Friday, June 28, 2013

Greiner Re-retires

Must be an end of the fiscal year thing: we have a SECOND Republican Senate departure today as Keota Republican Sandra Greiner announces her second retirement.

Greiner's retirement isn't a shock, but official announcements are an automatic big deal. She was facing re-election next year in a dead-even swing district located half in Johnson County. Granted, it's some of the least Democratic parts of the county, but just a reminder that Greiner was the ONLY senator of either party to vote no on The Map in 2011.

At least redistricting was better to Greiner than it was in 2001. She had just moved up (or, as my House friends say, OVER) to the Senate after 8 years in the House when she got TRIPLED up with fellow Republican Dave Miller and Democrat Mark Shearer. Greiner got the short straw and ran for the open House seat.

Greiner retired in 2008, making a failed bid for the Republican National Committee. Her handpicked successor, Jarad Klein, lost the House seat to Democrat Larry Marek by just over 100 votes.

Back on the Senate side, Miller beat Shearer in 2002 but lost to Democrat Becky Schmitz in 2006. In 2010, Greiner made her comeback to beat Schmitz, while Klein stomped Marek in their rematch.

Who runs for what depends in part on the plans of the two House members, Klein and Democrat Sally Stutsman, who holds the Johnson County half of the district. Rumor mill says Democrats had recruited a Washington County based candidate before today's announcement. Watch tomorrow's Trek Fest Parade in Riverside and see who's marching.

(One name not on the list: Schmitz, as redistricting took her out of this seat. She made a successful comeback last year, getting elected to the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.)

This is a must-win for both parties and good logistically for Democrats; sure, the Iowa City-Coralville folks can't VOTE in this race but we can sure doorknock North Liberty. 

As for Greiner, she's a well connected big league player in Iowa Republican politics and I don't expect her to vanish.

It's On

Oh, it is SO on:
It looks like Iowa City voters will once again decide the bar-entry age in town.

The City Clerk’s office said Thursday that a petition calling for the repeal of Iowa City’s so-called 21-only law, which bans people younger than 21 from being in most places with liquor licenses after 10 p.m., collected enough valid signatures.
Well thank you, Marian, as always for your own special yet legally questionable interpretation of who's qualified to vote.

There's a snowball's chance of the city council doing the right thing and overturning 21. The last 19 supporter, Regenia Bailey, left in 2011, and now the 21 ringleader from 2007, Rick Dobyns, is at the table. So after a few weeks of formalities this goes on the ballot with the full force of city government and the University on the 21 side.

All part of the University's Masterplan to get off the Party School list: get big brother Bluto arrested so he goes back to Aurora or Schaumburg and warns little brother Flounder not to go to Iowa City. Meanwhile, replace all the Flounders with international students who go nowhere but the library and the dorm.

This one looks shakier for the 19 side. Unlike 2010, when 19 and 20 year olds had just gotten kicked out of the bars, the current crop of freshmen and sophs has known nothing but a 21 bar town. Young solidarity is severely lacking, as indicated by this DI endorsement of the 21 side. Anecdotally, the dynamic seems to be that the moment students turn 21, they flip on the issue. I got mine, keep the younger people out.

The 19 campaign team also seems a lot less organized than the 2007 and 2010 efforts. There's still time for George Wittgraf and Josh Erceg to turn that around, since any student oriented campaign can't really get started till after Moving Day on August 1, and you can't get to the younger dorm students till even later.

Wittgraf and Erceg have been "unavailable for comment" in too many articles, though Gregg Hennigan did reach Wittgraf for a perfect quote: “The students make up this town. This town wouldn’t be anything without them.”

Exactly what I've been saying. For the 21 side some of this issue isn't just "public health." Mayor Matt Hayek reportedly used the phrase "we're taking our city back" during the 2010 fight. That's right, Matt. No Amnesty. All setting up for another ugly, polarized fight.

But attn: George and Josh. Things like 1000+ voters at a dorm satellite site don't just happen by getting an issue on the ballot. And there also needs to be a strategy to reach out to the non-student community, which was completely lacking in 2007 and 2010. You won't WIN, sure, but you have to cut the losses. Maybe my 18 Year Olds Are Adults Nothing Else Matters message isn't the right one, but at least it's something as opposed to nothing. Talk to me, guys.

