Thursday, August 31, 2006

Frist Fudges Medical License Requirements, Heads to Iowa

Frist Fudges Medical License Requirements, Heads to Iowa

I guess you can't do continuing medical education credits by videotape the way you can diagnose brain damage. Or maybe he didn't kill enough cats.

The video doctor and kitty killer will be hangin' with his pals in Iowa Thursday:

At 1:30 p.m., he'll be at Leach's field hearing at Coe College. Thursday evening, Frist will be the special guest on a live Webcast with Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

"Moderate" Leach joined wingers Nussle and King in voting YES on the midnight Schaivo vote. Judge a man by the company he keeps... meanwhile my cats will be kept safely indoors.

Speaking of Nussle and King, the GOP guv candidate is taking a page out of the Steve King immigrant bashing playbook and attacks Culver's call for an end to English Only. I sure hope Bill Richardson rips Tom Vilsack a new one for signing that during the Nevada caucuses.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Eric Shaw Anniversary and the Failure of Pat White

Eric Shaw Anniversary and the Failure of Pat White

Was running late this AM - got home at 6:30 PM to find the alarm clock that didn't go off at 6:30 AM loudly buzzing. So I missed commenting on a couple items from this morning's Press-Citizen:

  • Jacki Rand's guest editorial takes the battle against Jim Leach's Indian-feather parade favors to the mainstream. Again, it surprises me how Leach has such a tin ear to the criticism - it hurts him with the Iowa City folks that have too long bought into his "moderate" act.

    Much more importantly:

  • It's the 10th anniversary of the murder - yes, I call it murder - of Eric Shaw. Most days I pass under a bridge where a stenciled NO ROBOCOPS graffiti, common around town in the aftermath, still remains.

    The paper takes the out on a limb position "it was hard and divisive." Well, duh.

    The editors mention in passing:

    The community has been divided over what to do with the police officer who said he "flinched" when he saw Shaw and accidentally pulled the trigger. The Johnson County attorney's office eventually decided that there was no malice; there was no criminal disregard for safety; there was only a man, pointing a gun, who was startled and accidentally triggered a catastrophe.

    There were loud calls for resignations further up the police department's food chain, as well as louder calls for criminal prosecution of Gillespie's actions. Soon the events of August 30, 1996, were swallowed up in the media and legal circus of a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, authorities' deliberations over whether to charge Gillespie, a district judge ordering a grand jury to consider the case and, years later, a federal court deciding that Shaw's civil rights had not been violated.

    I'm going to pick at this scar.

    I believe that part of the job, the duty, the responsibility of a public official is to use the bully pulpit of his or her office to speak out if and when the laws they are sworn to implement or enforce are unworkable or immoral. Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek did that this year when he questioned the excessive mandatory sentences given to small-time drug offenders. My own boss has often spoken out on election law.

    In declining to prosecute the officer who killed Eric Shaw, Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White argued that the shooting fell between the cracks of the law. As I'm not an attorney I don't have the background to secondguess that call.

    But clearly justice was not served, and Pat White could have denounced the shortcomings of the law even while upholding it. He could have said it deeply hurt him not to be able to take any action. He could have gone to the Legislature that next spring, lobbied and testified, and fought for a more just law. He's done so on other occasions - White has made it quite clear that he dislikes the 2000 foot sex offender radius and thinks it's unworkable, even as he's worked to enforce it. But in the case of Eric Shaw, he failed, refused, to speak out, leaving the impression that he'd washed his hands of the matter and wasn't all that concerned.

    It seems Pat White would rather prosecute college kids who have a beer or a joint than police officers who shoot and kill innocent bystanders. I will not be sad to see him go, and as the accolades begin to pour in during his final months in office we need to remember the magnitude of this failure. I hope the office takes a new direction on the watch of Janet Lyness.
  • County Filing Deadline

    County Filing Deadline

    The clock ticks past 5 and the county filing deadline passes. No third party candidates for any courthouse offices in Johnson County for the first time since 1998. Recorder Kim Painter and Treasurer Tom Kriz sail to third terms alone on the ballot; Janet Lyness also gets no November opposition to take over as county attorney following her primary win.

    The Board of Supervisors sees a straight two party fight in November, though one senses the real fight was in June. The GOP sends second time candidate Richard Benn and newcomer Alan Curry against the two Dems - incumbent Sally Stutsman and successful primary challenger Larry Meyers. The Johnson County Republicans last won this office in the Eisenhower era.

    One nonpartisan race has emerged, for Soil and Water Conservation commissioner. Incumbent Cindy Asmussen faces Ed Ruppenkamp and local cycling advocate, Linux geek and beekeeper Terry Dahms. The top two win. Ag Extension sees five candidates for five seats so no sparks there.

    Any reports from other counties are welcome.

    Police taking aim at jaywalkers

    Police taking aim at jaywalkers

    Apparantly busting young adults for having a beer is no longer enough for the Iowa City police. In its ongoing effort to make this the least student friendly college town in the midwest, the new menace II society is... jaywalking?!?

    In 2004, Iowa City police issued six jaywalking citations. In 2005, one person was ticketed. This year, Iowa City police Sgt. Doug Hart said, officers have issued eight tickets as of last week for the violation: six on Aug. 22, one on Aug. 23, and another in March.

    UI senior Chris Agyeman said the jaywalking citations were another way for the city to take money from cash-strapped college students.

    "By the time we graduate, they'll be like, 'You woke up today; that's $50,' " he said.

    The old guard townies would be happier if the students stayed in Schaumburg, sent their money in, and we could have a nice college town full of professors and plays and museums and football games without all those pesky kids. Is Madison looking better and better?

    Sam Garchik's write-in campaign makes the Press-Citizen.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    MyDD House Predictions

    MyDD House Predictions

    The actual prediction file is in obnoxious pdf but Chris Bowers at MyDD looks race by race.


  • Bruce Braley is in "tier 0" meaning expected pickup: "Huge Dem PVI for an open seat in a Dem year." (PVI=Partisan Voting Index)

  • Dave Loebsack is in "tier 2" (leans GOP): "Huge Dem PVI, incumbent only has $200,000" but of course Leach can write a personal check or, if it looks really close like it did in `02 the RNC will pump money in. Still the fact remains this is the most Democratic district held by the GOP and it's on the radar.

  • Leonard Boswell is in "tier 3" meaning party change is not expected; Bowers cites the DCCC pullout. Krusty argues that the DCCC overbought and is just scaling back an earlier buy. I'll stick to my argument that DCCC thinks Leonard can take care of himself and is diverting resources to play offense.
  • Squiggly border theory

    Squiggly border theory

    Now here's a concept on peace and stability: the squigglier the border, the more stable the state. And it's not "demise of pirates caused global warming":

    The researchers argue the "squiggliness" of national borders, roughly corellates with how "artificial" or "natural" a state is - that is, how well a country's borders reflect existing regional, ethnic, historical, geographical, and linguistic fault lines.

    The squiggliest country out of 144 studied turns out to be Luxembourg, such a model of comity that many of us forget its existence. Slovenia is No. 3, and is indeed one of the calmer of the new nations to emerge since the Cold War ended. Switzerland, the classic mountain country, comes in fourth.

