Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dodd Releases TV Ad about Global Warming

I saw a TV ad for Chris Dodd yesterday about the vote on the Iraq Supplemental Funding bill. It was your typical political ad. I said to myself if Dodd wants to move up, he needs to do something different than your typical political ad. Need proof, just take a look at Bill Richardson's latest ads and his rise in the polls.

Today, Dodd released an ad about global warming that shows a little creativity. It is a step up from his previous ads, but it isn't quite as good as Richardson's ads.

Here's the ad...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Harkin Explains Why He Caved on the Iraq Funding Bill

Last week, I wrote about Tom Harkin being in support of keeping our troops in Iraq by voting for the Iraq Supplemental Funding Bill.

Here is a press release from Harkin's office about why he voted the way he did.

“Iowans know where I stand on the war in Iraq, so they know I have serious reservations about the bill’s lack of a redeployment timetable. I have fought hard for a timetable to extricate our troops from the civil war in Iraq. And I am an original cosponsor of the Feingold-Reid bill, which would complete the redeployment by March 31, 2008. But because of Republican obstructionism, the practical realities are that we need 60 votes in the Senate to pass any Iraq-withdrawal measure, and 67 votes to overcome a presidential veto. We are not there, yet. But we will be back. When we consider the FY 2008 defense authorization and defense appropriations bills this summer, we will have fresh opportunities to set a timetable. As it becomes clearer with each passing day that the President’s surge – his insistence on a military solution – is the wrong way to go, I hope that we will pick up the votes we need on the other side of the aisle to prevail.”
So it seems Harkin decided to vote for the bill because the Republicans took a stand. When will the Democrats decide it is time to take a stand?

Harkin Introduces a bill that would close Guatanamo

From my inbox...

On Wednesday, I introduced the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Act of 2007 to require the Department of Defense to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within 120 days after my bill has been signed into law. In the wake of human rights abuses, leaders from both parties have agreed that the continued operation of this military prison has damaged America's reputation and impeded efforts to fight terrorism.

By continuing to isolate detainees on Guantanamo Bay without bringing charges against them, we have forfeited our moral leadership and hindered our ability to rally support in our fight against terrorism. Closing this facility is our single best opportunity to rally our allies in a more effective fight against terrorism and reduce the risk to Americans traveling abroad.

Under the bill I have introduced, the Administration would be required to at long last resolve the legal status of the 386 prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay. Those that the Administration intends to charge with a crime or an offense under the Military Commissions Act would be transferred to the United States Detention Base at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a state-of-the-art, maximum security facility. Those that the Administration does not intend to charge with a crime or an offense would be returned to the custody of their home country or, where necessary, returned to a country where they do not face torture.

However, right-wing extremists such as presidential candidate Mitt Romney not only want to keep Guantanamo Bay open-they want to expand it. I firmly believe that this is the wrong course of action and it will only further damage our reputation and our ability to win the war on terror.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Iowa Poll

There is a new Iowa poll out today from the American Research Group.

Here are the results...

Clinton 31%
Edwards 21%
Obama 11%
Richardson 9%
Kucinich 5%
Biden 3%
Dodd 2%
Clark 1%
Gravel 1%
Undecided 16%
A closer look at the trends in this poll from past months, shows Hillary Clinton made an 8 point jump, while Obama made an 8 point drop. I highly doubt that Obama is doing that poorly. Richardson went up from 5% to 8% in from April to May, after being at 1% in all previous polls. Biden support fell from 6% in April to 3% this month.

The results from this poll greatly differ from the Des Moines Register poll released a week ago. In that poll Edwards was on top with 29% with Obama at 23%, Clinton at 21%, Richardson at 10%, and Biden at 3%. I find the totals in this poll for Obama and Clinton to be more an accurate picture of what I am hearing on the ground here in Iowa.

I read somewhere that McCain did well on the Republican side because he polled well with independents. That might be why this poll isn't matching up with what I am hearing on the streets. However, independents can't go to the caucuses (unless they register with a party), so why include them in the polls?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Clinton/Vilsack 08?

The Des Moines Register had a story today about Tom Vilsack's role with the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has assumed a role in Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign unlike any of the New York Democrat's other national advisers.

He campaigns for her in Iowa and other key states, spends hours each week on the phone with donors and elected officials and has helped forge policy ideas Clinton presents on the campaign trail.
The Register put out there that Vilsack is basically auditioning for the Vice President spot if Clinton is to win the nomination.
Aides acknowledge privately that Vilsack's work for the campaign has the look of a rehearsal for the role of running mate, should Clinton win the nomination.
You hear Vilsack's name as possible running mates and I think he is the best fist with the Clinton campaign. He is a Governor from the midwest and would balance the ticket well. The Register also named Sen. Evan Bayh and Gov. Mark Warner as possible VP choices for Clinton. However, this is a moot point if Hillary doesn't do well in Iowa. A poor showing in Iowa, would wipe Vilsack off her list and diminish her chances of winning the nomination.

The only other possible ticket that Vilsack might be able to be named to is with John Edwards. It wouldn't make sense for Obama to name another midwesterner and it wouldn't make sense for Richardson to name another Governor. I have Dodd, Biden, and Kucinich down as being to far of longshots right now.

On this Memorial Day...

On this Memorial Day we honor the 59 Iowans who have lost their lives in Iraq...

Army Spc. David W. Behrle, 20, of Tipton, was killed May 19, 2007, in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. He was among six soldiers who died in the explosion. All six were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Pfc. Katie Soenksen, 19, of Davenport, was killed in an explosion May 2, 2007, in Baghdad while conducting a security mission. She was part of the 410 Military Police based in Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Pfc. Brian A. Botello, 19, of Alta, was killed during combat operations April 29, 2007, in Baghdad. He was 1 of 3 soldiers with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, of Fort Carson, Colo., who were killed in the explosion.

Army Spc. Travis Vaughn, of Cedar Falls, died Feb. 18, 2007, in the crash of a CH-47 Chinook in Afghanistan, according to his stepmother, Kandi Vaughn, of Reinbeck. The military said the Chinook was carrying 22 U.S. service members. Eight American troops were killed. Fourteen people on board survived.

Army Reserve Spc. Stephen D. Shannon, 21, of Guttenberg, died Jan. 31, 2007, as a result of hostile action in Iraq. He was a combat engineer with the C Company, 397th Engineer Battalion, in Wausau, Wis.

Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, died Jan. 20, 2007, in the crash of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that killed 11 other soldiers northeast of Baghdad. Gabbard, a member of the Iowa Army National Guard, served as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the National Guard Affairs Team in Baghdad.

