Thursday, June 29, 2006

Panel studies county keg registration

Panel studies county keg registration

"Acknowledging that underage drinking is an integral part of Iowa City culture, Richard Dobyns, the co-director of a local alcohol-awareness group, said Wednesday the key is restricting access to alcohol."

How about someone "acknowledging" that the 21 year old drinking age is an unenforcable law that flies in the face of the concept of 18 as the age of majority? Until elected officials acknowledge that publicly, I'm not ready to sign on to anything.

Ooops, forgot; Dobyns ISN'T an elected official, he lost. In fact, if you look at the narrow margin and the numbers from the student precincts, he lost on this issue, or the 21 bar variant thereof. Maybe more of that needs to happen before this can be discussed rationally.

I'm not even saying keg registration is a bad thing. It's just that I see so much disingenuousness and hypocrisy around the issue. I'm not willing to listen to a word you have to say about the alleged "underage" problem till you acknowledge - publicly - the problems with the 21 year old drinking age. (I've had a lot of politicians admit this to me in private.)

Alcohol abuse and the drinking age are DIFFERENT THINGS. We need to address alcohol abuse but not by gutting principles of adult rights. Especially with a draft just around the corner. (And not a drinkable draft either...)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kos: No love for Iowa

Kos: No love for Iowa

Writing about the DNC's latest scheduling moves, Kos sez:

Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the nation. Not in the least. Their exhalted roles will not last for eternity.

This is a tiny change, a caucus before New Hampshire which would still retain the "first primary" designation. That New Hampshire is freaking out so much will only harm them long-term. Let them move up their primary. The DNC should retaliate by stripping that primary of its delegate-assigning ability.

Delegates? We ain't got no delegates. We don't have to show you any steenkin' delegates. Delegates don't matter. Media matters. If New Hampshire becomes an unsanctioned beauty contest, but the candidates are looking for anything they can to gain a toehold, they'll show up with the scrum of cameras and New Hampshire wins. If the candidates stay away, it's a non-story, no news, and the DNC wins.

What Kos is really pissed about, of course, is that Iowa killed Howard Dean (remember, The Scream was AFTER the third place finish) and inflicted John Kerry on the nation. Which gives me as an Iowa Deaniac profoundly mixed feelings.

Sales Tax Now A Done Deal

Sales Tax Now A Done Deal

Unanimous. That's disappointing. It seems the only way to get the school board to do the RIGHT thing - supporting progressive tax reform - is to vote this down.

Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan, who voted against seeking a county share of the tax, said he would continue to campaign
against the tax because it would disproportionately affect low-income residents.
``Should Kirk Ferentz pay the same as a homeless guy?'' he said, referring to the University of Iowa football coach whose annual salary recently was put at some $2.8 million. ``I don't think so.''

More in PC and DI.

THis one's likely to be a Democratic party-splitter on the local level, just like public power was. A word to my friends: I'm really going to resent it if you tell me I'm "against the kids." Yes, we know it's your only way to raise money under present law. That doesn't make it right. Ibnstead of taxing the poor, you should be lobbying the legislature - or better yet working to CHANGE the legislature.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2006 HOUSE RACE RANKINGS: Iowa-01 Is Now The Most Vulnerable

2006 HOUSE RACE RANKINGS: Iowa-01 Is Now The Most Vulnerable

National Journal ranks Braley-Whalen the hottest race in the country. 40 of the top 50, and all of the top 9, are GOP held. Boswell at #10 is ranked most vulnerable Dem.

Looks like we're ground zero again...

Autry in Register: Culver Diss?

Autry in Register: Culver Diss?

James Autry writes a deep and thoughtful column in today's Register on gay issues, church, and state. The core:

We need to separate the two aspects of marriage, one of which is the business of the state and one of which is the business of the church.

One of those aspects is the contract of marriage, the other is the covenant of marriage.

Clearly the contract part — property rights, tax issues, inheritance rights and so on — is an appropriate concern of the state. But the covenant part — love, commitment, emotional, psychological and spiritual bonds and support — is not an appropriate concern of the state.

Thus I believe we should separate the two aspects and call the contract part a civil union, and call the covenant part a 'marriage.'

The state can legitimately continue to issue licenses for civil unions, but let the churches address 'marriage' as a sacrament of the church and in accordance with the churches' own policies.

I like this approach: get government out of the marriage business, treat everyone equally by making EVERYTHING a civil union, and let churches decide what's a "marriage." If you want to be in a bigoted church, that's your business, but don't inflict that on the rest of us.

Autry is identified as "an author and consultant." He is NOT identified as the partner (or to use the socially sanctioned hetero term, "spouse") of one Sally Pederson, lieutenant governor and Iowa Democratic Party chair. Do the two partners share this vision? And how does this mesh with Chet Culver's stated opposition to civil unions?

This looks to me like a smack upside Culver's skull, a public shot in the internal debate still raging across listservs and at booze-n-schmooze events across the state. Will he take the hint, or will he ignore the base in favor of pollsters and consultants?

Also in the Register, the presidential wannabees are sending staffers to Iowa, hoping to earn points with the county chairs and legislators so important at caucus time. Mostly GOP, but buried deep is a gem from the Where Are They Now Department:

Vilsack, who would be expected to win the Iowa caucuses (sic), announced Monday the addition of two staff members in Iowa.

Former Vilsack administration policy adviser Dusky Terry and Heather Matson, who ran Terry's losing primary bid for Iowa agriculture secretary this year, have joined Heartland PAC in Iowa, said the organization's Iowa political director Jeff Link.

So Dusky's prepping for the future. Another campaign, or über-operative?

Tuesday's headlines: Connecticut, Texas, Hogwarts

Tuesday's headlines: Connecticut, Texas, Hogwarts

Oh so much goodness to pass along that's NOT Iowa-centric.

  • In Connecticut, Ned Lamont releases a Godzilla ad: W talks, Lieberman's words come out. And you can't tell the difference. That's the point. Hotline: "If Lamont wins this thing, this ad will become legendary."

  • Texas: Kinky Friedman is in second place in the latest poll. Granted, it's essentially a three way tie for second. But if Friedman and hapless Dem Chris Bell can somehow unite forces, they can knock off the GOP. Pardon my slanted language and apparent lack of party loyalty here; seeing the guy who wrote "Asshole from El Paso" win an election would be too good a story.

    We don't wipe our asses on Old Glory,
    God and Lone Star beer are things we trust.
    We keep our women virgins till they're married
    So hosin' sheep is good enough for us.

  • OK. So I'm a Harry Potter geek. I'm alerted to incoming email by the sound of an owl. JK Rowling says she's killing off "at least two" characters in the Harry Potter conclusion due next year. I assume that means two among the Good Gals And Guys in addition to the demise of He Who Must Not Oh What The Hell VOLDEMORT Stop Saying The Name Harry.

    THIS ending would be a bit of the downer:

    Ron turns traitor, Voldemort kills Harry, Evil triumphs, Hermione dies in the Mudblood holocaust, the end. Ha! Gothcha, kiddies, now I'll take my billion dollars and buy a country.

    No, somehow I expect better. Speculation will no doubt ensue at geeky places.

  • Speaking of Harrys, we welcome to the world one Harold Charles "Harry" Deeth, who joined the Michigan Deeths late Sunday night! My tribe of nephews and nieces now numbers five...
  • Monday, June 26, 2006

    More Sales Tax Talk from Sullivan

    More Sales Tax Talk from Sullivan

    From Supervisor Rod Sullivan's weekly newsletter this morning:

    As regular readers know, I do not support the use of sales taxes. Sales taxes shift the burden for funding government from the rich to the poor. I see them as politically expedient, but frankly immoral.