    The less squiggly countries prove more problematic. The least squiggly nation in the world is Papua New Guinea, the site of chronic and violent feuds. Saudi Arabia is right down there with a squiggliness rank of 143. Somalia and Libya are 142 and 141. Iraq is 110.

    The US and Canada are exceptions, but the explanation is that the long straight border was drawn before settlement (that is, before settlement by the non-indiginous population that killed off most of the indiginous population).

    Secretary of State Project Targets Iowa

    Secretary of State Project Targets Iowa

    The national focus is usually on federal races, occasional governors and to a lesser extent state legislatures. A national effort at "down-ballot" state races is rare.

    The Secretary of State Project looks to change that:

    We've had enough of the Katherine Harrises and Ken Blackwells of the world, wingers who would destroy democracy to guarantee themselves power. Years ago, the federal courts ordered the Republican party to cease its voter suppression efforts. So the Right Wing turned to elected officials, acting in their official capacity to suppress the vote of citizens they feared would vote against them.

    The SoS campaign will allow us to contribute to candidates who will fight these undemocratic forces.

    Mike Mauro is one of their six featured candidates.

    Huuuuge hat tip to MyDD.

    Write-In Winners

    Write-In Winners

    Ken Rudin's colorful column on NPR is always a fun read for the political trivia buff. Today, with the write-in effort in Tom DeLay's district (and of course Sam Garchik's write-in school board campaign) Rudin looks at three recent write-in winners in congressional races:

  • Dale Alford, 1958, Arkansas: last-second segregationist campaign
  • Joe Skeen, 1980, New Mexico: late incumbent death
  • Ron Packard, 1982, California: second place finisher in 18-way (!) GOP primary

    Usually around here, it's less dramatic: if no one files for township trustee or small town city council, someone wins with two or three votes. For ties a name gets drawn; less dramatic than in Nevada where the folks who are tied play a hand of poker!

    Briefly noted:

  • Coralville Native American Dewey Harris fired by Heartland Trucking for not getting a haircut. Didn't know crap like that was still legal. I lost a convenience store job 20 years ago for long hair (that was when I had hair); nowdays if you excluded anyone with a nontraditional haircut, piercing or tattoo you couldn't staff a store. Anyway, this bugs me for multiple reasons: the traditional and spiritual issues for long hair and Native men, and just my own personal preferences growing up at the tail end of the baby boom era (I'd still have the long hair if it hadn't fallen out; decided that the Larry Finkelstein look was less than dignified)

  • Interesting Register column on the shift to biofuels and the potential impact on agriculture. Key paragraph buried deep:

    Such changes might even affect the American diet. If the byproducts of ethanol production are channeled into replacing petrochemicals, instead of into cattle feed, Americans might have to cut their consumption of meat, all the more so if pasture is converted to switchgrass for energy production.

    Is the PETA argument going mainstream?
  • Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Sunday late update

    Sunday late update

    Human being time this weekend. Others have beaten me to these but worth noting:

  • The Overrated One ceclares Harkin safe for 2008 and actually gets the quote of the day: "Please reserve me a seat for any Steve King campaign appearances in Johnson County." Will do, Dave, and I'll send over a latte from the Java House.

  • The DCCC declares Leonard Boswell safe and pulls money from his race. Hopefully this means polling looks good and they're shifting from playing defense with Leonard (by all accounts one of the few vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the country) to playing offense in other races. Speaker Pelosi... Speaker Pelosi...

  • We seem to be nearing the end of sweet corn season...
  • Friday, August 25, 2006

    Personal Note

    Personal Note

    My sobriety is a whole person old enough to drink.

    The End of Progressive, Single-Issue Advocacy

    The End of Progressive, Single-Issue Advocacy: The case for Loebsack

    Fantastic post at MyDD that explains exactly why we need to elect Dave Loebsack. While it's about a Pennsylvania race and not our own, the arguments apply identically; you could search and replace "Fitzpatrick" with "Leach."

    ...Considering that every single Republican in Congress will vote to continue the current majority leadership and committee chairs, it would follow that the only acceptable strategic path for the LCV to pursue in order to pass legislation favorable to its agenda would be to create a Democratic majority in Congress. Were they to do so, according to their own scorecards they would have a congressional leadership that agrees with the LCV 92.8% of the time, instead of one that disagrees with them 94.5% of the time. They would also have committee chairs that agree with them 78.5% of the time instead of committee chairs who disagree with them 98% of the time. Clearly, considering the way Congress works, and according to their own scorecards, a Democratic majority is the only path toward significant amounts of legislation favorable to the LCV agenda.

    (But) because advocacy groups cling to the antiquated, New Deal era notion of non-partisanship, they fail to see that the only way they can accomplish a legislative agenda in Washington that fits with their principles would be to become partisan Democrats.

    The LCV gives Fitzpatrick a score of 61, which for a Republican is extraordinarily high. (NOTE: Leach 56%.) However, even with his score, Fitzpatrick had a better rating than only 32 of 202 Democrats. Basically, Fitzpatrick was marginally better than the most conservative Democrats in the country. (NOTE: Yes, I know Boswell is one of them.) Almost all of these districts are more red than PA-08. While I am not defending the way those individual Democrats voted, I seriously doubt that there is a single challenger to any of those Democrats who would vote better than the sitting Democrat votes.

    Even though a Democratic Congress would be far better according to the LCV than a Republican congress, even though all Republican members of Congress vote to support the leadership of that Congress, even though there isn't a congressional district in the country where the Republican nominee would vote better or even as well as the Democratic nominee, even though Patrick Murphy would vote better than Fitzpatrick, even though Fitzpatrick didn't really vote all that well, and even though Fitzpatrick's warchest is filled with the money of Republicans who received a score of uner 10 according to the LCV, the LCV is going to endorse Fitzpatrick.

    These days, the entire single-issue, non-partisan, progressive advocacy organization infrastructure in Washington, D.C. has become a pathetic farce that has no impact on either elections or the issue areas for which they advocate. None of these organizations have accomplished a single progressive legislative victory at the national level since Republicans have held the trifecta. Their advocacy on behalf of "moderate" Republicans has gotten them nowhere, except that it keep Republicans in power and hard-right conservatives in charge of legislation concerning their relevant advocacy areas.

    The progressive members of these organizations need to leave and form new organizations that will work with one another and support both the progressive movement and the Democratic Party wholeheartedly. These days, that is the only way someone can successful advocate for a progressive issue area. The old ways are done for the forseeable future.

    Before I get trashed because Boswell's score is lower than Leach's, read the whole article. It's all about committee chairs and party control. And Boswell's not running against Leach, he's running against Lamberti.

    The League of Conservation Voters has not endorsed a candidate yet in IA-02, but has endorsed Leach the last four cycles in a row. As long as groups like this insist on clinging to a chipped veneer of non-partisanship, they will continue to look for token Republicans to endorse.

    I don't want to be represented by a token Republican. I want to be represented by a real Democrat. And that's just one reason to vote for Dave Loebsack.

