Friday, March 31, 2006

So, first thing I read this morning...

Less than 30 seconds out of bed, I found this, a concept so bizarre I wonder if I'm actually awake at all. Enjoy.

Then, I found this. Yes, that's right, a few weeks after I said the IECDB was completely toothless, and less than 24 hours after I confirmed it, the IECDB has come out with stiff penalties against two local activists.

Yep, that's right. The gloves are off now. They're writing a letter.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chris Woods rings?

Chris over at Political Forecast asked for my response to his news that the IECDB is investigating Jim Nussle. As you may recall, I was a bit skeptical in the past.

And I still am. People who have focused on politics for longer than I have often fall into this hole. This isn't "doing something," this is "investigating." This is the IECDB saying "I'll look." When they do something, then I'll take back what I said.

On another note, if I worked for Blouin (thankfully, I don't), I'd be pissed about this Radio Iowa story. Some highlights:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Blouin says he'll reveal details later, but is promising to raise teacher pay and enact changes that would begin a transformation of Iowa's K-through-12 schools.

Blouin says Iowa teacher salaries lag behind most other states and he's act to boost teacher pay, although he's not prepared to say by how much or what ranking he believes Iowa teacher salaries should achieve.

He also makes the general proposition that technology should be a greater part of student coursework, although he doesn't yet spell out how to accomplish that goal.

The headline should be: Mike Blouin comes out in favor of unnamed education changes.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Behind TWO 8-balls: Monday Meanderings

I had a quiet afternoon at work today, which gave me some time to check and comment on some blogs, and in the process, I was led to ponder the candidacy of David Loebsack.

This post from John Deeth led me to think about it.

Weeks ago, slightly before the filing deadline, I e-mailed someone from Loebsack's campaign to ask to be included in their press releases. I recognize I'm probably not tremendously high on anyone's priority list, but I'm a registered Dem who works for a gub candidate and writes a mildly well-read political blog, so I figured I'd at least merit a response.

Nothing. No "sorry, but no," no press releases, no response at all.

Then the filing deadline came and passed, and Loebsack failed to meet the criteria. He's the only Democrat running, so he shouldn't have problems with voters supporting other candidates, and he's been running for a while, so it's not like he had a short period to work with. Selden Spencer in CD4 hasn't even built a website yet, but he was able to do it.

Loebsack needed to gather 1,716 signatures, and exceed 2% of the 2004 Democratic vote in 8 of the district's 15 counties. Granted, CD2 includes Linn County (Cedar Rapids) and Johnson County (Iowa City), but it also includes 3 counties with less than 1750 Democratic voters (Wayne, Van Buren and Davis) and 6 more counties with less than 5000.

Here's what I said in the comments on the before-mentioned Deeth post:

"When Sal Mohamed, frequently considered a "cold day in hell" candidate, can generate 3,709 signatures and over 1% of the Democratic vote in 10 counties, and Loebsack can't do it in eight, with 15 counties to choose from, it sounds like he either a) dropped the ball, b) never left Iowa City, or c) hasn't built any name recognition in 9 of 15 counties while running against a 14-term incumbent.

None of those would be a good sign."

Then tonight, to do my homework before this post, I went to Loebsack's website to see if I could remember which staffer I had e-mailed. I didn't recognize any of the names on the contact page, and didn't recognize any of them. So I went back and found the e-mail. The e-mail address I mailed to isn't listed on the page anymore.

So now, looking back, Loebsack's staff was ignoring my media request, then they blew the filing deadline, and now they're rotating staff.

Not good signs, considering a lot of Democrats I know would already vote for Leach over Boswell.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Thursday quiz, cause I'm too drunk to spell anything but "Arrrr..."

My pirate name is:

Dirty Tom Kidd

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

And in back to back articles, no less: Thoughts on a Tuesday

The QC Times provides two great timekillers today.

First, they produce the full list of Touchplay revenues in the Quad Cities area, which also apparently includes Clinton (the Quint Cities?). Don't try to slog through all of it, just scroll down to the second one from the bottom:

In Walcott, the Iowa 80 Truck Stop has seen $594,738 in bets, paying out $288,013, and has kept $306,725.