    So, it is with great interest that I watch the ICCSD Board of Directors struggle with a Local Option Sales Tax proposal. Proponents were dealt a blow when the cities knocked on the door, suggesting that the money be split. Johnson County followed up with a similar request. (I voted against the motion, but it carried 4-1.)

    I know many people who would swallow hard and vote for a sales tax "for the kids"; the same empathy does not exist for the cities (or the County, for that matter). I think a sales tax solely for schools might pass; I think including everyone else will guarantee failure.

    So, the ICCSD is placed in a difficult position. Include the municipalities and put the passage in serious jeopardy (see previous failed attempts), or leave them out and be criticized for not being a team player.

    I feel for the School Board members who are faced with this difficult choice. I only wish it would cause them to reconsider this tax increase on the poor.

    Nice talk. He throws a nice party too: never seen so many politicos in one place with NO SPEECHES.

    Other key weekend events:

  • Went to an open house at my former home. Looks nice, but not as much more nice as they're asking.

  • And Nicole Kidman got married (not to me).
  • Bush III: Dynasty Watch

    Bush III: Dynasty Watch

    USNews Washington Whispers:

    "Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has made it clear that he doesn't want to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, but that hasn't stopped friends from talking him up for vice president. In fact, allies are pushing him as the perfect match for several Republicans already running for president, including Virginia Sen. George Allen, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 'I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes vice president,' said a Bush friend and Florida lawmaker. After all, it was good enough for his dad. The two reasons cited: Jeb is wildly popular in Florida, a key electoral state, and he is often called the smarter Bush brother."

    Local votes and local shopping

    Schools consider tax votes

    Gazette reporting yesterday board member by board member on the sales tax:

    Most Iowa City school board members said they were leaning toward voting to put the measure on the ballot but wanted to stay openminded and hear what the public might say Tuesday night before they vote.

    Iowa City board member Aletia Morgan joined others in saying her vote rides on how a school sales tax would be applied to a list of needs in the district.

    ‘‘I will support it when I see a list of what it’s going to be used for,’’ Morgan said. ‘‘I want to see a statement of, in general, where it would be applied. I know we need it, but I want to have some clarity of purpose.’’
    Community members have told Morgan they wish the Iowa Legislature would give schools ‘‘a better way to do this that is less potentially regressive,’’ Morgan said.

    She said she ‘‘sympathizes’’ with those who say sales taxes hit low-income people the hardest, ‘‘but I want to make sure we offer the resources that benefit all our students.’’

    Board member Patti Fields agreed.

    ‘‘Sales taxes are hard on individuals, but people are willing to do that to support education,’’ Fields said. ‘‘They’re not as willing to do that to support cities.’’

    Both the Iowa City Council and the Johnson County Board of Supervisors have asked the school district to share some of the sales tax revenue with those bodies.

    Other Iowa City board members characterized the community as generally opposed to schools sharing sales tax money with cities.

    The board will talk about that issue on Tuesday but will be in no rush to make a decision, board president Peter Wallace said.

    ‘‘We haven’t passed the (vote to put the tax on the ballot) yet,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘It is premature to speculate whether it is going to be shared’’ with cities.
    ‘‘If we were going to share, we would tell the citizens as soon as possible. We would insist that the cities (in Johnson County) stipulate what they spend it on. We want to be upfront and transparent in this process.’’

    Wallace said only a few of the 97 Iowa counties with the school tax, called a School Infrastructure Local Option tax, share the income with cities.

    School board members in both counties said they would want to use a sales tax for technology, infrastructure and/or property tax relief.

    Janet Leff put Iowa City’s school district infrastructure repair needs in perspective.

    ‘‘We have a list of physical plant improvements that need to be done in our school district that is more than $60 million,’’ she said. ‘‘We have $3 million per year’’ from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy tax levy that is used to improve buildings.

    Elizabeth Crooks said she would like to see what a sales tax would fund and then put it on the county ballot for voters to decide. Before the community vote, the board could gather community input more precisely about where the money would go, Crooks said.

    Gayle Klouda also favored letting voters decide whether to have a tax. Toni Cilek couldn’t be reached for comment.

    Also looking toward a local vote: Wal-Mart? Local activist and Wal-Mart suer Gary Sanders says vote; Steve Atkins says we can't.

    While Johnson County is voting locally and maybe voting on shopping, Louisa County is shopping locally, or at least starting to since they have the lowest retail sales in the state. Brouught back a few memories as Louisa was the bulk of the district I ran in ten years ago. My favorite Louisa business - El Charro restaurant in Conesville - is now closed. But La Reyna grocery of Columbus Junction, metioned in the article, also has a branch on the south side of Iowa City.

    My own local shopping was at garage sales this weekend where I acquired the wretched excess of computer number seven, plus a couple spare monitors. Anyone need a Linux box?

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    1-cent tax may be up for vote in December

    1-cent tax may be up for vote in December

    They're going to try to get this through on Tuesday:

    If it votes to pursue the issue, district officials would meet with those from other Johnson County school districts to set an election date, tax rate and the ballot language that would be used, according to a memo from Iowa City School District administrative executive director Paul Bobek.

    In September, the School Board would then vote on a resolution calling for an election to be held as early as Dec. 5.

    Which would mess up my Thanksgiving because I'll be too busy working for Vote No.

    National-type stuff: the Register rounds up the summer travel plans of the presidential wannabees. And Quad-City Times looks at the latest on Iowa vs. New Hampshire 2008. I'm sticking with my prediction: whatever the DNC decides, the Granite State will leapfrog. It then becomes a question of whether the candidates and media treat New Hampshire as legit or not.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Song of the day: Elvis Costello

    Song of the day: Elvis Costello

    Riot Act. The end of the hyperactive Get Happy!! which crammed, so the sticker said, 20 HITS 20 two to three minute songs onto one vinyl LP. I was listening to this when it was new in 1980.

    Forever doesn't mean forever anymore
    I said forever
    But it doesn't look like I'm gonna be around much anymore
    When the heat gets sub-tropical
    And the talk gets so topical

    Riot act - you can read me the riot act
    You can make me a matter of fact
    Or a villain in a million
    A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian

    Why do you talk such stupid nonsense
    When my mind could rest much easier
    Instead of all this God damned insolence
    I would be happier with amnesia

    They say forget her
    Now it looks like you're either gonna be for me or against me
    I got your letter
    Now they say I don't care for the colour that it paints me
    Trying to be so bad is bad enough
    Don't make me laugh by talking tough
    Don't put your heart out on your sleeve
    When your remarks are off the cuff

    Riot act - you can read me the riot act
    You can make me a matter of fact
    Or a villain in a million
    A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Outrage: Finley nurse fired for appearing in union ad

    Outrage: Finley nurse fired for appearing in union ad

    From Ice T's Freedom Of Speech Watch What You Say Department:

    The vice president of a nurses union was fired Wednesday by Finley Hospital, one day after the union announced plans to strike next month.

    Alice Weick, 55, fought back tears as she told reporters that her 30-year career at the hospital ended because she participated in a radio advertisement sponsored by the Service Employees International Union Local 199.

    The union, which represents more than 300 nurses at the Dubuque hospital, had been in contract negotiations since March and issued a strike notice Tuesday night as the nurses’ contract expired.

    “It was not about my nursing skills that I was fired,” Weick said at a press conference at union headquarters in Dubuque. “It was not about what I did for my patients. It was all about because I chose to speak my concern.”

