Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Edwards and Obama Vying to be the Most Popular Populist

David Sirota has a great post about John Edwards and Barack Obama battling it out for the Populist mantle. Sirota takes a look at the populists stances each has taken and writes...

But now, Obama is taking Edwards more seriously, trying to match -- if not one-up -- Edwards in the race for the populist mantle. It really doesn't matter whether you think Obama's moves are principled or whether you think he is just politically calculating and can't really be a populist because his campaign is overrun with Wall Street cash and Washington insiders. The point here is that there is clearly a competition going on -- and that's a good thing not just for the candidates in question, but for a political debate sorely lacking in any real discussion of the major economic forces that shape -- and hurt -- America

Biorenewable Education in Iowa

There is a new website that shows education opportunities in the bioeconomy and renewable energy at www.bioediowa.org.

Iowa is a leader in advancing the bioeconomy, and its colleges and universities are responding with marketable education and training.

To help navigate the expanding list of biorenewable industry education and training opportunities, this site hosts a searchable database of courses being offered now, in the near future and courses being considered for development.

Corporatizing Education

Nicholas Johnson has a must read post about the corporatizing of education...

...it will be a shame if this is perceived as merely the "Wellmark-UI College of Public Health Naming Issue" when it is so much bigger and can more usefully be addressed in the larger context of the corporatization of higher education generally, and at the UI in particular. Whatever President Mason's focus turns out to be, it won't be long before we'll get a sense from her statements and decisions as to just how much further the "University of Iowa, Inc." is going to slide into the for-profit sector during her tenure.
As Iowa's Universities have been starved of funding since 1998, they have had to reach out for funding elsewhere by raising tution and looking for corporate funding. This decision will have long reaching effects throughout the state.

New ARG Polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina

American Research Group (ARG) has released new polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Here is a summary of the results from Political Wire...

  • Among Democrats, Clinton 30%, Edwards 21%, Obama 15%, Richardson 13%
  • Among Republicans, Giuliani 22%, Romney 21%, McCain 17%, Thompson 13%
New Hampshire:
  • Among Democrats, Obama 31%, Clinton 31%, Edwards 14%, Richardson 7%
  • Among Republicans, Giuliani 27%, Romney 26%, Thompson 13%, McCain 10%
South Carolina:
  • Among Democrats, Obama 33%, Clinton 29%, Edwards 18%
  • Among Republicans, Giuliani 28%, Thompson 27%, McCain 10%, Romney 7%

In Iowa Clinton falls 2% since June, but moves ahead of Edwards, who fell 8%. Obama gained 2%, but the big mover is Richardson who is up 8%. There was big movement in how people who identified themselves as being no party viewed the candidates. Edwards support among those who identified themselves as no party fell from 39% in June to 8% in July. Clinton's support went from 33% to 18%. Obama's support went up from 11% in June to 21% and Richardson's support went from 3% to 25% among people identified as no party. (Here's analysis of the June's poll.)

The poll numbers in Iowa don't mesh well with other polls in Iowa. ARG is the only poll that has had Clinton polling in the low 30's. However, I think it is worthwhile looking at trends in the ARG polls to see how candidates are moving.

The most interesting news in these polls however is Obama moving into basically a tie with Clinton in New Hampshire and leading in South Carolina. In New Hampshire, Obama was down 34% to 25% in June and now they are tied at 31%. In South Carolina, Obama made an even bigger jump. In June Obama was down 37% to 21% and now he is leading 33% to 29%. Though the media praised Hillary after the CNN/YouTube debate in South Carolina, it seems Democrats in South Carolina were more impressed with Obama.

Jonathon Singer of MyDD has analysis of the polls here where he talks about how accurate ARG polling is.

I'm a bit reluctant to put up numbers from American Research Group because they don't jibe so well with other polling (my sense is that they're reaching far too wide of a population, not a relatively narrow primary/caucus population), but for whatever it's worth, here are the latest ARG numbers out of the early nominating states (along with June results and Pollster.com averages prior to these latest polls).

Clinton30 (32)23.531 (34)3429 (37)41.4
Obama15 (13)15.631 (25)22.733 (21)26.1
Edwards21 (29)27.514 (11)9.418 (22)14
Richardson13 (5)12.57 (6)10.12 (1)2.4
Again, let me stress my general sense that ARG casts too far a net in these polls, that it's quite possible that the numbers for the potentially more narrow population that represents likely caucus-goers and primary voters would be different. Indeed, the ARG numbers don't look exactly like the Pollster.com averages posted above (Iowa, in particular, seems off from the general consensus from other polling outfits).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bush's Immoral Philosophy

Paul Krugman has an op-ed in the New York Times today about Bush's threat to veto expanding SCHIP.

Krugman writes...

So what kind of philosophy says that it’s O.K. to subsidize insurance companies, but not to provide health care to children?

Well, here’s what Mr. Bush said after explaining that emergency rooms provide all the health care you need: “They’re going to increase the number of folks eligible through Schip; some want to lower the age for Medicare. And then all of a sudden, you begin to see a - I wouldn’t call it a plot, just a strategy - to get more people to be a part of a federalization of health care.”

Now, why should Mr. Bush fear that insuring uninsured children would lead to a further “federalization” of health care, even though nothing like that is actually in either the Senate plan or the House plan? It’s not because he thinks the plans wouldn’t work. It’s because he’s afraid that they would. That is, he fears that voters, having seen how the government can help children, would ask why it can’t do the same for adults.

And there you have the core of Mr. Bush’s philosophy. He wants the public to believe that government is always the problem, never the solution. But it’s hard to convince people that government is always bad when they see it doing good things. So his philosophy says that the government must be prevented from solving problems, even if it can. In fact, the more good a proposed government program would do, the more fiercely it must be opposed.

Krugman goes on to say...
There are arguments you can make against programs, like Social Security, that provide a safety net for adults. I can respect those arguments, even though I disagree. But denying basic health care to children whose parents lack the means to pay for it, simply because you’re afraid that success in insuring children might put big government in a good light, is just morally wrong.
I asked a Republican who works in a health profession about expanding SCHIP. She rolled off typical talking points highlighting the need for tort reform, Doctors and hospitals being squeezed, and more government not being the answer. These arguments might all be valid when discussing how to solve our health care crisis. However, in the meantime we have millions of children that lack health care coverage and it is morally wrong to deny them care.

It is one thing to tell an adult that they are on their own. Now Republicans are trying to tell the same message to children. Republicans spout off the line about people needing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. However, many of these children come from families that can't afford boots. It is just a matter of time until Republicans start telling children to pull themselves up by their flip flops.

