Monday, October 31, 2005

Public Enemy Takes It to the Net

Public Enemy Takes It to the Net

Still relevant, sixteen years after Fight The Power. I really wish rap had gone this way instead of playaz and ho's...

Alito: Local react

Alito: Local react

Karen Kubby:

This morning, the current President nominated Samuel Alito the replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the US Supreme Court. Alito has been a judge for 15 years and has earned the nickname "Scalito" because many of his views are so similar to Justice Scalia. In one of his most outrageous decisions, he was the lone dissenting judge in overruling a Pennsylvania law requiring husbands to be notified before an abortion. Clearly, his nomination was meant to placate the religious right after the Miers decision. However, this is not going to be an easy confirmation process. In fact, Sen. Reid (D-NV) had said recently this is someone "who will cause problems". In a time when we celebrate the life and honor the work of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, this nomination is a HUGE step backwards.

Scalito Is Not A Mystery

Scalito Is Not A Mystery

From MyDD, another roundup:

  • Nothing like nominating an anti-choice man to replace a pro-choice woman on the Supreme Court. All your bodies are belong to us.
  • Now Bush wants an "up or down vote." I wonder if other conservatives will start to revive that talking point as well, after abandoning it during Miers.
  • Here are some key votes on Alito: Chafee; Collins, Hutchison, Murkowski, Ben Nelson, Snowe, Specter, and Stevens. Obviously, especially Specter, since he is on the judiciary committee.

  • Kos: The showdown finally arrives

    I'm having trouble remembering his actual name is Alito, not SCalito.

    Samuel Alito’s America

    Samuel Alito’s America

    Good roundup of "Scalito"'s extreme opinions.

    Officials: Bush to nominate Alito to high court - Oct 31, 2005

    Officials: Bush to nominate Alito to high court

    President Bush will nominate 3rd Circuit Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court, sources told CNN on Monday.

    Legal experts consider the 55-year-old Alito so ideologically similar to Justice Antonin Scalia that he has earned the nickname "Scalito."

    In 1991, in one of his more well-known decisions, he was the only dissenting voice in a 3rd Circuit ruling striking down a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands if they planned to get an abortion.

    Bad Bad Bad...

    President Poised to Pick Court Nominee

    President Poised to Pick Court Nominee

    Trick or... well, not treat:

    President Bush appears poised to announce a new Supreme Court nomination today, moving quickly after a weekend of consultations to put forward a replacement for the ill-fated choice of Harriet Miers in hopes of recapturing political momentum, according to Republicans close to the White House."

    The John Deeth Blog Action News Team is on standby...

    MyDD has profiles of the leasing suspects, I mean contenders.

    And the New York Times sums up:

    "Republicans close to the selection process said over the weekend that as Mr. Bush neared a final decision, Judge Alito, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, remained a leading candidate, along with Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit, Judge Alice M. Batchelder of the Sixth Circuit, and Judge Priscilla R. Owen of the Fifth Circuit.

    One outside adviser to the White House said on Sunday that a surprise was still possible. But prominent conservatives said all four have the kind of clear record and judicial credentials they are hoping for in a Supreme Court nominee, and liberal groups are girding for battle to oppose them."

    Sounds like nuculer option time...

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Favre Almost Pulls Out Win

    Favre Almost Pulls Out Win

    Almost. Almost. ALMOST. One 49 point blowout and six losses by an average of five points each...

    Favre passed John Elway and moved into second place for career passes and yards, but couldn't overcome the mistakes that left the Packers in unfamiliar territory. They haven't had a losing record since 1991, when Favre was a backup in Atlanta. It's the longest active streak without a losing season in the NFL.

    The Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 21-14 victory that left the Green Bay Packers quarterback lying motionless on the field, exhausted and overwhelmed by it all.

    "I said to myself, 'This is way too difficult week-in and week-out.' It's hard to make a living that way each week,"' Favre said.

    Ominous words, those.

    He had a tough day today. Five picks. This is the end of the road for the mighty Favre. It's a sad ending and it's not his fault. You have to have someone to throw to. You have to have someone to protect you.

    The season is over. Maybe Brett can leave us a victory over the Bears in our Christmas stockings. But his career will end in the regular season, on New Year's Day in Green Bay, against the Eagles.

    Also ominous: no local TV, as Fox opted for Bears-Lions instead, a game that actually MATTERS to the NFC North race.

    Nussle: My parental consent stance due to mother

    Nussle: My parental consent stance due to mother

    Nussle talks to the Register and outlines his position:

    By proposing parental consent, Nussle noted that he was drawing attention to his campaign as well as to a divide in the Democratic primary.

    Nussle said he would exempt victims of rape and incest. The existing law requires parental notification, which he said is insufficient because it allows teenagers to decide before involving an adult.

    Former Iowa economic development director Mike Blouin stands alone among Democratic candidates as an opponent of abortion rights. Blouin, during the taping of an Iowa Public Television public affairs program, declined to say whether he would sign new abortion restrictions.

    So Nussle's stand, while Neanderthal, is clearer than Blouin's. And possibly, believe it or not, more progressive.

    Unhappy compromises are a reality of politics. In `02 and `04 I helped a state senator a bit; he was great on every other issue but anti-choice. I rationalized that because he was a vote for control, a vote to put pro-choice Democrats in committee chairs and on the dais.

    But an executive position is different:

    In 2000, 2001 and 2002, Vilsack vetoed bills that would have required doctors to provide information about alternatives to abortion, two of which would have required a 24-hour waiting period.

    Those vetoes were worth all the other imperfections of the Vilsack era. And I need to know that my Democratic candidate for governor will commit to those same vetoes.

    Nussle may be self-righteous about his birth, but recall that Vilsack is also an adoptee. As a dad by adoption, I'm glad my daughter's birth mom made the CHOICE to give birth. But I wonder how many of the right to life (sic) folks have put their lives behind their rhetoric in that fashion.

    Deal Near on Democratic Presidential Schedule

    Deal Near on Democratic Presidential Schedule

    So that's the compromise:

    ...adding caucuses rather than primaries in states voting immediately after Iowa. This would allow both Iowa and New Hampshire to claim that each preserved elements of their coveted first-in-the-nation status, while also bowing to critics who have long complained that the traditional calendar is unfair to other states.

    But here's the fallacious conclusion:

    If such a recommendation were adopted, it likely would diminish the influence of two small states that for decades have enjoyed outsized influence in picking presidential nominees, and would cause aspiring presidential candidates to rethink their strategies about travel and spending, and potentially even their campaign messages, in pursuit of the nomination.

    Wrongo. It cements Iowa's 2004 status as The Whole Ball Game.

    Saturday, October 29, 2005

    Big, Bright Mars Swings Close by Earth

    Big, Bright Mars Swings Close by Earth

    Mars is at its closest to Earth on the night of October 29-30, passing 43.1 million miles (69.4 million kilometers) from our planet around 11:25 p.m. on the 29th Eastern Daylight Time. However, Mars will look just about as big and brilliant for a couple of weeks before and after that date.

    A musical tribute from Jonathan Richman.