Army Cpl. Jonathan E. Schiller, 20, of Ottumwa, was killed Dec. 31, 2006, when a bomb detonated near his Humvee while on combat patrol in Baqubah, Iraq. Schiller was assigned to the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Marine Lance Cpl. Clinton J. "C.J." Miller, 23, of Greenfield, died Dec. 11, 2006, while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar province in Iraq. Two other Marines were killed. They were assigned to the Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

Army Sgt. James Paul Musack, 23, of Riverside, was killed Nov. 21, 2006, in what the military called a non-combat related incident in Samarra, Iraq. He was assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Lt. Col. Paul Finken, 40, of Earling, died Nov. 2, 2006, when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Iraq. He was among three soldiers killed in an attack in Baghdad. Finken was based with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. He was an infantry officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 506th Infantry Regiment.

Staff Sgt. Scott E. Nisely, 48, of Marshalltown, died Sept. 30, 2006, when his unit came under small arms fire from insurgents near Al Asad, Iraq. He was a member of Iowa National Guard Company C, 1st Battalion 133rd Infantry, in Iowa Falls.

Spc. Kampha B. Sourivong, 20, of Iowa City, died Sept. 30, 2006, when his came came under small arms fire from insurgents near Al Asad, Iraq. He was a member of Iowa National Guard Company C, 1st Battalion 133rd Infantry, in Iowa Falls.

Army Pfc. William E. Thorne, 26, of Hospers, died Aug. 24, 2006, when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was a member of the 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jamie S. Jaenke, a native of Iowa Falls, died June 5, 2006, in Al Anbar province, when the Humvee she was in was struck by a roadside bomb. She was assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25, based in Fort McCoy, Wis.

Marine Lance Cpl. William Leusink, 21, of Maurice, was killed May 22, 2006, in a roadside bombing in Al Anbar province northwest of Baghdad. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Army Staff Sgt. Mark Wall, 27, of Alden, died April 27, 2006, in Iraq from a non combat-related illness. Wall suffered a cardiac arrest in the dining facility of hit's base in Mosul. He was assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and was stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Iowa Army National Guard Sgt. Daniel Sesker, 22, of Ogden, was killed April 6, 2006, when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb outside Tikrit in Iraq. Sesker was assigned to the Le Mars-based Troop C, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, which performs reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

Army Cpl. Antoine McKinzie, 25, of Indianpolis, died March 21, 2006, on a combat security patrol in Baghdad. McKinzie, a native of Des Moines, was a member of the 4th Infantry Division.

Maj. Stuart Anderson, 44, of Peosta, died Jan. 7, 2006, in a helicopter crash that killed seven other U.S. soldiers and four civilians in Iraq. Anderson was a member of the Army Reserve's 3rd Corps Support Command in Des Moines.

Sgt. Nathan Field, 23, of Lehigh, died Jan. 7, 2006, when his Humvee was hit by a civilian vehicle in southern Iraq. He was a member of the Army Reserve's 4249th Port Security Company in Pocahontas.

Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Tobias C. Meister, 30, of Jenks, Okla., died Dec. 28, 2005, by a roadside bomb while on patrol south of Asadabad, Afghanistan. Meister, a native of Remsen, was part of the Sand Springs-based 486th Civil Affairs Battalion and was assigned to the Army Reserve's 321st Civil Affairs Brigade based in San Antonio, Texas.

Iowa National Guard Spc. Gregory L. Tull, 20, of Pocahontas, died Nov. 25, 2005, when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb near Hit, Iraq. He was assigned to Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 194th Field Artillery, based in Storm Lake.

Army Spc. Dustin A. Yancey, 22, or Cedar Rapids, was killed Nov. 4, 2005, in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near the Humvee he was driving. He served in the 26th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Army Pvc. Eric Woods, 26, of Urbandale, died July 9, 2005, in an explosion when he stopped to help a wounded soldier on the side of the road in Iraq. Wood, a medic who moved to Omaha, Neb., was a member of a member of G Troop, 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Carson,

Spc. Casey Byers, 22, of Schleswig, died June 11, 2005, south of Ramadi. He was on foot patrol near a Humvee that was part of a convoy of 25 vehicles searching for roadside bombs and insurgents when a bomb exploded directly underneath the Humvee. He was a member of Company B 224th Engineering Battalion, based in Ottumwa.

Army Spc. David Lee Rice, 22, of Sioux City, died April 26, 2005, when the Humvee he was in rolled over after being hit a rocket-propelled grenade Muqdadiyah, Iraq. Rice, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was a fire support specialist with the U.S. Army, based at Fort Riley, Kan.

Robert J. "Jason" Gore, 23, of Nevada, was among 11 people killed their helicopter was down as it flew from Baghdad to Tikrit on April 21, 2005, Gore was a member of the Iowa National Guard's 186th Military Police Company, based at Camp Dodge, but was on inactive status as he performed a six-month tour of duty as a security officer for Blackwater USA, a civilian security company.

Spc. John W. Miller, 21, of West Burlington, died April 12, 2005, in Ramadi, Iraq, when he was shot by a sniper while providing security for route clearing operations. He was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard Company A 224th Engineer Battalion, based in Burlington.

Army Staff Sgt. Shane Koele, 25, of Hartley, died March 16, 2005, from injuries when a land mine exploded near his Humvee in Shindand, Afghanistan. Koele served with the 212th Military Police Company, Kitzingen, Germany.

Army Sgt. Donald Griffith Jr., 29, died March 11, 2005, in Telefar, Iraq, during a suicide bombing incident. He was stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., and was a member of secret operations. His family is from Mechanicsville.

2nd Lt. Richard B. "Brian" Gienau, 29, of Peoria, Ill., killed Feb. 27, 2005, when the Humvee he was riding in was struck by a homemade bomb as it traveled between Karbala and Ramadi. He was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard Company A 224th Engineer Battalion, based in Burlington.

Army Sgt. Eric Steffeney, 28, of Waterloo, killed Feb. 23, 2005, when an undetected roadside mine north of Baghdad exploded. He was a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Army Spc. Dakotah L. Gooding, 21, of Des Moines, died Feb. 13, 2005, when his Humvee accident near Balad, Iraq, during a combat patrol. He was assigned to the Army's 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Marine Cpl. Nathan Schubert, 22, of Cherokee, died Jan. 26, 2005, in a helicopter crash during a sandstorm in western Iraq. Schubert was with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Sgt. Thomas Houser, 22, of Council Bluffs, killed Jan. 3, 2005, in fighting near Fallujah. Thomas was a member of the 2nd Force Reconnaissance, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Spc. Daryl Davis, 20, of Spencer, killed Nov. 29, 2004, in a motor vehicle accident in Iraq. A former member of the 2168th Transportation Company of the Iowa National Guard based in Sheldon, he transferred to the Florida National Guard's 144th Transportation Company and was mobilized in February.

