and Winneshiek counties. He got 2nd in 17 other counties. The farther away you get from Des Moines, the support went down, especially in the larger Eastern Iowa counties. He got a strong 2nd in Johnson County, but that was one county that many thought he should win. Here is the analysis from a volunteer for Fallon in Iowa City...
The "take away" I get tonight from looking at the early numbers from the Sec of State site is that Linn County, Scott, Dubuque and the smaller, more rural counties killed us. Ed was generally competitive, but in smaller, rural, and eastern-most counties, we were hammered.
State 29 writes about a piece from Todd Dorman that pretty much nails the primary and the Culver/Nussle matchup. Here is what Dorman wrote about Fallon:
Ed Fallon – Not bad for a guy who ran his campaign out of a minivan. Fallon struck a nerve when he talked about Iowans being sick and tired of politicians bought and paid for by special interests. Culver needs to bring Fallon’s disaffected supporters into the fold if he wants to win.
Another thing Culver needs to do is build upon Fallon's grassroots support. To beat Nussle, Democrats need to do more than just vote...they need to hit the pavement and knock on doors. Nussle will have money coming out of his ears. We won't outspend them, so we will need to out work them.

I want to finish by congratulating Culver on the victory. Even though I voted for Fallon, I didn't see anything that really turned me off on Culver (I just liked Fallon better). After a couple weeks of rest I will be ready to get behind Culver. With the thought of Nussle as Governor, I am pretty sure that other Fallon (and Blouin) supporters will feel the same.

I am off to read Marley and Me.

Air America Radio coming to Iowa City

There has been a group working to get a Progressive Talk Radio Station in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area for some time now. Their hard work has finally paid off.
Two lineup changes at AM-800 KXIC will bring the progressive political talk radio of the Air America network to eastern Iowa listeners for the first time.

The Randi Rhodes Show will debut on KXIC on Monday, June 12, and run weekdays from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Best of the Thom Hartmann Program will be broadcast every Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.

Now it's Des Moines/Ames areas turn to get on the Progressive Radio bandwagon!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Low Turnout?

I watched the 6:00 news tonight and they said it will be a low turnout and Blouin and Culver are counting on high turnout to win. Blouin might be helped by the higher turnout in the 1st District due to the primary for the US House seat. That means the low turnout might help Fallon out.

Polls are open until 9:00, so get out there if you haven't voted yet.

May Poll Results

The poll for May was who do you support in the Democratic Primary. Well, we will find out today who the winner is. Here are the results with 273 votes of the very unscientific poll.

Who do you support in the Democratic primary for Governor?
Ed Fallon 58%
Chet Culver 28%
Mike Blouin 12%
Sal Mohammed 3%

So we know that Fallon's supporters are online more. We will see tonight if they get out and vote more too.

A new poll will be coming out this week sometime.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Folk Music Friday: Merle Haggard "America First"

Country music is turning on Bush. The Dixie Chicks hit the #1 spot on the charts this week with their new CD and here is the new song by Merle Haggard. I know Haggard is country and not folk, but this song shows a change in thinking among Red Staters. There is a video of the song here.

America First
Why don't we liberate these United States
We're the ones who need it the worst
Let the rest of the world help us for a change
And let's rebuild America first

Our highways and bridges are falling apart
Who's blessed and who has been cursed
There's things to be done all over the world
But let's rebuild America first

---- Instrumental Interlude ----

Who's on the hill and who's watching the valley
Who's in charge of it all
God bless the Army and God bless our liberty
Dadgum the rest of it all

Yeah, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track

And let's rebuild America first

---- Instrumental Interlude ----

Why don't we liberate these United States
We're the ones who need it the most
You think I'm blowing smoke
Boys it ain't no joke
I make twenty trips a year from coast to coast
The November elections could really see a big gain for the Democrats if the feeling expressed in this song are felt across the South. John Kyl has a strong Democratic opponent in Jim Pederson in Arizona, Jim Talent in Missouri has been neck and neck in the polls with his opponent Clarie McCaskill, and Harold Ford Jr. could win Bill Frist's seat in Tennessee. Add those to possible pick ups in Ohio, Pennslyvania, Montana, and Rhode Island and the Democrats could pick up anywhere from 4-7 seats in the Senate. I should also mention that Joe Lieberman, Bush's favorite "Democrat", could be upset by Ned Lamont.

