Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Are you serious?

The headline from this Register story is about Fallon, but there's a thought buried in it that's absolutely asinine. Here it is:

Culver told the audience of about 180 people, which included more 60 pharmacy students, that he favors a loan forgiveness program for pharmacy students who graduate from Drake University and the University of Iowa.

He absolutely cannot be serious. My last roommate is studying to be a pharmacist. He confessed to me that he's planning on leaving the state after graduation, because he can only start at $79,000 annually in Iowa. Yes, that's right. Chet Culver wants to refund tuition to those poor poor pharmacists that will somehow have to survive on less than a six-digit annual salary for their first few years out of college.

I'm used to Republicans talking about cutting taxes on the rich. Now Chet Culver wants to pay off student loans for the upper-middle class. In the middle, we've got the middle class, lower middle class, and poor, y'know, the people who need help in the first place.

I'm not sure how much time Culver spent on this concept, but it just reeks of half-thought-out pandering.


Toothless until proven...toothed?

Chris Woods has the details on an IDP press release sent out this morning concerning their protest to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board (IECDB) about Jim Nussle's financial practices. I don't think anyone is surprised to discover his dealings are somewhat shady.

However, this is the last you're going to hear from me about it unless the IECDB actually does something about it, which they won't. For me, the IECDB is toothless until proven otherwise, and they're a large part of the problem, not any part of the solution.

Monday, February 20, 2006

True story...

An e-mail from another blogger today...I'll keep it anonymous for now, cause I'm not entirely sure he'd want the world to know he was the launching pad for this one:

Thanks for pointing out Makin' Bacon, by the way. Between the two of
you, it helps fill the void left by State 29. Except for the profanity and nicknames, of course.

I don't think he meant for me to start using profanity, but as luck would have it, I stumbled across a situation today that warranted it.

We hear a lot about "liberal bias" at colleges, and I don't know that the accusers are always wrong. I will say this: I had some professors at Drake like liberal activist Herb Strentz and frequent political volunteer Lee Joliffe, and, even before I had become active politically, I never sensed a bias. All I can do is speak from experience on that regard. Maybe a Republican would whine differently. We'll never know.

Anyway, here's the article that started this conversation in my head. Sarah Kent is in medical school at Iowa. And while she says her medical education at Iowa was "great," she's upset because "I don't feel like my traditional views are accepted."

Now, if she had said her professors believe in big government and she doesn't, I'd have been ok. I probably would've taken a deep breath and gotten over it if this conversation had been about abortion. But, buried in the article, here's what Sarah Kent is upset about:

Kent, who will graduate in May, said she has received a great medical education at Iowa. She has also learned to keep quiet about her conservative views, she said. One example of this lesson, Kent said, was in her second year. Professors instructed students to keep an open mind about homosexuality and premarital sex - practices Kent does not support, she said.

"The tone . . . was openness and tolerance. At the same time, if you hold traditional beliefs, you aren't acceptable," she said.

I'm hoping, somehow, Sarah will find my blog, so she can see what I'm about to say.

Where the fuck did you think you were going to practice medicine?

I'm not entirely sure how one makes the decision to practice medicine, and gets all the way through med school thinking they can turn their nose up at people who view things differently. Maybe, if she's lucky, she'll get to practice medicine somewhere where she won't have to treat a heroine addict in the first week. But if you're going to try to play the moral superiority card over a single mother or a gay man, because you don't approve of their life decisions, perhaps you should reconsider. There are a lot of jobs you can do while believing you're superior to the non-believers. Doctor isn't one of them.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Some Sunday reading:

I haven't actually started reading the news yet this morning, so I don't know if I'll be back or not today, but in the meantime, check out New Iowan in the links on your right. Consistently good stuff, I'm not sure why I didn't notice it before.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good and bad: A Rick Dickinson press release

As a resident of Iowa's third congressional district, I haven't put a lot of time into considering candidates for the first CD, the race to replace Jim Nussle. I know someone who works for Bruce Braley, and a source I sadly can't name told me Braley is the best progressive in the race, but my mind isn't made up. However, I did get a press release tonight from Rick Dickinson's campaign. Here's enough of it to get the gist:

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 704 have endorsed Rick Dickinson for Congress. IBEW Local 704 represents 500 workers in the manufacturing and construction industries in seven counties including Dubuque. "Rick Dickinson has been a rainmaker for our members," said Dan Hammel, Local 704 business manager. "The time has come for working people to recognize who helps us put food on the table and who doesn’t." Hammel represents Organized Labor on the Board of Directors for Greater Dubuque Development. Dickinson is on leave as director of GDDC.