Anyone else getting the feeling this'll be an every three years fight for the next couple decades, kind of like Rocky sequels? That brings it up next in 2016, right in line with a presidential vote for total Barmageddon.

Boettger retiring

We have what looks like our first flat out legislative retirement for next year (not counting all the people running for other jobs).  The Nonpariel, my favorite newspaper name, reports that Republican Senator Nancy Boettger of Harlan is stepping down in Senate District 9.

Boettger is one of the most senior Republicans, first elected in 1994. She got paired up in the last redistricting cycle, and mostly on James Seymour's turf, but he stepped down and she held over. Now she won't need to work those new counties.

Not that it matters much since this west Iowa turf, while not blood red, is pretty solidly Republican: Harrison, Monona, Ida, most of Crawford, and some rural bits of east Woodbury. Boettger hadn't seen an opponent since 2002.

The real action will be in the GOP primary. Both representatives - Matt Windschitl and Jason Schultz - are young and both won their seats by being the more conservative contender in a contested primary. Windschitl knock off in incumbent in a primary and Schultz squeezed one into retiring, so both no guts no glory kind of guys. If either or both runs, this ripples into primaries for House 17 and/or 18.

UPDATE: Didn't take long. Schultz announces, Denison Republican Steve Holt announces in House 18 at what looks like a joint event. This must have been in the works for a while.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lofgren Launches to Small Crowd

Too many national and global events all at once this week: marriage, immigration, voting rights, the Texas filibuster - will Wendy David speed up the flipping of Texas more than the Supreme Court delayed it? Heck, normally I'd have launched a long dry comparative politics dissertation on the middle of the American night overthrow of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. (Spilling. It's Australian for Beer.) I was awake from the tornado sirens anyway.

So I'm a day behind the curve on what's a fairly big development in my own backyard, the emergence of a real live opponent for my man Dave Loebsack.

Loebsack was the only member of the delegation without even so much as a Some Dude opponent (granted, the opposition to Steve King and Tom Latham is just that: Some Dudes) till this week. State Rep. Mark Lofgren took the District Draws Itself Muscatine seat in 2010 back from the first Democrat to hold it in decades, Nathan Reichert, and held off a solid challenger in 2012 despite a blue trend in Muscatine (the overlapping GOP held Senate seat flipped to Democrat Chris Brase).

But even Republicans noted a slightly shaky start to the Lofgren campaign. Kevin Hall at The Iowa Republican:
Lofgren officially announced his challenge to Dave Loebsack in front of 20 Johnson County Republicans at the Coralville Library on Wednesday. It was a lackluster event.
20 people? We had over 200 at the simultaneous DOMA event downtown. Of course, that was history and this is Iowa City, but 20 people isn't even a good central committee meeting. Hall continues: 
There were no campaign signs, no sign-in sheets or ballot petitions. Lofgren read his campaign kickoff announcement from a prepared script, only occasionally glancing up at the audience. The well-regarded Republican House representative did not impress many attendees with this appearance.

Loebsack, for his part, is way past the "fluke" win of 2006. He had a bigger winning margin that Braley or Boswell in the annus horriblis in 2010 against repeat opponent Marianette Miller-Meeks (rumored interested again) and his 2012 opponent John Archer missed the target (sorry) by more than expected.  And it turns out Dave had some well placed friends.

"I got a stone in my shoe. You can remove it."

No, Loebsack isn't asking Tony Soprano for advice on persuasive campaign techniques. The reality was actually a tribute to Loebsack's Armed Services Committee work and to the late great James Gandolfini's support for veterans.

This September 5, 2007 file photo shows US actor James Gandolfini (L), Executive Producer of the HBO documentary 'Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq', with US Rep. Dave Loebsack, (D-IA) shortly before the film's premier at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. 

Lofgren brings a long list of endorsements to the table, making me disinclined to the MMM3 buzz even though it's fun to abbreviate. My favorite curiosity on the endorsement list, handily provided in Bleeding Heartland's piece, is "Sarah Lande  - Friend of China's President Xi JinPing." Sounds too much like the fictional vice president bragging that he was Julia Roberts' cousin and bonus points if you can name the movie.