Cpl. Jarrod L. Maher, 21, of Imogene, killed Nov. 12, 2004, as a result of a non-hostile gunshot wound in Abu Ghraib, a western suburb of Baghdad; assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Spc. James C Kearney, III, 22, of Emerson, killed Nov. 1, 2004, when his Humvee was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire in Afghanistan; assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry, based in Shenandoah.

Marine Pfc. Nick Skinner, 20, of Davenport, killed Aug. 26, 2004, by gunfire in the southern city of Najaf; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Unit, Platoon 1023 out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Marine Pfc. Brandon Sturdy, 19, of Urbandale, killed May 13, 2004, when a homemade bomb blew up near Fallujah, west of Baghdad; assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett, 37, of Orlando, Fla., a Wapello native, killed in a mortar attack May 2, 2004, at Camp Fallujah in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad; assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 out of Jacksonville, Fla.

Cpl. Michael R. Speer, 24, a Kansas native who joined the Marine Corps in Davenport, killed April 9, 2004, in hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, west of Baghdad; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Lance Cpl. Benjamin Carman, 20, of Jefferson, killed April 6, 2004, in hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, west of Baghdad; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Army Spc. Josh Knowles, 23, of Sheffield, killed Feb. 5, 2004, when his truck was hit by mortar round attack in Baghdad; assigned to the Iowa Army National Guard's 1133rd Transportation Co. in Mason City.

Army Sgt. Aaron Sissel, 22, of Tipton, killed Nov. 29, 2003, in an ambush near Husaybah; assigned to the 2133rd Transportation Company of the Iowa National Guard, based in Centerville, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids.

Army Pvt. Kurt Frosheiser, 22, Des Moines, killed Nov. 8, 2003, when a Humvee he was riding in ran over a homemade bomb west of Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Armored Division; Baumholder, Germany.

Army Sgt. Paul Fisher, 39, of Cedar Rapids, died Nov. 6, 2003, at a hospital in Hamburg, Germany, following a Nov. 2 missile attack on a Chinook helicopter near Fallujah; assigned to Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion, Army National Guard, based in Davenport.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Bruce A. Smith, 41, West Liberty, killed in the Nov. 2, 2003, attack on a Chinook helicopter near Fallujah; assigned to Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion.

Army Pfc. David Kirchhoff, 31, Anamosa, died Aug. 14 after suffering heat stroke Aug. 9, 2003, in Iraq; assigned to the Army National Guard's 2168th Transportation Company, Cedar Rapids.

Army Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch, 21, of Dubuque, died July 31, 2003, in Baghdad when the armored personnel carrier he was riding in was hit by an explosive round; assigned to Troop C, 1-1 Cavalry.

Army Pvt. Kenneth A. Nalley, 19, Hamburg, died May 26, 2003, when his Humvee was struck by a heavy truck while escorting a convoy in As Samawah; assigned to the 501st Military Police Company, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr, 39, Ossian, killed April 10, 2003, in a seven-hour battle outside a mosque in downtown Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, Alpha Company of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Marine Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus, 29, Davenport, drowned March 24, 2003, while trying to cross the Saddam Canal in southeastern Iraq; assigned to the 6th Engineer Support Battalion.

Video of Edwards in Eastern Iowa Discussing Supporting our Troops

Here is a video with clips from John Edwards' campaign stops on Friday in Eastern Iowa. The theme of the stops was supporting our troops and ending the war. I attended one of the events on Saturday and the video does a really good job summarizing his speech.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

John Edwards in Marengo

I attended an event in Marengo held by John Edwards on Saturday. The event was supposed to take place at the public library, but was moved outside to a park because the expected crowd was too large. However, there was also rain in the forecast.

The first speaker was Roxanne Conlin. She gave a very passionate speech telling that she is supporting John Edwards because he has the best chance to win and he will be a great president. She said that we need someone who will be a great president and not someone who will just be better than the current one because that is a pretty low bar. An older gentleman standing next to me leaned over and said you can sure tell she doesn't like Bush. Conlin introduced John and Elizabeth Edwards and right when the music started, the sprinkles began to fall.

Elizabeth Edwards spoke next and cut her remarks short because of the rain. She was talking so fast, it was hard to get direct quotes. Elizabeth Edwards said that as we celebrate Memorial Day, we must remember to truly honor and support the troops. She talked about the mistakes that were made back in Vietnam and we must separate the soldiers from the failed policy and honor the soldiers.

John Edwards then took the microphone. He stayed on the same theme as Elizabeth and said it is not enough to say we support the troops. America must policies that truly support. He then layed out four things he would do to support our troops. First, when our soldiers return he would assess their needs, so we can help them transition back into civilian life. Second, we should have dedicated funding for the VA, so they have the health care they need. Third, we must support the families and narrow the gap in civilian pay and military pay. Finally, we must make sure our soldiers get educational support, job training, and help them with student loans if they need it.


John Edwards then talked about his family put together some care packages this week to send over to our troops in Iraq and he encouraged us to do the same. He concluded by saying that he will stand strongly against this president because this war needs to end and as president he will stand even more strongly in support of the troops.

Before going to questions, John said that his two youngest children were on the trip with them and were going to come this morning. However, Jack asked if dad was going to be giving boring speeches and then decided he would rather stay and swim at the hotel. Sounds like a typical 7 year old.

The first question was from a woman who had returned from volunteering in New Orleans with her husband. She asked what Edwards would do about New Orleans. Edwards said he would have a high level official in the White House that would report directly to the president daily about the progress that is being made. He then talked about his visits to the area and asked where the billions of dollars the government has allocated to the area gone? He said all the work that is being done is by volunteers and faith based groups.

The next question was about global warming, global poverty, and population growth. Edwards joked about him being lucky this isn't a debate because he'd only have 30 seconds to answer. On global warming, he would cap emissions and allow emissions trading. By auctioning off emissions you would raise $30-$40 billion, which would be invested in building the infrastructure for renewable energy. He would put money into Detroit to build more fuel efficient automobiles. He also said that Americans must conserve and be patriotic about something other than war.

On the issue of global poverty, he began talking about terrorism. He said we must find the people like Osama bin Laden that want to do us harm, but we must also need to undermine the causes of terrorism, which is global poverty. He says America should be leading an international effort to expand primary education around the world and provide clean drinking water. He finished saying America needs to be seen as a force for good again. He had a good quote on the issue of population growth where he said sex ed and birth control is not something that should be driven by an ideological agenda like it is now. It needs to be based on scientific facts.

The next question came from a woman who had a relative that was graduating high school and was going into the military. She asked about the situation in Iraq. Edwards talked a little about what he would do as president, but spent most of the time talking about what can be done now. He said Congress has the power to end this war now with their funding authority and they have let America down by sending Bush a bill that has no timetables. This line got loud applause from the crowd. He then said this President is bullheaded and won't listen to the American people. There is a word for doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The word is insanity.