    Here come the Martian Martians
    And they're riding on their Martian bike
    Well, we have to find out right now
    What kind of ice cream do the Martians like?
    Here come the Martian Martians
    Why staying in such a cheap hotel?
    Maybe we should help out the Martians
    Looks like the Martians ain't doin' too well.

    UPDATE: Neighbor and I broke out the telescope and got a decent look, despite the godawful light pollution of our parking lot (it was hard to see even 2nd magnitude stars). Didn't see Marvin waving at us, or the octopus-shaped dust storm, just a nice red disk.

    Blouin on Iowa Press

    Blouin on Iowa Press

    Trying to change the subject. Again.

    He said he believes changes to the Supreme Court will not result in overturning the controversial decision and Blouin would not say what he would do if the state Legislature presented him with new restrictions.

    "To enter into speculation ... accomplishes nothing," he said.

    News flash: We NEED that speculation. After the quashing of the Meirs nomination, it's even more plain what the right wants: a guaranteed vote to overturn Roe. This isn't a hypothetical; it's a likelihood.

    One word, Mike. VETO. That's what we pro-choice Dems need.

    Or at least say "I'll sign it." That would be gutsier and more honest, and we could get working sooner on our Democrats for Libertarians campaign.

    Predator law worsens problem

    Predator law worsens problem

    The more one knows about this law the less likely one is to support it. Prosecution and defense both testifying against yesterday:

    Marshall County attorney Jennifer Miller said some offenders are starting to live in motor vehicles. "They're starting to drive around in their vans, parking them. . . . I'm not sure that's the safest place for them to be."

    J. Dean Keegan of Iowa City, a member of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, told lawmakers the 2,000-foot law is too broad and amounts to "little more than just shouting about how much we hate sexual predators."

    Special kudos to Miller, an elected offical who's up next year. Unfortunately the legislators have less courage:

    "There is no tolerance in the public for sex offenders," said Rep. Lance Horbach, a Tama Republican.

    Sen. Keith Kreiman, a Bloomfield Democrat, called for additional measures to contain child molesters.

    All this moving, of course, is after incarceration - which is where Pierre Pierce is deservedly headed.

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    Conservatives look past Miers

    Conservatives look past Miers

    "Conservative activists relieved at Harriet Miers' withdrawal are vowing to oppose President Bush's next nominee unless the candidate has solid conservative credentials."

    In which case LIBERAL activists will vow a filibuster, and we go to nuculer - I mean NUCLEAR - option.

    Here's my prediction: Bush names a senator. Maybe Orrin Hatch, maybe someone else. The tradition of Senate collegiality will outweigh the outrage of the activists, and the critically weakened Bush can claim victory.

    Harry Potter’s ‘flying’ car stolen

    Harry Potter’s ‘flying’ car stolen

    “The film prop was being stored under a tarpaulin. It was not in good condition and could not have been driven away under its own steam,” the police spokesman said.

    Not after tangling with the acromantulas, the Whomping Willow, and Ron Weasley's driving...

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Miers joins 34 on list of failed Supreme Court nominees

    Miers joins 34 on list of failed Supreme Court nominees

    They seem to occur in clusters - maybe Bush's next will be burnt toast, too?

    Meirs Out

    Meirs Out

    The theocrats have successfully devoured their own. The Dems for once played it smart by not interfering with the self-destructive enemy.

    Worried that what's next may be worse.

    Local react from Karen Kubby:

    This morning, Harriet Miers withdrew her name for consideration for the nomination of US Supreme Court justice. On the one hand, this is a great relief, as she had no judicial record, did not fully fill out the questionnaire provided by the Senate, and would most likely have followed the lead of Roberts, and not answered any pertinent
    questions during the hearing process. Her nomination was challenged by the far right, as well as many moderate to liberal Democrats and beyond.

    On the other hand, President Bush may feel he needs the support of the far right to get a success nominee and will nominate someone who will challenge, erode, or eliminate reproductive rights, affirmative action, and other precedent setting judicial decisions. In this case, there is a more clear case for us to make to our Senators to fillibuster and prevent such a nominee from taking office.

    Two Curses Gone

    Two Curses Gone

    Who'd of thunk: World Champion Chicago White Sox. Baseball lore will have to get by without the Curse Of The Black Sox.

    The Cub fans must be livid.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    SurveyUSA - Senate Approval

    SurveyUSA - Senate Approval

    Two senators in net negatives: #99 Mark Dayton who's quitting, and #100 Rick Santorum who's toast.

    This was inevitable

    This was inevitable

    "A Des Moines man on probation for violating the state sex offender registry law said he surrendered to authorities Tuesday because he could find no legal place to live under residency laws affecting some child molesters."

    Death Penalty Off Table for `06?

    Death Penalty Off Table for `06?

    The Senate GOP is feinting, but on the House side they're realistic:

    "House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, said he will not allow a debate over the death penalty unless he sees evidence that such a proposal has a chance of passing the Senate. He doubts that will happen because Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs is a death penalty opponent who can prevent the issue from coming to a vote."

    I suspect Iverson will bring it up in the Senate, or at least in the press, anyway. They want the campaign issue, not the actual legislation.

    Wonder if Rants has ever met Dennis Miller.

    Looney (and other) Tunes

    Looney (and other) Tunes

    My entire relationship with classical music:

    "I knew it wasn't just me," Goldmark said. "I've had literally dozens of people come up to me and say, 'I know this song from cartoons,' or 'I love it when Bugs is massaging Elmer's head to The Barber of Seville.'"

    The 32-year-old has written two books about the subject, the latest called "Tunes for 'Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon," which takes a look at how music is used in cartoons from the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

    Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Iowa City Election: Labor's House Divided

    Iowa City Election: Labor's House Divided (updated)

    I've picked up reports of an interesting, somewhat contentious Iowa City Federation of Labor meeting. They're not endorsing candidates this year because of IBEW's adamant and shortsighted insistence on opposition to public power.

    Someone had the nerve to offer a resolution for a YES on public power. It was defeated - but narrowly. A move to endorse candidates was defeated by about the same margin.

    THEN, there was a motion to send out postcards with Vote NO on public power AND, without endorsing, listing the scores on the labor survey for all four candidates. My card arrived in today's mail with the scores listed as: "Correia, Dobyns, Klein - high score; O'Donnell - did not return questionnaire." I'd been told that Dobyns was wrong on only one question - the Wal-Mart expansion - and Correia and Klein were "wrong" (sic) on public power.

    The "labor thing" with public power is nothing more than an elaborate turf war - my least favorite aspect of organized labor, and I'm speaking as a ten year union member.

    More Governor's race baseball

    More Governor's race baseball

    Yepsen's been fed a juicy column this morning about AFSCME's apparant leaning toward Blouin. And it seems to be Vilsack doing the leading:

    Such a pro-fund PR program by the Vilsackers is one way they can help Blouin without having Vilsack formally endorse him.

    It's also true the governor believes the fund will be one of his most important legacies. But the program has become so unpopular in some quarters that it won't survive his departure — unless Mike Blouin wins.

    Meanwhile Blouin is engaging in one of those little rituals of politics I can't stand: the formal announcement of a candidacy that's been in the open for ages. He's not the only one guilty of it, this cycle or any other. I remember Jim Nussle doing one of these once after the filing deadline. I'd love to see someone announce by low-key press release - or have someone do one of these anti-climactic announcements and have no press show up.