    Chet's in town tomorrow: 11:00 a.m., North Central Junior High, 180 E. Forevergreen Road, North Liberty.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Silver Springs - A B Side For The Ages

    Silver Springs - A B Side For The Ages

    Been a while since I've done a song post. Heard "Silver Springs" by Fleetwood Mac on the radio the other day. Not the cathartic confrontational version that was the highlight of the otherwise pointless live cash-in disc The Dance. No, this was the original, Stevie Nicks' glorious outtake from Rumours that was buried on a b-side and all but forgotten for twenty years. It fits the love gone wrong mood of that album well.

    You could be my silver spring
    Blue-green colors flashing
    I would be your only dream
    Your shining over ocean crashing

    So I begin not to love you
    Turn 'round, see me running
    I say I loved you years ago
    But tell myself you never loved me

    And can you tell me was it worth it
    Baby I don't want to know

    Time cast a spell on you but you won't forget me
    I know I could have loved you but you would not let me

    I follow you down 'till the sound of my voice will haunt you
    You'll never get away from the sound of the woman who loves you

    Stevie says Silver Springs was in fact the DC suburb, and the haunting was not the witch/ghost kind but "you will listen to me on the radio for the rest of your life, and it will bug you. I hope it bugs you."

    They bumped it in favor of "I Don't Want To Know" (which, incidentally, opened the cassette version of Rumours, rather than "Second Hand News". I'm really proving my age here...) You have to remember, as they said of Frampton Comes Alive in Waynes World 2, everyone was issued a copy of Rumours back in the 70s.

    They put it out on the flip side of "Go Your Own Way" thus literally telling two sides of the story. Where it rested in obscurity till the 1997 cash-in.

    Garchik Announces Write-In Candidacy

    Garchik Announces Write-In Candidacy

    Sam Garchik, currently running Blog For Iowa, enters the Iowa City school board race. From the in box:

    I am running as a write in candidate for school board because I want to make sure that our schools remain the best in the country. To do that, we need to promise our kindergarteners that they will have the same educational opportunities their brothers and sisters in high school have now.

    I am a history teacher for the Linn-Mar School District, at the COMPASS Alternative Center in Marion. I've also worked as a substitute teacher in secondary schools in the Iowa City School District, and my daughter attends Longfellow Elementary. I have seen first-hand the incredible difference that a hard working, realistic and open school board can make in guiding school districts.

    In addition to my classroom experience and passion for education, I have personal strengths that our school board really needs right now. We are in a critical time - facing changing enrollment, the possibility of a tax levy that will bring in $11 million a year for the first five years, and increased pressure on individual schools to perform. The decisions we make now call for long term planning and excellent communication-on the board, in the district and in the community as a whole. These are strengths that I would bring to the table, to protect and enhance the excellent schools that we are so proud of.

    You won't see my name on the school board ballot. Like you, I thought we were on our way to a contested school board election that would raise some of the issues I care about. When one of the three candidates dropped out, it was too late to officially declare my candidacy, so I am asking for your support as a write-in candidate. Please consider writing in the name Sam Garchik on your ballot on Sept. 12.

    And please help me spread the word. Forward this letter to your friends. I am having an organizational meeting this Sunday, August 27, at 2 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Schools Not Sharing

    Schools Not Sharing

    Decisions last night on the regressive tax front: No on sharing the loot with the cities, and probably voting February 13.

    "'They said, 'If you decide to share the tax revenue, we will vote against it,'' Leff said of the feedback. 'We don't want to lose the election.'

    Speak for yourself, Jan (do we have a write in candidate against you yet?) She is right on the point, however: passing a regressive tax here in the People's Republic is an iffy proposition at best. Everyone remembers how badly it failed in 1999 - 74% no countywide. They're gambling that at least a third of the opposition was to the individual projects and not votes against the principle of the regressive tax. But one of the biggest projects proposed for the sales tax - the Iowa City library - won a bond issue with 67% a year and a half later. The problem isn't "the kids" or the city vs. school issue - it's the regressivity, plain and simple.

    Reaction from city and county government officials was one of resignation.

    Iowa City Councilor Regenia Bailey said school board members have been considering voting against sharing for several weeks. She said the city is limited in how much it can spend, though area residents have said there is a need for the emergency communications center.

    'We'll continue to look for other revenue sources,' Bailey said.

    Good for you, Regenia. Would that the school district could do as much. From the mayors we get veiled threats, says the Gazette:

    Fausett and Wilburn both said Tuesday that they would like their cities to continue to partner with the school district but that the relationship could become more challenging.

    ``I think we would like that (partnership) to continue,'' Fausett said. But ``I'm not sure the council would view the relationship as the same as in the past.''

    Nice road to da school youse got dere. Shame if it didn't get plowed.

    I wonder if any of the officials who wanted to share the tax will now help campaign against it? Or lobby the legislature for the ability to raise other sources of money? Naah. They looooove the "invisible", "voluntary" sales tax - in practice and frankly in principle (those poor folks are less likely to vote and/or complain than property owners.) They just want their piece of pie.

    But maybe they won't be campaigning FOR it, which may help. And voting in February, we'll know the makeup of the new legislature and governor in Des Moines and have a sense of whether or not raising a less regressive tax is realistic.

    Bikes Rule The Planet

    Bikes Rule The Planet

    "There are 1.4 billion bicycles in service in the world today (vs. 400 million cars), making it the most popular vehicle on Earth."

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    50 State Governor Ratings - Survey USA

    50 State Governor Ratings - Survey USA

    North Dakota loves its incumbents: the two Democratic Senators topped that survey, now GOP Guv John Hoeven leads this poll with an amazing +62% positive rating. Taft of Ohio is also at 62 - MINUS 62, the lamest of lame ducks. Alaska's Murkowski is next worst at minus 57 and is probably going to finish THIRD in his PRIMARY tonight.

    Vilsack is in the middle of the pack at plus 8. A quick look at other wannabees - remember, this is home state popularity:

  • Richardson (D-NM) +33
  • Huckabee (R-AR) +18
  • Romney (R-MA) -1
  • Pataki (R-NY) -12
  • Monday, August 21, 2006

    Northey Gets Nasty

    Northey Gets Nasty

    I was wondering how long it would take the GOP to start red-baiting (or green-baiting as the case may be) Denise O'Brien. Well, from the in-box, it seems the time is now:

    Democratic Secretary of Agriculture candidate Denise O’Brien released a copy of a fundraising letter written by her opponent that attacks her, and expressed sadness that her opponent had turned to negativity and fear tactics so quickly...

    The letter states that O’Brien works with “what some may call 'fringe' agricultural groups.” O’Brien responded, “My opponent is trying to attack me but put the blame for the attack on ‘someone else,’ Iowans are too smart to fall for that. He needs to either name the so-called ‘fringe groups’ himself, or admit he is misleading people and apologize.”

    O’Brien also refuted Northey’s claim that the groups she works with are “fringe.” “I’m a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa, was President of the National Family Farm Coalition, and was President of the Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards. Those groups are well-respected mainstream organizations,” said O’Brien.

    Sounds good to me...

    O’Brien also stressed that, while she is an organic farmer, she wants to see full support for all kinds of agriculture in Iowa. “My husband and I chose to farm organically because we felt running a
    smaller farm would make it easier for us to raise our three children as two full-time parents. Our family values led us to organic farming as much as anything else - we've always done everything as a family,” said O’Brien.

