Saturday, September 30, 2006

If you're not doing anything tonight:

3XW : Meltdown
September 30th, 2006

Waukee Middle School
905 Warrior Lane
Waukee, IA

Featuring :

3XW Heavyweight championship

Tony Scarpone (c) vs. Brian Ash

Gage Octane vs. Egotistico Fantastico

Also in action : Danny Daniels, Marek Brave, 3XW Tag Team champions Ben Sailer & Nate Bash, 3XW Cruiserweight champion "Wild Child" Matty Fitness, "Delicious" Devin Carter, Bayliss, Casanova, Buck Albright and more !

8 Huge match ups in all, don't miss the excitement of 3XW pro wrestling !

Tickets -
Front Row $15
General Admission $10

Friday, September 29, 2006

What makes a "Great Place?"

I mentioned in passing this morning that 12 finalists have been selected to receive the next round of awards in the "Iowa Great Places" giveaway contest sweepstakes lottery blowout...

Ok, I can't find the right word, so let's start over.

The Register has the list of twelve places vying to be one of Iowa's next "Great Places," and the projects they hope to fund with the money attached.

By my count, 5 are in NE Iowa, 1 is in SW Iowa, 3 are in central Iowa, 1 is in north central Iowa, and 1 is in SE Iowa. There's only one west of I-35, and if you use I-35 and I-80 to divide the state into quadrants, only three fall outside the NE quadrant.

Location aside, though, the question remains: What makes a great place? I've read the 12 project descriptions from the Register, and my initial reaction is the following:

I'm inclined not to support places that will use the money to add on to and combine two existing for-profit businesses, as Mason City has proposed to do.

With less than $300,000 to spend, I'm reluctant to support places that plan to use the money for more than 4-5 different purposes, as Adams County, Dubuque, Valley Junction and Warren County have proposed to do.

That brings us down to seven. I'm also reluctant to give all three awards to the NE corner of the state, but Appanoose, Decorah, Guttenberg and Jackson county are all still on my list.

How about you? Where do you think the money should go?


Keep up on the essentials:

If you haven't been watching the growth and expansion of Essential Iowa, you should be. Jay Wagner is doing a great job of compiling some of Iowa's history, attractions and events into a package that doesn't leave that nasty IDED aftertaste.

Some things worth noting on the site right now:

On Tuesday, Jay attended Iowans for a Better Future's Higher Education Summit and offers a full report. Somehow, it appears all of us in the blogosphere missed this one.

If you're in the Dubuque area, you may want to check out this tour of bed and breakfasts. I wish I could.

I discovered the Tuscany Beef and Spinach recipe on the recipes page about a month ago. I've made it three times since then, and probably would have made it more often if it wasn't impossible to get spinach. I'm not sure I'd recommend the Chocolate Chirpy Chip Cookies, but to each his own.

Finally, bookmark the events page and check it every week, like I do. Every week I find a new event I didn't even know was going on. Last week I did the Sherman Hill Historic Homes walking tour, and it was great. There's probably something on there this week for you.


Friday, September 29 is...

Manit Day (Marshall Island)
Kalratri (Nepal)

According to Wikipedia:

Michaelmas (pronounced /'mɪkəlməs/) or the Feast of Ss. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is a day in the Christian calendar, taking place on 29 September. Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated with the beginning of Autumn and the shortening of days. St. Michael, one of the principal angelic warriors, was seen as a protector against the dark of night.

Personally, I think negative ads are a greater threat than the dark of night, but thus far no saints have come forward to take care of that.

Speaking of negative ads, another kindred spirit has come forth to let us know he's leaving the ballot blank on Boswell/Lamberti: New Iowan.

School bus safety is an issue I'm surprised we don't hear about more often. School buses typically hold twice as many students as the average classroom, with a wide variety of ages, and their only supervision is an underpaid, often retired person whose first focus needs to be on the road to ensure the safety of their passengers. It amazes me that incidents like this one don't happen everyday.

Twelve areas are competing to be declared one of Iowa's "Great Places," and given the economic development handout stimulus package that comes with the designation. At the same time, one of Iowa's existing great places just got shit on by irresponsible agriculture. Maybe if we devoted more money to environmental protection and less to winner-take-all giveaways, all of our waterways could be "Great Places."

So apparently if you're on TV bragging about how you escaped your credit card debt, people will see you on TV and want their money back. Who knew?

Ryan Pettit of Des Moines
shows xenophobia is still alive and well:

I am all for teaching diversity in schools and getting kids to understand and accept cultures. But why is Hubbell Elementary School celebrating Mexican Independence Day ("Hubbell Puts Gusto Into Latino Festival," Sept. 21 Register)?

What is the educational benefit of this in America?

I am curious what these kids know about the independence of the United States. Do they know who the founding fathers are, who we fought against for independence and why?

I don't think the independence of Mexico ever had much effect on Iowa.

Y'know, Ryan, you're right. I'm sure our kids are NEVER taught about American history in their public schools. Their history books definitely aren't written by people with an American bias, and their teachers probably know nothing about America. Maybe we should build a fence to keep foreign holidays from coming across the border. Or maybe we should build a fence around your house.


A quick meta-blog note:

I've pulled State 29 from the links on your right, largely due to his inability to remain "insightfully vulgar," instead just moving down to vulgar. This post was the nail in the coffin, but calling for Tom Harkin to die in a plane crash and his recent obsession with college-age porn didn't help.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today's holiday, by the way:

There's no actual holidays today, but it is the 1071st anniversary of the death of St. Wenceslaus, the patron saint of Bohemia.

So we've got that going for us, which is nice.


The Fair Tax finds a new advocate

You may remember months ago when I sat down with Mike Gravel and discussed the concept of the Fair Tax, an abolishment of the federal income tax, replacing it with a sales tax of 23-30%. After crunching the numbers I didn't think it was plausible.

With that said, I found out today it has another new advocate, Steve King.

If had known Steve King was for it before I spoke to Gravel, I would've known I was against it and I wouldn't have had to blow all that time on research.


Good morning:

Internet is down at the office this morning, so I'm working from home and will have to get you today's holidays later.

I'm also feeling significantly better, thanks.

Six things to read today:

Fifth District Independent candidate Roy Nielsen took the first step towards credibility today: Yepsen said he's not crazy. Which may mean he really IS crazy, but nonetheless, it's the best press he's received (or probably will receive) in the race. He probably projects to about 20-25% of the vote, about the same percentage Joyce Schulte is going to get.

As an aside, the Register published a picture, contact information and website for Roy Nielsen, but failed to do so for any of his three opponents. That's disappointingly bad journalism.

Lonny Bartels of Urbandale helps prove my point that Lamberti, Boswell, Nussle and Culver are decreasing turnout with negative ads:

Based on all this negative campaigning, and based on Chet Culver's and Jim Nussle's own opinions of each other, neither candidate is capable of serving Iowa. Therefore, I will vote for neither.

I think a lot of people are arriving or will arrive at the same decision. Most probably won't individually alert the Register.

When hype can backfire: Iowa Democrats lead by over 50,000 in the race to get the most absentee ballots in place before November 7. I worried about this in 2004, and I'm worried about it again now. In 2004, Democrats had a huge lead in absentee ballots, they publicized it, and a small portion of poll voters may have decided the race was already decided and they didn't need to vote anymore. Then we lost Iowa by a small portion of voters. Every race is different, but if Nussle wins by a small margin, I may point back to this day.

You can't spell pandemic without panic.