    Meanwhile, over the weekend, the few, the befuddled, the Johnson County Republicans met for food and speeches. The biggest weakness of the JC GOP is that they are more interested in nominating Democrats than in electing Republicans. Next June might be different, depending on which local races heat up AND if their own governor primary is interesting. Worth noting: Vander Plaats showed up but Nussle didn't.

    Nationally Noteworthy

    Nationally Noteworthy

  • The death of a true heroine: Rosa Parks.

  • Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer: So they've traced it to the very top; maybe they can trace it back down to Bush. And who will President Hastert nominate after Harriet Meirs tanks?
  • Monday, October 24, 2005

    Majority Reject Evolution

    Majority Reject Evolution

    Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form...

    Monday morning notes

    Short on unique insight at the moment as I settle back in following the weekend. Couple stories to watch:

  • Miers Lacks Confirmation Votes, says Chuck Schumer. As Republicans eat their own... this will go down as a landmark in the Decline and Fall of the House of Bush.

  • The Minuteman Project comtinues, with only the Moonie Times noticing. You'd think that while they were playing soldier they could think of a better sounding CB handle than "White Shadow".
  • Saturday, October 22, 2005

    Saturday morning roundup

    Saturday morning roundup

    Catching up on news links on vacation:

  • Democratic gubernatorial candidates focus on economy Not much here, just a standard issue one quote per candidate story of the type a small town paper runs treating Sal Mohamed and Chet Culver, Mike Blouin and Greg Connell, exactly the same. Surprisingly little analysis for the Register.

  • A Marist Poll on voters, women, and the presidency. Deeper than some because it tries to get past the A WOMAN question and asks about THE women - Clinton and Rice. (Geena Davis was not included.) The "Not Likely Regardless if Democrat or Republican" numbers are higher than I'd like, ranging from 16% among under 45 women (!) to 36% for over 45 men.

    More death penalty debate talk from Iowa Senate Republicans - probably because they're openly worried about losing Senate control.

  • How Much is Your Blog Worth? Yep, this site is now Officially Worthless.
  • Friday, October 21, 2005

    Disconnecting for the weekend

    Off for the weekend

    I haven't been to my parent's place in Wisconsin in the fall in about 10 years. Fall is my busy season. But I'm forcing myself to take the time this years since even numbered years are worse. Need to see some leaves and some special people.

    Off may be the wrong word - I'll still be BLOGGING, of course. That's like Scotty relaxin' with his technical journals.

    CommonCensus Sports Maps

    CommonCensus Sports Maps

    My fascination with the CommonCensus project continues. The fourth city map is up along with the second baseball and pro football maps and additional sports.

    The bizarre belt of Brett Favre's personal Dixieland Packerland remains. And who would have thought UTAH would be an outpost of Red Sox Nation?

    Anyway, go vote - right now Iowa City is showing up in BEARS turf and I want to make that at least ambiguous!

    More students names kept from military

    More students names kept from military

    In Iowa City, City High had about 700 students — nearly half the student body — choose to withhold student information from the directory or specifically from military recruiters, while West High had about 600 students choose one of those two options. Both numbers are huge increases over prior years.

    I remember when counter-recruiting was considered downright radical. It's still risky to criticize the institution of the military in polite company, but when it comes to the specifics, perceptions may finally be shifting. Guess all it takes is a war.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Theocrats vs. Anti-taxers: The Coming GOP Split

    Theocrats vs. Anti-taxers: The Coming GOP Split

    The Republicans continue to struggle with their priorities: tax cuts for the rich vs. bedroom behavior. Recent battle on that front as hardcore anti-taxer Grover Norquist is bashed by the theocrats:

    "The Texas Eagle Forum called Norquist's presence at the gay Republican group's fundraiser 'traitorous,' adding, 'If he was a serious economic conservative, Grover Norquist would not have accepted the invitation or the honorarium for speaking at a fund-raiser for a group bent on the destruction of traditional families.'"

    Ultimately the Gordon Gekko wing and the Jerry Falwell wing will prove to be as incompatible as segregation and civil rights were in the Democratic Party. Hard to predict how that realignment will shake out.

    N. Liberty candidates team up

    N. Liberty candidates team up

    "Two teams of candidates hosted events Wednesday to meet with citizens at the North Liberty Community Center.

    City Council candidates Paul Osterholt and Robert Gardiner and mayoral candidate Matt Bahl met with a couple dozen people in one meeting room... "

    The question I most often ask, and am most often asked, about local non-partisan elections, is "who's the Democrat? I mean the REAL Democrat?"

    Without looking up everyone's records, I can tell you that Osterholt and to some extent Bahl have both been active in the Democratic party of late.

    The non-aligned candidates are saying the race is "too political." Welcome to the big leagues, North Liberty.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Powerball rant

    Powerball rant

    WHY do grocery stores put lottery tickets in the EXPRESS lane? I was in line, getting some dinner, and got behind someone buying 60 dollars worth of tickets on 60 separate numbers.

    Look at the odds. If I ever toss a dollar away it'll be the week AFTER the big jackpot. $4 million would change my life as much as $300 million.

    Tonight I won a buck by not playing.

    Arrest warrant issued for DeLay

    Arrest warrant issued for DeLay - Oct 19, 2005

    Today's moment of schadenfruede: "A Texas court issued a warrant Wednesday for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear for booking, where he is likely to face the fingerprinting and photo mug shot he had hoped to avoid..."

    A photo for the next campaign flyer, perhaps - for every Democratic House candidate...

    Why PlameGate Matters

    Why PlameGate Matters

    Bigger than Watergate?

    "The problem here is that Valerie Plame was the rarest of the rare, a non-official cover agent of the CIA. No one knows how many there are, but the guess is that they would not fill too many tables at a dinner. Training one is more expensive than training a fighter pilot or Delta Force trooper. Revealing her name to anyone without a security clearance was a crime. Even while employed at CIA headquarters, people had no idea she was a NOC. Apologists like Bob Somersby and Richard Cohen just don't get it. This was a crime and one with serious consequences.

    But why would they do it, then cover it up. Surely they understood what had happened?

    No, they didn't. They tried to write off Joe Wilson's anger as politics. It wasn't. His wife's career was ruined, her friends in various countries had their lives in danger. Their callousness may have killed people, all to show him up. Wilson, who had faced down Saddam as the last US diplomat in Iraq, was not someone who could be intimidated by Beltway bullies.

    Bush and his team thought the ends justified the means, even if they wrecked the CIA's single most important program. They never trusted or liked the logic-based CIA. They viewed it as a hinderance to their plans to make the US a dominant power. So anyone who got in their way had to be crushed. "

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    SurveyUSA - 50 State Bush (Dis)pproval

    SurveyUSA - 50 State Bush (Dis)pproval

    Even TEXAS is blue in this 499-30 electoral vote landslide (with Mississippi and Montana tied). Month by month, the red state shrivel. So how do we translate this into votes?

    Cheney resignation rumors fly

    Cheney resignation rumors fly

    Too dramatic not to spread:

    Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice...

    drlimerick at MyDD
    has an even wilder scenario: President Bush names Governor Bush to be Vice President Bush. Go there, it gets weirder...

