Friday, January 26, 2007

A QUICK ASIDE: What're you doing tonight and tomorrow?

Yeah, I know, I've been gone for a while. I could make excuses about being busy or the volume of time it takes to be a consistent blogger, but neither of those are really the problem. I'm bored. Posting will resume when I return from my mental vacation.

In the meantime, here are the two things I'm doing this weekend. First, tonight:

On January 26th, live from Don's Pub in Donahue, IA, Scott County Wrestling and Lederman's Bail Bonds presents Winter of Discontent 2007!

At SCW Genesis, Marek Brave successfully defended his SCW Championship against Danny Daniels in one of the most brutal matches in the history of Scott County Wrestling. It was back and forth, toe-to-toe and no disqualification in a match that closed the door on a feud that has been raging on for two years. Now that one of the greatest rivalries in SCW history is said and done, what's next for SCW Champion Marek Brave? Will somebody in the SCW locker room step up to the plate? Perhaps at Winter of Discontent, we'll find out.

At Genesis, Shane Hollister & Ben N. Sane became the new #1 contenders to the SCW Tag Team Titles defeating The Origional S&M (Montoya X and AJ Smooth) and are entitled to an SCW Tag Team Title match against reigning champions The Mississippi Madman and Krotch.

Tony Scarpone defeated the debuting Adam Evans at Genesis, but was immediately confronted by Mark Storm after the match. Storm proclaimed that now that SCW stars Keith Walker and Rob Anthony have both left for WWE, Tony Scarpone is on his own and he's #1 on Mark Storm's hit list. What will Mark Storm have waiting for Tony Scarpone on January 26th?

"Metal Head" Steve Stone made his return to Scott County Wrestling and welcomed himself back with a tag team victory over Tyler Black and Mikey Maxim with the help of midwest wrestling star, Silas Young to continue his impressive winning streak. Stone will be in action and looking to keep is current success continuing.

Also scheduled to be in the house on January 26th: Danny Daniels, Mikey Maxim, "The Glamazon" Bobbi Dahl, #1 Playa Woody Maguire, The Origional S&M, Boris, Johnny Wisdom, Steven Youngblood, Tony Rican, Hardcore KC and QC Champion Kyle Rich.

SCW Winter of Discontent 2007
January 26th, 2007
Doors Open: 6pm - Bell Time: 7pm

Don's Pub
101 Main St.
Donahue, IA

And on Saturday:

3XWrestling - A New Beginning

January 27th, 2007

Waukee Middle School
905 Warrior Lane
Waukee, IA

Doors open 7:15 pm, Bell time 7:30 pm

Featuring :

The 2nd Round of the 3XW Heavyweight title tournament:

Gage Octane vs. "Delicious" Devin Carter

Brian Ash vs. Tony Scarpone

Other matches:

MTV Wrestling Society X star "The Anarchist" Arik Cannon
Danny Daniels

3XW Tag Team Championship
Ben Sailer & Nate Bash (c)
The Northstar Express - Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz

Hunter Matthews vs. Tyler Cook

Six Man Tag Team Action
Casanova, Ryan Slade & Zach Thompson
Dan Lawrence, Jimmy Rockwell & Ricky Kwong

Plus the 3XW debut of Ring of Honor, Chikara, AAW & IWA-MS star Trik Davis !!!

Also in action : Bryce Benjamin, "The Rebel" Jeremy Wyatt, Krotch, Aaron Masterson, Kraig Keesaman & more.

Tickets - $15 Front Row, $10 General Admission in advance or $12 the day, Kids 10 & Under $6, Kids 3 & Under are free admission.

So c'mon out and see a show. It'll be fun.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

READ: Thursday, January 18 is...

Foundation Day (Lima, Peru)
St. Prisca (Texco, Mexico)

Interestingly enough, today's lone read deals with the foundation of the caucuses.

John Deeth
has a great post up this morning, possibly the best one I've ever seen him write, on the potential impact of non-anonymous voting in a Democratic presidential race where a woman and a black man are top contenders. Absolutely worth a read, and possibly worth picking up again to reconsider after the caucus.

