Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Good morning.

I downloaded the New Mozilla Firefox yesterday, meaning every time I click on a link, it opens in a new tab. I had forgotten why I hate that.

Then, this morning, I was gathering links to write my morning roundup post, clicked the X to close one of them, and accidentally closed them all. So no morning roundup post today.

And to be honest, in all likelihood, that's probably all I would have written today. I've got a wide variety of things keeping me busy right now.

1) I'm moving. I'm only moving 3 blocks, but I get the keys to my new place on the 15th, and have to be out of my old place by the 30th, with a trip to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving in the middle. So that's on my mind a lot.

2) Election Day. There's actually two things that this impacts:

a) There are lots of people I could be helping with the time I'm spending here, and

b) Most of the political news I would write about is already being covered to death.

3) Wrestling. I'm going to Mankato on Thursday, maybe to Illinois this weekend, and 3XW is back in Ottumwa on the 18th, so that's on my mind a fair amount too.

So, with that said, I'm going on hiatus until at least election day, when one of those three factors will have passed.

I'll be back eventually.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday, October 30 is...

King's Birthday (Cambodia)
October Holiday (Ireland)

These are some awfully uncreative holidays.

I know I haven't written since Thursday, and I'm sorry for that. A handful of things, not the least of them being 3XW, have been holding my attention the last few days. Also, I wrote this letter, which was published in the Register.

Something else I missed: CSI Des Moines is up and in full swing. Was it the stripper? Or her "companion?" Stay tuned to find out!

Finally, the Department of Cultural Affairs has picked six new winners to spend our tax dollars. I've written at great length about the problems with doing economic development this way, so instead of repeating it, I'll just let you know that you can see a sampling of the problems here and here.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday, October 26 is...

Flag Day (Austria)

Two small reads and a big one for you today:

The State GOP is playing fast and loose with the facts again. Today, as documented in this Register story, they've sent out a mailer accusing Eric Palmer of being late on his property taxes six times. As it turns out, he was only late twice, and four other offenses the GOP has attributed to him actually occured before he owned the building.

It's bad enough that they're sending out mailings with inaccuracies, but let's take a step beyond that and look at exactly what they're accusing. Eric Palmer didn't try to skip out on his property taxes. He paid a two bills a grand total of 1 month and 21 days late, and paid $43 in penalties for doing so. It's hardly something to use to disqualify him from public office.

When asked about it, though, GOP spokeswoman Sarah Sauber stretched the lie a step farther:

"The point of the mailing is to point out that Eric Palmer was voting to raise taxes in Oskaloosa while he wasn't paying his taxes."

Palmer paid his last late bill in 1997. He was elected to the city council in 2001.

Moving on: The Des Moines Airport is still not safe, but it is winning tourism awards.

Finally, in case you didn't notice it last night, Sinclair Broadcasting is run by the slimiest people on Earth. Here's a Register story for background.

Sinclair and Mediacom are in a contract dispute, and they're both trying to negotiate, which is their right and I understand that. In the meantime, Sinclair is running spots on their station making people aware of the problem. I'm ok with that. They're also offering people rebates to screw Mediacom and switch to DirecTV. That's shaky, but life goes on.

BUT, last night they stepped way over the line. I'll acknowledge that KDSM is free to do what it will during regular programming, but last night, during a rain delay in the World Series, they ran a NEWS BROADCAST with the conflict as the top story. That's bullshit. There's no excuse for compromising the integrity of your news department for leverage in contract negotiations.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crappy tapping

A busier than usual office has forced me to miss a couple days of Tapper this week, and my scores today reflect my rust:

63075 (#3 overall)

I'll try to do better tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 25 is...

Independence Day (Kazakhstan)
Thanksgiving Day (Grenada)
Restoration Day (Taiwan)

Whether you're thankful, independent or in need or restoration this morning, I've got reads for you.

First and foremost, you won't find me blogging a lot about it, because I'm involved in it, I wanted to point out this story from the Register about Ed Fallon's third open records request to IDED in 2006. Hopefully this time we'll get answers.

Again today in the Register, we have claims that Michael Gartner, president of the Board of Regents, is working behind the backs of faculty at the Regents institutions. This comes on the heels of reports that Gartner and Board President Pro Tem Teresa Wahlert told the universities to plan as if state funding is going to dry up, which they denied despite the fact that it was confirmed by several credible sources.

I'm not sure if I'm the first to say this, but I want to make sure someone says it: Michael Gartner needs to resign. This is getting way out of hand. Whether these allegations are true or not, the fact that they keep coming up shows that Gartner, at best, has a poor working relationship with the people he's supposed to represent. Maintaining that relationship is one of the critical aspects of his job. If he can't do it, it's time for him to step aside and make room for someone who can. Once again, I'll nominate Nick Johnson.

The Des Moines Airport still isn't safe.

Finally, an answer to the age old question: Yes, chickens have lips, and they look delicious.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two columns worth reading:

Yesterday, Valley Junction gave out the Porkies, but I failed to notice that Todd Dorman announced the nominees for an equally important award, the Apathies:

With just two weeks left before Election Day, it's time to announce the nominees for the Apathies --- a coveted trophy intended to reward the best in political advertising and message craft.

The Apathies will be presented at a gala event on the Saturday after the election, unless no one cares enough to show up. Here are your nominees.

Go read it. Laugh. Then cry.

Brian Cooper of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald also wrote a great editorial today about election season that shows how hyperpartisanship has shaped our debate:

One thing has changed, at least in my observation, over the past three decades. It’s unfortunate that people seem less willing to accept that folks who hold a different opinion are not automatically bad, evil or stupid.

Democracy is about discussion, debate and decisions. Thoughtful people should be able to disagree without demonizing the other side. But it seems that people are less willing to believe that.

Take heart: Two weeks from Tuesday, Election 2006 will be history.

Click here to read it in the TH (free membership required) or here to read it on his blog (no membership required).


More on why your money doesn't matter.

A few weeks ago, I think I surprised some people a bit by advocating for small donors to hold on to their money and not waste it on campaigns where it will be a drop in the bucket.

Moments like this are exactly why. The Democratic Governor's Association pledged to donate another $150,000 to Chet Culver today. This is their third donation to Culver, raising their total to $1.15 million.

There's no way I can argue my donations are relevant when groups like the DGA give candidates more than I'm on pace to take home in the next 50 years.


