Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iowans Support VOICE and Clean Elections

Iowa CCI conducted a poll of political donors across the state about their attitudes towards the influence of big money in politics and public financed elections...

CCI recently conducted a survey of current political donors to gauge their support of VOICE and taking big money out of politics. We conducted this survey because we believe that political donors would also support public financing to reduce the role that money plays in campaigning and the reliance on large contributions to candidates. The survey results show that those with a financial stake in the outcome of state elections believe that the current system is broken. We contacted 2,861 donors and conducted interviews with 1,502 people who were chosen because they donated to political candidates for state office. The charts that follow show the findings of this study, which break down support for VOICE by income, amount donated and political party.


While many may expect political donors to be content with the current system, our survey reveals that donors across the political and financial spectrum are in support of a system where people matter more, and money matters less.
The poll shows Iowans are against the influence of big money in politics.
When asked, "Many people believe there is too much money in the political process. Do you agree or disagree?" nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent of) donors said they agreed. Just six percent of respondents said they did not believe there was too much money in politics.

These sentiments go across party lines as well, with 89 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Republicans, and 82 percent of Independents agreeing that there is too much money in politics.
The poll shows strong support across party lines for public financed elections and specifically the VOICE bill.
73 percent of political contributors support public financing as laid out in the VOICE Act as a way to reduce the role money is playing in our political process. (Only 20 percent were opposed.)2

This support also crosses party lines - 75 percent of Democratic donors, 70 percent of Republican donors, and 74 percent of Independent donors favor VOICE.
The support is pretty even across income levels as well...
Eighty-one percent of those polled that have a household income over $100,000 supported VOICE, and 74 percent of those with a household income less than $100,000 supported VOICE. (This leaves out a group who did not disclose their household income, which still supported VOICE at 65 percent.)
The last 2 legislative sessions, political leaders refused to allow the VOICE bill to come up for a vote. The VOICE legislation would bring voluntary clean elections to Iowa.

The VOICE bill would require candidates to get $5 donations along with their signatures to qualify. All of this money would go into a fund that would be used by candidates that have met the requirements to earn public money. The rest of the money would come from unclaimed property and a check off on your state income taxes.

Under the VOICE bill no taxpayer money would be used unless you want to mark the check off on your state income taxes. Overall, the system would cost around $10 million or less than 1/10 of 1% of the state's annual budget.

McCain Forgot Corporations Don't Pay Taxes

In Friday night's debate John McCain said the tax rate in the United States on corporations is too high.

McCain must have forgotten that most corporations aren't pay any taxes at all.

The Government Accountability Office is set to release a report that says most U.S. corporations pay no federal income taxes.

And most foreign companies that do business in the United States aren't paying corporate taxes.

The study says about two-thirds of American corporations paid zero income taxes to Uncle Sam between 1998 and 2005.

An even higher percentage of foreign corporations avoided federal corporate taxes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wells Dairy Repays Values Fund Money after Failing to Create Jobs

In May I wrote about Wells' Dairy failing to create the jobs they promised when they received taxpayer money under the Iowa Values Fund.

On Friday, Wells Dairy agreed to repay the money...

Wells' Dairy Inc., the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream, has repaid the state $1.25 million of $2.9 million in forgivable loans it received to build a new headquarters in Le Mars.

The state has found Wells' Dairy did not meet its job creation commitments.

The company, which had been mulling a move to Nebraska or South Dakota, had agreed to create 128 jobs and retain 346 existing jobs for a total of 475 positions overall. It had also committed to complete a new $25 million corporate headquarters.

The state's review found that Wells' Dairy fell 158 positions short of its employment projection.

Palin Takes Questions from the Audience on MADtv

MADtv got into the Palin comedy sketches with this video of Palin taking questions from the audience.

$700 billion Bailout Jeopardizes Universal Health Care and Investment in Renewable Energy

David Sirota sums up what the passage of a $700 billion bailout for Wall St. would mean to progressive reforms...

Food for thought: $700 billion is about 5 percent of our entire economy. It is roughly enough to create a universal health care system for the next 5 to 10 years. It is also enough to fund the energy and infrastructure investments most economists say we need to build our economy in the 21st century. Handing that $700 billion over to Wall Street and putting it on the national credit card will make it almost impossible to finance these priorities.

Put another way, lawmakers who vote for this $700 billion bailout are potentially casting a vote to decapitate the progressive movement and the major tenets of its agenda - at least for the next generation.

Contact your members of Congress and tell them irresponsible CEOs don't need to be bailed out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yepsen Thought McCain Won the Debate

The Register's David Yepsen thought John McCain won Friday night's presidential debate.

It was one of the most substantive debates in recent presidential campaign history, and John McCain won it.

The Arizona senator was cool, informed and forceful in Friday's first presidential debate of the general election campaign.

He repeatedly put Barack Obama on the defensive throughout the 90-minute session. Obama did little to assure voters that he is experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy. That was his No. 1 task Friday night, and he failed.
Makes me wonder if Yepsen was watching the debate from Sporer's basement.

SNL's Palin Spoof

Tina Fey with another great spoof of Tina Fey last night on Saturday Night Live...