I've heard several arguments against the caucuses lately, not the least of which is this whiny one from Geraldine at Iowa Progress about how poor Poweshiek County only gets to send 21 delegates to state convention. (The logic is pretty simple. It's the DEMOCRATIC Party's state convention, so they decide representation based on how many Democratic voters are in your county. More votes in the election = more votes at state convention.)

Another argument is that they don't accurately represent the vote totals of lesser candidates. For example, I've had several people tell me that Kucinich was only a vote or two away from getting a delegate in several Des Moines precincts in 2004, but didn't reach the threshold and therefore got nothing. It's a fair argument and I think it's relevant to a point, but at the end of the night Iowa Democrats have bigger concerns than accurately displaying the support of candidates who finished fifth or worse.

Deeth's argument, on the other hand, is probably the most credible threat to a fair caucus. I think the possibility that voters going against Clinton or Obama will be labeled prejudiced will net them some votes. But there's more to it than that. How many voters won't want a fight when they get home so they'll just follow their spouse into a preference group? Or their boss?

In the end, I like the caucus structure for its unique nature and feel, which is what drew me to my first caucus as a student in 2004. But I worry about the accuracy of its results if voters feel the need to go along with others in the room.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

READS: Wednesday, January 17 is...

Skanderbeg Day (Albania)

From Wikipedia:

George Kastrioti
(born Gjergj Kastrioti, May 6 (disputed), 1405 - January 17, 1468), better known as Skanderbeg (Turkish:İskender Bey), is one of the most prominent historical figures in the history of Albania and the Albanian people. He is also known as the Dragon of Albania and is the national hero of the Albanians. He is remembered for his struggle against the Ottoman Empire, through the work of his first biographer, Marin Barleti.
Moving on. Short reads today, as I need to get to work:

Two important questions today, and they both involve Sen. Obama's presidential "exploration." First, Popular Progressive answers the question I've asked before: "Aside from being a rock star, what does Obama stand for?"

Then, Leftist Logic asks another interesting question: Is this the right time for him to run?

That's all for now. No, I'm not going to waste your time with CIETC crap today. You could get that anywhere.


Monday, January 15, 2007

READS: Monday, January 15 is...

Dr. Martin Luther King Day (US)
Thai Pongal (Hinduism)

From Wikipedia:

Pongal (Tamil: பொங்கல்) is a Hindu festival to give thanks for the harvest. Pongal in Tamil means 'boiling over'. Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the event.

Pongal is celebrated by all people in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as Tamils worldwide, including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

While Pongal is predominantly a Tamil festival, the same festival celebrated in several other places under different names. In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, the harvest festival Sankranthi is celebrated. In northern India, it is called Makara Sankranti. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is the date of the annual kite-flying day, Uttarayan. It also coincides with the bonfire and harvest festival in Punjab and Haryana, known as Lohri.

I've spent the last couple of hours harvesting some reads for you. No festival necessary.

I'm pleased to see state legislators working on strengthening and freshening the Open Records and Open Meetings laws. There are two major disappointments in the article, though:

1) According to the story (and there's no source quoted on this), the process might take two years.

2) People like Susan Judkins of the Iowa League of Cities seem to think this is a tremendous opportunity to limit their accountability:

Judkins also said that the cities want the Legislature to review a decision made last year as part of the CIETC scandal, requiring intergovernmental agencies to publish financial records and other decisions made by the agency.

"Many of these agencies really have no money and are used by governments to hold down costs on joint efforts," Judkins said. "We think the Legislature went too far on requiring the publishing of this information and would like them to reconsider it."
If these organizations really have no money, then why should they be afraid to publish that? These are organizations run on tax dollars, presumably for the public good. They should be accountable at every turn of the road. But apparently the Iowa League of Cities doesn't want you to know about them.

The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Bureau has fined the Iowa Department of Corrections $92,000 for four workplace incidents resulting in injury, three of which resulted in injuries to inmates. The DOC is appealing the fines. Again, I take issue with a quote:

Money to pay the fines - $12,000 at Fort Madison, $80,000 at Newton - would come from the corrections department and be deposited into the state's general fund, "which is a lot like robbing Peter to pay Paul," said Gail Sheridan-Lucht, a state lawyer for the safety bureau.
This is not robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is fining a negligent state organization for leaving inmates and state employees in situations that resulted in injuries, including the loss of a finger. And that quote didn't come from the Department of Corrections. It came from the people who handed down the fine in the first place. That's hardly the attitude to take when promoting workplace safety.