I'd like to shoot Johnny Knoxville in the balls too. I could care less if he's wearing a Kum & Go t-shirt while I do it. Furthermore, who cares? If Zach Braff had worn a "Casey's General Store" t-shirt in The Last Kiss, would it make the Register?

I saw The Last Kiss over the weekend. You should too.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says the use of E85 is climbing, with Iowans purchasing 570,961 gallons of it during the second quarter of 2006. Two thoughts:

1) I wish they would separate that figure out, so I'd know how many of those gallons went into state vehicles and how many were purchased by individual consumers. I think that would tell us much more about the trends involved.

2) Selling more E85 is great, but Iowa is on pace to generate 2.2 billion gallons of ethanol, enough to make almost 2.6 billion gallons of E85, just considering the ethanol refineries currently in place and those in the pipeline. So it would appear we've still got about 2,599,429,039 gallons of E85 to find a home for. The market would have to grow 4554% for that to happen.

My biggest fear with the ethanol obsession right now is that instead of creating the "jobs with a future" the Department of Economic Development would say we're creating, we're actually creating short term jobs riding on a bubble which already has holes in it.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How people got here VI:

Four interesting Google searches today:

Just because I know one reader hates incorrect uses of "in lieu," I thought I'd let everyone know that, if you google in lieu of proper use, I come up #3. Actually, the post is a debate on the possibilities involved in privatizing schools, which I think is an interesting concept, so if anyone wants to pick that back up, go for it.

I come up #7 in a search for Lundby Gronstal Gay. Interestingly enough, it has nothing to do with the anti-bullying legislation they support.

If you google "Jeff Lamberti" and "Biography" or Jeff Lamberti bio, one of your first options will be this post, which I think tells a key part of Jeff Lamberti's bio: he's supported by the money behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and push polling is being done on his behalf.


Sick again (damn it)

So, after throwing up for the third time in 24 hours, I'm officially ready to declare it: I'm sick.

While I could probably blame a wide variety of culprits, I think it's actually something I ate.

As such, the next few days will probably be a bit unpredictable...I may be around a lot to post about things that are or aren't helping me feel better, or I may not be around much at all as I sleep this off.

I guess we'll see.


Wednesday, September 27 is...

Maskal (Ethiopia, Eritrea)
Thiumphu Drupchen (Bhutan)

That's all for now. I'm kinda busy with other things at the moment.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I know Touchplay is gone now, but still...

Surprising poll results are being generated right now at the Sioux City Journal's webpage:

How often do you play Iowa Lottery games?

Right now the most popular answer is 49% for never. I wonder what the answer would have been before Touchplay?


Krusty and Republican leadership wander all over the place.

I saved a post this morning from Krusty about the race for Secretary of Ag, and sure enough, by the end of the day, I had another Krusty post about anti-bullying legislation to write about as well.

The first post is a candidate comparison of O'Brien vs Northey, and it's interesting. It also features this endorsement of state standards on hog confinements:

While to some this might not seem like a huge issue, but this is a big deal here in Iowa, and Northey is on the right side of this issue. His support of state standards is also why the Farm Bureau probably endorsed his kampaign.

Denise O’Brien and her local control position should scare the daylights out of Iowa farmers. It’s already extremely difficult for a farmer to build a new hog confinement of any size anywhere in Iowa. Heck, before a farmer has the time to get a building permit they are faced with local opposition. While I can understand that nobody wants to live near a hog confinement, this is Iowa, and animal agriculture is an important part of our economy.

First off, be sure to check the comments, where RF shows how easy it is to build a new hog confinement:

If you build a hog confinement less than 2,500 animals, you do not need a construction permit. I would not call that “extremely difficult.” All you need to do is file a manure management plan with the DNR 60 days before you start applying manure (which can be after construction).

Next, let's take a look at the "local opposition" angle: it's the "local opposition" that will have their property values decrease because of new confinements. It's the "local opposition" that will get to deal with the smell of their new neighbors spreading hog manure on frozen ground. And among others, it's the "local opposition" that will get to experience the joys of additional manure in their rivers, streams and lakes. But under Krusty, Bill Northey and Republican leadership's plan for continued state standards, the local opposition would be silenced.

Let's move on to the second post:

I don’t care if a kid is being picked on for being fat, poor, stupid, promiscuous, gay, lesbian, or pregnant, none of it should be allowed in our schools and anyone who dies so should be punished severely.

I don’t think its right to single out one group of people and give them special protections or special rights. All students should be equally protected from any type of bullying.

I don't think anyone would define the ability to exist without bullying as a "special right." It should be everyone's right. But the fact remains that the people most at risk of bullying in our schools and some portions of our society are gays, so I'm in full support of legislation guaranteeing their safety.

There is bullying taking place across the state for a variety of reasons and based on a wide variety of things that make people "different." But the biggest group left out of the current Iowa Civil Rights Act is homosexuals. So when we can single out one group which faces the greatest need for protections, as they do, I'm fine with making a law stressing the importance of protecting said groups, as we did.

I was going to make a point about small government here and how these two topics share no common ground. It would seem that keeping state standards on hog confinements is promoting big government, while moving not to enact anti-bullying legislation is a move towards small government. Then, I noticed the common thread.

Local control would protect some people from decreased property values, smell and pollution. The proposed anti-bullying legislation would protect some people from the total misery adolescence can become if you don't fit in.

In both cases, Krusty and the Republicans siding with him have the opportunity to protect someone. Instead, in both cases they've decided to protect no one.


Tuesday, September 26 is...

Bandaranaike Day (Sri Lanka)
Youth Day (Turks and Caicos)

Bandaranaike Day refers to Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, the world's first female Prime Minister. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the first beginning in 1960.

The "Youth Day" holiday may seem a little strange to those who grew up in my generation and were routinely told "every day is Kids' Day."

Some reading to help get through your day:

This AP story from yesterday drew my attention long enough to get a sentence of coverage in this space, about as much as anything has gotten since my mom's plane touched down on Thursday. Today, I see that John Deeth has offered this post on the matter, probably the most heartfelt and compelling argument for anti-bullying legislation I've seen.

What would you do with $200.8 million? You probably wouldn't give it all to Fort Dodge, but it appears they've already decided how to spend it.

But, then again, if you had $200.8 million laying around, you could afford to run 2.7 million stoplights in Clive. It appears they expected someone to do that months ago.

Just days after Grassley said "Don't criticize the war, it demoralizes our troops," someone in his office must have said "Don't protest it, either, or we'll demoralize your wallets." At least Boswell had the courtesy to talk to the protestors.

Speaking of Boswell, another discouraging note for his 3rd district congressional race: Both he and Lamberti are against local control.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday, September 25 is...

Tzom Gedalya (Judaism)
Republic Day (Rwanda)
Heritage Day (South Africa)


The day after Rosh HaShana, the third day of Tishrei, is the Fast of Gedalya. The Gemora in Rosh HaShana explains that we first see this fast mentioned in Zecharia 8:19, when the verse speaks about "...the fast of the seventh...." As the seventh month (starting from Nissan) is the month of Tishrei, the fast mentioned in that verse is referring to Tzom Gedalya, the third day of Tishrei. (See #s 27 and 30 for more information on this verse.) On this day, the Gemora says, Gedalya ben Achikam was killed by Yishmael ben Nesania. The Gemora concludes that this fast teaches us that the death of a righteous person is on par with the burning and destruction of the Holy Temple.