Tuesday, October 24 is...

Independence Day (Zambia)

Quiet day on the international holidays front, I guess. Perhaps it's time to Ring Rang-a-Dong for a Holiday.

While it's a quiet day for international holidays, it's a tremendously busy day for Tom Alex of the Register, who has these three stories today:

The Des Moines Airport still isn't safe.

Apes can pull fire alarms too

If you're going to complain about the delivery time of a pizza, you should order the pizza first.

Also in today's Register: Two letter writers express a point I made last week: Waukee schools knew, at the very least, they were treading on thin ice with their logo, and now that they've been called on it, they should play by the rules.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Polling out all the stops:

Just because we all know I love polls:

The Muscatine Journal wants to know which gubernatorial candidate you're voting for. Results so far:

Nussle 44%
Culver 42%
Don't care 9%
Someone else 6%

Those numbers add up to 101%, but I doubt it's due to vote fraud. To the best of my knowledge, the Muscatine Journal is not using Diebold machines to count their votes.

Anyway, go vote.


Did they call the awards the Porkies?

From the Register:

West Des Moines officials and community members unveiled the glitz and glamour of an Oscar-style award show for their presentation to the Iowa "Great Places" advisory committee this morning.

Valley Junction is one of 12 finalists for the state's program. The program helps cities use state resources to accomplish renovation and economic redevelopment proposals.

Members of the Historic Valley Junction Foundation, as well as residents, business owners and city officials, presented awards based on the plans for the historic district.

Each idea for a project or improvement for Valley Junction was formatted into an award for one of the "Great Places" programs initiatives that was then presented to a community member.

I wonder what was in the "gift bags" they gave out to the audience.

This is exactly what's wrong with the state's current economic development strategy. Twelve communities compete, and presumably spend public funds to do so. At the end of the day, nine of them get to eat their losses, while three get to call themselves Porky award winners "Great Places." The thousands of remaining communities in Iowa will see no benefit, but will nonetheless get to pay the bill.

So, to sum up:


Three cities declared "Great Places."


Nine cities that spent public funds applying to be a "Great Place" but come away with nothing, and thousands of other Iowa cities that paid the taxes to make this contest possible, but didn't even get to compete.

That doesn't seem like a winning proposition to me.

Monday, October 23 is...

Chulalongkorn Day (Thailand)
Memorial Day (Hungary)
Peace Treaty Day (Cambodia)
National Canning Day

So if you needed an excuse to make it a 3-day weekend, there's four of them.

Three reads this morning:

A Bonobo at the Great Ape Trust pulled the fire alarm, and the Register was there. That's why they're the newspaper Iowa depends on. My favorite quote from the story:

"This is the first known case of an animal setting off the fire alarm in Des Moines," fire spokesman Brian O'Keege joked. "We will ask the Great Ape Trust to educate the occupants of the seriousness of their actions."

Neighborhood associations and other groups are all up in arms over the possibility of the new homeless shelter being located near them, which is why I find it enfuriating that no one has seen fit to make this point until now: It's working in Davenport.

Finally, campaign disclosure reports came out on Thursday. I haven't written about them because there's really not much to say that I haven't already said. But this Register story has led me to feel the need to say three things:

1) It's true that Jack Whitver outraised Ako in the last fundraising period. It's also true that none of his $6,285 raised in the last period came from his district. It's also true that if you remove $500 he gave himself, he only raised $400 from the entire city of Des Moines. To be fair, Ako also raised $0 in his district during the period.

2) While Whitver took no PAC money, Ako took in $4400 from PACs, 87.8% of his total.

3) Ako received donations from just nine individuals in the last reporting period, and I'm one of them.

After the primary but before CIETC, I was curious about Ako and didn't know much about him. So I took an invitation and attended his birthday party. I was one of the first people to arrive, and as such I got to spend a good deal of time talking to him, and left with a positive impression. As such, I left a check in the donations basket on the way out. Afterwards, CIETC broke, and the Creative Visions audit came up, and I haven't done anything else for any of the candidates in the race since. With that said, now that the audit is over and found nothing, I don't feel nearly as bad about it.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday, October 20 is...

The Bab's Birth (Baha'i)
Kenyatta Day (Kenya)
Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh)
Lailat al-Qadr (Islam)

It's a big day for holidays, but a slow day for posting. Just a few things today:

Two candidates are already on the ballot to run for the city council seat formerly held by Archie Brooks. As many as nine nore could appear. If only all elections were this popular. It's possible that past city council elections were decided by less than 11 voters.

I've missed Chelsea's style of storytelling, and I'm glad it's back. If you're not familiar with it, check out this post, titled "The Winners' Table."

Finally, Ted Sporer is back, and if Blogger ever lets me republish again I'll note that in the links on your right.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mike Blouin: "It's amazing how many people I can't delude."

From the Register:

Growing companies in Iowa have pledged to create and retain more than 30,000 jobs since 2003, a significant milestone, Michael Blouin, the state economic development leader, today told the Iowa Economic Development Board.

Still, Blouin acknowledged that critics of the state’s $50 million annual Grow Iowa Values program question whether the jobs are being created. Companies typically have three to five years to create the jobs — often time that’s needed to build new factories or offices that are needed before jobs can be added.

“The statistics are better than we imagined ... but it’s amazing at how many people don’t believe it,” said Blouin.

Allow me to remind you of something: all this money we've given away was in exchange for promised jobs. As of earlier this year, the most recent released report by the Department of Economic Development showed that less than 1,500 actual jobs had been created. At that point the state was claiming 25,000 jobs had been created. Also, IDED was unable to show proof that any company that had failed to create the promised jobs had returned a dime of their money.

In the middle of the night a few weeks ago, my doorbell rang. I went downstairs to answer it and it was a panhandler. He said he needed money to get to Winterset, and if I gave him a few dollars he would come back in the morning to pay me back. I handed him a few dollars. I knew I was being swindled but it was late and I wanted to go back to bed. I never saw him again, of course.

Claiming the Values Fund will create 30,000 jobs is like saying I still have the money I gave that panhandler, because he'll eventually return it. Maybe he will, but the odds are he won't. And the odds are most of the 376 companies IDED says they've helped with Values Fund money won't ever return their investments, either.

Someone is going to comment now and say I'm full of shit. Before you do, know that I'm going to ask you for proof. If you don't have it, don't waste your time.


