Saturday, May 31, 2008

If Michigan and Florida Delegates are Seated, Expect Chaos in 2012

As the DNC Rules Committee is meeting today to decide on how to deal with Michigan and Florida, I thought I would remind people about a post I wrote last week.

If the DNC seats all of the Michigan and Florida delegates, expect there to be absolute chaos leading up to the next contested Presidential primary.

From Marc Ambinder...

Lots of folks on both sides of the Obama/Clinton debate predict total chaos in 2012 (if the Democrats lose the election) or 2016. Luckily, 2016 is a ways away, and Democrats are confident about their chances.

But think about it. States will have NO incentive to follow the rules, knowing that at least half their delegations will be seated. The candidates will treat the states like any other state; Remember that Florida, which had half its delegation penalized by the RNC, turned into the victory that essentially sealed the nomination for John McCain.

Nominee-presumptives Obama and Clinton have no incentive to change the calendar -- he needs Iowa and she needs New Hampshire for the general election.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Leonard Boswell is Hardly a Loyal Democrat When it Comes to the Issues that Matter Most

Leonard Boswell is airing TV ads in the Des Moines market where he highlights his opposition to Bush on funding cuts to the college loan program and says he is a loyal Democrat.

That is commendable, but where was Boswell on the issues that matter most to Iowans?

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats and supported Bush's failed Iraq policy.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats to approve torture in the Military Commissions Act.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats to repeal the estate tax.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats to make it harder for people (and easier for corporations) to declare bankruptcy.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats and supported No Child Left Behind.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats and pushed to give Telecom companies immunity for illegal wiretapping Americans.

Boswell continues to support NAFTA-like free trade agreements.

Boswell voted against the majority of Democrats to give oil and gas companies $14 billion in tax breaks.

Sorry Rep. Boswell, but voting against the majority of Democrats in Congress on the issues that matter most to Iowans does not make you a loyal Democrat.

Support Ed Fallon in the 3rd District primary.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Long Term Solution to the Energy Crisis

Barack Obama sees the big picture when it comes to high gas prices. That is why he rejected the gas tax holiday scam.

He talked about his long term solution to the energy crisis while campaigning in Oregon before their primary...

If we are going to solve our energy problems we’ve got to think long term. It’s time for us to be serious about investing in alternative energy. It’s time for us to get serious about raising fuel efficiency standards on cars. It’s time that the entire country learn from what’s happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation.

That’s the kind of solution that we need for America. That’s the kind of truth-telling that we are going to do in this campaign and when I am President of the United States of America.

Republican Candidates for Governor in 2010

Last month, I wrote that Steve King might have just kicked off his campaign for Governor after he spoke at the 2nd District Republican Convention.

Krusty Konservative runs down the top 12 Republicans that might run for Governor in 2010 against Chet Culver. The list includes a bunch of wealthy businessman, former politicians who are coming off loses in 2006, and a few current elected officials.

Here's the list (follow the link for a lot more information about each person)...

12. Don DeWaay
11. Jeff Ballenger
10. Former Senator Stewart Iverson
9. Former Representative Bill Dix
8. Mike Whalen
7. Former Senator Jeff Lamberti
6. Bob Vander Plaats
5. Bruce Rastetter
4. Former Senator Chuck Larson, Jr.
3. U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker
2. State Representative Christopher Rants
1. Kongressman Steve King

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

IA-03: Empty Chair Debate to be held Wednesday

Candidate Forum for the Third Congressional District Democratic Primary
State Historical Society of Iowa
600 East Locust Street
Des Moines 50319-0290
Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.

The two candidates for Iowa's Third District Congressional office, Representative Leonard Boswell and candidate Ed Fallon, have both been invited to appear together on stage for a “Question and Answer” forum.

About the Master of Ceremonies: Vern Naffier
Vern Naffier is the Chairman of PCCI and Adjunct Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Grandview College.

About the Moderator: Mary Brubaker
Mary Brubaker has been one of Des Moinesʼ most recognizable television and radio personalities over the past 40 years. She was KCCIʼs first female reporter and has hosted and produced various programs on KCCI television and WOI radio over the span of her career. She is an Alumna of Drake University and a community activist.

About Leonard Boswell
Leonard Boswell is running for his seventh term as Iowaʼs 3rd district U.S. Congressional representative and is a former member of the Iowa Legislature.

About Ed Fallon
Ed Fallon has served seven terms as a State Representative in the Iowa Legislature and ran for Governor in 2006.

Principal Sponsors:
The Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa (PCCI) and Central Iowa Operation Democracy (CIOD).

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Iowa Chapter of Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), and Clarion Alliance.

What Happened?

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan rips into the Bush Administration in a book that is to be released next week.

Here are some of the things McClellan says in the book...

