Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama Rally in Des Moines

I was unable to attend the Obama rally in Des Moines this morning.  Instead we had a half day of school where I was stuck with recess duty and am now working on report cards.

KCCI is reporting that 25,000+ were in attendance and they have some video of Obama's speech.

Iowa Independent has great coverage of the rally.
“I won’t stand here and pretend things are going to be easy,” Obama said. “President Bush dug a pretty deep hole, and he’s trying to hand the shovel to John McCain.”

But together, America can overcome the challenges it faces. “In the last eight years we’ve lost the idea that in this American story, each of us has a role to play,” Obama said. 

“We have to re-instill a common purpose. All of us have to summon the strength to bridge our differences. We can’t afford the political tactics that pit us against each other.” 

In the end, Obama paid tribute to the state that gave launched his presidential campaign to the front of the pack. “We started this journey right here,” he said. 

“I will always be grateful to Iowa."

DNR Denies Permit for Hog Confinement in Davis County

I wrote back in September that the winds are changing on the issue of hog confinements after the DNR denied permits to 2 confinements in Dallas County.

Last week, the DNR denied a permit to a hog confinement in Davis County.

From Iowa CCI...

On October 24th, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) denied a 4,960-head hog factory proposal in NW Davis County near Drakesville because, according to the DNR, the permit applications did not meet the minimum legal requirements in the Iowa code. One of the main reasons the DNR denied this proposed hog factory was that it would have been built within the minimum separation distance of 1,875 feet from a neighbor’s residence.

In September, as a result of nearly unanimous public opposition, the Davis County Board of Supervisors recommended that DNR deny this hog factory proposal. The supervisors also challenged the applicant’s master matrix score, the scoring system that large factory farms must pass in order to be allowed to build…

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) 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, decreased quality of life and the damage the factory farm truck traffic would do to the rural roads.

The Board of Supervisors in both Dallas and Davis counties voted against the hog confinements before the permits were sent to the DNR. Unfortunately, the current laws prevent local Board of Supervisors from having any authority on large hog confinements locating in their counties.

Local control would have worked in both cases, yet the current only adds another layer of bureaucracy and limits the voices of local residents.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 New Obama Ads (and 1 Old One)

Heading into the final weekend, Barack Obama has 2 new campaign ads out.

Rearview Mirror


I still think this is his best ad and he should bring it back...

The Great Potential of Harkin's Next Term

In their endorsement of Sen. Tom Harkin, the Des Moines Register outlined the potential of Harkin's 5th term..

In his fifth term, Senator Harkin should aim high and set aside partisan sniping for statesmanship. On the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he should channel his passions for wellness and nutrition into forging legislation that provides health care for all, at long last bringing America into the company of every other industrialized nation. On that same committee, he should shepherd changes in education policy to better prepare all American students for a competitive global economy. And as Agriculture Committee chairman, he should continue his work to expand agriculture's role in producing alternative forms of energy, thus reducing dependence on oil, while protecting soil, water and air. He has the right vision for overhauling federal farm programs: Instead of paying farmers for what they grow, pay them for how well they grow it.

These would be transformational changes in American life and government: Providing health care for all. Expanding educational opportunities for all of America's children. Lessening the nation's dependence on oil while better protecting the environment.

Spearheading significant progress in these areas would create a more compassionate, just and prosperous society - and be crowning achievements for any senator.

With a Democratic Congress and President Obama, Harkin has a chance to shape health care and with No Child Left Behind, he is in position to lead the reform needed in education.

Are you better off?

This ad by Progressive Future, a center-left organizing group based in Denver, shows how history repeats itself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Des Moines Register's 2008 Endorsements

Over the past week, the Des Moines Register has released their endorsements for the upcoming election.

I was eager to see who they'd endorse in the 4th District and their "endorsement" of Leonard Boswell is about as mild of an endorsement as you can give.

1st District... Bruce Braley

When it comes to endorsements, it doesn't get much easier than penning one for Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley. In less than two years, the attorney from Waterloo has made Iowa proud. He deserves to be sent to Washington again.

Indeed, this ambitious and energetic congressman sets the standard for what Iowans should expect from their representatives.

During a recent meeting with Register editors and writers, it was clear how seriously Braley takes his job.

He brought along with him a copy of the economic-bailout legislation, riddled with his notes and highlighted sections He also had a page of scribbled pros and cons he weighed as he sorted through whether to vote for the legislation.
2nd District... Dave Loebsack
Loebsack has proven to be a smart, thoughtful and engaged congressman. A former political-science professor from Mount Vernon, he sees the bigger picture when it comes to politics and the world. He tries to work across the aisle and fully understand the complexities of foreign policy.

Loebsack has earned re-election.
3rd District... Leonard Boswell

After 12 years of light accomplishment and wrongheaded votes, Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell doesn’t deserve to return to Congress.

But his Republican challenger, Kim Schmett of Clive, also fails to make a compelling case that he deserves a congressional seat.

Iowans deserve better.

However, the Register’s editorial board subscribes to the philosophy that if voters must decide, so must we. So the Register gives a weak nod to Boswell, with a list of expectations:

The Register then says that Boswell should announce early in his term that he does not plan to run for reelection in 2010.

4th District... Becky Greenwald

This is the one district that I wasn't sure which way the endorsement was going to go.
Iowa's 4th District has a chance to make history. This state has never sent a woman to Congress, but should do so this election.

Becky Greenwald, a Democrat from Perry, has not made that point the main emphasis of her campaign. She calls herself a candidate who "happens to be female." But she also happens to be a woman with potential to be a leader in Washington.

Iowa should give her that chance.

Greenwald faces 14-year incumbent Tom Latham, a Republican from Ames, who has done some good things in Congress but hasn't developed the kind of in-depth expertise on issues or demonstrated the national leadership Iowans should expect from their investment in his seniority.
5th District... Rob Hubler
When the Register editorial board met recently with Rep. Steve King, the Kiron Republican talked about renewable energy, securing transportation dollars for Highway 20, and the growing budget problems with entitlement programs.

This was the savvy, well-informed King the board endorsed in 2002 and 2004. We had hoped he would blossom as a member of Congress. Unfortunately, any blossoming has been overshadowed by his divisive, fear-mongering commentary.

Fifth District voters should not send him back to Washington. Fortunately, they have a promising alternative: Electing Democrat Rob Hubler, a retired minister from Council Bluffs who has brought himself up to speed and staked out reasonable positions on issues Iowans care about, including the Iraq war, energy and health care.