    Political Capital Punishment

    Political Capital Punishment

    Every time a kid gets killed, opportunistic wingers try to use it for political gain:

    McKibben plans a yearlong campaign for the death penalty, which he thinks will help his party reclaim control of the Senate after a year with a 25-25 tie.

    “I intend to campaign very hard on the issue. I’m not up for re-election and I can assure you I know which seats are key to giving us enough votes,” he said.

    Meanwhile, David Yepsen shows some really nasty colors this morning with a lock `em up and throw away the key rant about the sex offender radius. It almost reads like a parody, or maybe Ed Anger in the Weekly World News. At least he admits what the law's really about:

    Get them out of here. Their crimes are so heinous and so twisted that Iowans are deciding these people are unfit to live among the rest of us.

    Anyway, no link for you, Yepsen. I'll make that a problem for you, the reader - just like Yepsen advocates making Iowa's crime someone else's problem.

    Early New Year's resolution: to start proofreading for trivial typos pefore bosting.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    CommonCensus Map Project

    CommonCensus Map Project

    Well, ths thing is kinda cool. Vote for your geographic sphere of influence, so to speak. At the moment Iowa City seens to be firmly in Chicago's orbit.

    When you get done you can vote for your team. They have maps up for pro football and baseball. There's a bizarre little pocket of Packer fans in central Mississippi, probably all wearing Number 4 jerseys.

    What is "the pompatus of love"?

    What is "the pompatus of love"?

    OK, people. The song is NOT called "Space Cowboy." It is NOT called "Gangster of Love." Those are OTHER songs by Steve Miller, in self-referential glory worthy of a rapper or the Escape Club.

    The song is ALSO not called "I'm a midnight toker," though that probably accounts for its topping the charts in the year Cheech and Chong had an actual hit (huh huh) single.

    It is called "The Joker." And the other song referenced in the first verse is "Enter Maurice," in which the man who would subsequently become the world's least likely Post Office pitchman sings:

    "My dearest darling, come closer to Maurice so I can whisper sweet words of epismetology in your ear and speak to you of the pompitous of love."

    The spelling was mutated and someone made an entire movie out of this.

    Some classic rock DJ should do the whole set: Space Cowboy, Gangster of Love, Enter Maurice, and, just when someone wonders what's the deal, hit `em with the familiarity of The Joker. And top it off with the LONG version of Jet Airliner, the one with the "Threshold" synth intro, the long jangly guitar before the lyric, and "funky shit going down in the city" instead of "funky kicks."

    Anyway, turns out he stole Pompatus of Love. And got it wrong. AND he stole "really love your peaches want to shake your tree" too.

    Resurrecting Perot Voters

    Resurrecting Perot Voters

    Mathew Gross points me to the latest opus from Carville and Greenberg, who make the argument that the Dems key to a 2006 breakthrough is - let me finish! - the Perot vote:

    His voters were the most anti-political and anti-elitist, anti-big government and big corporation, anti-free trade and anti-immigration. They were pro-military but anti-foreign entanglements. They were libertarian and secular, pro-gun and pro-choice...

    A mixed bag there, with immigration perhaps the most problematic.

    I was just thinking about Perot the other day, browsing through the used books at Goodwill and seeing several of his titles.

    But let's take a look at the geography of this.

    Perot's 1992 support was strongest in sagebrush, libertarian leaning country: Maine, Alaska, Utah, Idaho, and Kansas in that order (30.5% to 27%). His very strongest counties - he won a handful - were tiny and isolated, the most rural of the rural. This pattern holds on the county level and in my county even on the precinct level.

    Perot also ran strong in the fastest growing areas, where voters are less rooted to local tradition. I'm thinking of Arizona and Nevada here.

    He was weakest in the South - Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama - and in DC. The very worst Perot totals were in black majority areas where Clinton ran strongest.

    Here's a map of Perot percentage by county (very small map, relatively large image file). Also note Perot's poor percentage in Hispanic south Texas in `92 (and New Mexico in `96).

    My initial take is this points more to the western strategy than to retaking the long-lost South.

    Gephardt on Iraq: "I was wrong"

    Gephardt on Iraq: "I was wrong"

    Two years too late, and of footnote level in importance. But still welcome from the would-be speaker, the would be-president, the would-be Secretary of Labor in the Kerry Administration. Hat tip to The Next Hurrah.

    Kos: "The more we embrace exiles from the pro-war camp, the greater the exodus we'll get. And the fewer pro-war politicians of any stripes we have, the quicker we'll be able to end the war."

    As an Iowa Deaniac I'm still somewhat bitter about how Gephardt and his capos slimed us in November and December of 2003. But I'm willing to try... It'll be interesting to see if Chairman Dean has any comment. Also interesting to see if recent Iowa visitor John Kerry can bring himself to say the same three words.

    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    The Last Album, the Oldest Punk

    The Last Album

    I know I'm a year behind the curve on this, but gimme a break, I'm 41 years old. I've been hearing it in bits and pieces on the radio for months, but Green Day's American Idiot is, in the download it a song at a time era, a real anachronism: an ALBUM. A suite of songs that hangs together, the whole greater than the sum of its parts. We haven't heard one of those in a long time and may never hear one again.

    Mt other musical acquisition of the day is even more anachronistic, a VHS tape. But in its day it was way ahead of the curve: a visualized conception of a suite of songs that hangs together, one of the great albums of its day. I refer, of course, to Rust Never Sleeps. One more excuse to trot out my line that Neil Young was one of only two members of the 1960s generation of musicians who really got punk rock; the other was Pete Townshend. Pete went on to sell his greatest songs as ads and tour as "the Who" a week after John Entwistle's death; Neil proudly proclaimed he was "sponsored by nobody," co-founded Farm Aid, Pearl Jammed, and felt genuine remorse when Cobain quoted him in his suicide note.

    In this synthpopped era, Green Day is giving me a little hope that Neil Young was right in `79 and rock and roll WILL never die. At least not before I get old.

    Cold-Brew Coffee

    Cold-Brew Coffee

    Caffeine is my main remaining vice (some would argue my political activity is a vice but I prefer to think of it as a virtue). I stumbled onto a twist in caffeine delivery systems yesterday that I'd heard of but never tried: cold-brewed coffee.

    The process is slow and simple. Take a pound of ground coffee and nine cups of water. Soak the grounds with half the water, wait a few minutes. Add the rest of the water. Let it sit 12 hours. Drain it. The end product is coffee concentrate of espresso-plus strength. Refrigerate it and it keeps two to three weeks. To drink add hot water to your preferred strength - some sources recommend three parts water to one part coffee concentrate, but that seems weak to my French-press tastes, you might try half and half. Or use it like a cold espresso shot.

    The trick is the containers for this process. A company called Toddy mkes these things; I picked it up at a junk store for 5 bucks but new they're about 30. My resale price seems more appropriate for what you get:

  • a right-sized steeping container with a hole in the bottom
  • a cork
  • a heavy cotton or cloth filter; about the size of a half dollar (ever see those anymore?) and about 1/4 inch thick
  • a carafe to catch the juice
  • a tight-fitting lid for the carafe

    Put the filter in the bottom of the container, add the grounds, the water, wait. Pull the cork, let it drain into the carafe.

