Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tom Latham Doesn't Support the Troops

The DCCC is airing this ad over the 4th of July Holiday in targeted districts. I don't think it is airing in Iowa's 4th District, but it should. Tom Latham doesn't support our troops. Latham voted against making sure our troops were fully armored, protected, trained, and rested before they were sent back to Iraq to serve.

The Candidates are Coming, The Candidate are Coming!

The candidates are coming, the candidates are coming!

Iowa is getting invaded by candidates from both sides of the aisle this week. Clinton (both of them), Obama, Dodd, Biden, Romney, Huckabee, and Tancredo are all in Iowa this next week.

Here is information from the Des Moines Register...

WEST DES MOINES: 9 a.m., speaks to congregation at Crossroads Fellowship Church, 1200 60th St.


AMES: 2 p.m., Ames Headquarters Opening & Lunch, 217 Welch Ave., Suite 102

ELDORA: 6:30 p.m., Hardin County Republican Town Hall Meeting & Supper, Dorothy’s Senior Center, 1306 17th Ave.



IOWA CITY: 5 p.m., house party, Home of Bob aand Maggie Elliott, 1108 Dover Street

IOWA CITY: 7 p.m., conversation with gay community, Givanni’s Restaurant, 109 East College Street


DES MOINES: 7:30 p.m., Clintons to attend rally at Iowa State Fairgrounds, East 30th Street and East University Ave. For Public tickets visit, or call 515-558-9630


CEDAR RAPIDS: 9:30 a.m., Huckabee to speak at St. Luke’s Hospital, Nassif Heart Center, 1026 A Ave. NE


JEFFERSON: 11:45 a.m., “Ask Mitt Anything” luncheon, Raccoon Bend Golf Club, 501 W Greenwood Road

CARROLL: 1:45 p.m., “Ask Mitt Anything” coffee, The Carrollton Inn, 1730 N. U.S. Highway 71

COUNCIL BLUFFS: 6:30 p.m., Romney addresses Iowa Christian Alliance House Party, The Home of David and Jody Edwards, 21276 McPherson Ave.



CEDAR RAPIDS: 8 a.m., breakfast with Linn County Democrats, Blue Strawberry Coffee Company, 118 Second St. SE

GRINNELL: 12 p.m., Luncheon with Poweshiek County Democrats hosted by state Rep. Eric Palmer, Phoenix Café, 834 Park St.

CRESTON: 4:30 p.m., house party and barbeque with Union County Democrats hosted by state Rep. Mike Reasoner, Home of Karl and Jan Knock, 906 W. Montgomery St.

AMES: 7:15 p.m., fundraiser for state Rep. Lisa Heddens, Home of Robert and Donna Cipolloni, 807 Douglas Avenue


IOWA CITY: 1 p.m., Clintons to attend Ready for Change Event, University of Iowa Student Center, River Terrace. For public tickets visit, or call 319-358-5837.

DAVENPORT: 4:30 p.m., Clintons to attend Ready for Change Event, 2nd Avenue and Main Street. For public tickets visit, or call 319-358-5837.


DAVENPORT: 7:30 a.m., Davenport pancake breakfast, The Golden Leaf, 2902 East Kimberly Road

BURLINGTON: 10:30 a.m., Burlington community gathering, VFW Post 10102, 215 Washington St.

OTTUMWA: 2 p.m., Ottumwa community kitchen table, Canteen Lunch in the Alley, 112 1/2 East 2nd St.

WEST DES MOINES: 6:30 p.m., West Des Moines Independence Day Parade, start at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave.

WEST DES MOINES: 7:30 p.m., Valley Junction Independence Day Street Celebration, Fifth Street and Maple Ave.


DE WITT: 11 a.m., Huckabee to speak at Genesis Medical Center, 118 11th St.


KEOKUK: 12:45 p.m., meet Obama, Hawthorne Elementary School, 2940 Decatur St.

MT. PLEASANT: 3:45 p.m., house party, Home of Lois and Frederick Crane, 601 N. White St.

FAIRFIELD: 7:45 p.m., evening in the park with Obama, Fairfield Town Square, Between Main St. & Court St. on Burlington Ave.


COUNCIL BLUFFS: 7:15 a.m., “Ask Mitt Anything” breakfast, Bayliss Park Hall, 530 First Ave.

RED OAK: 9:30 a.m., “Ask Mitt Anything” coffee, Chatauqua Park Pavillion, 2700 North Fourth St.

ATLANTIC: 11:45 a.m., “Ask Mitt Anything” luncheon, Cass County Community Center, 805 W. 10th St.

CRESTON: 2:15 p.m., Union County Meet-and-Greet, The Pizza Ranch, 520 Livingston Ave.

WEST DES MOINES: 6 p.m., Romney marches in the West Des Moines Independence Day Parade


URBANDALE: 10 a.m., Biden to walk in Independence Day Parade, Old City Hall (starting location), 3315 70th St.

MARSHALLTOWN: 12:15 p.m., Biden addresses 4th of July picnic, Marshalltown Veterans Home, 1301 Summit St.

DES MOINES: 2 p.m., 4th of July house party and barbeque with Polk County Democrats, Home of Nate and Meg Boulton, 2670 Wisconsin Ave.

SIOUX CITY: 5:30 p.m., Biden to be featured Speaker at Woodbury County Democrats’ Truman Club Fundraiser, Home of Carl and Ann James, 1309 35th St.


NORWALK: 10 a.m., Norwalk Fourth of July Parade, start at Norwalk High School, 1201 North Ave.

PLEASANTVILLE: 11:45 a.m., Pleasantville Post-Parade Luncheon, Pleasantville Elementary School, 415 West Jones St.

WELLMAN: 3:15 p.m., Wellman Fourth of July Celebration, North Park, 125th St. and First Ave.

CORALVILLE: 5 p.m., Coralville Independence Day Fest, St. Morrison Park, 1551 Seventh St.

CEDAR RAPIDS: 6:30 p.m., Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, First St. SW and First Ave.


CLEAR LAKE: 10 a.m., Romney marches in the Clear Lake Fourth of July Parade

AMES:11 a.m., Romney marches in the Ames Fourth of July Parade

WAUKEE: 1 p.m., Romney holds a Dallas County Ice Cream Social, The Ice Cream Shoppe, 530 Locust St.,

WAUKEE: 2 p.m., Romney marches in the Waukee Fourth of July Parade


OSKALOOSA: 9:45 a.m., Independence Day Celebration with Obama family, Smokey Row Coffee House, 109 S. Market St.