There isn't enough space in this editorial to list all the times King has embarrassed Iowa.
US Senate...Tom Harkin
Iowans should without hesitation cast their ballots to return Democrat Tom Harkin for his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. With that investment in seniority, however, comes heightened expectations for him to lead in shaping landmark legislation that will benefit Iowans and the nation for decades to come.

Harkin, 68, of Cumming already ranks in the top fifth of senators in seniority. He chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, a powerful role that he's used to nurture Iowa's biofuels industry. And he ranks third in seniority on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, putting him in position to mold a new president's proposals to reform health care and education policy.

Here are the Register's endorsements from 2006.

Investment Plan

I got this forwared to me today from a co-worker...
If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left.

With AIG, you would have less than $15.

With Fannie Mae, you would have two dollars and fifty cents.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling refund, you would have $214 cash.

Clearly, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It’s called the 401-Keg plan.

SD 22: Sodders' Ad Highlights Career in Law Enforcement

Steve Sodders is out with a new ad in Senate District 22 that highlights his career in law enforcement.

Sodders is facing Republican Jarret Heil to replace the retiring Republican Larry McKibben. Senate District 22 covers Marshall and Hardin counties.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hey Obama Supporters

Hey, Obama suppoters. Don't be a donk like this guy.

Get out there and help elect Barack Obama and your local candidates.

If you can spare $10, $20, or more, help expand the Democratic majority in the Iowa House by donating to the Iowa Bloggers Act Blue page.

Obama to Hold Rally in Iowa on Friday, Hopefully in Ames

Barack Obama will be making a trip back to Iowa on Friday and holding a rally in the Des Moines area.  

I am hoping that they hold the rally in Ames on the campus of Iowa State University.  A visit by Obama to the 4th District would be a huge boost to congressional candidate Becky Greenwald.  A poll over the weekend showed Greenwald down by just 5%.  

The same poll showed Greenwald and Obama barely beating Tom Latham and John McCain among voters under 30.  A rally at Iowa State would draw huge crowds and create a loud buzz around campus the weekend before the election.

Whack Job

Last week one McCain advisor called Sarah Palin a diva and now another top McCain advisor has called her a whack job.  

What a combination!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Convicted Senator Ted Stevens Gave Grassley $10,000

The big news today was that Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens being convicted on corruption charges.

Sen. Stevens' Northern Lights PAC gave Charles Grassley $10,000 for his reelection campaign back in 2004.

So how long until Grassley is writing a check to charity for the amount of $10,000? And I don't mean making a donation to Christopher Reed's token opposition to Sen. Harkin.

Wassup 2008

One of the best web videos that I have seen this election...

Here's the original ad back from 2000...

Biden Responds to Rightwing Talking Points

Last week Joe Biden did an interview with a local TV station in Florida. The questions he was asked were full of conservative talking points and Biden did a great job responded to them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain is More of the Same on the Economy

Here's Barack Obama's closing argument...

...after twenty-one months and three debates, Senator McCain still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he'd do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy. Obama will ask Americans to help him change this country, and say that in just one week, they can choose an economy that rewards work and creates new jobs and fuels prosperity from the bottom-up, they can choose to invest in health care for our families and education for our kids and renewable energy for our future, and they can choose hope over fear, unity over division and the promise of change over the power of the status quo.

Daily Kos/Research 2000 Shows Greenwald Down by 5%

In 2006, Latham won by 14% and many expected similar results this election.

However, a Research 2000 did a poll for Daily Kos in Iowa's 4th District. It is the first public poll on this race and it shows the race is tight.

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/20-22. Likely voters. MoE ±5% (no trendlines).

Latham (R-inc) 47
Greenwald (D) 42
Despite the purple nature of the district - IA-04 has a PVI of D+0.4, making it one of the few (slightly) Dem-leaning districts in the country represented by a Republican - Democratic candidate Becky Greenwald has been perceived as the ultimate underdog all cycle. She faces a well-entrenched incumbent in Republican Tom Latham, who has raised more than $1.3 million for his reelection bid.
The key to this poll is that Latham is polling below 50% with just over a week before the election. This shows that despite being a 14 year incumbent, Latham isn't well liked and not known throughout the district.

The poll also shows John McCain beating Barack Obama by a similar margin 47% to 42%. I don't believe McCain is doing that well in the district.

This poll has Obama winning among voters under 30 by just a 46% to 43% margin (Greenwald is up 47% to 43%). A Des Moines Register poll done by Selzer and Co. in mid September showed Obama with a 2 to 1 margin among voters under 35. With Iowa State University being in the 4th district, I believe Obama (and Greenwald) will perform much better among voters under 30.

This poll shows that Greenwald can definitely beat Tom Latham. With just 9 days, it's just a matter getting voters to the polls.

SD 22: Changes in Store for the Iowa Senate

KCCI did a report on the Iowa Senate by taking a look at the race in Senate District 22. They interviewed Democrat Steve Sodders and Republican Jarret Heil. The report is pretty short, but it gives some decent background information on the race.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

What Would Wellstone Do?

It was 6 years today that Paul Wellstone died in plane crash while he was campaigning for reelection to the US Senate.

Elected Democrats would be helped if they would ask themselves on key issues, what would Wellstone do?

Paul Wellstone wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed and what was right...

If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oh the Irony: If McCain had Campaigned in Iowa during the Caucuses

From the Democratic Strategist...

Now, more than two weeks later, with the McCain campaign having told reporters that Iowa is already lost, and with its efforts now being focused on PA, VA, NC, IN, FL, and maybe NH, guess what? Both John McCain and Sarah Palin are going to spend time in Iowa this weekend.

The only thing that's changed in the last couple of weeks is that the one polling outfit that failed to show Obama ahead in Iowa at any point during the entire year--the Big Ten Battleground consortium--now shows Obama up by 13 points. The RealClearPolitics average of Iowa polls for the last month has Obama up by 12.5 points, and comfortably over 50%.

The irony is that if McCain had shown anything like this sort of stubborn interest in Iowa during the Caucus seasons of 2000 and 2008, he might well be in a position to win the state.

Obama: We All Love This Country

Here's video of Obama speaking in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday. Obama counters the McCain's claims about real America...

With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot afford to divide this country by race or class or region; by who we are or what policies we support. There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation - we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SD 22: Which Candidate is a Local Leader?