    Someone more mechanically ept than me - how come inept is a word but ept isn't? - someone more mechanically ept than me could certainly make one of these for less than $30, or even less than $5. But all I find online is Toddy, so this is clearly a void in human knowledge aching to be filled. Have at it.
  • Democratic governor hopefuls speak at labor forum

    Democratic governor hopefuls speak at labor forum

    AP/Gazette corage of AFSCME's meeting in Davenport. Choice gets big play and Patty Judge tries out a new line:

    "I was there before Roe v. Wade," said Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge, who is also a nurse.

    "I remember what it was like and I believe without a doubt in the right of a woman to make her own health care decisions … no exceptions," she said.

    Culver's soundbite: "If Roe versus Wade is overturned, I will veto any attempt to restrict a woman's right to choose." I prefer Judge's attitude, but Chet's line is all Blouin needs to say. He says that, game over.

    Maybe Tom Miller can give him some friendly advice.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Fallon: Revisit offender issue

    Fallon: Revisit offender issue

    State Rep. Ed Fallon said Friday that lawmakers should reconsider controversial restrictions on where many convicted sex offenders can live and focus instead on more effective measures to protect children.

    'You can't expect a knee-jerk political reaction to work. It's got to be an intelligent policy decision,' said Fallon, a Des Moines Democrat who will seek his party's nomination for governor."

    Ed dares speak the truth. Good for him. It hurts him not at all - lawn order conservatives are scarcely going to be in his camp anyway - and it puts the issue on the table. Glover, Yepsen, et al. will have to ask Culver, Blouin and Judge the same question. I hope their answers are as realistic.

    Our local headline this AM notes the arrest of a sex offender who was stalking students near West High. Buried in the last paragraph is his address: Western Hills trailer court in Coralville, well over 2000 feet away and one more indicator of the irrrelevance of the radius law.

    So why do I care so much about perverts? I really don't. It's the same reason I care about the drinking age and drug war despite my advancing age and my 20 years of personal sobriety. I believe laws should be enforcable and realistic, and punishments shuld be appropriate to the crime. The vast majority of child molesters are not people who grab victims off the street; they come in through the front door as relatives or authority figures, or, as in the Jetseta Gage case, as mom's boyfriend.

    I'm also contemputous of NIMBYism and hypocritical, passive-aggressive laws like this whack-a-mole game: "Oh, did we say you could live HERE? We meant no!"

    Finally, I believe rehabilitation is a more important goal of the justice system than vengeance. This is tricky when it comes to pedophiles; if a person is sexually hardwired that way it's very hard to change. If society's real intent is to give such people a life without parole sentence, we should be up front about it.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Idea for Democrats: Midterm Convention

    Idea for Democrats: Midterm Convention

    Walter Cronkite suggests it, and Robert Reich did four years ago.

    It was actually DONE in the 1970s, but was quickly shot down because the Dangerous Liberal Base was too influential...

    4,000-Year-Old Noodles Found in China

    4,000-Year-Old Noodles Found in China

    I think I have some of those in my kitchen.

    Drug agents can't keep up with pot growers

    Drug agents can't keep up with pot growers

    Today's latest from the Peter Tosh department:

    "Look at the amount of economic value we're destroying," says Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "This could be legally taxed and regulated and we could all be making money off it. We never saw this lawlessness until there were drug laws and CAMP." NORML estimates that Californians' pot consumption could yield at least $250 million a year in sales taxes.

    USA Today attacks, in an "objective journalist" way, environmental damage from clandestine pot farms - without noting that the clandestine nature is why the stuff's being grown in unsuitable plots to begin with.

    Hat tip to TalkLeft: It's a waste of money. Demand is not going to go down. Canadian research, natch.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

    If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

    OK, now TWO of my pals from the 1992 campaign have sent me this:

    "Slavery is essential for a healthy agrarian ecomomy. Mr. Lincoln seems to forget that..."

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    2008: Will Al Gore Be the Anti-Hillary?

    2008: Will Al Gore Be the Anti-Hillary?

    Arianna Huffington with the ominous, and kind of icky, quote:

    Al Gore tells AP he isn't planning to run for president. So, like a woman saying she isn't going to sleep with you, he instantly becomes that much more desirable. And he does leave the (bedroom) door open, saying: "I don't completely rule out some future interest, but I don't expect to have that."

    And bizarrely, she thinks it's HOLLYWOOD that's hot for Al:

    The Hollywood insiders who are not going the Hillary way are not ready to go public yet (I'm sure some of them will even be at the Hillary fundraisers this weekend). But, in private conversations, a growing number of them say they are determined to find another candidate to support.

    Even though they backed both of Bill Clinton's White House runs and Hillary's Senate campaign, they've had enough of Hillary's attempt to rebrand herself as a fence-straddling DLC Dem. They're tired of the relentless strategic triangulating, the all-too-predictable attacks on video games (Sistah Soljah, meet Grand Theft Auto), the willingness to go along with President Bush's missile defense fantasies (one of only six Dems to do so), and the endless photo-op-ready partnerships with the likes of Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.

    Grand Theft Auto, meet Twisted Sister.

    City Council Coverage

    City Council Coverage

    P-C has reacts. Key paragraph:

    Baker, an author and former city councilor, said he was disappointed but glad that Klein made it. Klein narrowly defeated Baker, who received 24.6 percent of the votes.

    "Garry worked harder than anyone else in this campaign," Baker said. "He deserves to be in the final four."

    Gazette coverage isn't bad; part of the Cedar Rapids council reorganization is a switch from an October primary to a December runoff, so we're not overshadowed. More praise for Klein from Baker here, too.

    The Daily Iowan's big coup is actually tracking down Mitch Rotman for a quote.

    Also, a little history. Since Iowa City went to primaries in the `70s, top two finishers in October have become losers in November five times.

  • 1999: Charles Major was in second place in the at large primary for two seats, with Steven Kanner in third place. In the general election, Kanner finished in second place to win the council seat, two votes ahead of Major.
  • 1993: Bob Hibbs was in first place in a primary for a two year term to fill an at large vacancy, and Jim Throgmorton finished second. In the general election, Throgmorton defeated Hibbs.
  • 1981: Incumbent Glenn Roberts finished first in the at large primary for two seats, but fourth in the general election.
  • 1979: Incumbent Carol DeProsse finished second in the at large primary for two seats, but third in the general election.
  • 1977: Fredine Branson ran second in the at large primary for two seats, but fourth in the general election.

    No one should coast; no one should give up.

    The line up is clear on public power: Dobyns, O'Donnell no; Correia, Klein yes. But on 21 bars it's interesting. Dobyns yes; Correia, Klein, O'Donnell no. Do the bar owners get involved like they did with near-success in 2001? If so, who do they back?

    And labor is not endorsing since no candidates meet their purity test. Do progressive groups like FAIR fill that void in backing Correia and Klein? Hope so.
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Iowa City Primary

    Iowa City Primary

    Well, I nailed the finishing order exactly, but it's nice to see Amy Correia closer to first place - MUCH closer to first place - only 11 votes out of first place! - than to third place.