PELLA: 11:30 a.m., Independence Day celebration with Obama family, Home of Dan and Heather Vroom, 909 W. 3rd

DES MOINES: 4:45 p.m., Independence Day celebration with Obama family, Beaverdale Park, Intersection of 34th & Adams streets
Chris Dodd will also be in Iowa on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Friday and Saturday Dodd will be joined by singer Paul Simon, where they will be making stops in Mason City, Ft. Dodge, Sioux City, Carroll, and Council Bluffs.

Obama to take in Iowa Cubs Game

The Des Moines Register has a story that Barack Obama might be taking in an Iowa Cubs game when he is in Des Moines on Wednesday.

Jim Nahas, vice president and assistant general manager for the Cubs, said the Obama campaign purchased 500 tickets for the 7 p.m. game against New Orleans.

The tickets were purchased for the reserved grandstand sections behind the first-base dugout. The tickets cost $9 each.

“His people say he wants to sit in the stands,” Nahas said, “so I’m assuming that’s what he’ll be doing.”
The article also says Obama will likely throw out the first pitch and do some radio spots.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Where's Culver on Coal?

I went out for dinner tonight and at the restaurant, I talked with someone who attended a meeting of a group of citizens in Marshalltown last night. The group met to share concerns over the proposed coal-fired power plant. The group began to formulate questions and share information about the effects of the coal plant on their health, their property values, their jobs, and their quality of life.

When I got home, I had this email in my inbox from Ed Fallon...

Yesterday, a group of leading Iowa environmentalists met with Chet Culver’s staff to ask the Governor to help stop a proposed coal-fired plant in Waterloo. This request should be an easy one for the Governor, especially given a statement he made two months ago when he signed legislation establishing the Climate Change Advisory Council:

"Global warming is a real danger that threatens our very way of life, and it is our responsibility to take any and all steps that we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and hope to curb global warming." (Governor Culver, April 27, 2007)

Well, any and all steps should certainly include opposition to new coal-fired power plants. In Waterloo, a New Jersey company has proposed a 750-megawatt plant. Couple that with the 600-megawatt plant proposed for Marshalltown and carbon emissions in Iowa will increase by the equivalent of two million cars per year, not to mention the mercury that will end up in eastern Iowa’s streams and rivers.

For many years, scientists, environmentalists and forward-thinking policymakers have known that burning coal pollutes our air and water and is a serious threat to human health. The evidence is now conclusive that coal is also a major contributor to global warming. And despite what some industrial apologists want us to believe, there is no such thing as clean coal (Union of Concerned Scientists website:

The political mainstream is starting to wake up. Most Democratic presidential candidates are speaking out. Some agree with the scientific community on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. Some speak about energy conservation and efficiency, and at least one has spoken out specifically against burning coal.

Culver has yet to weigh-in on new coal-fired power plants. The renewable-fuels focus of his Iowa Power Fund would suggest opposition to burning more coal. Furthermore, he should consider the obvious economic advantages of investing in small- and medium-sized Iowa-owned businesses, as opposed to a couple of huge power plants that ship both power and profit out of state.

Rank-and-file Iowans are contacting the Governor. More of us need to do that. Write, call, e-mail or bring it up at one of the Governor’s public appearances (I’ll make a commitment to doing all four). Ask him to speak out against new coal-fired power plants and to tell the Iowa Utilities Board that coal does not fit in with his administration’s stated commitment to renewable energy.

Write: Governor Chet Culver
Iowa State Capitol
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Call: (515) 281-5211

Track him down: We don’t have a lot of detail on the Governor’s schedule. You might look for him at parades and county fairs. According to his website, here’s where he’ll be hosting Wellness Town Hall Meetings over the next two months. (It would certainly be appropriate to ask how new coal plants will affect public health!)

  • Fort Dodge Tuesday, July 10th
  • Burlington Wednesday, July 11th
  • Quad Cities Thursday, July 12th
  • Sioux City Tuesday, July 17th
  • Newton Wednesday, July 18th
  • Mason City Thursday, July 19th
  • Oskaloosa Tuesday, July 24th
  • Cass County Wednesday, July 25th
  • Cedar Rapids Monday, August 6th
  • Waterloo Tuesday, August 7th

Thanks for doing your part for our environment, our economy and our democracy!

Ed Fallon

Show the DC Bigwigs Seldon Spencer is the Real Deal

After winning the 1st and 2nd Districts in 2006, Iowa Democrats have their sights set on Tom Latham's seat in Iowa's 4th District.

Dr. Selden Spencer is committed to running again in the 4th district, a district Gov. Culver won with 59% of the vote. In 2006, Dr. Spencer had a winning message, but he entered the race late and was fighting an uphill battle. He is starting early this time around and has been busy raising money.

This week Dr. Spencer sent this email out to supporters ...

This may be the most important date of this election for taking back the 4th District for the people of Iowa. June 30, 2007 is the second quarter filing deadline for the Federal Election Commission. On this day, all federal campaign committees must report their donations. Together, we can elevate this race to the national level. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and other national groups, will be looking at this quarter to find the candidates and campaigns to target to win in 2008…and they want to help our race here in Iowa. We need to show support in the district now. I am fully committed to winning in 2008, but my commitment is not enough. It takes more than one person to create change. I am asking you to match your previous donation of $ or send $25, $50, or $100 to show Washington we are serious about 2008. It may seem early, and like I mentioned before, this is a big quarter to show support. Your contribution now means more support from the national committees who will elevate this race to the most competitive level in 2008.

Every dollar you can send will show the DC bigwigs that Dr. Spencer is the real deal. Every dollar you can send has the chance of turning into more money for the Spencer campaign down the road.

Please help out Selden Spencer's campaign by donating whatever you can before Saturday's deadline.

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Is Grassley Mother Teresa?

Is Grassley Mother Teresa? The Wall Street Journal thinks so.

From David Sirota...

Never - and I mean never - underestimate the willingness of Beltway journalists to fabricate power-worshipping, politician-glorifying storylines out of thin air. I say that after reading the Wall Street Journal’s piece today that describes a top U.S. Senator as “A plain-spoken populist [who] is a frequent critic of powerful entities, including big companies, that he views as putting regular people at a disadvantage.” Is it a profile of Jim Webb or Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown or Russ Feingold? Why, of course not - it’s an article about Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who over his career has served as one of Corporate America’s most steadfast allies in beating back almost every major piece of legislation that proposed to challenge the economic status quo.