Rewarding Work or Rewarding Wealth?

After John Edwards released his tax plan last week that called for an increase in the capital gains tax for those making over $250,000 a year, Mitt Romney immediately countered by attacking the plan. John Edwards came right back, releasing this press release...

Every time another radical Republican running for president speaks, the American people are reminded of how out of touch with economic reality they are. Example A: Mitt Romney.

Romney, who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, should be ashamed for attacking my economic plan, but it's not surprising he is. I want to rewrite our tax code to make it fair and help hard-working Americans save some money to give them a better shot at the American Dream. Mitt wants to make sure that the wealthiest Americans just keep getting wealthier and let everyone else pick up the scraps. Mitt's all about more, more, more for the people who already have the most - and that's just wrong.

The truth is Mitt Romney shouldn't pay lower taxes on the money he makes from his money than middle-class families pay on the money they make from hard work. Neither should I. We're both incredibly fortunate and we should pay our fair share.

That’s the big difference between people like Mitt Romney and me. Mitt Romney thinks he and his insider friends helped make America great, I think it’s the hundreds of millions of Americans in the working class and middle class who make America great. It’s these hard-working families who deserve a break and a chance to live the same American Dream as I have. That’s what I’m fighting for, and that’s what people like Mitt Romney have spent a lifetime fighting against.
Edwards has received a lot of negative press for being wealthy, but he is far less wealthy than Romney. According to FEC reports, Edwards is worth $29.5 million, while Romney is worth $250 million. Edwards' plan would create a tax system that rewards work, while Romney believes people that sit by the pool all day and invest money and people who inherit money from rich parents deserve to pay lower taxes.

Ezra Klein sums it up best...
But so far as we know, Mitt Romney doesn't get his hair cut, and so the media isn't much concerned with the spectacle of someone with hundreds of millions advocating for his class interests on the presidential level.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I have posted any music for awhile. This song didn't jump out until after I read the lyrics. There is so much packed into the lyrics that make this song so meaningful into today's world.

Here is Belief by John Mayer...

Is there anyone who
Ever remembers
Changing their mind from
The paint on a sign
Is there anyone who
Really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time

Oh everyone believes
In how they think it oughta be
Oh everyone believes
And they’re not going easy

Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching underwater
You never can hit who you trying for
Some need the exhibition
Some have to know their trying
It’s the chemical weapon for the war
That’s raging on inside

Oh everyone believes
From emptiness to everything
Oh everyone believes
No one’s going quietly

We’re never gonna win the world
We’re never gonna stop the war
We’re never gonna beat this is
If belief is what we’re fighting for
We’re never gonna win the world
We’re never gonna stop the war
We’re never gonna beat this is
If belief is what we’re fighting for

Is there anyone who
Can remember
Ever surrendering
With their life on the line

What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
Belief can
Belief can
What puts a folded flag inside his mother’s hands?
Belief can
Belief can

When Democrats Attack in Iowa

Howard Dean was at the top of the polls in Iowa leading up to the 2004 Iowa Caucuses. Richard Gephardt was polling well, but trending down. Gephardt had placed all his bets on Iowa and had to find a way to win. So Gephardt started running ads going after Dean. Dean countered back with ads attacking Gephardt.

While Gephardt's and Dean's ads turned Iowans off from their campaigns, John Kerry and John Edwards kept focusing on the issues and organizing. The night of the caucuses saw Kerry and Edwards come out on top with Dean and Gephardt coming in 3rd and 4th. Iowa was witness of a murder-suicide of the Dean and Gephardt campaigns.

After this week's spat between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I can see this scenario happening again. It is important for Clinton and Obama to finish ahead of the other one in Iowa. As the Iowa caucuses approach, whoever is behind is likely to air ads attacking the other. There is a good chance Clinton and Obama will do exactly what Dean and Gephardt did and we will see yet another murder-suicide scenario.

So with Obama and Clinton mainly focusing on beating each other and seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to do so, there is an opening for other candidates to have big victories in Iowa.

It was brought to my attention that David Yepsen had a post yesterday that had basically the same connection to the Dean-Gephardt attack ads back in 2004. I had not read his post nor had heard about before posting mine. I got the idea from reading Joe Trippi's book, The Revolution Will Not be Televised about the Dean campaign last week.

Republicans Run From YouTube

After wildly popular CNN/YouTub Democratic debate last week, Republicans candidates are distancing themselves from the scheduled YouTube debate in September.

From Andrew Sullivan...

Rudy won't bite, apparently. Romney's decidedly cool to the idea. The others are getting iffy. Hewitt declares YouTube and CNN biased. Heh. For my part, the current old white men running for the GOP already seem from some other planet. Ducking YouTube after the Dems did so well will look like a party uncomfortable with the culture and uncomfortable with democracy. But then, we kind of knew that already, I guess, didn't we?
Here is story about Mitt Romney that explains why he might be uneasy appearing on a YouTube debate...

“YouTube is a website that allows kids to network with one another and make friends and contact each other,” Romney explained. “YouTube looked to see if they had any convicted sex offenders on their web site. They had 29,000.”

Actually, YouTube is the popular site that allows Internet users to upload and watch a variety of videos. The web site, which is owned by search-engine behemoth Google, also was a co-sponsor of the Democratic presidential debate held on Monday night.

The web site MySpace is the one to which Romney actually was referring. MySpace, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said this week it had found 29,000 registered sex offenders who had submitted profiles to its site and removed them.

I guess CNN is now looking to reschedule the debate.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Is this Progress in Iraq?

As the Bush administration and other Republicans insist progress is being made in Iraq, the amount of electricity in Baghdad has dramatically dropped.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.

Instead, the department now reports on the electricity generated nationwide, a measurement that does not indicate how much power Iraqis in Baghdad or elsewhere actually receive. [emphasis added]
This reminds of something 4th District candidate Selden Spencer wrote last summer while traveling Afghanistan.
If We Could Just Do a Better Job of Providing the Basics, Our Presence Here and in Iraq Might Be More Tolerated, and Perhaps Even Welcomed.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do Culver and Judge Want it Both Ways When it Comes to Climate Change?

Lt. Governor Patty Judge co-sponsored a resolution at the Lt. Governor Association summer meeting that would pledge lieutenant governors to use their offices to combat climate change and promote energy independence.

If passed, the resolution would call for a seven percent reduction in 1990 carbon emissions levels by 2012 and 60 to 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
This is great news from the Lt. Governor. When you add it to Gov. Culver's commitment to renewable energy and the formation of the Iowa Power Fund, Iowa is leading the way to reduce the need for foreign sources of energy, on protecting the environment, and on reversing global climate change.