Fox Focus Group Gives Debate to Obama

Fox News did a focus group of undecided voters for Friday's debate and they said Obama won the debate.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain Mentioned Middle Class Zero Times During the Debate

Obama's new ad about McCain using the word middle class zero times during last night's debate...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thoughts on the First Presidential Debate

I posted my thoughts on the first presidential debate on Twitter and after the debate I copied and pasted them here. The beginning of the debate is at the bottom of the post.

commoniowan: Obama was wearing a flag pin and McCain was not. Will there be any stories tomorrow asking why McCain hates America?

commoniowan: Amazingly Fox News thinks McCain won.

commoniowan: Said this earlier. Foreign policy is McCain's expertise and Obama's weakness and Obama more than held his own. First debate goes to Obama.

commoniowan: From Kos: Obama is delivering elegant, understated slams. McCain is trying to squeeze in a hit here or there, but is missing his mark.

commoniowan: Closing statements go on and on. Obama says we can't afford to put all of our chips into Iraq. McCain "Obama doesn't understand anything."

commoniowan: McCain admits we tortured prisoners and says it will never happen again.
commoniowan: Obama outlines plan on Russia. McCain attacks then gives the exact answer.

commoniowan: McCain has a Palin moment and mispronounces the leader of Iran's name.

commoniowan: League of Democracies? Isn't there a United Nations already?

commoniowan: McCain trys to explain his bomb Iran comment and outlines his record sending troops to war. Is McCain trying to justify bombing Iran?

commoniowan: Obama brings up McCain singing bomb Iran.

commoniowan: McCain forgets that he once sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran at a townhall meeting.

commoniowan: Obama's response refocuses the debate on bin Laden, but he should have brought up that the Iraqi prime minister endorses Obama's plan.

commoniowan: Foreign policy is supposed to be McCain's strength and Obama's weakness, and Obama is holding his own.

commoniowan: Using McCain's definition of defeat in Iraq ,we lose when we leave. We win when we stay.

commoniowan: McCain has a senior moment and forgets that he flip flopped on torture in the past year.

commoniowan: Obama attempts to show that his priority is the middle class and McCain's is the wealthy, but it was a little clumsy.

commoniowan: Obama finally brings up that we are spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.

commoniowan: Looks like McCain is getting pissed off at Lehrer.

commoniowan: McCain says he is against ethanol and instantly lost the votes of a lot of farmers across the midwest.

commoniowan: Obama brings up that McCain plans to tax health care benefits and raise taxes on working Americans

commoniowan: The majority of businesses don't pay any taxes at all and Obama is bringing that up.

commoniowan: McCain didn't win Miss Congeniality. But Sarah Palin did.

commoniowan: McCain praises the American worker despite wanting to ship their jobs overseas and calling buy American provisions ridiculous.

commoniowan: McCain says of course he is going vote for bailout plan even though we don't know what the plan is. He would need to show up to vote first.

commoniowan: McCain is the first one to say the word hope.

commoniowan: Obama mentions 8 years of failed economic policy under Bush. More like nearly 30 years of a failed Republican economic philosophy.

McCain's Savings and Loan Scandal

John McCain was right in the middle of a savings and loan scandal in the 1980's as one of the Keating 5. This video gives you a quick rundown about the scandal.

Now do we want McCain to be responsible to try and fix this financial mess?

Green Jobs Now Rally and Community Conversation

Looks like an interesting event Saturday in Des Moines...

Rally and Press Conference

Saturday, September 27, 11 a.m. – Noon, State Capitol, West Steps

To follow from 1-3 p.m. at Mars Cafe, 2318 University Ave., Des Moines

Speakers from local organizations and businesses will be sharing their success stories and helping people plug into the Green Movement in Des Moines. Opportunities to engage in community dialogue and networking. Speakers include Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, and representatives from Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C.’s Green Business and Sustainability Law Group, Green Drinks, Interfaith Power and Light and more.

For more information contact Larry James Jr. at larry.james@me.com or visit http://www.myspace.com/marscafe

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Elesha Gayman: 40 Days Until Election Day

I received this message from Elesha Gayman's campaign today and would like to encourage people to donate to her campaign through the Iowa Blogs: Expanding the Majority page on Act Blue.

We have forty days until the polls close and the ballots are counted. I am asking you to pledge $40 or 40 hours to the campaign between now and election day! If you can even do $4 or 4 hours your help will make the difference! (www.eleshagayman.com)

We have a lot of money left to raise and we have everything from knocking doors, making phone calls, placing yard signs, and helping with data entry. The Republicans are throwing everything and the kitchen sink my way and the negative attacks have begun.

Please send an email to my campaign manager, Matt Singer, at msinger@iowademocrats.org or call 734-846-0302 if you can help!

You can make donations online by visiting my website at www.eleshagayman.com and clicking on contribute. Or you can mail donations to: Elesha Gayman for Iowa, PO Box 2567 - Davenport, IA 52809.

Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated!


A Really Large Number

So how did Bush come up with $700 billion for his Wall St. bailout?

Why $700 billion?

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's Why McCain Wants to Reschedule Friday's Debate

Now I understand why McCain wants to reschedule Friday's debate...

According to CNN, McCain's camp is now proposing that the debate be postponed by moving it to into the time and venue of the vice presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 2nd in St. Louis. The Biden-Palin debate would then be itself rescheduled to happen later on.
So Palin's not ready for the vice presidential debate next week and this is stunt to get that moved back.

Palin's Lies

Andrew Sullivan writes about Sarah Palin's habit of flat out lying...