  • McClellan charges that Bush relied on "propaganda" to sell the war.
  • He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.
  • He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be "badly misguided."
  • The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them.
I guess McClellan coming clean now is better late than never.

IA-04: Kurt Meyer Endorsed by STAR*PAC and PCCI

Kurt Meyer has picked up two endorsements from progressive organizations last week.

STAR*PAC, Stop the Arms Race Political Action Committee, and PCCI, Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa, both announced their endorsement of Kurt Meyer as their choice for the Democratic nomination in the 4th Congressional District. STAR*PAC focuses on peace and justice issues and PCCI supports candidates who support a progressive agenda in government.
I am undecided still on who to vote for in this race (mainly because I have been busy with the end of the school year) and these endorsements have made me give Kurt Meyer a second look.

McCain and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Crooks and Liars keeps tracks of how many times McCain flips flops on the immigration issue...

For those keeping score at home, McCain does not support “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Yes, he does.

No, he doesn’t.

Yes, he does.

No, he doesn’t.

Yes, he does.

No, he doesn’t.

Nearly all of these, by the way, come from the last six months.

Truth be told, in terms of my issue priorities, immigration reform is relatively low. But I know for Republicans, it’s among the most important issues, if not the most important domestic policy issue. And yet, here’s the Republican nominee, running on a platform of consistency, shifting with the wind and changing his position from day to day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fallon Gains Support in Jasper County

This morning the Ed Fallon campaign announced support from some Jasper County leaders. Former State Rep. and County Supervisor Glen Jesse, Jasper County Democratic Chair Joe Brock, and Jasper County Democratic Vice Chair Dan Kelly all announced their support for Fallon in 3rd District Democratic Primary.

Here's the full press release from the Fallon Campaign...

Today, several members of the Jasper County Democratic Central Committee announced their endorsement of Ed Fallon for Congress. Jasper County leaders include former State Rep. and County Supervisor Glen Jesse and his wife Cheryl Jesse, Mitchellville; Joe Brock, Central Committee chair, Monroe; and vice chair, Dan Kelly, Newton. They'll also host a cookout and meet-and-greet for Fallon on Friday, May 30th at 5:30 pm at the West Shelter House, Maytag Park in Newton. The public is invited.

Brock said, "The reason I'm behind Fallon is because he's run a positive campaign based on issues and facts. He also accepted 11 debate invitations and believes voters deserve to see candidates face to face and hear how they differ on the issues."

After Congressman Boswell declined 10 debate invitations, the Jasper County Democratic Central Committee sent a letter to Congressman Boswell asking him to accept a debate invitation. He did not.

Brock said, "We are facing some serious problems around the country, and Fallon has demonstrated the courage and leadership needed to begin tackling many of them. He's shown it by refusing to take special interest or paid lobbyists' contributions. He understands we need to end the power of big money in Washington. Ed also exhibited it when he authored a House Resolution in February, 2003, sponsored by 21 Democrats, which called on the President to not initiate the military strike against Iraq. Since then, Fallon has been committed to ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home."

Former State Rep. Glen Jesse said, "I support Ed Fallon because of his genuine concern for the rights and well being of others. These are the traits I feel he shares with one of my political heroes, the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. We commend Fallon for his commitment to the Democratic process and endorse him for the Third Congressional District."

Putting Up Small Wind Turbines

High Hopes Gardens, a sustainable farm in Marshall County, put up a small wind turbine on their land last week.

Mark took a bunch of pictures of the process of putting up the wind turbine and wrote about it on his blog.

Wind Turbine Assembly Day 1

Up, Up, and Away

Final Connections for Sky Stream

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Flip Flop Express

Edwards Returing to Iowa Next Month

John Edwards is coming back to Iowa next month.

Former presidential candidate John Edwards next month will make his first trip back to Iowa since the state's caucuses.

Edwards will be keynote speaker at a June 19 poverty conference in Des Moines organized by Mari Culver, wife of Gov. Chet Culver. The conference will bring state officials, service providers, business leaders and others together to work toward ending poverty.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

IA-04: Interviews with the Candidates

Gavin, from the Ames Progressive, has interviewed the 4 candidates for Congress in the 4th District. The primary is June 3rd and the winner will face Republican Tom Latham in the general election.

Here are the links to each interview...

Becky Greenwald

Kurt Meyer

William J. Meyers

Kevin Miskell

Expect Chaos in 2012 if All of the Mighigan and Florida Delegates are Seated

If the DNC seats all of the Michigan and Florida delegates, expect there to be absolute chaos leading up to the next contested Presidential primary.

From Marc Ambinder...

Lots of folks on both sides of the Obama/Clinton debate predict total chaos in 2012 (if the Democrats lose the election) or 2016. Luckily, 2016 is a ways away, and Democrats are confident about their chances.

But think about it. States will have NO incentive to follow the rules, knowing that at least half their delegations will be seated. The candidates will treat the states like any other state; Remember that Florida, which had half its delegation penalized by the RNC, turned into the victory that essentially sealed the nomination for John McCain.