Yes, the Charles Grassley who, as chairman of the Finance Committee, wrote the Medicare prescription drug bill that gave away billions of dollars to his pharmaceutical industry donors, the Charles Grassley who has championed every free trade bill that has ever come down the congressional pike and still issues press releases trumpeting NAFTA, the Charles Grassley who championed the Bush tax cuts and who has tried to use the veneer of closing corporate tax loopholes as a vehicle to open more corporate tax loopholes, the Charles Grassley who the very same Wall Street Journal article notes gets sky high ratings from the major corporate front groups in Washington - yes, this Charles Grassley is now suddenly “A plain-spoken populist [who] is a frequent critic of powerful entities, including big companies, that he views as putting regular people at a disadvantage” all because he owns a farm the size of a small town and because he came to the supposedly courageous conclusion that a certain set of ultrawealthy corporations should have to pay roughly the same tax rate as every other ultrawealthy corporation that have underwritten his political career.

What’s so truly amazing about this article, is that after praising Grassley as the second coming of Cesar Chavez, the Journal inadvertently admits that Grassley’s major motivation comes not out of any sense of principled populism, fairness or interest in challenging entrenched power, but out of a desire to preserve the overall disparity between income made on capital gains (aka. stock transactions, inheritances, etc.) and wages (aka. the income made actually doing real work) - the disparity that, for instance, allows Warren Buffet to pay a lower tax rate than the janitors who clean his office. “Mr. Grassley led efforts to reduce the rate on capital gains to 15% in 2003, and then to extend the lower rate,” the Journal notes. “He says that it should remain in place, but that if [the private equity loophole continues and] very wealthy people are seen as unfairly benefiting, Democrats will have a stronger argument for a higher rate.”

Grassley then goes on to actually attack the entire concept of populism. “What I’m doing is an effort to ward off the demagogues on Capitol Hill that can say this is just a way for the rich to get richer, and the middle class to be stung,” he said. “I would ask my Republican colleagues to look at it from that standpoint, that we want to make sure we aren’t feeding the demagoguery of class warfare.”

Just think of all the sweetheart deals Grassley had give Wall Street for the Wall Street Journal to write this piece. Grassley isn't up for reelection until 2010. There is a chance he retires, but if he runs Iowa Democrats need to put a big target on Grassley's seat. Hopefully, Vilsack has his eye on it.

What is Act Blue?

After setting up the Iowa Democratic Bloggers fundraising page on Act Blue earlier this week, I have had a couple question about how Act Blue works.

Act Blue is a great fundraising tool for Democrats. It is a safe and secure site. If you donate to Rep. Loebsack online, you do so through Act Blue. The site is easy to use. If you can send an email then you can donate online using Act Blue.

Yesterday, just happened to be Act Blue's 3rd Birthday. Here's a post from MyDD that explains more about Act Blue...

This innovative, secure, and groundbreaking way to give money to Democrats was launched in June of 2004 before the end of the fundraising quarter. The earliest adopters, the blogosphere, helped push $250,000 into federal campaigns that summer. Printing $1 million in checks out of Matt's living room by the end of 2004 was an accomplishment for the start-up. ActBlue caught the eye of Democratic campaigns, organizations, and establishment investors and it was time to grow.

And grow ActBlue did. You can see it for yourself in the numbers.

Total Raised for Democrats through ActBlue: $24,167,741

# of fundraising pages on ActBlue: 4,204

# of people contacted in just 3 weeks via ActBlue's new Spread the Word tool: 3,751

# of active entities in ActBlue's directory: 3,739 (will grow towards 10,000 this cycle)

# of candidates and committees receiving funds to date: 1,725

# of states where ActBlue is active for state level activity: 23 (soon to be 24)

So head over to the Iowa Democratic Bloggers Fundraising page and donate $10, $25, $50 to your favorite Iowa Democrat before Saturday's filing deadline.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thoughts on the Democratic Forum

I participated in a liveblog sponsored by the Rocky Mountain News of the Democratic Forum. Also participating were fellow Iowans John Deeth and Essential Estrogen. Here were my thoughts I wrote...

The winners were John Edwards and Chris Dodd. Dodd was energetic and really stressed education. As a teacher and member of the ISEA and NEA, Dodd is very credible when it comes to education. He very well respected among educators and might just have the answer to the mess that is NCLB. About Education Dodd said...

I'm proud of the fact that I was called the Senator of the Decade by the national Head Start Association. I have walked the walk on these issues.
Dodd and Biden were both fired up, however Biden sounded angry, while Dodd was on message and highlighted his experience.

John Edwards hit the first question out of the park. He was able to condense his entiere two America's theme into that answer and it was well recieved by the crowd. Edwards didn't stop there. The questions really played right into the issues Edwards is campaigning on and he did very well connecting to the audience.

I think Hillary Clinton held her own and definitely did not hurt herself. Her answer to the question about Aids was very good. On one of her questions she said the problem goes back to the 1990's, not meaning to knock her husband. I didn't catch it, but my wife did.

Kucinich made some good points, like saying we need to cancel NAFTA, but I'll be honest, I used his time to check in on the NBA Draft. Sorry Dennis.

Joe Biden come across as being angry like he did in the last debate. I don't think he did as well because the questions focused more on domestic issues and not on Biden's strength of foreign policy.

Mike Gravel was, well Mike Gravel. You will probably hear a little about his answer to the last question. He failed to end his thought when he said "many of the other candidates lack the morality to lead the country," when he needed to add "because they voted for the war in Iraq." There will probably be talk if Gravel should be included in future debates.

I didn't think someone could out talk Joe Biden, but Bill Richardson sure is trying to in these debates. Richardson had to be cut off on numerous answers. His answer to the question about Aids was bad. He said we need to use more needles or something like that. To his credit he was the first one to answer that question and didn't have the time to formulate an answer. Overall, Richardson's performance in the debate was once again disappointing. On a special episode of Iowa Press following the debate O. Kay Henderson said...
The Bill Richardson I saw tonight is not the Bill Richardson I see on the campaign trail in Iowa.
However, I saw Richardson at his first stop in Iowa in February and I wasn't very impressed with his performance. He was awkward and bombed a couple questions, including one on NCLB. I want to give him another chance and see him again, but his performances in the debates have been less than stellar.

The biggest loser in the debate was Barack Obama. Jason Bane from Colorado Pols, who participated in the liveblog, had this to say about Obama...

The story of the night for me is Obama. I have a feeling he may have really blown a big opportunity tonight. He was in front of a crowd that was just WAITING to explode in support, and he completely bombed. I've heard the criticism about Obama's lack of policy chops, and his performance here was downright embarrassing. I don't know if he answered a single question with a specific answer. Obama is about to become a punchline, and I can see Saturday Night Live now - with one of the actors just responding to every question with the same answer.
I agree with everything Bane said. The Obama at the debate was not the Obama I have seen in person in Iowa. Obama is a story teller and when I last saw him in Newton he fit in facts and figures to provide complete answers to the questions that were asked. However, there are time limits in the debates and he was unable to get to the point in his answers. Obama has a lot to gain and came up short.

Here are my final rankings...