    Whole new ball game now - the deck reshuffles, Larry Baker's support goes somewhere. And Mike O'Donnell goes into November 8 coming off two straight losses...

    Liberians head to polls in first post-war vote

    Liberians head to polls in first post-war vote

    Busier than the Iowa City primary:

    Voting lines formed at polling stations in this West African nation Tuesday as it held its first presidential elections since the end of a bloody civil war in 2003.

    At one station, voters started lining up at 2 a.m., six hours before polls opened.

    Just a little reminder of what we take for granted.

    Judge to decide on protester ban

    Judge to decide on protester ban

    I hate to give these jerks any more publicity. But with choice under attack, even within the Democratic Party, it's important to know how far the theocrats want to take it:

    "I don't think it's possible to murder abortion providers," Holman responded, later adding that he would be "overjoyed" at hearing news of the deaths of abortion providers.

    As a very occasional volunteer at Emma, and a proud friend of the clinic and the people there, I take that pretty personally. As long as we even hint that a legal, Constitutionally backed medical procedure is even kinda sorta bad, we start sliding down this slippery slope.

    Officials question rain forest

    Officials question rain forest

    With Lundell seeming to lean against, it's starting to look like three votes no:

    Councilor Tom Gill, who has long opposed the project, said since Coralville sent the Environmental Project a contract in August, the city has been in a "black hole."

    "We don't know what's going on," he said. "Basically, the whole Environmental Project is depending on using our land, and we're not going to release it."

    "I don't feel the project should proceed," said Councilor Jean Schnake, who is also concerned about how the grant money is being spent. "The concept is good, but the execution stinks.

    "I've reached a point where I don't think the project is going to happen. Everyone set those deadlines, but no one is stepping forward, and there's not a lot that one or two individuals can do."

    However, Councilors Henry Herwig and John Weihe said they are willing to give project officials some leeway.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Catching up on Monday's links

    Catching up on Monday's links

    In the Meirs nomination fight, code words aren't cutting it for the theocrats. And I can sympathize. They're sick of Dred Scott as a euphemism, they've been carrying the water for 25 years, and they feel like it's payback time. As a lefty Dem, in a mirror-image way, I GET it. And if the code words won't cut it and Bush and Meirs have to spell it out O-V-E-R-T-U-R-N R-O-E, that quells the right but enegrizes the left.

    Of course they'll NEVER overturn Roe. Just ask Mike Blouin.

    Jeff Alworth on the New York Times' move to pay to play and how the real winner is the Washington Post.

    Political Wire offers a double creature feature starring Son of A Bush: Bush Becoming Radioactive and the sequel Will Bush Lose His Brain?

    And on a chilly fall night I've made a spendid batch of spaghetti.

    Anti-abortionists rally in IC

    Anti-abortionists rally in IC

    Anyone check and see if Mike Blouin was there?

    Snide, perhaps. But check this quote: "Maybe all the radicals are still sleeping off their hangovers - it's only 3 p.m."

    These are the voters The Electable One thinks can be won over to the Democrats. Anyone who's voting on choice as a single issue, on the anti side, is already wedded completely to the GOP. And some of us pro-choice Dems may need to make the party eminences grise quoted here know that we'll give the issue equal weight.

    Chet Culver, meanwhile, can try to make capital out of Iowa's first execution in 40 years. When I saw him speak this summer Chet invoked Harold Hughes as much as he namechecked his own dad. Mr Culver fils should check out the section of Hughes' autobiography where he describes the last execution in Iowa and the abolition of capital punishment.

    Kerry coverage from print press

    Kerry coverage from print press

    A bit worn for writing after yesterday but here's the local mainstream coverage:

  • Press-Citizen
  • Daily Iowan
  • Des Moines Register
  • Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Live Blogging Kerry

    Live Blogging Kerry

    3:18 - lots of applause and introducing. Curious to see if we can get any actual organizing done; there's a big difference between starf***ers and worker bees. Looks like about 200 here, along with a couple TV cameras.

    3:22 - Off-year caucuses. January 16. Typically only us party faithful show up in the non-presidential year. Going through the mechanics and trying to get all the other local progressive groups interested.

    3:24 - Local candidates discussing organizational directon of the Dems.

    Kerry changed plans; after the speech he's working the room rather than taking questions. Curious.

    3:32 - still folks trickling in. Getting into the details of what needs doing and the "ask". Attentiveness seems reasonable. Another TV camera showed up, this one from local broadcast.

    3:41 - praise and applause for the worst staffer we've ever had.

    3:42 - "He's not going to be very late." When you're the last stop on the schedule you start to operate on Campaign Standard Time. Someone just interrupted the speaker to correct the grammar on a handout.

    3:46 - Congressional Candidate David Loebsack getting ready to speak. Cheers for him, boos for his BA at Iowa State.

    3:52 - Loebsack speaking; reciting a litany of the Democratic social programs that have made him what he is today. Audience is liking it. Now going on attack against GOP control.

    3:56 - "Expanding the ladder of opportunity." Nice phrase. Loebsack wraps; no mention by name of opponent. Introducing more local politicos. A few minutes of stall before Kerry arrives.

    4:10 - Still on hold. More TV cameras sighted, usually a good sign.

    4:19 - Holding some more. GOP spy sighting but he's behaving himself. So far.

    4:24 - ARRIVAL. Makes a recount joke AND an Ohio joke. And a Harriet Meirs joke. Tieless, the tanned, rested and ready look.

    4:29 - Jokes over, into the meat of the speech. Speaking from floor level in the middle of the room, in an in-the-round style.

    4:33 - Some standard issue applause lines, with post-Katrina updates. Jacket comes off (hope it stops there).

    4:34 - Audience silent, rapt. Last time I saw him was caucus season when we were spoiled. A Schaivo - based slam at Bush getting a big applause.

    4:35 - Here comes Iraq... "troops deserve leadership equal to sacrifice." Now talking about the dollar cost. But all of a sudden a transition to education? Education as national security, sure. But the war section feels incomplete. No mention of GETTING OUT.

    4:38 - trying to get a call and response thing going without much response. Not so much his fault as the audience. Now getting back to the ostensible "organizing" purpose. Ohio/Blackwell reference gets good response. Sleeves not rolled up yet.

    4:42 - Sounds like a wrapup. Crowd's peaked at about 250. Invoking as many civil rights heroes as possible.

    4:49 - That's a wrap. Ends by donating some books to the school we're in. Oops, encore on the ostensible "organizing" purpose.

    4:52 - Starting to work the room, a few people sneaking out. GOP spy positioning himself.

    4:59 - Kerry addressing a table with one of the local progressive orgs across the room from me. Local TV guy trying repeatedly to do his standup.

    5:03 - Down to about 100 folks left, each waiting for their Moment of Glory. I had my lifetime share in the Clinton years so I'm doing this and helping sign up precinct people. Spy just hanging back and taking pictures. (His identity was independently verified by two sources - so I meet Journalist standards). Just told the local TV guy I was blogging; he seemed disinterested. Of course, 1000 people will see his standup for every one of my readers...

    5:11 - Elvis is leaving the building.

    5:12 - Mass exodus from the building.