Nominee-presumptives Obama and Clinton have no incentive to change the calendar -- he needs Iowa and she needs New Hampshire for the general election.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Boswell Sends Campaign Mailings With Taxpayer Money

This video from the Fallon campaign takes a look at 2 different campaign mailings Leonard Boswell sent out. One was paid for by taxpayer money and the other paid for by lobbyists and PAC's that fund his campaign.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wells Dairy Takes Your Money and Runs

Surprise, surprise, another company takes your taxpayer and fails to create jobs they promised.

Four years ago, the Iowa Department of Economic Development awarded a company in northwest Iowa a forgivable loan worth nearly three-million dollars. The deal with Wells' Dairy was designed to keep the company's corporate headquarters located in LeMars. IDED spokesperson Stephanie Bjornson says Wells' Dairy pledged to create or retain hundreds of jobs. "We asked them to create 129 jobs while retaining 346," Bjornson said. The deadline to create those jobs is coming up next month, on June 11. "It appears as though, at this point, that they haven't created any net new jobs," Bjornson said.
Corporate welfare doesn't benefit anyone except corporations that get your taxpayer money.

Braley Wants to Know Cost of Immigration Raids

Good for Rep. Bruce Braley for asking how much the immigration raids cost taxpayers. It gives Americans a chance to see the big picture when it comes to immigration instead of just immigrants being hauled away in handcuffs.

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has asked officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to estimate the cost of the recent immigration raid at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville.

“It is essential that there is as much transparency in this process as possible,” Braley wrote in a Tuesday letter to ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Myers.

Immigration authorities raided Agriprocessors on May 12 and detained 389 people. Of those, 306 have been charged, most with some sort of document fraud or identity theft.

Braley, the representative for the congressional district that covers northeast Iowa, wants to know how much the raid’s planning, execution, processing, detention and deportation will cost taxpayers.

Fallon Raises $72,000 in 6 Weeks

Ed Fallon has raised over $72,000 the past 6 weeks and has over $28,000 cash on hand for the final 2 weeks of the primary on June 3rd. Fallon has raised over $244,000 for the primary without taking any money from lobbyists or PAC's.

Fallon's opponent, Leonard Boswell has received 74% of his contributions in 2007 from PAC's and lobbyists.

Voting on SCHIP Again

Last fall, SCHIP passed the Senate with a veto proof margin, but it was unable to get enough votes to override Bush's veto in the House.

However, this spring 3 House seats in heavily Republican districts have been won by Democrats, which makes you wonder if SCHIP should be brought back up for a vote.

From Open Left...

Now the closest vote on veto-override was 273-156 which put it 13 "yeas" short of override. Childers and Cazayoux explicitly and prominently support SCHIP expansion in their campaign web sites. Foster was more generally for UHC so I imagine he's on board for SCHIP. So that narrows the margin to 276-153 at least. So we'd only need to flip another 10 votes to override.

With the GOP reeling I'm sure even some of the staunchest nay votes in the darkest red districts must be sweating a little. Doubting the surety of their re-election just a little. Back in 2007 they could assure themselves that Democrats would trip-up and the Republican situation would improve. It hasn't and the trendline isn't good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pictures from the Obama Rally

I left my camera at work, so I won't be able to post my pictures of Obama's rally in Des Moines on Tuesday night until tomorrow.

However, here are some great pictures from IADEMO2004 at Democratic Underground...

Clinton Keeps Fighting

Even though Barack Obama clinched a majority of the pledged delegates last night, Hillary Clinton continues to fight for the nomination without any way for her to win.

Change is Coming to Iowa

I went to the Obama rally in Des Moines last night and had a great time.

I got home too late to post my pictures and video, so here's the video of the Obama speech from CNN.

...a better day is still possible if there are people willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it. That’s what I’ve seen here in Iowa. That’s what is happening in America – our journey may be long, our work will be great, but we know in our hearts we are ready for change, we are ready to come together, and in this election, we are ready to believe again. Thank you Iowa, and may God Bless America.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Information on the Obama Rally in Des Moines Tonight

Here are the details about tonights event...

Rally with Barack and Michelle Obama

E. 6th Street and E. Locust Street
Des Moines, IA

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Doors Open: 7:30 p.m.

Entrance: Pass for Change line will form on the east side of Grand
Avenue between E. 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Once through the
metal detectors, keep left down the hill and enter the terrace of the
State Historical Society of Iowa.

For security reasons, do not bring bags and limit personal items. No
signs or banners permitted.

Monday, May 19, 2008

75,000 People Attend Obama Rally in Portland

75,000 people attended a Barack Obama rally yesterday in Portland, Oregon.

