Monday, March 31, 2008

March and Rally End Peace Week Activities at U of Iowa

It sounds like there was a great week of activities taking place in Iowa City during Peace Week last week.

200 people rallied and marched in Iowa City Saturday, and about 500 more people attended at least one Peace Week event throughout last week. Peace Week, organized by the UI Anti-war Committee, came at a time of increasing violence in Iraq. 25 U.S. soldiers were recently Killed In Action during a two-week period, one of the highest since the war began.

Over 4,000 U.S. troops have been KIA. Spectacular car bombs by Sunni insurgents have led to ghastly death tolls, including one incident that killed at least 54 people and wounded dozens more, and the Mehdi Army - led by radical anti-American nationalist Moktada al-Sadr - has been fighting the Iraqi Army, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and the Badr Brigade to stalemates in Sadr City, Baghdad and Basra this week. This increased violence in Iraq calls into serious question the Bush Administration and mainstream media claims that the surge is working.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Counter Corporate Attacks and Donate to Iowa Democratic Blogger Approved Candidates

The end of the first fundraising quarter is Monday, March 31st and I thought I'd ask my readers to consider donating to one of the candidates on the Iowa Democratic Bloggers ActBlue page.

The candidates that I would like to ask you to consider donating to are Elesha Gayman, McKinley Bailey, and Eric Palmer. These three candidates have been targeted by a group funded by RJ Reynolds, Mid American Energy, and other corporations. Negative ads have been running throughout their districts on the issues of property tax relief and fair share.

These candidates are all serving in their first term in the Iowa House and are top targets by state Republicans. Please chip in to help these great candidates counter the corporate funded attacks and win re-election this November.

Click here to donate.

Two Marshall County Families Benefit from Wind Power

The Marshalltown Times Republican has a story about two Marshall County families that have recently put up small wind turbines on their property. Marshall County approved a zoning ordinance for wind turbines in 2007 and the first two were installed in October and November. The total cost was less than I expected.

But at $10,600 — with half of that on a no-interest loan from the state — it fit his budget. Jansen’s model, a Skystream 3.7 made by Southwest Windpower, starts spinning in winds of 5 to 6 mph and shuts down to protect itself in winds of 25 to 30 mph.

By producing as much as 2.4 kilowatts of electricity in an hour, Jansen’s energy savings might be able to pay back his investment in 10 years or less, according to dealer Todd Hammen.
Small wind projects like these will surely spread across rural areas throughout the state.
Hammen thinks acreages and farms are ideal places to install windmills, and Farm Bureau reports there are 50,000 residential acreages in the state, he said.

“Small wind can create a tremendous effect in the long-term if its embraced by a large number of people,” he said. “... We haven’t even begun scratching the surface of people generating wind.”

Already both Jansen and Vopava have had visitors stop by, curious about how the wind generators are working.

“You are going to see these popping up all over the Midwest,” Vopava said. “They’ll become almost as common as the old windmill of a couple generations ago. The price is reasonable enough and as we all become more aware of alternative energy resources, this is a good option. You’re never going to run out of wind.”

Recession

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Tonight at 8 pm the global movement called Earth Hour is taking place. Do you part.

Steve King's Craziest Comments

Douglas Burns, of Iowa Independent, has compiled a list of Steve King's craziest comments.

Burns says...

In six short years, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has cultivated a national reputation for attention-grabbling remarks that delight his conservative supporters and appall liberal critics. The latter find his rhetoric fanatical, nativist, and at times racist. But even constituents troubled by the Congressman's runaway mouth have to concede that King has become something of a voice for western Iowa in the instantaneous news world.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lying

George Lakoff discusses recent comments from Hillary Clinton about saying she had landed in Bosnia under sniper fire during a trip as First Lady and comments by John McCain about Iran training Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

And They Say the Surge is Working

From Daily Kos...

Today's headlines from Iraq:

Fighting continues unabated in Basra

Across Iraq, battles erupt with Mahdi Army

123 Iraqis, 3 US Contractors Killed; 191 Iraqis Wounded

Thousands in Baghdad Protest Basra Assault

Growing clashes with US troops in Iraq

Baghdad's Green Zone attacked for 4th day this week

Bombers attack Basra oil pipeline

Iraqi spokesman kidnapped in Baghdad

U.S. military fatalities in Iraq; 4,004

McCain: The Same Old Thing

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No More

Eddie Vedder singing "No More" from the documentary Body of War made by Phil Donahue.

Environmental Film Fest in Davenport on Saturday

This sounds really cool. If you are in the Quad Cities on Saturday you might want to check it out.

Environmental Film Fest III
Free and open to the public!
Sponsored by the Davenport Unitarian Church, The Eagle View Sierra Club
and Radish Magazine

Unitarian Church, 3707 Eastern Ave.Davenport, IA (NE Corner of Kimberly & Eastern)

Sat. March 29

11am-7pm
Doors open at 10:30am

Film Schedule:

Sanctuary (upper level)

11am - King Corn - 88 mins
1pm - Who Killed the Electric Car? - 93 mins
3pm - Crude Awakening - 85 mins
5pm - Kilowatt Ours - 55 mins

Community Room (upper level)

11am - Blue Vinyl - 98 mins
1pm - King Corn - 88 mins
3pm - Everything's Cool - 89 mins
5pm - Crude Awakening - 85 mins

Board Room (upper level) Kids Films:

11am - Walkin' Jim- Come Walk with Me
11:45am - Magic School Bus - Recycling
12:30pm Every Home and Eco Home
1:15pm Magic School Bus - Rain Forest
2pm - Walkin' Jim - Come Walk with Me
2:45pm Magic School Bus - Desert
3:30pm - Where Does My Garbage Go?
4:15pm - Magic School Bus - Recycling
5pm - Walkin' Jim - Come Walk with Me

Lounge (lower level) Resource Tables:

Blue Can Group
Eagle View Group/Sierra Club
ePower Synergies, Inc.
Keep Rock Island Beautiful
Keep Scoot County Beautiful
Oak Hills Acres - CSA
Radish Magazine
Restore
Root Cellar
PACG Environmental/Energy Forum
.. and more!

Food provided by Greatest Grains
Donations appreciated!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Republicans and Pork Barrel Spending

Republicans always say that you can't trust Democrats with your money. However, just the opposite is true.

In Iowa, Sen. Charles Grassley had more than $323,000,000 in pork barrel spending. Rep. Tom Latham was tops among Iowa Congressman with more than $69,000,000 in pork barrel spending. Latham had 63 earmarks while Iowa's Democratic Representatives had between 25 and 27 earmarks each.