So for the record, let it be known that the candidate for vice-president for the GOP is a compulsive, repetitive, demonstrable liar. If you follow the links, here is the proof. I repeat: proof:

- She has lied about the Bridge To Nowhere. She ran for office favoring it, wore a sweatshirt defending it, and only gave it up when the federal congress, Senator McCain in particular, went ballistic. She kept the money anyway and favors funding Don Young's Way, at twice the cost of the original bridge.

- She has lied about her firing of the town librarian and police chief of Wasilla, Alaska.

- She has lied about pressure on Alaska's public safety commissioner to fire her ex-brother-in-law.

- She has lied about her previous statements on climate change.

- She has lied about Alaska's contribution to America's oil and gas production.

- She has lied about when she asked her daughters for their permission for her to run for vice-president.

- She has lied about the actual progress in constructing a natural gas pipeline from Alaska.

- She has lied about Obama's position on habeas corpus.

- She has lied about her alleged tolerance of homosexuality.

- She has lied about the use or non-use of a TelePrompter at the St Paul convention.

- She has lied about her alleged pay-cut as mayor of Wasilla.

- She has lied about what Alaska's state scientists concluded about the health of the polar bear population in Alaska.

You cannot trust a word she says. On anything.

Obama's Press Conference About the Economic Bailout

Video of Obama's press conference yesterday talking about the economic bailout where Obama emphasized the bailout is not a welfare program for CEOs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin is Bush in Drag

Andrew Sullivan has been at the forefront of exposing Sarah Palin's lack of experience and knowledge, her radical far right views, and her many lies she has repeated already.

This diary at Open Left keeps track of Sullivan's top 10 complaints about Palin over the past week or so...

10. I know it's terribly elitist to believe that a potential president might actually have a single coherent public statement on foreign policy before her selection as veep-candidate; it's unforgivably snooty to believe that someone who had no opinion on the surge except that it should be an exit plan is self-evidently unfit to be John McCain's running mate; I know that it's now hyper-lefty and condescending to believe that a candidate should actually care whether what she says is true or not.

9. Almost the entire world is appalled at the farce of the Palin pick, and what it says about McCain's contempt for foreign policy and national security.

8. All she has is ambition, the willingness to lie at any time about anything - and the ability to placate the two central constituencies: the Christianist base and the neocons.

7. In so many ways, Palin is the apotheosis of the neocon dream.

6. Cronyism, debt, lies, religious fanaticism, and utter ignorance about foreign policy. You want another four years of Bush? McCain-Palin is the ticket.

5. And my working assumption now is that she is a pathological liar - even about things that are objectively checkable…..There is far too much at stake to be intimidated into silence or to pretend I can accept this absurd pick as anything other than a farce masking too many lies to count.

4. Palin fits the Bush mold, but ratcheted up one more notch toward absurdity, and several more notches toward puppetry.

3. For real! The candidate for vice-president of the United States actually responded to a question from the press! Amazing.

2. Increasingly, she seems like a character in a Ricky Gervais comedy: caught in endless confabulations and not skilled enough to get away with them.

1. I cannot say anything about this candidacy that takes it in any way seriously. It is a farce. It is absurd. It is an insult to all intelligent people. It is a sign of a candidate who has lost his mind. There is no way to take the nomination of Palin to be vice-president of the world’s sole superpower - except to treat it as a massive, unforgivable, inexplicable decision by someone who has either gone insane or is managerially unfit to be president of the United States.

On Bill Maher's show last Friday night, Sullivan nails McCain for picking Palin, saying...
The nomination of this person to be potentially the president next January, that's the possibility ,technical speaking, is a joke, it's absurd, dismissed out of hand as the most irresponsible act any candidate has ever made.

Democracy Must Govern Capitalism, Not the Other Way Around

Good quote from Joe Trippi...

“I love capitalism. So did the authors of our founding documents. They knew that capitalism was a wonderful thing, the engine of this country’s growth. But they also knew that democracy must govern capitalism, not the other way around. They knew that our economic system had to be subservient to our government. Left unchecked, they knew that capitalism quickly devours everything in its path, including democracy.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama Goes After McCain and the Failed Republican Economic Philosophy

Obama and Biden have been hitting McCain really hard on the economy. Here's Obama on Saturday at an event in Florida...

I can't wait to see Obama go head-to-head with McCain in Friday night's debate.

To Throw the Constitution Out the Window for Phony Security is Crazy

Some great points made by Andrew Sullivan and Bill Maher about the need to protect our freedoms and the Constitution in the face of terrorism.

Tell Rep. McCarthy that it is Time to Get Big Money Out of Politics

From Iowa CCI...

Now is the time to get big money in politics out of our way!

Join us to tell Rep. Kevin McCarthy:

“The buck$ stop here!”

    • Election season is the reason- let’s make this an issue for the ’08 elections!
    • Everyday Iowans demand a VOICE in the policies that affect us.
    • We will not go away until our voices are heard by our elected officials!
    • CCI members know our strength comes from working together. Join us for this training on building power by going door to door!

Voter Owned Iowa Clean Elections (VOICE) would reduce the influence of big money in our political system. More candidates can run for office and spend more time listening to their constituents, not big business. It’s working in other states, and it can work here too!