Edwards was then asked about immigration, but had to cut his answer short because the rain began to come down harder. People congregated under the shelter in the park for pictures and to ask John and Elizabeth questions.


This was the third time I have seen John Edwards, so I knew what some of his answers were going to be. I was hoping to hear some about why we shouldn't call this a global war on terror, which he didn't bring up. I was also hoping that he would be asked about outsourcing of American jobs and free trade versus fair trade. This was a theme of his 2004 campaign and he isn't talking much about it. I also want to know if he would raise CAFE standards on automobiles. He said he would invest money into Detroit to produce more fuel efficient cars. I want to know if he agrees with Obama when Obama called for CAFE standards to increase to 40 mpg.

I really impressed with Edwards' speech at his presidential announcement in Des Moines back in December. He talked about the most pressing issues our country faces and called on us to help fix them. As I wrote back in December...

His call for action is one needed and one you are not likely to see from other candidates.

It is one thing to say this when the camera's are rolling and there are 5,000 people at the event. You do get a taste of this call to action in his email updates, but it is missing from the events in smaller events he holds. However, for these problems to be fixed people in small towns like Marengo and Newton must be the ones the who take action. When the message that people can make a difference in solving the problems we face gets down to rural America, real change can take place.

I am still impressed with Edwards as a candidate, but not quite ready to commit. Edwards knows the issues and tells you honestly about what he would do. It is refreshing to hear him speak from the heart, even when he knows his answer isn't the one you want to hear. When you leave an event, you will know where John Edwards stands on the issues.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Obama Tells McCain What it Really Means to Support Our Troops

One of the most impressive things with Barack Obama is that he isn't afraid to fight back when people question his character.

He first did it when Fox News ran the bogus madrassa story and then Obama said he would no longer grant them interviews. Then it was Obama fighting back after Austrailian Prime Minister John Howard attacked his stance on Iraq. Yesterday, in a speech in Chicago, Obama responds to John McCain after McCain questioned him about supporting the troops.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bush Signs the Sacrifice the Troops Bill

Bush has signed the blank check the Democrats handed him yesterday into law, continuing the funds for a war that has no end in sight.

The best commentary on the bill that I have read comes from Air America's Laura Flanders the afternoon before the vote called the Sacrifice the Troops Bill.

This so-called “supplemental” isn’t about supporting troops; this blank-check bill is about sacrificing them.

At the current rate of fatalities, another 200-300 US troops will have been killed by the time the Congress votes on funding again. Ten times that many Iraqis will have perished. Squandering human lives and health for Exxon and Chevron’s wealth is not supporting the troops. It’s sacrificing them.

By voting more money for Bush’s war, the Congress will be sacrificing more lives to a President who has no plan, for a cause he can’t explain, at a cost that none of us can count.

The bill your Senator and Representative are likely to vote on today is about sacrificing lives in a country whose people want us gone, where our presence is only inflaming extremists and speeding on theocracy.

I heard Ted Kennedy on Ed Schultz over my lunch break saying our next chance at bringing our troops out of harms way will be in the Defense Authorization bill that will be debated sometime before the 4th of July break.

Tell Gov. Culver: Stop the Coal Rush, Invest in Wind Power

From Working Assests...

Governor Chet Culver said it best himself, on April 27th of this year:

"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."

Well, we have a suggestion for the Governor. He should immediately impose a statewide moratorium on the building of new coal-fired power plants, and instead direct state funding and subsidies to developing Iowa's enormous potential for clean and renewable wind energy.

At the present time, a New Jersey company has proposed building a 750-megawatt coal-fired power plant just east of Waterloo; a 600-megawatt plant has also been proposed for Marshalltown. These plants will pour out carbon dioxide equal to almost two million cars on Iowa's roads -- for the next 40 to 50 years. They will also pollute eastern Iowa's rivers and lakes with hundreds of pounds of mercury annually, making fish caught from these waters unsafe to eat.

The governor has the opportunity to put a hold on the permitting process until the Iowa legislature can act on the Climate Change Advisory Council's recommendations for greenhouse gas reductions in Iowa. Drop him a note today and ask him to show leadership on this issue.


If you feel strongly on this issue, send Gov. Culver an email here.

I go back and forth on the proposed coal plant in Marshalltown. I can see the economical benefits, but have a lot of questions when it comes to the environmental impact and health concerns.

Edwards: "War on Terror" is a Bumpsticker, not a Plan

Earlier this week John Edwards gave a speech to the Council on Foriegn Relations. Edwards outlined his foreign policy and explained why the War on Terror is a faulty frame.

The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe. It's a bumper sticker, not a plan. It has damaged our alliances and weakened our standing in the world. As a political "frame," it's been used to justify everything from the Iraq War to Guantanamo to illegal spying on the American people. It's even been used by this White House as a partisan weapon to bludgeon their political opponents. Whether by manipulating threat levels leading up to elections, or by deeming opponents "weak on terror," they have shown no hesitation whatsoever about using fear to divide.

But the worst thing about this slogan is that it hasn't worked. The so-called "war" has created even more terrorism—as we have seen so tragically in Iraq. The State Department itself recently released a study showing that worldwide terrorism has increased 25% in 2006, including a 40% surge in civilian fatalities.

By framing this as a "war," we have walked right into the trap that terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war against Islam.

The "war" metaphor has also failed because it exaggerates the role of only one instrument of American power—the military. This has occurred in part because the military is so effective at what it does. Yet if you think all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

There's an emerging consensus inside the armed forces that we must move beyond the idea of a war on terror. The Commander of the U.S. Military's Central Command recently stated that he would no longer use the "long war" framework. Top military leaders like retired General Anthony Zinni have rejected the term. These leaders know we need substance, not slogans—leadership, not labels.



Here's a full transcript of Edwards' speech.

Biden on Iraq Timetables

From Liberal Oasis...

Sen. Joe Biden, 4/27/07:

We're going to shove it down his throat.

Sen. Joe Biden, 5/24/07:

But the practical reality is that, for now, those of us who want to change course in Iraq don't have the votes to override the President's veto. And I believe that as long as we have troops on the frontlines, we must give them the equipment and protection they need. So I will vote for the supplemental.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rep. Gayman Hired by Obama's Campaign

Rep. Elesha Gayman (D-Davenport) has been hired by Barack Obama's campaign to serve as the eastern Iowa Political Director.

This is a nice pickup for Obama. Gayman, a freshman legislator, was a delegate to the DNC in 2004, worked for the Kerry campaign in northeast Iowa, has ties to labor in the Quad Cities, and has a lot of support from Democracy of Iowa.

I am impressed with the campaign team Obama has been putting together.

Hat tip to Popular Progressive for posting this first.

Harkin Votes to Keep Troops in Iraq With No Timetables

The Senate just voted on the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill for Iraq. Sen. Harkin voted for the bill that lacks meaningful benchmarks and no timelines to withdrawal our troops out of Iraq.