Last year the rumor mill was saying Lofgren might bail on the legislature at the last minute before filing deadline, much like Jeff Kaufmann did one district to the north. Kaufmann the elder successfully transitioned to another office - county supervisor - and handed the House seat off to son Bobby. Not entirely smoothly, but the lack of smoothness was mostly on the Democratic side.

That part of the Lofgren plan too? Daughter Emily Lofgren is quite the prominent young Republican in her own right and ran the 2010 campaign.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End of DOMA Party in Iowa City

Summer's here and to tell you where you can go to celebrate the Supreme Court overturning DOMA and effectively overturning California's Proposition 8, here's our city correspondent Stefon.

Yesyesyesyesyes. I know just the place. Looking to celebrate equality? Iowa City's hottest club is the Pentacrest. Site of one of America's first pride rallies in 1970 and hosted by Janelle Terrify - I swear that what my phone's auto correct does to "Rettig" - this place has everything. Music, politicians, rainbow flags, 200 plus people, families with little kids, Vander Splatts - it's that thing where the famIly leader's brain explodes.

You already know the news, just look at the pictures. Please pardon the skew toward politicans. They're my friends.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Voting Wrongs

The most political Supreme Court in history - yes, including its immediate predecessor the Rehnquist Court of Bush-Gore infamy - at least has a sense of drama and timing. No question that the evisceration of key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were dropped today because the story will be overshadowed tomorrow by the marriage rulings.

The framing seems to be that marriage is the civil rights fight of the present, while race is the last generation's fight -- you know, black president and all that. But as anyone voting in a racially polarized Alabama or Mississippi could tell ya, it ain't over.

The tl;dr of this 5-4 ruling seems to be be: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal "pre-clearance" of election law changes in places with historic patterns of discrimination, is itself OK, But Section 4, the map of those places, was tossed out, so now the map is... no place. And Congress is supposed to fix it... and could.... but won't.

I'm so many hours behind the curve on this that I'm just going to load the tweets in sequence and annotate them.

Arizona was one of only two non-Confederate states fully covered by pre-clearance, (the other was Alaska) and as their recent track record shows they're not exactly friendly to the Spanish speaking community despite Governor Jan Brewer's Pollyanna quote, "bad things that took place decades ago don't take place any longer."

The map drawn fifty years ago, rather, a hundred and fifty years ago, was still pretty accurate.
Si. Say goodbye to bilingual ballots. Say hello to literacy tests -- English Only of course. Not to miss the opportunity:
Saddest tweet of the day:

I had the honor of hearing John Lewis speak once. I was close enough to see the dent that's still in his forehead, from when his skull was broken on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Making it sadder, Nelson Mandela is on his deathbed.

Nelson Mandela voting.

April 1994: The line to vote for Nelson Mandela.

Followed soon by:


The case for photo ID is a soundbite. The reality of historic patterns of discrimination, and disproportionate impacts, are more complex and subtle.
But one thing unlikely to change
That's because those districts serve Republican purposes by concentrating the Democratic vote into majority-minority, 90% districts. These districts, which first popped up in 1992, were a huge factor in the 1994 House Republican takeover. Instead of diluted black votes electing, say, three moderate Democrats out of central Alabama, they got one African American Democrat and two VERY conservative Republicans.
See these articles, written in the more hopeful era of this past weekend, about local Democrats, even black Democrats, winning in Mississippi and about the future hopes of turning Texas blue.

Here's hoping tomorrow will be a much better day for civil rights. But even if it is, we can't forget today.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Addressing My Content Deficit

It's been almost a week since I've been inspired more than 140 characters, and a rumor started that I fell into the Admin Building Sinkhole. So I though I'd better regurgitate at least a clip post.

That big IRS "targeting" scandal? Never mind. Turns out the target was not right wingers, but ALL political groups trying to scam a tax-free status. In other words, the IRS was... doing its job.

A huge week in Mafia news. Tony Soprano knew where Jimmy Hoffa was buried, but took that secret to the grave. But they DID find another body at Jimmy the Gent's house. We have footage:

Another hilarious Iowa Some Dude announces for office. Personally I prefer Morris the Mexican write-in cat. I wrote in a cat once... then suffered for it by getting stuck counting all the write-in votes for a county-wide office with no candidate. Soil And Water Commissioer To Fill Vacancy, 2002.