Join us:

What: Canvassing Training & Door Knocking

in Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s district

When: Monday, September 22

4:30p.m.-7:30p.m. (with refreshments)

Where: Iowa CCI Office

2005 Forest Ave, Des Moines

Questions/ RSVP:

Contact Matthew or Adam at iowacci@iowacci.org

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama Ahead by Double Digits in Iowa in 2 New Polls

The Big Ten Battleground State poll released last week that showed Obama and McCain tied at 44.8% in Iowa seems to be an outlier after 2 recent polls show Obama with a double digit lead and above 50% in each poll.

On Friday, Survey USA released a poll showing Obama beating McCain 54% to 43%.

Among women, Obama leads by 20 points; among men, Obama and McCain tie. Among voters younger than Barack Obama, Obama leads by 15. Among voters older than John McCain, Obama leads by 9. Among voters who are in-between the two candidates' ages, Obama leads by 7.

Among white voters -- 95% of Iowa's likely voters -- Obama leads by 8 points. 11% of Republicans cross over to vote for Obama; 8% of Democrats cross over to vote for McCain; Independents break for Obama by 9 points.

John McCain leads among Republicans, conservatives, those who attend church regularly, pro-life voters, those focused on terrorism, among the 16% of likely voters who say they may yet change their mind, and in Southwest Iowa. Obama is slightly ahead in Northwest Iowa and leads by double digits in the northeast and southeast portions of the state.

Today, the Quad City Times released results from a Research 2000 poll that shows Obama ahead 53% to 39% over McCain. The poll found that the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP had little effect in the poll.
McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, which swung the spotlight back to the GOP candidate, didn’t make a large share of voters more likely to support McCain, the Research 2000 survey showed.

Of those polled, 61 percent said the Palin pick had no effect on their decision, and 22 percent said it made them more likely to vote for McCain.
These polls and the Des Moines Register poll released on September 14th, where Obama was winning 52% to 40%, show that Obama is in control in Iowa. McCain's negative campaign isn't working in Iowa because Iowans know who Obama really is after having the chance to meet him leading up to the caucuses.

The Surge Didn't Decrease Violence in Iraq

According to research done at UCLA, the surge didn't decrease violence in Iraq, ethnic cleansing did.

Studying satellite imagery of night light in Baghdad neighborhoods dominated by Sunni residents, they came up with an alternative conclusion: The Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims had largely stopped killing each other by the time the "surge" of U.S. troops arrived in 2007.

In other words, the remaining Sunnis, defeated, turned out the lights and left. And then the U.S. troops came in.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Because That Worked Out Great With the Banking Industry

McCain wants to deregulate the health insurance industry just like what happened with the banking industry last decade.

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
Deregulation sure worked out great with the banking industry. Now McCain wants to do the same thing to health insurance.

Does that mean if McCain is elected president then the government will have to eventually bail out health insurance companies and we will finally have a government run health care system that actually works?

Ron Paul Could Never Endorse Anyone Like McCain

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not Ready for Iowa, Not Ready for the National Stage

Iowa prides itself in being able to weed out the candidates that aren't ready for the national stage during the Iowa caucuses.

Yesterday, John McCain and Sarah Palin held an event in Cedar Rapids. It was Sarah Palin's first time to Iowa and she failed to pass the test.

As Palin began her speech she said...

Thank you so much Iowa, it is so good to be in Grand Rapids.
Then it was McCain's turn at the mic and O Kay Henderson made this observation...
I look up, about five minutes into McCain's address and see a steady stream of people walking out of the rally. They just came to see Palin apparently.
McCain and Palin are not ready for Iowa, not ready for the national stage.

IA-04: Greenwald Releases First TV Ad

The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives

Jonathan Haidt talks about the differences between liberals and conservatives at TED talks.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Joe Klein writes about John McCain's multiple lies so far...

McCain's lies have ranged from the annoying to the sleazy, and the problem is in both degree and kind. His campaign has been a ceaseless assault on his opponent's character and policies, featuring a consistent—and witting—disdain for the truth. Even after 38 million Americans heard Obama say in his speech at the Democratic National Convention that he was open to offshore oil-drilling and building new nuclear-power plants, McCain flatly said in his acceptance speech that Obama opposed both. Normal political practice would be for McCain to say, "Obama says he's 'open to' offshore drilling, but he's always opposed it. How can we believe him?" This persistence in repeating demonstrably false charges is something new in presidential politics.
Klein tells how this has become a key part of McCain's campaign strategy...
McCain's campaign has been a series of snide and demeaning ads accompanied by the daily gush of untruths that have now been widely documented and exposed. The strategy is an obvious attempt to camouflage the current unpopularity of his Republican brand, the insubstantiality of his vice-presidential choice, and his agreement on most issues — especially economic matters — with an exceedingly unpopular President.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain: The Deregulating Regulator

One of my favorite columnists, David Sirota, was on the Rachel Maddow Show talking about how McCain was for deregulation before he was against it.

Old Boys Club

Great soundbite from Obama, hitting McCain hard on his connections to Washington lobbyists...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Marshall County MICA Poverty Forum

I am live blogging at the MICA Poverty Forum held in Marshalltown. In attendance is Steve Sodders (D) and Jarret Heil (R), candidates in SD 22, Mark Smith (D) and Jane Jech (R), candidates in HD 43, and Tim Hoy (D) in HD 44.

I will try and get as much as the candidates say, but I might have missed some of the candidates responses. Don't consider these to be direct quotes.

