Sunday, November 30, 2008

Republicans Pick Up House Seat in District 37

Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids) lost his bid for reelection as the results of the recount in House District 37 by just 13 votes. Republican Renee Schulte was announced the winner yesterday.

Final results showed Schulte with 8,628 votes and Staed with 8,615 votes, according to Linn County Auditor Joel Miller. The three-member recount board began its work Sunday, Nov. 23 and worked all week, only taking a break for Thanksgiving Day.
Democrats will now hold a 56-44 advantage in the upcoming legislative session. Democrats picked up 6 seats, but but lost 3 seats they previously held, for a net of 3 seats.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thank You Sarah Palin!

I thought this video of Daily Show highlights of Sarah Palin coverage is fitting to post on this Thanksgiving weekend...

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Shopocalypse is Coming

On this Black Friday remember Rev. Billy's call that the Shopocalypse is coming!

Here's the beginning of the documentary What Would Jesus Buy..

Try to buy locally if possible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Harry Reid's Not That Popular in His Home State

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not very popular in his home state.  In a Daily Kos poll conducted by Research 2000, only 32% of Nevadans say they would reelect Reid,  41% say they would replace him, and 23%  would consider voting for another candidate.

In a head to head mathcup against former Rep. Jon Porter, who lost this reelection this past election, Reid is only winning by 6%.
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 11/23-25. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)
Reid (D) 46 
Porter (R) 40
Kos concludes...
This race will clearly be a marquee 2010 battle. It may very well be the only serious pickup opportunity for Republicans. So we'll have a majority leader who is under serious electoral pressure at home, who is deeply unliked by his own constituents, leading our Senate caucus. If you think the cautious and ineffective Reid of the past two years was bad, we may be in store for much worse in the coming year.

Fallon to Guest Host Mickleson in the Morning on Thursdaay and Friday

From my inbox...

Trying to follow Wall Street these days is like watching your kid learn to play tennis – balls and rackets are flying up and down, but you're never quite sure where they're going to land. Home sales are down and foreclosures are up. Gas prices were way up; now they’re down, but who knows how long that will last. Food prices are climbing along with fears about what's in our food.

Happy Holidays!?!?

We’re not trying to play the Grinch, but it’s important to confront head-on the serious problems facing our country and our planet. While we’re all eager to see what Obama will do to address these challenges, there are steps we can each take on our own.

This Thursday and Friday, we’ll host The Jan Mickelson Show (Jan’s on vacation). Tune-in to WHO Radio (1040 AM) from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, we'll talk with guests and callers about the growth in local food production i n Iowa, the importance of knowing where our food comes from and the economic, environmental and health benefits of buying food from Iowa farmers.

Friday, as Iowans head to the malls and shopping centers, we'll discuss the necessity (and fun!) of supporting locally-owned businesses, along with the spiritual and economic value – to oneself, one’s family and one’s community – of living simply.

We hope you’ll tune-in from 9:00 until 11:30 both days. If you’d like to call-in to the show, dial (515) 284-1040 or (800) 469-4295. If you’re outside WHO’s listening range, you can stream us live at

Thanks, and we hope you enjoy a truly happy, peaceful holiday weekend.

Lynn Heuss and Ed Fallon

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

High Speed Rail in the Midwest

Forget bailing out the auto companies.  

I want to invest in this

Individually, Rust Belt cities are weaker than cities on the east coast — they have smaller economies and less human capital. This is complicated by the fact that they’re fairly isolated. The rich cities of the northeast corridor are squeezed together, while Rust Belt cities are far apart — from each other and from the rich cities of the east coast. This means that they have less to work with, and they’re less able to leverage that strength in a regional economy. ...

High-speed rail could cut travel time between Detroit and Washington from nine hours to three — just a smidge longer than the train ride from Washington to New York, from downtown to downtown. And you’d never have to take your shoes off, unless you wanted to. High-speed rail would also cut a five-hour drive from Detroit to Chicago to just over an hour. Detroit to Cleveland? Just under and hour. Detroit to Pittsburgh? About an hour and a half.

High-speed rail would, in other words, turn Rust Belt distances into northeast corridor distances, while also shifting the Rust Belt closer to the northeast corridor. It would increase the return to doing business in every city in the region. It would be the Erie Canal and the original railroads on steroids.

And here’s the thing — California is estimating that its 800-mile high-speed rail network will cost it about $45 billion over twenty or so years. The actual cost will probably be higher than that, and a Midwest network would be larger and therefore more expensive, but the total cost is in the same ballpark as the $50 billion in aid automakers are begging for (which wouldn’t even be spread out over a period of years).

Danielson Wins Recount in SD 10

Jeff Danielson has won the recount in Senate District 10.  

Democrat Jeff Danielson holds a 22-vote lead over Republican Walt Rogers after a districtwide recount was completed Monday morning in the Senate District 10 race.

