Friday, February 16, 2007

REACTION: Jim Leach will not get to play Chief Illiniwek

In August two stories were running simultaneously with a mild connection:

1) Jim Leach was being accused of racism for handing out fake Native American headdresses at parades.

2) The University of Illinois was considering retiring its own mascot and long-time wearer of Native American headdresses, Chief Illiniwek.

I suggested a compromise: Retire Jim Leach instead and allow him to replace the Chief.

Jim Leach did his part, but the U of Illinois isn't doing theirs. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Chief Illiniwek will perform at his last home game on Wednesday, when the men's basketball team plays their final home game of the season. So it appears Leach will have to settle for one of the other 7,000 jobs he's being offered.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

READS: Thursday, February 15 is...

Fiesta de Menendez (St. Augustine, FL)

I have no idea what that's about, and the web doesn't appear to know either, so we'll move on.

UPDATE: From Commenter NotATurtle:

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St. Augustine in the mid-1500s. He was born on February 15.
So there you go.

I'll start off with the day-late read: I had never heard of Queah's blog before yesterday, when a Google Alert popped up to let me know she had written something about Ed Fallon. Turns out it was a Valentine's Day collection of quotes on the gay rights movement. It's worth a read. I've seen some of these quotes before but most were new to me.

According to the Register, 50 Iowans have applied to fill one of as many as four spots that could open up on the Board of Regents. The Register has an article on it and the full list. There's no one on the list that I'm exceptionally excited about. The story also mentions that Culver is encouraging another 10-15 people to apply. I'd be curious to see that list.

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque has been awarded $8 million in Vision Iowa money as part of a plan to expand. I'm torn on this. I've been to the museum, and it's great. Laura and I spent most of a day there and I'd do it again. But $8 million seems like an awful lot of money.

Finally, the Iowa legislature handed down a massive disappointment yesterday. A quick history lesson: Last year, after five straight years of giving Iowa schools allowable growth rate of 2 percent or less, the state legislature finally approved 4 percent allowable growth. A Democratic movement to raise it to 6 percent didn't come up with the votes. Democrats across the state campaigned on the issue of doing more to fund education.

Then they came back to Des Moines and voted unanimously to do 4 percent again. Furthermore, every single Democrat in the Iowa House voted against an amendment that would have made it six percent.

It already appears that campaign promises for local control have been forgotten. Now they're passing the same education bill we complained about last year and calling it progress. There's little positive one can say about that.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

READS: Wednesday, February 14 is...

Evil. Pure evil. Or, if you prefer to use its long name, you can call it Valentine's Day.

Only one read today, and if you're a longtime reader of the blog you've seen it before, but it bears repeating.

Here's what I consider one of the greatest rants I've ever written. It happens to be about today. Give it a read.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

READS: Tuesday, February 13 is...

George Fox Day
Hobart Regatta (Tasmania)

From Wikipedia:
George Fox (July 1624 – January 13, 1691) was an English Dissenter and a major early figure — often considered the founder — of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers.

While my mind's on the subject, greetings to the (literally) six new readers who stopped by last night immediately after my news story on WOI, if any of you came back for a second day. I guess the viewership of WOI news is even lower than I had imagined.

Today's reads:

Gov. Pataki is out of the race for president, and Cyclone Conservative has a post up thanking him for his contributions to the discourse and other campaigns. This may be the first post he's written that I'm not embarrassed to link to.

One of these days, you'd think Git-n-Go would improve their security. If they don't do it soon, they may have to change their name to Got-n-Gone.

Shortly after my story last night, a story on this press conference aired on WOI as well. The Patty Judge quote they used was about as worthless as it gets:

"Drugs are dangerous. Child abuse is intolerable."

Be sure to join us tomorrow when she reminds us that the sun is warm, but ice is still slippery.

Finally, Geraldine at Iowa Progress notes the difference in press coverage between the recent campaign visits of Clinton and Obama. When I still worked for Ed Fallon, I used to hear the same complaint from irate Iowans who didn't live in Des Moines all the time. They were always upset that politicians don't think they exist and never hold events in their area. This is a perfect example of why they do it that way.

Clinton held a large rally in Des Moines, probably less than 5 miles from the headquarters of every major news organization in Iowa. It got covered. Obama held a significantly larger rally in Ames, where most major media would have had to travel to cover it. They opted out. I don't think the average Iowan realizes how hard campaigns have to work to make it incredibly easy for the media to attend their events, or risk non-coverage. I've held press conferences at the capitol before and had some of the media on hand refuse to leave the press room to cover it. It's one of the most challenging below-the-surface issues campaigns face. And it's why they don't hold major events in Fort Dodge.


Monday, February 12, 2007

REACTION: Check me out on Channel 5 tonight at 6!

So I woke up this morning thinking I was going to be working by myself all day. As a result, I didn't shave and I passed up the normal nice polo shirt in favor of an old Packers shirt. Shouldn't be a problem, right?

Wrong. About noon I got an email from a reporter at Channel 5. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to be interviewed for a story they're doing on bloggers and the 2008 election.

"Don't you want someone more active?" I asked. It's been 3 and a half weeks since my last post, which was about pro wrestling. But no, they wanted me. So if you're wondering why I'm going to look mildly unkempt with my jacket on indoors during my interview for tonight's Channel 5 News at 6, that's why. As for why they wanted me more than my more active (and widely read) colleagues, I'm still unsure.

With that said, if you're interested in seeing what David Yepsen and I have to say about bloggers and our capacity to influence elections, tune in to the 6 pm WOI newscast. I think the interview went well, all told. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Normal posting will resume tomorrow, in all likelihood.