I'm beyond amazed, and almost a little shocked that I haven't seen this trotted out during the Touchplay debate. Even I'll grudgingly admit, given its location right along the interstate and proximity to Illinois, that this could be defined as $300,000 in tourism revenue.

But if that's too deep for you, you can go to the next story down and read about The Bulgarian Librarian. Nowhere does it mention that her new state is agrarian, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's a registered Libertarian.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some ramblings: Lessons of a Sunday

It's Sunday evening, the day I usually try to keep free of thought, but as usual, things snuck into my head, and, seeing as I've got my apartment all to myself for eight more days, I decided to share them with you. My condolences.

Barring extremely inclement weather (read: temps below 20 or heavy, steady rain) I disc golf on Sunday mornings. Usually I try to sneak in some rounds during the week too, but Sunday mornings are almost definite. Then, I leave my cell phone at home and go out to watch sports, play video games and eat wings with a friend in a politics-free environment. None of that's news.

Today, I took my cell phone along with me, because I was waiting for a call, another friend that might be coming to hang out. While I was out, I received two other calls, and ignored them both.

I returned one, a friend who seems to be in a perpetual state of revolving trouble, when I got home. I feel bad when I intentionally avoid her calls, but sometimes life has enough drama, you know?

The other one was from my dad, and I haven't called him back yet. I can't complain too much about my relationship with my dad. We're not as tight as some families and we're not as far apart as others. But his phone calls have one of three purposes:

1) Tech support. I think most of us can relate.
2) News that's not really news. Things like "I shot a deer," or "Old high school won the state wrestling tournament again." Most of this stuff is interesting on a baseline level, but I'm feeling so stretched for time lately that I can't help but feel like answering the call was a net loss.
3) Just checking in. "Just checking in" involves questions like "Are you engaged yet?" "Are you going to start making more money soon?" and "When are you coming home?" Then we talk about the Brewers for half an hour.

Lately, I've been letting him call about 3-4 times before I finally give in and answer it. I used to worry that maybe something was important, but now I think: "He knows I have voicemail."

Then, on the way home, I saw someone walking down the street. She was probably in her late teens, and she wasn't wearing a coat. In case you haven't been outside today or are from somewhere else, it's not real warm in Des Moines today. I slowed and rolled down my window and asked, "You look awfully cold. Can I give you a ride somewhere?" She accepted and I took her home.

Later, I got home, returned the pre-mentioned phone call, and left to pick up a few groceries. On my way into Dahl's, I passed by a table selling Girl Scout cookies. I've been intentionally avoiding bringing sweets into the apartment while I've got it to myself, but when asked nicely, of course I bought a box of Girl Scout cookies. As I was paying for cookies, the girl behind the table asked me if I'd also like to donate to the Animal Rescue League. I gave the Animal Rescue League my change.

While I was getting groceries and afterwards, I thought about the precedent I was setting for myself. This is one of the few cases where I think hard about money. I don't make much money and it usually doesn't bother me. As I mentioned earlier, my dad asks me about once every third conversation why I'm not looking for a job where I can make more. This line, which I've told several times to several people, really baffles him:

"If you're working for a cause you believe in, and you're taking more than you need from that cause, then you're not helping the cause as much as you could be. I make enough money to be comfortable, and I want the group to succeed more than I want to get a raise."

The "helping other causes" argument is the hole in that statement. I gave the Girl Scouts $3.50 today. Hardly a notable contribution. I gave the ARL $1.50. Ditto. Even if I added a zero, or two zeroes, to my salary I probably wouldn't have enough to give worthy causes as much as I'd like to. So I have to prioritize. I just don't know how. For the time being, I've been giving to whatever worthy causes present themselves to me.

Except, of course, for the worthy causes in my own circle. As I mentioned before, I frequently ignore phone calls from my family and close friends. My mom's birthday was last week. I called to say happy birthday, but I certainly didn't do as much as I could have, and I probably won't make time to come visit her until after November.

I guess, to put it in a nutshell, I'm having a hard time making my life balance. That's where this blog comes in.

This blog has been and will continue to be a great place for me to write down whatever's on my mind. I'll keep it going as much as I can, but the political side of it is probably going to dwindle a bit over the next 10 weeks or so. I'm doing 55-60 hour weeks right now and was recently told to prepare to increase. I don't blog from work, and frequently by the time I get home, I'm not exactly feeling motivated to extend my political day by blogging.