The poverty level for a family of 4 is earning less than $21,000 a year. What would you do to reduce the number of families living in poverty?

Sodders: We must attract quality jobs to the area and have affordable college education. Says tuition has gone up 83% during the last decade.

Smith: We must have a living wage and decrease the amount of college debt students have when they graduate college.

Heil: Poverty is a cycle and we need to break the cycle. To that you must focus on education. 1/3 of the children born in Iowa are unintended and we need to provide prenatal care and care up to age 5 for children and provide education to parents, and continue to invest in quality programs like Head Start.

How do we bridge the gap between the skills of the workforce and the needs of employers?

Jech: We need to make the state a place that is attractive to businesses. Education, She served on the Iowa Valley board for 9 years and brings an education background to this race. We need to make sure people are aware of what courses are available at the college and have access to. She mentions the inequity of pay for women.

Smith: Need to make work pay. There is a lot of money going unclaimed through the earned income tax credit. Invest in education and skill development so people have the skills necessary, and encourage Iowans to stay in the state by providing higher wages.

Hoy: It's all about jobs. We can encourage those individuals that don't want to work in an office setting and encourage those people to work in a skilled trade.

Heil: Education is the key to bridging the gap. Need to develop an educated workforce to keep up with a skilled labor market. By providing the education opportunity the state will provide the most vulnerable the skills to make them into responsible citizens.

Sodders- Grew up in a low income family and his mom told him and his brothers that they had 3 choices when they graduated high school. They could go to college, go to the military, or pack up and move out. We must make sure that when high school students graduate they have the ability to move on to college or get the extra training needed.

Rising energy costs.

Smith: The Low Income Energy Credit is an important program. He has introduced legislation to put $25 million more into that program. We must continue to support and expand comprehensive weatherization programs and educate people on ways to save energy costs. Smith says housing hasn't changed in the state for over 30 years and we must look at how and where we are building our homes. We need to enhance public transportation options.

Hoy: Normally lower income people live in older homes and would benefit from weatherization programs. Rural communities can become isolated with rising energy costs. Programs to transport rural Iowans medical appointments are vital.

Heil- Continue programs to weatherize homes and provide incentives for landlords because many low income people rent. The rise in energy costs is a national issue and we must push for environmental friendly and economically sound energy sources that include ethanol, drilling, nuclear, clean coal, wind, and solar.

Sodders: In the short-term, we need to increase LIHEAP money because it helps people who have to decide to heat their home or put food on the table. Supporting MICA weatherization programs are important because they save people money. In the long-term we can continue to make a commitment to renewable fuels and stop relying on middle eastern oil.

Jech- Low income energy assistance programs are just a band aid and needs to be continued, but we need to look at long-term solutions that include drilling and promoting renewable fuels. Iowa has a chance to be a leader in ethanol and biofuels.

Health Care

Hoy: In the 2008 legislative session they made a goal to make sure all Iowans have health care insurance. Started this by strengthening the HAWK-I program and plans are to increase HAWK-I in the coming years. HAWK-I is helpful for those who work and have employer based health care, but it is too costly to cover their children. We need to allow small businesses to pool for a more cost effective buying pool for employees.

Heil: In favor of tax incentives to small businesses to provide health insurance for their employees. Prenatal education for parents and curbing obesity can make sure children start off on the right foot. He worked 4 and a half years in the federal government and he would work with Iowa's delegation in Washington DC to make sure Medicare works.

Sodders: A top issue throughout the entire campaign has been to provide a health care pooling system that would allow farmers and small businesses to purchase more cost effective health insurance. As a deputy sheriff, the county sheriff can pool with other county employees to make sure everyone has access to affordable insurance.

Jech: The portability of insurance is an issue that must be addressed. Her family went through this when she changed jobs and it was too costly to COBRA their insurance. Her son is epileptic and they had a hard time getting the care he needed. They didn't qualify for HAWK-I. One way to do this would be to make the HAWK-I program a graduated program so people don't slide through the cracks.

Smith: Last year he worked on the Healthy Kids Act and Health Care reform bill and we are well on the path to become the first state to cover all children.

Closing Statements

Heil: Education is the key to getting people out of poverty. We must empower people to be upstanding citizens. We can give people a fish that is filleted and fried or teach them to fish.

Sodders: Asks what are Iowans worth? He believes everyone is worth affordable and quality health care, a quality education, and a state that people want to stay in after they graduate.

Jech: Brings up the expansion of preschool and says the money should be put into existing programs and not dumped into K-12 education.

Smith: Makes push for people to register to vote and asks people for their support. Says tonight we talked a lot about people with different incomes, but the one place where everyone is equal is the voting booth and he would encourage everyone to vote.

Best line of the night

Rep. Mark Smith: A living wage is enough money to cover the basics and "allow parents to have a little jingle in the pocket, so they can afford to go to the movies on Saturday night and enjoy time with their families."


A new hard hitting ad from Obama...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Biden Goes After McCain for Saying the Economy is Strong

Joe Biden nails John McCain for saying the economy is strong...

The Number 1 Issue Facing the American People Today

Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked this question at a Bipartisan Energy Summit...

WHITEHOUSE: Gentlemen, we’re in the middle of a near total mortgage system meltdown in this country. We have a health care system that burns 16 percent of our GDP, in which the Medicare liability alone has been estimated at $34 trillion. We’re burning $10 billion a month in Iraq.