I think it's fitting that a holiday created because of a killing also happens to share its date with South African Heritage Day.

It's also fitting that this would be the day I refer to State 29 and Political Forecast's little snit over Democratic heritage.

Here's something important for all of us to remember: political parties evolve. And while it may be interesting (or at least easy) to criticize segments of a party or group based on what they stood for 50 years ago or more, I think it's more important to discuss what they stand for now.

Simply put: history is relevant, but don't paint history and the present with the same brush. What Democrats and Republicans were up to 50 years ago is rarely relevant to votes being cast today.

Moving on: Iowa Ennui has a wish list for the 47 days that remain until Election Day. I want most of the things on her list, too.

As if debate on the minimum wage, car title loans and the cigarette tax wasn't enough, we can add anti-bullying legislation to the list of things Chris Rants is blocking in the House.

Remember the last guy who won the Powerball in Iowa? I heard a rumor on that day that David Oman was calling around trying to find that guy to get him to invest in the Rainforest project. I wonder if he's doing the same to this poor sucker lucky winner.

Roosevelt hasn't had a permanent home stadium for football games since leaving Drake in the 1960's, until this year. Now, they're playing their home games at newly remodeled Drake Stadium. It's a great setup for the university and the school, but people will always find something to whine about.

Finally, lots of groups are skeptical about both major party candidates for governor of Iowa, but the Register caught up with one specific group over the weekend: Veterans.

I may be back with more later today. My mom's still in town, though, so for now we're back to sightseeing.


PS. In case you're curious, yesterday was...

Independence Day (Guinea-Bissau)
Constitution Day (Cambodia)

And Saturday was...

Rosh Hashanah
Lewis and Clark Day

National Day (Saudi Arabia)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday, September 22 is...

Independence Day (Mali)
Native American Day (USA)

It's also my dad's birthday, so Dad, if you're reading this, happy birthday.

I'll start out today with some follow ups on things from yesterday:

Kay Henderson has more insight on the Harkin/Chavez comments from yesterday. From a Harkin statement issued later in the day:

"Yesterday's comments by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela were incendiary and unworthy of a nation's leader. While I understand the frustrations of many in the international community because of George W. Bush's policies, I do not believe that gives them the right to come to our country and personally insult and attack the President of the United States. This is especially inappropriate at a forum such as the United Nations, dedicated to civil and peaceful dialogue among nations."

If he had said that in the first place, I'm not sure there would have been a problem.

Next, after my comments yesterday and Ed Fallon's email update which also went out yesterday, both John Deeth and Chris Woods have decided that Ed Fallon and I must be in some kind of planning stage to challenge Boswell in 2008, less than 60 days before 2006.

Let me be the first to assure you there's zero truth in that. First of all, I can assure you that Ed has zero interest in running for Congress. Chris Woods will endorse a Republican before he'd even consider it. We both talked about Boswell yesterday because we both saw the ad for the first time yesterday.

Speaking of people who aren't running for office, everyone, it's time for a sign of relief: Oprah is not running for president. The only way I could have voted for Oprah is if she was running against Dr. Phil.

Moving on, this might be my all time favorite post at Century of the Common Iowan. I'm not even going to tease it. Just go read it.

Finally, two related stories in this morning's Register: Despite over 750 signatures asking him to, Tom Vlassis still will not resign from the Des Moines City Council. Not that he's asked for my advice or probably will, but I can't imagine thinking the majority is behind you in the face of tremendous criticism over the mismanagement of a budget as big as CIETC's.

But, CIETC's problems really are nearing their completion. After all, soon it'll have a new name and we'll all go back to having no idea it exists.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

An update on my Boswell post from earlier:

I just received an email from Shawn Rolland, Boswell's press secretary, concerning my post from earlier. Here's a correction to what I said about SF 2275 from his email:

Lamberti Voted to Shrink Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Convicted Murderers, Rapists, Armed Robbers and Kidnappers. Sen. Lamberti voted to reduce the mandatory minimum sentences for convicted murderers, rapists, armed robbers and kidnappers from 85% of the maximum sentence to 70%, allowing them to be released early from prison. [SF 2275, 4/15/04, HJ 1459, passed, Lamberti voted "aye"]

A couple of facts that aren't in that correction, though:

The bill passed the Senate on March 17 of 2004, by a vote of 49-0.

After amendments in the house, it passed the Senate again on April 15, 2004, by a vote of 46-0.

So, I guess, if Jeff Lamberti voted to shrink sentences for murderers, rapists, armed robbers and kidnappers, so did every other member (except one) of the Iowa Senate in 2004.


Bloggers on the left, right and the asshole in the middle all unite to get it wrong:

So apparently Tom Harkin "defended," at some level, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's claims that President Bush is the devil. Here's the Radio Iowa story that started this mess.

Four blogs that I've seen have picked up on this, and they're all wrong in one way or another.

First and foremost, no, State 29, it's not, nor is it ever ok to call for elected officials, or anyone else, to die in a plane crash. The biggest asshole in this isn't Chavez, Bush or Harkin, it's you.

Krusty, you're wrong in your assessment of national security decisions. Harkin is right when he says that less people hated us before Iraq. Whether Iraq was the right decision or not, it's a globally unpopular move, and it's led to new security risks that may never have surfaced if we hadn't invaded.

Chris, you're wrong in defending Harkin's decision to speak on the matter. How hard would it have been to say "I recognize some of Chavez's concerns, but the fact remains that calling a sitting president 'the devil' is the wrong way to go about fixing it?" In an ideal world, Harkin brushes off the question. At the very least, he needed to find a way to answer that didn't imply approval.

Gavin, you're wrong in suggesting that our lack of moral high ground leaves Bush open for attacks like this. No sitting leader of any country should face attacks like this.


Leonard Boswell lost my vote today.

If you haven't seen Leonard Boswell's new ad yet, go see it here. Grab one of those vomit bags they give you on airplanes before you do so.

Let me make one thing clear: I'm no fan of Jeff Lamberti. I think he's slimy, disingenuous and doesn't have Iowans' best interest at heart. But after watching that ad, I'm not going to vote for Leonard Boswell anymore.

I consider myself a progressive. I'm strongly in favor of immigration reform, criminal justice reform and I think "the fence" is xenophobic at best. The first half of the ad tells me that Leonard Boswell isn't with me on any of those issues.

I'm also firmly against negative advertising, record slanting and character attacks. The second half of the ad goes three-for-three on those points.

From the ad:

"He (Lamberti) voted to reduce sentences for rapists, drug dealers and murderers."

The ad quotes Senate File 2275 from the 2003-2004 session. I looked it up. Here's the amendment to the code made in the bill:

A person serving a sentence for conviction of the following felonies, including a person serving a sentence for conviction of the following felonies prior to July 1, 2003, shall be denied parole or work release unless the person has served at least seven-tenths of the maximum term of the person's sentence:

Does that look like sentence reduction to you?

UPDATE: As it turns out, it was a reduction. Click here for details.

While I was on lunch today, the song "The Hit" by Smile Empty Soul came on. The refrain to the song says:

Hey record company, do you need a hand?
Cause I need a hand too,
To keep me from hitting you.

That's about how I feel.

So after this ad showed me that Leonard Boswell isn't with me on progressive issues and isn't above using character distortion to get my vote, I decided where I stand.

Iowa probably won't be better off with Jeff Lamberti in Congress, but things may not get worse, either.

As of right now, I'm planning on leaving that race blank.


Thursday, September 21 is...