    The strategy is clear: say nothing about yourself, try to paint O'Brien into a hippie-chick earthy crunchy corner with all the conscious and subconscious associations that implies. The fast reaction tells me she's too smart to take that lying down. Denise O'Brien has been underestimated ever since she got into this race. And I happen to like granola. (With a nice latte for David Yepsen on the side.)

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    My Moment Of Mainstream Media Glory

    My Moment Of Mainstream Media Glory

    I had a brief phone interview last week with an AP reporter who, in the post-Lamont era, was getting the local angle and looking at the Iowa political blogosphere. And sure enough, it hit on a day I was being a human being and didn't post:

    John Deeth, a former candidate for the Iowa House, runs a political blog out of Iowa City. He said most of the visitors he finds coming to his blog, which focuses on Democratic politics, are already in the political community...

    Have to wait and see if this spins the hit counter any; lots of link love to lots of folks here.

    DNC Sets The Schedule - Does It Matter?

    DNC Sets The Schedule - Does It Matter?

    DNC makes the batting order of IA, NV, NH, SC official. NH not happy:

    'The DNC did not give New Hampshire its primary, and it is not taking away,' New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said. Secretary of State William Gardner has said he will decide next year whether to move the New Hampshire primary earlier.

    Eager to avoid such a rebellion, Democrats also adopted sanctions to punish presidential candidates by penalizing who campaign in states that cut in line. Under that plan, candidates who venture into states that ignore party rules would not get any delegates from those contests.

    But even DNC members were unsure how effective such a sanction would be, particularly if the states doing the leapfrogging are small and have few delegates to offer.

    The delegates don't make the difference and everyone knows it, as noted in the New York Times: "Several Democrats said candidates might make the calculation that it is worth losing delegates — assuming New Hampshire defies the party and the party penalizes candidates — to get the attention that might come from an early New Hampshire victory."

    If the media - old and new - decide New Hampshire is news, they will cover it and the candidates will be there. Maybe the blogosphere can play a role: pressing the candidates to boycott unsanctioned contests.

    The other factor is the other party - the GOP has always had a much more hands off approach to the timing process. New Hampshire could leapfrog and the RNC could be OK with it, which means a legitimate GOP primary and a unsanctioned Democratic primary on the same day. Utter chaos, cats and dogs living together.

    Kos refers us to an article at Political Cortex on the method behind the madness of GOP rhetorical excess

    The Overton Window (is) a means of framing a discussion that -- not incidentally -- originated at a right wing think tank. The idea is that is you want to move a political position from point A to point B, the first thing you need to do is move the national discourse way out to point D. Maybe voice a little support for point E, or M. Keep it up long enough, and B looks so tame even your opponents are supporting it.

    In the Overton Window of general political discourse, where are the Republicans? On a line where A starts with "Democrats are my worthy opponents" and B is "Democrats are incompetent" and C is "Democrats are fools," the right is somewhere around P or Q. Have you looked at the bestseller lists? Liberals are traitors. Liberals are "godless." Liberals deserve to die. They should all be lined up and shot.

    What's the worst thing that left is saying about the right? The very worst? Republicans are corrupt. Republicans are incompetent. Republicans are hypocrites. Republicans are... well, that's it, really. When it comes to the battlefield of political discourse, we've surrendered the middle ground. We're fighting full time in Republican territory.

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Filing Deadline Roundup

    Filing Deadline Roundup

    With the filing deadline JUST past, a statewide list (pdf) is posted at the Johnson County Auditor for your convenience.

    Here’s a quick overview. See previous posts for names, I think I covered everyone earlier in the week. Kick my butt if I missed something.

  • Congressional: multi-way fields in CDs 1 (independent libertarian, Pirate), 3 (Soc. Workers), and 5 (two independents); two way contests in 2 and 4

  • Governor: Five candidates, which is about typical. (2002=4, 1998=5, 1994=6) Green, Libertarian, Soc. Workers. Because of the strict party status law this is the must-run race for third parties – the only way to get that G or L or SW on your voter card is to win 2 percent in this race. In other states, vote totals for other offices can qualify a party, which may explain why…

  • Statewides: The third parties take a complete pass for the first time in modern memory. The Libertarian looking at Treasurer seems not to have happened. Two way contests in the open seats for State and Agriculture. Amazingly, Tom Miller, Mike Fitzgerald and David Vaudt go completely unopposed – first time that’s happened since four-year terms started in 1974.

    (Also the year Miller first ran – he lost that time but knocked off the incumbent in ’78 and has held the job ever since except for the four year Bonnie Campbell interregnum when Miller lost the governor’s primary to Don Avenson.)

    Last time a major party left a statewide race uncontested was in 1998 when GOP Auditor Richard Johnson was opposed only by Reform and Natural Law (may they both rest in peace). He was also opposed only by a Socialist in the 1980 special election.

  • Legislative races: Two independents in state senate races, one in Ottumwa (Krieman, three way race) and one in Iowa City (Bolkcom) where there’s no Republican but the independent seems to have tacit GOP support. A handful on the House side, most notably Republican incumbent Joe Hutter in Bettendorf who lost the primary to a challenger from the right as part of the Maggie Tinsman Massacre and is running Lieberman style. Two Libertarians: one in Ames, the other in Ako’s race.

    In Johnson County, it’s free rides for Dvorsky, Jacoby, Mascher and Lensing. Statewide four Senate donkeys (Dvorsky, Horn, Hatch, Seng) and two elephants (Weick, Houser) get passes. Too many on the House side to list them all - leaders Rants and Pat Murphy are both opposed only by Mickey Mouse on the write in line.

    Aside: You have the absolute legal right to do that but please don't. The little old ladies and gentlemen who work at the polls have to count those by hand and they don't find it funny at the very end of an 18 hour work day. And don't even get me started on Fred Hoiberg.

    Here's a few legislative contests that leap out to me, with a slight eastern Iowa bias:


  • 5: Kurtenbach-Olive for Stu Iverson's seat.
  • 9: Open race - Bill Heckroth (D) and Tom Hoogestraat (R) in GOP Brunkhorst's district
  • 13: Dem incumbent Roger Stewart looks good but has a credible GOP challenger in Clinton Mayor Lametta Wynn.
  • 19: Rep. Rob Hogg can pick one up from Chuck Larson (who's stepping down but I'm afraid won't stay out of the ball game forever)
  • 37: Call her Senator Staci Appel, she scared the GOP incumbent into a House race instead.
  • 41: Can latecomer Democrat Phyllis Thede win over moderate Republicans unhappy with David Hartsuch's defeat of Maggie Tinsman?
  • 45: Becky Schmitz of Fairfield is a strong challenger to GOP incumbent Dave Miller.


  • 17: Scion Pat "Grandson" Grassley should get loads of attention and cash.
  • 21: Dem Don Shoultz should be OK but has an unusually well known GOP challender in former KWWL-TV anchor Tami Wiencek.
  • 66: Ed Fallon's old seat will get lots of attention; the Register is trying to tie Ako Abdul-Samad to CITEC and the GOP, Libertarians, and an independent are running late-starting campaigns.
  • 80: In one of 2004's big upsets, Democrat Nathan Reichert foiled the comeback attempt of my one time rival Barry Brauns, which if I remember my lines right means David Stanley himself is in a Democratic House district! The apoplectic Muscatine County GOP has recruited incumbent sheriff Greg Orr for the race.
  • 82: Rematch from the primary as Joementum Hutter takes on his primary foe Linda Miller.
  • 89: Close to home for me, Dem Mark Nolte taking on Sandra Greiner.