This administration has run up $7.7 trillion in national debt, by our calculation. And there is worsening evidence every day of global warming, with worsening environmental and national security ramifications. In light of those conditions, do any of you seriously contend that drilling for more oil is the number one issue facing the American people today?

(Long silent pause during which nobody answers.)

WHITEHOUSE: No, it doesn’t seem so.

Castrating a Calf

Patty Judge had the quote of the day at the Harkin Steak Fry yesterday about Sarah Palin's qualifications for being vice president...

Sarah knows how to field-dress a moose. I know how to castrate a calf. Neither of those things has anything at all to do with this election.

Video of Howard Dean at the University of Iowa

Howard Dean stopped at the University of Iowa to register voters on September 5th.

While stressing the importance to vote, Dean shows he understands the difference between the Baby Boom generation and the Millennial generation...

The central message of your generation to my generation is would you please stop fighting about all the things you can't agree and start working on the things you do agree on to make the world a better place.

Now it's just a matter of getting those under 30 to turn and vote.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Des Moines Register Poll Shows Obama up by 12% in Iowa

During the 2006 elections and leading up to the 2008 Iowa Caucuses the Des Moines Register's polls were the most accurate.

Today, the Des Moines Register released a poll that shows Barack Obama leading John McCain 52% to 40%.

Obama leads among independents 49% to 36% and among women 53% to 39%. Obama also holds a 2 to 1 margin among young voters.

The Register adds...

The poll underscores some key advantages Obama has had in Iowa.

He visited dozens of times last year and built a statewide network of volunteers on his way to a decisive victory in Iowa's leadoff nominating caucuses last January.

McCain campaigned in Iowa less often and ran a scaled-down caucus operation, finishing in a close fourth-place in the GOP caucuses before rebounding in the New Hampshire primary.

Democrats also enjoy their largest voter registration edge over Republicans in roughly 20 years -- more than 94,000 out of roughly 2 million voters, according to August statistics from the Iowa Secretary of State.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some Real Journalism Courtesy of The View

John McCain is grilled on The View...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hiding From the Press

It has been a month since John McCain's last press conference and 3 weeks since his last town hall meeting.

We all know that Sarah Palin was hiding from the press before yesterday's interview, but why is McCain staying away from the press?

After McCain said Iraq shares a border with Pakistan or confused Sunni and Shiites in Iraq, maybe McCain's afraid people will start to question his supposed foreign policy expertise.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Matthews Calls Lipstick on a Pig a Phoney Outrage

This game that's being played is not an insult to a candidate, it's an insult to the intelligence to our democracy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cheney Calls Palin a Pig

So John McCain is saying that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig yesterday at a campaign event when Obama said...

John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington

That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing.
Using McCain's logic, then Dick Cheney called Sarah Palin a pig back in 2004...
As we say in Wyoming you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig.


I had a long day at school, where I teach 21 high energy 2nd graders. I had recess duty and had to deal with some childish name calling between some students. Then this afternoon I had two girls that didn't feel well and kept asking to go to the nurse. After school I had a long meeting. To top it off I ran out of allergy medicine and was all stuffed up and had a headache. I was eager to get home, relax, and watch some TV.

When I got home I flipped on Hardball to see them dissecting Barack Obama's lipstick comment from a campaign event yesterday.

John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington

That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing.
John McCain put out a internet video claiming that Obama was talking about Sarah Palin.

Talk about childish campaign tatics. The McCain campaign is attempting to distract from the real issues that matter to people by trying to manufacture a scandal and attack Obama over nothing.

Now wonder people are turned off and frustrated by politics.

Winds Are Changing on the Hog Confinement Issue

It seems the winds are changing on the hog confinement issue.

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about 2 proposed hog confinements in Dallas County that the county supervisors opposed. The DNR later denied the permit for those hog confinements. Then last month the DNR another hog confinement in Appanoose County.

From Iowa CCI...

On August 13, The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) denied a 4,900-head hog factory proposed for southern Appanoose County . According to DNR, the permit application did not meet legal requirements, nor did their master matrix pass muster. Although the applicant for this proposed confinement is a local resident, the 4,900 hogs would have been owned by Cargill. Cargill, one of the largest privately-held corporations in the world, has been behind a number of proposed factory farms around the state, including two proposed 7,440-head hog factories in northwest Dallas County.

In July, as a result of overwhelming public opposition, the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors recommended that DNR deny this hog factory proposal.

“I would like to thank the County Supervisors for using what few tools are at the counties’ disposal to represent the people of their County and to stop hog factories from being built,” said Appanoose County resident Allen Lakner.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), the newly-formed Iowans Down Wind, and other local residents opposed the proposed hog factory for a number of reasons. They challenged the permit application based on the potential for water pollution to nearby wells and water sources and the likelihood of the underground manure storage pit developing cracks and leaking into underground water sources. In addition, several nearby neighbors raised serious health concerns, concerns for loss of property value and decreased quality of life.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Time to Panic?

Yesterday, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed John McCain up 10 points nationally. So does this mean it is time for Democrats to panic?


The poll gave McCain ridiculous a 17 point bounce after Republican Convention (Obama was ahead by 7 following the Democratic Convention). Plus, national polls mean squat. The election is a state by state race.

Over at Daily Kos, they took a look at state by state polls and found that if the election was held today Obama would win 309 to 229...

