Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mystery Solved

Democrat's Speaker Mystery Solved

Despite my best efforts, it was Republicans who first guessed the identity of the Iowa Democratic Party's mystery keynote speaker for the October 16 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Spoiler Alerts: Iowasnewzliter was first, followed quickly by Craig Robinson at Iowa Republican.

If you still want to play, here are two (last?) clues:

  • This person endorsed Hillary Clinton in her bid for President in 2008.
  • This person is married to a federal judge.

    And my hint: think broadly when you think "national office."

    The Dem's guessing game got stepped on a bit by the Republicans announcing Sarah Palin as speaker at their Reagan dinner (I goofed and called it a Lincoln dinner). But they did take a shot in tweeting this unofficial clue: "Our special guest served a full term in public office...as opposed to someone else we know." Ouch!
  • Monday, August 30, 2010

    Palin to Keynote Iowa GOP Dinner

    Palin to Keynote Iowa GOP Dinner

    TheIowaRepublican is reporting that Sarah Palin is keynoting the Iowa GOP's Lincoln silly me - Reagan - Dinner September 17 in Des Moines. Palin in Iowa: sure to be a lamestream media feeding frenzy.

    Iowa Democrats, meanwhile, are having their Jefferson-Jackson dinner October 16 and has been dropping hints via Facebook. No, I don't have the scoop; I want to figure it out. Clues so far in order:
    This year's JJ speaker was born in New York City in the mid 20th century

    This year's speaker has never attended or spoken at our Jefferson Jackson Dinner (which pretty much eliminates all past presidential candidates or Iowa politicians)

    This person made a cameo appearance on-screen in a blockbuster hit of the 90s. (I've already eliminated everyone who was in Dave.)

    This person has never worked for Saturday Night Live and is not Rudy Giuliani (Al Franken, though born in NYC, had already been eliminated as a past JJ speaker.)

    This person is an avid sports fan.

    This person served six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

    This person is married with one son.

    This person has held local, statewide and national office in their public career.
    This mystery is not yet solved, but several sources have confirmed that the squash-stealing varmint is in fact a woodchuck. I am unaware of his wood chucking capacity, assuming such a creature could do so.

    Bring Your Checkbooks

    Bring Your Checkbooks

    Couple of fundraisers in town this week:

  • State Senator Joe Bolkcom will host a Fall Campaign Kick-off Re-election fundraising reception on Tuesday, August 31 from 4:30-6:30 pm at the Sanctuary Restaurant, 405 S. Gilbert, Iowa City.

  • There will be a reception for Roxanne Conlin Thursday, September 2 from 5:30—7 at the home of Jean Lloyd-Jones, 160 Oakridge Ave.
  • linux monday

    Linux Monday

    Problems popping up between Windows 7 and Linux, and Windows software is the bad guy:
    At least some occurrences of this are with software which writes a signature to the embedding area which hangs around even after uninstallation, so that you cannot uninstall and reinstall the application to defeat a trial period.

    This seems like a fine example of an antifeature, especially given its destructive consequences for free software, and is in general a poor piece of engineering; what happens if multiple such programs want to use the same sector, I wonder? They clearly aren't doing much checking that the sector is unused, not that that's really possible anyway.

    We need to defend ourselves against the predatory practices of some companies making us look bad: a relatively small number of people do enough detective work to realise that it's the fault of a particular Windows application, but many more simply blame our operating system because it won't start any more.

    What happens if you try to put one billion files onto a Linux filesystem? No, I'm not talking about my music library. Yet. But if you are getting close to that point, you could do some de-duplicating.

    Once you do that and free up some space, you can install one of these
    100 good open source programs

    For the very geeky, a diagrammed look at the Linux boot process.

    And a look ahead at changes coming in Ubuntu 10.10-also known as Maverick Meerkat. (They're gonna ask themselves, "What would a maverick do in this situation?" And then, you know, do that!)

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Palin Confuses Beck with Beck

    The New Pollution?

    I think famous twit Sarah Palin was trying to send traffic to GLENN Beck in this tweet. Instead, she gives a shout out to THIS Beck:

    And yes I know Beck has many many more songs than his one hit (is he the Warren Zevon of the 21st century?) but somehow with Palin in the mix, "Loser" is the one to go with.

    Smallest Farm Sunday: Gopher Evidence

    Smallest Farm Sunday: Gopher Evidence at Last!

    The gopher finally stayed still long enough, while he was stealing a baby squash, for me to get a picture. Now maybe someone can tell me what species he actually is, before I have to call in my expert:

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    A Republican-Free Ballot

    A Republican-Free Ballot

    With independent Mike Dooley's brief supervisor campaign ending in withdrawing from the ballot, the fall matchups are set in Johnson County. And something's missing: Republicans.

    Most Iowa City voters won't see anyone but a Democrat below the statewide and congressional level. Coralville and North Liberty (and the far west side) have a couple of Libertarians running, but again no downballot Republicans.

    This was supposed to be the year that the GOP stormed the county courthouse, but instead the five incumbents will get four more years with no challenge in either primary or general election. What happened?

    My thought is: the January 19 special election settled it. That was as favorable an alignment of the stars as the GOP could get: a low turnout special election at a weird time of year, with a self-financing candidate with deep (by local election standards) pockets. Yet Janelle Rettig won it by 20 points, and that seems to have scared off all challengers.

    So it's all about the state stuff in Iowa City (and by "state stuff" I include hot legislative races in the outlying parts of the county). Except for the bars, of course. If you get your news solely from the Press-Citizen, you would think from the level of coverage that the 21 bar issue was as big a deal as a presidential caucus and that it was next week.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    What's an Iowa Party?

    What's an Iowa Party?

    Iowa's newest political party has just two candidates - and, it seems, two factions.

    Jonathan Narcisse filed his independent campaign for governor with the name "Iowa Party." The only other candidate in the state using the label is Doug Philips in Senate District 45.

    "I have nothing to do with his candidacy," Narcisse says. "I don't support it, and am not associated with it. Period."

    Narcisse says Philips has been a supporter in the bast and had helped get signatures to place Narcisse on the ballot, but "Doug had a strategy he wanted to advance. I disagreed. I personally feel he's running on the Iowa Party, which I said publicly I would run on, because he's upset with me."

    "But this is Iowa and there was no way I could prevent him from running under that banner, either." (Major parties know that pain, too. Anyone else remember Jim Leach's opponent from 1992?)

    As I've noted before, Philips ran as an independent in last year's House 90 special election, and drew enough conservative votes away from the Republicans to help Democrat Curt Hanson to win with less than 50 percent.

    "The approach I have taken (since) day one is to tell people where I stand on the issues and they either support me or they don't," says Narcisse. "That frees me from the burden of defending someone else's agenda."