I had thought Harkin was a sure no vote on this issue. Harkin supported the Feingold-Reid bill and a bill back in March to set a timetable of March, 2008. For some reason Harkin did not find it worthwhile enough to have a timetable in this bill. I didn't expect Harkin to rollover on this issue.

Even though this was a funding bill, this issue isn't about money and funding. It is about our troops being put into harms way and more troops dying. 70% of Americans support a deadline to withdrawal our troops. Bush is getting another blank check in Iraq and war without end will continue.


**Update**
Here's a list of the Senators that voted against the bill. Dodd made a push to get other Senators to vote and Obama and Clinton end up voting no at the last minute. Biden voted yes, but said it was a bad bill (If it was bad then why vote for it?). Three Republicans (Burr, Coburn, and Enzi) voted against the bill, but they aren't Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman, and Susan Collins, who are vulnerable Republicans up for reelection.

What do you suppose they're up to?

Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon) is the economic advisor of Prince Nasir Al-Subaai (Alexander Siddig) in the controversial movie Syriana. Matt tells the Prince what the Americans are up to in the oil-rich Gulf.



Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Olbermann: "Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans"

Keith Olbermann had a special comment tonight about the Democrats caving on the Iraq apporpriations bill and giving Bush a blank check.

Here is some of what Olbermann had to say...

  • The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;
  • The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.
  • The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.
And the video of the entire commentary...



This issue isn't about money and funding. It is about our troops being put into harms way and more troops dying. 70% of Americans support a deadline to withdrawal our troops. They definitely don't want Bush to get another blank check in Iraq. When will our Democratic leaders start listening?

Iowa Utilities Board Holds Public Hearing on Marshalltown Coal Plant

On Monday the Iowa Utilities Board held the first public hearing in Marshalltown about Alliant Energy's plan to build a new coal powered power plant in Marshalltown. According to the Marshalltown Times Republican about 70 people attended and most spoke in favor of it.

Sally Wilson expressed concerns about the environmental impacts and sustainability of the power plant.

Economic development is not necessarily sustainable development,” added Sally Wilson, a Marshalltown Community College associate professor of biology. “We’re concerned about security and yet we’re willing to become more dependant on one single source of coal and one single source of power. ... I think Alliant is a secure enough, large enough, aggressive enough company that you can be leaders in this area and really look at how you can minimize or eliminate the dependence on these fossil fuels.
State Representitive Mark Smith supports the plant, but expressed some concerns about the environmental impacts...
[I agree] about the volatility of the natural gas market — and we saw those spikes in 2001 occur in this state and the difficulty a number of small businesses had surviving that,” said Smith, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives’ Human Resources Committee and Environmental Protection Committee. “We also know that as we advance the switchgrass industry — all of the different sources that we can of other sources of energy — we are not far enough along at this point to have that fill our electrical needs here in the state.
I was unable to attend the meeting because I am swamped with the end of the school year. However, this topic is one issue that I plan to write a lot about this summer. Stay tuned for more info.

**Update**
I heard from someone who attended the meeting that the plant has been designed to be able to run on switchgrass instead of coal in the future if the technology is available.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Iowa Republicans Favor Withdrawal From Iraq in 6 Months

A new Strategic Vision poll shows that 54% of Republicans in Iowa favor a complete withdrawal from Iraq within 6 months. Only 37% said they do not support a withdrawal and 9% were undecided.

Do you think Grassley will take a look at this poll?

No one is for Abortion

Yesterday, I listened to Ted Sporer on the Steve Deace show. Sporer had a ridiculous comment that Democrats get enjoyment out of abortions. I responded with this comment on Sporer's blog...

Democrats aren't happy about people having abortions. That would be like saying Republicans are happy when a bomb is dropped on a school full of poor kids in a foreign country.
Sporer brought up this comment in a post today called Time for an abortion fight. See Democrats don't want to fight on the issue of abortion. Democrats don't enjoy when people get abortions. However, they believe people should have the choice over their medical decisions.

From Left in the West...
People, not governments or religionists or seculars or scientists, should be in control of this most private part of their bodies. The choice is and should be theirs.
Democrats want to elimanate the need for abortions and stop having it be used as a political football like the Republicans have been doing.

I posted this about month ago...
...no one supports abortion, no matter what kind abortion it is. However, instead of outlawing all abortions and forcing women in desperate situations to seek refuge in a back alley, we should be doing all we can possibly imagine to prevent the need for abortions. This includes providing scientifically based sexual education, make contraception more available, helping people out of poverty, and ensuring people receive prenatal care.
Let's debate how we can elimanate abortions instead of resort to blanket statements that only alienate and add fuel to the fire.

This One Goes Out to the Conservative Bloggers

This one goes out to the conservative bloggers like the Real Sporer, State 29, the Cyclone Conservative, and the Cornbelt Blather Boys.

I found this article last week called The Hippies were Right. Read it and weap.

I’m talking about, say, energy-efficient light bulbs. I’m looking at organic foods going mainstream. I mean chemical-free cleaning products widely available at Target and I’m talking saving the whales and protecting the dolphins and I mean yoga studios flourishing in every small town, giant boxes of organic cereal at Costco and non-phthalates dildos at Good Vibes and the Toyota Prius becoming the nation’s oddest status symbol. You know, good things.

Look around: we have entire industries devoted to recycled paper, a new generation of cheap solar-power technology and an Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” and even the soulless corporate monsters over at famously heartless joints like Wal-Mart are now claiming that they really, really care about saving the environment because, well, “it’s the right thing to do” (read: It’s purely economic and all about their bottom line because if they don’t start caring they’ll soon be totally screwed on manufacturing and shipping costs at/from all their brutal Chinese sweatshops).

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.

How Locals are Going Green

Found this story in the Iowa City Press Citizen about a few people in the Iowa City that have gone green. It is an interesting read and it even comes with a list of simple ways to reduce energy...

• Change to energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use two-thirds less power than regular lighting.
• Buy home appliances with an Energy Star rating. Some appliances can reduce utility costs by 30 percent.
• Unplug power adapters from wall power sockets when not in use. About 75 percent of all electricity in a home comes from appliances that are turned off, but are still plugged in.
• Find out how much energy your home uses with an energy audit. Many utility companies and state energy departments will audit a home free or at little cost to show homeowners how to be more energy efficient.
• Properly insulate ducts in your home and install weather stripping around windows and doors for a better seal. This traps heat in the home.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Grandpa Goes Off the Wall

In the past day, Political Wire has posted 2 crazy quotes from John McCain that deserved to be noticed.

First, McCain said this to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) defending himself over having missed many of the negotiation sessions on the recent immigration bill.

Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room.
Then McCain had this comment about Mitt Romney...
Maybe Mitt should get out his small varmint gun and chase those Guatemalans off his yard.
McCain is starting to get angry. Not raising enough money, dropping in the polls? There will surely be more of this to come later on the campaign trail.

Latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll: A Look at the Republicans

Yesterday, I took a look at the latest poll in Iowa from Des Moines Register on the Democratic side. Today, it is the Republicans turn.

After looking at the poll numbers, there are 3 surprises. First, is Mitt Romney's jump in the polls to 1st place with 30%. Romney has failed to get above 20% in any other polls.

The second surprise was brought to my attention by Chris at MyDD. It seems that McCain and Rudy are stuck around 17-18% in the polls. Some of these polls have Gingrich and Fred Thompson, or just one of those, or neither of them and McCain and Rudy still get about 17-18%.

The differing results for Romney seem to be entirely based on the varying options presented to the apparently large Anyone But McCain and Giuliani vote among Iowa Republicans. Without Gingrich and F. Thompson, and thus fewer options to split that vote, Romney pulls in an impressive 30%.
As for the second tier candidates, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Tom Tancredo all polled between 7% and 4%. Thompson has put the most effort out of that group and he has the slight lead. I fully expect one of these 4 to make a move to the top tier, unless another candidate jumps in the race and steals their thunder. Tancredo might make a jump if their is strong opposition to the Immigration Bill not being strict enough.

Finally, the Register asked what candidates caucus goers would like to see enter the race. Three Republicans received more than 45% on this question, which shows that the Republicans aren't satisfied with their candidates. Condileeza Rice got 50%, Newt Gingrich got 48%, and Fred Thompson got 45%. I don't think these are perfect candidates for Republicans either.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll: A Look at the Democrats

The Des Moines Register has a new poll out that shows how well candidates are doing in Iowa. John Edwards continues to lead in Iowa, Obama and Clinton are basically tied for 2nd. The big news is Bill Richardson's jump to 10% in the poll. Richardson has been running TV ads for awhile now and they are playing well. I hope this Richardson motivation to make a greater effort in Iowa. The people I talk to are interested in Richardson, but want more information on on him. Chris Dodd is not catching on, which is a shame. He has taken some strong progressive positions, including supporting the Feingold-Reid bill last week. He is getting out polled by Kucinich and Gravel who haven't even campaigned here.

Here are the results...

John Edwards 29%
Barack Obama 23%
Hillary Clinton 21%
Bill Richardson 10%
Joe Biden 3%
Dennis Kucinich 2%
Mike Gravel 1%
Chris Dodd less than 1%
Undecided 11%

The poll also asks who caucus goers would like to see in the race. 44% said they would like to see Al Gore running, 23% want John Kerry to run again, and 20% wish Wesley Clark would enter the race. This is not the amount of support these non-candidates have, just how many people would like them in the race.

The Des Moines Register's polls were fairly accurate in the 2006 Governor's race and I think the poll results are pretty comparable to the feeling that I get on the ground here.

Bush and Democratic Leaders Agree on a Secret Trade Deal

Fair trade has been an issue I have written a lot about. However, I have unintentionly ignored the issue the past few weeks while important events have taken place. I am just starting to dive into the details, but plan to write more and more on the issue of free trade and this Secret Trade Deal.

Here's a quick run down of the happenings. Two weeks ago, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Bush Trade Representative Susan Schwab and members of the New Democrats held a special meeting where they agreed on a Secret Trade deal. Many Democrats were elected in 2006 running on Fair Trade agreements and against trade deals such as NAFTA. This deal leaves these Democrats and the American people out of the loop.

David Sirota wrote...

...House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is apparently taking a position on one of Election 2006’s key issues that potentially puts her at odds with the majority of her own caucus, six months after her caucus used the trade issue to win its majority. Meanwhile, the entire “deal” is a move to set the stage for the White House to try to force Congress to pass “fast track” trade authority - the authority that allows the president to strip all labor, human rights and environmental provisions out of trade deals. And, as if putting an exclamation point on the whole story, the New York Times notes that the press conference to celebrate the deal comes “as the government revealed a significant widening of the U.S. trade deficit.”
Bill Moyers tackled the issue on Friday's episode of Bill Moyer's Journal...

Part 1



Part 2



I will be writing more about trade in the coming weeks.

For more information on trade issues and the Secret Trade Deal visit David Sirota's site.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Military Industrial Complex

Here is a look at Eisenhower's farewell address where he warned about the influence of the military industrial complex.



This quote really stuck out...

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Jim Hightower: Why We're in Iraq

Thursday, May 17, 2007

McCain's Straight Talk Express Missing From the Senate

Sen. John McCain is running for president, but has seemed to forget his day job. Political Wire posted that McCain has gone 5 weeks without voting in the Senate, including yesterday's key votes on Iraq.

I know on the Democratic side, Senator Joe Biden has had to cancel a couple of trips to Iowa because he didn't want to miss votes in the Senate.

Maybe for someone like McCain, who is trying to run away from his voting record in the Senate, it doesn't make sense to be making more votes. Why produce more evidence that you lack the credentials to make it through a Conservative primary?

Establishing Our Progressive Iowa Netowrk (PIN)

I saw this post yesterday on Blog for Iowa and this seems like a great organizing event for progressive in the state.

Establishing Our Progressive Iowa Netowrk (PIN) - Mark the Date!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Caroline Vernon

On Saturday, June 9th, progressive leaders, activists and legislators from across the state will converge on Iowa City for our first 2007 Democracy for Iowa Organizing Summit. We are still working out the details on the venue (forthcoming) but we will be meeting from 9am to 3pm (the last hour will be reserved for DFA-IA members to discuss administrative business so it will not be necessary for everyone to stay for that segment).

The purpose of this gathering is to establish the Progressive Iowa Network (PIN). This network will serve to better unite progressive organizations, legislators, and leaders across the state so we can support each otherĂ¢€™s efforts around progressive issues in Iowa.

Currently, we have an unprecedented opportunity to get progressive legislation passed in our state. However, in order to achieve legislative victories on the issues that we care about, we must establish an effective framework that allows us to better organize our efforts, clarify our message, mobilize our base, educate the public and influence our state officials.

We have identified the following 5 issues as requiring urgent action:

1. VOICE (Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
2. CAFO regulations / Farm Bill
3. Fair Share
4. Healthcare
5. Media

Please note: we want ALL progressive organizations to attend this meeting and become part of this network even if we may not be focusing on your specific issues at this time.

The Summit Agenda will cover the following:

I. Why is PIN important?

The first part of this summit will discuss why PIN is important. Groups/Individuals will be asked to introduce themselves and identify their main areas and issues of focus:

Policy/Research
Lobbying
Media/Public Relations (including bloggers)
Grassroots Organizing

This will NOT be an informational meeting about the issues, but rather a strategy session on how we can support each other moving forward.