When you add this to the federal budget deficits that Reagen, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush have accumalated it becomes clear that you can't trust Republicans with your money.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is Coal Really a Cheap Energy Source?

The Kansas City Star has a story about the rising cost of coal.

Electric bills are poised to soar for customers of utilities building coal-fired power plants.

The plants, long-trusted purveyors of low-cost power, no longer seem like such good bets because of soaring construction costs and the surging cost of coal. Moreover, many think Congress will impose penalties on emissions that contribute to global warming.

Makes you wonder if coal is really the cheap energy source that proponents make it out to be.

Ames Peace Rally Tonight

I don't think I can make it, but it seems like it will be a great event.

The 5th Annual Ames Peace rally will be held this Monday, March 24. We hope you can join with us; if you are unable to, we ask that you join with us in spirit during the evening.

WHO: A coalition of more than 2 dozen Iowa groups

The Honorable Ako Abdul-Samad, State Representative from Des Moines

Angela Campbell, co-founder of Dickey and Campbell Law Firm from Des Moines

William Meyers, Marine Corp Veteran currently living in Boone Iowa

Terri Jones, mother of US Army Specialist Jason Edward Cooper (deceased)

WHAT: Rally, March, Peace Fair and Program

WHERE: Rally/March begin at Lincoln Center Parking Lot (corner of Lincolnway and Grand)

Peace Fair/Program at Iowa State University Memorial Union Great Hall

WHEN: Rally and March: March 24th, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Peace Fair/Program: March 24th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Marking the 5th Anniversary of the War in Iraq, Vets, Families, Community Leaders, Elected Officials to Gather for Rally, March and Program to be held in Ames, Iowa.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Giving Away Our Tax Money

The State finalized deals to give away our tax money to corporations...

Economic development officials approved state loans valued at $155 million for 11 business projects on Thursday for companies promising to create 613 jobs.
Instead of handing out millions to a select few businesses in corporate welfare, Iowa must begin investing in a quality people climate that attracts and retains talented individuals.

From Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, writes...
While it certainly remains important to have a solid business climate, having an effective people climate is even more essential. By this I mean a general strategy aimed at attracting and retaining people---especially, but not limited to, creative people. This entails remaining open to diversity and actively working to cultivate it, and investing in the lifestyle amenities that people really want and use often, as opposed to using financial incentives to attract companies, build professional sports stadiums, or develop retail complexes.

The benefits of this kind of strategy are obvious. Whereas companies---or sports teams, for that matter---that get financial incentives can pull up and leave at virtually a moment's notice, investments in amenities like urban parks, for example, last for generations. Other amenities---like bike lanes or off-road trails for running, cycling, rollerblading, or just walking your dog---benefit a wide swath of the population.

Kansas Governor Takes Strong Stand Against Coal Plants

Kansas Governor Kathleen Seblius took another strong stand against the expansion of coal plants.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today vetoed legislation to allow a sizeable coal plant expansion in western Kansas.

The bill would have eliminated the discretion a state regulator used last year to block Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s plans to add two coal-burning generators to its existing Holcomb, Kan., power station.

Sebelius said that she couldn’t support an erosion of an environmental regulator’s powers and that the bill didn’t do enough to encourage renewable energy.

Last week, a group of concerned citizens from Waterloo and Marshalltown, where coal-fired power plants are proposed to be built, held a rally at the State House to encourage Gov. Culver to take action against the coal plants.

The question now is if Culver will follow Sebelius' lead?

The Proposed Changes to Collective Bargaining

There are a few important things to remember about the proposed changes to collective bargaining that was discussed this past week at the Iowa State House.

  1. This bill has nothing to do with changing Iowa's Right to Work status, so Republicans need to stop screaming about Fair Share.
  2. The bill would only open up certain things for negotiations. People understand that if you negotiate for something, you will likely have to give up something in return. Many times in negotiations both sides know the resources available and they are simply negotiating how those will be allocated.
  3. The proposed changes would give public employees the same rights in collective bargaining as private employees have.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Boswell's Change of Heart

A week ago, I wrote about an upcoming vote on the FISA and telecom immunity, saying that it was a moment of truth for Leonard Boswell.

I thought I should update on how Boswell voted on the issue. After calling for telecom immunity in a January 28th letter to Nancy Pelosi, Boswell flipped on the issue and ended up voting against telecom immunity and siding with the majority of Democrats and against the Bush administration and corporate interests.

This marks the 3rd time that Boswell has flipped on an issue since rumors of Ed Fallon challenging him began last last year. In December, Boswell voted, for the first time, against a war funding bill that didn't include a date for withdrawal. Then in February, Boswell was a late sponsor to a bill that would seek to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. Now, Boswell votes against immunity for telecom companies.

These are all great developments and I would like thank Rep. Boswell for voting with the majority of his Democratic colleagues and standing up for the wishes of his constituents.

This change of heart on the part of Boswell is the exact reason why a primary challenge is beneficial.

Richardson's Endorsement

Here is video of Bill Richardson endorsing Barack Obama today at an event in Portland.

Does this mean we'll have an Obama - Richardson ticket?

This morning Bill Richardson sent an email out to supporters where he endorsed Barack Obama for President. It seems that Obama's speech on race earlier this week helped win Richardson over.

Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech. that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him. He inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility. He asked us to rise above our racially divided past, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences--and place blame on others not like them . We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!

Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race. He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.

His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand. And, after nearly eight years of George W. Bush, we desperately need such a leader.

To reverse the disastrous policies of the last seven years, rebuild our economy, address the housing and mortgage crisis, bring our troops home from Iraq and restore America's international standing, we need a President who can bring us together as a nation so we can confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad.

Richardson had been rumored as a possible VP candidate for both Clinton and Obama. Now that he has endorsed Obama, I think Richardson would be a great choice as a VP candidate for Obama. He would bring a great deal of foreign policy experience, was strongly against the war in Iraq, and would boost Obama's chances to win states like New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Montana.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Re-do

I am a 2nd grade teacher. We have a rule that students can't kick balls on the blacktop because it is not safe. This morning at recess one of my students was kicking a ball on the blacktop and it hit another student. This student wasn't following the rules and had to stand by the wall for the rest of the recess.

When the bell rang, all the students who had followed the rules lined up to go inside. I went over to the student who was standing against the wall to talk to him. I told this student that he chose to not follow the rules and his consequence was to miss the rest of the recess.