Sadly there will be a similar To Fill Vacancy on the 2014 ballot. Ag Extension Board member Maynard Hebl was killed in a farm accident. He was also a Union ownship trustee so he was TWO elected officials, as those are two of the only offices you can hold simultaneously. The kind of longtime quiet community volunteer that local government thrives on.

Meanwhile at City Hall, 21 Bar is back for round three. Part of me wishes it wasn't, since I get pretty emotional about the issue, but if it's here I'm all in. Can't really improve much on what I wrote in October 2010. tl;dr version: an 18 year old is an adult.

And I haven't mentioned Linux Monday in a couple years: spent a chunk of weekend switching to Linux Mint 15. My son and I built a Mint 15 box out of spare parts a couple weekends ago when his laptop was off for repairs. He enjoyed it til the laptop came back and then forgot about it. I played some more and decided to upgrade from Linux Mint 12. No complaints and rave reviews.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Everyone:

The Johnson County Iowa Democratic Central Committee ≠ opinions of individual Democrats ≠ Barack Obama ≠ Iowa Democratic Party ≠ Democratic National Committee ≠ Bruce Braley ≠ Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ≠ some stupid thing George Wallace said in 1963 ≠ OFA ≠ Johnson County government ≠ Blue Dog Coalition ≠ Dave Loebsack ≠ Random Comment On Random Blog ≠ All broadcast rights to this telecast property of the National Football League ≠ Offer Void in Utah and Mississippi.

Thank you.

Scary Things

Scary Monsters was a damn good Bowie album.

Scary movies don't scare me, they just bore me.

I'm scared to run out of cat food, because they're carnivores and I'm made of meat.

NSA scares me, and apparantly scares a lot of young people too.

Know what scares me worse? President Rand Paul.

Here's a huge list of other things you can be scared of.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Saddest Thing I Read Today

The second saddest thing I read today is buried in this Washington Post piece, How the immigration bill explains the Senate, in 10 anecdotes:
7. From “undocumented” to “illegal.” The current reform effort is in large part guided by where things went wrong in 2007. Case in point: Schumer’s decision to say “illegal immigrants” over ”undocumented workers.”
Schumer studied Kennedy's 2007 negotiations, and he thought he understood one reason that the bill failed. "I love Ted Kennedy," Schumer said. "He was my mentor and idol, but people got the feeling he wasn't tough on future waves of illegal immigration." Schumer said that Democrats are too cautious in their rhetoric. "When Ted Kennedy would say 'undocumented workers,' basic America--not the liberal side, but Middle America and conservatives--would say, 'He really doesn't think they're illegal.' I made a decision: I would have to keep saying 'illegal immigrants.'"
The saddest thing I read today? Comments on same article.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Our Own Steve King announced that he's having an all-day media event Wednesday along with - get this rogue's gallery - Michele Bachmann,  Louie Gohmert and Glenn Beck. They plan to "tak(e) turns defending the Rule of Law," the Kingworld dog-whistle code for mass deportation.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mulberry Magic

The first harvest on the Smallest Farm In Iowa this year has nothing to do with the farmer.

The late snow and muck kept the peas out of the ground six weeks longer than usual. So my first food is from the mulberry trees that dominate the south half of the lot.

For three weeks a year, starting late but starting now, the mulberry supply approaches infinite. With each minute, the shifting angle of the setting sun changes the colors subtly and I see more ripe berries. I can hear them falling around me, dropping of their own ripe weight like a meteor shower of fruit.

Sometimes I get greedy and climb a ladder, but that feels a little like cheating. God wants the birds to have their share, too. But there's more than the birds can eat, more than the people can eat, and the only limit is the patience of the picker. My fingers and shoes and sometimes my ankles are stained dull purple; it's impossible to take a step without crushing at least eight or ten fallen berries. I don't see any ground dwellers eating them, and in two months I'll be mowing hundreds of tree sprouts. Left alone, this yard would be a mulberry orchard.

 I don't know what to do with this slightly sweet harvest. I suppose one could make wine, but I don't. Mostly they end up on ice cream or in yogurt or frozen. By July the picking will be done, and before school starts the last frozen berries are gone, barely noticed among the peppers and tomatoes and canning.