On Thursday, I admitted in a post that I don't know a lot about Jimmy Carter. I'm pleasantly surprised by the level of discussion that one comment created. There's ten comments up now from both sides of the political spectrum discussing Carter's legacy. Definitely worth a read.

The Republican Party of Iowa has lost control of both houses of the state legislature, lost a race for governor, lost two seats in Congress, and ran a joke of a race for Secretary of State, but party chair Ray Hoffman was re-elected by the state central committee over the weekend. I'll defer to Common Iowan on this one, I think he did the best job of summing up the situation.

But finally, while we're on the subject of party chairs, I'm greatly disappointed, angered and disgusted by something Polk County GOP chairman Ted Sporer had the balls to say on Friday:

What do birds do? They flock together. So what do the Syrian Baathist dictator Bashar Assad, Iranian Islamofacsist President Mahmoud “Israel’s Days Are Numbered” Ahmadinejad and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin have in common?

They all oppose U.S. victory in Iraq. Kind of makes you wonder whose side Harkin is on doesn’t it.
Ted, it's moments like this hyperpartisan, reckless, oversimplified statement about a US Senator that make me happy we're on opposite sides. Because when I'm on the same side with someone who says something this ridiculous, I'm typically embarrassed to admit it.


Friday, January 12, 2007

READS: Friday, January 12 is...

Zanzibar Rev. Day (Tanzania)
Memory Day (Turkmenistan)

Sadly, it's not a real memorable news day.

Stivers Ford in Waukee hit the jackpot today, though: They bought some air time late at night on a channel that Mediacom customers can't get and early in the morning on a station no one watches, and the Register wrote a story on it. Maybe I'll buy half an hour of airtime at 3 in the morning to talk about how awful the Register is and get some coverage.

One positive on the editorial side of today's Register, though: They're finally getting back to talking about the importance of government oversight. It's about time.

I had been wondering how Culver and Blouin were going to coexist: I guess now I know.

I think it's possible that Sinclair and KDSM are enjoying the level of free publicity they're getting by being in the Register every day now that they're no longer on cable. They got another story in the Register today by refusing to go to arbitration.

I'm sick of this problem, so I'm making this my last word on it. I don't have an antenna and I don't plan to get one. I would watch several Fox shows if they were available to me, but they're not so I'll live without them. And this is the last time I'm going to mention Sinclair or KDSM in this space until they're back on cable. I'd like to take this opportunity to challenge other media outlets to do the same. If you want this story to end, let it die.

Finally, I'm not entirely sure on the meaning of this post from Iowa Ennui, but I think it's worth pointing out.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

FEATURE: Is it time to re-think the way we teach history?

I got home from work a bit early today, so I was watching Jeopardy. There was a category on the American Revolution. One woman nailed the first three questions, all the while looking somewhat peeved that neither of the other contestants knew the answer. Time ran out on the round before she could sweep the category.

Watching this reminded me of a conversation I had in Wisconsin over the holidays. I was in a bar with my dad, a friend of his and a bartender eating dinner and watching the news. President Ford had just died days earlier. The reporter mentioned that only four current and former presidents were still alive. I was the only one who could name all four (Bush II, Clinton, Bush I and Carter). I was also the only one in the conversation who wasn't alive when Jimmy Carter was president.

Aside from the basics, I don't really know much about Jimmy Carter. I'd bet most people from my generation don't. The way we teach history creates a real perception problem. I took American history classes in grade school, high school and college. My grade school class ended at the Civil War. My high school class (a full year) ended at World War 2. My college class also ended at the Civil War. An entire generation of Americans and several generations before them have grown up learning that American history ended in 1945. Students in the graduating classes of 2007 will be 62 years behind. Is it any wonder, then, that the high-school educated bartender in the second story thinks Al Gore is still Vice President?

I think it's important that students entering the real world have an appropriate understanding for the events and sacrifices that made and kept America free. But I think it's even more important that we give them an understanding of what got them where they are now: the politics, policies and programs that have succeeded and failed and created the situations their generation will be expected to deal with. It seems unlikely that a student who doesn't have a natural interest in politics when they graduate from high school or college will ever pick it up on their own: the world they've been taught about is decades out of context and the learning curve to fully understand the system around them is greater than a casual observer will take the time to overcome.