However, Lt. Governor Judge and Gov. Culver have been in favor of the two proposed coal-fired power plants in Waterloo and Marshalltown. The proposed 630 mw coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown alone would emit 6 million tons of carbon dioxide, thousands of tons of particulate matter, and more than 100 lbs of mercury a year into the air.

The two proposed plant will take capital investment away from renewable energy, which would create hundreds more jobs, lower energy costs, and create revenue for Iowans.

Can Culver and Judge have it both ways when it comes to global climate change?

Feingold: Democrats Must Do More Than Criticize Bush

Sen. Russ Feingold was appeared on the Young Turks radio show this week and spoke about his call to censure.

Loebsack Expresses Concern About No Child Left Behind

The Iowa City Press Citizen has a story about Rep. Loebsack and No Child Left Behind that is set to expire in September.

"I have serious concerns about No Child Left Behind," said Loebsack, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, which is working on reauthorizing the law.

"The intent of it is noble, but it has some serious flaws," he said.

Loebsack said Congress is likely to reform the law to give states more flexibility to measure student academic growth, especially those students with special needs.

"We don't want a one-size-fits-all approach, which really NCLB does under its current form," he said. "In a perfect world, we would not have it for Iowa in the first place, but we are going to reauthorize it."

It is still unknown if No Child Left Behind is going to changed or repealed and a new program put in its place. There is support from both sides of the aisle to just do away with the law.

Read the rest of the article for more information on these bills.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New KCCI Iowa Poll

KCCI has a new poll coming out in Iowa that shows John Edwards staying steady at the top, while both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have fallen back 6% each since May. Bill Richardson has increased 4% in that time to move closer to the top tier.

Here are the results...

July 2007

May 2007





















March to ReEnergize Iowa

There is a march to ReEngergize Iowa scheduled for August 2nd through August 5th from Ames to Des Moines to promote awareness of global warming.

Here is some information from their website...

The ReEnergize Iowa campaign has been working throughout the summer to bring together a diverse coalition of organizations, constituents and individuals in Iowa for a unified call on our national leaders to cut carbon emissions at least 80% by 2050---a doable 2% each year, starting now. We are organizing a march to highlight the need to build a clean energy economy for real global warming solutions. The march will commence in Ames on August 2 and end with a rally at Nollen Plaza in Des Moines on August 5. At the same time that we will be marching in Iowa, thousands of citizens will be marching in New Hampshire from Nashua to Concord. With the two largest marches ever planned around climate change occurring simultaneously, we will be organizing local and national media to amplify our call to action.
NASA scientist and Iowa native, Dr. James Hansen will be speaking at the rally following the march on August 5th in Des Moines.

I first learned about the march at the John Mayer/Ben Folds concert last month. Ben Folds received a flyer with information about the March the day before the show while walking around downtown Des Moines. That night, Folds wrote a song using the words on the flyer. He planned on playing the song at the concert, but misplaced the flyer. It took a stagehand half the show to find the flyer. Here's Ben Folds singing the song, March to ReEngergize Iowa...

I'm on Obama's Side

I am backing Barack Obama's side on the Obama - Clinton feud that began at Monday's debate...

Onstage at the debate, Clinton and Obama took different stands when asked if, as president, they would meet with the leaders of five nations who are hostile to the United States.

Obama said he would hold such meetings and Clinton said she would not.

The next day, Clinton denounced Obama's view as "irresponsible and frankly naive."

Obama bashed back, saying, "If you want to talk about irresponsibility and naiveté, look at her vote to authorize George Bush to send our troops into Iraq without an exit plan."
Obama released a statement today that is exactly correct...
"The notion that I was somehow going to be inviting them over for tea next week without having initial envoys meet is ridiculous. But the general principle is one that I think Senator Clinton is wrong on, and that is if we are laying out preconditions that prevent us from speaking frankly to these folks, then we are continuing with Bush-Cheney policies."
Clinton's response at the debate was similar to lack of diplomacy we have seen under Bush and Cheney. The media loved it. Most Democrats don't.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Farm Subsidies = Corporate Welfare

From the LA Times via Andrew Sullivan...

[I]f subsidies were really designed to alleviate farmer poverty, then lawmakers could guarantee every full-time farmer an income of 185% of the federal poverty level ($38,203 for a family of four) for under $5 billion annually - one-fifth the current cost of farm subsidies.

Instead, federal farm policies specifically bypass family farmers. Subsidies are paid per acre, so the largest (and most profitable) agribusinesses automatically receive the biggest checks. Consequently, commercial farmers -- who report an average annual income of $200,000 and a net worth of nearly $2 million -- collect the majority of farm subsidies. Fortune 500 companies, celebrity "hobby farmers" and even some members of Congress collect millions of dollars under this program.

Huckabee Wants Leaders to Work to Get Things Done

I have been intrigued by Huckabee for sometime after hearing him on CSPAN last fall. His remarks on education aren't your typical Republican talking points and he was the only Republican to speak at the NEA convention earlier this month. Unlike many other Republicans Huckabee actually sees the human side of the immigration debate.

Last week, I attended an event with Mike Huckabee in Marshalltown. When I arrived, there was one staffer who had set up the small room at the Pizza Ranch and made sure the pizza's were ordered. (There seems to be food at a lot of Republican events.) I introduced myself to his staffer as a Liberal blogger in Iowa that liked some of the things I have heard from Governor Huckabee and then noted the things I talked about above. We talked some and I told him I was a teacher.

When Gov. Huckabee arrived he went around the room shaking hands. The staffer introduced me to Gov. Huckabee, saying I was a teacher and we talked about his warm welcome at the NEA convention and some of the things he did for education as Governor of Arkansas. The biggest thing separating him on the issue of education is his support of music and the arts and educating the whole child, instead of teaching to the test. From his campaign site...

Music and the arts are not extraneous, extra-curricular, or expendable - I believe they are essential.

Bob Vander Plaats is working for Gov. Huckabee and travels with him to events. Vander Plaats introduced Gov. Huckabee by talking about the things the bible says we need to be looking for in a leader. Vander Plaats said he had the chance to talk with most of the Republican candidates and it was easy for him to support Gov. Huckabee. (Note: I talked to Vander Plaats after the event and he is eyeing a 2010 race for Governor against Culver.)

Gov. Huckabee then spoke to the 35 people in attendence. Huckabee spoke as if he was telling a story. His message flowed from topic to topic, coming back to faith being the foundation of everything. Though, religion was mentioned often, it didn't dominate his speech like it has at other Republican candidate's events I have attended. Huckabee didn't sound the trumpets or shout, or demand religion be brought back to the public square when speaking about religion. He used it as his underlying message.