Danielson, the incumbent, picked up 8 votes in the recount.
On election night it was thought that Danielson had narrowly lost to Rogers.  Now that it is official that Danielson has won, Democrats hold a 32 -18 seat advantage in the Iowa Senate.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank You Sarah Palin?

Was this on last weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live or is it for real?

High Cost of Benefits Show Need for Universal Health Care

Republicans are saying the Big Three are going under because they have to add nearly $2,000 per car to pay for union negotiated health care benefits. They are saying this extra cost puts US automakers at a disadvantage compared to foreign automakers who don't have to pay for health care benefits.

Republicans are once again pointing out the problem, but fail to have any ideas on how to solve it. They are basically arguing that America workers don't need health care benefits while ignoring the reason foreign automakers don't have to pay health care benefits.

Foreign automakers don't have to pay for health care benefits because their countries have universal health care. Our employee based health care system puts our companies at a disadvantage on the global market. US automakers should be able to focus on making the best cars, just like automakers in Japan, China, Korea, and Germany do.

Our companies will be at a competitive disadvantage until we have universal health care.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking Your Beliefs A Little Too Far

Andrew Sullivan shared this story from the Onion...

Now, granted, there are some Christians on the lunatic fringe who take their beliefs a little too far. Take my coworker Karen, for example. She's way off the deep end when it comes to religion: going down to the homeless shelter to volunteer once a month, donating money to the poor, visiting elderly shut-ins with the Meals on Wheels program—you name it!

But believe me, we're not all that way. The people in my church, for the most part, are perfectly ordinary Americans like you and me. They believe in the simple old-fashioned traditions—Christmas, Easter, the slow and deliberate takeover of more and more county school boards to get the political power necessary to ban evolution from textbooks statewide. That sort of thing.


We oppose gay marriage as an abomination against the laws of God and America, we're against gun control, and we fervently and unwaveringly believe that the Jews, Muslims, and all on earth who are not born-again Pentecostalists are possessed by Satan and should be treated as such.

When it comes down to it, all we want is to see every single member of the human race convert to our religion or else be condemned by a jealous and wrathful God to suffer an eternity of agony and torture in the Lake of Fire!

I hope I've helped set the record straight, and I wish you all a very nice day! God bless you!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama's Economic Recovery Plan to Create 2.5 million jobs by 2011

I echo Jed's sentiments in his post. I've been disappointed with Obama's entire team of rivals concept, his support of Lieberman, and call to govern from the center right.

At least Obama's weekly address today laid out plans to invest in our infrastructure and create millions of jobs at the same time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Napolitano as Homeland Security Secretary

I was disapointed to her that Jane Napolitano is going to become Homeland Security Secretary, not because she isn't qualified, but because I wanted her to run for Senate in 2010.  Polls from earlier this fall have shown that Napolitano would beat McCain.

However, Matthew Yglesias makes some good points on way it is a smart move for Napolitano to head Homeland Security...

There’s some interest in what becoming Homeland Security Secretary would mean for Janet Napolitano’s prospects as a Senate candidate. I would imagine that it will only mean good things. Nothing about running DHS prevents her from running for Senate in 2010 or, indeed, from running against John Kyl in 2012. Indeed, being at DHS is probably better to set up a 2012 run, and given that John McCain says he’s not retiring, that’s her better shot.

But beyond all that, note that she’s getting out as governor of Arizona while the going is still good. Being a governor of any state in 2009 is going to be ugly. It’s going to be all about cutting spending and raising taxes, while dealing with increased demand for public assistance and in all likelihood rising crime rates. Arizona was a major real estate bubble state, so it’s going to be especially unfun. It’s also a state that’s been in some respects benefiting economically from the war in Iraq, making things even worse. She’s very popular right now, though, and if she gets out and manages to bring about some improvements at DHS she’ll stay popular.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama Wins in Utah

I know it's amazing.

Barack Obama won the largest county in dark red Utah
, Salt Lake County. Bush beat Kerry 60%-38% in 2004 in Salt Lake County.

Updated vote tallies show that President-elect Barack Obama beat Republican John McCain in Salt Lake County by 296 votes, less than one-tenth of a percent.

The result came Tuesday after more than 29,000 provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots were counted as part of the county's official election canvass.

Obama had trailed McCain by about 1,900 votes before the provisional and absentee ballots were counted.

Democrats are hailing it as a big win in this red state. It had been decades since a Democrat claimed Salt Lake County in a presidential election. President Bush won the county by more than 20 percentage points in the last two elections.

University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless explained, "What we are seeing is the rise in the Democratic Party, therefore the return of Utah to be a two-party state and therefore more political competition."

Social Conservatives Threaten Future of the Iowa Caucuses

Yesterday, the Washington Times took a look at the growing strength of social conservatives in the Iowa Republican Party and how that might affect the future of the Iowa Caucuses.