    Feel free to comment and add your favorite races - white-hot or sleeper.
  • Mike Blouin is getting his old job back

    Mike Blouin is getting his old job back

    So says the Register.

    Rachel Corrie’s Iowa Aunt in 5th CD Race

    Rachel Corrie’s Iowa Aunt in 5th CD Race

    Another filing in the unwinnable west: Cheryl Brodersen of Denison files as an independent. She appears to be the aunt of Rachel Corrie, the Washington state woman who was killed by Israeli bulldozers while trying to block the demolition of Palestinian homes. Should add some spice to the dialogue out west.

    Bush Popularity=20 Electoral Votes

    Bush Popularity=20 Electoral Votes

    Survey USA again: Bush is net positive only in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. Spot him one congressional district in electoral vote splitting Nebraska, and that adds up to 20. Here in Iowa? A net -24%.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    50 State Senate Ratings

    50 State Senate Ratings

    Homestate popularity once again from Survey USA. North Dakota's two Dems - Conrad and Dorgan - top the charts; Conrad is #1 and up for re-elect.

    Montana's Conrad Burns is dead last (-16); learn to say "Senator John Tester."

    Grassley's 17th; Harkin in the middle of the pack.

    Among the wannabees, Joe Biden is doing the best in his home state; Feingold and Kerry are lowest (but still net positive). Feingold, like Harkin, is a Democrat Republicans love to hate; I think Massachusetts is just mad that Kerry blew it in `04.

    CD 1 Getting Crowded

    CD 1 Getting Crowded

    Another filing yesterday in the supernova-hot 1st CD race: Albert Schoeman, who ran in `92 as the Grassroots candidate (that was a shortlived party with a "you put your weeeeeed in it" platform) and from `94 to `00 as a Libertarian. Ron at Politics1 would call him a "frequent candidate." Yesterday's listing had him without a party this time.

    Hoping to provide a nice comprehensive roundup some time tomorrow night after the 5 PM deadline since no one else (ahem) seems to be doing so. (A list specific to Johnson County, including statewide races, is here.) Feel free, gentle readers, to let me know what angles you're interested in.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Wal-Mart: Nice job you got here. Shame to see anything happen to it

    Wal-Mart: Nice job you got here. Shame to see anything happen to it

    Maybe I'm a day or so behind the curve here on the Wake Up Wal-Mart tour, but the letter to Iowa employees is a bit scary:

    The world's largest retailer announced it is sending out what it terms a "voter education guide" to its 18,000 Iowa employees, criticizing politicians who have recently joined with the union-backed group "Wake Up Wal-Mart" for a series of rallies. Iowa holds the nation's first presidential caucus, and potential candidates are already visiting the state.

    "We believe it's wrong for these political candidates to attack Wal-Mart and the transformation under way at our company," the letter said. "We would never suggest to you how to vote, but we have an obligation to tell you when politicians are saying something about your company that isn't true."

    Just a reminder: the Iowa caucuses are a town meeting, not an election. You cast your vote by very publicly choosing a corner of the room. "Friendly advice" from the boss, especially if the boss is the dominant employer in a small town, can certainly have a chilling effect to say the least. And I wouldn't put it past Wally to be keeping tabs...

    One more reason not to shop there, as if we need more.

    Loebsack's Brushes With Greatness

    Loebsack's Brushes With Greatness

    In the Gazette, James Lynch writes:

    It's a rare week that goes by that Dave Loebsack doesn't share the political podium with a potential presidential candidate. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement. Loebsack , a Mount Vernon Democrat challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, gets some much-needed media attention as well as help raising equally-needed campaign funds. ''If I have the resources,'' he said Tuesday before sharing the spotlight with Indiana Democrat Sen. Evan Bayh, ''I have no doubt that my chances are better than 50-50.''

    Lynch then ties it in to the 25 staffers Bayh is shipping to Iowa this cycle. My guess is they'll stay right where they are in November.

    5th CD, 3rd Candidate

    5th CD, 3rd Candidate

    Follow up on this morning: Sioux City Journal reports Orange City businessman Roy Nielsen will file in the 5th CD race, apparantly as a pure independent. Should have little impact in Steve King's very red district. Hat tip to Iowa Politics.

    UPDATE 8/17: He filed.

    Filing Deadline Friday

    Filing Deadline Friday

    The state filing deadline is Friday and with the GOP's hole on the Secretary of State line plugged, the races have more or less taken shape.

    Looks like fewer third party contenders this time. Governor is the must-run race because of the law requiring 2% for that office and president to get and keep party status (one of the stricter standards in the nation-and what does anyone know about the pending lawsuit?). Green Wendy Barth filed this week joining Socialist Workers contender Mary Martin on the ballot. The Greens don't seem to be contesting anything else; fellow blogger Brian Depew ran a decent race for Secretary of Ag four years ago, but he's now attending school out of state and Denise O'Brien is a green Dem down to the yard signs, calling for local hog lot control this week.

    The Libertarians hadn't filed as of Tuesday afternoon but their site lists former congressional candidate Kevin Litten of Cedar Rapids as the gubernatorial contender. Earlier in the year they had petitions posted listing Fairfield city councilor Christy Welty as the nominee, and Litten for Secretary of State, but those were pulled. (The Iowa LP shuffled nominees and contests late in the game in 2002 as well.) They seem to have a slimmer slate than in past years as well, The only other races listed are one state rep race and state treasurer, which would make them Mike Fitzgerald's only opposition. Tom Miller and David Vaudt look to be getting completely free rides with no major or minor party competition. Perhaps the LP is in some disarray after this summer's major platform changes on the national level.

    On the congressional side, three out of five races are two-way, with aforementioned Pirate James Hill running in the 1st CD and the Socialist Workers trying in the 3rd.

    Meanwhile the Secretary of State's web site STILL isn't listing filings on their web site. They'd been doing it every election back to the Pate administration, but all they have this time is a list of primary winners. What's with that?

    Sharing some Lieberman stuff:

  • Bob Geiger has a handy list of Democratic Senators who have endorsed nominee Ned Lamont - 25 so far including Tom Harkin. Four (excluding Joementum himself) have bolted the party and endorsed the de facto Republican.

  • Chris of MyDD and Matthew Gross are calling on Harry Reid to strip Lieberman of his committee assignments and Democratic seniority.
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Mauro: Welcome to the race, let's debate

    Mauro: Welcome to the race, let's debate

    Didn't take long to hit the in box:

    Michael Mauro, the Iowa Democratic nominee for Secretary of State, today welcomed his new Republican opponent to the race and subsequently challenged his third announced candidate for Secretary of State to a series of debates.

    "I would like to give Iowans the opportunity to hear both me and my opponents' experience in small business and election administration and our goals as Secretary of State in a series of debates." Mauro stated earlier today.