Republican Jarret Heil's TV ad has been up for a couple weeks now. It is a basic biographical ad. I've seen the ads on CNN, Comedy Central, and ESPN, while his opponent, Steve Sodders' ads are airing on the Des Moines networks.

There are two things that bother me with the ad. First, the ad says that Heil is not a politician, yet he has worked for politicians in Washington DC for the last 5 and half years.

The other thing that bothers me is that the ad says Heil is a local leader. He has only recently moved back to the district a little over a year ago. He might have been active in the community while he was living in DC, but he moved back to the district and shortly after announced he was going to run. He is running to become a local leader.

Steve Sodders has been on the board of the local Red Cross chapter and is on the board of Youth and Shelter Services. He teachers DARE in the schools, coaches soccer, and is a middle school wrestling coach. Heil doesn't have a long list of community involvement and has not been on any local boards like his opponent has. Just because his ad says that he is a local leader doesn't make it so.

Wind Power for Cities

Iowa has made large investments in wind farms. However, Iowa's cities and towns don't need to be left out to dry. Here's a look at the possibilities of wind power in cities.

From CEOs for Cities...

Traditional wind farms require constant wind speed and direction - they also tend to be big, rural, expensive and controversial.

The Chicago company, Aerotecture, has taken a different if not opposite approach. Their turbine is designed to not only work in swirling urban wind, but to be incorporated into building structures themselves. By using a helical blade, this system can capture variable wind directions and speed. The lightweight and versatile design allows for units to be used vertically or horizontally as well as daisy-chained together for more power. Aerotecture also claims they are quiet, safe (for birds) and inexpensive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HD 10: Great Ad from Susan Radke

Susan Radke is runnng against Republican Dave Deyoe in House District 10 in rural Story County. This is a rematch of the 2006, which Deyoe barely won.

This ad from Radke is one of the better ads that I have seen from any candidate...

Latham's Poor Record Supporting Our Troops

Becky Greenwald is out with an ad telling the truth about Latham's abysmal record on veteran's issues.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's Not the Christianity I Know

The Truth About ACORN

We've all head the far right's attacks about voter fraud against ACORN.

Here's a response done by Brave New Films...

Basically for these allegations to be true, a voter registration card would have to be turned will a false name (Mickey Mouse, members of the Dallas Cowboys, etc). These voter registration cards would have to be verified by local board of elections that these are real people and live in that precinct. Then these people would have to show up to vote in that precinct. To effect an election this would have to repeated thousands of times. The whole idea is ridiculous.

The bottom line is that ACORN has registered millions of voters and the fact that only a few of them were wrong shows how good of job ACORN has been doing.

Matthew Yglesias sums it up...

If a pharmaceutical company came out with a new anti-depression drug and gave it to a million people suffering from depression, of whom 970,000 were helped you wouldn’t turn around and conclude that the company was perpetrating a deliberate fraud based on the fact that “tens of thousands” of patients got no relief. You’d say that the medicine was helpful in 97 percent of the indicated cases. ACORN is trying — and succeeding — in an effort to register a lot of new voters.

Proposed Marshalltown Coal Plant Would be one of the State's Top Polluters

The proposed Marshalltown coal plant would be one of Iowa's top 3 polluters of greenhouse gas emissions, despite claims of the plant will use "clean coal" techonology.

From the Des Moines Register...

Research conducted for Iowa's Climate Change Advisory Council, a 23-member group appointed by Gov. Chet Culver, shows emissions in the state have been growing steadily since at least 1990 and will increase 34 percent by 2025. The council has been looking for ways to cut emissions by 50 percent to 90 percent by 2050.

The group, which includes representatives from utilities, universities, industries and government, is expected to make recommendations to the Legislature in December.

Nathaniel Baer, who follows energy issues for the nonprofit Iowa Environmental Council, said the inventory shows Iowa is heading in the wrong direction, trying to add two new coal plants in Marshalltown and Waterloo, instead of finding alternatives and reducing the harmful gases.

The Marshalltown plant would rank second or third in the state on greenhouse gas emissions and worsen the problem, Baer said.

"At a time when we need to be leveling our emissions and looking for ways to reduce them, we have utilities raising emissions by huge proportions," he said.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama Cancels Event in Iowa on Thursday

Just got this email from the Obama campaign about Obama's scheduled campaign stop in Des Moines on Thursday...

Senator Barack Obama’s visit to Iowa on Thursday has been cancelled. Please see the below statement from Senior Adviser Robert Gibbs.

"Senator Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has always been one of the most important people in his life. Along with his mother and his grandfather, she raised him in Hawaii from the time he was born until the moment he left for college. As he said at the Democratic Convention, she poured everything she had into him.

“Recently, his Grandmother has become ill, and in the last few weeks, her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Senator Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her. He will be returning the the campaign trail on Saturday."

McCain Considering to Concede Colorado, Iowa and focus on Pennsylvania

All summer long I have said that Obama can win without winning Ohio and Florida by winning Iowa, New Mexico, and either Colorado or Virginia.

This afternoon Chris Bowers at Open Left echoed my thoughts by saying this race depends on two states: Colorado and Virginia. Most election predictions have Obama having secured 264 electoral votes and either Colorado or Virginia would put him over the top even without winning Florida and Ohio.

If you are worried that Obama's lead is shrinking, my advice is simply to look to Colorado and Virginia. As long as he is ahead in one of those two states, then he is still headed to victory. Right now, he is so far ahead in both states, that there is virtually no chance he would the election. We have also been on real winning streaks in both states recently, picking up the Colorado Governorship (we already had the Virginia Governorship), two--and soon to be all four--U.S. Senate seats, two--and soon to be three or four--U.S. House seats, not to mention three of the four branches of the state legislatures. In other words, these are just not states where Democrats have been losing much at all.

Colorado and Virginia serve as a very strong two-state firewall. And remember, Obama only needs one.
Then this evening it was announced on CNN it was announced McCain is considering conceding Colorado and focus his campaign entirely on Pennsylvania.

From Colorado Independent...

CNN’s chief national correspondent, John King, reported Monday afternoon that John McCain’s campaign has decided Colorado “is gone,” and Democrat Barack Obama will likely win the state.

Describing the “tough decisions” being made at the “top of the McCain campaign” with two weeks to go until the election, King said the Republican’s team is headed toward adopting a “risky strategy” that concedes Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa to Obama while going all in on the chance of winning Pennsylvania, a state where the Democrat has recently led in the polls by double digits.

This move would mean McCain is putting all of his chips in Pennsylvania, a state that Bush lost in both 2000 and 2004.