Possible Republican presidential candidates already are making Iowa a winter destination four years before the leadoff caucuses, but some wonder if the state Republican Party's drift to the right could hurt its influence in choosing a nominee capable of winning back the White House.

Weeks after voters elected Barack Obama president and increased Democratic majorities in Congress, social conservatives in Iowa who have a huge influence in state politics have indicated they won't back down. That has some Iowa Republicans worried the party is adopting too narrow a focus.

"We've gone so far to the social right, particularly in caucus attendees, that unless you meet certain litmus tests you have a very difficult time competing in Iowa," said Doug Gross, the party's 2002 gubernatorial nominee. "I think you'll have some candidates who won't compete here unless they perceive that's somehow changed."

David Roederer, who headed John McCain's Iowa campaign, agreed."I would not encourage a moderate to come right now and participate in the caucuses," Roederer said. "It is a danger for the party, and it is a danger for the future of the caucuses."
I heard an example of the contention between social conservatives and moderates on Steve Deace's radio show on Monday.  Deace was going after Doug Gross for not getting involved in the Des Moines School Board elections even though Gross is part of a lawsuit against the state over the state not having state standards in education.  Deace accused Gross of "raking up billable hours" and not working to solve the problem.

It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out in the next year.  The future of the Iowa caucuses might depend on the outcome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Invest in Clean Coal Technology

Clean coal techonology has become even more important after last weeks decision by the EPA saying that coal plants must limit CO2 emmissions.

Cullen West of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity wrote a guest column in the Des Moines Register calling for more research and investment in clean coal technology.
Meeting America's future electricity needs will include a variety of fuel resources, including coal. And, the question isn't whether we'll use coal (we will), the question is HOW we'll use coal. And the answer is cleanly.

For that reason, we need to be sure we keep putting dollars toward funding research into clean-coal technology. With the right investments in technology, coal will help power America through the 21st century and will do so with ultra-low emissions, including zero emissions of pollutants regulated by federal and state clean-air laws and the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.
I couldn't agree wtih him more. Clean coal that captures CO2 can be a big part of the diverse energy resources used for electricity needs.

However, West goes on to say that even though clean coal technology can't capture CO2 yet, we must build new plants now.
The bottom line is we need to continue building new coal plants that are carbon-capture ready, so that the plants can be retrofitted once the technology comes on line. If we were to go the other way, as some groups suggest, and eliminate coal from our energy mix, we would become overly dependent on other, more expensive forms of energy, such as natural gas, at nearly three times the cost of coal.
I don't see us becoming dependent on other forms of energy.  Iowa depends on coal for something like 80% of it's electrical needs.  It seems we are dependent on coal right now.

Instead of investing in relics of the last century, we should invest in the research and implementation of clean coal technology, while, at the same time be developing a sustainable renewable energy industry in the state.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tell Harkin to Strip Lieberman's Chairmanship

The Democratic Steering Committee in the US Senate will be voting on a secret ballot tomorrow on what to do with Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman strongly backed John McCain for President, spoke at the Republican convention, attacked Barack Obama's patriotism, and campaigned for two Republican Senate candidates.

Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-VT) summed it up...

"To reward Senator Lieberman with a major committee chairmanship would be a slap in the face of millions of Americans who worked tirelessly for Barack Obama and who want to see real change in our country," Sanders in the statement sent our way by his office.

"Appointing someone to a major post who led the opposition to everything we are fighting for is not 'change we can believe in,'" Sanders continued. "I very much hope that Senator Lieberman stays in the Democratic caucus and is successful in regaining the confidence of those whom he has disappointed. This is not a time, however, in which he should be rewarded with a major committee chairmanship."

Call Tom Harkin on Tuesday morning and tell him that Joe Lieberman does not deserve to hold a major committee chairmanship.

Here's Harkin's contact info at his DC office...
Tom Harkin, Iowa (202) 224-3254

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coal Plants Must Limit CO2

Last week the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board ruled that new and proposed coal-fired power must limit CO2 emmissions.

From Bleeding Heartland...

In a move that signals the start of the our clean energy future, the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) ruled today EPA had no valid reason for refusing to limit from new coal-fired power plants the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming.  The decision means that all new and proposed coal plants nationwide must go back and address their carbon dioxide emissions.

"Today's decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy," said Joanne Spalding, Sierra Club Senior Attorney who argued the case. "This is one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding America."

"The EAB rejected every Bush Administration excuse for failing to regulate the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States.  This decision gives the Obama Administration a clean slate to begin building our clean energy economy for the 21st century," continued Spalding The decision follows a 2007 Supreme Court ruling recognizing carbon dioxide, the principle source of global warming, is a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act.

The ruling seems that it will affect the two proposed coal plants in Marshalltown and Waterloo since the Iowa DNR must enforce EPA guidelines or have more stringent guidelines in place.