Independence Day (Belize and Armenia)
Freedom Day (Malta)
Mikeli (Latvia)

From Wikipedia:

In ancient Latvia, Miķeļi was a festival held on September 22–September 24, during the dzelzs nedēļa meaning "the week of iron." The holiday was sacred for both Miķelis and Jumis.

The festival held at the end of the harvest season; when Jumis' gift of food had been received.

Here are some things I harvested from this morning's Register:

I didn't see him there, but apparently Marc Hansen was at the school board meeting in West Des Moines Monday night to discuss The Laramie Project. He shares a few lines I wish I had come up with:

By most accounts, almost everyone was calm and civil at Monday's meeting, including the people who felt the play promoted the "gay agenda."

That's the weakest argument against dumping the production, if you ask me. If the "gay agenda" means trying to stop folks from tying gay people to fences and beating them to death, maybe they're right. That would be a good agenda to promote.

But does the Matthew Shepard story make you so sympathetic to the cause you're suddenly gung-ho for same-sex marriage? A world-class long jumper would have trouble making that leap.

And if "gay agenda" means pushing an alternative lifestyle, it's hard to see how being brutalized and left for dead is such an enticing advertisement.

Earlier this week I commented on the Kerry beer bong picture from Saturday, mainly because State 29 wrote a great caption for it. Today, it's back in the Register, along with this gem of a quote:

The New York Times said Kerry, considering a 2008 run for president, "learned his lesson" about the peril of wading into "festive" environments.

The Times said Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, stressed that Kerry did not try the beer bong and joked, "Actually, since we were in Iowa, it was probably filled with ethanol."

Finally, this morning we get news that the city of Clive is disappointed with their new red light cameras. They expected to make $85,000 in August, but only made $3535. They, of course, blame the system.

I'm going to blame their math. I'm guessing the company that installed the cameras gets a cut of every $75 red-light citation, but even if they didn't, to generate $85,000 in revenue, they would have to catch 1134 people running red lights, in one suburb, in one month.

If half that many people ran red lights in Clive, a crew would have to be stationed at 100th and Hickman 24/7 to pull wrecked cars out of the intersection.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today's holiday:

Just in case you couldn't live without it:

Pagerwesi (Bali)


The word of Pagerwesi is derived from two words: pager (fence) and wesi (iron). Pagerwesi literally means the day of "iron fence". The Hindus religious suggestion is that one should surround oneself with a strong fortification against the forces of evil.

The Pagerwesi day is also a day upon which an ancient battle between good and evil is celebrated.

I hope there's not really an ancient battle between good and evil today. My head hurts.


The Register weighs in on NIMBY: Albia

In my morning roundup yesterday, I mentioned that some Albia residents were up in arms over a group in their city that helps drug offenders get their lives back on track. The Register has an editorial on the matter today.

As Iowa continues to imprison a greater percentage of its population than most other states, this problem is going to continue to grow. It's also a big part of the reason 40% of Iowa's prison population will be released and end up in prison. Granted, people are in prison because they made a mistake, and one the state defines as pretty serious. But once they've paid their debt to society, they're released and face:

difficulty finding a job,
difficulty finding housing,
difficulty reconnecting with family,

Not to mention the fact that many of them will still have parole officers to contend with. Bear in mind that a large portion of these prisoners were in prison with a substance abuse problem in the first place. When we make it impossible for them to work, support themselves or find a place to live, is it any surprise their substance abuse problems resurface?

Most of these people being released are not dangerous. The four men living in the Freedom House in Albia were in jail for non-violent crimes. They want to stay out of prison. They want to turn their lives around. The least the citizens of Albia could do is give them that opportunity.

I'm giving a presentation at 11:15, have a task force meeting at 2, and need to clean tonight before my mom gets here tomorrow, so I may not be around to post much more today.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Me too, Duffy, me too.

If you're reading my blog standing up, you may want to take a seat, I've got shocking news.

The Iowa Democratic Party Heartland PAC has produced a negative website about Jim Nussle.

It's unprecedented. Oh wait, it's not. Not even close.

Yesterday, I posted about Kevin Wiskus' response to negative ads, and Chris Woods called it "a good one that can change the whole frame of discussion on political advertising." Wiskus was a Republican who refused to go negative and changed his party registration when the RPI did it for him.

Today, Heartland PAC puts together some bullshit on Nussle and Chris gushes over it:

Let’s tell Nussle to put the paper bag back on or send him a denial of credit letter! They’ve got the facts and the hard information on the site too.

Props to Vilsack’s people for getting this stuff going and really working to help elect Chet Culver!

You can't have it both ways, Chris.

There's 49 days left until the November 7 election. Forty-nine days of negative ads, push polling, partisan bickering and bad satire. At the end of those 49 days, we'll elect the candidate Iowans hate less based on the smear campaigns of their opponents, 527 groups and the parties.

Then, on November 8th, we'll wonder why no one voted.


Talk like a pirate day cheatsheet:

Before I get angry, I wanted to share my good friend Matt Poush's cheatsheet for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Matt's one of the funniest people I know and it's great to have him writing again.


More Mapchanging:

So when I came back from lunch, I discovered that both Iowa Progress and Political Forecast have picked up on Mark Warner's new Mapchangers contest, and both have endorsed candidates. Let me tell you who I voted for and why.

I have the utmost respect for several candidates across the state, but the legislative candidate I've devoted the most time and effort to is Elesha Gayman. Elesha is bright, energetic, talented and motivated, and most importantly, she's a true progressive: exactly what we need in the statehouse. I just spent the weekend over in Davenport where I attended a debate between Elesha and her opponent, a fundraising event, and knocked doors with her. I'm more convinced than ever that she can and should win, perhaps more than any other candidate I've met.

Click here to cast your vote.


Tuesday, September 19 is...

Independence Day (St. Kitts)
San Gennaro (Naples)
International Day of Peace (United Nations)

If you were unaware of the existence of St. Kitts, as I was, here's a Wikipedia link for you. Here's another one on San Gennaro.

The third holiday is a bit ironic, because late last night Ted Sporer decided to re-open the debate on Iraq as WWIII in the comments of this post. I'm intrigued by this debate, but anything I would say wouldn't be as good or well-researched as what Chris Radloff said on Friday. So I'll present you with both links and allow you, gentle reader (and you, hardass reader), to decide.

Some other things worth noting today:

It appears some residents of Clear Lake may have gone in for a tattoo and come out with something even more permanent and life-changing. Here's the Register story. I have no tattoos, but even if I were to get one, I think I'd want at least some assurance that it's safe. I probably wouldn't want to get a tattoo in someone's house.

Here's a dangerous debate waiting to happen: WIC, which provides financial assistance for 68,000 mothers and their children in Iowa, looked at nutritional problems in mothers and children, and as a result, cut allowances for milk, eggs and cheese, replacing them with allowances for fruits and vegetables. The battle lines up this way: WIC wants to make sure mothers and their children are getting the biggest nutritional bang for the buck. Producers of eggs, milk and cheese want people to keep buying eggs, milk and cheese. We already have one massive sinkhole in Iowa where the battle between profit and the common good has left us with neither (health care). This battle threatens to shake out in a similar way.

I attended the West Des Moines school board meeting last night, and while I did not speak, I was proud of many who did. This Register story touches on a few of them but missed most of my favorites.

Just days before the season premiere of CSI: Miami, we have NIMBY: Albia. The tendencies of some groups to avoid giving others a second chance is part of the reason 40% of Iowa's prisoners will be released and end up reoffending.