There were many times when Gov. Huckabee was speaking where he stopped just short of the typical rightwing talking points. The Republicans in attendence probably made the connections, but from a Democrat's point of view, it made him seem more moderate.

There were a couple quotes that stuck out during his speech. First, he said he was...
tired of people who see politics on a horizontal scale. We have to govern on a vertical scale that lifts people up. Our duty is to lead vertically on the issues of education, health care, and to make the world safer.
He spoke a lot about working in a largely Democratic state of Arkansas. He said if he didn't work with Democrats nothing would have gotten done. He had to find solutions to the problems with Democrats that weren't eager to make Gov. Huckabee look good. He learned a lot including that...
Government doesn't have to be divisive and confrontational and it shouldn't be.
The biggest disagreement I had with him was on a question about Wal Mart. Gov. Huckabee was asked a question about corporations like Wal Mart that aren't providing health insurance for their employees. The person asking the question cited a report showing that Wal Mart has the most workers receiving tax payer funded health care. Huckabee said he didn't know about this report, but from his experiences as Governor of Arkansas, Wal Mart is a great company. He said he worked a lot with the CEO of Wal Mart in Arkansas and they are friends. Huckabee then went on to question why everyone is picking on Wal Mart and saying they are a great place to work.

There were some slight disagreements over what Gov. Huckabee said about fighting Islamic Jihadists, the Fair Tax, and health care. However, I did find myself agreeing a lot with his core message on the issues and got the feeling that he would work to find a solution and not get bogged down in partisan bickering.

SCHIP is a No-Brainer, Maybe that is why Republicans are a against it

Here are a couple of articles about the SCHIP program that provides health care to uninsured children. In Iowa the money from SCHIP goes to fund the HAWK-I program.

I didn't think anyone would be against kids having health care coverage, but it looks like Republicans are trying to come up with reasons to be against this.

Children's Healthcare is a No-brainer

President Bush is vowing to veto the bill, even though Republican and Democratic senators reached bipartisan agreement on it. The bill adds $35 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program over the next five years by increasing federal taxes on cigarettes.

The conservative Heritage Foundation is against the tobacco tax to fund SCHIP, saying that it “disproportionately burdens low-income smokers” as well as “young adults.” No mention is made of any adverse impact on Heritage-funder Altria Group, the cigarette giant formerly known as Philip Morris.

GOP Digs in on Opposition to Children's Healthcare
Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, a leading proponent of the House bill, said: "For the longest time, I was mystified why Republicans would oppose expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program to kids who are eligible but not enrolled. Now I realize. They are trying to deny us a political victory. They want to be able to say that Democrats can't get anything done.
Please contact Sen. Grassley and urge him to support SCHIP and to override Bush's veto.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Debate Highlights

Here is a collection of highlights from last night's debate.

I Pay Dead People

So it seems dead people have been receiving a lot of money from farm subsidies. I hope they didn't spend all in one place.

From the Des Moines Register...

The government paid $1.1 billion in subsidies to 172,801 dead individuals between 1999 and 2005, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Forty percent of the money went to people who had been dead at least three years.

Under federal rules, such payments can be perfectly legitimate so long as the dead farmer's estate hasn't been settled.

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sometimes doesn't know when a farmer dies. Even when it does, the USDA has inadequately policed the estates to ensure the heirs aren't using them as a method to circumvent the limits on payments to big farms, the investigators said.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thoughts on the CNN/YouTube Debate

I really liked the format of the debate. I think the questions brought out more in depth answers on the topics and it was funny. I laughed out loud way more than I usually do while watching political things on TV. (PoliticsTV compiled all of the YouTube questions.)

My only complaint would be all of the candidates should have had the chance to answer the questions. There were a couple of questions that I wish a certain candidates had the chance to answer and they didn't. I was surprised there weren't many questions on immigration. At every campaign event I have attended the most passionate questions were about immigration.

You can read liveblogs of the debate at Iowa Independent and the Rocky Mountain News.

As far as the candidates performances, I don't think any candidate really hurt themselves at all.

Here are some thoughts on each candidates performance...

Joe Biden - He didn't come across as angry in this debate like he has in past debates. He tackled the issues strongly, especially about the ability to pull troops out of Iraq immediately, saying it would take at least a year to do so. Even though I disagree with on this, I respect his view and it has merit. He was strong on Darfur when he said...

Kids will be dead by the time diplomacy is over.
Biden gets points once again by bringing up public financing of elections.

The funniest answer came from the question about gun control that asked, "Are our babies safe?" Then the person asking the question held up a semi automatic. Biden responded by saying...

"If that's his baby he needs help."
Hillary Clinton - She didn't do anything that really hurt her, but I don't think she was the flat out winner of the night like some of the analysts on CNN thought. It was interesting many of the talking heads gave the nod to Hillary, while the citizen panels had her towards the bottom (Obama, Biden, Edwards were the top 3 of the citizen viewer panel poll on CNN and Hillary came in 6th, ahead of only Kucinich and Gravel).

Hillary was asked to define the word liberal and if she considered herself a liberal and she ran from the word. It seemed she got applause when she talked about it being time for a woman to be president and not as much applause on her stance on the issues. I will give her credit, she probably had the toughest questions.

Chris Dodd - Dodd didn't do as well in this debate as he did in the last one. He did get in about his carbon tax and his call for national service. I really liked his commercial he submitted and hope it hits the air in Iowa. Dodd has been on TV with typical boring ads and didn't see a bump in the polls. Richardson had humorous ads and started doing better in the polls. Dodd's ad tonight was funny, highlight his experience, and would help people remember who he is.

Dodd went ahead and answered questions to the top rated questions submitted on YouTube and posted it on DailyKos.

John Edwards
- Edwards pushed the need for bold leadership and came out more strongly than in past debates. You could see his passion when on the question about health care. Edwards had perhaps the best line when he had this to say about big oil, pharm, and insurance companies...
Big power will not negotiate, we need to take it from them.
He gets points for this line...
"Anybody who's considering not voting for Obama because he's black, or Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want your vote."
The question from the Reverend about using religion to support not being for gay marriage was a tough question and I think Edwards handle it well for knowing his answer would not go over well with some.

His submitted commercial was great and tackled the hair issue.

Mike Gravel - Gravel complained that he wasn't getting the time to talk. Gravel has yet to campaign in Iowa this year, so I want to extend him an invite to come to Iowa and talk to caucus goers as much as he wants. I am starting to think that candidates that don't make an effort to actually campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, S. Carolina, and other states shouldn't be able to participate in the debates. Gravel's only campaign events are these debates.