Tremendous Tapping

I'm back from lunch, and that means it's time for today's Root Beer Tapper update.


The 64150 score is my highest ever (by over 7000 points), and answered an important question. You get an extra life at 20,000 points, then again every 60,000 points. I now know those additional extra lives start at 80,000, not 60,000.

The scoreboard, if you're scoring at home:


Help Mike Mauro win Pick a Progressive Patriot!

A blog reader, fellow Tapper, and Mike Mauro staffer sent me this email this morning:

Hopefully you can add this to your blog as we are participating in Sen. Feingold's Progressive Patriots contest. The highest number of votes on his poll will receive $5,000 from his PAC.


We could use all of the votes we can get. As you know, Sen. Feingold has been very generous to candidates running for the Iowa Senate. Let's keep up the generosity for Iowa!

Go vote and help Iowa elect someone with the experience and integrity to get the job done as our next Secretary of State.


Lynn Heuss' guest blog on yesterday's meeting with Elizabeth Edwards

Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to attend yesterday's blogger meeting with Elizabeth Edwards. Lynn Heuss attended on my behalf and authored this post.

I was invited to be a representative at two different forums with Elizabeth Edwards yesterday. Being asked to stand in for someone means that the person doing the asking shows a certain level of trust in the capacity of the person representing them to do and say those things that would be in line with their own principles and beliefs.

In this case, it was a rather informal gathering, but after a number of conversations with people in attendance (in which I was constantly aware that I was there as a representative for Denise O’Brien and the author of this blog – Kyle), I began to think of the responsibility we place on the people that represent us in public office. My role was minimal, but theirs can impact thousands of people. I also became even more cognizant of the expectations (often unrealistic and borderline selfish) that we place on them.

I continue to find myself liking Mari Culver and appreciating the sacrifices she and Chet are making in their bid for governor. She cares a great deal about her family, especially their young children, and the impact the limited, but significant, absence of their parents is making in their lives. While they have a very good support system, it appears to me that she also understands the need for balance. She is willing to travel the state and put in long days, independently of Chet, in order to be his representative, but she also knows when to say no to the travel so that she can stay home. She cares about the people that work for them, enough that she was willing to share a family dinner with them on one of the rare occasions recently when she and Chet were able to sit down as a family.

Elizabeth Edwards too seems to understand (in light of her broad range of life experiences) and emulate what it takes to be an excellent representative for an even broader group of constituencies. She lost a child in a tragic accident, she has experienced what originally could have been a life-threatening illness, she moved to Washington when her husband became a Senator, she is a successful attorney and author, and she works with him in their effort to eradicate poverty in this country. Unfortunately, that last constituency group is growing so rapidly that her sphere of influence may be increasing more than she wants. (As a brief aside, when I asked her how she and the Senator found connection with those in poverty, since they are not poor, she said, “You don’t have to experience poverty to have a kinship with the people who do.” She can say that because, while they haven’t personally experienced it, they have worked for and taken the time to get to know people who have, and that truly has impacted and energized their efforts.)

Both of these women are strong, intelligent, interesting and passionate individuals who have committed themselves to a life that they hope will make things better for many of the people they come in contact with—they want justice. Equally as important, both of these women expressed the need to have a strong support network, for their own personal support and in order to allow them to do the job set before them.

I have not yet read Elizabeth Edwards’ book, but she said the basic theme is connection and community. In places both expected and unexpected, she often found comfort, support, laughter, understanding and a willingness to join her in places of sorrow, fear, happiness and peace. The point may be that she was willing to look for and accept the help when she needed it and offered the same when she could.

Lots of politicians and public figures talk about community – the need for it and the value of it in our lives. Elizabeth Edwards connected with hairdressers and medical personnel, along with family and close friends. She looked for any and every opportunity where there were common points of contact and that led to meaningful exchanges. Sometimes, I believe she just made the opportunity happen. Some of the connections lasted moments, some will last her whole lifetime. Most have made her a better and richer person. All have taught her lessons – some with lasting and significant value, and others have helped her get through a certain period of time.

Along with expecting our public representatives to advocate for justice in all levels of government, it is my great hope that we too take responsibility to work for justice. I hope we learn, or remember, to become better neighbors again and that the word “community” isn’t just a political, “touchy-feely” buzzword. It takes a little more time, but it may lead us to “be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi).

Thursday, October 19 is...

Samora Machel Day (Mozambique)
Constitution Day (Niue)

Three things today:

Tom Alex from the Register must just be camping out at Wal Marts waiting for people to steal something lately. Click here to read today's installment about a man who tried to hide a TV under his groceries.

While I'm on the subject of police, you may notice I've pulled down the link for David Goodner's Press-Citizen blog, Straight Out of the Cornfield. I made the decision to do that based on this post from this morning, titled "Who do they serve and protect? Not you." In it, Goodner refers to the police as "The Iowa City Pig Department" and suggests that police are more interested in writing tickets for jaywalking and underage drinking than preventing sexual assault. He also wrote this post, titled "Only men can end rape." That's flatly unacceptable. I'm not sure why the Press Citizen continues to publish him, but I'm done with him.

Finally, Gavin announced last night that he's closing down his blog. Gavin is a great writer and will be missed.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bi-partisan criticism

Sometimes, life just works out.

I don't like either candidate for governor, as many of you probably know. It's part of the reason I don't write about the race very often. I also worry about balance. Every time I write about Culver, I feel like someone could break out their whiniest voice and say "But Nussle (insert negative)" and they'd be right. The same is true in reverse.

But today, it just so happens that they both did something dumb enough to merit mention.

First, I got an email from the Culver camp this morning, subject line "Chet Culver needs your help for the final debate!" I chuckled, then I opened it. Here are the three things they'd like me to do:


Join the Chet Culver Campaign Staff and volunteers at IPTV studios in Johnston to show your support of Chet Culver by waving signs as he arrives. We will be meeting at IPTV studios at 11:00am.

I'm not sure how many of my readers attended the IPTV debate before the primary, but if you did, you probably remember how ridiculous the yard signs were. Apparently both Blouin and Culver had decided they had nothing better for their volunteers to do, so they put out literally thousands of yard signs along Corporate Drive in Johnston. (Yes, the IPTV headquarters in Johnston are on Corporate Drive. It's ironic, I know.) I hope they were proud of themselves, because I know what the Fallon staff was thinking: "Wow, what a substanceless, pointless, shamefully self-promoting waste of time."