Five weeks ago, it was Obama 336, McCain 202. I give the states to whoever leads in the Pollster.com polling aggregates. For this edition, it's Obama 309, McCain 229. The difference from five weeks ago is Florida, which flipped from the narrowest Obama lead to the narrowest McCain lead (McCain 46.2, Obama 44.1).
Yesteday, Open Left posted their presidential forecast and they show Obama leading.
Obama 251, McCain 183, Toss-up 104
MyDD and Huffington Post also have a presidential race rankings and have...
Total Democratic: 264 electoral votes
Tossup: 47 electoral votes
Total Republican: 227 electoral votes

Monday, September 08, 2008

No Maverick

New ad from Obama...


I attended a friend's wedding over the weekend. I got into an interesting discussion with a friend about the election and I made the point that the McCain running in 2000 at least held principled stands on issues, but since then he has had to sellout out the to religious right and has changed on so many positions (abortion, immigration, torture, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc).

Frank Rich made this point in his column yesterday...

McCain is now the man of James Dobson and Tony Perkins. The “no surrender” warrior surrendered to the agents of intolerance not just by dumping his pal for Palin but by moving so far to the right on abortion that even Cindy McCain seemed unaware of his radical shift when being interviewed by Katie Couric last week.

That ideological sellout, unfortunately, was not the worst leadership trait the last-minute vice presidential pick revealed about McCain. His speed-dating of Palin reaffirmed a more dangerous personality tic that has dogged his entire career. His decision-making process is impetuous and, in its Bush-like preference for gut instinct over facts, potentially reckless.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Troopergate Shows Palin's Abuse of Power

ABC does some reporting on Sarah Palin and the Troopergate scandal where Palin allegedly attempted to use her position as governor to fire her former brother-in-law, who is a state trooper and ended in Palin firing her own director of Public Safety.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Biden: It's What I Didn't Hear at the Republican Convention

McCain the Elitist: Part 3

This is absolutely ridiculous.

From Political Wire...

Vanity Fair estimates that the "rather fancy designer clothes" Cindy McCain wore while taking the stage Tuesday night at the Republican convention cost somewhere between $299,100 and $313,100.
$300,000 for an outfit? That's $80,000 more than the average home in America.

America is a Liberal Country

Now that the Republican convention is over it is worth noting that Americans hold liberal positions on a wide variety of issues.

A recent Gallup poll shows...

Americans are pro-choice (67 percent)

Americans support the Geneva Conventions with regards to torture (57 percent)

Americans don't want the government snooping in their bank and internet records (67 percent)

Americans support protecting the environment at the expense of economic growth (55 percent)

Americans believe that global warming is happening (86 percent)

Americans believe that it's the government's responsibility to provide health care (69 percent)

Americans support the decriminalization of marijuana (55 percent) and support the legalization of medical marijuana (78 percent)

Americans are opposed to attacking Iran (68 percent, according to a CNN Poll)

Americans support labor unions (60 percent)

Americans want government funding of embryonic stem cell research (56 percent)

Americans believe rich people and corporations aren't paying enough taxes (66 and 71 percent respectively)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I-Renew Energy Expo September 13th and 14th

One of my favorite events is coming up. I will be attending on Saturday, September 13th and hope that you can find time to attend.

17th Annual I-Renew Energy & Sustainability EXPO

September 13 & 14, 2008
9 to 5 Saturday
10:30 to 4:30 Sunday

At the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education, Cedar Falls, IA

Admission: $10 per day, I-Renew members pay no admission.
Memberships available at the door

Featuring renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, renewable fuels and sustainable living workshops, exhibits and demonstrations

70 Workshops!
80 Exhibitors!

Registrations for attendance open now!

Cedar Falls, IA – The Iowa Power Fund Board approved a grant to support this year’s I-Renew Energy & Sustainability Expo. The grant will go towards promoting the event statewide as well as to produce DVDs of 12 of the 70 workshops offered at the event. “The Iowa Renewable Energy Association has proven its annual Expo is the place to be to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency”, said Michelle Kenyon Brown, I-Renew Executive Director. “The support from the Iowa Power Fund and the Office of Energy Independence will enable us to bring in a larger audience, an audience that is growing everyday as energy costs are hitting everyone’s pocketbook.”

The 17th I-Renew Energy & Sustainability EXPO will be held Sept. 13-14, 2008, at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The EXPO feature 70 workshops, 80 exhibitors, and demonstrations providing information on renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, renewable fuels, and sustainable living.

“The I-Renew Expo is the largest event of this type in Iowa,” says Kara Beauchamp, I-Renew Board President. “This years’ expo will be the biggest and the best we have ever had. Increasing energy prices have generated more interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The I-Renew Expo is the perfect place for people to get their questions answered while having a great time.”

The EXPO gives the general public, building contractors, installers and others the opportunity to talk directly with Iowa’s energy experts to learn new ways to build greener and live greener using renewable energy.

Demonstrations of solar power, wind power, a hydrogen fuel cell, electric cars, cars that run on alternative fuels, and much more will be at the site in and around the CEEE building. The EXPO runs 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13; and 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14. Admission is $10 per day; however, I-Renew members pay no admission. Memberships are available at the door.

For more information or to register, visit www.irenew.org and click on I-Renew EXPO.