Dennis Kucinich
- Kucinich's best part of the night was at the end when he said CNN didn't have anyone to the left of him. Anderson Cooper responded by saying he wasn't sure if it would be possibly to find anyone to the left of Kucinich. Kucinich laughed and said it is interesting that his views on health care and the war are mainstream ideas. I agree that Kucinich has the right message, it just happens that he is the wrong messenger.

Barack Obama - Obama did a lot better in this debate than in the past. He had some very good soundbites. He had two jabs at Mitt Romney, one about Romney forgetting that he once supported age based sexual education, saying Romeny must have forgotten about that. Obama shined on the question asking if they would work for the minimum wage when elected. Obama said...
"we can afford to... because most folks on this stage have a lot of money."
Obama then says they may not be Mitt Romney rich, but they are better off than many Americans.

Obama was exactly right on his answer about gay marriage. He said we should do everything under law to give equal rights from the state and that includes the transfer of property, civil unions, benefits, etc. However, marriage comes from religious institutions and they should decide about gay marriage.

I think Obama made a good case that he is the one that can bring about the change. He separated himself from Clinton saying we need to change attitudes and can't have the same people. He made a great comment directed towards Hillary when he said the time to think about how to get out of Iraq was before we went in. He also mentioned numerous times that he doesn't accept money from PAC's and lobbyists and we need to get the big money out of politics.

Bill Richardson - Richardson also improved from his past debate performances. I don't think I heard him talk about any of his 5 points plans and he stuck with the basics of what he will do. He pushed hard to separate himself on his plan for Iraq calling for the withdrawal all troops in 6 months. On a question if their health care plans cover undocumented workers, Richardson received applause when he said they should. He got big points from this teacher when he said we should scrap No Child Left Behind and then backed it up with his experiences as a Governor.

Here are my final rankings of tonights debate...

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

Check out the past debates here, here, and here.

Selden Spencer to Ride RAGBRAI on Tuesday

From the Selden Spencer for Congress campaign...


HUMBOLDT, IA, JULY 24, 2007 – Selden Spencer, candidate for Congress in 2008, member of the HAWK-I board and Chair of Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge's Wellness Commission, will ride in the third day of RAGBRAI tomorrow, Tuesday, July 24, 2007 from Humboldt, Iowa, to Hampton, Iowa.

Selden Spencer joins the RAGBRAI route to welcome riders to the 4th District. Friends, family and supporters will be joining Selden for the 71-mile ride. The route will begin in Humboldt and end in Hampton. There will be stops in Eagle Grove, Lake Cornelia and Alexander. There will be a lunch stop with supporters in Clarion.

Team Spencer RAGBRAI Schedule

7:00 AM – 7:30 AM Supporter Meet – Up in Humboldt at RAGBRAI registration

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch with supporters in Clarion

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM End of ride and Dinner with supporters in Hampton

It's the Hair, Stupid

Each candidate submitted a video tonight in the CNN/YouTube debate. Chris Dodd and John Edwards have hilarious videos about their hair.



Edwards tackles the comments about his hair head on. Dodd's video is way better than the ads that have been airing on TV in Iowa. I want to see these on TV.

GOP Obstructionism

John Deeth noted this little factoid this morning...

"This year Senate Republicans are threatening filibusters to block more legislation than ever before. Nearly 1 in 6 roll-call votes in the Senate this year have been cloture votes. If this pace of blocking legislation continues, this 110th Congress will be on track to roughly triple the previous record number of cloture votes — 58 each in the two Congresses from 1999-2002, according to the Senate Historical Office."
Matthew Yglesias posted this graph and analysis of what all the fillibustering means.

It's really pretty surprising to see this kind of record being broken at the present time. Abstractly, you'd think that the most filibustering would happen at a time more like 2005-06 when 40-odd Senators might see their use of the filibuster as the only possible way to stop legislation. Alternatively, you might see a lot of filibusters aimed at preventing a first term president from needing to veto legislation, as Senators agree to take the hit in order to help their president secure re-election.

It seems, though, that the GOP has decided that if they use filibusters to obstruct congressional action that the press will keep reporting this in a "congress fails to do X" kind of way rather than a "GOP obstructionism" kind of way, which makes filibusters a win-win for Republicans.
So will the media keep reporting about how congress is failing to accomplish anything or will they see it as the GOP obstructionism that it is?

Marshalltown Union Leader Arrested on Immigration Charges

Earlier this month, 4 more people from Swift and Co. were arrested on immigration charges, including Braulio Pereyra-Gabino, who is vice president of Local 1149 of the food and commercial workers union.

"This is the first time a union employee has been charged in an immigration case," Cashen said. "We're concerned and we're anxious to get all the information to make sure he's not being held accountable for things that are not his responsibility. We don't hire. We're not required to check immigration status."
The Des Moines Register had a special editorial yesterday on Pereyra-Gabino's arrest.
Union representatives or citizens have no duty to report someone they suspect isn't legally in the United States, according to immigration attorney Lori Chesser of Des Moines.

"Union officials typically do not hire workers, so they don't have the employer-employee relationship that requires them to ask, 'Are you legal or not?' " Chesser said.

To the contrary, unions believe they are bound by law to represent all workers in the Marshalltown Swift plant.

"As elected representatives of the workers at Swift and elsewhere, we are legally responsible to represent those workers," Cashen said. "We can't discriminate. We can't pass judgment on who we will or won't represent."
It would be interesting to ask all of those presidential candidates that are visiting Iowa about this case.

After having 1,200 workers nationwide arrested on immigration charges last December, Swift and Co. has yet to be fined or charged with anything.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Edwards to Ride With Lance Armstrong on RAGBRAI

From my inbox...


Edwards Will Ride Portions of Day 4 Route on Wednesday

Des Moines, Iowa – The John Edwards for President Campaign today announced that Senator John Edwards will join cancer survivor and seven consecutive Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in this year’s RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Edwards will join riders on Wednesday for a portion of the fourth day of the week long ride. starting in Hampton.

RAGBRAI is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state and is the longest, largest and oldest touring bicycle ride in the world. Always the last full week of July, this year’s 472-mile ride begins today, Sunday the 22nd, and ends on Saturday the 28th.

“RAGBRAI is a great Iowa tradition that is renowned across the country and across the world,” Edwards said. “Elizabeth and I have always admired Lance Armstrong not only for his achievements but for his commitment to the fight against cancer. I am looking forward to joining with him and so many other RAGBRAI riders to call attention to this important cause.”

Edwards’ participation in RAGBRAI is the start of a two-day trip to Iowa. More details of the trip, including details and logistics of media coverage of Edwards and Armstrong’s ride will be announced tomorrow.