The EAB decision is formally binding on all air quality permits issued by the EPA.  However, most air quality permits are not issued by the EPA but rather by state authorities delegated that power by the EPA, for instance the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  However, those authorities must enforce regulations at least as stringently as the EPA and all of them look to the EPA for guidance on issues such as this.  So it is probable that every coal plant air quality permit in the country from now on (including those issued but still being challenged on carbon dioxide grounds) must address CO2 limits directly, either establishing a limit or justifying their refusal in a new way that the EPA has not previously used.  It is likely a de-facto stay on all air quality permit decisions for approximately the next 6-12 months, including proposed coal plants in Waterloo and Marshalltown that have not been issued air quality permits.

The DNR was supposed to decide on the Marshalltown permit early this fall.  They haven't even opened up the public comment period, which was supposed to take place in August.  Now it sounds like the DNR won't be making a decision until early summer at the earliest.

Today's coal plants are cleaner than the ones from th 1950's, but the techonology isn't there yet to capture coal.  The plant in Marshalltown is supposed to have the highest techology available, yet no carbon or mercury was going to be captured.  

Matt Stoller has more on how the EPA's decision will test the clean coal technology...

One of the claims of the coal industry - that there's some capacity to use coal without emitting carbon dioxide using fancy new technology - is about to be tested in a big way.  One sign to look for is squealing; if the industry gets very upset, it means they weren't really telling the truth about the ability to use clean coal technology in the first place.  If they don't squeal, then it looks like we're going to get a whole bunch of coal plants that don't emit carbon.

This could be a chance for Democratic Leaders to be ahead of the curve and propose huge investments in renewable energy in the state.  The Alliant plant in Marshalltown was going to cost $1 billion.  Maybe an agreement could be made between leaders at the statehouse and Alliant to invest that money in wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy technology in the state.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wisconsin Denies Alliant Permit to Build Coal Plant

Earlier this week, the state of Wisconsin denied Alliant the necessary permit needed to build a 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant near the the Mississippi River in Cassville, Wisconsin.

From the Iowa Environmental Council...

The rejection of a coal plant proposal in Wisconsin highlights the changing atmosphere of energy policy in the United States. Once thought an inexpensive means of producing power, coal-fired power plants are facing greater opposition as the cost of coal grows alongside the concern about global warming pollution.

"Building coal-fired power plants has never made sense from an environmental perspective and no longer makes sense from an economic perspective," said Katie Nekola, energy program director of Clean Wisconsin. "The transition toward a clean energy economy is beginning, and it's important for other states not to lag behind the movement by building more coal plants."

Nathaniel Baer, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, says Iowans need to follow the lead of neighboring states to the west, north, and now east, which have concluded that clean energy makes more economic sense than coal."Iowa simply cannot afford to be left behind sinking billions of dollars into monuments to 19th century dirty coal," Baer said.

With today's decision Wisconsin joins a list of states including Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, Georgia, and Florida that have all rejected plans to construct coal fired power plants. The rejected proposal is the 64th nationwide in the last two years. The Big Stone II coal plant proposal is still pending. It will come in front of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Nov. 12. Eight plants are pending in Michigan, six are pending in Illinois, and two are pending in Iowa.

Iowa has two proposed coal-fired power plants in Marshalltown and Waterloo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

House Democrats name Elesha Gayman Assistant Majority Leader

Iowa House Democrats named their leaders for the upcoming legislative session yesterday.  One of the Representitives named as an Assistant Majority Leader was Elesha Gayman (D-Democrat). 

Elesha, the youngest woman ever elected to the Statehouse in Iowa's history, was one of the Representives that was featured on the Iowa Bloggers ActBlue page and I have written about her often over the past two years.  She was one of the top targets by Republicans this past election.  It was thought that she had lost no election, but won by 800 votes after absentee ballots.

Speaker of the House Pat Murphy, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Pro Tem Polly Butka all kept their positions, as well as Assistant Majority Leaders Mike Reasnor and John Whitaker.  Rep. Gayman and Rep. Abdul Ako Samad were newly elected to the positions of Assistant Majority Leader.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Youth Turnout Numbers

The 2008 election saw an increase in turnout by youth voters (those age 18 - 29) and those voters overwhelming supported Democrats up and down the ballot.

Here are some updated numbers on youth turnout...

  • 23 million young voters cast a ballot on Tuesday, an increase of 3.4 million over 2004.

  • Youth turnout will likely top off at 52 - 53%. That would rival the 1992 turnout, and fall just short of the all time record of 55.4% set in 1972.

  • Young voters accounted for 60% of the overall turnout increase. That for the whole electorate.
Here are a couple maps showing what the election would look like if the election was decided by 18-29 year olds that really show the trend torwards Democrats as more Millennials are becoming old enough to vote...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nussle Running for RNC Chair

So it looks like Jim Nussle is really going to run to be the next chair of the RNC.