Letting Michigan and Florida have a re-do would have been like me letting this student stay outside when recess was over and have extra recess because he didn't follow the rules and missed some of the normal recess time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Drop Weapons and Shovels

After reading this, I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and I have been in a funk ever since...

At least three Marines who served in Anbar during that period said that their platoons carried "drop weapons" or tools that Iraqis were not permitted to possess to plant on the bodies of Iraqi noncombatant corpses in case of a wrongful killing.

They did so with the approval of their chain of command. "It was encouraged, almost with a wink and a nudge, to carry drop weapons and shovels with us," said Jason Washborn, a Marine corporal who served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. "In case we accidentally did shoot a civilian, so we could toss weapon on the body to make [him] look like an insurgent. I was told… that if [the Iraqis] carried a shovel, or if they dig anywhere, especially near roads], then we could shoot them [on suspicion of planting roadside bombs]. So we actually carried tools in our vehicles." ...

The chain of command, the testimony asserted, facilitated the degradation of standards for using deadly force. Most veterans testifying spoke of a willingness on the part of their company and battalion-level commanders to accept false explanations for civilian deaths; to not investigate U.S. culpability for wrongful death, and to knowingly miscast blame for U.S.-caused killings of civilians on insurgents.

Planting guns on killed civilians and calling them insurgents was "commonly encouraged [by commanders] but only behind closed doors," said Washborn. Lemieux said that in 2006, he saw his commander "shoot two old ladies walking [in Anbar Province] carrying vegetables." Initially the commander, whom Lemieux did not identify, ordered one of his men to shoot the women, but when the Marine refused, "the commander shot them himself." Later, the same Marine engaged in similar acts. "He was following the example [his] commander set."
There is no way this can be just a couple cowboy soldiers out looking for fun. It's not like some Marines can head to the Home Depot in Anbar province to buy some shovels and say, "hey, let's give this shovel to an innocent Iraqi that is accidentally shot."

Obama and the Michigan Re-vote

It seems that Michigan is close to deciding on a re-vote that will take place in June. The DNC is in favor of the plan and Clinton surely would be also.

The question is why should the Obama be in favor.

First, Michigan state law says those who've voted in the Republican primary from voting in the re-vote and "about 32% of the those who vote in the GOP primary, according to the exit polls, were Democrats or independents. It's a fair bet that many of them were Obama supporters, as he was not on the original Michigan ballot."

Second, by agreeing to the re-vote Obama would mean that the race would definitely lasts until June. Clinton first said the race would be over by February 5th. After she failed to meet expectations, her campaign then said that Ohio and Texas was do or die. After that contest, the new firewall is Pennsylvania. If Michigan held a re-vote in June, Clinton would then assuredly hold out until then.

If his back is against the wall then Obama would have to be for a re-vote. There would be no good outcome of Obama standing in the way of a re-vote and it would hurt his chances in the state in the general.

A better compromise for Obama would be to split the Michigan delegates in half and then seat Florida existing delegates, with each having half a vote.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Civil War

From Kos...

First of all, the only path to victory for Clinton is via coup by super delegate.

She knows this. That's why there's all the talk about poaching pledged delegates and spinning uncertainty around Michigan and Florida, and laying the case for super delegates to discard the popular will and stage a coup.

Yet a coup by super delegate would sunder the party in civil war.

Clinton knows this, it's her only path to victory, and she doesn't care. She is willing -- nay, eager to split the party apart in her mad pursuit of power.

Republican War In Iraq

CNN interviews a group of Iraqi soldiers and not one wants the Republicans to win the presidency. The reason? They are already living a Republican war in Iraq.


HD 29: Willems Announces Candidacy

Ro Foege surprised many last week when he announced he was retiring from the Iowa House. Nate Willems, who was a regional director in Iowa for the Dean campaign in 2004 and is an attorney in Cedar Rapids, has announced that he will be running for Foege's seat in House District 29.

Nate Willems, a labor lawyer at Sole, McManus, Pearson & Willems PC, has today announced his candidacy for the Iowa House of Representatives, District 29. Willems, an Eastern Iowa native and graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, will run for the seat being vacated by retiring State Representative Ro Foege.

"I look forward to continuing Representative Foege's work on behalf of all Iowans, particularly his focus on our schools and our health care system," Willems said. "On that solid foundation, I pledge to work to create even better opportunities for all Iowans."

"Nate Willems is an excellent choice to represent us," said Rep. Foege. "He knows firsthand the importance of good schools and a strong, fair economy."

Willems said he will work to strengthen middle class families by finding innovative ways to improve schools and creating good paying jobs for Iowans.

"Iowa needs to focus on doing what we already do well, even better," said Willems. "In a global economy, it is not enough to be first in the nation in education, Iowa must strive to be first in the world. We must continue to build on the tradition of our family farms to become the world leader in alternative fuels.

I know of Willems from his occasional front page articles at MyDD. I wish him the best of luck.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Political Prostitution: Spitzer, Bernanke, and Bailing Out Big Banks

Here's some background information on the Elliot Spitzer scandal.

From Greg Palast...

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.

This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.

How? Follow the money.

The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That’s blaming the victim.

Here’s what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage and it’s variants including loans with teeny “introductory” interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called ‘Countrywide’ became America’s top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these ‘sub-prime.’
This doesn't mean that what Spitzer did was ok. This story just puts it into perspective. The government handing over billions of dollars to bail out huge corporations that made poor business decisions isn't worthy of making the news.

Final Delegate Numbers from the Convention

The final delegate count after the conventions is Obama 23, Clinton 14, Edwards 6.

To put this into perspective, Sen. Hillary Clinton netted nine delegates out of Ohio after her big win there, while Obama netted 7 delegates in Iowa, while Clinton lost one.

**Update**
I guess Obama won 25 delegates. Meaning he netted 9 delegates, the same number Clinton won in Ohio.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama Cleans Up at County Coventions

Each of the 99 counties in Iowa held their County Conventions today and Barack Obama cleaned up the number of delegates that move on to the district and state conventions.

Here are the results from the conventions...

Barack Obama: 52.1%
Hillary Clinton: 31.5%
John Edwards: 16%
It looks like pretty much every Edwards delegate that went to a new candidate went to Obama.

Marshall County Convention: Presidential Preferrence Groups

First Alignment

Obama 86
Edwards 46
Clinton 37
Richardson 2

Viability 26

After Realignment
Obama 125
Clinton 42

Delegates Elected
Obama 24
Clinton 8

**Update**
I am home now and didn't have time to post this at the convention. With a few minutes left during realignment, the Edwards group had 24 people, 2 shy of viability. They couldn't get 2 more people and the their group disbanded. Of those 24, 2 went to Clinton and 22 went to Obama. The Clinton group wasn't too happy with the way the Edwards group broke. Some Clinton supporters were calling some Obama supporters vultures for trying to persuade Edwards people to come to Obama.