So when I got the invitation this morning to help smother IPTV in Culver signs, I once again thought, "Wow, what a substanceless, pointless, shamefully self-promoting waste of time."

Debate Watch Party:

Join the Chet Culver Campaign staff and volunteers at a debate watching party to cheer on Chet Culver. The party begins at 12:30 at the North End Diner.

North End Diner
October 21, 2006
12:30pm – 2:30pm
5055 Merle Hay Rd.

I don't do hyperpartisanship well. I'll pass.

Watch The Debate:

If you are unable to join us at the debate watch party in Des Moines, you can watch it live on your local Iowa Public Television Station. The Debate will be broadcast live statewide beginning at 1:00pm on IPTV.

So wait a second...this list is supposed to be full of things I can do to help Chet in the debate. Is he going to somehow feel better knowing I'm watching? Is he going to absorb my intelligence through the TV like The Riddler?

Probably not. So again, I'll pass. And I can't believe the Culver staff sent out a mass email just based on those three things.

Then I found this story at Radio Iowa:

Nussle says Values Fund "pretty good idea"

The Values Fund is a $50 million annual giveaway to companies hand-picked by a board in Des Moines. It's not proven to be successful. In fact, the Department of Economic Development has frequently refused to comply with requests to show its results. Even if it is working, at its best it's a $50 million dollar state expense used to lure and subsidize competitors for existing taxpaying businesses.

I very rarely agree with Iowans for Tax Relief, but in this case, I'm with them. Using tax dollars to lure and subsidize hand-picked winners and losers and calling it economic development is a waste of tax dollars. And Jim Nussle just came out in favor of it.


If you're going to have increased security at airports...

Wouldn't it make sense to have security all the time?

This story in today's Register should scare us all a bit:

The Des Moines Airport burglar was back this week, but this time he or she didn't get in.

Police said Comair, a Delta connection carrier, reported an attempted break-in on Tuesday. Someone tried to pry open a door to a manager's office, located behind Comair's main counter. It appears that a flat-head screwdriver was used on the door but it held firm.

There have been five burglaries or attempted burglaries at the Des Moines airport in 2006. All are unsolved. Let me see if I can make this one step clearer.

In an era where you can't take a water bottle on a plane for fear you'll make it explode, five people have broken into the place those planes depart from in ten months, and we don't know who they are.

I'm astounded by the fact that in our post 9-11 world, security at our airports is so lax that someone with no technology greater than a flat head screwdriver got into the airport, attempted to break into a room, failed, and escaped while no one noticed.

Does this scare the crap out of anyone else?


Wednesday, October 18 is...

Independence Day (Azerbaijan)
Day of the Liberals (Paraguay)
Persons Day (Canada)

From swo.gov.sk.ca, which I think is a Canadian governmental site:

On October 18, 1929, the British Privy Council decided that women were "persons" under Canadian law, and therefore eligible for appointment to the Senate. This decision was rendered after a lengthy legal and political struggle, known as the "Persons Case." Each year, the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case are presented on or around this date.

There's got to be something I can use to segue from that, but I can't find it. Here's some stuff:

A Carlisle man is making his third trip to jail in 2006, this time after being caught stealing an electric toothbrush from Wal Mart. In the non-surprising part of the story: his name is Billy Joe.

There's been lots of conversation in the past about the situation with Brent and Staci Appel, and I'm not going to add any more to it, but I did want to point out this Register story, showing that Staci's opponent has decided to make it an issue.

The Drake theater department is cleaning out their costume closet this weekend, just in time for Halloween. Go pick out a costume your significant other will be mortified to see you wearing at an inappropriate time, like when her parents are in town.

Or maybe I'm the only one who does things like that.

I've got one more thing this morning, but it merits its own post.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Maybe we should just call him Dr. Spencer?

His name is Selden Spencer. He's the Democrat running for Congress against Tom Latham in Iowa's fourth district. His first name is NOT Sheldon, and it's NOT Seldon.

But we're 21 days away from election day, and some notable Iowa politicians who are on his side still can't spell it.

I got an email from Tom Harkin this morning, subject line "Help Seldon Spencer take back Iowa's Fourth District." On the inside, it was spelled right in one place, but also included this picture:

There's only five Democratic Congressional candidates in Iowa, would it kill Tom Harkin (or his staff) to learn their names?


Tuesday, October 17 is...

Dessalines Day (Haiti)
Family Day (South Africa)

From Shagtown.com:

Dessalines Day, October 17. Anniversary of the death of Jean Jacques Dessalines (d.1806), revolutionary, was declared emperor in 1805.

So he was named emperor in 1805, and died in 1806. I've written morning roundup posts longer than that. This won't be one of them.

You can find analysis of the three gubernatorial debates anywhere but here. For analysis of last night's second district debate, however, go read Common Iowan and John Deeth. Kudos to both of those guys for taking the time to write about Iowa's only competitive, yet not nasty congressional campaign.

Waukee got the phone call from the University of Wisconsin this week that they must have been dreading, the one that starts with, "Hey, y'know how you've been using that logo that's basically ours in a different color?" At first glance, they look a little different. Then I looked at the shadow and recognized that they're nearly identical. Marc Hansen is also up in arms over this, but when a Waukee school official says this:

The Waukee W logo combined the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington logos, school officials said.

That's probably a pretty good sign that you've got a copyright problem. (UPDATE: It's actually a trademark problem.)

The Register has a boatload of information pieces on legislative candidates this morning, but I found this one on District 66 (formerly Fallon, soon to be Ako) interesting, largely because of this line buried in the fifth paragraph:

Des Moines officials also audited Creative Visions, a social services agency founded by Abdul-Samad, for discrepancies in the number of clients served. Last week, city officials said they found no evidence of wrongdoing.

So Ako was on the front page at least 5 times while Creative Visions was being audited, but once he was cleared of wrongdoing, the best they could do was bury that statement in the fifth paragraph of a story about his race. That's awful.

Finally, if you need a good laugh or something that will shake your faith in Congress a little further, check out this list of America's 10 dumbest congressmen, which I found via John Deeth. No Iowans on the list, but some pretty funny stuff about elected officials from both sides of the aisle.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Slow news day:

From the Register website this afternoon:

Waterfowl expert: Explosives could scare off geese

Gee, ya think?