1. Chris Dodd
2. John Edwards
3. Hillary Clinton
4. Dennis Kucinich
5. Joe Biden
6. Mike Gravel
7. Bill Richardson
8. Barack Obama

There was a contest for best one liner on the liveblog. I won with this line concerning the audience at the largely black Howard University and the camera showing famous African Americans in the audience...
Where's P Diddy? Did he forget to vote and die?

A Twist on Public Financed Elections

Over at Slate there is an article about a different approach to public financed elections...

Give every voter a special credit card account containing $25 that they can spend at any time during presidential election campaigns. Voters could use these cards at local ATMs whenever they liked to send their "Patriot Dollars" to the candidate they favor for president.

If 2008 is like 2004, about 120 million Americans will go to the polls. If they could also go to their ATMs, they would contribute $3 billion in federal funds to qualifying candidates.
I disagree with the notion that money is a form of free speech and this idea builds upon that idea. However, the Supreme Court declared people have the constitutional right to use their money as a form of free speech. If it is a decided issues then the idea of Patriot Dollars might just be a compromise that would work. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Introducing the Iowa Democratic Bloggers Fundraising Page

Earlier this week, I donated $20 to Rep. Dave Loebsack through his Act Blue page. When I completed the short process of entering my information, I got to thinking the Democratic bloggers in Iowa should have their own fundraising page. So I decided to set a page up through Act Blue at

Through the Iowa Democratic Bloggers fundraising page you will be able to donate to Sen. Harkin, the 3 incumbant Democratic House members, candidates for Congress in the 4th and 5th Districts, as well as the Democratic candidates for President. In the fall, we plan on selecting Democrats running for State Senate and State Representitive.

There are two reasons you should donate to Democratic candidates through the Iowa Democratic Bloggers fundraising page. First, it helps elect Democrats in the state of Iowa. 2006 was a great year for Democrats in the state. In order to keep the momentum going in 2008, we need to support candidates with strong values and progressive ideals. Second, by raising money through numerous small donations, politicians will see the power of the netroots in Iowa. Once we show them what we bring to the table, then we have a better chance of our issues such as local control of hog confinements, clean elections, and health care reform being heard.

The end of the 2nd fundraising quarter is Saturday, June 30th. That leaves just 3 days to donate to your favorite Iowa Democrat. Show them you support them and show them the power of the Iowa netroots.

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Republicans, lock up your wives, Newt is coming to Iowa

Because Republicans are so unhappy with the candidates that have already announced, Newt Gingrich is making 3 appearences in Iowa tomorrow.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is scheduled to make three stops in Iowa on June 28, 2007 in his role as chairman of American Solutions. He plans a morning event at Fiona's Firehouse Bistro in Sioux City; a mid-day event at Quality Inn in Iowa City; and an afternoon event at the West Des Moines Marriott in West Des Moines.
I want to thank the Real Sporer for providing the inspiration for the title of the post.

Nussle Doesn't Play Well With Others

Iowans already knew this, but some Senators are questioning Nussle's ability to work with Congress.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette has this quote from Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)...

“While I understand the president’s desire to appoint an OMB director of his choice, a number of members have spoken with me about their very real concerns about his nomination,” Conrad said.

“Our nation faces serious long-term fiscal challenges that can only be addressed with bipartisan cooperation. We need an OMB director who is fully committed to working with Congress to tackle all of the fiscal challenges facing this country.”

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

The past few days I have been reading Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The book details life inside the Green Zone in Baghdad after the fall of Sadaam and the lack of a plan to rebuild Iraq.

As I have been reading, I have been unable to count how many times I have said "oh my God", "what the heck", or "what were they thinking".
I would say it is probably been 2 to 3 times per page.

For example...

The recruiting process worked fastest when there were no requirements other than political loyalty. When Bremer's budget chief asked for "ten young goofers" to perform administrative tasks, O'Beirne's staff had a list of names at the ready. It included Simone Ledeen, the daughter of neoconservative commentator Michael Ledeen; Casey Wasson, a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children, and Todd Baldwin, a legislative aide for Republican senator Rick Santorum. A few days later, all ten received an e-mail from O'Bierne's office. It wasn't until they arrived in Baghdad that they discovered how they had come to the Pentagon's attention: they had all sent their resumes to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Because of the personnel shortage in Baghdad, six of the goofers were assigned to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they had no previous financial-management experience. They quickly earned the nickname the "Brat Pack."
When it came down to post-war planning the book seems to lay out two sides on the issue. On one side you had the State Department (Colin Powell) and the CIA that had people with years of experience in the Middle East and in rebuilding. Then you had Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield, whose principle motivation was to lace Ahmed Chalabi, who did not have a postive reputation around the State Department and CIA, as the new leader in Iraq. Rumsfield used Douglas Feith to coordinate post war planning and the book shows how Cheney and the Pentagon used the experts from the State Department and CIA only when they had to to keep Powell, Condi Rice, and the CIA off their back.

I highly recommend reading this book. If not the entire thing, then just read the first couple chapters. It will give you a better understanding of how much we messed the country of Iraq, how we failed at the most basics aspects of rebuilding the country, and how we turned the civilized nation into a land of chaos.

Harkin: What does Iraq cost your family?

Got an email from Tom Harkin last night about the cost of the Iraq War. Harkin includes this interesting information...

For some perspective, consider this: The President objects that we exceeded his budget request by $9 billion for an entire year. But he is currently spending $8 billion per month in Iraq.

President Bush would rather spend $8 billion a month in Iraq than increase funding for critical domestic needs by $9 billion per year. That's one cost of his war.

In the rest of the email Harkin then gives his fundraising pitch. Visit the Iowa Democratic Bloggers Act Blue page to donate to his campaign or check Harkin's website site for more information on how to donate.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Union Agrees to Contract with Swift in Marshalltown

There had been rumors that workers at the Swift plant in Marshalltown were going to go on strike. However, yesterday the Union, which represents 1900 workers, and Swift agreed to a new contract that raises wages and provides better health care coverage.

According to a press release issued by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the contract “established considerable wage increases, including $1.40/hr base wage increase over four years and up to an additional $2.00/hr increase in certain job categories throughout the plant.”

Workers were also said to be pleased with additional health care benefits that will be provided. The maximum lifetime health insurance coverage will increase from $1 million to $2 million and orthodontic care will be added to the dental package.
Having their reputation not fully recovered from the immigration raids, a strike would have been a PR nightmare for Swift. The increase in wages in this contract will help improvetheir reputation around the community.

Edwards and Obama Air TV Ads

John Edwards and Barack Obama have gone on the air with TV ads. Edwards' is playing in New Hampshire, while Obama is hitting Iowa with 2 ads.