Some 75,000 people flocked to Portland’s waterfront Sunday to watch Barack Obama speak, making it the biggest rally the campaign has held to date. Thousands stood on the lawn, dozens watched from boats and from the bridge stretching across the Willamette River. A few kayakers held their paddles and tried to keep their kayaks straight as they watched the candidate, who stood on a makeshift platform.

Democrats Could Win Senate Seats in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina, and even Kansas

Democrats need 9 seats to gain a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate and after looking at recent polling it looks possible. Democratic candidates are even polling slightly ahead or within the margin of error in Red States like Alaska, Texas, North Carolina, and Kansas.

In Alaska, two recent polls show Anchorage mayor Mark Begich leading Republican Ted Stevens.

In Texas, two recent polls shows Republian John Cornyn leading Rick Noriega by just 4%.

In North Carolina, two polls released the past few weeks show Republican Elizabeth Dole leading Kay Hagan by only 5%.

In Kansas, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, whose approval ratings have hovered in the low 50's for the past 2 years, is in a closer race than expected. Former Rep. Jim Slattery has closed to within 12% in a recent poll.

It is worth noting that in 2006 polls had Jim Webb down by as much as 16 points as late as July against Sen. George Allen.

Last Monday, Chris Bowers took a look at the latest polling of Senate races and things are looking really good for Democrats this year.

Likely Democratic Pick-ups

  1. Virginia: Warner (D) 55%--37% Gilmore (R)
  2. New Meixco: Tom Udall (D) 54%--40% Pearce (R)
  3. New Hampshire: Shaheen (D) 51.5%--41.5% Sununu (R-inc)

Current Toss-ups

  1. Colorado: Mark Udall (D) 45.0%--43.5% Schaeffer (R)
  2. Alaska: Stevens (R-inc) 46%--45% Begich (D)

Competitive Seats, Republicans Favored

  1. Oregon: Smith (R-inc) 45%--42% Merkley (D); Smith 47%--41% Novick (D)
  2. North Carolina: Dole (R-inc) 47.7%--44.0% Hagen (D) (see also PPP)
  3. Texas: Cornyn (R-inc) 47.5%--43.5% Noriega (D)
  4. Minnesota: Coleman (R-inc) 51.0%--42.5% Franken (D) (see also Survey USA)
If you added the race in Kansas to the Competitive seats where Republicans favored and the race in Maine where current polls shows Republican Sen. Susan Collins beating Democratic Rep. Tom Allen 52-42, and you have 11 competitive seats.

In 2006, Democrats won 5 of the 6 competitive seats (with only Harld Ford Jr. losing in Tennessee). If Democrats have similar success in 2008, they could earn a majority of 60 Senators and have a filibuster-proof majority.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Greatest Generation 2.0

Richard Doak's column in the Des Moines Register today is about the excitement of young people and their great possibility to influence change throughout the world.

The most fascinating possibility of 2008 is that the next Greatest Generation might be about ready to make its debut.

Hang around a college campus and it becomes easy to believe in the possibility. There's something about today's young people that inspires confidence.

Nationally, young adults are defying past patterns by turning out in record numbers to vote in the caucuses and primaries. They tend to vote differently from their elders, and there is an almost palpable sense among them that a new day is dawning.

These young adults are the leading edge of what has been labeled the Millennial Generation, people born between 1982 and 2003.

Some pop historians see history as being driven by generational change. If they're right, America is approaching a turning point, and it will be the Millennials who determine the new direction.
John Mayer had the hit song Waiting for the World to Change where he talks about how the Millennial Generation is fully aware of the problems the world faces. How can they not be with 9/11, Global Climate Change, Hurricane Katrina, and a misguided war in Iraq weighing so heavily during the time their worldview was being formed?

However before this election, they haven't been compelled to enter the political arena that they viewed as being stale, full of partisan bickering, and influenced by big money. Instead, they have chose to focus their energy on community action, through community involvement, church activities, environmental action, and building communities online.

This diary from Daily Kos that I posted about back in October further explains this...
...we look upon our broken system and choose not to scream at the rubble, but to take it upon ourselves to promote social change in our own way. So we volunteer. We join groups. We organize at the community level. We splinter off into thousands of glittering pockets of political change. We don't mobilize nationalize because there is no call, no sense of need to so.
The 2008 election has called this generation to become involved politically. With no incumbent running for their party's nomination, this election is truly a changing of the guard.

The candidates have called the Millennial Generation to become active in politics. Barack Obama has turned out huge numbers of young adults to support him, as has Hillary Clinton. Ron Paul has had tremendous success fundraising and organizing online. Chris Dodd called for people to get involved in national service. John Edwards started his campaign with the theme Tomorrow Begins Today and held his first event helping rebuild New Orleans.

John Mayer ended his song, saying that one day the Millennial Generation will have the power to change the world.
We keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
That day is coming sooner than later.