From the Politicao (via Marc Ambinder)...
This White House's formal link to the GOP's post-Bush era? Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget, plans to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee. As a Republican House member from Iowa, he was part of the Gingrich transition team that ushered in the "Contract with America." He was the GOP nominee for Iowa governor in 2006, and retired from Congress in 2007. Nussle has to lay low for now because he's working on the transition. Attribute all this to Nussle sources.
This tells me that Nussle isn't done in Iowa politics.  He could be RNC chair for a few years and then possibly use that stature to run for Harkin's Senate seat in 2014 (or maybe even Grassley's in 2010 if Grassley retires and Iowa Republicans can't find an adequate repalcement).  

No longer would Nussle be the former Congressman who lost a bid for Governor, but he would be a former RNC chair that had spent time working in the White House.

The Reason Why McCain Lost

John McCain lost the election because his campaign was so far removed from the maverick John McCain everyone got to know back in 2000.  

Maverick McCain once said the Bush tax cuts were immoral during a time of war.  Then candidate McCain wanted even bigger tax cuts.

Maverick McCain once called Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson agents of intolerance.  Candidate McCain  realized he needed the far right's approval, so he gave the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University.

Now, candidate McCain is planning to campaign for Sen. Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, who is facing a runoff election next month.  However, here is what Maverick McCain had to say back in 2002 about the ads Chambliss ran against Vietnam Vet Max Cleland.
I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible.
McCain's problem was that people who once recognized him as a Maverick that stood on principle only saw a typical Republican running for President.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Millennials Unite: Will You Join Us?

42% of Votes Cast in Scott Co,. Were by Early Voters

I wrote last week about how absentee ballots gave Elesha Gayman (D-Davenport) victory in her race in House District 84.

Absentee ballots played a key role in many races in Scott Co. It also propelled Phyllis Thiede (D-Bettendorf) to upset incumbent Jamie Van Fossen in House District 81.

Early voters so dominated the election landscape in the Iowa Quad-Cities this year that political leaders on both sides say candidates and their parties are going to have to shift strategies.

For the most part, it’s the Republicans who will have to do the shifting. But even Democrats — who have driven early voting in the state since 2002 — were amazed at the turnout among early voters in the Quad-Cities this year.

Forty-two percent of voters cast early or absentee ballots, according to unofficial figures from the Scott County Auditor’s Office. That’s 37,000 out of 87,000 votes cast. Total turnout was 71.8 percent.

The previous high for absentees was 26,000 out of 83,000 votes cast, or 32 percent.
The Iowa Democratic Party is far better at getting people to vote early throughout the state thanks to their summer canvass program where they get people to sign absentee ballot request forms. Then the absentee ballots are mailed out to people before the election.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Young Voters Support for Obama is Just the Beginning

Exit polls show that young voters (age 18-29) strongly supported Barack Obama this election. Without that support we would have seen yet another close election..

Exit polling indicates that Mr Obama won two-thirds of those voting under 30 years old against 32 per cent for John McCain. Compare that with a 54-45 margin for John Kerry in 2004 and a 48-46 margin for Al Gore in 2000. Consider this: if young people had voted for Democrats at about the same proportion of the overall electorate (52-46) as they had voted as recently as 2000 for Mr Gore and for many cycles prior, Mr Obama would not have won North Carolina or Indiana. Young voters also provided the margin of victory in key battleground states such as Florida, Virginia and Ohio. The youth vote expanded the map for Mr Obama; it put him over the top in states not won by Democrats in decades.
I am reading the book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, & the Future of American Politics. The books says the Millennials, those who have been in High School in the 2000's, are a civic-minded generation that is more engaged and focused on solving the nation's problems and less interested in partisan bickering.

This strong support for progressives from young voters in the Millennial generation is just beginning.
Less than half of the Millennial generation were eligible to vote yesterday, and all Millennials will not be in the electorate until 2016. We know that partisanship is a loyalty that develops early in life (pdf), usually during the first three major elections in which one participates. What the Obama campaign, and many others, did yesterday was lock in the loyalty of those who first participated in 2004. That's only a small fraction of the Millennials, and we have a long way to go still. I've written about this effect before, calling it the first of many thirds - the idea that engaging youth is a rolling process in which we are always ushering a new generation towards that third election that locks in partisan loyalty.
The 2008 election is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be 40 years of progressive policy reforms.

If You're Out There

There was unprecedented support for Obama by youth voters and Millennials, but we can't let up...

If you hear this message, wherever you stand
I'm calling every woman, calling every man
We're the generation
We can't afford to wait
The future started yesterday and we're already late

Saturday, November 08, 2008

SD 10: Dainielson pulls Ahead

Jeff Danielson has pulled ahead in Senate District 10 after the latest count of provisional ballots...

Jeff Danielson of Waterloo, the Democratic incumbent in the Senate 10 race, overtook Walt Rogers in the ballot counting Thursday, according to the Black Hawk County Auditor's Office.

Challenger Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, was ahead by 65 votes before provisional ballots were counted Thursday.