    In the ad, Weick claims that Finley “isn’t always putting patients first.” She also encourages listeners to call Finley executives and show their support for the nurses.

    Weick said she was exercising her right to speak publicly about issues that affect Finley’s patients, but “apparently Finley does not think I can.”

    Matt Glasson, the union’s legal counsel, said Weick had the right to participate in the ad under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which prohibits employers from firing employees for gathering or discussing workplace issues with co-workers.

    He said the union will soon file an unfair labor practice charge against the hospital.

    “I’ve been representing unions for over 25 years and, in my experience, this is one of the most blatant and deliberate violations of the law that I’ve seen,” Glasson said.

    Finley officials refused to comment on Weick’s firing, instead issuing a three-sentence statement on Wednesday: “Employee discipline or termination is confidential information.”

    The statement also says that the matter leading to the termination “was fully investigated prior to making a termination decision.”

    Weick said the “investigation” lasted about an hour and began when she was called into the office of Kathy Ripple, Finley’s vice president of nursing services.

    Ripple played a recording of the ad for Weick and asked the nurse if she still believed in what she said. After answering yes, Weick was dismissed from the office and learned 40 minutes later she was fired, Weick said.

    “I felt very betrayed,” said Weick, who was taken to clean out her locker and escorted from the premises.

    Full Weekend Ahead

    Full Weekend Ahead

    When I was teaching, Thursday night was the de facto start of the weekend and here I am already looking ahead.

  • Joe Bolkcom's campaign kickoff tonight, 5-7, his place (728 2nd Ave.) Ride your bike, it's the Joe kind of thing to do.
  • Dave Zollo rocks the Ped Mall for free tomorrow night, don't miss it.
  • Break out the Spock ears for Trekfest in Riverside. Mark Nolte's parading; line up at 9:00 on River St. near People's Bank. My computer geek reputation has occasionally gotten my compared to Data. That plus I have a cat named Spot.
  • JC Dems throw a HQ grand opening a headquarters grand opening Saturday downtown from 1-3 p.m. Patty Judge is there.
  • Pass the Geritol: Rod Sullivan turns 40. Friends of Rod welcome at City Park Saturday afternoon 4ish.
  • Dave Loebsack's throwing a yard sign party Sunday 1-3 at four sites including City Park. "We will be serving Dave's famous sloppy sloppy Joes and yellow cake cupcakes (non uranium-enriched). "

    Register has a couple interesting notes this AM:

  • Iowa's Little Limbaugh Steve King is holding up Voting Rights Act renewal because he doesn't like voting en español.
  • Mike Whalen and Jeff Lamberti show their true colors and bring in Karl Rove.
  • Also, the Reg had an interesting column about Mike Mauro the other day. Quoting Republicans on his qualifications:

    "I've been working with Michael on elections a long time," Blair said. "Michael has forgotten more about elections and election law than Chet Culver ever knew."

    "If he wins," Blair said, "I expect him to be a very good secretary of state."

    Then he laughed.

    "But that isn't an endorsement."

    Oh, I don't know.
  • Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    SurveyUSA - 50 State Senate Ratings

    SurveyUSA - 50 State Senate Ratings

    I always like to pass this along. Kent Conrad tops the charts this month with Ben Nelson in 3rd. They may not be perfect Dems but we're damn lucky to have them up for re-elect on the reddest parts of the plains this year.

    Meanwhile, the GOP is in miserable shape on the bottom of the charts with Conrad Burns, Rick Santorum and Mike DeWine all in net negatives.

    As for Iowa's polar opposite Senators, Harkin's right in midfield with Grassley ranked 18th.

    In the brick of time

    In the brick of time

    The DI finds my street newsworthy but misses my angle: it's an adventure riding a bike on a brick-paved street.

    "It definitely adds character to the neighborhood that really contributes to its historic feel," he said, joking that the noise can be annoying at times.

    That could describe either the pavement OR my apartment complex.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Heart and Soul of the Iowa GOP

    Heart and Soul of the Iowa GOP

    Krusty was at the Republican convention and has some perhaps inadvertently revealing comments.

    On Steve King:

    The second his name was announced, everyone stood up. It wasn’t a few people at first, and then the rest joined in. It was krazy. If you’re the type that chuckles when you hear that King might run against Sen. Tom Harkin in 2008, it’s obvious that King is beloved by the Republican base...

    e said that when Saddam was captured, he went out and celebrated Iraqi style by going outside a shooting his shot gun in the air. The reason it’s so funny is you don’t really know if its true or not, because you can see him doing it.

    And of course the "72 virgins in hell" quote that's getting picked up nationally.

    Meanwhile, he praises Jim Leach but notes:

    95% of the delegates think he is the worst thing in the Republican party.

    A nice measure of the tectonic rightward drift of the Republican Party in the last 30 years.

    Leach has been showing his true colors in committee lately:

    On Wednesday June 14, the House Financial Services Committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to the Export-Import bank reauthorization that would have required export companies seeking financing to sign a pledge that says: “We believe in employing United States workers at livable wages.” The amendment was rejected 33-34. Had Leach voted “Yes,” the amendment would have passed.

    When it's close, they can always count on him. A vote for Leach is a vote for more close calls like this, and a vote to keep folks like Steve King in charge.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    From the In Box

    From the In Box

    Did human being, Dad's day stuff yesterday (I'm entitled, being a dad and all.)

    Couple local items this AM.

    Joe Bolkcom:

    You're invited to my rescheduled Re-election Campaign Committee Party on Thursday, June 22, 5:00-7:00 pm at my home at 728 2nd Avenue, Iowa City.

    This is not a fundraiser. It's a time to relax, chat and learn about my 2006 re-election efforts.

    Refreshments provided. Special prize for every person that rides a bike, walks or carpools to the party.

    Rod Sullivan's weekly roundup includes great Why I'm A Dem stuff:

    The election this
    November is vital. The most important issues are NOT immigration and civil
    Yes, these issues matter. Yes, the parties differ on these issues.
    Personally, I fear neither Mexicans nor Gays.
    So do not let the fear mongers blur your focus. The REAL issues in Iowa are
    jobs, education, healthcare, the environment, needless war, civil liberties,
    and personal values. The Democratic approach to each of these issues is
    simply better for Iowa.
    Everything you care about is on the line. Class warfare IS going on. It HAS
    been going on. The middle class and poor are the ³collateral damage² in this
    class warfare.
    Mexicans and Gays have not started a needless war, run up record deficits,
    endorsed torture, spied on Americans, trashed the environment, cut funding
    for human services, attacked Social Security, backed big corporations over
    people, under funded veterans, and done nothing to address the healthcare
    Rather than scapegoating Mexicans and Gays, perhaps we should be electing
    them. They could not fare any worse.
    The differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties have never
    been clearer. And I am proud to be a Democrat! I hope you will join me in
    supporting Democratic candidates this fall.

    Studies in contrast in the Register in yesterday morning's convention roundups.

    The GOP Story is headlined Republicans speak out on tough election issues and focuses on the national pezzonovanti in attendance. But the Dems are labeled with Democrats rally for unity after primary battles and has stuff like:

    Some rank-and-file party activists said the healing in the roughly two weeks since Secretary of State Chet Culver edged his two main rivals in a sometimes heated primary campaign was not complete.

    Bias or reality? There was some great liveblogging from both Political Forecast and the JC Republicans (yes, they deserve the link love), but this is one of those rare cases where some old fashioned mythical Objective Journalism could have helped. Kay Henderson provides some but it's speech-oriented.