Free Trade: Protectionist Provisions for Corporate Profits

David Sirota has a good post at Open Left about the debate over Free Trade. Sirota's key point is that even though Free Traders call those opposed to Free Trade deals protectionists, in reality Free Trade agreements are protectionist provisions for corporate profits.

As Democrats sharpen their fair trade talk and promises, people like John McCain are making wild accusations claiming that such moves will alienate the rest of the world - when in fact the actual public opinion data shows precisely the opposite. Far from quelling anti-Americanism and building diplomatic bridges, our current trade policies exacerbate anti-Americanism and burn what few diplomatic bridges we have left.

This isn't to say that the rest of the world is "anti-trade." That's the tired, cartoonish phrase that the "free" trade extremists use to describe anyone who wants a new trade policy (and I put "free" in quotes because, as Solis notes in my column, "free" trade deals are protectionist - they are just protectionist for corporations). Progressives here and abroad are all for trade and commerce - they just want the rules of trade to protect people and the environment, before they protect corporate bottom lines.

The problem, of course, is that the debate over globalization has left the "reality-based" world. While reformers are arguing with actual facts, figures and history, the Establishment argues with empty rhetoric that actually thumbs its nose at facts. Remember, it was none other than Tom Friedman - America's leading cheerleader for status quo trade policies - who actually went on national television and bragged that "I wrote a column supporting CAFTA. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade." That's right - in the face of growing global animosity to America's trade policy, our country's leading Republican displays no understanding of trade policy, and our country's leading "intellectual" thinker on trade trumpets the fact that he advocates for trade deals that he doesn't even bother to read.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Obama to hold Rally in Des Moines on Tuesday

Barack Obama will be holding a rally in Des Moines on Tuesday, the night he is expected to clinch the Democratic nomination. Obama only needs 17 delegates to reach the magic number of pledged delegates and he will easily win that many in the Oregon and Kentucky primaries on Tuesday.

The only information I could find was from a message board...

Rally with Barack and Michelle Obama

E. 6th Street and E. Locust Street
Des Moines, IA

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Doors Open: 7:30 p.m.
If that is the case then it will be held outdoors in the East Village/Front of the State Capital.

I will post more information about the event when I get it.

Here's a story about the rally from the Des Moines Register.
The campaign described Iowa as "a critical general election state" in the press release announcing the Tuesday rally, set for E. 6th St., and Grand Avenue, near the Iowa State Capitol and where Obama's caucus headquarters were located.

Obama Strongly Responds to Bush's Appeaser Comments

" the Bush-McCain worldview, everyone who disagrees with their failed Iran policy is an appeaser. And back during his “No Surrender” tour, John McCain said anyone who wants to end the war in Iraq responsibly wants to surrender; he even said later on that he would be ok keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years, but yesterday he said our troops could be home by 2013. He offered the promise that America will win a victory, with no understanding that Iraq is fighting a civil war. Just like George Bush, his plan isn’t about winning, it’s about staying, and that’s why there will be a clear choice in November: fighting a war without end, or ending this war. Because we don’t need John McCain’s prediction about when the war will end – we need a plan to end it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Recap of the Iowa Legislative Session

The Progressive States Network has a great recap of the Iowa Legislative session.

In a solid session of achievement, the Iowa legislature made significant progress on expanding health care coverage, expanding public school and pre-K funding, advancing clean energy proposals, protecting veterans and students, taking on foreclosure abuses, expanding workers' rights, and improving the integrity of state ballots.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

McCain's Plan to Solve Global Warming: Attack the Sun

12 by 12:00 Tonight

I have made the goal of having 12 people donate to Democratic Statehouse candidates by 12:00 tonight. So far 7 people have donated through the Iowa Blogs - Expanding the Majority Act Blue Page.

The past two months, Iowa blogs have featured Elesha Gayman, Eric Palmer, and McKinley Bailey as they have had to face negative ads in their districts paid for by a group funded by RJ Reynolds, Mid American Energy, and other corporations and have featured two new candidates in Jerry Sullivan and Nate Willems.

Please consider donating to these great candidates today and help expand the Democratic majority.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Donate to These Democratic Statehouse Candidates

DesMoinesDem posted this pitch over at Bleeding Heartland, asking people to donate to their favorite Statehouse Democrat. The end of their first reporting period is on Wednesday and all of the candidates are working hard to reach their fundraising goals. Every little bit helps.

If you can spare some cash for a good Democrat, today or tomorrow would be an excellent time to donate.

May 14 is the last day of the current reporting period, and the media as well as the Republican Party will be scrutinizing those fundraising totals to figure out where the strong and weak candidates are.