But next May, they'll be a very welcome treat again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Steve King and Little Sebastien

Someday I'm going to be able to stop writing about Steve King and immigration. Today's not that day.

But first I want to write about Sebastien de la Cruz.

Sebastien is 11 years old and had the honor of singing his country's national anthem Tuesday at the NBA finals for his hometown team, the San Antonio Spurs. And as you can hear, he earned that honor on sheer talent.

And Twitter reacted. But not in a good way. Hiding behind the safety of anonymity, people called little Sebastien "wetback" and "beaner." They said "9 out of 10 chance that kid is illegal," as if a human being could be "illegal."

Sebastien de la Cruz has talent beyond his years. He also has class beyond his years. "They don't know my life," he said. "My father was actually in the Navy for a pretty long time, and I salute him today for that. I'm not from Mexico, I'm from San Antonio."

Unfortunately after that inspirational young man, now I have to write about Steve King and immigration.

The sitter-inners were high school age "DREAMers," who were brought to America as very young children by their undocumented parents. They know no home but America. The DREAM Act, which has support of President Obama and most Democrats but was blocked by the Republican House of Representatives, would give the DREAMers legal status and maybe even, depending how the ongoing immigration fight ends, citizenship.

Steve King, and in the Senate Chuck Grassley, are not just fighting, but leading, a rear-guard Kulturkampf agaisnst not only the DREAMer, but against all-American kids like Sebastien de la Cruz. The racial fears are getting more and more explicit as the immigration bill moves forward. King:
“What they (Democrats) are seeking to do is convert the Hispanic vote into a monolithic voting bloc, very similar to that of African Americans. They know how to do it, they succeeded with the African-American vote.”
And every time Steve King opens his mouth, he makes that more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. King's latest move: attempting to force a “special conference” for House Republicans to discuss immigration. It's a rare move that's aimed at Speaker John Boehner, almost like a vote of confidence in a parliamentary system though King denies that's the end game.

The Republican Study Committee, a group of the most conservative House Republicans, had a recent closed door meeting:
Representative Raul Labrador asked for a show of hands.

“Who wants less legal immigration?” Labrador asked, according to the notes of a person who was in the room.

Of the roughly 100 conservative Republicans in the room, only King raised his hand.

Labrador then asked who wants “more legal and less illegal immigration?,” and dozens of hands rose.
Steve King has build his whole career on saying No. His only answer on immigration is "no amnesty." Anything that gives the undocumented any path to any documentation is "amnesty." I'm getting really tired of pointing this out, but the obvious conclusion is that Steve King wants the mass deportation of 11 million people, a human migration unparallelled since the twin tragedies of the 1940s, the end of World War II and the India-Pakistan partition.

The good news is, I won't have to write about Steve King and Immigration forever. New census numbers today show Iowa's Hispanic population growing. America is on the way to becoming a multi-cultural, multi-lingual country, and Steve King can't stop it.

The Spurs and the Miami Heat play again tonight in San Antonio.  It's America's seventh biggest city. It's also 63% Hispanic. After Arizona passed its harsh, partially unconstitutional Papers Please law, SB1070, the team wore "Los Spurs" on their jerseys, and the Spanish shirts are still sold.

And the Spurs have invited Sebastien de la Cruz back to sing the national anthem again tonight.

Steve King is 64 years old. Chuck Grassley is 79. They represent the past. America's future is Sebastien de la Cruz.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Actual Action in Democratic Primary

Glad I got that joke post about Some Dude out of the way Sunday, because today there's an actual development in the Democratic primary for governor.

Sure, State Rep. Tyler Olson, in stepping down from his extracurricular gig as Iowa Democratic Party chair, said only " I can best serve Iowans through a conversation that is not possible as chair of the IDP." But all the rumors have pointed toward governor, rather than Congress. There's not room for a third Linn County candidate alongside Monica Vernon and Swati Dandekar in the 1st CD anyway.

Olson's timing is interesting, coming close on the heels of 1) former governor Tom Vilsack's announcement that he's staying on as Secretary of Agriculture and 2) a weekend Des Moines Register poll showing the main declared Democratic candidate, Jack Hatch, running behind Terry Branstad 55-27 in a matchup and with very low name ID.