Simply put, if we want the next generation to be able to lead society forward, we need to teach them how society got where it is today.


READS: Thursday, January 11 is...

Hostos Day (Puerto Rico)
Aldo Leopold's birthday. Leopold would have been 120 today.

Three reads this morning, then I need to get to work:

Allow me to be one of many who will stand to applaud movement towards universal health care in Iowa. It's about time. And if you're one of those, like speaker Pat Murphy, who's opposed to the plan because gas stations on the border won't sell as many cigarettes, I think you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

I didn't watch President Bush's speech last night, I needed to wash my hair. It doesn't appear things will get any better for him, though, as the speech led David Yepsen to predict the Democrats will win the White House in 2008.

Finally, Chris Woods is peeved this morning because House and Senate Democrats have a disagreement over the correct way to raise the minimum wage. Chris, allow me to remind you of something: It's more important to find the right answer than the politically expedient one.

Tying the minimum wage to cost of living ensures that minimum wage-earning Iowans won't fall back into the hole they're currently in. It's the right thing to do to help people, and it's worth fighting for, even if that fight is within the party. I'm proud of the people who are standing up for working people instead of sitting down for political expediency.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

IF YOU'RE BORED: Wednesday, January 10 is...

National Unity Day (Nepal)
League of Nations Day

It amazes me that the first failed attempt to create the United Nations, and entity that many would argue is also failed, gets its own holiday. But nonetheless, happy League of Nations Day.

No reads today. I looked through the Register and the blogs and didn't find anything exciting to write about. Plus, I really should get to the gym.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

READS: Tuesday, January 9 is...

Commonwealth Day (N. Mariana Islands)

After this post, I'm adding the Northern Mariana Islands to the list of places I'd like to send State 29 on a permanent basis. Admittedly, I did laugh at the last part. I think it's worth noting, though, that I'm hardly a representative of the progressive movement as a whole. I know some people and I'd like to think I'm a decent analyst, but in the grand scheme I'm a blogger, not a movement. So if you arrived here this morning via State to check what the "regressive movement" is up to, I'd recommend broadening your base a little.

Common Iowan
, the Register, Dave Price and others all have the news this morning that Selden Spencer has formed an exploratory committee to look into a potential second run for Congress. The timing seems a little early but I think it's a good idea. Spencer's last campaign started too late to build enough momentum to topple Latham, but 2008 could be different for three reasons:

1) The party situation in Congress. In 2006, the party and their money entered with just one Democrat in the house and were largely focused on re-electing Leonard Boswell and electing Bruce Braley. They didn't even open the pocketbook to help Dave Loebsack, much less Spencer. In 2008 they'll enter with three D's in the house. The only viable pickup opportunity remaining will be Latham's seat.

2) Experience. It's true Spencer lost by 14 points, but for someone who had never run for public office before, you can't overvalue the experience he gained and the things he learned. Without having spoken to him about this run, my guess is he'll handle several things differently this time.

3) A better starting point.
In 2006, Spencer launched his campaign in March with no name recognition, no website and limited financial backing. Today, he launches a campaign with 22 months to do what he was unable to do in eight months in 2006. He already has a web presence, name recognition and presumably some donors. He's not starting from zero this time. He's starting from 43%, the number of fourth district voters who voted for him last time. And he could move up significantly from there.

With the Iowa Legislature underway once again, this morning we've got two sets of challenges to consider: David Yepsen covers the ones we all remember, and the Register Staff covers one I'd forgotten.

Admittedly, the phrase "Blue Thong" in the headline of this story caught my attention. It's not as exciting as I had hoped.

Finally, since it appears Michael Gartner will not resign from the Board of Regents, Nick Johnson has compiled a list of seven ways he could be removed. One can only hope one of them will come to pass.


Monday, January 08, 2007

REACTION/META: Early Loebsack reactions

Two reads on Loebsack have popped up since I wrote my first post this morning:

First, Blog for Iowa has a post up with a picture of the Johnson County DFA members who accompanied Loebsack on his trip to Washington.