On the surface, I admittedly was a little impressed. The endorsement is kind of a big deal, even if it is only 500 votes. Then I read the quote, and while I'm not sure I'd be itching to be called a "rainmaker," the quote seemed sincere enough.

Then I read the next line, and saw who it's from. When you need to send out press releases to let me know people you work for are on your side, that's a sign you don't have much else to tell me. I knew little to nothing about Dickinson before this, but now I know one thing: he's got a viability problem.


Some meta blogging and one more thought for today:

After this, I'm probably done for today...I need a few hours per week away from politics.

Not interested in reading about other blogs? Then scroll down to the next bold text.

I've added some blogs to the list on your right. Des Moines Democrat is new but has had good stuff so far. I mentioned Gavin the other day but hadn't actually added him to the links yet. Iowa for Feingold is at least partially responsible for making me think about presidential candidates again. He also appears to have Mr. Deeth and Charlie from PSF thinking.

Today's big winner, however, is Who's Makin' Bacon?, which debuts at #1. I had been wondering privately how the Iowa blogosphere would react to the absence of State 29, the bi-partisan rage machine that seemed to hold us all together. I mean, we all post on news sometimes, but none of us did it to the level that State did.

I'm still not sure what the answer to the "Life without State 29" question is, but at the very least, Bacon has delayed my need for an answer. He (I think it's a he) is less angry, sometimes hilarious but comparably bi-partisan and political news-oriented. I'm hoping his content stays consistent enough to keep him at #1.

Now, my non-blogging thought:

This Register article from today
deserves more attention. Tom Beaumont points out something I wish more people would notice: There's a lot of lobbyists in Iowa, and they peddle a lot of money. In a non-election year, the state's nearly 500 lobbyists gave over $146,000 to politicians. In 2006, they're expected to drop more than $287,000. That's not counting what PACs and and other connected entities will add. If you feel like your elected officials don't represent you (and I do), odds are it's because they don't. The Register brought 500 more of my elected officials' actual constituents to my attention today.


Blackmail over a prison? Really?

This article from the Burlington Hawk Eye caught my eye today, not so much because of the headline, but some of the content. If you're not going to follow the link, I'll give you the basic version:

In light of last year's prison escape, there's been some discussion about building a new Iowa State Penitentiary to replace the current, pre-Civil War facility in Fort Madison. The prison currently employs 550 Fort Madisonians, so the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce is concerned, and reasonably so. However, their reaction has crossed the line.

They're asking all gubernatorial candidates to sign this pledge:

I will use the power of my office to assure that the Iowa State Penitentiary maximum security facility will remain in Fort Madison as long as I serve as Governor of the State of Iowa.

That, in and of itself, is a little problematic for me. You see, the next Governor of Iowa will have around 3 million constituents, many of whom won't live in Fort Madison. He'll be entrusted with acting in the best interest of ALL those Iowans. If he outsources the prison to South Dakota, yeah, he's done them a disservice. But if he's even open to the possibility of pursuing the best possible option for the state, the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce is going to burn him in effigy. Just look at these quotes from Chamber Exec. Director Tracy Vance:

"We are going to make it public. We're going to make Lee County residents aware of who signed the commitment and who didn't."

"This is a Fort Madison issue. This is a southeast Iowa issue. Those gubernatorial candidates that do not make this commitment do so at their own risk with the voters in southeast Iowa."

The message Tracy Vance is trying to send is perfectly clear. The gubernatorial candidates had better give the Chamber what it wants, or Tracy will throw a tantrum like no two-year-old you've ever seen.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Strange things make me angry sometimes...

I got a postcard from Matt McCoy today. You know Matt McCoy, he's the Democrat who takes money from MidAmerican Energy, supports the INCESTUAL Fund and endorses an anti-choice, pro-corporate welfare candidate for governor.

Anyway, my apartment got two postcards today, one for me and one for Laura, which is a whole different problem. The next time the IDP mentions not having enough money to do everything they'd like to do, I'm going to show them this postcard.

Back to the point. Here's what the postcard said:

Your views are important to me. Please feel free to contact me should you need assistance with a state agency, or want to voice your concerns about pending legislation, or any other matter important to you.

Then it lists his contact info.

First and foremost, I know for a fact my views aren't important to him. He's a lifetime 0-for-3 replying to my emails. But, this is the kind of bullshit one spews out when one has forgotten their constituents for years, but now is suddenly facing a challenge in a primary.