    Should Narcisse win 2 percent of the vote, the Iowa Party becomes a full-fledged political party with caucuses and a primary in 2012. The Reform Party and the Greens had party status for two years each and lost it in the next general election (the Greens, and Libertarians, now have minor party "organization" status.)

    There are a few one-state parties across the country. The most famous is probably the Alaska Independence Party, Todd "First Dude" Palin's one-time affiliation. New York's cross-filing procedure has had the side effect of several unique ballot lines. Minnesota's Independence Party grew out of Governor Jesse Ventura's split from the Reform Party after Pat Buchanan's hostile takeover in 1999.

    Nebraska has a Nebraska Party, but it's just the state's version of the right-wing COnstitution Party. And Lowell Weicker won his 1990 independent run for governor on the ballot line "A Connecticut Party" (the "A" got him first alphabetically.)

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Indoctrination Season

    Someone Needs to Alert Fox News

    I'm sure you remember this manufactured controversy from last year:
    As students begin their school year, President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School speech on Tuesday, September 14. The President’s Back to School Speech is an opportunity to speak directly to students across the country.
    Shameless socialist indoctrination!!!11!
    Last year, President Obama encouraged students to study hard, stay in school, and take responsibility for their education.
    Wonder what's on the radical agenda for this year? Maybe it's as dangerous as this propaganda I saw yesterday:

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Greiner and the crazy

    Greiner and teh bad crazy

    Iowa Republican National Committee member Kim Lehman's "Obama is a Muslim" tweet has rippled up into the national chattering classes, but what's interesting to me is how an old rival back home is treating it.

    There's no love lost between Sandra Greiner and Lehman. Greiner's 2008 retirement from the Legislature may have been prompted in part by a wish to serve on the RNC, but Lehman beat her at the state convention.

    Yet today, Greiner tells the Register:
    “I’ll take him at his word,” Greiner said, referring to Obama’s Christianity. “But I would say there are a lot of people out there that have time to do a lot more reading and research who disagree on taking his word for it, and I respect their point of view.”
    Huh?!? What exactly is there to "respect" in a xenophobic lie, especially when it's made by an old nemesis?

    My thought is: this isn't about Lehman at all. It's about Greiner, now on the comeback trail and challenging Fairfield Democrat Becky Schmitz in Senate District 45, guarding her right flank.

    Fairfield was the center of Iowa's political universe last September in the House District 90 special election. That same turf is the southern half of Senate 45. The special election was a four way race, and independent conservative Douglas Philips polled a couple hundred votes. That was enough to allow Democrat Curt Hanson to beat Republican Stephen Burgmaier with less than 50 percent.

    And Philps is back, this time in the Schmitz-Greiner race, running on the same "Iowa Party" label as gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse.. The right of the right of the right does not love Greiner; despite her huge name and money advantages she had two primary challengers. One of them, Rick Marlar, is now Narcisse's running mate.

    Greiner, with her close ties to Terry Branstad, doesn't want to go too far off the deep end, but she knows she needs the birther-types in the white-hot race with Schmitz, and it's just her luck that they have somewhere else to go. So she's trying to have it both ways "respecting" that which deserves no respect at all, and looking a bit silly in the process.

    A respectable Republican would say what Colin Powell did in 2008: He isn't, but so what if he was?

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Monday clips

    Can't sustain a thought more than two sentences

    Brain still on weekend; here's the clips.

  • American Future Fund, You Must Be An Idiot for wasting $$$ on Ben Lange.

  • David Ignatius is all build up for one punch line: "Obama's second-term masterstroke: Vice President Hillary Rodham Clinton." Never mind that no elected VP has been dumped since our own Henry Wallace; the more likely scenario is that Hillary stays on as Secretary of State (YES, Obama is re-elected) through the `14 mid-term election, THEN she resigns and yes, runs.

  • Mike Glover says control of the Iowa legislature comes fdown to a dozen seats. No list, just mention of the usual suspects (Appel-Sorensen, Bailey, Iverson, etc.)

  • Looks too subtle to me, but How Polling Places Can Affect Your Vote.

  • I've always loved the things myself, but it seems no one wants your William Henry Harrison dollar coins.

  • Token nods to Linux Monday: the history of computer symbols (power button, etc.), and: Lotsa laffs! Fool your friends! How to make Ubuntu look like Windows 7. If you would want to do that.
  • Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Biggest Flop on Smallest Farm

    Smallest Farm, Biggest Flop

    At this point in the gardening season I'm feeling pretty much like an old Brooklyn Didgers fan: wait'll next year. (Substitute the Cubs if you wish.)

    The two main events in the last couple weeks have been the complete critterization of the corn crop and the final collapse of the giant bean fence. This team, almost every bean plant got broken off about a foot above the ground. So I'm just waiting for what's left to die so I can assess the point of weakness. The side bar is, I can see if the bean plants keep re-growing from what's left into September or even October.

    There are isolated successes, sure. The pumpkins are the only thing I really feel like showing off. But the down side is they're maturing so quickly they'll probably be rotten before Halloween. For now, at least I have one for each boy.

    The tomato plants are ugly and brown, but at least still producing my Linux powered sun-dried treats. The eggplants seem to love this miserable weather, and the hot peppers and squash are doing well, too, though the zucchinis are few and far between. Yes, a gardener in August with too few zucchinis.

    Maybe it's just the symbolism that's got me down. Nothing says Iowa summer like sweet corn, and the pole beans have always been the centerpiece of my gardens.

    Still time for a late season rally, perhaps, but all hope for the pennant is gone.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Staying First for 2012

    Staying First for 2012

    I'm behind the curve here, like I've been all week, but the news out of the Democratic National Committee's meeting in St. Louis yesterday was a calendar that keeps Iowa first.

    That's great in and of itself, but there's lots of interesting secondary points.

    Here's the schedule as it stands:
    Monday 2/6 Iowa caucus
    Tuesday 2/14 New Hampshire primary
    Saturday 2/18 Nevada caucus
    Tuesday 2/28 South Carolina primary
    Tuesday 3/6 probably everybody else
    I remember being all set for January 14, 2008, and February 7, 2000, too. (2004 changed so many times that I can't even find the original original date anymore.)

    The biggest thing that protected Iowa is that we bet on the right candidate at the right time. If the Long March to the nomination had turned out the other way, President Hillary Clinton would likely have banned caucuses entirely and we'd be casting meaningless votes as a sidebar to our June primary. President John McCain (shudder), who rode a second consecutive Screw Iowa strategy and a fourth place caucus finish to the nomination, wouldn't have owed Iowa anything either.

    (Speaking of which: remember Clinton's case that caucuses unfairly excluded shift workers and so on? And remember how we experimented this year with a Saturday afternoon caucus? Looks like we're back to that traditional Monday night.)