It was interesting picking the delegates from the Obama group. There were around 50 people that wanted to be delegates and only 24 spots. Since so many of the Edwards group came over to Obama, 3 of the delegates were given to Edwards supporters. Then the Obama group elected 1 person from each precinct. The larger precincts got 2 people. We then counted up and we had 1 delegate too many. We called everyone together and it happened that just 1 delegate had left, so they were crossed off the list.

Marshall County Convention: Steve Sodders and Kurt Meyer

I am at the Marshall County Convention. We are about to break into presidential preference groups. The alternates are signing in at the moment.

The morning so far has been filled with speeches by the various candidates running for office. Steve Sodders, candidate in State Senate District 22, spoke and focused on his involvement in the community. Steve is a deputy sheriff, taught DARE in schools throughout the district, is a junior high wrestling coach, and is on the board of Youth and Shelter Services.

The next speaker was Kurt Meyer, who is running for Congress against Tom Latham. Meyer gave a very polished speech that was very well received. Meyer said, "he is ready to take on Tom Latham and take out Tom Latham." Meyer said his main goals would be to strengthen our economy, bring our troops home, and finding health care solutions.

After the speech, I asked our county if any of the other candidates would be showing up and she said that Meyer was the only who had contacted her. Meyer also has a staffer here passing out stickers and campaign materials. None of the other candidates have a presence here. Kurt Meyer has represented himself well and should win over a lot of people here today.

Iowa Caucuses Round 2

Round 2 of the Iowa Caucuses is taking place today around the state with 99 county convention. Dave Redlawsk explains more...

On caucus night it was estimated that Obama’s 38% of the caucus vote would net him 16 delegates, Clinton’s 29% would net her 15, and Edwards would receive 14 from his 30% caucus support. And these numbers are already included in the counts that currently show Clinton and Obama separated by fewer than 100 delegates.

But here’s the rub. Iowa Democrats will not actually elect any national delegates until our Congressional District Conventions on April 26. At that time 29 of the delegates will be elected, with the remaining 16 elected at the State Convention in June. And those delegates will be elected in proportion to the support each candidate receives at those conventions. How will we know how much support they have? That’s where the county conventions come in.

County Convention Delegates elected at the caucus were elected in support of a candidate (or uncommitted). At the county convention, just like at the caucuses, there will be a “re-alignment” period, where delegates can change their allegiance. Once that process is done, we will count the supporters, and any candidate with less than 15% support at the county convention will be declared non-viable, with those delegates needing to move to a different candidate. When the alignment is over, the viable candidate groups will elect their share of district and state convention delegates.

So who cares? This seems like it is just another part of Iowa’s arcane process, and the battle has moved well beyond us. Normally that would be true, but across Iowa some 30% of all county convention delegates are John Edwards supporters (more than Clinton has by a handful), and those folks may have to make a choice. The choice they make may determine whether Clinton or Obama comes out of Iowa with the bulk of our national delegates – either one could conceivably pick up all 14 of Edwards’ potential delegates. Normally that wouldn’t matter much, but this time around every delegate may make a difference.

Check back later, as I will be posting throughout the day from my county convention.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ilegal Warrantless Spying Started Before 9/11

Many people don't realize that Bush violated FISA and ordered warrantless wiretaps before 9/11...

From Daily Kos...

Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week. [link]

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court. [link]

The media doesn't help the situation when they repeat the Bush administration's lies...

AP:

Bush says the House version "would cause us to lose vital intelligence on terrorist threats" and would not give liability protection against lawsuits to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

NYT:

Some 40 lawsuits are pending in federal courts, charging that by cooperating with the eavesdropping program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the phone companies violated their responsibilities to customers and federal privacy laws.

AP:

Bush opposes it in part because it doesn't provide full, retroactive legal protection to telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A Michigan and Florida Compromise

This seems like a common sense compromise that would solve the Michigan and Florida delegate situation...

Michigan’s 156 delegates would be split 50-50 between Clinton and Obama.

–Florida’s existing delegates would be seated at the Denver convention—but with half a vote each. That would give Clinton a net gain of about 19 elected delegates.

– The two states’ superdelegates would then be able to vote in Denver, likely netting Clinton a few more delegates.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Obama in 30 Seconds Ad Contest

Boswell's Moment of Truth

At this very moment the House is voting on an updating FISA legislaton. At stake is immunity for telecom companies for participating in illegal wiretapping of American citizens. Bush and Republicans have been trying to strike up fear while defending retroactive immunity for telecom companies, while the other side is defending the rule of law and sticking up for the Constitution.

The way Leonard Boswell votes on this bill will be very telling. On January 28th, Boswell was one of 21 Blue Dog Democrats that wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi urging her to include immunity for telecom companies. Adding to that, Boswell has received money from telecommunications PACs including $5,000 from AT&T.

However, the net roots has been putting pressure on these 21 Blue Dogs, and Boswell is in the middle of a tough primary race with Ed Fallon. Boswell has flipped on a number progressive issues since it came clear that Fallon would be challenging him. The question is if Boswell will flip again?

Obama's Winning Because of the Caucuses

Joe Trippi has an interesting take on why Obama is winning...

Obama's overall delegate lead: 117

Obama's delegate advantage in caucuses: 129 delegates

The Clinton campaign's decision to "skip" the caucuses by not matching Obama's investment in local organizing, may be the biggest political strategy blunder since the ignore-the-swiftboat call.

Idaho. Maine. Texas. Nebraska. These are not obvious "Obama states" yet he grabbed big delegate leads in each of these caucuses.

Why? Because Obama's campaign embraced bottom-up campaigning. Because it pumped money into local organizers. Because it gave tools to precinct captains and volunteers.

While Obama also ran television advertising and leveraged endorsers, Clinton's campaign is marked by its top-down messaging and its use of local political machines. Obama perfected bottom-up organizing - and the caucus system rewarded him.

This bottom-up strategy was clearly visible the past two weeks when the campaigns were trying to get their delegates to the county convention that will take place on Saturday. Clinton relied on robocalls, while the Obama campaign set up a website where volunteers could log onto and get a list of people to call.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's the point?

I am not sure what happened, but the smoking ban seems to have collapsed in the Iowa House.

Todd Dorman has the details...