In this morning's update on the Economic Freedom Fund, Chris Woods linked to this post from yesterday, calling it "a good one that can change the whole frame of discussion on political advertising." I don't know if I'd go that far, but it is refreshing, to say the least.

And, of course, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Avast.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Some quick meta-blogging:

Three notes:

David Goodner has renamed his blog over the the Press-Citizens site, it's now Straight Out of the Cornfield.

Stefanie, who was Bob, then was Bob Again, then was Simplicity, then was inactive for a while, has redesigned her space and resumed posting.

Gavin hasn't posted since August, so I moved him down to "lapsed."

All three changes are reflected in the sidebar on your right.


Credit where credit is due: Kevin Wiskus, the *new* independent candidate

From today's Ottumwa Courier:

Kevin Wiskus, a candidate for Iowa House District 94, has switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independent following what he said was a “shocking and tasteless” mass-mailed brochure attacking his opponent.

“You deserve an apology from the Republican Party,” begins Wiskus’ ad in the Daily Iowegian. “Since he will not get an apology from the Republican Party of Iowa, I would like to apologize to Kurt.”

Wiskus stated that he changed his registration from Republican to Independent and notified the Iowa Secretary of State’s office that he no longer considers himself a Republican — and if elected he will declare himself an Independent.

Wiskus also said he sent a certified letter to state party headquarters protesting “this type of vile campaign” and did no longer seek or desire their support — nor would he approve any advertising of any type coming from the Republican Party of Iowa.

“Early in the spring Kurt and I talked and I pledged to run a clean and fair campaign,” said Wiskus. “I have continued to speak to people throughout this campaign that I did not get into this race to beat Kurt Swaim, I got in this race because I want to represent District 94 in Des Moines and bring fiscal accountability to state agencies and the Legislature."

I know little to nothing about Kevin Wiskus, his opponent Kurt Swaim, or his issues, but I have a newfound respect for him today. I'm not used to seeing candidates stand up and demand civility in their campaigns. I'm used to watching Culver, Nussle, Boswell and Lamberti attempt to out-mudsling each other.

Chris Rants, of course, thinks all of this is perfectly ok:

House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, was unapologetic about the mass mailing.

“Rep. Swaim used that same charge against Republicans two years ago; it’s a taste of their own medicine,” he told the Ottumwa Courier Friday.

Maybe when Kevin Wiskus gets to Des Moines, he can show Chris Rants the definition of integrity.


Lynn Heuss' guest blog on the Harkin Steak Fry

Lynn Heuss, a longtime friend and colleague, attended the Harkin Steak Fry yesterday and offered this review:

Democratic Party events don’t often appeal to me, but it’s much easier to go when the event is in support of someone like Senator Tom Harkin. He was, in my opinion, one of a small number of very bright spots at this year’s Steak Fry.

His speech was one of the shorter ones, but also one of the better ones. He often interjected humor, and unlike some of the other candidates, he did it intentionally. He’s a team player – with something positive to say about each of the candidates running for statewide or national office. I’m not certain how he pulls that off, in light of the stand some of them take on issues of importance to Iowans, but he makes it work.

Selden Spencer actually gave the most passionate speech and one that drew the most legitimate emotional response from the audience. He turned the usual generic fear-mongering rhetoric into a litany of actual domestic and foreign policy issues that we should truly be concerned about. It worked. I believe he really does feel it’s his duty to step up to run against Latham and his message presentation about why he would actually be a better representative for Iowans is getting better.

With only 2 minutes, Denise O’Brien didn’t really have time to give a speech, it was more like an extended introduction, and that’s a shame. When I first met her over a year ago, I thought she had great ideas but a less than clear or dynamic presentation. But after taking the time to talk to her at length over that same length of time, I found her vast state, national and international agricultural experience, innovative spirit and passion to restore diversity and opportunity in farming very compelling. I was lucky enough to be with her last week when she was grilled by a board who embraces a “production agriculture only” mentality. They generally support a strictly conventional, “scientific” approach to farming, but would probably disagree and claim diversity by claiming support of recent biotechnological advances. She, on the other hand, refuses to limit the possibilities. She offers creative solutions that would allow young farmers to enter the industry, provide profitable results for all kinds of farmers, and encourage diversity in products. Not only would this be good for Iowa farmers, it would be good for all Iowans. Better environmental practices, more opportunities to have locally grown, healthy produce and a number of different economic benefits, including jobs and more tax revenue. Check her out.

Mike Mauro is another candidate (for Secretary of State) that got little time in the spotlight, but who should be wholeheartedly supported. He truly is the first candidate in a good long while who comes highly qualified for the position and has no higher political aspirations.

I’m not interested in giving a play-by-play of the whole day, and frankly, I’ve already given you the best of the event. With all the press in attendance, I imagine you can get that if you want it.

Gov. Warner, Gov. Vilsack, Secretary Judge, Secretary Culver and even Senator Obama all seemed to spout the same general political rhetoric that we, as the electorate, are willing to accept. They each said things we expect to hear at large Party gatherings, and things that are supposed to elicit an emotional response, but just once it would be great to be surprised with more than political rhetoric. I doubt that anyone would fail to recover from some substantive discussion of issues.

Senator Obama did offer a very articulate, sincere and interesting speech, and in his defense, as the keynote speaker, he’s probably expected to entertain and motivate more than educate. That’s sad, but true. However, he did make one serious error and one I intend to write to him to address. He made a statement that was absolute and comprehensive for the entire audience and it was a not true. He said he was certain there was not a single person at the event who would not take up arms to protect and defend this country and our rights. I know that what he said was not true, because I am a pacifist. Regardless of what he, or you, feels about my position, in the current climate of dishonesty and misguided trust, I think it’s important to be say only what can be validated.

I listened to Senator Harkin share his values – faith, family, opportunity, community, common good for every person – and I want to believe that those are the values of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, it’s often hard to find them anywhere but in a stump speech.

As promised:

Monday, September 18 is:

Independence Day (Chile)
Thanksgiving (Switzerland)

I'm resisting the urge to be gratuitous and post pictures of things Switzerland should be thankful for.

Today is also the day I almost shot chai out of my nose while reading this, one of the greatest captions of all time.

Monday, September 18

I'm working from my desk at home instead of my desk at the office right now, so I'll have to get you today's holidays later today. Instead, I'll get right into the links:

Lynn is still working on her post on the Harkin Steak Fry, but while you're waiting for that, I'd encourage you to read John Deeth's three part coverage, the best analysis of the event I've seen so far.

In case you've forgotten, the West Des Moines School Board meeting where critics will complain about the vulgarity and gayness of "The Laramie Project" is tonight at 7 pm at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway in WDM. If you're coming, I'll see you there. If you're standing up in favor of free speech and acceptance, I'll be happy to see you there.

Ben Humphrey of Des Moines has a letter in the Register today about a film to be broadcast on British TV, where apparently the plot involves the assassination of President Bush:

The premise of this film is reprehensible and More4, the digital cable network airing the show, should know better than to give an outlet for such an irresponsible venture as a film that shows the assassination of a sitting president.

Where was Ben on Independence Day?

UPDATE: Or Mars Attacks?

Finally, the Register appears to have rounded up stories on all the fans who somehow missed parts of the game on Saturday due to technical difficulties. I actually missed most of the first quarter due to inattentiveness. The two employees at the bar where I was grabbing lunch took a cursory glance at the TV listings, decided the game wasn't on, and left CMT on a dozen TV's while the Hawkeye fans across the bar visibly shook with anger for most of the first quarter.