So far during this reporting period, I've donated to five candidates for the Iowa legislature:

Jerry Sullivan

Eric Palmer

Elesha Gayman

McKinley Bailey

Nate Willems

Speaking of Nate, here is an update on his campaign that I received by e-mail recently:

Today I am putting online I am calling it a "1.0" because the site is still in its infancy. It covers the essentials, though, and should give you a sense as to what is motivating me to run to represent House District 29. Please take a moment to visit

May 14th is the last day this campaign's first reporting period. These early reporting periods are the most crucial to my campaign. Though this seat has been held by a Democrat for 12 years, the Republicans will look at any open seat as a potential opportunity to take a seat back. I need to raise as much money as possible in these early reporting periods to dissuade the Republicans from investing heavily in District 29.

We are very close to having raised $30,000 in the first two months of this campaign. Please consider making a contribution today through my ActBlue account:

Of course, we do still have a regular mailbox: Citizens for Willems, P.O. Box 213, Lisbon, IA 52253.

Many of you have already donated. I thank you again very much for your donation, but ask that you consider making another contribution to get us past this $30,000 goal.

Many of you are intending to donate at some point and I ask you to make your contribution now.

There are thousands of doors yet for me to knock on and countless people to meet. With your financial support, I can spend more time knocking on door and less time raising money.

Don't forget, take a look at

Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you again soon.


(319) 929-4543

Please find a good Democrat and make a donation today.

I have added Jerry Sullivan and Nate Willems to the Iowa Blogs - Expanding the Majority ActBlue page. As well as Sullivan and Willems, Elesha Gayman, Eric Palmer, and McKinley Bailey are still listed from last month.

I strongly urge you to donate to any of these candidates or another Democrat running for the state legislature.

Search Warrants Reveal Our Illegal Employer Problem

Search warrants for the immigration raid that took place on Monday in Postville outline a long list of illegal hiring practices by Agriprocess at their Postville plant. The search warrants have testimony from a former supervisor and a person, who went to the plant undercover, that was looking for employment.

From KCRG...

This anonymous person says the plant's human resources manager was hiring numerous illegal workers from Mexico, Guatemala and Eastern Europe. This person estimates that 80 percent of the workers under his or her guidance were illegal.

The supervisor also alleges finding a meth lab in the plant, even workers carrying weapons. All of this, not to mention several workers having the same Social Security number.

Those detained Monday morning probably didn't know that several former and current co-workers were a big part of this search warrant. Read through it, you’ll find one of these workers -- listed only as Source #7 -- keeps popping up. Immigration agents wired this person with an electronic audio monitoring device as he or she applied for work at the meat processing plant.

Source #7's audio revealed a human resources employee saying it was okay to work there without a social security number. Others told Source #7 how you could work there without papers completely and just receive cash. A supervisor at the plant even told Source #7 to fix his or her Social Security number to be able to work.
You can read the search warrants here.
This is just another example of our illegal employer problem.

And an update on the immigration raid in Marshalltown in December 2006 at the Swift Meatpacking Plant. There still has been no charges brought against the company for illegally hiring hundreds of undocumented workers.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Immigration Officials Raid Postville Plant, Detain Hundreds of People

My heart sank when I heard about the immigration raids that happened this afternoon in Postville, a small NE Iowa town. More than 300 people have been arrested so far and are being detained at the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, which was leased by Homeland Security at the beginning of the month. Aides to Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) have said they've been told around 600-700 people are expected to be arrested.

Living in Marshalltown, where immigration raids took place back in December 2006, I have seen the effects of immigration raids firsthand. I feel for the children and families of those detained and the community of Postville.

The raid today in Postville will likely devastate the local economy. Marshalltown has a population 10 times larger than Postville. In the Marshalltown raid, nearly 100 people were arrested, while many more people are expected to be arrested in Postville.

The effects in the small community won't just be financially. The emotional damage from having fathers, mothers, grandpas, grandmas, and cousins being detained miles from home at a site designed to hold cattle will last generations.

Kevin Miskell Recieves Endorsement from Joe Trippi

Joe Trippi wrote a diary on Daily Kos endorsement Kevin Miskell for Congress in Iowa's 4th district. Trippi got to know Miskell while working with him on the Edwards campaign leading up to the Iowa caucuses. In the diary, Trippi asked people to donate to Miskell's campaign.

I have met all of the candidates and currently am undecided on who I will be supporting. Now, I usually wouldn't post the link to a candidates Actblue page without endorsing them, but I believe Miskell is right on the issues, so I am posting Trippi's diary in its entirety.

Be the Voice of Change

There’s been a lot of talk about change during this election cycle.

After 8 years of the failed policies of George Bush, America is ready for change. The question is: What kind of change are Democrats going to settle for?

In the 2008 election cycle, voters have a choice to send the same old type of politician to Washington DC or support real change.

I’m ready for real change, that’s why I support Kevin Miskell.

Kevin is a fifth generation family farmer and former Vice President of Iowa Farmers Union who has the progressive vision that America needs today. For the past two decades he has fought to save the family farm, promote sustainable agriculture and protect the environment.