    We have bipartisan date cooperation for now, which is good. I had a nightmare scenario in 2008 during the short time when the Iowa Dems and Republicans were talking about caucusing on different nights. Just one person going to two caucuses and holding a press conference to brag about "voting" (sic) twice would have burned us bad.

    We also have bipartisan state cooperation, as somehow or other the Ds and Rs have jointly settled on Nevada and South Carolina as the two states to go second. When the Dems moved those two states up in 2006 for 2008, it was in large part to include states with significant Hispanic and black populations, respectively. What might have been: New Mexico really had a better case for itself than Nevada did, but with Bill Richardson running they were a non-starter.

    The most important quite comes from this guy:
    Michigan National Committee member Saul Anuzis also expressed appreciation for the new plan, but said he is hesitant to judge its merits before the DNC and each of the states lock in their primary election dates.

    “Assuming the Democrats not only accept but move to change dates state-by-state, I think most activists will appreciate the process better getting out of the holidays,” said Anuzis, who served as Michigan’s Republican Party chairman in 2008.
    Florida played too, but it was really Michigan that drove the absurd game of leapfrogging dates that pushed Iowa almost entirely out of the calendar year. Specifically, it was Michigan Democrats, led by Sen. Carl Levin, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and Rep. John Dingell. Their clout is reduced; Dingell has lost his Energy and Commerce chair and Granholm is term-limited out this year with the governorship likely to switch to the GOP. And Democratic action is irrelevant anyway as even Dennis Kucinich is already saying he won't offer a primary challenge to Obama.

    Florida Republicans, likely to lose the governorship to a Democrat and a Senate seat to their incumbent governor who quit the GOP to run as a freakin' independent, have bigger problems than playing leapfrog.

    So Michigan Republicans are the ones to watch, and with Mitt Romney looking likely to run again and Michigan one of his many home states it'll be his interests that drive them.

    The early states are a wash for Mitt and Iowa was bad to him despite powerful allies including the once and perhaps future governor. But even Branstad in Terrace Hill again - shudder - can't overcome the fact that the Vander Plaats wing of the party thinks the Mormon Church is a cult. Just like the Huckabee vs. Brownback battle for second of 2007, the 2011 Ames Straw Poll will settle who is the Jesus Republican candidate, and that person will beat Romney here.

    The next two states, New Hampshire (another of his home states) and Nevada (next door to another other home state, Utah), are much friendlier turf. But South Carolina looks bad for Mitt again (McCain got really, realy lucky that the still-twitching corpse of Fred Thompson pulled votes away from Mike Huckabee).

    There's a ten day gap between Nevada and South Carolina. Watch the open date: February 21. If someone leapfrogs to that date, that puts the ball in South Carolina's court. They've had Saturday primaries in the past, so look also at the 25th or even stepping on Nevada on the 18th.

    My guess, or my hope, is that the leapfrogging will be less of a problem in `12 than it was in `08. Republicans are less process-obsessed than Democrats. They just penalized their leapfroggers 50 percent of the delegates and moved on. But for 2016, with a wide open Democratic nomination (YES, Hillary WILL again) all bets are off.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    All 125 Legislative Races Revisited

    All 125 Legislative Races Revisited

    I've dropped off the face of the blogosphere the last couple days, as I've updating my March look at all 125 Iowa Legislative races in the context of post-primary, post July 19 campaign finance report, and post-filing deadline.

    Democrats hold a 32-18 edge in the Senate, and only two of their incumbents are retiring. Republicans are contesting 20 of the 25 seats that are up; Democrats have candidates in 22. That leaves three Republicans and four Democrats unopposed. One additional Democrat has a third party rival but no Republican opponent.

    Democrats currently hold a 55-44 edge in the House, with one seat vacant after the death of Rep. Paul Bell (D-Newton). Democrats are contesting 75 of the 100 seats, including 46 incumbents seeking re-election. Republicans have candidates in 93 races, with 38 incumbents running.

    Republicans have 24 uncontested seats, to only six for Democrats. (An additional two Democrats and one Republican have only third party opponents.)

    If you read me every day you've seen it all already, but if you want it all in one place, the seat by seat details are at the Register.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Farm Bureau Omits Some Republicans

    Farm Bureau's Notable Omissions

    The Farm Bureau Federation, one of the bulwarks of Iowa Republican politics, is out with its "Friend of Agriculture" endorsement list (pdf) . As usual, it leans heavily to the GOP, but there are a couple of Democrats and a few noteworthy omissions.

    Nut surprisingly, Farm Bureau goes with the top of the ticket Republicans: Terry Branstad, Chuck Grassley and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. But in the US House races, they only endorse the two GOP incumbents, Steve King and Tom Latham, and make no endorsements in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts.

    In the State Senate, there are just 11 endorsements in the 25 races, and some of those are for unopposed Republicans. The gaps appear to mostly be in urban areas. Looking at the top tier races, it seems like the real priorities are Bill Dix, Sandy Greiner and Kent Sorensen.

    Two Democrats get the nod: Rich Olive and Dennis Black. The Olive endorsement is the most interestings, in that he was also endorsed by the Association of Business and Industry (ABI), another GOP leaning PAC. Clearly the GOP is giving Olive (a 62 vote winner to pick up Stu Iverson's seat in 2006) a de facto bye.

    Farm Bureau gives 51 endorsements in the 100 House races, and again a lot of those go to unopposed rural Republicans. They're less friendly to the "six pack" of conservative Democrats than ABI, who backed all five of the six who ran for re-election, was. Farm Bureau's only House Democratic endorsement went to Altoona's Geri Huser. They endorse Jarad Klein over Larry Marek in House 89 (Marek got the ABI nod). But they make no endorsement in the Stu Iverson-McKinley Bailey race, and combined with ABI's Bailey support, that's a good sign that Iverson's comeback is a low priority.

    Farm Bureau also makes no endorsements in open House Democratic districts 7 (Marcy Frevert) and 8 (Dolores Mertz), or in Guy Vander Linden's challenge to Oskaloosa Democrat Eric Palmer.

    ABI only supported one Republican challenger to a Democratic incumbent, and that was Dan Rasmussen in his comeback attempt against freshman Gene Ficken. Farm Bureau is playing more offense, including: Lee Hein in House 31 challenging Ray Zirkelbach, late-starter Bob Hager against freshman Decorah Democrat John Beard in House 16, and special election loser Stephen Burgmaier against Fairfield's Curt Hanson in House 90.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    2010 Mindset List

    Time To Feel Old

    It's back to school time - in my family, that's Thursday already - and Wisconsin's Beloit College dropped its annual reminder of my geezerdom: the Mindset List. You know: to today's college freshman (born in 1992), life had always been like this or never like that ("Czechoslovakia has never existed").

    Our own Tom Harkin, or rather the Americans with Disabilities Act, gets an indirect shoutout at number 8: "With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities."