As such, keep an eye on this space, I'll continue to write as the free time and inspiration allows, I just wanted to let you all know that if you're not getting as much insight/thought from me as you may have been looking for, that's why.

This shouldn't be taken as a "this blog is shutting down" message. It's more of a "sorry I don't have more time for you right now" message. Thanks for stopping by and understanding.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

That's gotta hurt...

Check out this story from today's WCF Courier.

Putting ipecac in someone's soda is never really a good idea, but I think five years in prison for that seems a little excessive.

The best part, however, is the ad. The story is about a HyVee employee giving ipecac to another employee, and the ad is about...drumroll please...the HyVee health care plan!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So I had a post lined up...

I was going to talk about the polls on the front page of the WCF Courier. I was going to make a comment about how interesting it is that in Waterloo, Braley and Bill Dix are way ahead, but the races are still viewed as hotly contested, but as I opened up the "create" window, this IM exchange occured between Laura and I (I added the links):

Laura: i just got a phone call from my state senator matt mccoy!!
Laura: tele-roboted!!!
KL: lol, that's great.
Laura: he wants me to have coffee and donuts with him this weekend
KL: When?
Laura: i think i will politely decline, citing my need to work
Laura: saturday morning
Laura: i think
Laura: i stopped listening

Now I'm trying to find out specifics. I wouldn't mind the opportunity to ask Matt McCoy why he lets third graders write his campaign finance reports, takes campaign contributions from energy companies, supports large corporate tax-dollar giveaways and endorses anti choice candidates.

But sadly, I also have to work. I'll probably save my energy.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Touching briefly on Touchplay:

This blog is probably going to revert back to its normal schedule of only blogging in the evenings when I'm home at a decent hour, and on weekends when I've got time, but today I've got a minute while I'm waiting for water to boil for lunch and wanted to pass along these two great posts.

Bacon put a ton of time and research into this piece on Touchplay, and it's excellent. Minimal bias, just a lot of hard-hitting statistics and analysis. Research like this, among other things, is why he's #1 in the list on your right.

Iowa Ennui also has a great post up on the matter. Since I know most of you won't follow links, despite my best intentions, here's the money quote:

To get to this sort of compromise, the TouchPlay money guys are going to have to fold some rounds and let the state take a bigger bite of the profits. It’s only fair, since the state does have to pick up the Medicaid hospital bed that the diabetic TouchPlay junky takes up because she stopped taking her meds because she couldn’t afford them and now her foot ulcer is infected with some flesh eating microbe that a local trial lawyer had planted in the air-conditioning unit and ...well, y’all know the rest of this story. It just keeps spinning.

Water's boiling. I may be back tonight to offer my thoughts.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Too far.

Someone pointed this out to me today, and I'll admit I laughed, but afterwards I felt bad.

Pretending to be the candidate in an anonymous environment, no matter how ridiculous of a caricature you present, is never cool. I'm glad I can't claim responsibility for it.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

By popular demand...

Some thoughts on yesterday's convention:

Bacon gooes way in depth on his thoughts in regards to yesterday's county convention, but in the first line, he calls on me to do the same. Iowa Ennui name drops me too.

I'd like to stress that I'm only writing this post because these other bloggers warrant a response...let me explain to you why.

We've all know for a while that Chris Woods is with Culver, and it appears that his status changes between "on the payroll" and "volunteer only" on a relatively regular basis. I think Bacon said it best:

Chris over at Political Forecast seems to have a good handle on politics, and I know I've been hard on him the last couple of weeks, but he is so unapologitically biased toward his boss, Chester, that I've stopped taking his analysis very seriously. If Culver was constipated Chris would tell anyone who listened that the great thing about Chet is he never has to wipe his ass.

Please see the comments for more on this.

I'm trying very hard not to become that. I could write glowing endorsements of Ed everyday. I would enjoy doing it, but it certainly wouldn't be impartial analysis, and there could be questions about my motives in doing so. As such, I usually try to keep a fair distance from campaign matters in this space, especially positive news, and let someone else cover it. I don't need conflict of interest questions.