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Few But Proud at Pride Parade

    Few But Proud at Pride Parade

    I did squeeze a little politics in on what was supposed to be a human being day; part of my exercise involved walking a few blocks in the Pride Parade. There always seems to be a schedule conflict with state convention but a few of us were there representin' for the JC Dems including Bob Dvorsky, Joe Bolkcom and Mary Mascher.

    Also seen at Pride Fest: folks collecting postcards for Chet Culver re: his opposition to civil unions. I'm just sayin'.

    Meanwhile, Chris and Dien are doing loads of convention liveblogging so I'm sure I'm not missed.

    Interleague: The Work Of Satan

    Interleague: The Work Of Satan

    If God had meant the White Sox and Reds to play He would have put them in the World Series like in that most infamous of all fall classics, 1919. At least that curse was lifted last year... World Champion White Sox. Still sounds weird.

    Same goes for the Cubs, Tigers, and 1945. Unfortunately for the Cubbies, Hank Greenberg got back from the war just in time for the Series, and they threw the billy goat out. A curse that lives on.

    Don't even get me started on the designated hitter rule.

    And, though the pole beans on the Smallest Farm are 4 1/2 feet tall, I'm really jealous of Dien Judge's garden.

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Skipping State

    Skipping State

    Decided that with all the driving and sitting time, my Saturday is better spent on human being stuff than on being a face in the crowd at the state convention. We've got the pride parade in Iowa City and convention will cut into our party presence. Also, while the laptop is alive and the data is safe, my software and settings are shot so I have all that work ahead of me.

    Press-Citizen has a brief overview of both parties. Notes that the GOP has big names (Allen, Pataki, Romney) and the Dems do not.

    Party spokeswoman Erin Siedler said that wasn't because of an attempt to avoid overshadowing Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is exploring a presidential bid of his own.

    One thinks they doth deny too much...

    As for the work of the convention, the platform is a big part of it. Dennis Roseman, Johnson County's platform co-chair, offers a link to the book and his thoughts:

    The rules make it very difficult to introduce changes/additions from the floor. The petitions need to be submitted by 9:00am on Saturday. (Which is an hour before alternates are officially seated.) There are several rules of the convention whose purpose seems to be to severely limit platform debate.

    Each of you may have your own special interest in some particular issue, but let me just mention a few things that might be of general interest.

    Note the "minority reports". There are quite a few of these - a substantial number initiated by a single member of the Platform Committee. These are guaranteed to come up for vote on the floor.

    There are two controversial topics that may come up, each of which was dealt with by the chair or co-chair in a contoversial manner.

    Both of these were originally put forth as platform planks but were forcefully changed to resolutions.

    1) There was a resolution to the effect of asking candidates to support a large portion of the platform. That was removed by the Chair after it had been voted on and approved by the Committee.

    2) My personal concern is the following item. At the end of the special resolutions has been put:

    Investigation of the Bush Administration

    We call for an investigation into crimes that may have been committed by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their Administration

    Judging by how such resolutions have been opposed in other States (and noting the oppposition of the Co-chair on this matter) I would guess that this might well be the focus of challenges - by ordinary debate or extra-ordinary parlimentary manouevering.

    If you support this be alert and ready to defend/support it.


    1) This item was (basically) in our County Platform as a plank, and in our District Platform as a resolution.

    2) This resolution (in various wordings) has been approved by ten state Democratic party organizations: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Colorado and Hawaii.

    This and similar resolutions are to be considered in Iowa, Minnesota and (even) Texas.

    Very brief history: The IDP platform process was essentially shut down in 1996, after the 1994 platform endorsed gay marriage (yes, twelve years ago) and Bonnie Campbell went out of her way to denounce the platform (rather than just ignoring it which usually happens). Now we get to make vague noncontroversial statements like "baseball and apple pie are good." Not worth a whole day of my life.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Catch-All Catch-Up Post

    Catch-All Catch-Up Post

    Rough day in the John Deeth Blog Newsroom yesterday. Got home Tuesday night and was greeted by a Blue Screen Of Death on the laptop. Perhaps all the excitement from being photographed with John Edwards fried it; in any case it's in the shop. Luckily my FOUR emergency backup Linux boxes (geek geek geek) are up and running and my stuff is backed up. Aside: Just upgraded to the latest distribution of Ubuntu Linux on a couple of these machines and is was smooth and easy.

    Been getting a huge amount of traffic from the right side of the blogosphere thanks to some link love from Krusty who gets PART of the point on my "Getting On Board vs. Not Good Enough" post. Friendly note to all my new GOP readers: Democrats want to help people vote, Republicans want to keep people from voting.

    On to the headlines.

    Longshot of the day:

    Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, who announced in April that he wants the Democratic presidential nomination, is canvassing Iowa this week, explaining his plans to anyone willing to listen.

    Which may not be too many. This guy's last appearance on a ballot when when he lost his primary 26 years ago...

    Speaking of losing primaries, this news: is an absolute outrage:

    Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee 'fully supports' Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) in his primary bid against Ned Lamont (D), 'and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.'

    At least Joementum is finally admitting he's not a Democrat. If the DSCC backs him against a Democratic nominee (Lamont is only six points back and closing fast) thesre needs to be serious action of the dry up the funds type. In the meantime, talk to Harkin, that may help.

    The Overrated One writes about the eminent domain veto, and Ed Fallon blasts an email on the subject. This thing is going to be overridden and that's more bad news for Tom Vilsack, last seen quacking and limping in New Hampshire.

    And I can't find the link at the moment but the push for regressive sales taxes in Johnson County is moving forward with the Iowa City School Board looking to vote next week and the cities trying to buy in. Watch this one closely.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    The Struggle Continues: Getting On Board vs. Not Good Enough

    The Struggle Continues: Getting On Board vs. Not Good Enough

    About three months ago I was at a fundraiser in Iowa City and the conversation turned to the governor's race and pragmatism vs. idealism, or "Fallon's platform is great but he can't win." I realized that I will be having conversations like that at events like that for the rest of my life, as Progressives debate Good Enough vs. Not Good Enough.

    The conversation is underway at high levels. Kyle the political madman has a wonderful post up about last week's Culver-Fallon meeting. He was one of the staffers in the room and I won't crib any of it. Just read it.

    Thate conversation also continues on a couple of Iowa City's hotter political listservs. These folks are friends of mine and the opinions diverge wildly.

    Richard Shannon:

    Let me ask the obvious question - why is the objective to do everything we can to defeat Nussle?

    It amazes me that year after year progressives refuse to learn an obvious lesson.

    A group of people support a candidate in the primary process. The candidate does not win, but rather a main stream centrist candidate who may call him/herself a Democrat but might as well be a Republican wins. Then everyone says the progressives need to circle the wagons around the Democrat.

    Surprise surprise - two, four, six years later the same scenario happens.

    You have to wonder if real progressives continued to vote their politics instead of compromising - just maybe some of this would be stopped.

    As long as centrist Democrats know they can count on progressives to give it up and support their candidate - the party will never change.

    I would rather have the short term misery of an all Republican Iowa - than the long term misery of who ever the straight white boys in charge of the Democratic party think is elect-able.

    Thomas Frank wrote a great book called "What's the Matter with Kansas". The principle being many Republican are voting against their economic interests for a party that never does what is says it will.

    I would suggest that progressives are voting against their core values to support a party that never does what it says it will.

    The only difference I can see between a progressive and a right wing
    republican is that the progressive may recycle their paper products. Both
    are used to their ultimate disadvantage by centrist politicians - and both
    refuse to see this.