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Never too soon to caucus

    It's never too soon to caucus

    Ed Kilgore at FiveThirtyEight offers up a very colorful piece -- oh, us quaint yet wacky Iowans with our Unhealthy Food On A Stick -- that reminds us that Iowa Republicans are less than a year away from the Ames Straw Poll (assuming Ames is on dry land again by then.)
    Will some potential president make Fred Thompson's mistake and violate the unwritten but iron rules of Iowa culture between now and then, perhaps disdaining a bite of Hot Beef Sundae or deep-fried Oreos, or failing to express admiration for the winner of the Big Boar Contest, with cameras nearby?
    TheIowaRepublican, which has now been rolling out its poll for two whole weeks, and tops it off with the caucuses. The national takeaway is likely to be Sarah Palin's fourth place, but the leader, over a splintered field, is 2008 caucus winner Mike Huckabee.

    At least for now. But Huckabee is breaking from the "Dred Scott" orthodoxy of Chuck Grassley and other Republicans, who having failed at winning Hispanic votes, now want to end birthright citizenship in direct opposition to the intent of the framers of the 14th Amendment.
    “The Supreme Court has decided that, I think, in three different centuries,” Huckabeee said in a radio interview Wednesday with NPR. “In every single instance, they have affirmed that if you are born in this country, you are considered to be a citizen. The only option there is to change the Constitution.”

    But asked Wednesday if he supported such a change, Huckabee responded simply: “No.”

    “Let me tell you what I would favor. I would favor having controlled borders,” said the 2008 GOP presidential candidate. “But that's where the federal government has miserably and hopelessly failed us.”
    So: will the dynamic of 2008, when the Money Republicans vetoed Huckabee for his economic populism and the Jesus Republicans vetoed Mitt Romney for his religion, play itsel;f out again? Who benefits? Who's even in a position to benefit?

    Linux Powered Tomatoes

    Linux Powered Tomatoes

    We're merging Smallest Farm Sunday and Linux Monday this week. I've been trying to make sun dried tomatoes using a toaster over. That gets them 90% of the way but there's a fine line between druied and burnt.

    So for the last stage, I keep them next to the exhaust fan of the computer. The power of Linux is now drying my tomatoes. Now the problem will be not snacking on them all since they're right at arm's length...

    Here's the geekiness for the week:

    We've just subscribed to streaming Netflix and it's working well on the boys' PCs and Wii. Linux: not so much.

    Puppy Linux, my favorite low-resource distribution, launched 5.1 this week.

    Here's a handy free online tool to convert file formats. I converted a few Windows .wma music files to .mp3 and it worked well

    There are wrong reasons to switch to Linux.

    And the history of.... icons.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Nothing New From Miller-Meeks

    Same Tired Line From MMM

    Two years later and Mariannette Miller-Meeks has nothing new to add at the State Fair:
    “We have to put a stop to the agenda that Nancy Pelosi and her puppet David Loebsack are trying to shove down our throats.”
    That straegery worked soooo welll getting her all the way to 39 percent last time.

    While we're at it, Coralville Courier (no MMM fans, as she's frequently called a 'RINO' over there) has a fun 2nd CD poll you can play in. Loebsack's winning.

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Final Filing

    Who The Hell Is Gregory James Hughes?

    There's always one Some Dude on the last day of filing, and this year the prize goes to Mr. Gregory James Hughes of Cedar Rapids, who has three names, a web site, and 1500 signatures to run for governor. Apparently he's been at it since February.

    "Hughes will bring to the forefront all the injustices occurring in Courts regarding domestic relations cases and how this impacts parenting, worker productivity, and employment opportunities here in Iowa," says the site, and Hughes appears to be active in the "father's right's" (sic) movement. Around our house we call those 'deadbeat dads.'

    That was the only activity on the last day of filing. The full list is here; there's still a few days to drop out. The six candidates for governor are the most since 1994.

    Two names that didn't make it: Perennial candidate Jim Hennager, who led the Reform Party to loss of ballot status as the nominee for governor in 1998 and later ran as a "One Earth" and "Earth Federation" candidate, failed to qualify as a US Senate candidate for the "Peace Party."

    And 2006 Green nominee for governor Wendy Barth, who had been looking at a second bid, did not file. It's the first cycle since 1998 that the Greens have had no top of the ticket candidate (the only Green on the state or federal ballot is House District 89 candidate David Smithers). It means the Greens have, under current state law, no shot at full party status, because 2% for governor or president is the only way to get it. (That's the stated goal for Eric Cooper, Libertarian candidate for governor.) The Greens do keep their minor party "political organization" status. (Main difference: full parties have primaries, political organizations don't.)

    Those two no-shows are a good break for Roxanne Conlin and Chet Culver, respectively, and both could use good news after a rough week of polling. Barth showed a bit of support in her `08 run for Congress against Dave Loebsack (he ran about five points behind Obama in Johnson County, which was almost exactly what Barth got here). And while Hennager's percentages have been to the right of the decimal point, the label "Peace Party" had some appeal in itself to war-weary lefty Dems.

    So in general, the One Percent or so third party factor slightly benefits Democrats. Libertarians are in the Senate, Governor, and 1st and 2nd CD races, plus secretary of state. Libertarians will argue that they're "neither left or right," but Cooper's url is coopersmallergovernment.com, and I think that indicates where the appeal lies. The tea-like Constitution Party is on for governor and 2nd CD, and that's the group Tom Tancredo is affiliating with for his run for Colorado governor. The only rivals to the left, unless some of the Some Dudes lean that way, are the Socialist Workers in governor and the 3rd CD, and they usually finish in the low tenths of a percent.

    UPDATE: I literally lost count of the governor candidates. The Constitution Party did NOT qualify for governor, which is a good break for Branstad.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Happy Anniversary Grandma

    Happy Anniversary Grandma

    One year ago today, as Roxanne reminds us:

    Today is the one year anniversary of the infamous declaration by Senator Charles Grassley that Iowans “should be afraid” when asked about the so-called death panels fabricated by right-wing extremists to block health care reform.

    “This is just one of many incidents where Iowa’s senior Senator has proven that he agrees with the extremists in his party who will tell any lie and make up any distortion in order to prevent the passage of progressive and needed legislation,” said Paulee Lipsman, communications director for Roxanne Conlin for U.S. Senate campaign.

    “As a reward for spreading this lie, Palin has now contributed $7500 to Grassley. But Iowans know that health care reform will not ‘pull the plug on grandma’ as Palin and other extremists contended.”

    “Senator Grassley needs to apologize to Iowans for spreading this propaganda and to repudiate the extremist views of Palin and other distorters. “

    But rather than admit it was over the top, Republicans are doubling down, as in this Coralville Courier post:
    John Deeth, Roxanne Conlin and all their liberal cohorts are irresponsible. They're insisting on going low road in spinning the Grassley record regarding his "Pull the plug on grandma" comment.