The Iowa House voted this morning to exempt bars and restaurants that hold state liquor licenses from the controversial bill banning smoking in public places statewide. An amendment wedging those exemptions into the ban bill was approved 51-44. The House then sent the bill back to the Senate.

Essentially, under the new version of the ban, if you serve drinks, you can allow smoking at designated times, likely at night, when only patrons 21 and older are admitted. So no puffing around the kids. Along with bars and eateries, smokers would be allowed to light up under those rules on casino gaming floors, in clubs and in bars at hotels or motels.

Smoking would still be banned in scores of other public venues, but a bar exemption drives a Mack truck-sized hole in a bill that left the Senate banning smoking in darn near every nook and cranny of the state.

If a smoking ban passes and doesn't include restaurants and bars then what is the point of a smoking ban at all?

Culver and Local Control

Last week, I wrote about Chet Culver talking about how important of an issue local control of large hog confinements is.

Todd Dormon responded to my post and shows what Culver has done on the issue...

Here is the chronology of Culver’s push for local control, as I see it.

1. Promise repeatedly during the 2006 campaign to push for local control over where large hog confinements can be built.

2. Insist weeks before even taking office that you can’t get the Legislature to go along with local control, so you’re not going to press the issue.

3. Make no mention of local control in your second legislative agenda.

4. Make a great speech talking about your continued push for local control.

I don’t care whether you favor or oppose local control, but I defy you to find any real evidence that Culver has “pushed” for it.

He’s insisted, repeatedly, that the votes aren’t there in the Legislature. That may be true.

But the votes weren’t there for a $1 cigarette tax increase when he proposed it in his first budget address to lawmakers last year. He lobbied hard and got it anyway.

I am not sure if there are any bills on this issue still being discussed this session. If not, hopefully, this can become an issue in the upcoming elections and one that Culver pushes next legislative session.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Updating the New Deal

Mark Thoma asks how you would change the New Deal to update it for the 21st century.

Suppose you had the power to alter the New Deal however you want. Some of you would abolish it all together, and shame on you, but for those who would choose to keep it around, how would you change it? What issues should an updated New Deal address? Perhaps:

  • We need to provide health and dental insurance that doesn't end when a worker changes or is between jobs.
  • We should recognize that it is normal for both parents to work outside the home. Child care that is affordable, reliable, and that helps children to get off to the best possible start needs to be available to all parents. For many parents, this is a big problem.
  • We are much more geographically mobile than we were in the 1930s. If we expect a flexible workforce, we need to do more to support geographic movement of workers and their families.
  • I would redefine poverty as a relative rather than an absolute standard and ensure that everyone has what they need to fully participate in society. And if my powers do not extend that far, I would at least raise - substantially - the absolute poverty threshold and then make sure nobody falls below it. Right now, it's too low. Along these lines, an expansion of the EITC is needed as well.
  • The existence of large speculative bubbles - first in the stock market then in the housing market - threatens to undermine the stability of the economy and put an end to "The Great Moderation." We need to reexamine the regulatory structure of the financial sector to be sure we are doing all we can to prevent destabilizing bubbles from emerging. If the consequences were confined to participants in these markets this wouldn't be necessary, but they are not. Problems in financial markets spread through the economy more generally and impose costs on people who had nothing to do with the creation of the problem.
The most important thing on that list, in my opinion, is providing health insurance that doesn't end when a worker changes or is between jobs. We must have health insurance that is from birth to death. Right now insurance companies are providing coverage from job to job and have no incentive to encourage prevention and wellness. Who provides that coverage or how it is accomplished is up for discussion, as long as the coverage is from birth to death.

Where are Boswell and Fallon getting their money from?

Yesterday, Democracy for America issued a press release about Leonard Boswell. The line that stuck out to me was concerning who Boswell is raising his money from...

74% of his campaign contributions have come from the political action committees of companies like AT&T and Wal-Mart.
Meanwhile Ed Fallon is raising his money from small donations. As of February 21st,
his campaign has already received donations from 1,652 donors – over ten times the number of individual donors last year to his opponent, Rep. Leonard Boswell. As of today, the Fallon campaign has raised $122,444.95, which is an average of $74.18 per donor.
By simply looking at where the candidates are getting their
money from you will see one candidate being funded by real voters while the other is being funded by corporate donors.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Flippin' Hummers

Yes, I admit that I have done this before.

Clinton's Management Style

From Political Wire...

Her choice of lieutenants, and her insistence on staying with them even when friends urged her to shake things up, was blamed by some associates for the campaign’s woes. Again and again, the senator was portrayed as a manager who valued loyalty and familiarity over experience and expertise.
Hmm, sounds very similar to Bush.

Surprise, Surprise, King has his facts wrong

Rep. Steve King is in the news again. As usual, it isn't for an important bill that he introduced or a legislation that he helped get passed, it is for recent comments King has made about Barack Obama.

And I will tell you that if he is elected president, then the radical islamists, the al Qaida and the radical Islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11th.
Marc Amdinder responds and it shouldn't surprise anyone that King has his facts wrong.

King has his facts wrong. Obama doesn't want to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, first of all. Second of all, Al Qaeda, dancing in the streets? There are 400 of them, and they live in caves. Thirdly: wouldn't it more likely that Obama is viewed as an infidel? And Andrew Sullivan, in his December '07 Atlantic cover, starts with the same premise and comes to the opposite conclusion:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

A Thought on Rove Speaking at the U of Iowa

I had one thought pop into my head while reading about Karl Rove speaking at the University of Iowa on Sunday night. Rove earned $40,000 for the speaking gig, $8,000 more than I make a year teaching.

I guess I better get to bed. I have 22 energetic 8 year olds waiting for me in the morning.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

What Would Jesus Pack?

This post from Jesus' General is hilarious...

Jim Astle
Jim's Gun Supply

Dear Jim,

I just finished exploring your web site, and I have to tell you, I'm astounded by the quality of your work. Your DuraCoat finishes are absolutely beautiful. I'm seriously considering getting each of my daughters one of your Hello Kitty SKS assault rifles. Like most little girls their age (eight and ten) they are huge Hello Kitty fans. I want the rifles with folding stocks, bayonet mounts, and 40 round banana clips. How much would that run me?

I found your site immediately after I read an a column by Doug Giles in Townhouse call "Would Christ Carry a Concealed Weapon?." It was a great piece where the pastor asserts that the real Jesus was a 'kill 'em all and let dad sort 'em out" kind of guy (I bet he packs a .50 cal. Desert Eagle).