I left at halftime. It's true Iowa is home for me now, but I'm still a Badger fan. I got home in time to watch the end of their 14-0 victory over San Diego State, their third cupcake opponent in three weeks. Next week they go to Michigan for a likely wake-up call.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Some Sunday random notes:

Three thoughts today:

1) If you came here on a link from Senator Harkin's Steak Fry emails, welcome. I am not at the Steak Fry, but guest blogger Lynn Heuss, who you may remember from this guest post, is there and will have a report later today or tomorrow.

2) On a more personal note, I've started updating the weight tracker in the sidebar again. A series of illnesses and related sideeffects have kept me from doing much for the last month or so, but I'm back on the horse and plan on sticking to a routine of Sunday weigh-ins and updates.

3) Finally, the Cubs are winning 11-0 in the 8th inning, so to keep Cubs fans from getting too high on themselves, I'd like to share my favorite Cubs joke.

A man walks into an antique store, looking for a gift for a friend. He finds a brass rat, ponders it for a moment, then takes it to the counter.

"I should tell you the story behind that rat," the owner says.

"I don't have much time," the man says. "Just put it in a bag."

The owner nods, and the man pays for the rat and leaves. A rat follows him out of the store. He gets in his car and notices that more rats are following him. Soon, he's attracted hundreds of rats, and more are coming every second. He stops on a bridge and throws the brass rat into the river. The rats follow it and drown. The man ponders this for a moment, then returns to the antique store.

"I suppose you'd like to hear the story now?" the owner asks.

"No, not really," the man said. "But do you have any brass Cubs fans?"


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Welcome, new visitors: A thank you post

So on Thursday my post on ridiculous Republican activity drew the notice of both State 29 and Political Forecast, driving up my hits a bit.

Then, TPM Muckraker and The Huffington Post both picked up on this post about the Economic Freedom Fund and their work hatcheting Leonard Boswell polling for Jeff Lamberti.

As a result, I set an all time high for hits on in a day Thursday by more than 60, and broke the previous record again yesterday. So if you're a new visitor, and the odds are about 1-in-3 that you are, welcome. This is where I rant about politicians, work to promote issues and sometimes just kinda ramble about pro wrestling. I hope you'll check back from time to time, I usually post 2-5 times daily on weekdays.

Also, it got dropped into the Saturday paper so perhaps no one will read it, but Ed Fallon has a letter in the Register today about the changing face of economic development in Newton and Centerville. In a related note, the Rubbermaid plant in Centerville closed for good this week.


Friday, September 15, 2006


Good morning,

Posting will be light to non-existent today and tomorrow, as I'll be in Davenport working on this event. I may be able to sneak some time in at a computer while I'm gone, but don't hold your breath.

Here are some things to enjoy instead:

From SNL - Chris Parnell raps about the Chronicles of Narnia. Trust me. Hilarious.

From Kids in the Hall: The Daves I Know. If you're looking for a song to get stuck in your head for weeks, this is the one.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Late Thursday roundup:

Sorry for the late start today, I slept in this morning and have had a few things come up at work.

Thursday, September 14 is:

San Jacinto Day (Nicaragua)

San Jacinto Day is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto in 1856. It's not related to the San Jacinto Day celebrated in April in Texas, although that day is also the anniversary of a Battle of San Jacinto, which took place in 1836.

Some other things that aren't related:

The Des Moines School Board election
drew out just 7,757 people, the least since the 2001 elections, which were held on 9/11. All told, it's not surprising people would stay home for this one, considering:

Three candidates were running for two seats, and the most controversial incumbent (Ako) had already decided not to run,

The airwaves are already crammed with full spin from both gubernatorial campaigns, and

Both the school board and state elections are getting overshadowed by the nearly 25 potential presidential candidates and their travel plans.

I've typically avoided Krusty because much/most of his time is wasted on pointless slams and choir-preaching, but posts like this one from today make him a must-read. It's the best analysis I've seen of early fundraising for presidential candidates. Sadly, it's right-only, but it's still interesting.

That's all for now. If you haven't yet, go vote in my poll.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the interest of balance...

Ted Sporer has alerted me to this post on his site, where he challenges readers to come up with the best example of the "looney left."

I take pride in not being a party-line blogger, but this blatant display of partisanship calls for a balancing post, and since his is a contest, so is mine. Ted wants to find the best example of the looney left in the nation. I'll settle for the most ridiculous GOP moment in Iowa in 2006.

The nominees:

1) Ted Sporer implies historical evidence likening the current war in Iraq to WWII. After I said this:

This isn't World War II. There's no clear-cut need to be in Iraq right now. And anyone who compares the two needs to be beaten with the history books they obviously haven't read.

Sporer responded with this:

I won't have time until Sunday to pursue this debate-but brother we are going to talk history books on this one, and you aren't going to like it.

2) Steve King compares citizens of a neighboring nation to cattle. From a speech on the House floor on "the fence:"

"We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement. ... We do that with livestock all the time"

3) Steve King says Washington, DC is more dangerous than Iraq. June 12:

Well I by now have a feel for the rhythm of this place called Washington, D.C., and my wife lives here with me, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, she’s at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq.

It turns out the actual statistics show 2.5 times more murders annually in Iraq. And I'm betting not every Iraqi death gets reported.

4) Jeff Lamberti the Congressional candidate vows to cut federal spending, but Jeff Lamberti the State Senator gives hundreds of thousands of state dollars to Rock in Prevention and Excel.

5) Jeff Lamberti blames Leonard Boswell for expanding federal deficits while Jim Nussle, Chair of the House Finance Committee, is running for governor of his state. An unconfirmed phone conversation from the next day: I'm sorry, Congressman Nussle, were those your toes I stomped on?

6) Secretary of State: A podiatrist beats a former federal prosecutor in the primary, then decides not to run anyway, forcing the Republicans to scramble for a month, then bring back a former Iowan from Washington DC to fill the spot on the ballot.

7) Republicans in the Iowa Legislature halt efforts to raise the minimum wage, cap interest rates on car title loans and raise the cigarette tax. At the same time, huge donation checks just keep pouring in. Purely coincidental, I'm sure.

8) The Republican Party state convention. More specifically, the ratification of the party platform. Check it out if you missed it. Where else can you find the promotion of xenophobia, homophobia, hog confinements, standardized test-based education, the elimination of no-fault divorce, increasing prison capacity, and end to separation of church and state, "the fence," and ending the protection of porcupines all in one place?

Here's the poll:

What's the most ridiculous Iowa Republican moment of 2006?
1) Sporer implies Iraq war is similar to WWII
2) King compares Mexicans to cattle
3) King says Washington is more dangerous than Iraq
4) Lamberti opposes pork in Washington, hands out pork in Iowa
5) Lamberti blasts Boswell on Nussle's budget
6) The SofS Shuffle
7) Blocking movement on minimum wage, car title loans and cigarette tax increases.
8) Ratifying the state party platform.
Free polls from

I'm sure I missed some. Feel free to write-in vote in the comments.


Grassley: Don't talk about the war, it demoralizes our voters troops.


From the Register:

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said today that when Democrats criticize the war in Iraq, it has a "demoralizing impact on our troops."

Further down in the story:

He added: "It's my recall that in World War II, we didn't have Republicans criticizing Franklin Roosevelt."