I sat down with this postcard and considered two options:

1) I go short, to the point, and harsh as a rusty bic. Something like "Until you've done one thing in the legislature to prove you're a Democrat, you shouldn't make the Democratic Party send me mail on your behalf."

2) I write a book. I go in depth on every issue. I make something so long-winded and detailed that I have to send it to him in a box, not an envelope. Ok, maybe I don't have that much time, but 10-15 pages isn't outside the realm of possibility.

While considering the possibility, I decided to gather my sources. Since campaign finance is the issue that ties it all together for me, I decided to check his 2006 finance reports.

Look at this shit.

Saying it's handwritten is an understatement. I'm pretty sure I can write clearer than that with my toes. Also, I'm not a campaign treasurer, but I know one, and she told me every donor is required to have a full address. Six of the donors on the first page don't have that.

Once I got over the fact that my own state senator couldn't hire a third grader to write legibly for him, I started looking at the actual donors.

Rod Aycox is the owner of LoanMax, the car title loan company that's being allowed to rape and pillage the poor in Iowa because of the legislature's inactivity on the subject. McCoy took $750 from him.

Anybody care to guess what the sixth line says? I can't figure it out.

The PACs:

PACEG (Ruan Corporation): $1000
Iowa Optometric Assoc: $250
The one I couldn't read before: $100
Associated General Contractors of Iowa: $500
Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (Touchplay, anyone?): $250
Iowa Realtors PAC: $500
Iowa Chiropractic Society: $100
Iowa Committee of Auto Retailers: $150
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance PAC: $100
Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa: $250
Motor Carriers PAC: $500
Bankers Unite in Legislative Decisions: $200
Heavy Highway PAC: $200
Iowa Industry PAC: $150
Iowa LawPAC: $200
Justice for All PAC: $250
Meredith Corp: $250
Fourth line, page four is not legible, except for the word PAC: $200
Iowa Telecom: $150
Deere PAC: $500
United Transportation (something) PAC: $500
Qwest: $500
Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa (again): $250
MidAmerican Energy: $500
Iowa Cable PAC: $500
Associated General Contractors of Iowa (again): $500
Motor Carriers (again): $500
Wells Fargo: $250
Principal: $1000
Iowa Committee of Auto Retailers (again): $250
IANA-PAC (Iowa Association of Nurse Anesthetists): $150
Iowa LawPAC (again): $200
Master Builders of Iowa: $1000

Total: $11,900, and bear in mind this is not an election year.

So all in all, I guess the message I'm sending to Matt McCoy, as it stands right now, is this: Stop pretending we're your constituents. I know not every PAC donation inspires a result, but I also know this. The people who dish that money out aren't stupid. And if that many of them are investing in you, they've gotta be pretty sure they're getting something back.


Another Fallon endorsement

I'd like to welcome Charlie from PatriotSkullFace to the table. Go over to his blog and read his endorsement from today.

Breaking news:

Bacon has Vander Plaats meeting with Nussle today and dropping his campaign to become Nussle's Lt. Gov and the future head of the state Republican Party.

I'll try to get back for more on this later this afternoon, when I'll have more time and a quieter office. For now, I just wanted to make sure more people saw that.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ok, so I was a bit mean earlier...

Here's a joke to help you get over it.

I had this conversation with Gavin a little while ago. TheEvilKL is me.

Gavin (3:08:59 PM): when's ed coming to ames next?
TheEvilKL (3:10:30 PM): not sure
Gavin(3:10:35 PM): thanks a lot
TheEvilKL (3:11:14 PM): no prob. Anything else I can not help you with?
Gavin (3:11:25 PM): lol
Gavin (3:11:32 PM): i'll think about it
TheEvilKL (3:11:44 PM): Does the Register's webpage work for you?
Gavin (3:12:01 PM): yep
TheEvilKL (3:12:04 PM): odd
TheEvilKL (3:12:07 PM): won't let me in.
Gavin (3:13:09 PM): it doesn't like you
TheEvilKL (3:13:20 PM): Well, that's understandable.
Gavin (3:13:33 PM): yeah
TheEvilKL (3:27:41 PM): Hell, most days I don't even like me.
Gavin (3:27:59 PM): i hear ya
Gavin (3:28:05 PM): i'm not a big fan of you either
TheEvilKL (3:28:08 PM): lol
TheEvilKL (3:28:24 PM): The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that someone has to keep soccer from becoming popular.
Gavin (3:28:52 PM): haha
Gavin (3:28:54 PM): you bastard


Happy VD Day

So most of you are probably new readers to my blog since last Valentine's Day, so you don't realize that hate isn't a strong enough word for how I feel about Valentine's Day. Just to give you a little taste, here's what I posted last year...