More on Feingold's Call of Censure

Sen. Feingold has issued a statement on his Senate website about the censure resolution he is planning on introducing...

“Censure is about holding the administration accountable,” Feingold said. “Congress needs to formally condemn the President and members of the administration for misconduct before and during the Iraq war, and for undermining the rule of law at home. Censure is not a cure for the devastating toll this administration’s actions have taken on this country. But when future generations look back at the terrible misconduct of this administration, they need to see that a co-equal branch of government stood up and held to account those who violated the principles on which this nation was founded.”
The Progressive Patriots Fund has sent out an email and has more information on the censure where Sen. Feingold says....

Regardless of whether you are for or against the impeachment of the President, Vice President, and other administration officials, Senator Feingold's censure resolution is a powerful way to hold this administration accountable.

Congress needs to stand up and condemn this administration for their actions.

Americans are demanding accountability and censure is a step in that direction.

It's time for the President and his administration to return to the law.

And finally, here is video of Sen. Feingold on Meet the Press talking about the censure resolutions.

Harassing the Terrorists

Here is a ridiculous quote about terrorists form Fran Towsend, Homeland Security Advisor, after the release of the National Intelligence report that shows Al Qaeda is getting stronger...

The fact is we were harassing them in Afghanistan, we're harassing them in Iraq, we're harassing them in other ways, nonmilitary, around the world. And the answer is, every time you poke the hornet's nest, they are bound to come back and push back on you. That doesn't suggest to me that we shouldn't be doing it.
This quote shows what has been wrong with the way the Bush administration has been fighting terrorists. After 9/11 Bush promised to bring the terrorists to justice and to capture bin Laden, not to harass the terrorists. It is no wonder his poll numbers are so low. The American people don't want to harass the terrorists or to poke the hornets nest and that is exactly what we are doing in Iraq.

We need to take fighting terrorism seriously and that means we need to do more than harass terrorists. We need to redeploy our troops from Iraq, put more troops in Afghanistan, get back to tracking down Osama bin Laden, secure our open ports, secure loose nuclear materials, and combat the terror networks around the world that pose a threat to us.

We can not accomplish these things when all of our resources are in Iraq. Staying in Iraq only gives Al Qaeda a recruting pitch and an easy target to attack American soldiers. We won't be safer until Republicans, including Sen. Grassley, stop focusing solely on Iraq and begin to see terrorism as a serious worldwide threat.

2nd Quarter Fundraising Numbers

Jane Norman of the Register has a summary of the 2nd quarter fundraising numbers. Here they are...

1st District
Bruce Braley - D $115,000 raised and $220,000 cash on hand

2nd District
Dave Loebsack - D $154,000 raised and $251,000 cash on hand

3rd District
Leonard Boswell - D $242,000 raised and $525,00 cash on hand

4th District
Tom Latham - R $181,000 raised and $364,000 cash on hand
Selden Spencer -D $88,000 raised and $108,000 cash on hand

5th District
Steve King - R $94,000 raised and $71,000 cash on hand
Ron Hubler - D $ 7,000 raised and $17,800 cash on hand

Feingold to Introduce Censure of Bush, Cheney, and Gonzales

Just now on Meet the Press, Sen. Russ Feingold has said he plans on introduce measures to censure President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Attorney General Gonzales for their...

...misconduct relating to the war in Iraq and for their repeated assaults on the rule of law.
Feingold said...
"I'm shocked by the president...I think we need to do something serious in terms of accountability, and that's why I will be shortly introducing censure resolutions of the President and the administration.
Feingold cited a quote that was previously on the show by National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and says...
This administration has assaulted the constitution. We need to have on the historical record some kind of indication that what has happened here has been....disastrous.
Feingold added that he believes the President might have committed impeachable offenses and cited a poll that showed nearly 50% of Americans believe impeachment proceedings should be brought forth. Feingold said a censure is a way to hold the administration accountable without bogging the Senate down in impeachment hearings.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Catching Up With the Iowa Blogosphere

Here are some stories from around the Iowa Blogosphere that are worth the read.

There is a summary and thoughts about most of the Democratic candidates over at iPol.

The South of Iowa interviews Republican Mike Huckabee and grills the Governor about farm policy.

Popular Progressive lays out his progressive agenda.

Claire at the Demo Memo is visiting Washington DC this week with the 21st Century Forum. She has visited Tom Harkin, Hillary Clinton, and Chris Dodd.

Chase of CM On Dislplay brings up a possible Senate opponent against Tom Harkin in District Attorney Matt Whitaker.

David Yepsen asks today if Hillary Clinton can win the general election.

And finally Russ Feingold will be on Meet the Press tomorrow.

I am headed to the opening of Barack Obama's office in Marshalltown. They are grilling, having a band, and there are some rumors Barack, who is campaigning in Des Moines, might show up, so I am taking my laptop just in case.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Richardson, Huckabee Reports on Hold

I am not in the blogging mood, so I will post about the Richardson and Huckabee events I attended over the weekend.

I am heading outside to do some reading and enjoy the great weather.

Support the HAWK-I Program, Reathorize S-CHIP

From ICAN...

This year, Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN) has asked you to take action on a number of issues that deal with the health and well being of Iowa ’s kids. There is no more important program for children’s health in Iowa than the Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (HAWK-I) program, and unless Congress takes action, the program could be in serious trouble.

HAWK-I is a great Iowa name for a program called the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. You may know about it because you may have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or friends that can have health insurance because of HAWK-I. One of the great things about Iowa that we can be proud of is that because of the successful efforts of those that administer the HAWK-I program, nearly all children in Iowa have some health insurance coverage. While this is by no means perfect in our book, this level of coverage would be impossible without SCHIP, or what we call HAWK-I.

Thanks to Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, legislation that approved funds to re-authorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) passed the US Senate this week, and is expected to be brought up in the House soon. Yet, even with this bi-partisan support for SCHIP, President Bush has promised to veto this legislation.

In response to this threat by the President, Senator Grassley said "It's disappointing, even a little unbelievable, to hear talk about administration officials wanting a veto of a legislative proposal they haven't even seen yet -- because it isn't even finalized yet." (Freking, AP/Houston Chronicle, 7/12)

Contact your Representatives and ask them to support the reauthorization of the S-CHIP program and, if Bush vetoes the bill, to support to override the veto.

Summary of VOICE

Iowa Voters has a great summary of the VOICE bill that failed to pass out of committee in the last legislative session.

Here is part of the summary. Follow the link to read the rest.