On the substantive side, though, Popular Progressive notes that Loebsack's opinions on the war seem to have taken a pretty drastic shift since he was elected two months and a day ago. To say that's concerning is a massive understatement. If I were a Loebsack voter or donor, I'd be pissed right now. Congressman Loebsack, if you or someone from your staff is reading this, listen closely because I'm only going to say this once. You were narrowly elected over a popular 30-year incumbent based largely on your views on specific issues, one of which was the war. If you intend to walk back to the middle on this, then you shouldn't get too comfortable in Washington, because you'll be back in Mt. Vernon before you know it.

Popular Progressive earned a spot on the sidebar by bringing this to my attention.


IF YOU'RE BORED: Snow and dachshund pictures from Christmas vacation

So I'm not usually one to play the tourist, and I'm not a fan of winter at all, but when I got to Minocqua for Christmas, it had recently rained and snowed, which made for some great picture opportunities:

It also gave me the opportunity to take some pictures of Buddy, the family dachshund:

Those images and 45 more are available on my Flickr page. Feel free to check them out.


READS: Monday, January 8 is...

Women's Day (Greece)

It appears over the weekend both Chris Rants (via Krusty) and Ted Sporer decided they couldn't actually wait until the open of the legislative session to begin spewing partisan attacks. Rants has one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy I've ever seen in his post on "Ten things the Democrats don't want you to know."

Democrat Pam Jochum, the new chair of the State Government Committee, will bring out of committee legislation that will a) build in incumbency protection by limiting the size of donations, b) provide for public financing of campaigns, and c) further tilt the playing field of independent activity to organized labor at the expense of the business community. Catchy slogans like “voter owned elections” grab more ink than anything about erosion of the first amendment.
This is coming from the guy who has taken tens of thousands in campaign contributions from the car title loan and tobacco industry. Rants calls public financing "incumbency protection." I personally also think you're pretty well protected when your big moneyed friends allow you to spend almost $60,000 in the 21 days before an election where you're running unopposed. Maybe that's just me.

According to the Register, no one seemed to anticipate that a tax break for farmland owners would be popular. I applaud the Iowa legislature for taking steps to make it easier for new farmers to get on the land, but I've got to ask, if you didn't think it would work, why'd you do it in the first place?

Dennis Barnum is the president of Iowans Against the Death Penalty, and he had a good letter in Sunday's Register regarding his argument. The facts in the case make it perfectly clear: the only reason to execute prisoners is for vengeance, and it's not the state's job to provide that.

Chris Woods has a great post on the bills that were filed before today's open of session for the legislature. It's a great read if you're looking for a heads-up on some of the things we'll likely be debating for much of the spring.

That's all for now,


Friday, January 05, 2007

META: New sidebar addition


As I mentioned earlier, when I find new Iowa blogs, I usually watch them for a while to see if they present me with anything worth linking before I add them to the sidebar.

Leftist Logic made the cut today with this post on Vilsack's presidential aspirations and one of the things they'd like to see him do with his remaining time in office. Excellent work. Keep it coming.

UPDATE: I'm excited to report he got his wish. The Register and Radio Iowa are reporting that Vilsack has commuted the sentence from 50 years with a minimum of 35 years to 50 years with a minimum of ten years. I think that's fair. The fact that she's still serving ten years, which many will overlook (and already have in comments section of the Register story), remains as a statement that murder is still not ok, but the reduction from 35 years to ten on the minimum sentence shows some mercy and understanding for the terrible situation that led Dixie Duty to do what she did.


REACTION: Breaking butter news

So I've had a minor change in plans today. I was scheduled to work this morning, go to the gym this afternoon and go to the Quad Cities for a wrestling show tonight. Fifteen minutes before I was to arrive at work, I received a call asking if I could reschedule. So no work today.

Instead, I decided to take my car in for an oil change, since I was due and I was scheduled to drive about 600 miles between today and tomorrow. Also, one of my front tires was making a funny sound and I wanted to get it checked out. It turns out that somehow my axle got bent. They're going to be able to fix it but it's a $600+ job and has left me without a car since 9:30 this morning.

So now, absent $600, I really shouldn't be spending the gas money or the ticket price to go to the Quad Cities tonight. So I decided to sit back down and blog, partly because it's free and partly because it doesn't require me to leave my apartment. And I found news that's practically tailor-made for my mood:

BREAKING NEWS: The woman who makes the Butter Cow can sculpt other things too.