    Jeff Fields responds to the list in general:

    It is very easy to gripe about how unprogressive the Democratic slate is, but the real questions are a) Is the Republican Party addressing your concerns, and b) what are you doing to ensure that the Democratic party addresses your concerns?

    I supported Ed Fallon in the primary. As of June 7th, I'm backing Chet Culver for Governor. I am African American. I hate the death penalty. African American males have been disproportionately sentenced to death, and nearly every reversed death penalty conviction has been an African American male. Chet Culver is in favor of the death penalty. I am against it. However, I agree with him on most other issues, and on far more issues than Nussle. So, I support Chet Culver, and every time I see him, and he will be here several times between now and November, he will recieve a personal note from me, stating that I am a registered Democrat, I support his candidacy for Governor, and that I encourage him to reconsider his position on the death penalty before a single person is wrongfully put to death. My one voice may not change the tide, but if we all address our progressive concerns to Mr. Culver, perhaps we can make him see the light on our progressive issues.

    Janelle Rettig had a letter, and passed copies around at yesterday's event. With her blessing I'll pass along the whole thing.

    Dear Secretary Culver:

    Congratulations on your victory in the Democratic Primary for Governor. The victory is a testament to your entire team.

    You might recall that earlier this year I organized a meeting with you in Iowa City with members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied (GLBTA) community. I went into that meeting truly undecided on whom to support. When you discussed creating a civil rights justice package, I volunteered to assist you and your staff in creating strong language.

    During our meeting with you, I became concerned that you didn't quite understand the difficulties and discrimination that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people face. You seemed vague on your commitments to support civil rights for GLBT people. It was also clear that you hadn't decided on what you were willing to support to help same-sex couples. However, I took heart in the fact that you seemed so willing to create a justice package for civil rights issues and have regular conversations with GLBTA folks.

    I waited several weeks hoping to hear from you or your campaign about writing a justice package of ideas. I provided the campaign with lists of all attendees so they could reach out to us. But it was not to be. I decided to back Mike Blouin because of his strong commitment to changing the Iowa Civil Rights Code to include sexual orientation and gender identity and his support for civil unions for same-sex couples. Mike embraced the concerns of GLBT people and took positions on how to help us. Hundreds of GLBTA people supported Mike Blouin because of the lack of leadership coming out of your campaign.

    Later when you appeared at the Des Moines Register Debate and took a position against civil unions, I knew I had made the right choice. You see same-sex couples are denied over 1,100 federal and over 500 state rights and responsibilities automatically granted to married couples. I've been with my partner over 17 years and I still can't have inheritance, insurance, social security, or the responsibilities of marriage, yet when Brittany Spears got married in Las Vegas in a drunken stupor she automatically had her relationship recognized by over 1,600 hundred laws in every state of the union.

    Frankly, it should be a minimum requirement of a good Democrat to support civil unions. Civil Unions were created by politicians looking for a compromise between doing the right thing and ending marriage discrimination and doing what they thought the public would accept. During the years that we've had civil unions in Vermont, even some conservative elected officials have become supportive of civil unions, if not marriage. Actually support for true marriage equality is on an upward trend in national opinion polls.

    Perhaps you are not quite ready for marriage equality, but you certainly should be supportive of civil unions. I believe with all of my being that I should be equal to Chet Culver in every way, shape, and form. I believe my 17 year commitment to Robin Butler is every bit as important to your commitment to your spouse.

    I am ashamed that our Democratic Nominee for Governor has abandoned the principals of freedom and liberty to scapegoat gay and lesbian couples. I hope you can find room in your heart to truly think about these issues away from the glare of politics and find a place in your heart to embrace civil rights for all people. I remain available to discuss this with you in person and help you find a path to mend the discontent you created in the base by opposing civil unions.

    I believe my friends that are elected officials and party leaders would tell you that I am a thoughtful and committed person, that I will give you a chance to grow on these issues. However, I hope you will reach out and embrace the learning experience as quickly as possible. A fractured base on civil rights will make the fall even more difficult.

    With respect and hope,

    Janelle Rettig

    Meanwhile, Kevin Owens of the Greens chimes in with a note about their newly minted candidate - Wendy Barth, who seems to be another of those dedicated but unknown third party activists. (Not to diss any of her credentials that I may not know about.)

    A couple points:

  • Iowa Dems would be damn smart to get behind legislation easing the standards for third parties. Joe Bolkcom introduces it every session and it dies from a combination of apathy and residual Nader bitterness. As it stands now (lawsuit pending), third parties have to run for top of the ticket races because that's the only way to get a G or an L on your voter card. It woulldn't hurt the big parties at all - in fact a progressive Dem would find a current list of registered Greens damn useful, and certain types of Republicans (or Dems in a race against certain other types of Republicans) would target Libertarians no doubt.

  • I'm not going Green and not encouraging anyone else to. I did that once and given the choices in that particular race I'd do it again. But on some level I'm glad the Greens are taking this on, as it requires of Culver some accountability to the base of the Democratic Party.

  • Yet we progressives need to persuade more than just candidates. There's a plain and simple reason that pragmatists take poor stands on some of these issues: they're following public opinion rather than leading. Yes, some public opinion is misguided and based on faulty information and ancient prejudices. But it's nevertheless real. So we need compelling, comprehensible arguments to move broader public opinion. It would help if elected officials would show some courage, but electoral politics is only one part of the battle. A broader social movement to shift those opinions would force, or encourage, change in The System.

    Overt, whites-only-lunch-counter style segregation was once as socially acceptable as homophobia is today. The civil rights movement made it unacceptable, and changed enough minds to force legislative action past the blocked schoolhouse doors and the entrenched Dixiecrat committee chairs. In spite of electoral politics, not because of it.

    In any case, backseat driving is best accomplished in the car, not on the side of the road. Climb in, but as the driver insists he's not lost, keep your road map handy.
  • Tipper Gore Ready to Support Another White House Run

    Tipper Gore Ready to Support Another White House Run

    From the Oh Please God No department.

    Edwards-Culver: Old Media Coverage

    Edwards-Culver: Old Media Coverage

    Press-citizen, DI and Register and Gazette.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Blogger Attempts Photojournalism With Mixed Results

    Blogger Attempts Photojournalism With Mixed Results

    Some mediocre camera phone shots here; if you have better shoot 'em my way and I'll share.

    Edwards rocks the mic, Culver listens in.

    Culver and media scrum.

    Edwards and slightly larger media scrum.

    My only shot of Dave Loebsack got maybe half his head.

    UPDATE: Dien Judge has a couple better pictures and his own impressions. Thanks for the praise, Dien, but we both know the club of Iowa political bloggers is small...

    In other Edwards news, Politics1 is running part two of its Hottest Politicians contest: the guys. However they have DISQUALIFIED Edwards, the defending incumbent, because he is "not currently holding or seeking office." (Shheyah. Right. He just likes coming to IOWA for fun.) As for the women, Stephanie Herseth was inexplicably defeated.

    More on Iverson retirement

    More on Iverson retirement

    Kay Henderson gets it right:

    There will be a special convention with delegates from the counties Iverson has represented to pick a successor whose name will be on the fall ballot. He says several candidates are considering the post, including James Kurtenbach of Nevada and George Eichhorn of Stanhope -- two men who are currently members of the Iowa House.

    More significantly: "Iverson has nearly $130,000 in his campaign account, and he plans to distribute it to Republican candidates seeking election this fall."

    The Register gets it wrong saying the GOP needs a "special election."

    Chris Woods is betting Stew will be working for Iowans for Tax Relief by the end of the week.