So Hatch is the front runner for Worst Week In Des Moines and it's only Tuesday. But Olson's name ID outside Cedar Rapids is probably equally low. I'm undecided so far here and not making predictions yet.

The 30-something Olson made a pretty clear generational play in his announcement resignation, saying (in the form of a Vilsack paraphrase) "it was time for a new generation of leaders to help move the state forward." An unsubtle shot at the 60-something five term governor... but also at the 60-something Hatch.

Olson has a geography advantage in that Linn County will be part of the 1st District primary between multiple strong Democratic candidates, the two Linn women and Dubuque white male Pat Murphy, boosting turnout. Hatch's Polk County base is in the 3rd CD, where the only announced Democrat against Tom Latham is Some Dude Gabriel De La Cerda.

Don't overlook the All Politics Is Local factor: any statewide Democrat in a contested primary would be wise to pay some attention to Johnson County, where hot courthouse primaries - and we expect one in 2014 - boost turnout. There have been years when we had the highest turnout in the state. Not percentage: I mean numerically more Democratic primary voters than Polk. Jack, Tyler: our fall barbecue is Sunday, October 13, mark your calendars.

As for Olson's old job over on Fleur Drive, his five month tenure was dominated by the event that happened five minutes into that tenure: Tom Harkin's retirement announcement. Olson was widely seen as Harkin's pick for the job, and everyone - EVERYONE - was assuming Harking was in for one more run and Bruce Braley was running for governor. My bet is Olson went in with good intentions to serve the full term and pursue higher ambition later, but opportunities don't always wait for you (attn: Liz Mathis).

The fix seems to be in for a comeback for 2008 IDP cycle chair Scott Brennan. That's expected to be rubber-stamped Saturday.  Bleeding Heartland grumbles about the "Soviet" nature of IDP succession, but I was happy with Brennan as chair. He was a success at the most important job of any Iowa chair of either party: keeping the caucuses first. Even in the off year, the chess pieces keep moving on that front, and it's good to have an experienced hand on deck for that sort of national high stakes game.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ugly Side Emerging in Immigration Fight

It's long been my pet theory that a substantial chunk of people opposed to immigration reform are modern day Know-Nothings who fear and hate the idea of a multicultural, multilingual America. My frustration is that mainstream pols won't go further than Steve King saying "enforce the law" and leaving the nativists to fill in the blanks.

Turns out people are willing to say the unsayable, you just have to know where to look and you have to give them the cloak of Internet anonymity.

Conservative site cites Our Own Chuck Grassley: "the constituents of Iowa--according to the state’s GOP senator--think that border security should come before legalization." Not my view, but certainly mainstream enough in the context of present debate.

The actual quote is a little more concerning:
“If you want to know how important securing the border is, just come to my town hall meetings,” Grassley said. “So far I’ve been in 73 of the 99 counties. My constituents say to me that we don’t need more laws, we need to enforce the laws on the books.”
So, there, Steve King's implied but unstated mass deportation.

The comments - not necessarily form Iowas, of course - are very revealing about the attitude that's lurking, just below the radar of mainstream media.

Majority of U.S. citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported

if you are not for deportation, you are for amnesty

everything in English and active repatriation with forfeiture of assets if caught here illegally.

Border security, and then NO legalization.

No Amnesty. repel and deport the illegal alien/immigrant/foreign invaders.

enforce the law, secure the border. no amnesty. if it is not repatriation, it IS amnesty

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to ‘press one’ to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than ‘Old Glory’ are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

One commenter links to white supremacist site and this analysis of immigration reform:
The number of white Americans will dwindle—because they will age and die off, and younger whites will be increasingly unable to support children. (One of whites’ countless shortcomings: their belief that one must be able to support children before having them.) With jailbreak-style immigration inflows of legal and illegal non-white immigration and an immigrant baby boom, whites will be even more rapidly rendered a minority.

Just as in South Africa today, whites will find themselves a despised, attacked, and increasingly poor minority in what used to be their country—and no one in the Main Stream Media or the government will lift a voice in their defense.