I don't think it's a coincidence that I found you after reading that. God wants me to get my Armalite AR-50 sniper rifle DuraCoated in Our Savior's image. Specifically, I'm thinking about a camouflage look with crosses, fish symbols, and a series of pictures of a firearm-packing Jesus doing things like patrolling the border, waterboarding a foreigner, and gutting a thief.

What do you think? Could you do something like that? what would it cost?

Heterosexually yours,

Gen JC Christian, patriot

Clinton's Latest Ridiculous Argument

I had to turn off Meet the Press this morning, just minutes into the program, after I heard the ridiculous argument from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on why Clinton should win.

Russert asked Rendell if Clinton would have any claim on the nomination at the convention if she was losing in pledged delegates, the number of states won, and the popular vote. Rendell argued that Clinton should still win the nomination because she won the 4 big states (Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and will probably win Pennsylvania) that Democrats must win in the general election.

So basically he is saying that pledged delegates and the popular vote do not matter, what matters is the states you won.

I think I am ready for this thing to be over.

Good Point

From Sirotablog...

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Roger Clemens committed perjury during last month's hearing on steriod use in baseball. A day later, the FBI began investigating the case.

Enough already.

It is a relief to us all - although perhaps not to Clemens - that Congress has taken care of the economy, the deficit, the war on terror, immigration and global warming, thus freeing up time and resources for important matters of state.

Now I need to go do some research for my fantasy baseball draft.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Not-so-Good Company

From Andrew Sullivan...

George W. Bush vetoes a bill in order to keep using torture techniques perfected by the Nazis and deployed by the Khmer Rouge.

Obama Outperforms Clinton in Big States

From a post at Democratic Underground...

In the top Nine contested primaries to date Sen.Obama has outperformed Sen Clinton by 156,000 votes

Here they are:


State . . . . . Obama . . . . . . Clinton

California. . . .2,126,000 . . . . . . .2,553,000

Texas . . . . . .1,358,000 . . . . . . .1,459,000

New York. . . . .698,000 . . . . . . . 1,003,000

Illinois. . . . . 1,302,000 . . . . . . . .662,000

Ohio . . . . . . 982,000. . . . . . . 1,212,000

Gerogia. . . . . . 704,000 . . . . . . . 330,000

New Jersey. . . .492,000 . . . . . . . 603,000

Virginia . . . . . 627,000 . . . . . . . 350,000

Washington . . . 354,000 . . . . . . . 316,000


Total . . . . .8,643,000 . . . . . . . .8,487,000
What else does Obama lead in?
Delegates
Primaries
Caucuses
Money Raised
Donors
Votes from big states
Popular votes
Senator endorsements
Govenor endorsements

Friday, March 07, 2008

Something Hillary Can't Say

Here is something that Hillary can't say...

"I have been against it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009."
That quote was a response to Clinton saying that he is not serious about ending the war.

Obama strongly responded (emphasis added)...

I was opposed to this war in 2002. If it had been up to me we would have never been in this war. It was because of George Bush with an assist from Hillary Clinton and John McCain that we entered into this war. A war that should have never been authorized, a war that should have never been waged.

I have been against it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009.

So don’t be confused. Don’t be confused. When Senator Clinton is not even willing to acknowledge that she voted for war. She says she voted for diplomacy despite the title that said authorization to use U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq. So I don’t want to play politics on this issue because she doesn’t have standing to question my position on this issue.

Obama is exactly correct and he needs to continue hammer away at this point. Clinton has no standing on this issue. She not only voted for the war, but was a cheerlearder for it until she decided to run for President.

I'd like to see Obama put some of these clips in upcoming TV ads.

2002



2003

Obama's Path to the Nomination

Yesterday, I wrote about how Obama would win the general election. However, he needs to win the nomination first.

This diary at Daily Kos talks about Obama's path to the nomination. They say that Obama needs to remember the math, downplay the states that Clinton is favored in, continue to rack up big margins in the states he wins, show that he's tough and can take a shot and give it back, don't fight Michigan and Florida, and don't make any big blunders.

Most of those are pretty obvious, but they give more details in the post.

Bills that Survived Funnel Week

The Des Moines Register has a list of bills that survived funnel week. Here they are...

Here are some of the bills that skated through this week just before today's so-called funnel deadline:

DROPOUT AGE: Students would have to attend school until at least age 17 under House File 2144.

COLD MEDICINE TRACKING: A statewide instant verification system would track the sales of certain cold medicines in order to avoid a new spike in methamphetamine abuse under House File 852.

NICKEL DEPOSIT ON BOTTLES: Consumers would pay a nickel deposit for water, juice, tea and sport drinks under House Study Bill 734. The deposit is already charged in Iowa on soft drinks and beer cans.

IMMIGRATION:All workers in Iowa would have to obtain a state-issued identification card to be employed under House Study Bill 717. The idea is to help curb illegal immigration.

ETHANOL PUMPS: A state grant program would help pay for pumps that blend ethanol so consumers can choose how much ethanol they want, between E10 and E85. Senate Study Bill 3198 would also boost incentives to retailers for increased biodiesel sales.

STUDENTS IN SPORTS: House File 2131 would shift control of sports eligibility rules to the State Board of Education. If the board gains power, it is expected to make high school students who open enroll into new districts wait a full year instead of 90 days before playing varsity sports.

PENSIONS: The state won't put as much money into pensions as public employees are asking for, and judges would have to contribute more of their salary to the pension fund under Senate Study Bill 3244.

PROMOTING ATTRACTIONS: A total of $1 million would be used to market projects receiving money from the community attraction and tourism grant under House File 871.

HEALTH INSURANCE: Senate Study Bill 3140 would require that nearly all families have health insurance for their children by 2011. The House version, House Study Bill 757, would expand coverage to needy families but not require insurance for all children.

HEALTH WORKERS: People who go into health care professions that are underserved in Iowa, such as psychiatry and nursing, could get forgivable college loans under Senate Study Bill 3186.

GIFT CARDS: To make sure consumers can redeem the full value of the gift certificates they purchase, Senate File 2091 would prohibit sellers from issuing gift cards with expiration dates and ban them from charging fees.

ROAD REPAIRS: Registration fees for vehicles may go up to raise money for road construction and repair projects. House Study Bill 628 and Senate Study Bill 3267 raise various vehicle-related fees.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Sets a goal for Iowa utilities to have 25 percent of the electricity they produce come from renewable sources by 2025. House Study Bill 742 also sets an efficiency standard for a 1.5 percent annual reduction in energy use to all gas and electric utilities in the state.

FOREIGN-MADE FLAGS: It would be illegal to sell foreign-made U.S. or Iowa flags under House File 2191.