Support real change by sending a true progressive to Congress in 2008. Support Kevin Miskell with a contribution of $20.08 right now.

I got to know Kevin during the Iowa caucuses when we traveled the state working to promote John Edward’s progressive message about protecting the economic rights of middle class and working families.

During our long trips together I learned about Kevin’s commitment to creating positive change in his own state and beyond. For the past 21 years Kevin has worked at the grassroots level to promote family farm agriculture, fought against the special interests of giant, corporate agribusiness and stood up for the environment.

Now Kevin needs our support to bring real change to Washington DC. Be the Voice of Change and contribute $20.08 right now.

If we as a nation are ever going to get the change we deserve, then we need individuals like Kevin Miskell in Congress. Kevin is a man whose integrity and commitment to the issues is unwavering.

Working together, we can bring the type of progressive change that our nation so desperately needs.

-- Joe Trippi

John McCain is Old

John McCain is old and here are some things that are younger than he is.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Why Obama Shouldn't Pick Clinton as VP

10 Reasons for Barack Obama not to pick Hillary Clinton as his Vice President

1. It's wrong to say that Hillary has survived the worst the Republicans have thrown against her. In a national election, the sort of attacks which had little traction in New York senate races and the Ohio or Pennsylvania primaries could well drag her--and Obama--down. Should Obama have to spend part of his presidential campaign defending the Clintons, of all people, when Travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster, the Lincoln Bedroom, Marc Rich, Norman Hsu, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Monica, and Bosnia all come oozing back up into our political life?

2. How can Obama possibly campaign as the incarnation of the future, and the repudiation of the Bad Old Politics of the Past, when he has Hillary standing next to him?

3. Dynasticism in a minor, vice-presidential key is still dynasticism, and the country is sick of it. Is John McCain going to pick Jeb Bush as his running mate? (and if it wasn't for the last name, he well might).

4. Bill. If Hillary, of all people, couldn't stop him from harming the campaign he was supposed to be helping, can Barack?

5. Hillary has simply gone too far claiming that Obama is unready to be president. Her lines will be flung back in her face--and his--endlessly by the Republicans, and in debates.

6. This seems to be one case that disproves the adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. In 2016, after a second Obama term, Hillary will be nearly 70. Does anyone think she is going to be content to put her own ambitions aside until then, and be nothing but a good team player?

7. Why should Obama give up a chance to put someone with real executive experience on the ticket? This is a weakness of his, and Hillary will not help to address it seriously, despite her vaunted "35 years."

8. A great deal of the political fence-mending that he would accomplish by choosing Hilary could be done just as well by choosing her strong supporter Evan Bayh.

9. Hillary is not Lyndon Johnson. She probably can't bring him anywhere near the number of electoral votes that Johnson brought to the Democratic ticket in 1960 (she certainly can't steal Texas for him!).

10. The obvious, unfortunate, Unevolved Nation reason, namely that some voters will be comforted by a white male on the ticket. Should Obama pay attention to this factor? No. Will he? Good question.

Reasons 2, 4, and 5 stand out for me as the strongest reasons to not name Clinton as VP.

SNL Slams Hillary

From last night's episode of Saturday Night Live...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Feingold: Government in Secret

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) wrote an opinion piece about the secret laws the Bush Administration has passed and are following.

The Bush administration recently announced it will allow select members of Congress to read Justice Department legal opinions about the CIA's controversial detainee interrogation program that have been hidden from Congress until now. But as the administration allows a glimpse of this secret law -- and it is law -- we are left wondering what other laws it is still keeping under lock and key.

It's a given in our democracy that laws should be a matter of public record. But the law in this country includes not just statutes and regulations, which the public can readily access. It also includes binding legal interpretations made by courts and the executive branch. These interpretations are increasingly being withheld from the public and Congress.

Perhaps the most notorious example is the recently released 2003 Justice Department memorandum on torture written by John Yoo. The memorandum was, for a nine-month period in 2003, the law that the administration followed when it came to matters of torture. And that law was essentially a declaration that the administration could ignore the laws passed by Congress.

Sam Seder interviewed Sen. Feingold this week on Air America about this topic.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Blooper Reel

It hasn't been a good day for the candidates.

Obama says that he has visited 57 states...

and McCain tries to talk into an upside down microphone.

I'd chalk up both mistakes to fatigue.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

You Probably Think the World has a Creamy Nougat Center of Oil

One of my favorite, James Howard Kunstler, was on the Colbert Report last week.

I first read Kustler in an Urban Georgraphy course in college. Kunstler advocates smart growth and New Urbanism and has written lately about peak oil. Kunstler's sarcasm brings humor to a very serious issue and holds his own with Colbert.

Watch the interview here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is it Finally Over?