    Also from the komments at Krusty, Hanusa was a defeated kandidate for office in Pottawattamie County once upon a time; I couldn't find details. Nothing wrong with losing one - I've done it myself - but it doesn't bode well for the future.

    Well, they finally got somebody

    Well, they finally got somebody

    Register reports this AM on last night's nomination:

    The Iowa GOP looked to the White House on Monday night in picking a replacement candidate for Iowa secretary of state after their previous one dropped out last month.

    Iowa Republicans named Mary Ann Hanusa, 43, as their candidate. Hanusa lives in suburban Washington, D.C., and handles President Bush's personal correspondence.

    Although several names had been floated in recent weeks, Hanusa was the only person considered Monday night, Sheehan said.

    Sheehan said Hanusa will be moving or already has moved back to Iowa.

    Jane Norman mentioned her in late 2002 in an artice on Iowans working in the White House:

    Hanusa helps the president field letters from family members and personal friends... and worked in correspondence for the president's father during his administration.

    A DOUBLE Bush connection - JUST what the Republicans need. Although a quick googling indicates she was a Grassley staffer from 1996 to 2001. I'm thinking she'll emphasize that connection more.

    Norman also noted Hanusa headed up the Bush campaign effort in Pottawattamie County. So that's some experience (from the other end of the process) in elections. Not the kind of official experience as, oh, being the auditor of the largest county in Iowa...

    This was in the Council Bluffs Nonpareil Friday but I missed it, along with nearly everyone else. Hawkeye GOP had it, and commentator Iowa Guy at Political Forecast mentioned Hanusa and one other.

    Hanusa, who is back in Council Bluffs for a few days, has been in contact with members of the state central committee getting her name across, she said.

    "Granted, I'm a new face, but I've just been asking them for their consideration for me, and none of them have said, 'No, I won't vote for you,' which is good," Hanusa said.

    That's strong praise. Nothing at all on her stand on issues - especially vote suppression - or actual relevant experience. The Democrats have literally the most qualified candidate possible in Mike Mauro and the Republicans blew their opportunity in this open seat race. If the eight or so other names mentioned had thought this was a winnable race, they'd have stayed in. I'm guessing the GOP is calling fourth down and long yardage on this race, and playing for field position:

  • Any minimal name ID she has is in western Iowa and Hanusa helps hold the base and get out the vote for Nussle.

  • Hanusa makes a credible losing race as an unknown and runs for something else later. That worked in Council Bluffs for Paul Shomshor - crushed by Steve King in a 2002 no-chance race, elected to the state House in an August `03 special. I'm guessing Hanusa will go house shopping in Mike Gronstal's district.

    Aside: I've been looking for ages but I can't find the worst downs-yardage situation in NFL history. I remember reading that the 60's Packers once had the Cleveland Browns at a 4th down and 52, but I can't document it.
  • Monday, August 14, 2006

    Fathers Defeated, Democratic Sons Strike Back

    Fathers Defeated, Democratic Sons Strike Back

    NY Times article looks at several Democratic scions out there running including Chet, trying to tie it all in to a generational theme. I don't really notice any more of a trend this year than in other years. From an Iowan perspective, it doesn't really shed new light on Culver either, but there's a few good anecdotes here and there.

    CQ Rates the Races

    CQ Rates the Races

    Nothing local striking my fancy this AM, but Congressional Quarterly has a national rundown:

    All you can do, really, is figure out which way the wind is blowing. And the wind that’s blowing today has the GOP running, not walking, for protective cover. All current indicators suggest that the Big One — hurricane, tidal wave, tsunami or tornado; pick your own catastrophic metaphor — is gathering in the middle distance.

    Republicans find themselves particularly vulnerable in the Midwest and Northeast, and they even have cause for worry in their geographic strongholds of the South and West. The only thing the GOP appears to have going for it right now is the fact that most voters have yet to tune in to the details of their upcoming electoral choices.

    Obviously Braley-Whalen is near the top of the No Clear Favorite list. CD 3 is listed as Leans Dem and Dave Loebsack is on the map (though they're saying "needs money.") With three out of five and Terrace Hill open, looks like a hot year again.

    The wave will save Boswell, who really should start considering a plan of succession. And if it crests high enough, it could drown Leach, too.

    Enjoy the links to the race by race breakdowns:

  • Senate
  • House: Northeast
  • South
  • Midwest
  • West
  • Sunday, August 13, 2006

    GOP: Futility and Feathers

    GOP: Futility and Feathers

    Latest on the Republicans' increasingly problematic search for a Secretary of State candidate: an in-box tipster points to 2002 nominee Mike Hartwig, who also got a late start last time (not as late as this: he announced post-primary deadline but pre-primary election so he got a handful of write-ins. Lost to Culver by about 10 points.

    Meanwhile Jim Leach is planning his town meetings and some Iowa Citians are grouching on the listservs about the Indian feather headbands he's been using for forever as parade gimmies. Folks have pointed out the non-PCness of it for ages. Giving in on this thing would be the kind of symbolic bone Leach would usually throw to Iowa City liberals, but instead there seems to be almost a Steve King defiance about it.

    And it's not just a matter of using up the old stock: I've been watching Leach at parades for at least 12 years and a few years back they re-printed the headbands so they said JIM LEACH on both sides - seems some folks were turning the band inside out and not displaying his name.

    Anyway there's two options: keep complaining about it, or elect Dave Loebsack and make it a moot point, and I prefer the latter.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Arrrr! Pirates Be A-Boardin' The Ballot!

    Arrrr! Pirates Be A-Boardin' The Ballot!

    Ahoy, mateys. It seems the Pirate Party is seeking electoral treasure in Iowa. Candidate James Hill is the third ship sailing in the Braley-Whalen race. This isn't a joke - well, it is, but it isn't. Hill will actually appear on the ballot as the nominee of the Pirate Party.

    The original Pirate Party is based in Sweden and has a serious platform of copyright reform. There's also an American Pirate Party:

    The basic idea of the Pirate Party is simple - the government should encourage, rather than smother, creativity and freedom.

    Copyrights are now stretching into the hundreds of years, and fair use is under constant attack by attorneys who exploit the vagueness of the law. Creativity has come to a standstill in this country for those who wish to work within, and benefit from, the confines of the law...

    Patents are suppressing innovation in the digital age by making it possible to monopolize methods and practices. Hundreds of thousands of patents sit on a shelf somewhere, never to be implemented, their ideas shut out from the rest of the world. That our law not only allows this, but enables this, is a travesty and a crime against innovators everywhere.

    Lastly, the routinization of privacy violations in the digital age must be halted...

    Doesn't sound like a joke to me. And what better way to get on the agenda than running in the hottest House race in the nation?

    Hill is certainly the first Pirate candidate in Iowa and may be the first US candidate. He has a web site at but he appears to be using a host even more full of bilge and barnacles that Joe Lieberman's. For the moment the Google cache will have to do.

    Whose ship will this sink? My guess this loots more ballot-box booty from small-l libertarians that from progressives. The Dems are more motivated this year and have a more bitter history with third party candidates, so they'll stay on board while the GOP sinks to Davey Jones' locker.