Here's video of King's report on CNN...

Obama's Going to Win Popular Vote, Still Questions about Electoral College

Yesterday, I heard Chuck Todd on Meet the Press say that Obama is pretty much a lock to win the popular vote.

Marc Ambinder

Whatever happens, Barack Obama is likely to do much better in red states than John Kerry did and will drive up turnout in blue states.

George W. Bush beat John Kerry by more than ten points in 21 states. By my projections, Obama is competitive is six of those states and has the wherewithal to reduce the gap significantly (but probably not win) in two others. For example: Bush won by 20+ points in Indiana. (McCain will win by less than five -- if he wins). Bush won by more than 10 points in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas -- Obama is likely to break 44% in both of them. Obama is likely to break 47% in Missouri -- if he doesn't win.

The upshot is, frankly, that Obama has a better chance to get more total votes than McCain simply by virtue of where is already competitive and how large and distributed his GOTV machine is. Now -- in all likelihood -- if this vote does materialize, it won't somehow skip the battleground states unless they really are in a different dimension.

So the scenarios we're left with:

1. Obama wins the popular vote and the electoral vote.
2. Obama wins the popular vote and McCain wins the electoral vote

SD 22: Sodders' Campaign Ad

Here is Steve Sodders campaign ad that is playing on network TV in the Des Moines market.

Sodders is running in SD-22 against Republican Jarret Heil to replace the retiring Larry McKibben. SD-22 cover Marshall and Hardin counties.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sen. Durbin Campaigning for Obama in Tama

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was in Iowa on Friday and Saturday campaigning for Barack Obama. I was able to attend an event on Friday afternoon in Tama.

There were around 20 or so people there on a rainy Friday afternoon. Gary Lamb, decked in a cowboy hot and boots, gave a great introduction of Sen. Durbin, saying that he is no Joe the Plumber, but Gary the Farmer.

Sen. Durbin came with two key messages. First, Durbin said that if Obama doesn't win Iowa then he doesn't win the election. He said there are 50 campaign offices and over 100 staff working throughout the state. However, Durbin said they can't do it all and need the help from volunteers and people talking to their friends and neighbors.

Second, Durbin focused on how John McCain just does not understand the Midwestern economy and way of life. He pointed to McCain saying he doesn't support ethanol in the last debate and his vote against the farm bill that Tom Harkin worked so hard on.

Durbin then opened it up for some questions. One man in the audience told Sen. Durbin that the Buttercow lady is from Tama. Last summer she made a bust of Obama out of butter now it is being stored in the Buttercow lady's freezer. The man wanted to know if there was anyway the sculpture could be displayed at the Smithsonian or at the White House if Obama is elected.

Durbin ended by mentioning again how important it is for people to volunteer to help Obama win and help Democrats down the ticket.

After the event, many of the people stayed to volunteer to make calls and put together walk lists for the weekend canvasses.

What has been the biggest issue the past week?

According to Fox News it is Bill Ayers and ACORN and not the economy.

From Daily Kos...

Based on a search of closed caption data gathered since Sunday, FNC has mentioned the GOP's favorite issues (ACORN and Ayers) nearly thirty percent more frequently than they mentioned the GOP's least favorite issues, the economy and the middle class.

The numbers are staggering:

  • Combined, FNC has mentioned "ACORN" or "Ayers" 1,231 times
  • Compare that to 963 references to "economy" or "middle class"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama's Comedy Tour

Barack Obama spoke on Thursday night at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner and was pretty funny...

Who is Still Voting Republican This Year?

This a great post about at MyDD that I'd thought I'd share...

Republicans don't like people who are Arab.

Republicans don't like people who drink wine.

Republicans don't like people who eat lettuce.

Republicans don't like people who live in cities or suburbs.

Republicans don't like people who now think that the Iraq war was a mistake.

Republicans don't like people who are Hispanic or speak Spanish, unless they are pro-torture.

Republicans don't like people who are gay, unless they STFU about wanting to marry the people they love.

Republicans don't like people who organize unions or want better treatment and more protection from their employers at work.

Republicans don't like people who are professionals or college educated, unless those people pretend to be 'folksy' latte-haters.

Republicans don't like people who take the extreme position that people who are women are just as good as people who are men.

Republicans don't like people who are offended by the use of racist threats and stereotypes targeted towards people who are Black.

Who's left over after all that? Republicans, I guess. Real Americans, some Republicans might say. Other people might call them 27-37% of American adults, depending on whether you count the leaners.

Now probably a good few of the leaners don't pass the full 'real American' screen, but let's be generous, and say that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann would consider about 30 percent of American citizens to be real, pro-American types.

Once again, with feeling, this is "inherently ridiculous."

If there are any Republican reading this, please tell me why you are still voting Republican this year.

I still think to vote for the party that gave us the past eight years is not optimism. It's clinical denial.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Polls Show Obama Leading by 34% Among Early Voters

Democrats have historical done a better job of winning the early voter numbers and Barack Obama is no different.

A Survey USA poll done October 8th and October 9th shows that Barack Obama is leading John McCain by 34% among those who have voted early. 65% to 31%.

"I Should Have a Choice About This"

This commercial ran right after the debate on MSNBC...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Palin as President

Oh dear, check out this website about what it would be like if Sarah Palin actually was the President.

Yepsen Says McCain Lost the Debate

This time around, David Yepsen says McCain lost debate...

John McCain lost the final debate of the 2008 presidential campaign Wednesday night. As a result, he may well have lost the election, too.

Oh, the Arizona senator did a nice job in the forum. Trouble is, it wasn’t good enough. Barack Obama did an adequate job, too.

McCain simply needed a breakout performance and he failed to provide one. He went into the forum trailing Obama in polls of the contest and he came out of in the same position. By doing so, McCain missed his biggest remaining opportunity to change the direction of the presidential contest.

I listened to most of the debate on the radio and thought McCain didn't pretty well, but failed to deliver the knock out punch needed. Then I saw some clips from the debate and McCain looked irritated, rolled his eyes, and interrupted Obama often.