Head over to Political Forecast to view Obama's ads (I couldn't figure out how to embed the videos).

Obama's ads do a good job outlining his experience. A person I know says they won't be voting for Obama because he doesn't have the experience. If you look at the number of years as a legislator, Obama has more than Clinton and Edwards. Obama was also a community organizer and taught constitutional law. Obama's ads do a good job outlining his experience.

And here is a look at Edwards' ad...

Edwards' ad has a populist theme that stresses a need for change and closes with the line "it's time to be patriotic about something other than war."

Labor Taxed at a Higher Rate than Capital Gains

If you earn your living by actually working you get taxed at a higher rate than the people that spend their days sitting by a pool and making a couple of stock trades each day.

The bills in Congress take aim at a provision of the tax law that has allowed private equity and hedge fund operators to pay a lower capital-gains tax rate of 15 percent, instead of the ordinary top income-tax rate of 35 percent, on the performance fees that make up the bulk of their huge paychecks.
Check out Matthew Yglesias for more.

Dodd and Richardson visit Iowa

Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson held campaign stops in Iowa the past few days. I was unable to attend any of the events, but check out the coverage of Dodd over at Essential Estrogen and coverage of Richardson at John Deeth.

Our Best and Brightest

Legislating from the Bench

Those activist judges are once again legislating from the bench.

From Bill Scher...

In my recent book, I characterized the conservative judicial activist agenda as "elitist government, no longer representative of and responsive to the people, handcuffed from insisting upon responsible corporate behavior, but free to subject all Americans to one group's version of morality."

And today, we're seeing that vision in all its glory.

The conservative activists on the Supreme Court decreed in a series of 5-4 decisions:

It's critical to recognize these decisions -- along with earlier decisions to end privacy between a woman and her doctor, and to make it harder to challenge pay discrimination -- are part of a pattern.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Draft Gore Launches Radio Ads in Iowa

The Draft Al Gore movement has launched radio in Iowa to encourage Al Gore to enter the 2008 presidential race.

The Draft Gore Committee launched its first radio ad today in Iowa. The 30-second ad, dubbed "You Who," will go national in July. It features a chorus of voices seeking Gore's attention and urging him to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

The political action committee claims to have gathered 94,000 signatures on an online petition. It's not officially affiliated with the former vice president.

I like Al Gore and think he is doing great work on the issue of global warming. I am not one that would suddenly jump on his bandwagon if he entered the race, though. There are already a lot of quailty candidates in the race. If he did enter, it surely would make the wide-open race more interesting.

Richardson Moves Ahead of Obama in Iowa

The Richardson campaign sent an email out this afternoon with this surprising bit of information from internal polling they have done...

The Governor has rocketed up 10% among likely Iowa caucus goers in just three months, and now stands at 13%. No other Democratic candidate has made gains anywhere close to that over the same time period. In fact, amongst the likeliest caucus goers (those who attended the 2004 caucuses, voted in the 2006 primary and are definite to attend next year's caucus) the Governor has overtaken Senator Obama for 3rd place.

Richardson has been moving for the past few months in Iowa. It just shows what a couple million dollar of good, creative TV ads can do.

What is surprising about this, however, is that Obama's numbers are falling in Iowa. He has been traveling the state, doing smaller events, yet he isn't moving up in the polls.

The Richardson campaign is also saying they will outraise John Edwards this quarter. If they do and if they are ahead of Obama in Iowa, I think it would mark that Richardson has officially entered the 2nd-tier and is knocking on the door of first-tier status.

The Richardson campaign sent out another email this afternoon with more information on their internal poll.

The poll of 500 likely Iowa caucus-goers was conducted for the Richardson campaign by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates June 18-20 and has a margin of error of + 4.4%.

Governor Richardson is now solidly in double-digits in both Iowa and New Hampshire . A CNN-WMUR TV poll following the June 3 debate had the Governor at 10%, as did last month's poll published in the Des Moines Register.

Here are the results to the question "If the caucuses were held today, who would you support?" (likely caucus-goers)

John Edwards


Hillary Clinton


Barack Obama


Bill Richardson


Joe Biden


Dennis Kucinich


Chris Dodd




Don't Know/NA


Here are the results to the same question, broken out among "likeliest" caucus-goers (representing just over 40% of the sample - voters who attended the 2004 caucuses, voted in the 2006 primary, and say they are definite to attend next year's caucus):

John Edwards


Hillary Clinton


Bill Richardson


Barack Obama


Joe Biden


Dennis Kucinich


Chris Dodd




Don't Know/NA


I Called It

Last Wednesday, I wrote a post about the latest poll in Iowa, where I said...

Things aren't going well for the McCain campaign. His fundraising was disapointing in the first quarter, he skips out on his duties in the Senate, he is behind with his fundraising numbers in the second quarter, and now he is tumbling in the polls. I am predicting McCain will drop out of the race by the time the Iowa caucuses roll around.
Today, there is a story on Political Wire that backs this up...
John McCain "may drop out of the 2008 race by September if his fundraising dries up and his poll ratings continue to drop, according to Republican insiders," the Sunday Times of London reports.

The story is based almost entirely on buzz that McCain's fundraising for the second quarter will fall short. However, McCain's campaign "vigorously denied" the speculation.

Ridiculous Romney

From Politico...

When he was 13 years old, Anthony Circosta shot another kid in the arm with a BB gun, which was not a nice thing to do.

And even though Circosta's shot did not break the kid's skin, Circosta was convicted of assault.

Which did not matter much as Circosta worked his way through college, joined the Army National Guard, went to Iraq and led a platoon of soldiers in the Sunni Triangle.

In 2005, while still in Iraq, Circosta petitioned then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for a pardon so that Circosta could become a police officer when he returned home. And the state Board of Pardons recommended that Circosta receive that pardon.

But Romney refused. Twice.

So it seems Romney doesn't like pardons unless it is abou tthe CIA leak case and Scooter Libby...
Asked in last week's debate if he would consider pardoning Libby, Romney said: “It's worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I'm lucky enough to be president. And I'd keep that option open.”

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Obama's Better Way

Barack Obama's campaign has selected a new campaign song and it is not a Celene Dion song.

...before a standing-room-only crowd of 2,000, the singer-songwriter Ben Harper opened for Barack Obama at a late-evening fund-raiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

Just before he sang the last song of his short set intoducing Obama, Harper told the crowd that Obama for America had just selected the song -- "Better Way" -- to use in the campaign.