II. Update & Evaluation of the recent Iowa Legislative Session

What went well?
What would we do differently?

III. Break-Out Sessions by Issue

Strategize with other progressives around the state that are working on the same issue.
What kind of help do you need from other organizations/leaders who may not be directly involved in your issue.

Lunch

IV. Report back to larger group identifying specific needs

What do you need from PIN?

We will not have time to hear specific plans but rather will want to hear your list of needs on how other organizations/leaders can help you make progress around your issue.

V. Where does PIN go from here?

We will discuss logistics, network structure and set a date and time for our next meeting(s).

VI. DFA-Iowa Administrative Planning Session (for DFA-IA members)

This last segment will be for DFA-IA members to discuss by-laws, how we can better support Blog for Iowa, and other administrative details.

Outreach around this summit has been underway for awhile -- many progressive organizations/individuals in Iowa have already been notified. However, if you have not yet heard from us directly, please email Caroline Vernon ASAP: carolina1961@gmail.com.

We need every progressive organization, leader and legislator in Iowa to participate in order to achieve maximum effectiveness as a network.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Grassley: Use Coal to Produce Ethanol

The Des Moines Register has a story about Charles Grassley saying we should be using coal to produce ethanol to lessen the demand on natural gas. One of the main advantages of using ethanol is that it produces less greenhouse gases, but using coal to produce ethanol cancels out the gains.

Ethanol distilleries should consider running on coal to lessen demand for natural gas, says Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia.

Some analysts have expressed concern that the proliferation of ethanol plants around the country will drive up the cost of natural gas, the facilities’ chief source of heat.

“We’ve got to use things that we have in greater supply. We need to use more coal in place of natural gas,” Grassley said Tuesday.

Environmentalists have opposed the use of coal in ethanol plants, arguing that it produces more pollution than natural gas and could undo the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that occurs when ethanol is used as a gasoline additive. Burning natural gas releases less carbon than burning coal.

“Fundamentally you’re negating any greenhouse gas improvement by using coal to distill” ethanol, said Dave Hamilton, director of global warming and energy programs for the Sierra Club.
By using coal to produce ethanol, your basically making the only advantage of using ethanol is that it helps Iowa farmers. Why limit the benefits?

Dodd's TV Ad

Chris Dodd has a new TV ad that will be airing in Iowa, New Hampshire, and on cable nation wide. The ad discusses Iraq policy and indirectly refers to supporting Feingold-Reid and the other Presidential candidates that haven't come out strongly in support for it.

Here's the transcript from the ad...

CHRIS DODD: Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq’s civil war.

That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the President's blank check and set a timetable to bring our troops home.

Unfortunately my colleagues running for President have not joined me.

I'm Chris Dodd. I'm running for President. I approved this message because we can't simply wait for a new President. We should have the conviction to stand up to this one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thoughts on the Republican Debate

Tonights Republican debate was a lot better than the last one. The questions were better and the crowd was more involved.

Here are some thoughts I jotted down during the debate...

  • Everytime I see Mike Huckabee, I wonder why he isn't gaining any traction. His counter to Rudy on abortion was clear and a lot better than Brownback's simplistic attempt.
  • I think Rudy Giuliani won because of him interjecting on Paul's comment, even though I think Paul had an important point.
  • Tancredo did pretty well. His line about people should have conversions on the road to Damascus and not on the road to Des Moines got a loud ovation and was a clear shot at McCain, Rudy, and multiple choice Mitt.
  • I think Gilmore, Brownback, Tommy Thompson, and Hunter should drop out. Hunter might have some credibility on immigration, but is overshadowed by Tancredo.
I am getting just as much info from the interviews afterwards than I did from the debate. Here some interesting things from the interviews afterwards with Hannity and Colmes.
  • Minutes after the debate, Carl Cameron says some South Carolina Republicans think some of the 2nd tier candidates should drop out. He then mentions Huckabee, Paul, and someone else that I don't remember.
  • In the 20 minutes following the debate the Fox News reporters attack Paul for being anti-war 3 times.
  • McCain did horrible in the interview when he said they will follow us here because they are evil and do evil things. I know 3 year old that show better reasoning. McCain finishes by saying he will be the last man standing in Iraq.
  • Tancredo was interviewed and he seems to have a very similar stance on Iraq as many Democrats. Tancredo wants to disengage our military (i.e. redeploy our troops, but still go after al Queda).
  • When asked how he will move out of the 2nd tier, Tancredo says he needs to do well in the Iowa Straw Poll by getting in the top 5.
  • Sean Hannity and Ron Paul are tearing each other a part about being anti-war in the interview afterward. Hannity's being his usually self and not letting Paul respond. Colmes steps in and makes the point that Paul was trying to make and then Colmes cuts to the commercial.
  • I think Gilmore, Brownback, Tommy Thompson, and Hunter should drop out. Hunter might have some credibility on immigration, but is overshadowed by Tancredo.

What's Wrong With those Houses?

Yesterday, my 2nd grade class went on a field trip to Des Moines. We had a great time going through the Science Center and the State Historical Building.

One of my students asked an interesting question on our way to Des Moines when we passed a housing development in one of the eastern Suburbs.

What is wrong with those houses? They all look exactly alike. Who would want to live there?
I just shook my head and said I don't know.


Here's a quote to ponder from James Howard Kunstler...
You have to wonder: have Americans forgotten how to build dignified houses, or are we simply not dignified people anymore?

Series of Tubes Dance Remix

This is just too funny. Someone remixed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) comments about the internet being a series of tubes into a dance remix.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Feingold-Reid Bill to End War Funding be Voted on Tomorrow

The Feingold-Reid bill that would end funding for the war in Iraq and to safely redeploy our troops will be brought up for a vote in the Senate tomorrow. One of the cosponsors of the bill is Tom Harkin.

The American people voted last November against the occupation in Iraq. It is about time Congress draws the line in the sand.

Here's a statement from Sen. Feingold...

I appreciate the Majority Leader’s work to bring up the Feingold-Reid legislation for a vote. The American people deserve to have the Senate go on record about whether or not it wants to end our misguided mission in Iraq and safely redeploy our brave troops.
It will be interesting to see how the Presidential Candidates vote on this. Right now, Dodd, Edwards, and Richardson have come out in support for it (Kucinich and Gravel would probably support it also.).

That leaves Hillary, Obama, and Biden who will have to vote on this. I just hope they don't vote against it and then say, "Well, it wasn't going to pass, so I voted against it, but I don't think we should be in Iraq." It is that defeatist attitude that has gotten the Democratic Party where it is.

TPM and Bob Geiger have more on the story.

Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act

From my inbox...

National legislation to protect the accuracy of our elections is a step closer to becoming law. HR 811, a bill requiring voter-verified paper records, random hand count audits to check electronic tallies, and independent testing of voting systems will soon get a vote in the House of Representatives.