Democracy Corps summed up my feelings...
John McCain entered tonight’s debate needing to halt Barack Obama’s momentum and fundamentally change the dynamic of the race.Not only did he fail to achieve this goal, McCain dug himself an even deeper hole.Undecided voters watching the debate felt McCain gave a decidedly un-presidential performance, appearing rude, negative, and easily flustered – a stark contrast to Barack Obama’s cool, commanding presence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Presidential Debate Liveblog

I am live blogging the presidential debate on Twitter and then I'll post everything here once the debate is finished.

commoniowan: Here are the instapolls...CNN poll of debate viewers: Obama 58%, McCain 31% and CBS poll of uncommitted voters: Obama 53%, McCain 22%

commoniowan: McCain saying "I'm not President Bush" sounded a lot like Nixon saying "I'm not a crook."

commoniowan: Obama "It's time to invest in the American people again."

commoniowan: Vouchers only let the best and brightest leave the public school system while leaving those with most need in an under funded school.

commoniowan: McCain isn't saying "my friends" tonight. It seems his only friend is Joe Plumber.

commoniowan: Obama's playing too much defense and not enough offense

commoniowan: Obama should say that McCain's running ads calling me a terrorist. That's far worse than an ad citing differences in our health care plans.

commoniowan: As a teacher this finger pointing sounds really childish. "Your ads say this and this" and "you said this first."

commoniowan: Obama "I can handle being attacked for the next 3 weeks. What the American people can't afford is 4 more years of failed economic policies."

commoniowan: McCain says that if only Obama had done townhall meetings then he would not have had to run such a negative campaign.

commoniowan: McCain says he is not Bush and if Obama wanted to run against Bush then he should have run 4 years ago

commoniowan: There's a sense of urgency in McCain's voice tonight that wasn't there in the first two debates.

commoniowan: McCain reminds people that he is really old by saying, "during the depression, you might remember..."

commoniowan: McCain once again forgets that the vast majority of corporations don't pay any at all.

commoniowan: Forget Joe Sixpack, now we have Joe the Plumber.

commoniowan: McCain just said that he has a plan that he has outlined but he isn't going to tell people about it n the debate.

Video from Kerry event in Marshalltown

I hurried out of school today at lunch to go see John Kerry at the Iowa Veterans Home. Kerry was in Iowa today campaigning for Barack Obama. He made stops in Waterloo, Marshalltown, Ames, Waukee, and Des Moines.

The event was scheduled to start at 11;30, but I couldn't leave school until 11:40. Knowing there was a good chance that the event would start a few minutes behind schedule, I thought I'd get to see a good portion of it. However, the event must have started on time because I only caught the last few questions.

Kerry was asked by a veteran about the possibility of another economic stimulus check. The person said many residents of the Iowa Veterans Home were not eligible for a stimulus check and if they give out another one if something could be done. Kerry said that the government needs to focus on creating jobs and not on writing more checks.

Kerry was then asked by a man, who is supporting Obama and is Catholic, about the abortion issue.

As I was walking out, there were veterans registering to vote and filling out requests for absentee ballots. I didn't get a head count of how many people were there, but you could feel the excitement for the upcoming election in the room.

Greenwald Gets Supports from DCCC

Bleeding Heartland reported yesterday that the DCCC named Becky Greenwald to their Red to Blue list.

The Greenwald campaign released this statement...

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today added Becky Greenwald to its "Red to Blue" program. Becky earned a spot in the competitive program by establishing significant local support and skillfully showing Iowa's voters that she stands for change and will represent new priorities.

The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. The program introduces Democratic supporters to new, competitive candidates in order to help expand the fundraising base for their campaigns.

"We are thrilled to have the complete backing and support of the national Democratic Party," said Becky Greenwald. "Today, I challenged Tom Latham to debate me on television after the 14-year incumbent attacked me for the first time in this race. His campaign must be sensing the strong support for my campaign. This election is too important not to debate the issues facing our working families in front of a television audience."

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said, "Becky Greenwald is running a solid campaign and is committed to making things easier for middle class families in their districts. With less than 21 days to make her case for change to voters, the Red to Blue program will give Becky the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November."

Red to Blue was a proven success in the 2006 cycle. In 2006, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $22.6 million for 56 campaigns averaging $404,000 per campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.

This is a great sign of support from national Democrats and shows they see this race as tightening. Expect to Greenwald airing more TV and radio ads and expect more big name Democrats coming to campaign with Democrats.

Blog Action Day 2008: Rewarding Work

This post is a part of Blog Action Day 2008, which attempts to change the conversation for one day to an important subject that affects our world. In 2008, that subject is poverty.

A friend of mine responded to Obama saying that he might raise capital gains tax by saying that it represents the socialist ideology and asked my opinion.

Here's my response...

Raising the capital gains tax is a question of priorities.

Do you want to reward wealth or do you want to reward hard work?

A low capital gains tax rewards wealthy day traders that sit by one of their pools and trade stocks, while middle class families that work in factories, as nurses, as teachers, and own small businesses end up paying a larger percent of their income in taxes.

We must reward the hard work that creates wealth. People shouldn't pay lower taxes on the money they make from the fact they have money than families pay on the money they make from hard work.

There are many people who are working two jobs, yet still find themselves below the poverty level and unable to afford insurance. That shows that our nation's priorities are messed up.

It wasn't the wealthy that made America great, it was the hard work by Americans that made this a great country. We will not be able to help people get out of poverty and provide health insurance to all Americans until we begin to reward work once again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama's Wind Job Creation Package

Last week Gov. Culver unveiled Barack Obama's plan to invest in renewable and create thousands of green collar jobs in wind energy industries.

“The outcome of this election is very important to the future of Iowa’s wind industry,” said Governor Culver. “The wind industry has created more than 2,000 green-collar jobs in Iowa over the last two years, and Barack Obama has a detailed plan to further invest in wind energy and make wind energy a federal priority.”
Gov. Culver spoke at Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids and TPI Composites in Newton, which announced over the weekend they would be adding hundreds of jobs in Newton.

Here are the details of Obama's plan...

  • Requiring 10 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will establish a 10 percent federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 10 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S. is derived from clean, sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal by 2012.
  • Extend the federal Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) for 5 years. Extending the federal Wind Production Tax Credit for five years will encourage the industry to grow and increase production of renewable energy.
  • Invest in a Smart Grid. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will pursue a major investment in our national utility grid using smart metering, distributed storage and other advanced technologies to accommodate 21st century energy requirements: greatly improved electric grid reliability and security, a tremendous increase in renewable generation and greater customer choice and energy affordability.
  • Double Farm Bill funding for wind programs. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – expanded in the 2008 Farm Bill – built on the successful Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency incentives for locally-owned wind power, biofuels, energy efficiency, solar energy and other clean energy projects like methane digesters. Demand for this program far exceeds available funding by about a three to one margin. To close that gap, Barack Obama and Joe Biden propose doubling this program to increase incentives for locally-owned wind power.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Expanding the Majority: John Beard in House District 16

Iowa Democrats have a great chance to expand their majority in the Iowa House. Democrats currently hold a 53-47 advantage. With just over 2 weeks left until the election, it is critical to support strong progressive candidates in these close races.