    Other statewide third party filings remain slim: the Socialist Workers are running for governor and in the 3rd CD; no word yet from the Greens and Libertarians. Still no GOP candidate for Secretary of State - will they walk the plank on this race? (BTW, the Sec of State's office isn't putting updates on the website daily like in past years.)

    Vilsack for draft?

    Vilsack for draft?

    State 29 picked up this tidbit from The Guv's recent trip to Alabama:

    Vilsack said the United States must learn self sacrifice and public service, noting Israel requires men and women to serve in the military.

    And we ALL wanna be more like Israel.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Harkin Gets it, Vilsack Not So Much

    Harkin Gets it, Vilsack Not So Much

  • The Underrated One, Mike Glover, gets Lieberman-Lamont reacts from Iowa's top two Dems:

    Vilsack said Wednesday he doesn't see a broader message from the Democratic Party in the defeat of three-term Sen. Joseph Lieberman in a heated Connecticut primary election.

    "I think all politics is pretty local," Vilsack said. "There were multiple reasons why Sen. Lieberman failed to win."

    "I don't think it sends a message at all about moderates and conservatives and progressives..."

    So the Lieberman loss is... poor casework? Grandma didn't get her Social Security check and Junior didn't get that West Point appointment? Not enough jobs at the Groton Navy Yard? Funny, I don't remember those issues popping up...

    Harkin said Democrats can take heart from Lamont's win.

    "The election was all about George Bush," Harkin said. "There's a lot of voter anger about George Bush. There's a wave building."

    At least Vilsack goes on record endorsing Lamont, which is more than his DLC pal Al From will do:

    Leaders of the DLC exercising their rights as individuals will be on both sides of the Connecticut Senate race this fall. DLC Chairman Tom Vilsack, for example, has pledged to support the Democratic nominee. DLC Vice Chair Tom Carper has said he will support Senator Lieberman in November.

    In my personal capacity, I will support Joe Lieberman, running as an independent Democrat.

    Note that in Connecticut it's illegal for the ballot line for an independent candidate to incorporate the name of a recognized party, so Lieberman cannot run as an "independent Democrat."

  • Meanwhile the Overrated One is handed a trial balloon to float on the Sectetary of State race:

    Former state Rep. Steve Churchill of Johnston is being mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of state. GOP insiders say Churchill would be a good candidate because of his ability to raise money...

    So he's about the fifth tier choice after Allison, Dopf, Pate and Dix. Here's the punchline, and the reason this has been so quiet all week:

    State Rep. Bill Dix of Shell Rock, who lost a GOP primary for Congress, has also been approached about making the run, but party insiders say he wants too much money to be raised for him.

    Either that or Dix is hoping/thinking Mike Whalen will lose this fall and he wants to challenge Congressman Braley in 2008 without another loss under his belt.

    Better hurry, GOP: only eight days to go...

  • And the guy with the F NADER plates on his Corvair is back in the news. I'll take a set of Connecticut plates with F JOE, please.
  • Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Rove to help Traitor Joe?

    Rove to help Traitor Joe?

    George Stephanopoulos: "According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do."

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Lieberman Loses

    Lieberman Loses

    Watching bits and pieces of Joementum's no-class non-concession.

    Tomorrow he tries to have it both ways and files as an independent. The Connecticut GOP is abandoning the flawed no-name nominee (actual name Alan Schlesinger but whio cares) that they can't manage to squeeze off the ballot. So this means if Lieberman lasts to the general, he'll be running as a de facto Republican. (Aside to all the Nader-bashing Dems from 2000: We told you so.)

    But I'm still betting that within the next week, he gets talked into bailing, as the residual institutional support he held as an incumbent Democrat shift to Nominee Ned. Bill and Hillary and Dodd and Boxer and Ried and Schumer - all of them will be nudging him out.

    Lipman Leaves School Race

    Lipman Leaves School Race

    A lost opportunity: Rich Lipman, who was lining up support from local Dems, has dropped out of the Iowa City school board race on withdrawal deadline day. So all you'll see on the ballot for the two seats is two candidates - pro-sales tax incumbent Jan Leff and registered Republican attorney Tim Krumm - and two write-in lines.

    Any nominations for those lines?

    All eyes on Connecticut tonight: will Lieberman be Loserman? Think so...

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Hope For The Future: Youth Give Bush Poor Grade, Hurting Republican Hopes

    Hope For The Future: Youth Give Bush Poor Grade, Hurting Republican Hopes

    Among 18-24 year olds, Bush is at an unbelievable 20 percent. His play to the base strategy may have damaged the GOP for a generation. Not that I'm complaining:

    ``The very cultural issues the president wants to use to rally his party's base are exactly the issues that are alienating younger voters,'' said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. ``Across a broad swath of social issues, younger Americans see the administration as being out of line with what they believe.''

    The war in Iraq is also a major factor driving down public opinion among young voters, said Hans Riemer, political director at Rock the Vote, a group that works to get young people involved in civic life. ``Young people take it very personally,'' he said."

    Monday Mashup

    Monday Mashup

    Very late edition today; was uninspired in the AM and been off having a life since.

  • Archie Brooks takes one for the team and bails, dramatically reducing the salience of CITEC as a fall issue. Over and over again we've seen: scandal only works if there's a direct link.

  • An Amusing look at B-List Candidates of both parties, including some 1994 GOP one term wonders.

  • This Boston Herald article will be the buzz of central committees for a while:

    Any survey can be inaccurate or misleading. And 55 percent of ARG’s sample was either neutral or positive about Sen. Clinton. Thirty-two percent currently say they plan to vote for her in the primary.

    But Bennett says he’s never before seen so many N.H. voters show so much hatred toward a member of their own party. He’s never even seen anything close.

    “Forty-five percent of the Democrats are just as negative about her as Republicans are. More Republicans dislike her, but the Democrats dislike her in the same way.”

    Hillary’s growing brain trust in the party’s upper reaches already knows she has high “negatives” among ordinary Democrats. They think she can win those voters over with the right strategy and message.

    But we’re not talking about “soft” negatives like, say, “out of touch” or “arrogant.”

    We’re talking: “Criminal . . . megalomaniac . . . fraud . . . dangerous . . . devil incarnate . . . satanic . . . power freak.”

    Granted the Herald is the Murdoch tabloid of the Boston market. But somethig is real here. Voter sexism? Would another viable Democratic woman get the same reaction?

    Mathew Gross predicts: "Hillary will have a hard time breaking above 35% of the white Democratic electorate, and, in the current calendar, is most likely to come in only second in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. South Carolina is another matter, and the string of southern states that follow will be Hillary's chance for a comeback if the high reverance for her husband among African Americans can be converted into support for her. That, of course, is a big IF."

    My theory remains the contest quickly winnows to Clinton and the anti-Hillary, and what's underway now is the posturing to be the Not Hillary. WHich leaves self-proclaimed centrists (paging Mr. Vilsack) at a disadvantage.

  • Had good intentions to blog Mike Mauro, but family stuff came up literally on my way out the door and given the choice between seeing Mike Mauro or my kid, well sorry Mike. So my political activity for the weekend was limited to the Swisher parade where I photographed Ro Foege's Ro-Boats (not my camera so no photo-blogging). Confession: I used to wear a donkey suit in parades; one of the reasons I ran for the legislature was it got me out of wearing the donkey suit.