Taking a Monday Tapper

Before today, I had never broken the 50,000 point plateau in Root Beer Tapper.

I did it three times today.

one game too low to mention

I also put another typo in the scoreboard, and didn't get a screenshot before it switched away. Oops.


Monday, October 16 is...

Updated below:

World Food Day (UN)
Heroes Day (Jamaica)

Some food for thought today:

The third district race just gets worse and worse, but today Jane Norman reports that over $3 million has now been raised between the two candidates. If you're looking for someone to blame for all the negative ads in this race, blame the candidates, for sure, but also bear in mind that none of it would be happening if not for their donors.

UPDATE: The First District race, which sounds equally nasty, has also topped $3 million.

Here's a lesson from Politics 101: When a candidate drops out, it helps the other candidates. Go ahead and read this Register story if you're new to the concept.

This editorial though, outlines one of the biggest problems with the Department of Human Services. None of us would get away with waiting months to pay our bills, but the DHS often sits on bills for subsidized child care for months.

Also, when parents apply for help with child care, it takes months to find out if they've been approved. Since they still need child care during that time, many child care providers do a good deed by taking care of children and waiting until later to get paid. And when the DHS turns parents down, many of these child care providers get stiffed. There's no reason it should have to be that way. Kudos to the Register for shining some light on that.

I know Chet Guinn. He's one of my favorite people in politics. I was severely disappointed when Tom Latham decided to attack him, but I was glad to see Marc Hansen step up to the plate on his behalf in this column.

There's an interesting note on Register polling and an update on the Appels in this post at Iowa Ennui.

And finally, I've added Bill Dix and Dave Nagle to the blog listings on your right. I haven't read much from either yet but I'm giving them a shot.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Tapping away

I guess I could regale you with tales of my work-avoiding Root Beer Tapper games.

Four games today:

49100 (a new high score)

My high scores, at this point:

JAA is actually also me. Damn typos.


Friday, October 13 is...

Rwagasore Day (Burundi)

I'm not finding much to write about today, and since it's already late in the day, I think that means I'm taking the day off.

Have a good one.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Broke my Root Beer Tapper record today

If Drew Miller was allowed to blog about Jeopardy, I'm allowed to blog about Root Beet Tapper.

New high score: 48,025

Is anyone else out there playing?

Thursday, October 12 is...

Independence Day (Equatorial Guinea)
Bull Festival (Japan)

Of course, if you're a frequent blog reader, you know every day is a Bull Festival.


Is it possible we're this dumb?

Here's a true "holy shit" moment for today:

The Quad City Times is polling today on North Korea, asking how the US should react to recent nuclear tests. There are five options, ranging in severity from nothing at all to engaging in nuclear war. 31% of poll participants said we should "Impose economic sanctions." I'm not sure there's much more we can take away from them, but that's the answer that seems most logical to me.

On the other hand, the second most popular option, chosen by 27% of voters, was "Strike first: Drop a nuke on them."

In other news, 27% of Quad City Times readers have been diagnosed as out of their goddamn minds.

All about food this morning

Working from home this morning, so I'll have to come back to today's headlines.

Instead, this morning's post is all about the race for Secretary of Ag. In case you've missed it, Farm Bureau is rather upset about Denise O'Brien's intention to serve Iowa, not them, so they've gone negative and taken to the mail, telling members that Denise is "not a friend of traditional agriculture." That's bullshit.

There's no policy talk in the letter, and there's no specifics on Denise. It's simply a slam. So yesterday, Denise did the right thing. She got some disgruntled Farm Bureau members together to talk about it and show that while the organization's leadership may be taking the slimy path, many of the organization's members aren't. You can read coverage of the press conference in the Register, on Radio Iowa, and at Political Forecast.

Hopefully now that this has been covered, we can get back to a real issue: the fact that food safety concerns like the recent one with spinach could have a dramatic impact on our food security if we don't do more to protect ourselves.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Board of Regents approaching senility

According to the Iowa City Press Citizen, Michael Gartner and Teresa Wahlert, President and President Pro Tem of the Iowa Board of Regents, told U of I faculty members to make future plans as if state funding for the universities will end within the next 5 to 10 years. Several U of I officials, including the Staff Council President, Faculty Council President, a past Faculty Council President and the student body president have attributed the quote to Gartner.

The problem? Both Gartner and Wahlert deny ever saying it.

The prospect is scary. A sudden withdrawal of state funding from the universities would likely mean a dramatic rise in tuition, an immediate decrease in staff and faculty salaries and the kind of institutional decline that would take Iowa City from being a world-class center for academia to another midwestern city with a college in it. Multiple reputable sources say the Board of Regents is predicting this, but the two top officials of the board deny saying what at least half a dozen people heard them say.

The other frightening thing about it: If Michael Gartner were lying about this, it wouldn't come as a suprise. I don't link to State 29 very often anymore, but this is a pretty good synopsis of some of the charges Gartner ran up while working for NBC before his time with the Regents.

The Board of Regents is also under investigation for their role in the departure of former U of I President David Skorton. At the time I thought that was a reach, but now that I see they're threatening to pull all funding from the university, I think it seems a bit more plausible.


Some Fiscal Fun

If these two stories had waited a couple of days, they could have been Friday Fiscal Fun, but alas, it's only Wednesday.

Via David Yepsen's blog: State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald thinks it's time to cut IPERS benefits for new state employees.

This is the kind of thing he wouldn't dare say if he had a November opponent. I'm also not sure it's a good idea. When Culver initially announced his plan to tinker with IPERS, I said:

I'm not sure how much clearer I can make this: People who have worked for the state for decades, likely at below market value, are relying on that money for food and medicine.

The same applies here. Many state employees, especially new hires, are going to spend decades of their life working for the state at below market value under intense scrutiny due to the legacy left behind by a generation of predecessors that include Archie Brooks, Ramona Cunningham and others. The least we can do is give them the best possible retirement plan, health insurance and the like.

On another fiscal note, the Tax Update Blog has a post from Chris Atkins of the Tax Foundation, explaining why Iowa is ranked 43rd out of 50 states in state business tax climate. The short version:

Iowa's corporate tax rates are higher than 45 other states, plus loopholes and incentives which add complications.

Iowa has 9 different income tax brackets for individuals, only one other state has more. They've also done a poor job adjusting those brackets for inflation.