COMMISSION FOR BOOMERS: People nearing retirement age would be the focus of a Baby Boomer Generation Commission aimed as an economic and work force development tool for the state under House File 2038.

COLLEGE MONEY FOR VETERANS: Veterans would be able to get a $750 one-time grant to help pay for undergraduate college studies. The grant in Senate File 2253 would be only for those who have exhausted their federal education benefits.

MILITARY TAX BREAK: Many veterans would be able to avoid paying income tax on up to $20,000 of retirement pay received for their military service under House File 133.

COURSES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: High school seniors would have a new program to help them take college or advanced placement courses under House Study Bill 649.

SALARIES FOR NONPROFITS: Nonprofit groups would have to report compensation of some executives in various reports submitted to the Iowa secretary of state under House Study Bill 765.

INSURANCE ADVOCATE: An insurance consumer advocate office would be created in the state's insurance division by House Study Bill 737. Lawmakers may change the location to the attorney general's office.

CORPORATE TAXES: Although some Democratic leaders had called the combined-reporting idea dead, there's now renewed interest in the proposal, which would tax out-of-state corporations on their Iowa operations.

PROTECTING MONEY FOR PARKS: A proposed constitutional amendment would state that money intended for natural resources projects could not be spent on other projects. Senate Study Bill 3250 would create a new natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund for enhancing parks, trails, fish and wildlife habitat and conserving agricultural soil in the state.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

60,000 Iowans Register as Democrats for Iowa Caucuses

Thanks to record turnout at the Iowa Caucuses in January the Iowa Democratic Party has 60,000 new registrants. The Republicans gained 7,600 new registrants , while 49,000 people are no longer registered as no party.

This makes the current registration totals in Iowa as of March 1st : Democrats – 701,285; Republicans - 615,576; and 761,201 No Party.

This Democratic Wave should bode well for Democrats in the 2008 elections, as they look to expand majorities in the Iowa Senate and Iowa House, and compete for Congressional seats.

State by State polls show Obama and Clinton Both beating McCain

Damn, I posted this morning how Barack Obama will get to 270 electoral votes. Now Survey USA just released a new set of polls from each state and even has maps.

SurveyUSA interviewed 30,000 registered voters -- 600 in each of the 50 states -- to test potential general election matchups and tally up the resulting electoral votes. Interestingly, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton put together a very different collection of states.
Obama beats McCain with 280 electoral votes...


Solid Obama--163 (eleven or more points): CA, CT, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, NY, RI, VT, WA, WI
Lean Obama--66 (six to ten points): CO, DE, IA, MA, MN, NM, OH, OR
Toss-up--186: (five points or less): AK, FL, MI, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NC, ND, PA, TX, VA
Lean McCain--25 (six to ten points): IN, MO, MT
Solid McCain--98 (eleven or more points): AL, AZ, AR, GA, ID, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, UT, WV, WY

Clinton beats McCain with 276 electoral votes...


Solid Clinton--77 (eleven or more points): AR, DC, IL, MA, NY, RI
Lean Clinton--126 (six to ten points): CA, CT, FL, ME, MD, OH, VT
Toss Up--135 (five points or less): DE, HI, IA, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NM, OR, PA, TN, WA, WV, WI
Lean McCain--136 (six to ten points): AL, CO, KS, KY, LA, MS, NV, NH, NC, OK, SC, TX, VA
Solid McCain--65 (eleven or more points): AK, AZ, GA, ID, IN, MT, NE, ND, SD, UT, WY

Chris Bowers concludes...
Against Obama, McCain's "solid" and "lean" states only add up to 123, while Obama's add up to 229. In a matchup against Clinton, the "solid" and "lean" states are of equal size: 201 for McCain, and 203 for Clinton. In other words, while McCain and Clinton appear evenly matched, McCain is only able to keep it close against Obama by running up a series of narrow wins in the toss-up states.

How Obama Gets to 270 Electoral Votes

As the primary race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton moves on, the question of electability will become more and more important.

Using the numbers I wrote about this morning, Obama would be at 259 electoral votes by adding up the states that are strong democratic, likely democratic, and lean democratic.

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Maine (4 electoral votes*): Lean Democratic
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Michigan (17 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Minnesota (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Oregon (7 electoral votes): LeanDemocratic
New Hampshire (4 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Washington (11 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Obama would then need to win 21 more electoral votes to get to 270 and win the election. Here are the states that are the article considered as toss ups...
Colorado (9 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Virginia (13 electoral votes):
Toss-Up
Missouri (11 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Ohio (20 electoral votes): Toss-Up
New Mexico (5 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Iowa (7 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Obama losing Ohio this week has brought some to question if Obama will be able to win Ohio.

By looking at recent poll numbers in these states, Obama would be able to win the nomination without winning Ohio and Florida.

Iowa (7 electoral votes)
Des Moines Register poll on 2/24
Obama 53%
McCain 36%

Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 51%
McCain 41%

Rasmussen on 2/21
Obama 44%
McCain 41%
New Mexico (5 electoral votes)
Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 55%
McCain 40%
Colorado (9 electoral votes)
Rassmussen on 2/13
Obama 46%
McCain 39%
Virginia (13 electoral votes)
Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 51%
McCain 45%

Rasmussen on 2/21
Obama 44%
McCain 49%
Missouri (11 electoral votes)
Survey USA on 2/19
Obama 49%
McCain 43%

Rassmussen on 2/13
Obama 40%
McCain 42%
These poll numbers suggest that Obama would win Iowa (7), Colorado (9), and New Mexico (5). This would give Obama exactly 270 electoral votes.

Obama could still pick up more electoral votes elsewhere. Obama is polling even or slightly ahead of McCain in Virginia, Missouri, and Ohio. In Virginia it looks like Mark Warner will win the Senate race easily and this could help Obama win the state. I wouldn't write off Ohio either. The economy will be a huge issue this election and McCain has even admitted that the economy is a weak issue for his campaign. Obama could win Nevada, where a recent poll had him up by 12%.

It might be true that McCain runs closer to Obama than Clinton in Ohio and Florida. The point to remember that Obama's has the ability to win the nomination without winning these states by being more competitive in many other states.

Obama would expand the map and be more competitive in Red States, including Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, West Virginia, and maybe even an electoral vote from Nebraska.