This new Act gives candidates for public office a choice in how they fund their campaign for elective office. It is completely voluntary on the part of the candidate. VOICE provides qualifying candidates—who agree to limit their spending and reject contributions from private sources—with a set amount of public funds to run for office.

In general, VOICE candidates receive full public financing for the primary and the general elections. They qualify for funding by raising a high number of $5 qualifying contributions from voters in their districts or state. VOICE is not an attempt to patch up the current system, but instead is designed as an alternative to it. VOICE reform provides another way for candidates to finance their campaigns.

A similar law has already been enacted in Maine, Arizona, and Connecticut. New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont have enacted the “clean money” option for some races.

VOICE has passed constitutional muster to date by working within the confines of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Buckley v. Valeo (1976). The Buckley ruling states that government can place limits on the amount of money an individual or PAC can contribute to a candidate. However, government cannot place limits on spending UNLESS public financing is offered and the system is voluntary.

VOICE is funded with $10 million from unclaimed and abandoned properties in the custody of the State Treasurer’s office. In other words, it is not funded with tax money. Other funding sources include a $5 income tax check-off ($10 joint return), voluntary contributions to the VOICE Fund with up to a $200 tax deduction, unspent seed money, and qualifying contributions.

VOICE will be brought back during the next legislative session. Most Iowans believe money has too much influence in politics. VOICE would give influence back to the common person. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about how VOICE would work, so it is important the public and our elected officials are educated about the bill.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Are the Iowa Caucuses Becoming too High Priced?

David Yepsen wrote an article this morning called Keep Cashing in On Caucuses - and see 'em Leave. Yepsen's main point of the piece is....

Are the Iowa caucuses becoming a pay-to-play proposition? Are we just a bunch of money-grubbing hacks forcing presidential candidates to pay tribute?

The evidence is mounting, and it undercuts Iowa's claim to be this pristine place where salt-of-the-Earth Americans take an up-close measure of would-be presidents. On top of all that, we've seen at least one community tell presidential candidates it doesn't want them in its parade.

If Iowa wants to keep these caucuses, our own political leaders must start treating visiting candidates as guests, not as cash cows. And Iowans need to welcome them into the state - and the parades - and, yes, tolerate those annoying automated telephone calls asking us to come to their rallies.

If we don't, there are plenty of other states that would just love to do it instead.
Jonathon Singer from MyDD defends Iowa by saying...
Now I do concede it's possible, if not probable, that candidates and parties will become fed up with the rising costs of running campaigns in Iowa. But that's not a problem that is limited to the Hawkeye state. And moving around the primary calendar won't do anything to mitigate this problem, either, as candidates, consultants and outside organizations will be able to figure out how to game a new system fairly quickly. As such, it's difficult for me to foresee the rising cost of running a campaign for the Iowa caucuses being a leading factor in parties shifting around their primary schedules to let other states participate first.
I see Yepsen's point. The thing Iowa (and New Hampshire) have going for them for being first is that it is cheap enough for anyone to campaign here. You don't need to spend big money in big TV markets to compete. It is retail politics at it's best. If Iowa becomes a fancy boutique that charges candidates high prices for access then that undercuts the entire argument.

However, Singer has a good point that the rising cost of campaigns is not unique between the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. Just what to see how much candidates spend in the early states of California, Florida, and New Jersey to campaign.

Governor's Day at Common Iowa

Today is Governor's Day at Century of the Common Iowa. This afternoon I attended an event in town held by Governor Mike Huckabee. This evening Gov. Bill Richardson is having an event at the Iowa Veterans Home.

Check back later this evening for reports from both events.

Highlights from the Senate's All Night Session

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dodd on the Need for a New Policy in Iraq

Chris Dodd wrote over at Huffington Post about his plans for a new policy in Iraq by posting his speech he gave on the floor of the Senate during last nights all-night session.

It is disappointing that on a day that the National Intelligence Estimate shows that invading Iraq has made our country less safe and al-Qaeda -- the group that actually attacked us on 9/11 -- has reconstituted itself and is stronger now that it has been since that attack, President Bush's allies in the Senate continue to hold up a change of course in Iraq.

I believe those who refuse to allow this Senate to vote on this critical issue do a grave disservice to America's security by enabling this President to continue with his failed strategy.

Every additional day we "stay the course" in Iraq more American lives are lost, our standing in the world is further eroded, and our country becomes more vulnerable. It is imperative that we change course in Iraq now.

Follow the link to read his entire speech.

Harkin Blogging at Bleeding Heartland

Sen. Tom Harkin blogged over at Bleeding Heartland about the all-night session in the Senate last night.

Grab Your Flak Vest and Kevlar Helmet and Let's Go to Lunch

The Green Zone is supposed to be the safest place in Iraq and you can't even go to lunch without wearing a flak vest and a kevlar helmet. Yet, Republicans still insist progress is being made while ignoring our troops are at even more harm each day.

From the Miami Herald...

The dress code at the Blue Star restaurant inside Baghdad's Green Zone now calls for vest and hat.

Flak vest and Kevlar helmet, to be precise. And it's a good thing.

At least four mortar rounds hit inside the Green Zone about 1:30 p.m. July 7, killing two Iraqi civilians, according to a U.S. soldier who could not speak for attribution because he's not authorized to talk to reporters.

Meanwhile, a State Department official, after initially denying that State had ordered its 1,000 Baghdad personnel to wear protective gear, said that a copy of the order obtained by McClatchy was an undiscussable security breach.

Saturday's attack followed a barrage of up to 35 mortars and rockets that slammed into the Green Zone -- considered the safest place in Baghdad -- on Wednesday.

The embassy issued its memo later that day.

''As a result of the recent increase of indirect fire attacks on the International Zone, outdoor movement is restricted to a minimum,'' it states. ``Remain within a hardened structure to the maximum extent possible and strictly avoid congregating outdoors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory until further notice."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Senate Repulicans: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about the Fillibuster and Love the Bomb

Harry Reid is taking a stand tonight in favor of an up or down vote on Iraq policy, while Senate Republicans plan to fillibuster and end debate on the important issue.

From Think Progress...

The same conservatives filibustering tonight were singing a different tune two years ago. When Democrats held up the confirmation of a few of President Bush’s right-wing judicial nominees, conservatives repeatedly complained of “obstructionism.”

Senate conservatives had threatened to deploy the “nuclear option,” which would have eliminated the traditional Senate practice of filibustering.

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS): “[Filibustering] is wrong. It’s not supportable under the Constitution. And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I’m perfectly prepared to blow the place up.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spokesman: “Senator McConnell always has and continues to fully support the use of what has become known as the ‘[nuclear]’ option in order to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate.”