The I-Renew Energy & Sustainability Expo is provided with support from our partners: Iowa Office of Energy Independence, Iowa Energy Center, Alliant Energy's Second Nature Program, Cedar Falls Utilities, Waverly Light & Power, Frontier Natural Products Coop, Center for Energy & Environmental Education and many more.

Excuse me Governor Palin, You Failed to Mention those Pesky Little Facts

Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican Convention outlined her record and was full attacks on Obama. However, she seems to have failed to mention those pesky little facts in her speech.

Palin said...

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.
and the facts say...

As Governor she slashed special needs education by 62%. As Joe Biden says, "don't tell me what you value, show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value."

Palin said...

I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere.

If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves. When oil and gas prices went up dramatically, and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged - directly to the people of Alaska.

and the facts say...

She was in favor of the Bridge to Nowhere while campaigning for governor then was against it when it became a national laughingstock. Then, as Governor, she took the money for the bridge and spent it on something else.

Palin said...
I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.
and the facts say...
As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.
Palin said...
Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions.
and the facts say...

Obama worked with Republican Dick Lugar to pass legislation to track down loose nukes and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.

Palin said...
Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights?
and the facts say...

Obama believes in this piece of paper called the Constitution. You know that thing that gives us our freedoms. Those freedoms the terrorists are jealous of and want to attack us over.

Palin said...

Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.

The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that's now opened for business - like millions of others who run small businesses.

and the facts say...

The independent Tax Policy Center did a study that shows those earning less than $111,000 earn more tax cuts under Obama's tax plan and the majority of McCain's tax cuts go to those that earn more than $600,000.

Palin's speech sounded good, but it would help if she checked her facts next times.

Leave the Kids Alone: Part 2

I agree that the children of candidates should be off limits. Bristol Palin and her family are in a tough situation and comments from the peanut gallery won't help.

However, Republicans aren't innocent on this at all. Here Rush Limbaugh attacks then 13 year old Chelsea Clinton...

Columnist Molly Ivins reported (Arizona Republic 10/17/93) this incident from (Rush) Limbaugh's TV show--"Here is a Limbaugh joke: Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat. Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is a White House dog?" And he puts up a picture of Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea Clinton is 13 years old.
And this comment from John McCain about then 18 year old Chelsea Clinton is despicable...

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father".

-John McCain, 1998

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Difference Between a Hockey Mom and a Pitbull?

A friend's status on Facebook after Sarah Palin's speech...

What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?

I can trust a pit bull to keep me safe.

Leave the Kids Alone: Part 1

I have watched an hour and a half of MSNBC this evening and the Bristol Palin's pregnancy was brought up twice. Once by Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota) and once Republican commentator Pat Buchanan.

I think conservatives should lay off Bristol Palin. She is only 17 and isn't running for vice president, so stop talking about it.

New Poll Shows Obama Up by 15 in Iowa

Barack Obama is leading John McCain 55% to 40% in Iowa in a new Time/CNN poll. Surprisingly, Obama is leading those 65 and older by 11%, 54% to 43%.

Obama has continued to lead McCain in Iowa, but this is the largest lead that I have seen by Obama. Both candidates visited the state a few times since securing their parties nomination, but I think McCain has too much ground to make up after skipping the Iowa caucuses. Obama campaigned all over the state throughout 2007. Iowans know who Barack Obama is and it is looking like he has Iowa's electoral votes locked up.

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

In a post at the Conservative Reader about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter's pregnancy there is this sentence...

It’s unfortunate that the society that has been largely built over the last 50 years on the social philosophy of the extreme Left makes it so difficult for parents to keep their children from engaging in activities that lead to pregnancy.
What the heck is that supposed to mean?

The left wants to make sure teenagers are educated to make smart decisions and have the protection they need to do so. I don't believe education is extreme.

Those Left Behind At the Republican Convention

Hilarious segment from last night's Daily Show...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thoughts on the Republican Convention

I am watching some of the Republican National Convention and the difference between the delegates there and the delegates at the Democratic National Convention is shocking.

The Republican convention looks like a business dinner of old white guys, their wives, and their yuppy sons. The Democratic National Convention, on the other hand, actually looked like America.

What Do Undecided Voters Think of Sarah Palin?

I am far from an undecided voter and over the last few days I have posted about how Sarah Palin is dangerously inexperienced, endorsed Obama's energy plan, and is a flip flopper.

Well, here Republican strategist Frank Luntz asks a focus group of 25 undecided voters what they think of Sarah Palin. Their answers aren't much different than mine.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere Before She was Against It

Sarah Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

From the Anchorage Daily News...

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center.

"I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere," Palin told the cheering McCain crowd, referring to Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge.

But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects
This article at the The New Republic takes a look at Palin's flip flop on the Bridge to Nowhere...
Maybe I've missed something, but it sure looks like she was fine with the bridge in principle, never had a problem with the earmarks, bristled at all the mockery, and only gave up on the project when it was clear that federal support wasn't forthcoming.
Palin hardly sounds like a tough minded, budget cutter that is coming to Washington to reform Government.

Remembering Those Whose Sacrifices Created Labor Day

There is a great history of the Labor Day holiday over at Popular Progressive that I would like to encourage everyone to go read.

As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced.

With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life.
As you sit and relax and enjoy family and friends on this paid day off, it is important to remember the sacrifices of those workers who organized and formed unions and fought for basic worker protections that we enjoy today.

Obama's Labor Day Message