With that said, I spent over 10 hours yesterday at Valley High School in West Des Moines, in fact, I chaired the Fallon preference group. Some thoughts:

Even I was a little surprised by the strength the Fallon delegation showed yesterday. I knew a fair portion of our delegates by name/reputation, if not personally, but nonetheless, to see over 160 people show up to support a candidate, more supporters than any other candidate could muster, was encouraging at least, and emboldening for sure. If anyone is reading this who was there yesterday, thanks for your assistance, your support, and your patience.

I think Blouin's inability to form a viable group in Polk County is notable. This is a major candidate, supposedly a frontrunner, who is coming off a major news week, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and has practically immersed himself in high-profile endorsements. The fact that his campaign couldn't muster 65 people to show up to support him in the state's largest county should be a large red flag to his supporters and staff. I'm not expecting him to drop out or change course, in fact, if I worked with or for him, I'd encourage him not to.

I think more people should be paying attention to yesterday's results. I would agree that convention attendees are possibly more liberal than most, but let's make this perfectly clear: If you were looking for a group that represents the Democratic base, convention attenders in Polk, Johnson and Story county would be a very good place to start. Fallon received more support than any other candidate in all three of those counties. All told, between the three, you're looking at nearly 1000 almost certain primary voters polled. Fallon won handily.

I'm not going to go off on a diatribe here about the lack of press for yesterday's results. Instead, I'll send you to Joe, who does a great job making that point and does so without my biases.

Anyway, thanks for indulging me, and thanks again to Bacon and Ennui for asking.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Meta Blogging: Was it all just a dream?

My blog and many others have commented about how much we would/have/do miss State 29, then a strange thing occured this week:

Drew Miller told us State 29 was back. Back Back, Back from their magical journey.

But before I could ask what they had seen in the parallel dimension, I read some of the new stuff. It was terrible. The first post back said the new main author wasn't going to comment on blogs (cause most of them suck) and wouldn't endorse candidates anymore. That's not the way to make friends. Then he went off on some lopsided rants. Closer to the State 29 we remember, but the writing was still pretty atrocious.

Now, it's gone again. Which means one of three things happened:

A) The new author (AKA Cranky Guy) just wasn't as good without editing.
B) The blogosphere adapted at a previously unheard of rate. New blogs (Bacon, anyone?) stepped in to fill the non-partisan slack in a friendlier, less confrontational way, and when State 29 returned, we didn't need it anymore.
C) I imagined the whole thing.

Moving on...

Got this email today from a reader:

I like your blog! I’ve linked it to my own, was hoping you might do the same,

Lying Around Iowa

I only respond to e-mails like this when the blog attached is good, usually. This one is. We're only two posts in, but so far content is solid. It's in the list on your right.

Some people don't get it.

A few of you have my IM name, and a few more of you chat with me via Gmail, and 99% of my friends are good about not wasting my time when I'm at work. I have one friend, however, that needs a quick wake up call, so I'll post a conversation from today here.

This conversation, for the record, happened this afternoon:

tiffdogisin (1:39:47 PM): guess what
TheEvilKL (1:39:54 PM): I'm still at work?
tiffdogisin (1:40:06 PM): lesley si getting a dog
TheEvilKL (1:40:18 PM): you bothered me at work for that?
tiffdogisin (1:40:23 PM): no but guess what kind
TheEvilKL (1:40:34 PM): this had better be good...
tiffdogisin (1:41:02 PM): well u had a dog once
TheEvilKL (1:41:12 PM): is Lesley getting a weiner dog?
tiffdogisin (1:41:16 PM): maybe
TheEvilKL (1:41:32 PM): And what about this news was so urgent it couldn't wait til I was home?
tiffdogisin (1:41:37 PM): i dont know
tiffdogisin (1:41:40 PM): i thought you'd be bored at work
TheEvilKL (1:41:46 PM): No, I work at work.
tiffdogisin (1:41:51 PM): oh
tiffdogisin (1:41:55 PM): most people don't do that.
TheEvilKL (1:41:57 PM): I have a press conference in 45 minutes.
tiffdogisin (1:42:02 PM): you better git
TheEvilKL (1:42:05 PM): Yeah.
TheEvilKL (1:42:08 PM): bye