    Because they can't handle issues on the up-and-up, they can't handle the truth.

    Deeth made a cheesy reference
    in a recent blog post, basically regurgitating a liberal talking point. The liberal publication Iowa Independent called Grassley's basis for making the comment a "myth," failing to provide a proper reference to support their claim. Roxanne Conlin, Grassley's opponent in the Senate race, stated Grassley's "pull the plug on grandma" comment was her motivation in running against him.

    What a load of bull. Everything in the above paragraph is based in a manipulation - but that's how liberals operate.

    All Grassley did was tell the truth.
    As a Wisconsin native and lifelong Packer fan, I don't mind being called cheesy. But I don't deserve to outrank Roxanne on the Republican enemy list.

    Thursday Filings

    Thursday's Some Dudes

    Jonathan Narcisse makes it official, filing for governor with the label "Iowa Party" which puts him on a ticket with fringe-right state senate 45 candidate Douglas Philips. There's some sort of Keosauqua Konnection here, as Narcisse running mate Rick Marlar also ran in Senate 45, coming in last in the GOP primary.

    Trivia: Nebraska has a Nebraska Party, though it's really just their affiliate of the hard right tea-like Constitution Party.

    Swing State Project likes to refer to obscure candidates as Some Dude. And with just one more day left for filing, a couple more Some Dudes qualify for Iowa's congressional races.

    In the 5th Congressional District one Martin James Monroe of Sioux City joins Krazy King and Democrat Matt Campbell. And in the 4th District, Dan Lensing, who lost an independent state house bid two years ago against Democrat Brian Quirk, turns his ambitions toward Washington.

    In the 2nd District, the fourth (!) candidate to file represents a slightly better known brand, as Libertarian Gary Sicard files. That means a limited government type (Sicard) and Jon Tack of the Constitution Party to draw a couple points from Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

    Meanwhile, on Dave Loebsack's left flank, his 2008 Green rival Wendy Barth was last seen looking at a reprise of her 2006 run for governor instead. (That's the office that can earn you full party status with 2% of the vote.) But they still haven't seen her at the Secretary of State's office yet...

    Down the ballot, Des Moines businesswoman Vicki Stogdill files as an independent in House District 64, now held by Rep. Janet Petersen. A Facebook posting (in support of Attorney General candidate Brenna Findley) indicates that Stogdill is "equally tea'd off" at Democrats and Republicans. That's not good news for Dan Kennedy, the official Republican nominee, especially since Petersen was a two to one winner over just one Republican in 2008.

    The Democrats get one more legislative candidate, as John Archer of West Liberty, who was nominated at a convention Tuesday night, files the paperwork to oppose Rep. Jeff Kaufmann (R-Wilton) in House District 79.

    Stuff Coming Up

    Stuff Coming Up

    A blast from the past this weekend as John Culver campaigns across the state on his son's behalf. The Johnson County stop will be at the home of Jim Hayes at 1142 E Court Street. (You may know this as the former residence of Grant Wood.) That's Sunday at 11 AM, and our own Fearless Leader Sue Dvorsky will also be on hand.

    Team Roxanne is having an organizational get-together Friday night at 5:30 at Brian Flaherty's place - 1512 First Ave, Apt 201S, Coralville.

    Check out my latest Register post: Tide Turning on Marriage Equality.

    yard signsAnd if you've got some old yard signs sitting around for Chet Culver or Dave Loebsack, go ahead and put `em up.

    Some of us old timers remember the days of the yard sign ordinances - in 1992 I worked in Linn County and Cedar Rapids wouldn't let us put them up until 21 days out. Well, all that is now considered an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. So I've had my Roxanne sign up since January. Of course, not everyone lives on as busy a street as I do.

    Which reminds me, I need to mow the lawn.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Wednesday's Filing

    Wednesday's Filing

    Just two days left after today for candidates to file with the Secretary of State, and some names are still missing (where's Narcisse?). Just two names trickled in Wednesday.

    Libertarian Rob Petsche of Manchester is the fourth candidate in the 1st Congressional District race, joining independent Jason Faulkner, Republican Ben Lange, and Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley.

    Republicans have recruited a candidate in House District 68 in Des Moines. Dave Dicks will challenge Rep. Rick Olson, a two to one winner in 2008.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    There's no nice spin here: Today offers a triumvirate of sucky polls.

  • TheIowaRepublican showing Terry Branstad leading Governor Chet Culver 53 percent to 35 percent

  • A Rasmussen poll shows Chuck Grassley with a 55-35 lead over Roxanne Conlin

  • And a Polk County GOP poll showing Brad Zaun ahead of Leonard Boswell.

    You can say what you want about the house effect of polls, and all these are essentially GOP internal polls. But yeah, they're all bad news.

    But read deeper and what they reveal is a Republican Party that's managed to fool the electorate.

    The key clue is in the Grassley-Conlin poll:
    Most of the state’s voters (56 percent) consider Grassley’s views as mainstream, and 29 percent think they are extreme, the survey found. For Conlin, 34 percent said her views are in the mainstream while 42 percent feel they are extreme.
    Pull the plug on Grandma say WHAT?

    Chuck Grassley is no longer the aw-shucks look at the Pentagon buying $1000 hammers guy of a generation ago. Now he's a lock step party of no demagogue. While Roxanne Conlin talks truth to corporate power, Grassley is going all Dred Scott on us.

    That misperception, Grassley as mainstream, Conlin as extreme, gives Roxanne an opportunity to turn this around.

    The same can be said of the other races. Terry Branstad is still pandering to his right, still trying to clinch his primary two months after the fact and looking to throw collective bargaining and judicial independence in the trash.

    And while I've never been the biggest Boswell fan, Brad Zaun is clearly not ready to hit major league pitching.

    So no, not a good day. But it's just one day with 84 left to do. With that time and, yes, a little $$$, we can correct these misconceptions.
  • Libertarians in Two More Races

    Libertarians File in Two More Races
    Green files in Marek race

    The Libertarian slate filled up a bit more in Tuesday's candidate filing with the Secretary of State's office. John Heiderschiet of Bettendorf joins Roxanne Conlin and Chuck Grassley in the U.S. Senate race, while Jake Porter is the third candidate for Secretary of State. (Libertarians have also announced, but not yet filed, in the 1st and 2nd congressioanl districts.)

    But two down-ballot filings in eastern Iowa may have more impact on their respective races. In Senate District 45, independent conservative Douglas Philips filed with the "Iowa Party" label. Philips was one of two right wing independents in last summer's House District 90 special election, which Democrat Curt Hanson won with under 50 percent of the vote. This time, Philips may draw votes from former legislator Sandy Greiner, who's challenging first term Democrat Becky Schmitz of Fairfield.