  • And the heat wave seems to have broken; the HQ of John Deeth Blog here at Bohemian Paradise is cooled by nature - or NOT cooled as the case may be. We peaked at a 92 degree indoor temperature, which made me somewhat disinclined to write. Seemed to help the Smallest Farm, though, as we are now harvesting pole beans. By "harvesting" we mean "one small serving about every four days." The heat also inhibited my participation in the annual Iowa City Curb Shopping Moving Sale; my take this year was limited to a couple shelves and Computer Number Seven. (That way if one breaks I still have six.)
  • Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Just Because It's Too Fun

    Just Because It's Too Fun

    Vague Political Tie-In: "Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has changed his political uniform from red to blue and is talking again about running for governor of Alabama, possibly in 2010," Sports Illustrated reports.

    Said Barkley: "Alabama, that's my home. I'm thinking about running for governor; they need the help."

    Barkley recently expressed his dismay with the Republican party and would most likely run as a Democrat."

    Let's hope Godzilla isn't his opponent in THAT contest...

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Herseth winning big

    Herseth winning big

    Gratuitous Stephanie Herseth post, with gratuitious pictures:

    She's winning 60-26. In a very red state. And that picture with George McGovern is still at the top of her front page.

    Herseth's strength registered across all regions of the state listed in the poll, with the lowest, 53 percent, in western South Dakota. Whalen, of Pine Ridge, had 31 percent there.

    She attracted support from 34 percent of the Republicans surveyed and 89 percent of Democrats. Whalen was favored by 46 percent of Republicans - with 20 percent undecided.

    Independents went to Herseth 71 percent to 18 percent, with the remainder undecided.

    Hopefully Iowa's Whalen will do just as poorly.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Sales tax: Divide and Conquer?

    Sales tax: Divide and Conquer?

    Everyone wants some of that penny pie:

    Area governments are asking the schools to share the money, but school officials say they fear doing so would cause voters to reject the measure.

    ``I have not had one person contact me in support of sharing,'' school board member Toni Cilek said.

    ``You can build those schools, but there's going to be no roads to them,'' said Coralville Council member Tom Gill...

    It'll be a tough sell even if it's just "for the kids" (and I'm not sold even on that.) Throw in pet city projects and kiss the penny goodbye.

    Earlier this week Supervisor Rod Sullivan wrote:

    I have mixed emotions on the ICCSD Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) issue. I wish the ICCSD had chosen an option that was less bad for the lower income people in our community. Now that they have decided to pursue the tax, I wish the other governmental entities would leave them alone.

    Of course local governments should cooperate. For the most part, they do. I just think it is incredibly disingenuous of other governmental units to try to piggyback on the ICCSD. The other governments know that the public will pass a sales tax for the schools, but not for any other unit of government. They want a piece of the action. These governments all have the opportunity to ask the voters to approve bonds, and Iowa City and Johnson County can ask for Local Option Sales Taxes. They do not need the ICCSD to pursue these options. But most observers of local politics realize that the ICCSD is the only governmental unit that could pass a LOST.

    Coveting their money is one thing, but do not pretend you are trying to HELP the ICCSD sell the tax. Most veteran political observers agree with my observation the voters do NOT want other governments involved. Anyone who says otherwise either doesn¹t speak to enough people, is full of it, or is very wrong.

    Though I voted against the tax on the Board of Supervisors (it passed 4-1), I feel the attitude of Supervisors Chair Mike Lehman has been among the best I have seen. His approach has been, ³if you are interested in sharing, we could certainly use it.² Mike has been supportive, and has not tried any guilt trips or hard sells.

    What¹s more, I find it incredibly hypocritical that Coralville is upset with the ICCSD for a failure to cooperate. Were the schools consulted about Coralville¹s use of TIF districts?

    The Gazette quotes Kelly Hayworth as saying it is ³always a concern when lack of discussion occurs.² I agree. That is why I have been asking for public discussion of the $6.3 million Coralville¹s TIFs have cost the County over the past 5 years. I have been on the Board of Supervisors for 19 months, and I have followed every meeting for much longer. The Board has had zero public discussions with Coralville on the issue of TIFs during this time. Cooperation, anyone?

    Perhaps the concern is that the ICCSD held a public meeting as opposed to a private one. I firmly believe that more, not less, of what we discuss should be public. So I applaud the ICCSD for holding meetings that were open to all.

    Back to the ICCSD and their sales tax. It makes me angry. Ironically, I can sit back and watch as other local governments try to doom it to failure.

    Meanwhile on the national scene: "Ned Lamont (D) leads Sen. Joe Lieberman (D (sic) -CT) 54% to 41% among likely Democratic primary voters..."

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Mauro in IC Sunday

    Mauro in IC Sunday

    From the inbox:

    Doug and Beverly Jones will be hosting a house party, August 6 from 3-5 pm 816 Park Rd in Iowa City and light fundraiser for Polk County Auditor Michael Mauro, Democratic Nominee for Secretary of State.

    $25 suggested contribution and, as at all Dem events (Deeth notes: this means "in Johnson County"), everyone welcome and encouraged to attend whether you have the 25 bucks this week or not.

    Register Roundup

    Register Roundup

    Editor emeritus Gilbert Cranberg speculates that the hard-right Iowa GOP platform hurts the caucuses. Not sure about that but it's a nice summary of lunacy: "The party's support for death-bed care for indigents actually is a softening of its position of four years ago that health care is a privilege, not a right..."

    Meanwhile The Overated One actually touches on the truth - but only to reject it.

    Not once...

    While some Democrats dismiss him as a "loser" in a party that rarely gives a candidate a second chance, the crowd of about 100 in the Ness' backyard on Saturday didn't seem dismissive. With polls showing Kerry already running in third place among likely caucus-goers in Iowa, nobody else should be. He came from farther behind than that to win the 2004 caucus fight.

    Not twice...

    While some experts say Romney's Mormon faith will hurt him with some voters, it seemed to be helping him here Saturday.

    but three times:

    It's a measure of Romney's dedication to his Iowa effort that he broke away from the "Big Dig" calamity in Boston to keep his commitments in Iowa. Some in Boston thought he should have remained in the state to deal with the issue.

    I'm not sure which is the bigger deal killer: the fact that Kerry was such a dull candidate that he couldn't defeat the least popular president since I Am Not A Crook, or the reality that the theocratic wing of the Republican Party considers the Mormon Church a pagan fertility cult. But both are absolute sorry, see ya, non starter deal breakers.

    Pate's Out

    Pate's Out

    Several others beat me to it while I was having connection problems last night, but Paul Pate says no:

    Pate — who served as secretary of state for four years, state senator for six years and, most recently, as Cedar Rapids mayor for four years — said ‘‘family responsibilities at this time’’ would not permit him to seek a return to state office.

    Family responsibilities, the all-purpose excuse.... Seems odd because Pate was so gung ho just a couple days ago. The guy who's really screwed is primary loser Bob Dopf who first expressed interest, then bailed and endorsed Pate.

    Speculation now seems to be centering on congressional primary loser Bill Dix. Mike Mauro, meanwhile, thinks he wants the desk over in that corner rather than this corner.