Federal tax deductibility also creates extra loopholes.

So Joe and I both agree on one point, we need to simplify the tax code, and to do that we need to close some loopholes. Once that's done, though, I'd rather use the money to do tangible things like properly funding education and getting health care for the 330,000 Iowans that don't have it than spend that money trying to improve a "tax climate" ranking.

But then again, Joe's a fiscal professional and I'm a liberal with a journalism degree.


Wednesday, October 11 is...

Antifascist Day (Macedonia)

The jokes relating to that are too obvious, so I'll let you go ahead and make them yourself.

I made a decision this morning: I'm not giving any more money to candidates this election cycle. I made that decision after reading three posts:

First, this post at Common Iowan, asking who you would give $100. I read this post and remembered that the average successful candidate for State House spends well over $10,000, so at best giving them $100 is supplying 1% of their budget.

Then, I read this post from Iowa Progress this morning, about GOTV for satellite voting:

By definition, any successful GOTV effort looks a little harassing...The truth is, it’s worth it to annoy five people to get to the one who doesn’t know there’s an election going on. I hope when the dust settles, our peers will be forgiving of our incessant door knocking, calling, flyering, and well, harassment.

At least they didn't use robocalls, I guess.

Finally, I read this post from Thoughts for the Oasis Amidst the Corn, where Matt invites us to sponsor his daughter (a kindergartner), who is running in a road race to benefit Iowa City schools.

The three posts came together in my head and caused me to write this response to Common Iowan:

The sad truth is, if it's just you operating in a vacuum, your $100 isn't going to be significant enough to make a difference in any of the races across the state. I've given out $550 in donations since the primary and I'm not sure that much has made a difference, either.

In an ideal world, everyone's contributions matter, but in the real world, the $100 I've got in my pocket would be less than 1% of the operating budget for even a candidate for state house. So I'll pocket my hundred and hold onto it until the day when I can pool it together with others to make it notable.

There are some other thoughts I'd like to add to that at this point.

1) Most contributions to candidates at this point will be spent on the most annoying things candidates do: (potentially negative) advertising and robocalling. I'm not tremendously excited to hand out money to be used in various forms of harassment. While the folks at Iowa Progress may seem to think harassment is a necessary evil, I would rather not be harassed at this point. Especially when it's "incessant."

2) There are a lot of worthy causes out there that produce actual good, not just promised good that may go away after November 7 or after your candidate takes office. Within the last week I've given money to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Iowa City Schools (by sponsoring Matt's daughter), and I'm saving up money to give to Child's Play, as I do every Christmas.

So, I'm done for this cycle. I'll be back to help candidates next time.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Root Beer Tapper

I used to find that I always had a hard time refocusing after lunch.

Now I play Root Beer Tapper. If you grew up in my generation and spent as much time with video games as I did, you'll probably remember it. If you didn't, you're probably better off.

Anyway, every day after lunch I play four games and then get back to work.

My high score is around 48,000. See if you can beat it.


Opinions, large and small:

If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out this piece in today's New York Times on the Secretary of Ag race. Even thousands of miles away, people are talking about local control.

But in today's Muscatine Journal, they're talking about how Muscatine has too many stop signs.


Tuesday, October 10 is...

Republic Day (Taiwan)
Sports Day (Japan)

I can think of no better way to celebrate Sports Day than by watching the Yankees-free ALCS Game One tonight.

Some things to read between now and then:

From the Register: Wilton mayor's career wilts after being caught dealing marijuana.

If you didn't have enough reasons to dislike John Mauro already, Marc Hansen wants to tell you about more of them.

Apparently David Yepsen is having an odor-themed week. On Sunday, he wrote about the need to eliminate odor from hog confinements. Today, he writes about the gubernatorial campaign. It's another sign of how ugly things have gotten: even Yepsen is calling for the end of negative ads.

If middle schoolers could vote, the Culver camp would already be writing the attack ad: A vote for Nussle is a vote for more homework. IE has the details.

Finally, in a non-political note, my good friend Emeric's blog is sometimes hilarious, and he hit the jackpot today:

So I will take solace that the company that markets Herbal Essence (which had some pretty racy commercials to being with) has released a new brand/style/flavor: Dangerously Straight.

I can hardly wait until they release Safely Gay, Delightfully Bi-Curious, and Treacherously Castrated.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Plugging polls:

Three interesting polls on newspaper web sites today:

The Muscatine Journal wants to know if you're in favor of allowing properly trained teachers to arm themselves. So far, 78% (including me) say no.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier wants to know what issue will decide your vote in November. So far, 33% have voted for the war on terror.

The Sioux City Journal wants to know if you watch Fox News. Amazingly, 55% have voted yes. That's a little scary.


So what SHOULD a Lt. Governor do, then?

David Yepsen has a new blog post up today, about an interesting stance Jim Nussle took in his meeting with Register editors and reporters:

Nussle, in an interview with reporters and editors of The Des Moines Register, said “I think it’s wrong that Sally Pederson is chairman of the Democratic Party. That is not the right role for the lieutenant governor. I’ve not called a press conference to say you ought to resign because there’s also nothing that says you can’t.”

Nussle said “it’s beneath the office to be that overtly political.”

Nussle goes on to say that he'd like to involve BVP in more policy issues, and Yepsen does a good job of showing that the role of Lt. Governor really has no identified responsibilities as long as the existing governor has a pulse.

So what should Iowa's second-ranked elected official be doing with their time? Perhaps more importantly, is there anything they should be prohibited from doing? I tend to think no. Feel free to offer your thoughts.


1330 Iowans can't lose at Iowa casinos

According to the Register:

About 1,330 people have signed up for an Iowa program that bans them for life from state-licensed racetracks and casinos.

If participants are discovered on casino premises, they can be charged with trespassing. If they win at a casino, Iowa law requires that they not be paid, but instead deposit winnings in the Gambling Treatment Fund.

1330 down, 2.998 million to go.

The frightening thing, though, is that while this rule is working for some, some are still gambling with absolutely no chance of striking it rich:

In fiscal 2006, state officials said $182,041 in winnings confiscated at casinos from self-exclusion violators were deposited in the Gambler's Treatment Fund. So far, $17,183 in winnings have been forfeited since July 1. Forfeited prizes ranged from $8 to $16,105.