At the end of World War II, Grassley was 12, so he's hardly in a place to say he read the papers every day to scan for dissent. But that's neither here nor there. This is terrible on several levels.

1) There are legitimate arguments to be made on whether or not we should have ever gone to Iraq, whether or not we should be there anymore, and whether or not we should make a plan to leave someday. This isn't World War II. There's no clear-cut need to be in Iraq right now. And anyone who compares the two needs to be beaten with the history books they obviously haven't read.

2) This is a thinly veiled attempt to take away debate on an issue where Republicans are losing ground. The midterm elections are 55 days away. Of course Grassley wants Democrats to stop talking about the war. I'm sure he'd love to have them stop talking about the minimum wage, health care and education, too.

3) This will work on people with blind patriotism. The "Why do you hate our troops?" people will be all over this in all their stupid glory. If Grassley had said, "Don't talk about high gas prices, it demoralizes our oil companies," he'd be laughed out of the room. If he had said, "Don't talk about Medicare, it demoralizes our health care workers," someone would have thrown something at him. But by combining the phrases "Support our troops" and "stop debating," he's created a wedge.

I support our troops. I don't support using them to gather votes.


UPDATE: The Register story has been updated to show a response from Tom Harkin.

School boards, investment opportunities, and homophobia: Wednesday morning roundup

Wednesday, September 13 is:

Knabenschiessen (Zurich)

Here's a key example of the problem with automatic translation: I googled Knabenschiessen and translated this page, which makes the holiday seem a bit morbid:

359 days, 15 hours and 23 minutes up to the boy shooting


Thankfully, this page gives a better explanation:

On the second weekend in September each year, about 4'000 Zurich boys, ages 12 to 16, (and since 1991 girls too) take part in a marksmanship contest. They use a modern rifle like the one they will later be issued in the army. The winner, who generally is picked in an elimination round on Monday, is named King of the Marksmen and holds the spotlight for a day.

That makes me feel a little better. Here are the news stories holding the spotlight for today:

The Register has two stories on new school board member Teree Caldwell-Johnson. Here are some quotes I found concerning:

Caldwell-Johnson said she will work to get a grasp of the issues.

She is chief executive officer of Oakridge Neighborhood and Oakridge Neighborhood Services. She has volunteered on many boards and has been an administrator for Polk County and non-profit agencies. But she has little experience with schools.

Most voters had sought out information, but some went in with little knowledge, going on name recognition or the tidbits they'd seen in the news. Betty Borzo, for example, whose children have graduated, said she knew little of the issues this year.

"I voted for the person of color and not the incumbent. I always believe in new faces," the west-sider said.

She (Caldwell-Johnson) comes from a privileged background and received her bachelor's degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, a historically black liberal arts college for women. But Caldwell-Johnson says she has become more in touch with the needs of poor and minority students through her work at Oakridge.

Supporters said they think her experience as a CEO and as an African-American will be beneficial to the board.

Combine those quotes, and it sounds like Des Moines voters picked someone who hasn't yet developed an understanding of the issues and has no education experience, and they made the decision based on the color of her skin and anti-incumbent sentiment. That worries me. By the way, voters still reelected Connie Boesen, the other incumbent.

Moving on. WHO-TV, probably the third best of Des Moines' four news channels, is up for sale. I scraped the bottom of the barrel this morning and found about $200 to put up towards its purchase. If anyone out there would like to float me the rest, let me know.

A follow-up on last week's news about the performance of the Laramie Project at Valley: Apparently members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas have decided to come protest. I had kind of hoped Ted Sporer would be the only crazy right-winger I'd have to deal with for a while.

That's all for now, I'll probably be back with more later today, but my Brewers are playing a doubleheader in an hour and a half, so it may be a while.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

If Joe can make the oatmeal joke, I can make this one:

David Goodner (of the Midwest Left Review) wants the University of Iowa to pay an artist to paint a mural in a tunnel between IMU and EPB, whatever those are.

The downside: If the University is paying someone to do it, that likely means the taxpayers are paying someone to do it, and most taxpayers won't want to pay to paint a tunnel between two acronyms they can't identify.

The upside: Watching the paint dry would be more entertaining than the gubernatorial race.

RELATED: Joe's post on oatmeal.

Rebuilding my argument for rebuilding the population:

So yesterday, in my morning roundup, I criticized State 29's argument that lowering tuition costs at state universities won't help the state.

State 29 responded this morning:

The Madman doesn't even offer any debate on the matter: Doak is right, I'm wrong. Case closed. He ignores the fact that the University of Iowa has record numbers of students this semester and that ISU and UNI are barely off recent peaks in enrollment.

Why should Iowa taxpayers subsidize what basically amounts to a bunch of rich kids from suburban Chicago who are too dumb to get into Northwestern or the University of Illinois? On the hopes that they'll stay here after 53% of them graduate with an undergraduate degree after six years? Come on, Madman, you can do better than that.

I looked back at it this morning, and he's right, I can do better. I was having an off day yesterday and offered a crappy argument, let's see if I can build a better one today.

Three examples:

My best friend: Came from Wausau, WI for college, studied pharmacy, works in pharmacies, will graduate and continue to work as a pharmacist.

My girlfriend: Came from Appleton, WI for college, studied pharmacy, works in pharmacies, will graduate and after a year out of state for a residency, will return to pursue a career here in Iowa.

Me: Came from Woodruff, WI for college. Enrolled as an open-journalism major, switched to newspaper, then switched to Radio/TV production, considered three other major changes, worked in radio, tv, print, retail and a variety of other jobs, and eventually settled in politics. Pursuing a career here in Iowa.

Those are three of several examples of people in my inner circle who came from other places to go to college in Iowa, and have decided to stay. Admittedly, all three of those examples came from Wisconsin and attended Drake, but I'm sure it's happening with people from other places at other schools in Iowa as well.

State 29 says only 53% of enrolled students at the state universities will graduate with a bachelor's degree. That's true. He refers to out-of-state students at our universities as "a bunch of rich kids from suburban Chicago who are too dumb to get into Northwestern or the University of Illinois." That's not true. Students come from all over the midwest to go to school in Iowa. Many, if not most, of them do more than get drunk and stoned here.

So, I'll acknowledge that some students will come to Iowa and fail to get a degree. I'll acknowledge that some will come, get an education and leave. And I'll even acknowledge that some will be drunks and stoners. But some of them will succeed, and some of them will spend the rest of their lives here. And even if it is a risk, I'd rather invest in new Iowans than new corporations.

Tuesday morning reading:

September 12, 2006 is:

Nationality Day (Guinea-Bissau)
Steve Biko Day (South Africa)

Click here for Steve Biko's Wikipedia entry.

Closer to home, some notable reads today:

Jeff Lamberti says he wants to promote fiscal responsibility in Congress. That hasn't kept him from funnelling money to Rock in Prevention and Excel while he's in office here in Iowa. Maybe he's getting all the irresponsibility out of his system.

Yepsen hypes 2008 as the mother of all opportunities for political opportunists. I needed a break over the weekend to clear my head and passed on an opportunity to meet Dodd, but I've already had invites to meet with seven Democratic candidates, not including Tom Vilsack.

Via State 29, we get this joke from Tom Harkin:

"Tell your friends and your neighbors that all they ever needed to know about this election this November, they learned in driver's education," he said. "If you want to go backward, you put it in R. If you want to go forward, you put it in D."

Ah, partisan hype-mongering. Think how great our elections could be without it.