A quick take on something I hate.

I hate Valentine's Day. Hate hate hate. When I was single, I was convinced it was created and perpetuated to increase the suicide rate among single people. Now, as someone who's taken, I see it as an increasingly unnecessary reminder that I need to pamper someone. Here's a quick one act play to show what I'm talking about.

CONSUMATE PROFESSIONAL CHRISTOPHER PARRISH (CP) is on a couch next to another couch seating KL and LAURA at his house.

CP: So what are you guys doing for Valentine's Day?
KL: I have class from 12:30-9, so we're going out to dinner Tuesday night.
CP: I see. I have to make dinner.
KL: If I made dinner on Valentine's Day, it'd be just like every other day.

Before Laura, I had been single on every Valentine's Day of my life. I had taken a couple of opportunities to perhaps try to find someone on Valentine's Day, hoping they'd be similarly struck by society pressing on them to find someone, but had no luck. But I don't just hate the holiday because it's been nasty to me. I hate the holiday because it's an awful concept.

If you love someone, you shouldn't need a goddamn holiday to show it. Some of us do on a day to day basis what other's would never consider doing, even on Valentine's Day. Then we're expected to go above and beyond that, because it's a freakin holiday. It's a shitty, lamentable holiday forcing some people to do what they should be doing anyway and forcing others to sit in a dark corner and have it rubbed in their faces that they don't have anyone to do that for.

So with that said, just so you can maybe get a snicker out of my rage, let's see the messages we're sending with our Valentine's Day gifts:

Flowers say "I love you enough to give you something I removed from the Earth just so you could watch it die slowly."

Chocolates say "I love you enough that I don't care if, in a moment of weakness, you decide to eat the whole goddamn box and have to spend your rent money buying new clothes."

Stuffed animals say "I love you enough that I got you a warm fuzzy object so you'll still have something to cuddle with when I need to be somewhere else cause you're driving me insane."

Dinner, professional massages or trips to a day spa say "I love you but I'm sick of having to pamper/cook for/take care of you myself, so I'm paying someone else to do it."

And of course, gift certificates say "I love you but I stand absolutely no chance of actually figuring out what you want by myself."

This has been KL Snow. I promise I'll be in a better mood after this is over.

So if anyone out there was hoping for flowers from me, sorry. I don't usually buy things for people so they can watch them die.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Post live blogging: the 2006 Blogger Bash

Ok, so I passed on the chance to take a laptop to the 2006 Iowa Blogger Bash last night, mainly because I didn't want to be hiding behind a screen with lots of people I hadn't met yet in attendance, but also partially because the owner of said laptop was upset that I wasn't going to take her along. But as it turns out, that's ok, Blogger was down all night anyway. So I'll give you some thoughts this morning, in hindsight.

I arrived at about 5 after 7, and didn't see any bloggers immediately (probably because I had never met any of them before). So I wandered around for a while, and eventually bumped into Celti and Chris from Celtic Cross who were having a similar problem. Here was the first, awkward "I'm not sure I've seen your blog" moment of the night, going both ways. I checked out Celtic Cross when I got home last night though, and there's some cool stuff on there. Largely non-political, but to each his/her own, I guess.

It was Chris who finally spotted the table with the laptop out, and we wandered back down and met the group. For a full list of those in attendance, go here to Joe Kristan's Tax Update Blog. Joe's a tremendous guy, and I'm not just saying that cause he bought my first drink. I think I embarassed/surprised him a little when I told him I was really enjoying his reviews of Chasing Daylight on his other blog.

I know Joe took some pictures, I have the retinal damage to prove it, but they're not up yet. Kris from Anywhere But Here also shared her photography talents with us, her pictures are up here.

All in all, if you had told me I'd end up spending a lot of the night sitting between Jeff from Tusk and Talon and Royce from Iowa Libertarian, I'd have told you I expected to leave early, but I was really pleasantly surprised. We had some great, frank discussion about issues and candidates before I glazed over and nodded my head for a while through discussions about Wal Mart and wiretapping (if they're not state issues, they're not something I'm ready to analyze...especially not in a room as informed as this one). I was a little concerned my job with Fallon would leave me a little outside the group, but I was also actually pleasantly surprised that no one had anything truly negative to say about him (to my face).

As things wound down a bit, it ended up being just Jeff, Royce, Joe, Stefanie from Simplicity, and myself. Royce called it an intellectual moshpit. I think that's about the best description I can offer.

My favorite quote of the night came from Royce:

(On the proposed rainforest in Pella): Can I hunt? If I can hunt, I'm there.