From DailyKos...
And if nothing else, Obama would help close the margin in a lot of Red states, forcing cash-strapped Republicans to play defense across something closer to a 50-state strategy than the inevitable 18-state strategy we'll see out of Clinton ... And yes, running tighter in Red states matters. Not only does it build toward the future (the 50-state strategy, of course), but it certainly matters to Democrats running down the ticket.
When you force Republicans to play defense in more areas and couple that with Obama's ability to raise money and the Republicans difficulty raising money this year, Obama might be able to pull out victories (or help pick up Senate and House seats) in red states that have been considered longshots in recent years.

Looking at the 2008 Electoral Map

Stateline.org takes a look at the 2008 electoral map in an article called Purple State turn a little more Blue. They name 19 states as "Out There" states that could be in play...

Eleven of these states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia) voted for President George W. Bush in 2004. Eight (Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin) voted for U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D). This analysis divides the 19 states into five categories – Likely Democratic, Lean Democratic, Toss-Up, Lean Republican, Likely Republican – based on polling data and discussions with roughly 40 state-based political experts.
Here are the states that Obama would likely win...
Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Maine (4 electoral votes*): Lean Democratic
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Michigan (17 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Minnesota (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Oregon (7 electoral votes): LeanDemocratic
New Hampshire (4 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Washington (11 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Here are the states that Clinton would likely win...

Maine (4 electoral votes*): Lean Democratic
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Michigan (17 electoral votes): Lean Democratic

Minnesota (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Oregon (7 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
New Hampshire (4 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Washington (11 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
The article concludes...
Adding the Safe, Likely and Lean Democratic states leaves an Obama-led ticket well-positioned to win 259 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, compared to 221 for McCain. A ticket headed by Clinton would lead McCain a bit more narrowly, 252-224.
Obama would need to win 21 more electoral votes to get to 270 and win the election. Here are the states that are the article considered as toss ups...
Colorado (9 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Virginia (13 electoral votes):
Toss-Up
Missouri (11 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Ohio (20 electoral votes): Toss-Up
New Mexico (5 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Iowa (7 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Clinton would need to win 28 more electoral votes
to get to 270 and win the election. Here are the states that are the article considered as toss ups...
Arkansas (6 electoral votes): Toss-Up
New Mexico (5 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Missouri (11 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Virginia (13 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Iowa (7 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Ohio (20 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Let the discussion begin!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

McCain's Big Endorsement

It seems that Hillary Clinton can't stop endorsing John McCain's many years of experience...



I am pretty sure that Republicans will play these clips in ads this fall if Obama is the nominee.

Hillary Clinton is the new Tonya Harding

It seems Clinton's plan is to be the new Tonya Harding. Her only strategy will be to go for Obama's knees and make sure Barack is bloodied at the end of the race.

From the Nation...

What is getting started is an edgier, rougher Democratic presidential race. And don't think that the New York senator will pull any punches.

If the Clinton campaign has learned anything from the two-week campaign that preceded the Ohio and Texas votes, it is that Hillary Clinton will not win unless Barack Obama loses. The senator from Illinois must be damaged, badly, or so the theory goes, in order for the senator from New York to grab the Democratic nomination from his clutches. Make no mistake: The candidate and her Clintonistas have sought to inflict that damage.

This campaign moves so fast that it is easy to forget everything that happens in a two-week timespan. But, since Clinton lost Wisconsin's February 19 primary, the hits really have kept coming. There was "Barack stole lines from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick" hit. There was the "Barack stole a page from Karl Rove when he sent out negative mailings" hit. There was the "Barack dresses like a Muslim" hit. There was the "Barack's campaign told the Canadians one thing about trade and Ohio another thing" hit. There was the "Barack's not the guy you want answering the phone in the White House" hit. There was even the "Barack's defiling the memory of Ann Richards because she would have wanted Hillary to have a clean shot at the nomination" hit. And always, always, always, there was the steady drumbeat from candidate Clinton that: ""I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech (against authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq) he made in 2002."

Now, the strategy has been sufficiently-if-not-completely validated.

Culver Warms to VOICE and Local Control

Yesterday, members of Iowa CCI held a lobby day at the State House where they met with legislators, DNR official Wayne Gieselman, and Governor Culver. Two of the issues discusses with Culver was VOICE and local control.

Governor Culver, in his meeting with CCI members, said he would continue pushing for local control of factory farms, an issue he pledged his support of during his campaign and for which his commitment was questioned. “I commend your commitment to this important issue,” Culver stated.

Culver also said he was “more open than ever before” to supporting Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections, a system where candidates can choose to run using public funding instead of fund raising and accepting monies from powerful special interests. After seeing the impact of special interests in the legislature firsthand, Culver stated, “We have to do something.”

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Clinton Must Win Big Tonight

The Clinton campaign is trying to spin tonight's results to say that she still has a shot if she wins both Texas and Ohio.

However, Hillary Clinton doesn't just have to win tonight, she must win by 15 - 20% to have a shot at making up Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Anything less than that and Hillary's only hope is a brokered convention.

Based on the delegate math and a reasonable forecast of the remaining primary races, it's highly unlikely Sen. Hillary Clinton can win the Democratic presidential nomination. But it's still possible -- if she can send the decision into what used to be called the "smoke-filled room."

A Free Congress: Taking Money Out of Politics and Putting People Back In

From the inbox...

On Wednesday, March 5th, at 8 PM, Democracy Matters will be hosting a panel discussion in Des Moines at Pomerantz Stage, in Olmsted, about money in politics, and clean elections.

Featuring:
-Ed Fallon, Iowa Representative and candidate for Congress in the 3rd District
-Representative Pam Jochum, from the 27th District
-Sherrie Taha, from the Iowa League of Women Voters
-Adam Mason, from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
-Arthur Sanders, Drake Politics Professor

and moderated by Kyle Lobner of Iowa Common Cause. Panelist will share their viewpoints on money in politics and what we can do as ordinary citizens to push for reform in local and national politics.

In a time where running for public office can cost milllions of dollars, it seems almost impossible to take the corrupting influence of money in politics. But clean elections work. Seven states have full public funding systems for at least some of their elected offices: Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Vermont. In addition, studies show that areas that used Clean Elections increased the number of women and minorities who ran for office.

Find out more at http://www.democracymatters.org/content.php?type=whyreform

Shielding Telecoms from any Responsibility

The Houston Chronicle summarizes the debate on terrorist surveillance, domestic spying, and telecom immunity...

What this dispute is really about is shielding telecoms from any responsibility for enabling surveillance of customers that might have violated their constitutional rights to privacy.

It's understandable that Bush would want to prevent court scrutiny of a potentially illegal spying program that operated outside the law for so long. But the administration is putting the protection of corporations and partisan posturing above the constitutional rights of the American people.