    John Edwards with a geek holding a laptop

    John Edwards with a geek holding a laptop

    I never look quite normal at these moments. Thanks to Mary Grabe for the picture.

    Edwards Almost Live

    Edwards Almost Live

    12:02 and greetings from Jim Larew’s law office. I can’t get his wifi network configured, despite their kind provision of the password, so the blogging will be pseudo-live. Nice lunch of Neuzil pork, which is tastier than Republican congressional pork. (It’s only pork if it’s in someone else’s district. In YOUR district it’s “jobs.”)

    Noticed some high profile Blouinistas here including legislators Bob Dvorsky and Dave Jacoby. May not catch every dignitary present. I’m sitting on the floor in the corner.

    Dave Loebsack is here and working the crowd. Also a bazillion staffers with clipboards and fellow blogger Dien Judge who I just met in real life for the first time! So I’m not the only blogger here but I'm the only one blogging! The running mate is back at the office, gotta do the job.

    Saw thy guy who has my old WSUI job. The tape gear has gotten smaller.

    12:08 Dems chair Jen Hemmingsen is intro-ing candidates. Larew is herding people in. Small room makes the crowd look big. Holding the laptop with one hand typing with the other for the ee cummings effect.

    Pretty much the whole courthouse and legislative delegation.

    Channel 2 and 9 here and loads of print and photographers.

    12:12 Loebsack speaks. The difference between bloggers and old media – I can cheer. But not clap while typing. Loebsack saying the right rest of the ticket stuff. A little bit on difference betweeb behind the scenes and campaigning as the candidate.

    Hitting the GOP damage to the country theme. First time I’ve heard him mention his family members who got called up to Iraq.

    Health care, gets applause. I should get a palm pilot for stuff like this…

    Pensions and corporate reed, another applause line. Touches on the war but I missed the line – a little squashed for multitasking.

    UPDATE: Jason Friedman of the Loebsack campaign gace me the excerpt:

    WITH ME.


    After 30 years Leach has no leadership to show for it. He votes with us when his party allows it and when it doesn’t matter. Recites a litany.

    Wrapping up: “I will never leave folks behind.”

    12:21 he wraps and Born To Run plays, way too quietly. I mean, it was made to be LOUD. Dave works the crowd, I suspect we’re on campaign standard time. Chet and John are coming from opposite directions, and upstaging must be avoided.

    It was just suggested that I get telescoping legs on the firebolt to make a mobile stand.

    I’m guessing 75 here in he room and I can’t see outside.

    Spent many an hour in this office working on campaigns – unfortunately usually with out success – Public Power, Bill Bradley…

    Now we’re hearing September by Earth Wind and Fire, which seems inexplicable as rally music. Sure it’s upbeat and funky yet inoffensive, but it’s chronologically weird in June.

    1232 heard some applause – false alarm? No that was it, Chet is here. Greeting the down ballot folks. U2 beautiful day, which seems to be Approved Rally Music..

    Chet shaking some hands, obviously he showed up just a hair early…

    Edwards Is here 12:34.

    Chet speaking first. Larew acknowledged Chet’s third place, points out past comebacks by winners. "We get acquainted first, then we fall in love on the 2nd date."

    Chet credits other candidates, Vilsack. Bucket pass getting ignored.

    IA at crossroads, good things in 8 years but some slipping. George bush clone. Nussle a loyal foot soldier. Voted 55 times to cut education. Lots of, er, “comparative” stuff here. Nussle sold out ethanol and farmers, here’s choice and South Dakota.

    They called this a “unity rally” and Jim Nussle is a great unifier.

    No mention of death penalty, haven’t heard it discussed/

    12:43 and he’s already wrapped. Now he moves into the Edwards intro. Mention of presidential race gets biggest applause.

    12:46 Edwards is on, thanks Larew. Gives the Elizabeth health update and the cute kid story.

    Nussle took biggest surplus into biggest deficit. "Absolute insanity” to elect him. Looks at current bush budget – “I’ve been worried about whether Exxon’s making enough” hah hahaha

    Cites from nutrition, education – billions for Exxon, taking away health care for poor kids. Immoral. “This is not the kind of man who should be leading the state of Iowa.”

    "I also see this campaign and - dramatic pause - FUTURE CAMPAIGNS (Yaaay) as an opportunity to end consultant, poll-driven politics." Huge void in moral leadership…

    12:54. Laptop shut down from heat! another joke: "Some of you might even remember I’m the son of a mill worker."

    Talking about our lack of global moral leadership. Much like his February trip. Obviously the ostensible Culver stuff is over with…

    Crowd is a bit older – midday on a Monday cuts into it We still have a couple hundred here.

    "This is not just about politics it’s about what kind of world we live in." "The leaders we are waiting for are us."

    No mention of war.

    12:57 he wraps and crowd mills. Going for a picture if I can. Some media availability post speeches.

    Larew chatting County. I think second third (Double check: I was right.)

    UPDATE: I SAID third and I WAS right but I TYPED second. The hazards of liveblogging.

    I get my moment with Edwards and a pic… watch for pictures (and dissent!) later. I gotta get back to work. Stopped home to post and clean up typos, not necessarily in that order.

    Krusty Konservative: Stew Iverson will not seek re-election

    Krusty Konservative: Stew Iverson will not seek re-election

    Krusty reports that Iverson is bailing on the re-elect. Rumors of that started as soon as the Lundby coup d'etat happened.

    Krusty asks:

    I’m interested to know what Iverson will do with the $129,000 he has in his campaign account.

    And LOTS of that money is from Iowans for Tax Relief...

    Not uncommon for deposed people - ousted chairs, the loser in a leadership contest, etc. - to bail completely soon therafter.

    Semi-related from the inbox:

    US Senator Russ Feingold announced today that Iowa State Senate Candidate Rich Olive has won the Pick a Progressive Patriot: Iowa online voting event. Olive is challenging former Iowa Senate Republican Majority Leader Stewart Iverson to represent Iowa’s 5th Senate District.

    Not any more, upgrade this now open seat race...

    The announcement follows a week of online voting in this, the third “Pick a Progressive Patriot” event.

    The “Pick a Progressive Patriots: Iowa” event was the first time candidates for state office were featured for an online Progressive Patriots Fund vote. As with past events, the Progressive Patriots Fund will financially support Olive – sending him a $5,000 check for his growing campaign. Feingold also said that the Progressive Patriots Fund will contribute smaller amounts to the five other featured candidates.

    “I’m happy to support Rich Olive’s campaign for State Senate. Rich has a great opportunity to help the Democrats break the tie in the Iowa State Senate and move that body out of a state of partisan deadlock and back to dealing with the issues facing all Iowans,” Feingold said. “I’m happy to contribute $5,000 to his campaign and am excited to include him in our growing list of Progressive Patriots.”

    Edwards Poll Reacts

    Edwards Poll Reacts

    The Underrated One, Mike Glover, looks at the Edwards poll and visit. Disingenuous quote of the day:

    Jeff Link a veteran strategist consulting with Vilsack's political action committee said the showing isn't unexpected, because Vilsack has taken few overt steps toward actually running.

    'I don't think many Iowans think Tom Vilsack is running for president,' Link said.

    Also Tom Beaumont in the Register. Nationals are buzzing that this is the first poll anywhere showing anyone other than HRC in first.

    All of which makes the timing of this week's visit especially fortuitous for John Edwards.