Here are the lyrics...
Better Way
I'm a living sunset
Lightning in my bones
Push me to the edge
But my will is stone

'Cause I believe in a better way

Fools will be fools
And wise will be wise
But I will look this world
Straight in the eyes

I believe in a better way
I believe in a better way

What good is a man
Who won't take a stand
What good is a cynic
With no better plan

I believe in a better way
I believe in a better way

Reality is sharp
It cuts at me like a knife
Everyone I know
Is in the fight of their life

And I believe in a better way

Take your face out of your hands
And clear your eyes
You have a right to your dream
And don't be denied

I believe in a better way
I believe in a better way
I believe in a better way
and here's a video of the song...

Great choice.


From Political Wire...

"Even today, more than four years into the war in Iraq, as many as four in ten Americans (41 percent) still believe Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved in financing, planning or carrying out the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though no evidence has surfaced to support a connection. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43 percent got it right -- and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq."

Rudy's Worst Week Ever

The past week was not a good one for Rudy Giuliani. First, it was reported that Rudy blew off the Iraq Study Group because he was busy making money giving speeches. Then he lost his Iowa Campaign Chairman, Jim Nussle, who was hired by the Bush Administration as White House Budget Director. The next day, he lost his South Carolina Campaign Chairman, who was indicted on cocaine charges. The same day, Rudy showed up almost an hour late to a speech in Des Moines that led the Des Moines Register's David Yepson to write a blog post called Rude Rudy.

In fact, I can't imagine a worst series of events for a leading presidential candidate.

Candidates Court Fire Fighters

The event has been postponed due to a scheduled debate taking place in the Senate on Tuesday on the Employee Free Choice Act.

The Iowa Professional Firefighters will be holding their state convention in Iowa City this week and many of the Presidential candidates will be stopping by. The events are held at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City.

Here is the speaking schedule...

On Tuesday:

• 8 a.m, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)
• 9:30 a.m, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)
• 11:30 a.m, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.)
• 2:30 p.m, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
• 8 p.m, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden

On Wednesday:

• 8:15 a.m, IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger
• 9:15 a.m, Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)

A Look at the Teacher Mentoring Program

The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier has a good article about the mentoring program new teachers participate in. The program is just one of the requirements new teachers have to go through before they even get a license. I just finished my first year teaching and think the state mandated program is helpful.

Iowa has one of the better programs in nation, in large part because of funding by the legislator...

Iowa is one of 16 states that require and finance mentoring for beginning teachers, according to Education Week's Quality Counts 2006 report. In five of those states, including Iowa, the program lasts at least two years. All but one of the remaining programs lasts a year.

Iowa spent $2.4 million when the program started in 2001-02, an amount that grew to $4.56 million this past year. While annual state funding for participation of a mentor and novice teacher has remained at $1,300, the categories of educators has expanded. Included are district and AEA teachers, guidance counselors and school librarians. In 2005-06, more than 3,000 first- and second-year teachers participated across the state.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Got to Love this Headline

Check out this article called Senator Grassley, You Magnificent Bastard that discusses the law firm that held a conference on how not to American workers that I blogged about earlier in the week.

The Value of Nature?

I found this quote on Andrew Sullivan's blog and thought I'd share it here...

"A wrong attitude towards nature implies somewhere a wrong attitude towards God, and the comnsequence is an inevitable doom. For a long enough time, we have believed in nothing but the values arising in a mechanised, commercialised, urbanised way of life: it would be as well for us to face the permanent conditions upon which God allows us to live upon this earth," - T. S. Eliot, "The Idea of a Christian Society," 1939.

No End in Sight

Friday, June 22, 2007

Moving Forward by Raising CAFE Standards

Yesterday, the Senate passed an Energy bill that would raise CAFE standards.

“This bill starts America on a path toward reducing our reliance on oil by increasing the nation’s use of renewable fuels,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader.

Environmental groups, though disappointed by the setbacks on renewable fuels, nevertheless hailed the vote on higher mileage requirements as a long-sought victory that could eventually reduce American gasoline consumption by more than 1 million gallons of gasoline a day.

If the Senate bill becomes law, car manufacturers would have to increase the average mileage of new cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, compared with roughly 25 miles per gallon today.
John Kerry puts the new Energy bill into perspective...

A year ago I was battling to stop drilling in ANWR. Last night - finally -- after years of battling and five years after we introduced the Kerry-McCain legislation to raise fuel efficiency standards -- we've accomplished something in the Senate on fuel efficiency standards.

This is something that never would've happened with Bill Frist as the Majority Leader, but with Harry Reid leading the Senate we were able to finally pass the first significant rise in CAFE standards in over a generation.

The past few years Democrats were on defense, trying to stop bills. Now finally, Democrats are able to get legislation passed that they have wanted to do for years.

Moving to the Left

EJ Dionne of the Washington Post has an article today about the country moving to the left. He has a couple interesting points...

Today's left is not talking about nationalizing industry, abolishing capitalism or destroying the rich. What passes for "left" in American politics is quite moderate by historical standards.
He cites popular Republicans governing with moderate views and Democrats embracing economic populism doing well at the polls...
Economic populism is no longer marginal or antique. Frustration over growing economic inequalities, excessive compensation for executives, the privileged role of hedge funds and the disruptions caused by globalization are mainstream concerns. Newly elected Democratic senators as diverse as Jon Tester of Montana, Jim Webb of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota all sounded populist themes in 2006.

Bush Vowed to Defend the Good in the World

Glenn Greenwald has a new book out called A Tragic Legacy, where he writes...

The president who vowed to lead America in a moral crusade to win hearts and minds around the world has so inflamed anti-American sentiment that America's moral standing in the world is at an all-time low. The president who vowed to defend the Good in the world from the forces of Evil has caused the United States to be held in deep contempt by large segments of virtually every country on every continent of the world, including large portions of nations with which the U.S. has historically been allied. The president who vowed to undertake a war in defense of American values and freedoms has presided over such radical departures from the defining values and liberties of this country that many Americans find their country and its government unrecognizable. And the president who vowed to lead the war for freedom and democracy has made torture, rendition, abductions, lawless detentions of even our own citizens, secret "black site" prisons, Abu Ghraib dog leashes, and orange Guantánamo jumpsuits the strange, new symbols of America around the world.

Des Moines Tops List of Working Mothers

Des Moines has the highest percentage of working mothers in medium-sized metro areas. The data came from the US Census.

Medium Metros: 500K to Million

Top three:

1. Des Moines, IA (79.1%)
2. Madison, WI (75.0%)
3. Columbia, SC (74.2%)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Richardson: De-Authorize the War Now, No Residual Troops

Out of all of the candidates Gov. Bill Richardson has had the most consistent and strongest message against the Iraq war. He has the one of the best resumes amongst the Democratic fields when it comes to foreign policy.

He added to it this week when he created a new website called No Troops Left Behind and started an online petition that said we should leave no troops in Iraq, bring the troops out in 6 months, and have Congress end the war now.