    In House 89, freshman Democrat Larry Marek's rematch with Jarad Klein gets a third candidate running to Marek's left: David Smithers, who decided to file as a Green. Marek won in `08 by just 157 votes.

    Monday, August 09, 2010

    Constitution Party in 2nd CD Race

    Constitution Party in 2nd CD Race
    Libertarian Krutsinger files in House District 30

    The filing pace picks up on the first day of the last week to file with the Secretary of State, and the 2nd Congressional District is now officially a three way contest.

    Jon Tack of the Constitution Party is running from the right against Democratic icumbent Dave Loebsack and Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Tack may represent a conservative alternative for Republicans unhappy with MMM's primary win. Libertarian Gary Sicard has also announced, but not yet filed.

    Two Libertarians did file for the state legislature. Dustin Krutsinger makes his late June announcement official, filing today to run against Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville) in House District 30. In Ames, Tyler Pauly files in House District 46, held by Democrat Lisa Heddens.

    In other activity today, Democrat Jon Murphy turns in the paperwork to oppose GOP incumbent state auditor Dave Vaudt. But we've known that since the June state convention where he was nominated.

    Monday Clips

    Monday Clips

    After skipping Friday and the weekend, TheIowaRepublican resumes its polling series with a look at the Supreme Court judges:
    When participants of the poll were asked if they would vote to retain the three justices or vote against them, 40 percent said retain, while 27 percent would vote against retaining. Thirty-one percent of those polled didn’t know how they would vote.

    The Battleground polls also asked those surveyed if they would retain the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices if they knew that these judges voted to legalize gay marriage in Iowa. When the question was asked that way, 44 percent would vote to retain, while 47 percent of respondents would vote to remove the judges. Only eight percent of those surveyed were undecided.
    The poll was in the field two weeks ago, and the past two weeks have seen the Prop 8 ruling AND the Vander Plaats No on Judges launch. (I stick by my Friday analysis: if No is associated with BVP and his wing of the GOP, it hurts No more than it helps.) And the push nature of the followup question makes the whole thing a bit dubious.

    Nate Silver thinks marriage equality has lost some of its conservative resonance - not that that's a good thing:
    Congratulations, gays! You're no longer the dweebiest kid on the playground. Republicans will be beating up on Manuel, whose parents just moved here from Mexico, instead. And when they get done with him, there's Faisal, whose father wants to build a mosque. At best, you're third in the pecking order. You're not even on the short list any more, frankly. But don't get too full of yourselves. If the economy improves, you could be facing another round of noogies and swirlies all over again.
    And at Kos, brooklynbadboy argues:
    What people want, more than anything else, is for the government to be effective. I can't emphasize this enough. Keep in mind, when this survey talks about effectiveness, it isn't talking about the Washington definition of effectiveness. Washington says you're effective if you pass and sign a bill. Washington says you're effective if you get good poll numbers. This survey indicates that the American people, God bless 'em, believe effectiveness means actually solving problems.

    Sunday, August 08, 2010

    Smallest farm sunday

    Smallest Farm Sunday

    The big milestone of the week was the first corn, picked and eaten Friday.

    After a bad couple of weeks, the beans have gotten a second wind and are starting to produce again. The fence now seems to be secure and it solved its own top-heavy problem: It sagged under its own weight and snapped a couple plants off about six inches above the ground. Thus the tops of those plants died off, reducing the top heaviness. Meanwhile, the snapped off plants are starting over again, sending up new tendrils.

    The vines of the Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch have started to climb and produce the world's first pumpkin tree. Four or five large pumpkins are growing, the biggest two are now about normal pumpkin size. (They're Dill's Atlantic Giants, the huge kind.)

    As for the other squashes, we've picked three acorns and the compost volunteer mutant "squashkin" vines are about 30 feet long and setting squashes. But unlike every other gardener on the planet, I have almost no zucchini.

    The tomatoes and jalapenos are plentiful, and I now have a big bowl of salsa on hand. Strating to get a few habaneros but they're still green. The sweet peppers are also doing nicely and I have eating size green and yellow ones. Tonight's menu is fajitas, which includes all of the above plus tomatillos - which have been a disappointment. I have four plants, all of which are growing vines and flowers - bit only one is successfully setting fruit.

    My first effort at "sun" dried Roma tomatoes became toaster oven burnt tomatoes. But I have plenty and I'm making my second effort now.

    For the first time in three years here, I've had success with okra.

    (I've moved the pics over to Facebook, see more here.)

    Friday, August 06, 2010

    Independent files in Braley race

    Independent files in Braley race

    Friday brings a close to Week Two of filing at the Secretary of State's office as an independent jumps into Bruce Braley's race.

    No it's not James Hall of 2006 Pirate PARRRRRRty fame, but one Jason Faulkner of Maquoketa. The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald picked up on Faulkner last week: he describes himself as:
    ...a conservative, but is fed up with the two-party system in Congress. While not a tea party member, Faulkner said he agrees with many of the group's viewpoints.

    Faulkner said he'd like to see a ban on lobbyists, term limits for Congress and a dramatic reduction in spending at the federal level.
    So, nothing like a tea partier at all.

    The TH also catches a point I missed:
    Brian Moore switched his allegiance from the Democrats to Republicans after losing the Democratic primary for State Senate District 13.

    Moore finished second behind Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa High School teacher in the Senate primary. Then Moore, as a GOP hopeful, jumped into a House race against Democratic incumbent Tom Schueller, of Maquoketa.

    Vander Plaats: It's What We Thought

    BVP: It's What We Thought

    The near majority of Deeth Blog readers were right: Bob Vander Plaats is doing something else this cycle to fight teh gay. Specifically, running the No on Supreme Court judges campaign.

    “I believe this election to unseat these three justices may be, if not one of the most, the most important campaign and election in our country,” says BVP, who appears not to have learned the maxim "it's the economy stupid."

    (Given that Branstad appointed Chief Justice Ternus, there's also a cognitive dissonance problem, though these days that usually doesn't bother Republicans.)

    Krusty is pleased at the "unity" (though the magic word "endorse" was not said) but he's ultimately cynical:
    ...if the Republican Governor’s Association is pumping some coin into Vander Plaats’ effort then it tells us a couple things about Bob.

    a. While he is unwilling to publicly endorse, he basically has made a deal with the RGA/Branstad campaign, so don’t be fooled. That’s an endorsement in itself.

    b. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but if that’s the case then it really makes it seem that Vander Plaats really just wanted a paid gig. For all you people who listen to the radio, that’s another way to say he sold out for a seat at the table. He wanted asked to be the LG nominee, he then ran to be the LG nominee, and now the RGA is basically going to pay him to travel around the state to talk about judges.
    Team Chet is quick to pounce with the press release:
    "Terry Branstad and his running mate Kim Reynolds have made it clear that they want to change our system. Branstad has gone so far as to highlight Reynolds's support for changing the state's constitution, allowing the governor to reject all nominees sent by the judicial nominating committee, requiring the committee to send names again and again until the governor finds an appointee that supports a certain political agenda.