That's what is at stake with this Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill. It's not just dispossession—it's extinction.
This crap is out there. How much does it represent? How much support could a candidate openly advocating mass deportation win in a Republican caucus or primary? How long till someone tries?

It's time for responsible critics of immigration reform to denounce this kind of stuff - and time for the irresponsible ones to own the implications of "enforce the law."

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Hatch Alternative Emerges!

So that poll this morning looked a little rough for Jack Hatch. Here's the alternative:
My name is Mark McDonald and I am the dark horse making a run for Governor in 2014.
By "dark horse" we mean Some Dude. McDonald's prior race was a 1996 primary loss for Polk County supervisor , which makes Bob Krause's three terms in the legislature four decades ago loom a lot larger.

The website looks like it may have been designed for the 1996 campaign, though at least it's not as garish as some early net era sites were. The overall mood is endearing sincerity, though there's unintentional humor in the biography:
In 1954 my father moved our family to Fort Worth, Tx so he could go to seminary at TCU. There was I born. After six months the trip was aborted. 
Huh? In any case, there's still room in the primary field, but the Sal Mohamed niche now seems to be filled.

As for the Iowa Poll, all it really tells us a year and a half out is that Jack Hatch has a whole lot of name ID work left to do.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Johnson County Democrats for June

What's happening at our central committee meeting:

Our Hall of Fame was fun and we made $.

Parades are happening.

Pride Fest is happening on June 15. Our party platform contrasts sharply with another party.

Elected officials are here: Janelle Rettig, Travis Weipert, Brad Kunkel. And later Bob Dvorsky arrives.

Bruce Braley's new field staffers are here. They have bumper stickers.

Candidates are here: Brian Kirschling and Jim Tate (ICCSD school board) and Kingsley Botchway (Iowa City council).

Bob Dvorsky debriefs on the session: thinks Dems got 90% of what they needed on health care. On property tax, "we're going to backfill some of the losses to city and county governments, it won't be enough." He voted no but "it wasn't a great profile in courage, it was gonna pass anyway." Says Branstad "will veto some things just to show he's the governor" but he doesn't expect major line item vetoes. The new regents are "as moderate Republicans as you'll get fron this governor."

Justice center: we lost. Rettig: "We have five supervisors and five different opinions."

Our fall barbecue gets set for Sunday, October 13.

We're having parades.

Jail Opponents Have A Number

During the justice center fight, I came to the conclusion that whatever size jail supporters proposed, the opponents would always argue for a size smaller. The plan voted down in May had a bed count in the 190s, Jeff Cox was arguing for 160. If we came back with 160, they'd argue for 120. 120? The opponets would argue for the current 92 (46 double-bunked.)

I was part-right. At yesterday's What Next criminal justice meeting, the opponents offered their own number
Aleksey Gurtovoy said the county could ease overcrowding by simply having fewer prisoners. He said the county should aim to have about 50 inmates rather than the current number of almost 150.
In other words, the current jail, with the double bunks removed. That's… a pretty strong statement, and maybe a good long range goal for the entire society, requiring changes in laws, poverty rates, crime rates, demographics, and ideology.

Now, could the Iowa City Police Department stand to cut arrests by half to two-thirds in the short term? Probably.  That ACLU report on disproportionate minority marijuana arrests looks like a good starting point, and getting the drinking age back to 18 where it belongs would help too.

But that's a different issue than the jail size. One of the problems justice center supporters had is the perception issue between the arrest blotter - who's initially charged and brought to jail - and the jail roster of who's deemed dangerous or flight-risky enough to keep there.

Historically, the arrest blotter had gotten a lot more attention, and in Iowa City it's traditionally looked like PAULA PAULA PAULA simple possession public intox PAULA. Today's looks light, it's midweek and an off time of the year. I see two OWIs, a public intox and two driving while suspended.

How many of those "deserve" to go to jail? Probably the two drunk drivers, though I'd like to see the BAC number on each. The public intox? Depends on how dangerous he was to others. Odds are none of them will be in long after they sober up.

The jail roster doesn't have the specific charges on the main screen, you have to check under each name. But my semi-random checking saw a lot more items like burglaries and assaults. Feel free to look through all 118 names and decide which 68 of them you'd like to see let out.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Vernon In, Danielson Out

With the legislative session over, action is picking up in the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary. There’s a non-announcement from Black Hawk County Sen. Jeff Danielson, while Cedar Rapids city council member Monica Vernon goes from dipping a toe in the water to jumping in.