    5:18 - Down to the most faithful of the faithful, staying after to do the clean up. Signing off.

    Missed the best damn game of the year

    Missed the best damn game of the year

    52-3! And I missed it. If not watching helps, I'll have to tune out!

    The Pack must have the best damn points for vs. points against ratio in history for a 1-4 team; in the last four weeks they've outscored their opponents by 43 points while losing three of the four games.

    Gore by a Nose in 2008

    Gore by a Nose in 2008

    Eek and Egad: US News launched this trial balloon.

    "It's Gore Time," says a political strategist and fundraiser who is opening a bid to get Gore into the race. Gore friends see his recent political and business moves as proof he's preparing to run. Allies say that in speeches, Gore has found his voice to address domestic and world issues.

    King insists McCarthy deserves hero label

    King insists McCarthy deserves hero label

    Can't leave well enough alone:

    Just to make that clear, King sent out a column on Thursday titled "What Makes a Hero?" King also said he can't separate McCarthy the man from the mission McCarthy held of ferreting out communists during the Cold War.

    More interesting is the speculation of King for Senate in 2008 - a flame Tom Harkin is gleefully fanning. Harkin's got a great track record of retiring wingers - Bill Scherle, Roger Jepsen, Tom Tauke, Jim Ross Lightfoot, and fake moderate Greg Ganske - and an open seat in the beyond Democratic reach 5th CD in 2008 would allow for the election of a less embarrassing Republican.

    What's more unnerving is the state of Leonard Boswell's health. OK for now, but he's no spring chicken. A lot of ambitions were squashed when Boswell moved in after redistricting, and when he eventually steps down Des Moines will see a primary from hell.

    Boswell's voting record hasn't adapted from his previous, more rural district. He's good about 70% of the time, but it's really embarrassing when he votes with the GOP and Jim Leach makes one of his symbolic, token, meaningless "liberal" votes. (I think this happened on flag burning but no time to look it up now.) Of course, I'd rather see a 70% good Dem and a vote for Pelosi than a 10% good Republican, and Jeff Lamberti has name ID and probably limitless money. But maybe in a few years we can get a 90% Dem out of Dem-oines.

    John Kerry in town today. Doing my duty and going with minimal excitement. Since local TV is showing Patriots-Falcons and Bears-Browns, rather than Packers-Saints, I'm not missing out. Report later.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Author says Harry Potter is gay

    Author says Harry Potter is gay

    Page 533, Half Blood Prince. I like Harry's taste in women.

    Rowling could no doubt make a big stir by making a major, sympathetic character gay. Book Seven is going to be so big she can get away with anything she wants. But I'm sure she has other agendas (like, oh, say, the death of Voldemort!), and even kids can look at prejudice against Muggle-borns, part-humans, and werewolves and add two and two.

    Iowa City Primary

    Iowa City Primary

    The Press-Citizen chimes in with a half-decent candidate guide that I feel the need to share. The statements from the candidates are worthwhile, though Mitch "non-factor" Rotman didn't do his homework.

    I voted last week for Amy Correia and Garry Klein. And against my better judgement I'll place my horse race perfecta bet:

    1. Dobyns
    2. Correia
    3. O'Donnell
    4. Klein
    5. Baker
    6. Rotman

    The order OFTEN shuffles between the primary and the general, and with Baker out Klein will pick up the remaining Baker support.

    Mike O'Donnell CAN be beaten. He's never been an exceptionally popular candidate: he's coming off a loss to Rod Sullivan in the supervisor primary. If all the students who requested absentee ballots had bothered to send them back in, Leah Cohen would have beaten him in 2001. And he only won his first term over Derek Maurer by a couple hundred votes in 1997.

    Rain forest future murky

    Rain forest future murky

    Cloudy, actually:

    Coralville City Council member John Lundell, the key swing vote for whether Coralville continues to work with a proposed indoor rain forest, says he’s increasingly discouraged the long-promised project will be built.

    Lundell’s discouragement is fueled by the fact that seven weeks have passed since the City Council set a fourweek deadline for reaching an agreement to transfer 22 acres to The Environment a l Project, which is proposing the rain forest.

    ‘‘This is just another example of how deadlines come and go. And that’s been the history of this project,’’ Lundell told The Gazette.

    John Lundell's a good guy and I knew he was too bright to fall for this.

    Interestingly, Coralville is having a quiet election. 2003 saw a record turnout, with an anti-rainforest, anti-hotel, anti-incumbent slate running. But the challengers got thumped by about 70-30. With the hotel now a fait accompli and the rainforest in doubt, the residual likability of the incumbents seems to be enough, and this year Lundell, Herwig, Gill and mayor Fausett are all unopposed.

    The hot local election spot appears instead to be North Liberty with two city council incumbents squaring off for mayor and seven (!) candidates for two city council seats.

    Smallest Farm's Final Failure

    Smallest Farm's Final Failure

    As the first frost seems likely tonight, the chapter closes on the 2005 harvest on Iowa's Smallest Farm. Gathered a bumper crop of 21 beans - that's beans, not bushels or freezer packs but individual bean. Plus five that had dried for seed. The worst year yet since I began gardening in 1994, with the exception of 2003 when I failed to plant any garden at all.

    Why such a disaster? Bad location, bad location, slightly late start, and bad location.

    Not all was lost; a decent crop of catnip remains and should reseed itself for the future. The furry roommates are enjoying a buzz now, and one has the munchies and wants one of those hard earned beans.

    In other personal trivia, the ancient 8 track receiver is Officially Pronounced Dead and has been replaced bt a vintage Yamaha found at Goodwill. Hat Tip to Audio Service Specialists of Coralville.

    And I'm rapidly e-volving and de-volving in the TTLB Ecosystem; despite what seems to be slow steady increases in traffic and link love, I dropped from Slithering Reptile down two phyla to Flippery Fish, then back up to Reptile. In any case, the feedback seems to be coming through from the hit counter and the comments: more local stuff.

    Also: Iowa Democratic Party and Kansas City: Thanks for all the traffic. Say hi sometime.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Legislators band behind Blouin

    Legislators band behind Blouin

    More bad news on the gubernatorial front as 32 of the 49 Iowa House Democrats get behind Blouin. The full list is here. The three reps from the Iowa City-Coralville districts are absent, but deep disappointment here in seeing Ro Foege from the Linn-Johnson district named.

    Clearly there's a big effort to create a "train is leaving the station" effect. But that's one train I won't be boarding.

    Brazilians and Brazilians

    Brazilians and Brazilians

    With apologies to Carl Sagan.

    Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing.

    He concludes by saying: 'Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed.'

    'OH NO!' the president exclaims. 'That's terrible!'

    His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in his hands.

    Finally, the president looks up and asks,

    'How many is a brazillion?' "

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Coin Nerd Bragging Rights

    Coin Nerd Bragging Rights

    I'm either the buggest coin nerd in Iowa OR I found the first roll of Kansas quarters in Iowa. My first win since Arkansas almost two years ago.