    "This campaign is about the future of our state and about choosing to move forward, instead of backwards. The best way to do that is not to focus on ideological battles but to bring Iowans together by investing in our future to create jobs, continue our national leadership in renewable energy and build 21st Century schools."
    And the Democratic Governor's Association rubs in the non-endorsement:
    “Vander Plaats’ decision to withhold his endorsement of Branstad is a humiliating snub, but it’s hardly the first for Branstad. Vander Plaats joins other groups like the Iowa Family Policy Center in sitting out the general election because of Branstad’s tax-and-spend record. Today’s announcement simply underscores that Democrats and Republicans can all agree that Branstad's greatest weakness as a candidate is his own flawed record as a tax-raising four-term former governor.”
    Meanwhile, back on the marriage equality front, at least two Iowa conservatives are pessimistic; Steve Deace says “If this ruling stands, this is the Roe v. Wade of marriage. It’s over. This is the end of this war. It’s just a matter now of whether we’re going to fight a new one or if we’re going to quit.”

    Jeff Angelo raises the spectre, perhaps the straw man, of churches losing tax-exempt status, but concludes: "I believe that the same sex marriage debate is over. I believe the next discussion is one of protecting free, private religious practice."

    I wonder if this helps or hurts. Having BVP as the point guy explicitly associates the No campaign with the theocratic wing of the GOP - the wing that couldn't even get him through the Republican primary. Bob is a VERY different breed of cat than your typical Tea Partier, who is more worried about taxes than about social issues.

    Just for the record, here's how the math usually works out on these things: the judges almost always win by an 80%-20% margin, with 40% or so of voters just skipping the contests entirely. I don't see BVP swaying a typical independent voter. If he has any impact it's on the margins, lowering that undervote percentage.

    In 1992 ERA vote, I learned a tough but basic lesson: Loudly reminding your people to vote Yes in an otherwise low-profile race simultaneously reminds the other side to vote No. The polarity is reversed here but BVP faces the same dilemma.

    Thursday, August 05, 2010

    What Will Vander Plaats Announce?

    What Will Vander Plaats Announce?

    In case you missed it: three time governor loser Bob Vander Plaats is having a 10:30 press conference at the State Capitol tomorrow, breaking the cone of silence (remember the week of 2008 when that was the big phrase?) that he's hidden under since losing the lt. gov nod - but coming way closer than Terry Branstad should have let him get -at the GOP state convention.

    You have as much of a clue as anyone, so place your bets.

    UPDATE: Brand new blog The Sentiment - I mean, brand new as in this is the first post - claims an exclusive: "Former GOP Candidate Bob Vander Plaats will not be making a bid for Governor in 2010, says a Vander Plaats insider who is familiar with BVP’s plans. Instead, Mr. Vander Plaats will reportedly be launching an initiative to remove from office several Iowa Supreme Court Justices..."

    That was my vote, but the poll stays open.

    What will Vander Plaats do?
    Announce independent run
    Actually have completed petitions and go file
    Endorse Branstad
    Endorse Narcisse (or other 3rd party)
    Endorse Culver
    Announce that he's doing something else this cycle to fight teh gay
    Announce 2014 campaign
    Reverse entire ideology and support Prop 8 ruling
    Ron Paul
    pollcode.com free polls

    Slow Filing Week

    Slow Filing Week

    The middle week of candidate filing is always dead, dead, dead. None of the novelty of filing first, none of the element of surprise in filing at the last second.

    So far this week only three candidates, all for state House, have filed - two independents and a Republican.

    The lone Republican is Tea Partier Richard Gates of Keokuk. Fresh off the third place Christopher Reed congressional campaign, he's now challenging freshman Democrat Jerry Kearns.

    The two independents who've filed haven't left much political presence on line. Jason Marshall of Cedar Rapids is challenging Rep. Tyler Olson in House 38, while Dallas Ford of Panora filed against Republican Clel Baudler in House 59 (this, as I often ranted, is the district where would-be lieutenant governor Barb Kalbach lives).

    TheIowaRepublican claiming political grandstander Matt Schultz with a lead over serious election administrator Mike Mauro, with "undecided" in the lead. The common thread through the campaign rhetoric: Schultz talks about making it harder to vote, Mauro talks about helping people vote.

    And Chuck Grassley joins the Dred Scott Republicans.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    The Great UN Bicycle Conspiracy

    Colorado Candidate: Biking to Work Part of One World Government Conspiracy

    This stuff is just too good to make up:
    Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

    "This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

    He added: "These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
    Maes was considered a fringe candidate until GOP front runner Scott McInnis got caught in a big plagiarism scandal. The state party all but begged both candidates to quit, but neither would. It's so bad that Tom Tancredo - we all remember HIM here in Iowa - has jumped in on the Constitution Party (suggested slogan: 'Tea's too weak for us') line, splitting the right half of the electorate 50-50 and virtually guaranteeing a win for Democratic Bicycle Socialist Hickenlooper.

    It was the Great Orange Satan himself, Markos "Kos" Moulitsas, an intense cyclist, who brought this to my attention, as he writes:
    Maes gives us yet another window into the psyche of the teabagger, one in which being environmentally responsible is suspect, in which the United Nations is code word for communist. It's a world in which "liberty" apparently means dealing with congestion-choked streets, noxious air quality, and unhealthy living.

    We know this crowd hates brown people, non-Christians, single women, Hollywood, San Francisco, Massachusetts, gays, immigrants, New York, Chicago, anyone born in Hawaii, Muslims, urbanites, liberals, environmentalists, anyone who wears birkenstocks or drinks lattes, and any country outside of the United States.

    I guess you can add cyclists to the list.

    Proposition 8 Overturned

    Proposition 8 Overturned

    California's marriage equality ban overturned. Full ruling (pdf, prepare for delays)

    Key excerpts:

    Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.

    Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.

    Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.

    Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage & marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the U.S. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld.

    Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

    Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

    Updating as I go... judge is Reagan Bush 41 appointee... AHnold issues a surprisingly positive statement, considering he was the one getting sued:
    For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.

    Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people.
    Now that he's a term limited lame duck he can speak his mind; no one who spent that much time in bodybuilding and acting can be totally homophobic...

    Judge seems to have been very thorough in the ruling (much like Varnum-Brien, methinks)

    defines the significance: "The judgment was the first offered by a federal court with respect to laws banning gay marriage at the state level and it promises to have massive reverberations across the political and judicial landscape. The decision is expected to now head to the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (also based in San Francisco) for appeal and from there to the Supreme Court..."