    In other news, the builder of the jet powered slug bug has more pictures up and is now working on a jet powered Vespa scooter.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Iowans to Vilsack: Don't Run

    Iowans to Vilsack: Don't Run

    The news goes from bad to worse for The Guv. Comming off Tuesday's double whammy defeats of Mike Blouin and Dusky Terry, the Register lands on the doorstep of Terrace Hill with the headline

    Vilsack fourth in presidential poll

    Which would be great if it was a national poll. But it's an IOWA poll. He's at 10 percent in his home state.

    The most telling part of the story is the flashback to 15 years ago:

    In June 1991, three months before Harkin entered the presidential race, the Register's Iowa Poll showed 39 percent of Iowans thought he should run, compared with 44 percent who opposed the idea.

    Harkin, as an announced candidate in December of that year, was the dominant choice of Iowans planning to take part in the Democratic caucuses the following February, drawing support from 68 percent.

    Harkin had the love back then and Vilsack simply does not.

    An early early early poll like this mostly measures name ID, so there's no pain for the also rans who share 13% - Feingold, Warner, Bayh, etc. But eight years running the state gives you universal name ID so Vilsack loses that excuse. The poll is also extremely bad news for suddenly not so presumptve nominee Hillary Clinton (second at 26) and shopworn 2004 caucus champ and ticket topper John Kerry (at 12% and third).

    The big winner is John Edwards, first with 30 points and conveniently visiting Iowa tomorrow.

    No way to spin this as anything but a disaster for Vilsack. If he wants a ticket to Washington in 2008, he should be playing behind the scenes and angling for a cabinet slot. Not the vice presidency - 10 percent in your home state puts even that out of reach.

    The Price of Gas - Not High Enough Yet

    The Price of Gas - Not High Enough Yet

    Another great article making the larger point:

    People in every other country around the world are paying about twice what we pay for gas, and they find a way to live with it. Right now we only see the short-term cost, but maybe it's time to look at the long-term benefits of higher gas prices and finally embrace reality and encourage them to go even higher.

    We're getting closer and things are slowly changing, but to see real change we need to head for $4 a gallon or break the $5 barrier.

    What we really need on top of this increase in gas prices is a whopping big federal gas tax. Don't expect to see such a move from the Bush administration, but a $1 a gallon tax on gas would push the price high enough to bring about immediate change...

    The other day I actually saw a Hummer stretch limo driving about.

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    Edwards in Iowa City with Chet Monday

    John Edwards in Iowa City with Chet Monday

    John Edwards. With Chet Culver. Iowa City. Monday. Noon.

    Jim Larew's law office (he was one of the leading local Culver folks) on Bloomington Street (right by Mercy Hospital).

    Heard this rumor Wednesday but was bound by the oath of omerta.

    UPDATE: Happy host Jim Larew stopped by and posted the release:

    Johnson County Democratic Party Unity Rally

    With Special Guests

    Chet Culver
    Democratic Candidate for Governor


    Senator John Edwards

    Monday, June 12, 2006
    Lunch on the Grounds – 11:15 A.M.
    Program Begins – 12:00 Noon Sharp


    Larew Law Office
    504 E. Bloomington St., Iowa City, IA

    Any Questions? Please Call (319) 466-4245

    Crunching the Numbers at Last

    Crunching the Numbers at Last

    I finally recovered enough to go over the Johnson County numbers. Here's the statewide and the local. Caveat: in Johnson County absentee is about a quarter of the vote in this election and it gets up over 40% in generals. By law absentee can’t be broken out by precinct which drives numbers nerds like me crazy. Anyway the early vote went Blouin 42, Fallon 34, Culver 22 – a couple points heavier for Blouin than the overall.

    In Iowa City proper, Blouin edged Fallon by one point 38-37. Mike took the east side, most of the west side, the southeast and Manville Heights. Fallon was the only candidate to win absolute majorities anywhere, topping 50% in the student precincts (though absolute numbers were tiny), and in the liberal heart of the city, precincts 18-21. No shocker there. Culver won only Iowa City precinct 8, full of new development.

    Outside Iowa City, it was Blouin over Culver 41-31 with Fallon third (25). Ed won the old part of Coralville and one small rural precinct. Blouin took most of the rest except Culver carried one rural and Lone Tree, a small town struggling with identity (I lived there and they can’t accept that they’re an exurb.) Blouin and Culver tied in one tiny rural precinct.

    In the Sec of Ag race, O’Brien swept Iowa City and Coralville. Dusky took five small rural precincts mostly in the western part of the county. I have a hunch one particularly legendary local ag leader backed him (and his immediate family vote alone is enough to carry some of those townships).

    Against my predictions and to my surprise there was only a 2.5% undervote for governor, in contrast to that 1998 race I oft cite with 1000 more votes for county recorder than for governor. Indeed, the top of the ticket outpaced the hot county attorney race which saw 4 percent of folks skipping out. Compare that to 26 percent bypassing the Sec of Ag race and roughly a third skipping the uncontested statewides.

    Locally the Board race was interesting in that all four candidates finished first someplace. (It was a vote for two contest.) Stutsman swept Coralville and North Liberty, the Swisher-Shueyville area, and most of the “townie” parts of Iowa City. Meyers won the liberal Iowa City areas and his northeast county base, taking 79% in Newport (the other challenger, Schneider, was at 69 with the incumbents at 22 and 20.)

    Mike Lehman held on to a couple rurals and three Iowa City precincts: the pattern I see among the three is older voters. Assisted housing in 6 and 8 (and in 25 where he trailed Stutsman by two votes), empty nesters in 12 (and a lot of trailer court and apartment dwellers who don’t get out in smaller elections).

    John Schneider was last but was number one in several rural precincts especially in the south part of the county (a base he shared with Stutsman and Lehman). These tended to be farm-rural, rather than residential-rural. He actually ran three votes ahead of Sally Stutsman in Hills.

    Not much to say in the county attorney race as Lyness won two to one or better almost everywhere. Maybanks won a couple student precincts with almost no voters – one of the realities of a June primary in a college town. He also did a little better in the north part of the county winning or tying a couple townships and getting better percentages in Don’t Tread On Me country and in his own precinct in Coralville.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Seen In The Admin Building

    Seen In The Admin Building

    Larry Meyers, Democratic nominee for supervisor, attending a Board meeting on crimininal justice issues, the first meeting since yesterday's election. Doing the homework for the new job, it seems. Granted, there ARE GOP candidates, but the last Republican supervisor was in about 1960.

    Vilsack Enthusiastically Embraces Culver Campaign

    Vilsack Enthusiastically Embraces Culver Campaign

    Random Impressions

    Random Impressions

    An extremely late night for me and a normal early morning today. I will eventually crunch the numbers.

    The clock ran out on Mike Blouin who seems to have been rapidly closing the gap. Don't know anything about the rest of the state but he won here with Fallon in second. Ed's 26% statewide way exceeds expectations and gives him options for the future.

    I got three phone calls yesterday urging me to vote for Mike and not one from Chet. I hope Culver adapts and starts to do the field work that the state's most successful Dems - Harkin and Vilsack - do so well.

    Speaking of Vilsack, the nationals will see this as a serious dent. If they look closer, they'll also note that the candidate he formally endorsed, Dusky Terry, also lost. Denise O'Brien is the surprise winner of the night. Dusky was on the fast track and probably slated for governor in the future, but he was close enough and is young enough that he can regroup. As for Vilsack, he whipped out a "congrats Chet" statement almost immediately and can recover from this bump... IF Culver wins. A Nussle win would be serious damage to Vilsack. Well, and to Iowa, too.

    Big Winner (Other than Chet): Mike Mauro. Instead of nominating Dopf, the Justice Department lawyer, the GOP went with Allison, setting up a Secretary of State race between the auditor of the biggest county in the state and... a foot doctor.