Not political, but interesting nonetheless: the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) is setting the stage for potential match fixing in early rounds of tournaments. If you've read Freakonomics, you already know how this affects sumo wrestling. The concept of a sumo wrestler and Maria Sharapova having something in common makes me laugh.

Chris Woods wanted to make sure we know it's hard to recruit for a fraternity and write a political blog at the same time. That'd be why I didn't join a frat.


Monday, September 11, 2006

BREAKING: Farm Bureau likes every Republican except Jim Leach.

I guess you can't spell Farm Bureau without some R's.

Condensed From the Register:

Farm Bureau Candidate for Governor: Jim Nussle
Farm Bureau Candidate for Congressional District 1: Mike Whalen
Farm Bureau Candidate for Congressional District 2: (no endorsement)
Farm Bureau Candidate for Congressional District 3: Jeff Lamberti
Farm Bureau Candidate for Congressional District 4: Tom Latham
Farm Bureau Candidate for Congressional District 5: Steve King
Farm Bureau Candidate for Secretary of Ag: Bill Northey

I guess Jim Leach's "moderate Republican" label still carries some weight somewhere. Enough weight to get him ignored by the Farm Bureau, anyway.


Six reads from the weekend:

Today's holidays:

Catalan Day (Catalonia, Spain)
Liberation Day (Micronesia)

And no, I'm not going to do what every other blogger is doing and offer 9/11 memories today. I acknowledge 9/11 was an important historical moment, but after five years of exploitations of the event and God Bless America at every baseball game for the rest of eternity, I've had enough.

Instead, I'll offer you some things to read while waiting for your Catalan Day events:

A thief walked out of Wal Mart Saturday night carrying a flat-screen TV. Two thoughts:

1) Never has the phrase "Wake Up Wal Mart" been more appropriate.

2) To attempt to walk out of a retailer carrying something as large as a big screen TV, you don't just have to carry the TV. You also have to carry giant testicles.

This is one of many reasons I don't want children.

I've been a harsh critic of the practice of live-blogging, mainly because I don't feel most events are important enough to have minute-by-minute recaps. As an example of the alternatives to liveblogging, I give you this post from John Deeth. It's well thought out, it has pictures, the jokes are funny and it's an easy read. Kudos.

Via Joe: The 2006 Elections: A New Exciting Oatmeal Experience.

Richard Doak wants to lower tuition for non-Iowans, hoping it'll talk them into staying. State 29 says lowering tuition for non-Iowans would just invite more degenerates into the state. Flatly, Doak is right, State is wrong.

I went to Drake with a lot of people from other places. It's true that the people from bigger cities usually left after graduation, although I don't know any that were charged with sexual assault. The people I went to college with who love Iowa, on the other hand, almost universally came from a small town somewhere else. Why not give more kids like me an opportunity to start fresh somewhere else and experience Iowa? It seems logical to me.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some Sunday night searches:

I was checking my Sitemeter from this weekend and I found a couple of things I thought I'd share:

First of all, someone got here by Googling iowans playing disc golf, and if it was you, welcome. This is the best time of year to play disc golf. It's not too hot, it's not too cold, and it's not too crowded. I'll probably play a lot of disc (2-3 times each week) over the next few months.

The other search I discovered is the more interesting one: If you search for Hilary Clinton at, you get a list of positives and a list of negatives on her. Listed among the positives was this post from two weeks ago where I summed up poll results and told you that 45% of you would ask her NOT to run for president.

Some other "positives":

two girls were talking and one said, "you know, i really like hilary clinton. do you think she will get president?" the other responded, "i don't know, but it will be very interesting to see if the republicans put condi rice up against her." that one made me laugh on the inside.

Ours is a whole other kind of stupid. Especially people that think a flip flopper like Kerry could have done any better, or that Hilary Clinton would be an excellent president. I agree with my brother... The US has lost its genitals.

Wow, such glowing praise. But really, I don't see much positive spin anywhere for the Former First Lady. Anyone see anything I'm missing?


Friday, September 08, 2006

In honor of International Literacy Day:

I thought I'd tell you about a few books I'm reading or have read.

Right now, I have a copy of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone's Conscience of a Liberal on my desk at work, and I sneak in a few pages every time I have a free moment. Losing Paul Wellstone was a loss for us all, but at least in this book we have a lot of his thoughts and wishes in one place. If you like Ed Fallon, you'll find a lot to like in there.

On my nightstand at home, I'm still working on The Great Good Place. It's a great comparison of public gathering places in America with other nations, as it relates to eventual civic activity and awareness. I don't read at home as much as I should, so it's been slow going, but I continue to work on it.

Finally, the book I recommend to everyone, Freakonomics. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner combined to create an excellent work on often unseen factors that may determine courses of action in the real world. It's a quick read, I finished it in a week, then gave it to Laura, who finished it in a week, then gave it to my grandfather, who has left it to sit and collect dust for over a year. The moral at hand: Don't be my grandfather, read Freakonomics.

As always, if you have a book to recommend for me, feel free to glance over the rules for doing so. If you'd like to see (or purchase) other books I'm interested in, check out my Wish List.


Friday morning roundup:

I've got a calendar above my desk that I recently noticed features lots of obscure holidays I otherwise would have remained unaware of. For example, today is:

Independence Day (Macedonia)
National Day (Andorra)
International Literacy Day (UN)
Evamelunga (Cameroon)

So there's four new things you learned this morning. Four other things worth noting:

If you haven't yet caught wind of the controversy going on at Valley, here's a quick rundown. The Laramie Project is a play developed from a compilation of over 200 interviews collected in response to the brutal beating and death of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, in Laramie, Wyoming. Valley High School students have decided to perform it. As one would expect, some parents are outraged, citing foul language and the "promotion of a homosexual agenda."

The Register Editorial Board
revealed plans this morning to tone down the language, setting the stage for an interesting debate. It appears all that's left for some to be outraged about is the appearance of acceptance of gays. It appears some intolerant parents and other individuals plan to use the September 18 school board meeting to express their rage over tolerance in our schools. Someone needs to be there to stand up for free speech and acceptance. I've penciled it into my schedule.

Next, we should expect to see more of this leading up to November 7, but State Senator Herm Quirmbach (D-Ames) has a letter in the Register today blaming Republicans for halting efforts to raise the minimum wage. I'm not usually one to toe the party line, but it appears this really is a party line issue, and it's a good reason to give Democrats control over the legislature.

Also, the Register finally noticed Selden Spencer's blog from Afghanistan. If you haven't been reading Spencer's blog, you should be, and this morning's Register story finally gave it the political hook it needed to be a worthwhile venture for a candidate less than 2 months from Election Day.

Finally, hat tip to Brian Cooper, who drew my attention to this story in the Centerville Daily Iowegian concerning an assault on Dan Ehl, the paper's editor. Ehl reported on a city council meeting where Centerville police recommended revocation of the liquor license for a bar. He was later attacked by the manager of the bar, who broke his leg and caused multiple facial injuries. There's no excuse for attempting to intimidate the press.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Something to read while I'm not writing:

The Press Citizen has introduced some blogs, and one of them, Midwest Left Review, is written by liberal activist David Goodner. It's worth a look.


Still sick.

Day 2 of my cold, and while I'm feeling better, I'm still stuffed up and groggy, so if I tried to write for you today it'd probably just be pages upon pages of incoherent drivel.

Maybe you wouldn't notice the difference. It's hard to say, really.

My nose is bleeding again. I'll be back later.