Richardson had this to say in a post at the Huffington Post in May...

Congress should de-authorize the war today and demand that the President begin redeploying our troops. There would be no need to negotiate the withdrawal with the President, and he could not veto the resolution.

The time has has come for Congress to stand up to this President who refuses to recognize that his war is bleeding our military and weakening our country. He believes mere stubbornness is a foreign policy and that he can just ignore the will of the American people. In the interest of our national security, he must be stopped.

Congress has the ability to end this war under the War Powers Act -- let's not wait or waver while more people die. And de-authorizing the war should mean removing all our troops. Every last one.

This is essential, because our presence in Iraq worsens the violence and enables our enemies to portray us as imperialist occupiers. If we announce that we are getting out completely, we undercut this propaganda. We need to get all our troops out of the crossfire of this civil war.

Anything less than immediate de-authorization, and beginning the process to remove all troops, is not a real plan to end this war. I know this region well, and understand how people there see the world.

He adds more at his speech from Take Back America Conference earlier this week.

I knew it was bad, but...

I knew it was bad, but this bad?

According to the new report, in the spring of 2007, 91 percent of the political talk radio programming on the stations owned by the top five commercial station owners was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive. Ninety-two percent of these stations (236 stations out of 257) do not broadcast a single minute of progressive talk radio programming. In the top 10 radio markets in the country, 76 percent of the news/talk programming is conservative, while 24 percent is progressive. In four of those top 10 markets -- Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston -- the domination of conservative talk radio is between 96 and 100 percent.

Sweet Home Gore-Obama

I am not one that is waiting for Al Gore to enter the race, but this wouldn't be a bad ticket at all.

The Young Turks present a musical ode to the Al Gore - Barack Obama ticket for 2008.

How not to hire an American

We don't have an illegal immigration problem, we have an illegal employer problem. Need proof, just watch this video...

Harkin on Bush's Stem Cell Veto

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have expanded stem cell research. Sen. Harkin, a longtime advocate of stem cell research, sent out this response...

President Bush's veto pen has again irresponsibly halted important stem cell research legislation that offered hope to millions of Americans suffering from diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, heart disease, cancer, and in my nephew's case, spinal cord injuries.

I have fought tirelessly on this issue because I know first-hand how frustrating it is for families to watch this president deny us the opportunity to find cures for our loved ones.

A great majority of the American people, a bipartisan majority in Congress, and scientists across this country understand that there is no alternative to the promise offered by embryonic stem cell research.

History will show that this president repeatedly stood in the way of remarkable scientific progress, ignoring the requests of prominent members of his own party and turning a cold heart to millions of American families that battle these debilitating diseases everyday.

I promise to keep fighting for this legislation because I know that these cures are within our reach. We will continue to pursue expanded stem cell research funding until it becomes law -- for my nephew, Kelly, for every child battling juvenile diabetes, for every mother or father fighting multiple sclerosis, and for all of our family members, friends, and neighbors that hope for a cure to these and many other diseases everyday.

For them, the fight goes on because science is on our side, hope is on our side, and the American people are on our side

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chris Dodd's River to River Bus Tour

Today the Chris Dodd campaign announced the stops of their River to River bus tour they will be on next week. I hope to attend one of the events, though there aren't many central Iowa event and most of the events are in eastern Iowa.

Here's the press release...

Senator Chris Dodd’s presidential campaign today announced scheduled stops for Dodd’s “River to River” tour of Iowa over the Fourth of July week. Dodd, his wife Jackie, and their daughters Grace and Christina, will criss-cross the state by bus over the course of five days, meeting with caucus-goers in every part of Iowa.

“Jackie and I can’t wait to celebrate the Fourth of July week with families across Iowa, from the Mississippi River to the Missouri,” said Senator Dodd. “There is no better time to honor the ideals that make America great and to share ideas about how to return America to its position of leadership in the world.”

Scheduled stops on the tour will include:

Tuesday, July 3rd




West Des Moines

Wednesday, July 4th





Cedar Rapids

Thursday, July 5th





Friday, July 6th

Mason City

Fort Dodge

Sioux City

Saturday, July 7th


Council Bluffs

Oh, we're looking for a moderate

Listen up all centrists and so-called moderates. Ned Lamont had this to say at the Take Back America Conference about healthcare reform...

"If you're an entrepreneur in business, you're a progressive in government. Because you see problems and you want to solve them."
and he added...
What is the one thing Fortune 500 corporations never say when they're in the market for a leader? ""Oh, we're looking for a moderate."

Take Back America Conference

I have been reading a lot about the Take Back America Conference that ended today in Washington DC.

Yesterday, John Edwards and Barack Obama spoke and both did very well according to reports.

From Edwards's speech...

When it comes to ending the war in Iraq or issues such as universal health care, “No more pontificating, no more vacillating, no more triangulating, no more broken promises, no more pats on the head, no more ‘we’ll get around to it next time,’ no more taking half a loaf, no more ‘tomorrow,’” Edwards said.

People who are diagnosed with breast cancer or other serious health conditions, like his wife Elizabeth, don’t have time to wait for universal health care. “We need to do these things now,” he said.

While Obama said...

What a standing-room-only-crowd heard in the International Ballroom of the Washington Hilton was the kind of sweeping, inspiring embrace of progressive principles that has been his trademark. It included a firm denunciation of the conservative philosophy that had dominated Washington politics before Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006, which he described as “a philosophy of trickle-down and you're on your own that says that government has no role in the challenges that we face.”

The adherents to that governing philosophy “think they own this government, but we are here to say that our government is not for sale and we are taking it back, right here, right now.”

Matthew Yglesias compares the two speeches and has video of each.
The point of Edwards' speech was "I have these seven policy ideas that you'll think are really great and therefore you should infer that I'm a good guy." Obama's speech, by contrast, is aimed at convincing you that "I'm a really good guy who has a good approach to politics and legislating and therefore you should infer that I'll implement good policies." Thus, Obama spends less time on the details of his program and more time on his theory of political change
Bob Geiger has an in depth look at Obama's and Edwards' speeches.

Bill Richardson took the gloves off and called out the frontrunners...
...this was the first time he criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards by name for not supporting his position on Iraq: "I would leave zero troops behind, not a single one."
Jerome Armstrong of MyDD gives his opinon on the speeches and had this to say about Hillary getting booed...
...not surprisingly she was boo'd again this year, because she was blaming the Iraqi gov't for the failures in Iraq (instead of Bush).
Bill Scher added (and has video of Hillary's speech)...
What the boos were actually about is likely to be misreported.

Byron York at the National Review writes that the boos began after Clinton said, “The American military has done its job.” A fellow attendee told me he heard Fox News’ Carl Cameron report that she was booed because she said she supports the troops (though I have not been able to confirm Cameron’s remarks.)