    Kansas did a good job with the buffalo thing.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Ex-Door Lighting Their Ire

    Ex-Door Lighting Their Ire

    Once, back when rock 'n' roll still seemed dangerous, John Densmore was the drummer for the Doors, the band with dark hits such as "Light My Fire" and "People Are Strange." That band more or less went into the grave with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1971, but, like all top classic-rock franchises, it now has the chance to exploit a lucrative afterlife in television commercials. Offers keep coming in, such as the $15 million dangled by Cadillac last year to lease the song "Break On Through (to the Other Side)" to hawk its luxury SUVs.

    To the surprise of the corporation and the chagrin of his former bandmates, Densmore vetoed the idea. He said he did the same when Apple Computer called with a $4-million offer, and every time "some deodorant company wants to use 'Light My Fire.'

    WAY way cool.

    I should take this moment to note that my oft repeated claim that "the Doors are overrated" is not, in fact an attack on their very good, near-great but not GREAT great music. Rather, it's the Morrison Death Worship Cult I find distateful.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Musicians tell how to beat system

    Musicians tell how to beat system

    Major labels Sony BMG and EMI are releasing more and more new CDs that block fans from dragging their tunes to iPods.

    Now, in the most bizarre turn yet in the record industry's piracy struggles, stars Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters and Switchfoot -- and even Sony BMG, when the label gets complaints -- are telling fans how they can beat the system.

    What a brilliant strategy: the record industry uses copy protection to punish the people who actually BOUGHT the CD!

    Sex Offender Zoning and Workability

    Sex Offender Zoning and Workability

    The latest round in Iowa's attempt to make sex offenders literally go away by making it illegal for them to live anywhere. Des Moines seems to be following in Ely's footsteps here - and the whole state seems to be deliberately following in the steps of England circa 1800: banishment to some sort of Australia. The law flies in the face of the concept of rehabilitation, but on criminal justice issues in general more people are usually interested in vengeance anyway.

    But the most fascinating part of this article is near the end:

    The lawmaker who wrote the offender residency bill said he'd be open to revisit the legislation "if law enforcement comes back and says it's unworkable."

    That's so important I need to say it again: "if law enforcement comes back and says it's unworkable."

    Which is EXACTLY the role I think is appropriate and necessary for law enforcement, both the street cops and the prosecuting attorneys. The rebel in me wants "we're not going to enforce unworkable laws," I know better than to expect that, though it would be fun to hear a no-chance, Freak Power In The Rockies candidate say it. A perfectly legitimate version would be "I have to enforce this law but it's a really stupid law that needs to be changed." And with the county attorney's office open, it's the kind of talk that would be useful on the campaign trail. Of course, I'm talking more about drug and alcohol laws here. The same principle applies to city officials stuck dealing with unworkable state laws. What I wouldn't give for a city council candidate whose answer to the underage (sic) drinking "problem" is "The problem isn't the drinking, it's the age, and I'm going to go to Des Moines and lobby to get the law changed."

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Vets Against the (Drug) War

    Vets Against the (Drug) War

    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition or LEAP, an organization made up entirely of current and former members of law enforcement who feel the drug war’s a failure and believe legalization and regulation are preferable to the incarceration of drug users and control of the drug market by organized crime.

    The idea behind LEAP is that, as with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the call for an end to the drug war carries more weight when it comes from folks who have been in the trenches.

    “We’re the ones who fought the war,” said Jack Cole, LEAP’s executive director, who retired from the New Jersey state police as a detective lieutenant after 26 years, including 14 in their narcotics bureau, mostly undercover. “And I bear witness to the abject failure of the U.S. war on drugs and to the horrors these prohibitionist policies have produced.”

    Miers Roundup

    Miers Roundup

    I'm still playing catchup, and the Packers are playing Monday Night Football. Chris has a nice link-loaded roundup.

    Kos has more: "Bush tosses the social conservatives overboard. He doesn't need them anymore. He doesn't need to be reelected. And yeah, he fucks Republicans running in 2006 by demoralizing their shock troops, but what does he care? His world is that of corporate cronyism, not culture wars. "

    And Pat Buchanan is bitterly opposed.

    Bush Nominates Miers to Supreme Court Post

    Bush Nominates Miers to Supreme Court Post

    "Bush's loyal inner circle", uh-oh...
    UPDATE: Interesting initial reactions. It's the Republicans who are upset, and the Dems seem to be saying "could have been a lot worse." Harry Reid has chimed in with praise.

    TalkLeft: "Compared to some of those under consideration he might have chosen, like the ultra-conservative 4th Circuit judges or Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown, Ms. Miers is a far better choice."

    Kos: "Miers' biggest sin, at this early juncture, is her allegiance to Bush. That her appointment is an act of cronyism is without a doubt, but if that's the price of admission to another Souter or moderate justice, I'm willing to pay it."

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    Bicycle sales boom in US

    Bicycle sales boom in US

    Once again I'm trendy. About time you four wheel types caught on:

    More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four.

    Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers...

    I was riding a bike then too. But that's because I was nine years old.

    Two issues muddle Democrat campaign

    Two issues muddle Democrat campaign

    Really shallow article that addresses everything in terms of poll numbers and strategy and fails to even quote Patty Judge or Ed Fallon.

    Interestingly, however, it characterizes Blouin's anti-choice position as "devout" while strongly hinting that Culver's flop on capital punishment is expedient. Which has the subtext of playing on Culver's gravitas gap.

    This is shaping up to be an interesting proxy war between Vilsack-Blouin and Harkin-Culver.

    Meanwhile, while the horse race continues, an article of substance about Judge.

    I.C. election may hinge on development

    I.C. election may hinge on development

    What, like EVERY Iowa City election doesn't circle around the axis of Real Estate Developers vs. The Rest Of Us?

    But it seems Rick Dobyns is buying The Yuppi Myth:

    For Rick Dobyns, it’s all about attracting what he calls the creative class — young professionals who are energetic and motivated to start new businesses. That’s why, he said, Iowa City’s downtown needs more high-end shops and restaurants that appeal to young professionals, not just businesses that attract college students.

    Rick, the Yuppie Myth is just for public consumption. All those new highrises downtown? You're just supposed to SAY they're for young professionals until the plan gets approved. Then Daddy From Schaumburg comes in, buys a condo for his undergrad, and sells it at a tidy profit to the next daddy five years later.

    In case anyone hasn't noticed, this is a COLLEGE TOWN. Whatever young professionals there are are generally woking for the University. We've been bad at playing to our strengths for quite some time.

    Anyway, check out the article outside the irritating context of the Gazette E-Edition.

    Dems Agree to Recommend Early Primaries

    Dems Agree to Recommend Early Primaries

    Ah, but:

    The exact order of the early contests was not specified "but there's a lot of sentiment on the commission to honor the role that Iowa and New Hampshire have played."

    I remember as late as the 1980's. "Super Tuesday" referred to a big cluster of LATE primaries dominated by California. The problem isn't who's first, it's a frontloaded process with insufficient vetting. The traditional role of the early states was to sort out the true also-rans from the serious presidential timber, and perhaps to elevate a Jimmy Carter from no-name status. It was up to the LATE states to choose a nominee from the top two or three contenders, in June.

    Discussion at MyDD of which states should move up. Also, the Iowa take.

    And as an Iowan, I'm really really sorry about inflicting Kerry on the rest of y'all. Not like I didn't try.