This week I will be featuring some great candidates throughout the state that are in tight races and asking for donations through the Iowa Blogs Expanding the Majority Act Blue page. Please consider donating however much you can afford to help out these great candidates.

The first featured candidate is John Beard in House District 16, which includes Allamakee and part of Winneshiek County in northeast corner of Iowa. Beard is running in an open seat to replace the retiring Chuck Gipp.

I am supporting John because he has advocated for one of my top issues throughout his campaign. Beard supports clean elections and the VOICE bill, saying that it is a key to restoring accountability in our government.

We must adopt public financing of campaigns, or voter-owned clean elections. In the seven states which have them, they have been proven to restore accountability, to bring a focus on the common good, and to renew participation in the democratic process. Greater participation not only strengthens our democracy but improves almost every process we undertake.
John Beard is running to give common Iowans their VOICE back in Des Moines. Please support John by donating today.

A couple weeks the Iowa Blogs Expanding the Majority Act Blue page surpassed the $1,000 mark. We have a goal of 20 donors by the end of the month.

Please consider donating John and these great candidates today and help expand the Democratic majority in the Iowa House.

John Kerry Campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday

John Kerry is scheduled to be campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday.

I don't have all the details except that Kerry will start the day in Waterloo, then will be in Marshalltown at 11:15, Ames at 12:45, before going to Waukee.

The Obama campaign is calling these events early voting rally, as Kerry will be making a push for people to vote early and to volunteer for the final weeks before the election.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pastor Speaking at McCain Rally Says This Election is a Religious War

The big news from John McCain's rally on Saturday in Davenport didn't come from McCain and happened before the Senator was even on stage.

During the invocation Rev. Arnold Conrad, past pastor of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, equated this election with a religious war.

From John Deeth...

"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god - whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah - that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons," Conrad said.

"And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day."
There are all kinds of nuts that say crazy things, but Rev. Conrad was part of the official program, spoke in front of the entire audience right before McCain came on stage, and was chosen by the campaign to speak.

I have been to enough campaign events to know that these things are extremely well-planned for, scripted, and staged. Any campaign worth a dime would have at least asked Rev. Conrad about what he would say. Either McCain's campaign is full of morons or they knew what Conrad was going to say and let him do it.

After the event the McCain campaign issued this statement...
"While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama's judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief." - Wendy Riemann, Midwest Regional Communications Director
That is all fine and dandy, but these words came at an official event with your candidate, with your campaign signs plastered all over the place. If McCain really wanted to focus on the issue then he could easily put an end to all the attacks that are taking place by others at his campaign events.

Register Looks at Obama and McCain's Education Plans

The Des Moines Register took a look at the differences between Barack Obama and John McCain's education plans and they conclude that Obama's plan is better.

That's because Senator McCain in large measure relies on what he calls the fundamental principles of competition and choice. He favors government vouchers so parents can choose their child's school and believes this market factor would lead to higher-quality education.

One problem: Vouchers send public dollars to private, religious schools, a church-state line that should not be crossed. Another: While some families may indeed benefit, others will lose out. Vouchers would drain dollars from some public schools, yet some children still would attend them, left to learn with less.

That would not deliver equal access to excellent education for all.

The United States should be able to boast about outstanding public schools everywhere, for every child.

Obama's vision for education would move the country closer to seeing that happen. His plan calls for making math and science education a "national priority" - recognizing that U.S. youngsters lag peers worldwide in these subjects.

Obama also understands many children need a broader support system. He would expand after-school programs and start initiatives in middle schools to cut high school dropout rates. That receives less emphasis from McCain, who would offer access to tutoring for struggling students.

The Register then talks about Obama's plan to give college students a $4,000 tax credit to pay for tuition. The tax credit would basically cover the cost of community college and would allow more students to further education and gain the job training they need to compete in the global economy.

Palin Violated State Ethics Law

On Friday, a bipartisan panel of state legislators in Alaska found Sarah Palin violated state ethics law and "abused her power as Alaska's governor in the firing of her former public safety commissioner, but violated no laws."

Palin's response to the report...

"If you read the report, you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin said as boarded her campaign bus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You got to read the report."
Palin says she did nothing even though the report says she violated state ethics law and abused her power as Governor.

She's starting to sound a lot like Dick Cheney.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama Knew the Attacks Were Coming

Great video from the Jed Report...

Palinex: A New Morning After Pill

After Sarah Palin was found to abuse her power as Governor of Alasaka, do you think McCain wishes he actually vetted Sarah Palin before picking her as his VP?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Biden "Look him in eyes and say it"

One Candidate Wants Their State to Secede From the United State

Sarah Palin and her husband have been members of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that's wants to secede from the United States. Palin even addressed this year's Alaskan Independence Party's convention.

McCain Wants to Cut Medicare by $1.3 Trillion

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Georgia Senate Race Really Close

A third poll in the past week show Democrats with a shot at picking up a Senate seat in Georgia. Yes, Georgia.

And yet more confirmation that this is a real race, from a Republican pollster, no less:

Strategic Vision (R). 10/5-7. Likely voters. MoE 3% (9/7-9 results)

Chambliss (R) 47 (57)
Martin (D) 44 (28)
Buckley (L) 4 (-)

Can you believe those trendlines? Just savor them for a moment -- from minus 29 to minus 3, in just a month.

Open Left's Senate Forecast predicts Democrats will pick up 8 seats, which would give Democrats 59 counting Lieberman.

Getting to 60 seats in the Senate isn't out of the question, but would be hard to get. There are 4 other seats where the poll averages show Republicans leading by less than 7 which includes this race in Georgia, McConnell's seat in Kentucky, Cornyn in Texas, and the race to replace Trent Lott in Mississippi.

Cutting Back v. Expansion

In Tuesday's debate Barack Obama and John McCain were asked what programs they would cut back in these bad economic times. That is the wrong way to think about how to put the economy back on track.

From Open Left...

There's a pervasive frame that when times get tough, we've got to tighten our belts. Just as families cut back on niceties like vacations in the Bahamas, the government needs to cut back on frills like Medicare and Social Security. But while this might make some sense for families (it depends), it's nonsense for the government.