I made a lot of noise about wanting to see a woman in the race.  But former senator Swati Dandekar, who risked Democratic Senate control when she resigned to take a big-dollar job from Terry Branstad, was not what I had in mind.

So Vernon is interesting. At the moment, and I’m not in the district, but I’d rank my choices 1) Vernon 2) Murphy 3) write in 4) cyanide capsule 5) sharp sticks in both eyes) 6) Dandekar.

There’s been a little grumbling, though, in Democratic circles about Vernon’s relatively recent (2009) party switch from R to D. That didn’t stop Democrats in 2002, though, from backing newly converted Bettendorf mayor Ann Hutchinson over lifelong Dem Dave Nagle. So not a disqualifier, but a question that'll get asked.

Murphy still has the inside track but not in a prohibitive way. With two Linn women and one Dubuque man in, there’s a void in Black Hawk County. Two-term state Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic would be an interesting candidate; the rumor mill said she was waiting on Danielson’s decision.

Or there’s always the possibility of another Dave Nagle comeback…

Monday, June 03, 2013

Republican District Petition Fails

Johnson County Republicans have failed in their effort to force an August 6 special election to divide the county into districts for Board of Supervisors elections. The legal deadline slipped past at the close of business today.

But the effort, a hot topic a couple months ago, fizzled out well before the deadline. Republican sources privately said the drive was at least 2000 names short of the 7598 signatures needed. The GOP also considered a proposal to hire professional petitioners, but the idea was voted down.

It seemed the more people learned about the district plan, the less they liked it. The argument for districts seemed to be that rural voters were under-represented on a board where three members lived inside the Iowa City limits. But a look at two decades of history shows that the present membership is an anomaly and historically most seats have been held by rural residents. As recently as 2000 all five supervisors were rural.

Petition supporters also seemed to have an ideal map in their heads based on Linn County, which has an all-rural "doughnut" district almost entirely surrounding the urban Cedar Rapids-Marion core. Johnson County's census numbers do not allow a map like that. According to redistricting consultant Jerry Mandering, Johnson County would require three districts primarily in Iowa City, one dominated by Coralville, and a third mostly in North Liberty, with the rural area split up and appended to other districts.

In the end, the public seems to have seen the district plan as a partisan effort targeting the two most liberal supervisors, Janelle Rettig and Rod Sullivan, who happen to live near each other. It wasn't about districts as much as it was the Rod Sullivan Recall Election; if a plan had passed all five supervisors would have needed to run in 2014, including the three who were just elected to four year terms in 2012. We've seen that dynamic before, in a June 2007 North Liberty vote on city council wards that was more honestly an effort to recall the mayor.

If you want recall elections, fine, talk to the Legislature. But be careful what you wish for. My poor parents in Wisconsin voted six extra times in recall elections between November 2010 and November 2012, and my guess in Johnson County and especially in townie-student polarized Iowa City is that we'd be voting on some recall or another constantly.

That sort of fatigue factor also played a role in the petition's failure. An August 6 district vote would have been the fourth special election of the year, and one of probably seven major votes for calendar 2013. The September 10 school board election and November 5 city election are definite; it's also very likely that Iowa City will have an October 8 primary as they haven't avoided one since 1991.

Under the special code section that deals just with supervisor representation plans, there is one opportunity for such a petition every two years, with a deadline of June 1 of the odd numbered year. (This year that was extended by two days because June 1 was a Saturday.) The signature requirement is 10% of the top of the ticket vote, president or governor.

That means the next chance is June 2015 and the bar will be lower, based on governor turnout rather than presidential. Based on 2010, the 2011 signature requirement would have been 5173.

But the moment may have passed. For now the district plan will sit, as a bad idea whose time has not come. And with the district plan dead, the 2014 supervisor race will start in earnest. Republicans undercut their own case for districts by winning, for the first time in a half century, an at-large seat on the Board of Supervisors in the March special election. Democrats can expect a spirited primary exactly one year from today for the right to take on the GOP's John Etheredge in a high-turnout general election, a very different election than a low turnout special.