The Black Hawk County Special Precinct Board for the Nov. 4 general election met Thursday to count the provisional ballots -- from voters who turned in absentee ballots at the polls. The board also counted absentee ballots received late or in dispute...

Senate 10: Election night leader Rogers increased to 16,051 votes, but Danielson increased to 16,057, giving Danielson a six-vote lead.
This will surely be a recount, so we won't know the winner for awhile, but it is looking good for Danielson.

Friday, November 07, 2008

China's Economic Stimulus Package

In the midst of an economic crisis, the United State government has passed out economic stimulus checks to taxpayers, passed a $700 billion bailout, and nationalized some of the nation's banks.

China has adopted their own economic stimulus plan: invest in improving their outdated rail system.

CHINA will invest nearly $445 billion in its overburdened rail system as a stimulus measure aimed at blunting the impact of the global financial crisis. The investment is part of plans to extend the country's railway network from the current roughly 125,502km to nearly 160,900km by 2010, Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post reported. The Beijing News quoted a rail official as saying that, while the network needed extending, the massive investment was also intended to help lift the nation's economy as it suffers amid the global woes.
Now, in 20 years what will we have for passing out money to taxpayers and nationalizing the banks? More debt.

In 20 years, China will have an improved rail system that will spur economic growth in their country.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Here are some great pictures from the Obama rally in Chicago on election night and quote from President Obama...

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can.

Obama's Victory Speech

Obama's speech on Tuesday night.

The Thrill of Voting

On election day, I headed down to Democratic Headquarters here in Marshalltown to volunteer as soon as I got out of work. I made some phone calls and went canvassing to make sure everybody made it out to vote and all of the absentee ballots were turned in.

At 8:40, I was eagerly awaiting the polls to close at 9:00 when a Hispanic man walked into Democratic Headquarters and said that he was there to vote. We got his address and looked up his polling location. He told us that he was not registered, so we made sure he had the proper identification.

We then hurried out to the car with 12 minutes to get across town. On the car ride there he told me that he works in Des Moines and drove 85 mph to get back to Marshalltown in time to vote. We walked into his polling location at 8:56.

He had a driver's liscence with his current address on it, so he was able to register at the polls. The pollworker was very nice and helped him fill it out. As he was filling out the paperwork, he told her that he had just gotten his citizenship on September 24th and couldn't wait to vote. He grabbed his ballot and stepped into the voting for the first time.

When I dropped him off at his car, he told me that he had something to show me. He reached in the back of his car and grabbed an envelope. He pulled out his citizenship papers and said with a big smile on his face, "I got to vote!"

Super Barack

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

HD 84: Absentee Ballots Give Gayman Victory

At 11:00 last night the numbers didn't look good for incumbent Elesha Gayman D-Davenport in House District 84.  She was losing to Republican Ross Paustin 53.6% to 46.4% and all the precincts were reported to be in.  

I had donated to Gayman a few times throughout the campaign, so I was disapointed that she was defeated. So I turned from watching election results and went to hang out with the local candidates, who all had won.

When I got back home, I quick checked the results befor heading to bed and was shocked to see that Elesha had won by 800 votes thanks to the absentee ballots.
Rep. Elesha Gayman, D-Davenport, was losing to Republican rival Ross Paustian by more than 600 votes but ended up winning when all the absentee and early votes were reported about 1 a.m.

Iowa House Election Recap

**Update #2**
Democrats lost the race in HD 36. Nick Wagner defeated Gretchen Lawyer and will replace Swati Dandekar, who was elected to the State Senate.

**Update #1**
I failed to notice that Kerry Burt defeated incumbent Tami Wiencek in HD 21, so I have added that.

Democrats held a 53-47 lead in the Iowa House coming into the election. They ended up picking up 6 seats. Sharon Steckman (HD 13), John Beard (HD 16), and Larry Marek (HD 89) won in open seats. Gene Ficken knocked off incumbent Dan Rassmussen in HD 23, Phyllis Theide beat incumbent Jamie Van Fossen, and Kerry Burt beat incumbent Tami Wiencek in Waterloo by 147 votes, 50.6% to 49.4%.

Democrats failed to protect 3 seats. The surprise of the election was the news that Mark Davitt lost in HD 75 by just 69 votes. There are some conflicting vote totals in this race, so we might not know who won until the official canvass is completed.

In HD Art Staed lost by only 33 votes. We can hope there are enough absentee ballots still to come in to over turn these results. They failed to protect Dandekar's seat, who won her State Senate race.

There were 2 House incumbents that were thought to have been defeated that ended up winning. At around 11:00, I saw Elesha Gayman was done 53% to 47% with all of the precincts reporting. However, she ended up winning by 800 votes! In Sioux City, Wes Whitehead was losing, but with all of the numbers in he is up by a mere 6 votes.

Iowa House
Democrats Picked up 5 seats
HD 13 Steckman - Tornquist
Steckman has won 57%-43%

HD 16 Beard - Schissel
Beard won with 56% of the vote.