Quiz on the Iraq War

Since schools been out for a week now, I am getting antsy, so it is time for a pop quiz. Over at the Woodbury Democrat they have a True/False quiz about the Iraq War.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fallon's Kicking it Old School

Well, at least Marc Hansen of the Des Moines Register thinks so.

And yet, if Iowa Democrats were able to take a test before the primary, I'm thinking most would line up with Fallon, the state representative from Des Moines.

They'd line up with him on corporate handouts, tax increment financing, hog confinements, nonviolent offenders, renewable fuels, farmland preservation, pollution, health care.

They'd be with him on almost everything dear to an old-school Democrat's heart. If there is such a thing as an old-school Democrat's Democrat in this race, it is Fallon.

10 Reasons to Vote for Ed Fallon

This week I have been volunteering for the Fallon campaign going canvassing for about 5 hours each day and making phone calls for another 2 hours. That hasn't left much time for blogging, laundry, or mowing. This morning I am off to get some things done and thought I post this entry from MyDD by craverguy on why you should vote for Ed Fallon.

#1: Ed Fallon understands the life of ordinary Iowans. Before he became a state legislator, his was one of many, many families in Iowa that couldn't afford health insurance. He is a farmer in his spare time and his district, which he knows like the back of his hand, is in the inner-city of Des Moines, the poorest area in the state.

#2: Ed Fallon is committed to campaign finance reform. His first priority as Governor will be to pass a Clean Elections law to take the money out of state politics. But Ed Fallon is no hypocrite. He practices what he preaches. He limits his fundraising to $2400 per person and refuses donations from PACs and lobbyists. While the average donation to one of his opponents is the cost of a monthly payment on a Mercedes, Ed's average donation is the cost of dinner for four at Chili's.

#3: Ed Fallon is in touch with the grassroots. They say you can't get elected in Iowa by limiting your fundraising that severely. But Ed does it all the time. In 1992, as a political novice, he defeated a 10-year incumbent for the nomination for State Representative. In 2002, after redistricting took away 70% of his district, he was renominated against two tough opponents with 68% of the vote. How does he do it? By knocking on doors and getting out to meet the voters personally at every opportunity.

#4: Ed Fallon cares about farmers. While Blouin confines his campaign to the big cities and Culver just coasts on his lead, Ed Fallon is out there on a tour of every rural county in the state. An amateur farmer himself, Ed opposes allowing factory farms to flourish in our state and supports sustainable, cooperative farming and making sure that Iowa can feed itself solely with local food systems. The head of 1,000 Friends of Iowa, a group devoted to curbing urban sprawl, he has the most complete and aggressive plan to keep urban growth from spiraling out of control.

#5: Ed Fallon supports universal health care. Ed is the only candidate for Governor of Iowa who knows what it's like to be unable to afford health insurance. That's why Ed is the only candidate for Governor to support a system of universal, high-quality, single-payer health insurance for every Iowan.

#6: Ed Fallon is for small business and against corporate welfare. While Mike Blouin's Iowa Values Fund diverted $700 million of the state's budget toward bribing big corporations to stay in the state, Ed Fallon was coming up with a plan to encourage small businesses, which won't pack up and leave for Mexico. He supports doing away with the Values Fund and using that money to pay for better education and affordable health care and he wants more funding for Iowa's highly-successful Main Street Program and more money for Small Business Development Centers and the Loan and Credit Guarantee Fund.

#7: Ed Fallon is a believer in equal rights for all. While Chet Culver opposes civil unions and Mike Blouin hedges his position, Ed Fallon is for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. And Ed Fallon is the only candidate for Governor who is both pro-choice and anti-death penalty. Chet Culver would enact a new death penalty law and Mike Blouin is against a woman's right to choose.

#8: Ed Fallon is the best candidate on the environment. He's sat on the House Environmental Protection Committee for 13 years and his record was enough to earn him the endorsement of the Iowa Sierra Club. He has comprehensive plans to improve the abysmal water quality in Iowa, stop urban sprawl in its tracks, and make Iowa energy independent via alternative fuels by 2015.

#9: Ed Fallon is the only Democratic candidate for Governor attracting moderate Republican votes. Republicans and Independents alike are planning to cross over and vote for Ed Fallon because he supports small business, property tax cuts, and an end to further gun control, and because they respect his integrity and freedom from corporate influence.

#10: Ed Fallon is the only candidate who can make a difference. He's the only one running for Governor who depends on the people, not the powerful, to make his campaign go, so he's the only candidate whose priorities as Governor won't be determined by Big Business and lobbyists. He is a staunchly independent Democrat and his own man.