The reason is simple. Like it or not, our economy works because of a constant flow of money -- when you buy vacations, money goes to the airlines, who use it to hire airport staff and buy planes, which means more people building airplanes, who means more people building airplane parts, which means more people building machine tools, and so on. There's a word for what happens when all these people cut back: a recession. The money dries up, suddenly folks find themselves out of a job, and everybody left has to take a paycut to "stay competitive".

Belt-tightening means pulling even more money out, which means even more jobless and weakened. The only way to get things moving again is if the government counteracts these trends by investing -- getting more money into the economy so that it starts bulking up instead of cutting back.

This is what we learned during the Great Depression -- Herbert Hoover's fiscal austerity did little, but FDR's Works Progress Administration got America going by paying folks to build public buildings, write books, distribute food, and so on. Many of their books and buildings can still be seen today.

Government has the responsibility to help put people to work and strengthen our economy. They could do this by investing in passenger rail, renewable energy, updating our electrical grid, nationwide high speed internet, and fixing a few bridges along the way.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Obama Surpasses 4 Million Donor Mark


"Interviewed on MSNBC, Obama strategist David Axelrod revealed that 4 million individuals have now donated to the Obama camp. That's up from 2.5 million last month, meaning -- if our math is correct -- that 1.5 million new people gave money to Obama. So how big will Obama's September fundraising haul be? It looks like it might be BIG. Will it top the 100-million mark? (1.5 million new donors at 100 a pop... Well, you get the math.)"

Running Up the Score

John Deeth has some excellent analysis about the November election that is even more true after Obama's win in last night's debate...

From here on out this is about running up the score. It's about coattails. It's about the 58th and 59th and 60th Democratic Senators -- and, we hope, the 61st so we can finally consign Joe Lieberman to his own caucus of one. Georgia is in play, and in North Carolina Elizabeth Dole is a goner.

It's about House races on the bubble, like Judy Baker in Missouri 9 and Becky Greenwald in Iowa 4 and dozens -- yes, dozens -- of others. It retrospect, it almost seems like the Republicans saw this collapse coming, and the Palin pick was designed to hold the GOP base vote at x, rather than x minus y (y being a Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin or Stay At Home protest vote) to hold a few seats.

It's about making this a realigning year that finally kills off the Nixon-Reagan era Republican Southern Strategy and consigns the GOP to a Flags, Fags and Fetuses base from which recovery is impossible and reinvention is necessary. The Republicans won the battles of the 80s and 90s by pulling Democrats to the right and making us fight on their turf, and a big 2008 win followed by a 2012 landslide over a Palin or a Huckabee can do the same. I'd rather spend the 2010s battling a libertarian Republican Party than a theocratic Republican Party.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

That One?

Is that John McCain or the Joker?

Howard Fineman said on MSNBC that there was no racial undertone by McCain, but it was just McCain being an old man and compared it to Grandpa yelling at the grandkids. I don't know, but that soundbite is the one that will be most remembered from this election.

McCain showed that he really does dislike Obama after the debate. Here's the post debate handshake or lack of handshake...

Polls Show Decisive Win in Debate by Obama

Polls released following the debate show a decisive win tonight by Barack Obama.

  • CNN's poll of debate viewers shows Obama in a landslide: Obama 54%, McCain 30%.
  • CBS poll of 400 independent voters show 39% thought Obama won, 35% said it was a draw, and 27% said McCain won.
Hardly the game changer that McCain needed to get back into this race.

2nd Presidential Debate Liveblog

Once again I will be live blogging the 2nd presidential debate on Twitter and then I'll post everything here once the debate is finished.


commoniowan: Chris Matthews connects the dots after debate saying McCain stayed away from the character attacks because he doesn't feel comfortable doing it, but he is just fine with his surrogates calling Obama a terrorist.

MSNBC's test group from Pennsylvania showed independents moving more towards Obama during tonight's debate.

commoniowan: The rules sucked in this debate. It prevented the candidates from responding to each and talking about issues. It seemed like a tattlefest.

commoniowan: McCain calls Obama "that one." My friend that was really poor taste. Obama is a colleague of yours in the United States Senate.

commoniowan: I feel like I am watching a rerun of the 1st debate. Obama wants to meet without preconditions, Obama wants diplomacy, etc.

commoniowan: When asked if Russia should be part of the axis of evil? Obama should say the with us or against attitude isn't the way to defeat terrorism.

commoniowan: Didn't McCain say we were going to attack Iran when he sang "Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran"?

commoniowan: McCain must have misplaced his flag pin once again because he isn't wearing one. Doesn't he loved America?

commoniowan: Sorry Sen. McCain, my friend, if we did what Obama wanted, we would never have invaded Iraq in the first place.

commoniowan: Obama says he doesn't understand everything, like why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

commoniowan: How will the economy affect our peace making ability? McCain says it hurt our ability to have a strong military. Hey, guns don't win peace.

commoniowan: Obama says something is wrong with a country as wealthy as ours with so many people uninsured, people going bankrupt because of health care costs.

commoniowan: Is health care a privilege, a right, or a responsibility? McCain says it is a responsibility. Obama says it is a right.

commoniowan: Obama's doing a great job explaining his health care plan. Now going after McCain's health care tax that would tax benefits as income.

commoniowan: Obama: "I will give tax cuts to 95% of Americans. If you make under $250,000 a year you won't see an increase in taxes."

commoniowan: McCain says he doesn't want to give the wealthy tax cuts.

commoniowan: Obama takes it to McCain about the need to adjust revenue and not give millionaires $700,000 more in tax cuts.

commoniowan: Obama says we must ask ourselves how they can save energy and providing incentives. He talks about national service to help communities.

commoniowan: Asked what we would sacrifice and McCain says we have to sacrifice some government programs, you know like Medicare.

commoniowan: McCain asked about priorities says we can do it all. Then says we spend to much money. What gives? Oh yeah, McCain plans to cut Medicare.

commoniowan: McCain should stop walking around. He looks like he is stumbling all over the place.

commoniowan: McCain is basically saying the bailout isn't enough and we need another bailout to buy bad mortgages. How much does he want to give away?

commoniowan: Obama explains the credit crunch and says that small businesses won't make payroll. He says he asked for action on mortgage crisis in 2006.

commoniowan: McCain fails to answer the question about how the bailout plan helps the average worker. Instead he blames Obama and his cronies in DC.

commoniowan: McCain says it starts with energy independency, cutting taxes for all Americans, and cut spending. He says we must stabilize home values.

commoniowan: On the economy and Obama says that it is the effect of 8 years of Republican economics based on deregulation and helping the wealthy.

commoniowan: With Obama surging in the polls in every battleground state McCain needs a game changer tonight.