HD 23 Ficken - Rasmussen
Ficken won 52.6% to 47.4%.

HD 81 Thiede - Van Fossen
Theide won big with that final precinct reporting to claim a 55.6% - 44.4% victory.

HD 89 Marek - Klein
All precincts in and Marek's up 160 votes, 50.6% - 49.4%.

Democrats Failed to pick up
HD 39 Hertle - Pettengill
Pettengill, who switched parties in 2007, won 54.6% - 46.4%.

HD 44 Hoy -Sweeney
Sweeney won 54% to 46%.

HD 59 Sullivan - Hagenow
With all precincts reporting Sullivan is down by 141 votes. Possible recount maybe.

Incumbents who lost
HD 37 - Art Staed
Final numbers show Staed has lost, but it is by a narrow margin (33 votes) and there may be enough absentee ballots still coming in to overcome it.

Incumbents that won tight races

HD 1 - Wes Whitehead
Rumors were swirling that Whitehead was beaten, but the final numbers show him up by 6 votes. A recount is a definite possibility.

HD 75 - Eric Palmer

Palmer won with 54%.

HD 84 - Elesha Gayman
Elesha has lost 53.6% to 46.4% Hold on here, now the Register is showing Elesha up by 800 votes! Go Elesha!

HD 100 - Paul Shomshor
Shomshor was being targetted by the American Future Fund during the final weeks of the election and he won 52.2% to 47.8%.

Iowa House total as of now: Democrats 56-44

Iowa Senate Election Recap

In the Iowa Senate, Democrats held a 30-20 seat lead. During the election they picked up 3 seats formerly held by Republicans. Steve Sodders (SD-22) and Swati Dandekar (SD 18) picked up seats held by retiring Republican Senators Larry McKibben and Mary Lundby. Mary Jo Wilhelm knocked of incumbent Jeff Zieman in SD 8.

However, 2 incumbent Democrats are narrowly losing their races. Jeff Danielson is down by 90 votes in SD 10 and Frank Wood is down by only 47 votes. We can cross our fingers that there might be enough absentee ballots still to come in to keep these two in office.

Pick up Opportunities
Iowa Senate
Democrats Picked Up

SD 8 Wilhelm defeated incumbent Zieman
Wilhelm won by just over 1,000 votes.

SD 18 Dandekar over Childers in an open seate
Dandekar has nearly 60% of the vote, but only 16/39 precincts are in.

SD 22 Sodders over Heil in an open seate
Sodders won 55%-45% in Marshall and Hardin Counties.

Democrats Failed to Pick up
SD 40 Savage - Hahn
Hahn won 52.3% to 47.7%.

SD 48 Smith - Reynolds
This was a longshot for Democrats in rural southern Iowa. Reynolds won 55% - 41%.

Incumbents that Lost
SD 10 - Jeff Danielson
Danielson is down by just 90 votes with all precincts reporting. Who knows about any absentee ballots still to come in.

SD 42 - Frank Wood
Woods is down by 67 votes with all of the precincts reporting. Maybe enough absentee ballots coming in to help Wood keep this seat.

Incumbents that won tight races
SD 38 - Tom Reilly
Reilly won with 57% of the vote.

Iowa Senate total as of now: Democrats hold a 31-19 advantage

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Iowa Senate and Iowa House Races to Watch

I predicted that Democrats will pick up 3 seats in the Iowa Senate and hold a 33-17 advantage and in the Iowa House Democrats will pick up 6 seats in the Iowa House and hold a 59-41 advantage.

Here are the top pick up opportunities that I will be watching tonight...

Iowa Senate
SD 8 Wilhelm - Zieman
SD 18 Dandekar - Childers
SD 22 Sodders - Heil
SD 40 Savage - Hahn
SD 48 Smith - Reynolds

Iowa House
HD 13 Steckman - Tornquist
HD 16 Beard - Schissel
HD 23 Ficken - Rasmussen
HD 39 Hertle - Pettengill
HD 44 Hoy -Sweeney
HD 59 Sullivan - Hagenow
HD 81 Thiede - Van Fossen
HD 89 Marek - Klein

Here are some incumbent Democrats that are in very close races...

Iowa Senate
SD 42 - Frank Wood
SD 38 - Tom Reilly

Iowa House
HD 37 - Art Staed
HD 75 - Eric Palmer
HD 84 - Elesha Gayman

Common Iowan Election Predictions

I meant to post some in depth predictions like Deeth did, but didn't have time this morning.  

So here is a quick look at my predictions...

Obama 329- McCain 209

The closest state is Missouri, followed by Indiana, Montana, and North Carolina.
Obama wins Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Nevada
McCain wins Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Montana

US Senate
Democrats win in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, and Minnesota.  Neither candidate in Georgia will get 50% to win and there will be a run off.

US House
Democrats will pick up 24 seats.