    Don't shudder at that thought yet (and Kagan will happen tomorrow, there's 61 votes to block filibuster): "Appellate courts cannot just substitute their views for that of the trial court when there is an evidentiary record, findings of fact and conclusions of law like this, where it is much easier to do so if it has been decided by preliminary injunctive relief, motions or on the pleadings. Walker can really put this in a unique posture with how he frames his findings of fact and conclusions of law; and I expect him to do just that. Walker is very detailed and very smart and crafty. He will lock in and protect his decision to every extent he can, and trust me Walker is very good at this. "

    Kos diarist freelancewoman
    : "According to CNN, Judge Walker has issued a stay on his ruling -- in other words, both sides will now argue for and against whether same sex marriages can again be held in California, before appeals are decided."

    Very late update: At Kos a dissection of the ruling.

    Funniest Onion Ever

    Funniest Onion Ever

    If you've known me for more than a decade you know I was never a big Al Gore fan, and maybe even why. I was tactful enough not to kick Al when he was down, though the restraint was difficult.

    Lucky for me the Onion has no sense of restraint or tact, and has as long a memory as I do. I'm amazed my inbox isn't filled with copies already:
    Gore, who was prohibited from hearing music with graphic sex, violence, or drug references since Tipper founded the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985, confirmed yesterday that her crusade was "total bullcrap."
    Hey, if he'd have said that ten years ago I might have voted for him...
    In addition, Gore said that listening to the forbidden W.A.S.P. albums over and over again had not turned him into a satanic dope fiend as his wife and her associates had warned.

    "I can't believe I wasted half my life helping Tipper put warning labels on this stuff when I could have been seeing these guys do their thing live," Gore said of W.A.S.P. "They used to whip raw meat at the audience. How bad-ass is that?"
    I also flash back to the 80s, the 1982 midterms in particular, in the Register today.

    What else I got here...

  • With Republicans talking about ending citizenship by birth, Michael Gerson writes in the Washington Post:
    The authors of the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed citizenship to all people “born or naturalized in the United States” for a reason. They wished to directly repudiate the Dred Scott decision, which said that citizenship could be granted or denied by political caprice. They purposely chose an objective standard of citizenship -- birth -- that was not subject to politics. Reconstruction leaders established a firm, sound principle: To be an American citizen, you don’t have to please a majority, you just have to be born here.
  • TheIowaRepublican rolls out today's number, state treasurer: "Current State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald leads Jamison 42% to 30%, with 26% of respondents undecided about the race."

  • Speaking of numbers, Roxanne Conlin tells Iowa Indy “Those numbers were not at issue,” meaning the pre-primary poll of Grassley 48, Conlin 40 conducted by the discredited Research 2000. “My sense is that I’m still about that far from him.”

  • And since we can't shop at Target OR Wal-Mart, bring your boxes and your quarter for the cart for a long read on the history of Aldi's.
  • Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    Tuesday clips

    Tuesday clips

    Primary day in KS, MO, CO and MI. Closer to home, TheIowaRepublican is taking the week to roll out their internal poll. Today reveals the first actual number: Tom Miller 41, Brenna Findley 26, and they really reach for the spin.

    At the NY Times, Ross Douthat is usually unreliable but he's not bad here on the GOP internal politics of 2012:
    Palin is Palin: if she runs, there’s going to be a constituency that would crawl on broken glass to vote for her, no matter how many soap operas cling to her. Huckabee, meanwhile, is a chronically underestimated figure who straddles two anti-establishment demographics (the Tea Parties and the Christian Right), and whose political savvy rivals that of his fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton.

    Neither is exactly brimming over with gravitas. But either one might be able to beat the unloved Romney, his money and organizational muscle notwithstanding.

    This prospect gives Republican insiders heartburn. In the salons and bars of conservative Washington, there’s an obvious appetite for a kind of intra-establishment coup, in which Romney is knocked from his perch as the safe, sober choice and a fresher figure takes his place.
    And Lada Gaga of all people gets political in Arizona.

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Mexican Dining With Chuck Grassley

    Mexican Dining With Chuck Grassley

    In Day 9 of 100 Days of Grassley, Chuck invents a new food:
    "I saw a little bit of concern in Mexico over tortitos" (sic), Grassley said, not realizing tortillas are made from corn as is ethanol...
    Must be Phase Two of the Iowa GOP's Hispanic outreach program, following Terry Branstad's call to punish kids for their parent's immigration status...

    I got your enthusiasm gap right here

    I got your enthusiasm gap right here

    Coralville Courier
    brags up Johnson County GOP HQ grand opening:
    Wednesday, August 4, from 6 – 8:30P.M. Headquarters is located at 107 5th Street, Coralville. State Senator Kim Reynolds, candidate for Lieutenant Governor will be attending. In addition we expect State Senate candidate and former State Representative Sandy Geiner, State Representative Jeff Kaufmann, and Shawn Graham -- House District 29 to attend.
    But here's the good part:
    Headquarters is generally open from 10:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. Monday – Friday.
    As opposed to the full phone bank Saturday morning at Democratic HQ.

    This enthusiasm gap may also explain the absentee request numbers out of Johnson County: 1242 Democrats, 46 Republicans, 166 no party, Now, I know Democrats have a big registration lead here in the People's Republic, but that's a two to one lead, not a 27 to one lead.

    Linux Monday

    The Return of Linux Monday

    I've taken a couple weeks off but rest assured that my obsession with alternate operating ststems continues.

    First off, a nice little definition via Jon Buys at Ostatic:
    A Linux operating system, or distribution, is piece-mealed together, taking parts from the different groups that create them. Linux distributions like Ubuntu do not actually develop most of the applications that they ship with, what the distributions do is curate open source software. What the Linux developer ecosystem has created is a type of gentleman's agreement to work loosely together, producing software that also works loosely within the operating system.

    Each distribution picks what it feels are the best parts available from the open source community.
    The job of the distributions is to ensure that the software available in their repositories works together without conflict.

    Slate's Farhad Manjoo gives an old machine the Ubuntu makeover and loves it. But if vanilla Ubuntu isn't quite your thing here are seven variations on it. Or you can burn your own version of Ubuntu to CD and haul it with you.

    It wouldn't be Linux Monday without a little WinMac comparison, and here's Tech Republic's take on Ubuntu's two big advantages over Windows and Mac: Comprehensive software updates and an integrated app store

    PCWorld offers a cautionary tale of Five Things to Know Before Switching to Linux, printer and peripgeral issues being the biggest (though I've never seen a problem in two years).

    And for the extremely geeky, a step by step guide on installing micri-distro TinyCore to a hard drive (usually one runds it off a CD or other removable media)