All of these figures probably do not include Touchplay machines, which gave these problem gamblers a whole new opportunity to lose their paycheck in gas stations and grocery stores.

Nonetheless, though, congratulations go out to these 1330 gamblers. By taking steps to make sure they won't gamble at all, they're getting better odds than the rest of us.


Monday, October 9 is...

Independence Day (Uganda)
Columbus Day

Some other things to discover today that won't involve the systemic elimination of most of a continent's native population:

It took three tries, but a robber got $85 from a Des Moines Burger King. Imagine how many times he probably circled the drive-thru.

I've heard from some people on the inside lately who are saying the Iowa Environmental Council isn't doing enough work on clean water, but they did get a nice article in the Register today on ethanol, so I guess that's something.

The Register Editorial Board came out with a stance on the 2006 elections today that's nearly identical to mine:

It would be sad if the Republican Party were to lose control of Congress next month because of a scandal over a former member's sexually suggestive e-mails. There are far more important issues on which Republican leaders should be judged.

David Yepsen has decided the hog industry would be fine if we had odorless pigs. A longtime reader and friend sent me this thought:

Hey man - can you believe Yepsen yesterday? The only problem is odor. He probably thinks that's the only problem with his ass, too. (missing the fact that his head is jammed up it.)

That's about as good as anything I would've said.

Four more letter writers took negative ads to task on Sunday. I saw positive ads for both Culver and Nussle yesterday. I don't know if that's a coincedence or not. I also think it might be too little too late for both candidates.

On Friday, I was angry about this post from Iowa Progress on the IDP's new website to "Stop GOP Smear." As it turns out, I'm not the only one on the left frustrated by it. Another Iowa Progress contributor has taken the author to task. Kudos to "Freeda" for stepping off the party line.

After months of waiting, The Chelsea Lepley Fan Club has resumed meetings. You should be as excited as I am.

That's not excited enough.

Ok, now you're probably too excited. Try not to urinate on yourself.

There, that's about right. Chelsea is back in the "Favorite blogs" section in the links on your right.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Guest blog on Shelter situation

The following post is by my good friend Lynn Heuss.


Going for a bike ride often presents me with an opportunity to think. Last Saturday was a beautiful day, and I went for a ride from downtown Des Moines to Cumming. As I was riding, I remembered a time I had been with a friend and we had stopped to pick (and eat) wild berries along the same trail. The reason we were able to do so was because my friend knew where and what to look for. Had I been by myself, I would have missed the opportunity. Sometimes this same friend has grabbed other kinds of plants (that look like weeds to me) and eaten them. I’m pretty sure they were a legitimate source of food, but I have to admit I’ve had my doubts. If nothing else, I look back on some of those experiences and it makes me smile to remember. Humor is a gift between friends too.

Part of the reason I told this story was because it shows (in a small way in this case) the value and importance of friendship and connection to a community made up of family, co-workers and friends.

That is not the case with so many in the homeless community. Many end up homeless because they have lost all connection to whatever community, or support network they had. While no one can make those kinds of connections for another person, we can work to provide other resources – at least the basics needed to survive.

The proposed location for the Shelter has created an outcry against it by some of the local neighborhood associations. And I don’t get it -- especially when the arguments follow this pattern. A woman at the City Council meeting said, “I am a good Christian woman and I want those people to be taken care of, but…..” I can guarantee you that nearly every time someone begins a statement with “I am a Christian, but,” the “but” is going to be nothing about the kind of Christianity that Jesus actually called people to live into. It will be some kind of bullshit statement that is based on unfounded fears. (I have a bachelor’s degree in Religion and a nearly completed Masters in Theology, so I can say “Jesus” and “bullshit” in the same sentence. Especially when I’m pretty sure he might have wanted to say the same thing about some of the reasons that were given.)

Bad things happen all over our city, in all of our neighborhoods. The homeless population doesn’t have the corner on the market. Maybe if we spent more time being actual neighbors rather than just a member of a neighborhood association, we’d dispel some of the fear that can be created when faced with a population we don’t understand. The Register had a good editorial about the Shelter yesterday. I hope you’ll read it and consider what you might do to help make it a reality.

Friday, October 6 is...

Ivy Day (Ireland)
Moon Cake Day (China)
National Storytelling Fest

It's hilarious that National Storytelling Fest comes on the same day as this post from Iowa Progress, which should win some kind of medal for one-sided storytelling:

The Iowa Democratic Party today announced a new web site, StopGOPSmear.com, that attempts to expose the Republicans’ smear tactics and respond to them with the facts.

Well, I for one am glad the Democrats have finally decided to stand up for themselves. I mean, they'd never create websites to attack candidates, right?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wandering for a moment:

A mishmash of things:

After struggling to finish it for a long time, I lent my copy of The Great Good Place to a friend. About the same time, I picked up Bob Newhart's book, I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!. It got off to a bit of a slow start, but I'm on page 65 now and pages 30-60 have been a lot funnier than pages 0-30. At this point, I'd recommend it.

By the way, I usually link to pages to buy books on Amazon because it's an easy way to show you a description of the book, but I typically don't buy books there. If you're looking to buy a book, I'd recommend The Book Store.

It'd been a while since I'd read the Muscatine Journal, but I went back to it today and there was another terrible headline on the front page: "Anonymous dumpers who chucked a fridge into the Cedar River have a neighbor ticked off"

Finally, I linked to Cathy Haustein's blog earlier, I just wanted to let you know I've also added it to the list of links on your right.


Thursday, October 5 is...

Republic Day (Portugal)
Constitution Day (Vanutatu)
Oxfam Day

Even Wikipedia has no idea what Vanutatu is.

UPDATE: Apparently my calendar has a typo, it's not Vanutatu, it's Vanuatu, "the world's happiest place."

I'm also not sure what Oxfam Day is. If you know something about either of these topics, feel free to enlighten me.

UPDATE: A reader informs me that Oxfam Day probably has something to do with Oxfam International, which makes sense.

Some sources of enlightenment I'm willing to offer in exchange:

Cathy Haustein is a candidate for State House from Pella, and I recently discovered her blog. This post lays out some concrete goals for House Democrats moving forward. For once, I'm on the same page with them.

Yesterday, the Register was looking into the possibility that impounded vehicles were being sold to insiders at discounted costs, and Tim Cox of R&R Towing said this:

"You're digging into something that's not worth your time."