No matter where you go, there will always be at least one person, usually more, who has a wealth of talent but lives their entire life under one label. I feel like Norma Lyon, the "butter cow lady," probably fits that criteria. At the very least, she can also sculpt cows out of bronze.


IF YOU'RE BORED: Friday, January 5 is...

Twelfth Night (Christianity)
La Befana (Italy)

From Wikipedia:

Twelfth Night is a holiday in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany, concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas, and is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking".

And, also from Wikipedia:

La Befana is a character in Italian folklore, similar to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. The character may have originated in Rome, then spread as a tradition to peninsular Italy.

Her name derives from the festival of Epiphany, and she visits all the children of Italy on the night of 6 January to fill their socks with candy if they are good or a lump of coal if they are bad. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for Befana.

That's all I've got for today. I've got work this morning, the gym this afternoon and then I'm headed to Donahue for a wrestling show. See you on Monday.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

READS: Thursday, January 4 is...

Independence Day (Burma)
St. Andrew of Corsini, the patron saint of mediators.

Earlier this week, when the caucus concert idea was announced, I sat down with an idea. I'd write a post suggesting we go forward with the idea, but only if candidates themselves were willing to do the concert and call it "Caucus Idol." Over a period of several hours, I adapted songs for each of seven candidates to sing, and I was deep in thought over it when Laura came to look over my shoulder. I explained the concept to her and she read what I had so far.

"This isn't very funny," she said. Then came the crushing blow. "You should stop trying to be Todd Dorman."

So I dropped the project. Similarly, this morning I feel like there's a joke about mediators hanging out there somewhere, but I can't find it, so I'm letting it go.

On to the reads:

There are so many low roads I could take with a story about child-proofing Terrace Hill for the Culvers that I'm not even going to bother. Read it, make your own joke, post it in the comments if you feel it's exceptionally clever.

On a serious note, I've worked both with and against John Hedgecoth, and I know him to be a great person with tremendous intelligence and a wealth of policy experience. I could care less how he drives or pays his taxes, and you shouldn't care either.

That's all I've got for now. I've got a fair portion of the day free today, so I may be back later.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

READS: Wednesday, January 3 is...

The Birthday of St. Genevieve, patron saint of secretaries and the fevered. Perhaps today is the day we should have sworn in the new SoS and SoA.

I'm late with the reads for today, and for that I apologize.

When it comes to making the Iowa Caucuses into a bad concert, Greg Edwards is apparently immune to our disgust. Even after the beating he took yesterday, he was still going to make a TV appearance with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC today until the interview was canceled because Scarborough was "unavailable." In a past job, when crazy people called and wanted to talk to the boss, I was also told to tell them he was "unavailable." I suspect it's not a coincidence.

Finally, this isn't Iowa related at all, really, but just to show how bad some people are at protecting you from identity thieves, Joe tells the tale today of how Wisconsin put taxpayers' social security numbers on the outside of their tax return mailings. Oops. Maybe that's why MLB Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers hasn't paid his taxes. Or maybe he's just reluctant to pay the new "handlebar mustache tax:"

That's one serious mustache. And because I'm out of reads for today, I have a somewhat Rollie Fingers related story. Rollie Fingers played for the 1983 Brewers, as did my dad's all-time favorite baseball player, Gorman Thomas. On May 24, 1983, while my mom was in labor, my dad was listening to the Brewer game, which was tied at 7 in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third, the Athletics intentionally walked Ben Oglivie to bring Gorman up with the bases loaded. A home run would almost certainly have ensured a Brewer victory, and my dad told my mom, "If Gorman hits a home run, we're naming the baby after him." Sadly for the Brewers, but thankfully for me, Gorman struck out for the second time that day, and slightly after midnight when I was born, I was not named Gorman.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

META: Adjusting the sidebar

I usually pride myself in having the most frequently updated blogroll in the Iowa blogosphere, but it had been a month or two since I had checked the list of blogs on the right for activity, so I have a few changes to make:

I've pulled Bill Dix, Dave Nagle, Denise O'Brien and New Iowan, as all four have ceased posting.

I've added Iowa Daze, New Iowan's new blog.