Obama 57% - McCain 43%

McCain has stayed between 40-45% (just like Nussle did in 2006) all year long, so I don't see him gettin any closer than that.

Harkin 60% - Reed 40%

1st District Braley 62% - Hartsuch 38%
2nd District Loebsack 53% - Miller Meeks 43%
3rd District Boswell 56% - Schmett 44%
4th District Latham 53% - Greenwald 47%
5th District King 58% - Hubler 42%

Iowa Senate
Democrats pick up 3 seats to have a 33-17 advantage.

Iowa House
Democrats pick up 6 seats to have a 59-41 advantage.

It's all about Virginia and Pennsylvania

The media will try and stress the importance of Ohio and Florida, but those aren't the states that will decide the election.  

Look at Virginia and Pennsylvania to see who will win the election. 

From Cenk Uyger...

It is impossible for John McCain to win this election if he loses Pennsylvania and Virginia on Tuesday night. Even if he won every swing state on the map after that -- including Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada -- he would still lose (you can play around with the electoral map and check yourself (here).

This assumes that Obama will carry every other blue state, plus Iowa. He has double digit leads in all of those states, so that is a fair assumption unless there is colossal voter fraud.

Polls close in Virginia at 7:00 pm eastern and in Pennsylvania at 8:00 pm eastern.

Political Wire has a list of when polls close and what to watch for each state.

Let's Go Change the World!

Have you voted yet?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama's Ground Game Advantage

I left the Democratic Headquarters in Marshalltown tonight at 9:30. The Democratic Headquarters was still very busy with 8 people entering data and calling to confirm volunteers for election day canvassing.

I was heading to drop off some lists at a poll watcher's house. As I walked to my car, I walked passed the Republican Headquarters and the lights were off, doors locked, and everyone had gone home.

Greenwald's Message on the Eve of the Election

At a rally at the UAW hall in Marshalltown this evening, Becky Greenwald discusses the differences between her campaign and Tom Latham and makes that final push to get voters to the polls tomorrow.

The Cellphone Effect

Nate Silver from shows that polls that include cellphone have a larger lead for Obama compared to polls that only use landlines.

The cellphone polls have Obama ahead by an average of 9.4 points; the landline-only polls, 5.1 points.

Obama's Patriotic Message

At a rally in Columbus, Ohio yesterday...

It's Not About Policies, It's About Hope

Here's a great story of a middle aged white man who went canvassing for Obama in North Carolina.

Instead of walking the tree-lined streets near our home, my wife and I were instructed to canvass a housing project. A middle-aged white couple with clipboards could not look more out of place in this predominantly black neighborhood.

We knocked on doors and voices from behind carefully locked doors shouted, "Who is it?"

"We're from the Obama campaign," we'd answer. And just like that doors opened and folks with wide smiles came out on the porch to talk.

And what he learned
I've learned that this election is about the heart of America. It's about the young people who are losing hope and the old people who have been forgotten. It's about those who have worked all their lives and never fully realized the promise of America, but see that promise for their grandchildren in Barack Obama. The poor see a chance, when they often have few. I saw hope in the eyes and faces in those doorways.
I canvassed a mobile home park on Saturday and a couple times the person at the door was a little hesitant to talk. Then I said I was with the Obama campaign and they opened the door right away.

One Hispanic man, who looked like had just gotten off work at his construction job, saw my Obama sticker and yelled, "Go Obama!" which actually sounded like "Gobama!", and invited me inside. I told him that polls were open from 7 am to 9 pm on Tuesday. He wasn't sure he would be able to vote because he leaves for work at 6 and doesn't get home until dinner. I assured him that if he got there before 9 that he could vote. He shock my hand and yelled "Gobama!" as I walked to the next house.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

SD: Heil Sends Mailing to Cover Up Failing Grade from NRA

Yesterday, I received a campaign mailing from Jarret Heil, the Republican candidate in Senate District 22, saying that he will protect my Second Amendment rights when he is elected to the State Senate.

I thought this was pretty interesting mailing considering that I already had voted a week ago, am a registered Democrat, and gun rights don't rank high on my lists of issues. Then I wondered what the NRA thought about this race considering that Heil's opponent, Steve Sodders is a deputy sheriff.

I found this website that lists all of the NRA's grades in Iowa for the 2008 election. Here is what they gave the candidates in Senate District 22...

District 22



Heil is one again trying to spin to cover up one of his weaknesses. In his TV ad, Heil declared he was a local leader when he moved to the District just over a year ago after living elsewhere for nearly 10 years.

Now Heil is hoping that a shiny campaign mailing can cover up the facts about your gun rights. However, the facts are, according to the NRA, Steve Sodders will protect your 2nd Amendment rights, not Jarret Heil.

McCain's Latest Endorsement

Here's the latest ad from Barack Obama about John McCain's latest endorsement...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Friends: the Musical

The makers for Baracky has come out with a new video on John McCain...