We need your help to keep the momentum going. Contact your Congressman and call on him to support HR 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.

Call the House switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's office. Or click any of the Representative's names below for other contact information.

Congressmen Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell, and Dave Loebsack are cosponsors. Thank them for their support and tell them to keep the pressure on. If you live in Tom Latham's or Steve King's districts, tell them to join Republicans Frank Wolf of Virginia, Darrell Issa of California, and Greg Walden of Oregon and get on board!


BACKGROUND

On Tuesday May 8, HR 811 was reported out of committee. Here are some of the things HR 811 will do to protect federal elections:

  • Require a durable, voter-verified paper ballot for all voting machines.
  • Require hand audits of federal elections in randomly chosen precincts.
  • Allocate $10 million for Iowa to purchase paper ballot voting systems! The bill allocates $1 billion for new equipment, and each state gets at least 1% of that amount. Last month the Iowa General Assembly passed Senate File 369, which requires counties to gradually replace all direct-recording touch screens with paper ballots and optical scanners, as the touch screens wear out. The total cost of all counties switching to optical scan systems now? At least $9 million. $10 million in federal money would allow Iowa's counties to convert to paper ballots and optical scan by 2008!
  • Ban connection of any election system to the Internet.
  • Eliminate the terrible testing system in which voting machine companies choose and pay the testing laboratories that sign off on the security of their products. The present system has failed to detect a litany of security flaws in voting equipment. For people who follow this issue closely, the testing process has been one of the most disturbing aspects of the story of American elections in the electronic age.
There will be more work to do before 811 becomes law. The fight in the Senate has not begun yet. But with your help, election integrity will soon win a major victory. Thank you for your support in this fight, and for everything you do for our democracy.

Best regards,
Sean Flaherty
Co-Chair, Iowans for Voting Integrity
www.IowansForVotingIntegrity.org

Bloomberg - Hagel Running as Independents?

There are 8 Democratic candidates, 10 Republican candidates, and rumors keep popping up that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Michael Bloomberg running on the same ticket as independents.

This morning their are 2 stories from Political Wire that add fuel to this rumor. The first is a poll from the New York Daily News that shows Bloomberg beating Guiliani among New Yorkers. The second story discusses Chuck Hagel appearence on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday.

Here's video from Hagel on Face the Nation...



This would certainly change the dynamics of the Presidential race. I am not sure which party it would hurt more, though. A lot would depend on which candidates the parties nominate.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Proclamation for Peace

The first Mother's Day was a call for peace by activist Julia Ward Howe in 1870.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Edwards: Support the Troops, End the War

John Edwards has started a website called Support the Troops. End the War to encourage people to action this Memorial Day to end the war.

Here is a statement from Edwards...

As citizens, we honor and support our troops for their service and sacrifice.

As Americans, we are blessed by that sacrifice and support, which keeps us safe and keeps us strong.

And as patriots, we call on our government to support our troops in the most important way it can - by ending this war and bringing them home.

If Americans across the country rise up and demand an end to this war, Congress will find the courage to take decisive action, and the president will find he has no choice.

The troops in Iraq today, and their families, continue to sacrifice beyond what any of us have any right to ask. So it is certainly not too much to ask that the American people sacrifice some part of Memorial Day weekend in return - to honor and remember all those who have gone before in service to our country and to let our government know that we support our troops today; we honor all they have given and all they still risk; and we want to end this war and bring them home.

This Memorial Day weekend, we will all take responsibility for the country we love and the men and women who protect it. We will volunteer, we will pray, and we will speak out.

Each of us has a responsibility to act, a duty to our troops and to each other. Support the troops. End the war.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Gronstal and McCarthy on Clean Elections

Sen. Mike Gronstal and Rep. Kevin McCarthy were in Marshalltown this afternoon to speak about legislative accomplishments. I went wanting to hear their opinions on the VOICE legislation that would have brought clean elections to Iowa. Someone else asked about VOICE before I could get a chance to.

Gronstal responded by saying that he is a fan of getting the influence of money out of politics, but the VOICE legislation had somethings in it that weren't the best. Gronstal talked about the study group created to look into the issue of clean elections. He then said that he will work with groups that are friendly, a clear shot at the incident at the State House with clean elections supporters.

McCarthy then discussed the issue. McCarthy said that people need to remember that we are on the same team with the goal of campaign finance reform. He then discussed two issues that he had wtih the VOICE legislation. First, the bill includes primaries. McCarthy said that if someone in his district is upset with one of his votes all they would have to do is get 100 people to donate $5 each and they would be eligible for tax payer money to run. Second, McCarthy said the VOICE legislation would make it illegal for House leaders to funnel money to other races. Right now the House leaders are able to raise unlimited amounts of money and then can dish that money out to candidates in targetted races.

I have to disagree with both of McCarthy's reason for not wanting VOICE. In fact, I think they are exactly the reasons we need clean elections. Right now the need for money to run limits the number of people who can run for office. In Marshall Co. in 2004 there was a tight race for State Senate. The Democratic challenger raised nearly $300,000 and lost. That same seat is up in 2008. When people consider running for that race, they know they will have to raise $300,000 to $400,000 dollars to even have a chance. The key to a strong democracy is the fact that any can run and win if their ideas are appealing to the voters. As a House leader, it is no wonder that McCarthy likes the idea of being able to dish out the money. However, House leaders should not be dishing out money to other House members. At the DFA training in March, Tom Vilsack had this to say...

... the House members have a limited number of dollars that they can raise within their own district. The Speaker gets all of this money funneled through them where they then give to House members and then makes sure the House member remembers where they got the money from. The VOICE legislation would take this out of our political system.
People agree that money has too much influence in our political system and it turns people off from participating in our Democracy. We can pay lipservice to the issue or we can stand on principle and fix a system that is broken.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Satan's behind Illegal Immigration?

When I first read this story, I thought it came from the Onion, but this is actually for real.

Last month, Satan's influence on illegal immigration was debated at a Republican Convention in Utah.

Don Larsen, chairman of legislative District 65 for the Utah County Republican Party, had submitted a resolution warning that Satan's minions want to eliminate national borders and do away with sovereignty.

In a speech at the convention, Larsen told those gathered that illegal immigrants "hate American people" and "are determined to destroy this country, and there is nothing they won't do."

Illegal aliens are in control of the media, and working in tandem with Democrats, are trying to "destroy Christian America" and replace it with "a godless new world order -- and that is not extremism, that is fact," Larsen said.

One quote from the opposing (logical) viewpoint said this debate just embarrasses the Republican Party. State Senator Howard Stephenson said...
"I agree with 95 percent of this resolution but it has some language that is divisive and not inspiring other people to its vision," he said. "This only gives fodder to the liberal media to give negative attention to the Republican Party."
Sorry to say, but this negative attention is well deserved.