That's flat wrong. The Politics on the Hudson blog gets it right: “They jeered the Democratic presidential hopeful when she blamed the Iraqi government for the continued violence that has bogged down U.S. troops.”

A straw poll was conducted at the end of the conference. Here are the results...

Obama 29
Edwards 26
Clinton 17
Richardson 9
Gore (write-in) 8
Kucinich 5
Biden 1
Dodd 1
Gravel 1

New Iowa Poll

There is a new Mason-Dixon poll in Iowa that shows Hillary Clinton slightly leading John Edwards 22% to 21%. Obama comes in at 18%, followed by Richardson (6%) and Biden (4%). The most surprising thing with this poll is 27% of the people said they were undecided. In past polls, there has been less undecideds. Bleeding Heartland has more coverage of the Democratic side.

The big news on the Republican side isn't that Mitt Romney leads or that Fred Thompson is in 2nd without even campaigning here yet. The big news is that the assumed national front runner, John McCain is tied for 5th place with Sam Brownback with just 6%. Things aren't going well for the McCain campaign. His fundraising was disapointing in the first quarter, he skips out on his duties in the Senate, he is behind with his fundraising numbers in the second quarter, and now he is tumbling in the polls. I am predicting McCain will drop out of the race by the time the Iowa caucuses roll around.

Rudy is Unqualified to be President

Andrew Sullivan chimes in on Rudy skipping out on the Iraq Study Group and I would have to agree...

The truth is: Giuliani has shown no interest or expertise in crafting war policy. And on a study group dedicated to the critical issue of Iraq, Rudy couldn't be bothered to show. If he were a Democrat, this record would be translated as clear evidence that he is unserious about foreign policy and national security. And the truth is: Giuliani is unserious about national security. Just listen to his boilerplate: full of testosterone and devoid of content or analysis. The man is simply unqualified to be president.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refers to TV character instead of the Constitution when discussing torture...

“Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?” Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. “Say that criminal law is against him? ‘You have the right to a jury trial?’ Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don’t think so.”
I don't think so either considering Jack Bauer is a fictional character.

What's up with the Republicans obsession with Jack Bauer?

Is he Presidential Material?

It seems Rudy Giuliani doesn't like attending meetings unless they pay well.

WASHINGTON -- Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months
I believe a president should be dedicated to public service. Giuliani skipped out on helping on an issue that he supposedly thinks is vitally important. Instead, he thought it was more important to make some cash. At least now we know he doesn't just skip out on marriages.

Who would put this guy in charge of a budget again?

While Jim Nussle was chair of the House Budget Committee he oversaw record deficits. I guess his record of charge and spend impressed the Bush Administration because today they have named Nussle as the White House budget director.

The Washington Post has the story and somehow comes to the conclusion that Nussle is a "hawk on spending issues." Wouldn't a nearly $9 trillion dollar deficit be enough evidence against that claim?

Still, the news of Portman's departure seemed to surprise lawmakers on the Hill, where there is not nearly the same affection for his successor, Nussle, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Iowa last year. Nussle had previously served as chairman of the House Budget committee and has been seen as a hawk on spending issues.
The Post does have an interesting statement from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) about Nussle...

House Majority leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) was notably cool in his comments about Nussle when asked about the new appointment this morning. "Rob Portman was one of the best members I have ever served with, a person of keen intellect and a responsible legislator," he said.

All he would say of the new OMB director is that "Mr. Nussle is a Dane." Both Hoyer and Nussle are of Danish ancestry. "You can read into that into what you want to read into it, and what you want to read into it is correct," he added.

I have a feeling Nussle will fit right in with the others in the White House.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Obama in Newton

I just got home from seeing Barack Obama in Newton. The event wasn't packed like others I had been to, but there was a large crowd of probably 300.

Obama spoke for about 25 minutes and began by discussing this movement that is about more than just him. Obama mentioned over and over the need for people to get involved in helping solve these problems. He said he has had large crowds of 20,000 people in Austin and South Carolina and 10,000 in Iowa City. He said we can make our health care system more efficient by using electronic medial records, fixing No Child Left Behind by putting more resources into the classroom. Obama said teachers want to teach. They didn't get into teaching to get rich. Obama then transitioned into higher education saying students want to go to college, but need to get them the resources so they can afford it. He discussed the need for trade agreements that work for the American worker and not just corporations and he mentioned he voted against CAFTA. He talked about providing tax breaks for companies that keep jobs here and mentioned the Maytag plant closing. He said he would close Guantanamo and restore Habeas Corpus because we want to lead with our ideals and values.

Obama discussed the important issues in his laid back style by giving detailed answers and not dodging the questions. When asked about Iraq, Obama said he thinks we should get our troops out by March 31st of next year. He mentioned Bush comparing the situation to Korea. He stressed that we are not going to be in Iraq permanately and we aren't going to have permanent military bases there.

He then discussed global climate change and laid out 3 things he would do right away. First, he would increase CAFE standards to 40-45 mpg. If we did this we would no longer be importing oil from the Middle East. Then he would require the use of cleaner fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Finally, he would cap carbon emmissions released by power plants. He said this would cause some pain on the front end, but needs to be done. He said the problem of global climate change can be solved and cited the problem of acid raid in the 1980's. Acid rain is no longer a problem because we set up a cap and trade system that created a market and provided incentives for businesses to solve the problem.

Next he discussed immigration. Again he said we needed to do 3 things. We need to start by providing stronger border security. Next, he said we have no system of holding companies accountable, which recieved applause. He said he would create a tamper proof ID for legal immigrants and create a database that employers have to check. Finally, we need a way for the 12 million undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship, otherwise they would just stay in the shadows. He mentioned that it is unrealistic to deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants. To do that we would have to devote all of our law enforcement officials from local police to the FBI rounding up familys and wouldn't be able to go after the drug dealers and gang bangers. He also said we can't fail to look at the cause of the spike in the immigration over the past decade, which would be NAFTA. NAFTA was supposed to make lives better in Mexico. Instead America's farmers, because our agriculture system is so efficient, sold grains in Mexico, which displaced rural Mexican farmers. These people are trying to feed their families and saw opportunity in America. We need to invest in Mexico, so they have opportunity in their country.

Obama got some points from me for his answers on education. He understands the problems in education. He made some strong statements against so-called free trade and connected it to immigration. However, he could still be stronger for Fair Trade agreements in my opinion. On some of his answers, his answers were very in depth with many specifics and he mentioned some bills he has in the Senate to address the issues. On a few other issues, he seemed to give vague answers that lacked details.

Overall, I am very impressed with Obama and the event. I came away learning more about him as a candidate.