Today, we discover Cox bought a motorcycle valued at $8,000-$10,000 for $100, and employees of the sheriff's department approved the sale. Unless R&R frequently gives out 98.8%-off sales to all of its customers, I'd say that's worth digging into.

IECDB Executive Director Charlie Smithson says we need to clarify the law on district residency, in light of the fact that John Mauro is claiming to live with his sister so he can continue to run in his district. If we had elected officials who were decent enough to be honest about it, I guess it wouldn't be a problem.

John Deeth has a wealth of experience from a variety of past ventures, and in his best posts lately, he ties them back to current situations. This post, talking about the Democrats' 50-state strategy in reference to his State House race in 1996, is a must-read.

Finally, yesterday I stepped up to defend another blogger from a charge of misogyny. Today, for bringing it up, I'm being called a "sneaky bastard." Stefanie, if you're reading this, and I'd guess you will, I would encourage you to do your homework before you call serving in the Iowa Senate a "part-time job." I would also encourage you to look at your future posts as an opportunity to extend debate, not an opportunity to jump to conclusions and resort to name-calling. If you can't do those things, then it would probably be for the best if I washed my hands of the conversation at this point.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What constitutes misogyny?

I've been watching (and to some extent participating) in an interesting conversation today and wanted to bring it to this stage as well.

If you're not familiar with the bios of Brent and Staci Appel (Brent is a lawyer, potential nominee for the Iowa Supreme Court and an adviser to Culver, Staci is a former financial consultant and candidate for State Senate), you can check out this post from Iowa Ennui that lays it out in more detail.

Here's where it gets interesting. On top of having the loads of responsibilities listed above, the Appels have four children, aged 2, 3, 6 and 7. Ennui raises an interesting question: With two rather heavy political agendas in the same family, where are they finding the time to raise four young children? (It's also worth noting that Brent will be 70 when his youngest graduates from high school, far beyond what I'd consider to be my "parenting years," but it's not related to the point.)

At this point, Stefanie enters the debate. She mischaracterizes the previous post a bit, saying "Today Iowa Ennui suggested that a woman (and her husband) care more about a political "agenda" than they do their own small children." I think that's a bit too much. She also suggests that the whole conversation is misogynistic.

I don't think it is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing the Appels of neglecting their children. But when two parents are trying to balance nomination for a seat on the Iowa Supreme Court, a law practice, a campaign for state senate, and four children that have yet to reach the third grade, I think it's fair to ask "Is this really going to work?"

Am I a misogynist for thinking that?


Lottery losers:

Given the $200 million winner in Powerball and the news today that a woman in Ankeny won $21,000 on a scratch-off ticket, I'm feeling the need to republish this exchange of letters between Ed Fallon and Ed Stanek of the Iowa Lottery:

May 12, 1998:

To: The Honorable Ed Fallon

Over the years I have had the particular enjoyment of seeing lottery winners from across our state. Although jackpot winners only come occasionally, we do have $100,000 winners on a regular basis.

I'd like to introduce the latest $100,000 winner from your district. (name withheld) from Des Moines won $100,000 in the Powerball game on May 5, 1998. We, of course, sent him our best wishes along with a check. I thought you might want to offer your best wishes also.

We will continue to send you the names of winners in your district as they occur. Best of luck to you, too.

Edward J. Stanek,
Commissioner, Iowa Lottery

I responded with this letter:

May 21, 1998

To: Edward J. Stanek

Over the years I have had the particular distress of seeing lottery losers from across our state. Although both jackpot and $100,000 winners only come occasionally, we do have losers on a regular basis.

If you have it, I'd appreciate a list of all my constituents who play the lottery and lose. I would like to offer them my condolences. I will also suggest they find a better use for their money, and the operative slogan they shold bear in mind is, "If you don't play, you can't lose."

You may continue to send me the names of the rare lottery winners in my district, if you like, though I must inform you that I have no intention of congratulating them. Winning the lottery is, as I believe your letter implies, simply a matter of luck.

I frequently congratulate people on a hard-earned accomplishment or a task well done. Congratulating someone on being lucky enough to win the lottery is like congratulating the lone survivor of a plane crash. Thank you.

Ed Fallon
state representative


Wednesday, October 4 is...

Independence Day (LeSotho)
Peace Day (Mozambique)
St. Francis of Assisi

Some less than saintly activities to report on today:

In the increasingly laughable Clive red-light camera situation, less money was made in September than August. When the program started, Clive needed over 1,100 people each month to run red lights and get caught to get the expected revenue. That's slightly less than 1 in every 10 Clive residents getting busted every month. Now, though, we have an even bigger surprise: after the red light cameras have appeared in the Register daily for almost a week, fewer people are running red lights. Shocking.

According to Tim Cox of R&R Towing, investigating inside dealings is "not worth your time."

Also not worth your time: building new prisons. Especially when we're just going to catch drug offenders, fail to get them treatment and release them to re-offend. Culver and Nussle want to spend money on more prisons anyway, though.

Finally, John Mauro's residence may be outside his County Supervisor district, but it's ok, because he's telling the county he lives with his sister. How can people possibly re-elect this guy?


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday, October 3 is...

Morazan Day (Honduras)
Foundation Day (Korea)
Germany Unity Day

Let me start off with one key point: I didn't watch the debate last night, and if you did, you probably made a mistake. If you're an undecided voter, sorry, I wasn't talking about you. But the rest of you, especially those of you that wrote headlines like "Chet totally wins!" in your blog post after the debate, wasted your time.

You see, if you're a partisan, odds are you already know who you're going to vote for. You've decided you like Culver's utter lack of responsibility dashing good looks or Nussle's potential for fiscal disaster leadership experience, and you're effectively done with the game. So if you're still playing it and analyzing the carnage created when two terrible candidates repeatedly stumble over, attack and attempt to out-clever each other, I don't understand you.

Other notes from today:

You can tell we're bored with candidates when David Yepsen starts suggesting write-in alternatives.

Couple steals man's car, forces him to sign over title: Thankfully police intervened before the robbers took him to the bank to apply for a second mortgage as well.

Maybe I'm channeling Nicolai Brown, but this story feels like free speech in question. If these posters were about anything that's not anarchy, would anyone care?

A debate is building about the proper nickname for Clive residents. Some prefer Clivers, Clivites or Clivitians. I tend to prefer "people who got tricked into buying red light cameras."