Eyeing Grassley's Seat in 2010

This morning I wrote about the Democrat's chances in the US Senate in 2010. That got me thinking about Sen. Grassley, who is up for reelection in 2010. However, he will be 77 at that time and there's a good chance he migh retire.

Iowa Democrats have some very good options to run for his seat in Tom Vilsack and Bruce Braley. Depending on how the State legislature fares over the next 2 years, Mike Gronstal and Pat Murphy could emerge as good candidates for Senate as well.

Iowa Republicans gave Harkin a pass in 2008. With Culver running for reelection in 2010, as well, Iowa Republicans would need to find 2 solid candidates. Steve King, Christopher Rants, Bill Northey, and Chuck Larson are the leading names today.

It is looking like if Grassley retires in 2010 the seat would a great opportunity for Democrats to pick up.

Democrats Looking Safe in 2010 US Senate Races

It is looking like Democrats will pick anywhere from 6-10 Senate seats this election. Republicans, however, think things are looking much better for them in 2010 though.

From Daily Kos...

Republicans lament 2008, but they profess hope for 2010:

One indication of the Republicans’ mood: They’re already looking past this grim election season.

“2010 looks pretty good for us to pick up three or four or five seats pretty easily,” the McCain official said.

Boy, delusional to the end. As I've written before, the 2010 map looks even better for us, on paper, than this one did earlier this cycle.

First, the Democrats:

Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln
California: Barbara Boxer
Colorado: Ken Salazar
Connecticut: Chris Dodd
Hawaii: Daniel Inouye
Illinois: Barack Obama
Indiana: Evan Bayh
Maryland: Barbara Mikulski
Nevada: Harry Reid
North Dakota: Byron Dorgan
Oregon: Ron Wyden
Vermont: Patrick Leahy
Washington: Patty Murray
Wisconsin: Russ Feingold

There's a strong chance of retirements in Hawaii and Maryland. Maryland would be an easy hold, but Hawaii has a popular Republican governor who could make a race out of it. The GOP may make a stab at Lincoln in Arkansas, but they couldn't even muster up a challenger against freshman incumbent Mark Pryor this year. They have no bench in the state. They'll also go after Murray in Washington, and Feingold in Wisconsin, but if they couldn't get ousted in the far more Republican year of 2004, 2010 shouldn't be much more difficult for them. And given the pathetic state of the Colorado GOP, Ken Salazar should hold on easily.

Kos concludes...

So off the bat, we have 13 potentially competitive GOP-held seats, and few Democratic takeovers. So no, 2010 won't give Republicans 5-6 "easy" pickups. That's ludicrous.

Things will be much different in 2012 and 2016 when we're slated to play HUGE defense (defending our gains from 2006 and this year). Republicans can brag about the gains they'll make those years because chances are they will. But 2010? Heck no. At this pace, we're headed toward a 65-70-seat Democratic majority in the Senate by the end of 2010.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Harnessing the Power of the Creative Economy

With the collapse of the financial market, the creative economy becomes more vital for regions and cities to cultivate.

One of reasons we believe the creative economy/society is different from the industrial and agricultural economies is that it relies on a resource (creativity), that every single human being has. The question is whether our institutions and their leaders can provide mechanisms and devices that support the individual in exercising their creativity productively.
Policies must be put into place that value people over profit and reward work over wealth. This will help unleash the power of the creative economy, empower people, and revitalize local economies.

One thing that needs to be put into place is a national high speed internet policy.
Virtually every other advanced country has explicit proactive national broadband policies. We're the only country that doesn’t. I think the question is whether we have the political will to move beyond largely ideologically fights and bickering to get on with the task, which is to get faster broadband and get it to more places and more people.
A national high speed internet policy would increase productivity, make rural areas competitive in the global economy, and empower innovation.

Stop Spending Like There's No Tomorrow

Here is a great commercial about our national debt from Scott Kleeb, Democratic candidate for Senate in Nebraska.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mental Health Parity Bill Passes

Popular Progressive has some information on the Wellstone Mental Healh Parity bill that passed in the bailout bill last week.

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 is a major step forward to end discrimination in insurance coverage for people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The legislation states that insurance plans may not place arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on mental health and addiction coverage as compared to medical/surgical coverage. Millions of individuals and families have been affected by the inability to access equal coverage for mental health and addiction care.
It's about time. This bill first passed in the Senate in 1996, so it's been 12 long years for it to become law.

Springsteen Performs at Obama Rally

Yesterday, Bruce Springsteen performed at an Obama rally in Philadelphia.

Here is some of what he had to say and video...

I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one instruction: Do your best to make these things real: opportunity, equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.

I've spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. For many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities, the distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.

I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. I believe he understands, in his heart, the cost of that distance, in blood and suffering, in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous administration of the past 8 years, we need someone to lead us in an American reclamation project. In my job, I travel the world, and occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I've continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people's hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Analysis of the Vice Presidential Debate

The best analysis that I read this morning about the debate came from DemFromCT at Daily Kos...

  • Joe Biden is the story for me, not Sarah Palin. I was delighted but not surprised with his remarkably strong and empathetic performance. Joe is a strong Democrat, and a proud family man. He's smart, he's experienced, and he can <> be disciplined. If there's a candidate who exceeded realistic expectations, it was Biden who knocked it out of the park and exposed Palin for the attractive, but callow, candidate she really is. His discussion of his injured family was the deal-maker for the audience, a moment Palin handled awkwardly afterwards in her response.
  • Sarah Palin's expectations were ridiculously low, set by the punditocracy that, as Jon Stewart might say, is hurting this country. Get a grip, folks. No one cares whether Andrea Mitchell thinks Palin reached her (Mitchell's) expectations. They want to know whether Sarah Palin can help the family pay the mortgage and pay the college tuition bill.
  • Two completely separate conversations go on about Sarah Palin. She's lost thoughtful conservatives and independents, and Democrats were never her audience. Social conservatives and wingers like Pat Buchanan may love her, but who cares? Buchanan, I will remind the media, was a fringe candidate who did very poorly when he ran. Palin's audience may love her but they are a small portion of the electorate and they do not count any more. This is not a base election. It will take a loss for the media to get it.
Here's my liveblog from last night in case you missed it.