Yesterday, Barack Obama won North Carolina handily and Indiana was much closer than expected. Polls had Clinton up by around 9% in Indiana and then squeaked out a 2% victory.

Clinton has cancelled all television and public appearances today, likely opting to meet with her top advisor about what her next move should be in the race.

Late last night on MSNBC, Tim Russert said we now know who are nominee is going to be.

Political Wire has a list of quotes from pundits saying the race is now over.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

75 million Reasons the Gas Tax is a Scam

Tom Harkin said Iowa would lose $75 million for roads and bridge maintenance under the gas tax holiday proposed by John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has objected to the idea because the proposal would eliminate at least $75 million per quarter - based on 2006 estimates - that the Iowa Department of Transportation gets to use on roads and bridges in the state. In effect, enacting a gas tax moratorium for the summer would amount to a loss of at least $75 million in revenues to rebuild the highways, roads and bridges in Iowa.
It isn't like our roads and bridges are fixing themselves. The state would be forced to find the money from another source, which would most likely be property taxes or increasing fees on vehicles.

The Gas Tax Holiday is scam that would likely increase state and local taxes, while giving your minimal relief at the pump.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hey Hillary, which votes count?

Keith Olbermann attempts to explain Hillary Clinton's definition of which votes counts...

Unfortunately, Iowa doesn't count because we are a caucus, a small state, next to Illinois, have educated activists that are liberal, we voted Republican in 2004, and we care about both foreign policy and domestic issues.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Democratic Race for President in 7 minutes

The last 18 months of the Democratic race for President condensed into 7 minutes...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Teachers and Personal Websites

As a teacher with a Facebook profile and a blog, this story drew my interest.

Personal websites raise professional ethics issues.

The Washington Post (4/28, A1, Shapira) reports in a front-page story that some teachers' Facebook profiles "can be overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional -- or both." And "the crudeness of some Facebook or MySpace teacher profiles, which are far, far away from sanitized websites ending in '.edu,' prompts questions emblematic of our times: Do the risqué pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials?" The Post notes that teachers in "Florida, Colorado, Tennessee and Massachusetts...have been removed or suspended for MySpace postings, and some teachers unions have begun warning members about racy personal websites." In the D.C. area, "school officials say they have no policies concerning social networking pages or blogs kept by teachers. But they said that online improprieties would fall under general guidelines requiring proper behavior in and outside school and that sketchy websites would be handled case by case."
It would really be a step in the wrong direction if schools adopt policies regulating the use of social network sites and personal blogs. It reminds me of some of the ridiculous things in teacher contracts years ago.
1905 teaching contract for Story County, Iowa

Teachers will be required to spend weekends in the community unless permission is granted by the Chairman of the Board.

Dancing, card playing and the theatre are works of the Devil that lead to gambling, immoral climate, and influence and will not be tolerated.

Any teacher who smokes cigarettes, uses liquor in any form, frequents a pool or public hall, or (for men) gets shaved in a barber shop, (or for women) bobbs (cuts) her hair, has dyed hair, wears short skirts (could not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles) and has undue use of cosmetics will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Teachers will not marry or keep company with a man friend during the week except as an escort to church services. (The only man a woman teacher could be seen with was her father or her brother).

Loitering in ice cream parlors, drug stores, etc., is prohibited.

Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

Facebook Isn't As Cool in Real Life

Thursday, May 01, 2008

5 Years Since Mission Accomplished

This video is from Eric Massa, a candidate for Congress in New York's 29th District.

Obama on the Horrible Gas Tax Holiday

John McCain introduced the idea of a gas tax holiday and Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon. These two ignore the basic economic concept of supply and demand. Removing the tax on gas would increase demand, which would then increase the price.

Barack Obama isn't on board, calling the idea of a gas tax holiday a Washington gimmick...

That’s typical of how Washington works. There’s a problem, everybody’s upset about gas prices – let’s find some short-term, quick-fix, that we can say we did something even though, even though we’re not really doing anything. We cannot deliver on a better energy policy unless we change how business is done in Washington.

Hillary Clinton = Elitist

Hillary Clinton was on Bill O'Reilly last night, pandering to rich people, saying, "Rich people, God bless us."

Then there's a clip of Clinton having trouble getting the coffee machine to work at a convenience store. Maybe she should have her maid just get the coffee for her.

Obama, Wright, and the Youth Vote

A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog wrote this about Obama and Rev. Wright...

I'll just put that out there. If Obama is done in by this whole Wright thing I am done with politics. I can't invest myself in something that is so sure to disappoint me time and time and time again. If the Democratic party decides that it can not risk nominating a great and decent African American man because his pastor is a scary African American man, it does not deserve power because it will have caved to what is worst about America. Racists on both sides of the divide will rejoice at having taking down the biggest threat to their belief system since Martin Luther King....and young people like myself will burrow deeper into to the holes we were in before Barack Obama dug us out.
I have to second that.