It must be hard for the Senate Republicans, including Iowa's Charles Grassley, who hate fillibusters, but love the war more.

Iowa Veterans Home Staff Honors the Troops

The Marshalltown Times Republican has a story about the nurses at the Iowa Veterans Home who are wearing red t-shirts on Fridays in honor of our troops.

The idea was voiced in June by a lone staff member during one unit’s morale-boosting Pay It Forward campaign for nursing assistants week, said Nurse Supervisor Margie Button.

The approximately 40 nurses on the fourth floor of IVH’s Dack Building ran with the idea, getting shirts made just for the occasion.

Those shirts feature a yellow ribbon to recognize both what current troops are giving up to secure freedom for Americans and also what veterans — particularly IVH’s residents — gave up to serve when they did, Button said.

On the front, they say “IVH, Care to wear” and on the back, “Get your red on.”
The ideas has spread to include many of the residents and staff on other floors at the Veterans Home.

I heard about this a couple weeks ago from 2 different people with ties to the Veterans Home and both told me the staff planned on wearing the shirts every Friday until our troops were redeployed out of Iraq. This was not mentioned in the article.

Economic Populism is the Democratic Party of the Future

The message of economic populism helped Democratic candidates earn victories in the 2006 election. One of those candidates that pulled off an upset was James Webb who won his Senate race in Virginia.

David Sirota writes about this quote from Webb in today's Washington Post...

“He criticized what he called ‘the Rubin wing of the Democratic Party,’ after Robert E. Rubin, former President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary, saying those Democrats share the same problem as many Republicans: ‘We’re not paying attention to what has happened to basic working people in the country.’ He said of the freshman Senate Democrats, six of them take a ‘populist’ view, and said they are bringing needed reinforcements to the Senate: ‘We’ve got a number of us that pretty well see the economic issues the same way. I think that’s the Democratic Party of the future.’”

Richardson Schedules Job Interviews in Central Iowa

From my inbox....

Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson Returns to Campaign in Central Iowa
Former Ambassador to the U.N. Will Give Major Speech on Foreign Policy to Kick Off Trip

DES MOINES ---- Presidential candidate New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will return to central Iowa on Thursday, July 19, and Friday, July 20. On Thursday he will give a major address on U.S. foreign policy at a forum titled “The Future Role of the United States in World Affairs.” The event is sponsored by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy and the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations. The speech will kick off a two-day campaign tour featuring a series of Richardson ’s trademark “Presidential Job Interview” events. A complete schedule of public events is below.

Thursday, July 19

International Relations Forum with Governor Bill Richardson
WHEN: Doors open at 11:00 AM; lunch served at
11:30 AM
WHERE: The Des Moines Embassy Club at the Ruan Center, 33rd Floor, 666 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309

Jasper County “Presidential Job Interview”
2:15 PM
WHERE: United Auto Workers Hall,
1813 1st St. North , Newton , IA 50208

Tama County “Presidential Job Interview”
4:30 PM
STC Elementary School , 1611 Country Club Dr. , Tama , IA 52339

Marshall County “Presidential Job Interview”
6:15 PM
WHERE: Iowa Veterans Home,
1301 Summit St. , Marshalltown , IA 50158

Friday, July 20

Dallas County “Presidential Job Interview”
2:15 PM
Highland Elk Bistro and Coffee House, 1211 2nd St. , Perry , IA 50220

Madison County Meet & Greet
4:30 PM
Madison County Fairgrounds, Democratic Booth, Summit St./Highway 92 west of Winterset , IA 50273

Polk County “Presidential Job Interview”
6:45 PM
Hillside Elementary School Cafeteria, 713 8th St., West Des Moines , IA 50265

I am planning on attending one of the events on Thursday. I do a have a meeting that conflicts with the event in Marshalltown, so I might have to go to Newton. I will find a way to make sure I cover one of these events.

Tap What?

I saw this headline on Political Wire...

McCain Will Not Tap Wife's Assests
and this quote only adds to the confusion...
But McCain flatly ruled out such a move: "I value my marriage too much. I have never thought about it. I would never do such a thing, so I wouldn't know what the legalities are."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Romney Pays $300 for Makeup

Yes, a $400 haircut is ridiculous, but so is paying $300 for a makeup consultation.

Mitt Romney recorded $300 in payments to a California company that describes itself as "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services."
Can we finally stop talking about Edwards' haircut now?

Edwards Unveils New Initiatives To Reward Work

John Edwards began his 3 day Road to One America Tour today to bring attention to the 1 in 8 Americans living in poverty.

I noticed this quote from a campaign press release that is the theme to the tour.

"Past anti-poverty efforts have failed to create enough opportunities for people to work their way out of poverty and into the middle class," Edwards said. "We will never end poverty until we create more opportunities for people to earn enough to support themselves and their families. We need to put our economy back in line with our values by making it possible to work hard and build a better life."
Edwards frames this issue in a way that it would make it hard to find someone who disagrees with it. Many people believe poor people deserve to be poor because they don't work hard. This is a false frame. Edwards points out that people who work hard should not be living in poverty and stressed that we need to create more opportunities and reward work to give people a chance at a middle class lifestyle.

Summarizing the Republcian Field

I noticed last night that most of my posts over the weekend were about Republicans. So after this post, I will try to lay off the Republican for awhile.

Rolling Stone posted this last week that summarizes the downside of the candidates in the Republican field. Tim Dickinson writes...

Rudy’s top advisers are into coke, hookers, race baiting and flattening Persia.

John McCain has less money than Ron Paul and just fired (as in axed) his campaign’s top guns, leaving him essentially dead in the water.

Fred Thompson, the supposed Christianist savior, was by all indications a lobbyist for an abortion group in the ’90s, and a mole for Nixon during Watergate.

And Mitt Romney has become such a poster child for inconstancy, that he gets ribbed for it on SportsCenter.

I just don’t see it: How does any of these jokers get nominated?

My money’s on Mitt right now. Especially now that McCain’s search-and-destroy oppo-research master Terry Nelson has left the building.

Am I wrong?

Dickinson forgot this quote from Fred "Hollywood" Thompson that won't play well among Evangelicals...
I was single for a long time, and, yep, I chased a lot of women. And a lot of women chased me. And those that chased me tended to catch me.
No wonder Republicans aren't happy with their candidates. It seems the second tier of Huckabee, Brownback, and Tancredo haven't made huge splashes nationally and haven't been able to move up.

My prediction is that by October McCain will drop out, the dirt on Fred Thompson will come out and his hype will have diminished, and Newt Gingrich will enter the race. Conservatives will coalesce around Gingrich because he is conservative and there is no one else.