I've moved Side Notes and Iowa Ennui to lapsed. It's been months for Side Notes and almost a month for Ennui. I'll move them back if they resume posting.

If you've got a blog I should be reading, feel free to leave it in the comments. Usually when I find a new blog I watch it for a few weeks, and if I find something worth linking to I'll add it to the 'roll.


REACTION: Fallon's support is more than just Fairfield

Apparently while I was gone on vacation, some of Iowa's other notable lefty bloggers stopped reading this space. On the 19th I said this about John Edwards:

He's also already more or less locked up the support of people like Ed Fallon, who could potentially bring another large block of voters from the left edge of the undecided pool.
Then, nine days later, Chris Woods, Common Iowan and Iowa Progress saw Fallon at Edwards' event in Des Moines and reported it as breaking news. At the risk of going out of my way to pat myself on the back, I'd just like to make sure you noticed that I told you that more than a full week earlier.

That's not the point of the post, however. While reading Geraldine at Iowa Progress' report, I was struck by this utter downplay of Fallon's significance:

It’s doubtful whether Fallon’s endorsement has any real weight outside of Fairfield and certain precincts of Iowa City but it doesn’t mean his endorsement’s useless.
It's this kind of glaring oversight that gives bloggers as a whole a reputation for overlooking the facts. Fallon received the support of nearly 40,000 voters, including 40+% of Polk County, where 20% of Iowa's votes are cast. He did win Fairfield, but he also won Story County and a smattering of others across the state, including Poweshiek, which Geraldine probably should have noticed, seeing as she lives there.

The fact that Fallon continues to draw attention from candidates and the news media should tell us something: like or dislike him, Ed Fallon is a player in this race. And trying to play him off as only carrying weight in Fairfield and a few precincts in Iowa City (which he lost, by the way) just makes you look stupid.


READS: Tuesday, January 2 is...

Forefathers' Day (Haiti)
Berchtoldstag (Switzerland)

Berchtoldstag translates roughly to "St. Berchtold's Day," although what St. Berchtold did to earn canonization or a holiday is apparently beyond my reach. Feel free to leave me a note in the comments if you know.

It's a new year and I've decided to try a new labeling system for posts. My daily reads (which I still plan on writing every weekday) will be labeled READS, longer pieces I write out of the blue or to start a deeper conversation will be labeled FEATURES, and things I feel the need to react to will be labeled REACTION. My Root Beer Tapper scores, wrestling stuff, etc will probably fall into a category like IF YOU'RE BORED, or something like that.

Anyway, moving on to today's reads:

Cathy Haustein has a post up on the important differences between a state-run university and a business. It's worth a read, even if only for Cathy's characterization of the opinion page, something I think we all agree with from time to time.

Common Iowan and Political Forecast both noticed that the Draft Obama people ran a TV ad in Iowa aiming to "convince Senator Obama to seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination" yesterday. The ad ran on the morning of New Years' Day. Let's break that down a step farther:

An ad attempting to convince a man who lives in Illinois to run for president aired in Iowa on the morning after everyone and their mother stays up late.

What the hell were they thinking? By the way, I was up at 8:30 on New Year's Day, watched TV most of the morning, and didn't see the ad. Maybe next week the Draft Obama people can attempt to convince him to run by sending junk mail to a random address in New Hampshire.

Speaking of crappy caucus ideas, the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitor's Bureau wants to build a nationally televised show to kick off the Iowa caucuses. Britney Spears is pictured as a possible performer. Someone got it in their head that the caucuses need "jazzing up." Someone needs to fire that guy.

I don't want people to have any excuse not to attend their caucus. I don't want there to be anything worth watching on TV, I don't want any sporting events drawing people to the radio, and I sure as hell don't want the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitor's Bureau to stage a Britney Spears concert that night. I want people to go vote. And if helping choose the next president isn't "jazzed up" enough for you, then go back to laying on your goddamn couch and watching whatever reality crap is on MTV.

In a rare act of bi-partisanism, Chris Woods has an interview with Chris Rants on blogs and their role in politics. I've said some nasty things about Chris Rants in this space, some deservedly so, but this interview is still a good read. Kudos to Chris for reaching out and finding a good story.

That's all for now. I've got some more stuff in the works but I've got to work today so it might have to wait until tomorrow.