    Maggie Tinsman gets knocked off. Bad news for GOP moderates and a sign of the party's direction.

    Johnson County smashes the Dems turnout record with just over 11,000. Don't Tread On Me appears to have played well in Iowa City as Larry Meyers is a close second to Stutsman and Mike Lehman is the first Board incumbent to lose since 1996. To beat an incumbent you need a symbol, a handle for voters to grasp. Ten years ago it was a controversial appointment to a board. John Schneider rides the coattails and is last ut not by much.

    Janet Lyness wins almost everything except a couple student precints and, oddly, Swisher (I heard Nick Maybanks did some serious doorknocking up there). She even won in the Don't Tread On Me precincts where Maybanks had some anti-incumbent support, though her margin was smaller (55% in Newport).

    Nick Maybanks was a better candidate than his 30% indicates. There was a longstanding deep respect for Janet within the party that was too much for him to overcome, and a deep vein of support the woman candidate as well (that helps here in Johnson County). But Nick played a big role in shaping the debate and Janet will be a better county attorney for it. (Maybe she should hire him away from Linn County!)

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Turnout and Tornadoes

    Turnout and Tornadoes

    Home for dinner:

    I should have expected a maelstrom from the heavens on the 6-6-6 election.
    A few polling places closed for a little bit while the weather moved through.

    Turnout: At 3:00 we were roughly 1000 ahead of where we were two years ago, which wound up being our second highest Dem total ever. With little action on the GOP side I'd say odds are we break the 1990 Dem record (just a hair under 9000 that year) but not the overall record from the Gopher primary of 1994.

    I'll be posting a lot on line tonight but not here: watch the Johnson County returns and think of yours truly.

    Two More Parties

    Two More Parties

    Mike Blouin--9 p.m. at El Dorado in Coralville

    Mike Lehman--8:30 p.m. at Okoboji Grill by the Sycamore Mall.

    Victory Parties I'll Miss

    Victory Parties I'll Miss

    Janet Lyness-- 8:30 p.m., at East Side Bob's Your Uncle

    Nick Maybanks-- 8:30, the Vine in Coralville in the Mezzanine

    Larry Meyers-- 8:30 p.m. David's Place, 100 S. Linn Street (directly south of Senior Center)

    John Schneider-- after 7 p.m., at 5363 American Legion Rd.

    Sally Stutsman-- 8:30, Old Chicago in Coralville on Hwy 6

    Unofficial JC Dems Unity Party-- 10 p.m., The Mill

    Today's Suggested Playlist

    Today's Suggested Playlist

  • Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast
  • AC/DC - Highway To Hell - see route marker above - and Hell's Bells (best played back to back on honor of the most successful, albiet fatal, lead singer transition ever)
  • Beck - Devil's Haircut
  • Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar (great album title by a lame musician)
  • Elvis - Devil In Disguise
  • Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK (first line: "I am an antichrist...")
  • The soundtrack from the ORIGINAL Omen movie, you know, that satanic sounding mass choir
  • Anything backwards (best done with vinyl if you still have it)

    Add yours in the comments. I'll try to make a dinnertime post about Johnson County turnout, but no promises.
  • Monday, June 05, 2006

    One last look

    One last look

    Semi random impressions after a long day and before the longest day:

    Johnson County absentee turnout hit a record, over 2600 and topping 2004 (hot sheriff's race) and 1994 (Gopher). Who's that help? I'm guessing not Culver: less of the older voters here who remember dad, less action on the ground. Blouin has the field; Fallon has the true believers. Though I have trouble believing the line out of Camp Fallon that their message is attracting GOP voters. Doesn't pass the sniff test.

    Some might say "that's crossovers voting for the weakest opponent" but that's wrong too. It's a bit of conventional wisdom that pundits always misunderstand: crossover voters don't cross over to make mischief by voting for the weakest opponent. Real people don't think about politics strategically. Rather, they cross over to vote FOR someone, or maybe AGAINST someone, in a specific race. In a primary with a hot local race, you see lots of undervoting.

    And the statewide stuff is just a sideshow here; under the big top it's local, local, local.

    I'm wussing out of predictions or endorsements, sorry. But I'll crunch numbers and analyze tomorrow very very very very late.

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    The Last Poll

    The Last Poll

    Culver 36.
    Blouin 28.
    Fallon 21.
    Mohamed 1.

    The ball game ain't over. Blouin is helped by better field organization and the likelihood of disproportionately high turnout in the 1st CD. Fallon is helped by the intensity of his support - frankly, low turnout helps Ed more than anyone else.

    The 36 percent looks dangerously close to a convention but that's a penny on its edge scenario at this point. Granted, the penny almost landed on its edge in 2002 for the Republicans. The more Sal gets, the more likely a convention, but I think he's fixed at his one percent. Culver would need to slip a bit more and the undecideds would need to break about 60% to Fallon. And since polling started, Blouin has climbed faster than Fallon.

    Nearly 500 voters in Johnson County yesterday. That's up a bit from the same day in 2004, though overall we're 200 behind the 2004 pace (that was the second highest turnout Dem primary in Johnson County, and driven largely by the sheriff's race). For the numbers nerds among you, there's all sorts of old Johnson County stuff here.

    Just the briefest of downtown Arts Fest stops, more of a pass-through really as downtown is between work and home; Nick Maybanks and Larry Meyers working the crowd.

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Satellite Saturday

    Satellite Saturday

    Three places to vote today in Iowa City: the library, east side HyVee, or come say hi to me at the office.

    P-C has summaries of the two big local races today: supervisors and county attorney. Notable quote:

    White said it's been difficult for him to watch the campaign, not only because it signifies the end of his career as county attorney, but also because both candidates have underscored bringing change to the office.

    "My reaction to that is, 'Gee, I didn't realize we were doing that bad,'" White said. "But it's been hard for me."

    I won't recite the litany, but I regret the lack of an opportunity to vote against Pat White. Even Lyness, his endorsed candidate, is working the line "I'm not Pat White" into the stump speech.

    Janet was seen on the Ped Mall again last night for Arts Fest; Nick Maybanks may have been, probably was, there but my visit was brief as I'm in overtime mode. I didn't even stick around for the headliner, my long time fave James McMurtry. But I did notice:

  • Larry Meyers and team marching about with the Meyers sign on a high stick.
  • Senator Bob Dvorsky and family and others leafletting for Mike Blouin.
  • A corner table for Team Fallon. Again, no Culver sightings. My friends in the Chet Camp may correct me if I missed you.
  • Friday, June 02, 2006

    Two Headlines That Weren't What I Thought

    Two Headlines That Weren't What I Thought

    I got suckered this AM by two headlines that, while they misled me, were nonetheless interesting:

    Register: 'F NADER' plates offensive at any speed. NOT a disgruntled Dem who's still whining from 2000. No, this guy had an older grudge against Ralph:

    For the past five years John Miller's 1966 Chevrolet Corvair has had personalized license plates with the letters "F NADER." The message has been an inside joke among classic car enthusiasts.

    But Iowa Department of Transportation officials don't share Miller's humor. They have asked him to remove the plates and to surrender them to the Boone County treasurer's office.

    "Usually, it doesn't raise an eyebrow. It just brings a chuckle," Miller said. When strangers have asked him what the "F" stands for, he has responded in jest that it's an initial for "Fred," and that he's Ralph Nader's brother.

    Press-Citizen: Residents upset about new road. NOT Newport Road. This is a preview of another upcoming battle: extending Mormon Trek. A trailer court seems to be in the way. Doubt any coaches live there.