The Iowa State Fair is, among other things, a time for pork and politics. The Des Moines Register’s soapbox closed on Saturday with Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who talked about the importance of the 2014 midterm elections.
“The results of the election on Nov. 4, here in Iowa, and all across the country, are personal for so many families,” said Wasserman Schultz. “They are personal because we want to make sure that no matter who you are or where you came from, if you work hard and if you play by the rules, you’ll have an opportunity to succeed.”
Somehow that message didn’t get out while the corporate and social media focused on her “onion of crazy” comment. But there it is.
Blog for Iowa fave Rep. Dave Loebsack (IA-02) had his turn on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
“So look, you got a lot of decisions that you have to make this fall, there is no question about it,” said Loebsack. “It’s going to be easier in some cases than in others. The fact of the matter is the country is still recovering very slowly from the economy. The middle class is under tremendous pressure, we all know that. The middle class has really, in some ways been on the decline for a number of years. A lot of people have fallen out of the middle class over the years. Some have gotten back into it. A lot have never been in the middle class and have never gotten into it.”
If one has the stomach for it, listen to Loebsack’s opponent on the soapbox. The contrasts are clear.
“I just came over from the pork tent where they were teaching me how to flip pork burgers and pork loin, but you don’t have to flip the pork chops on a stick,” said Mariannette Miller-Meeks to begin her soapbox remarks. “If I smell good and that attracts voters to me I’ll know it was the right thing to go to the pork tent before I came over here.”
Okay. So candidates spend time in the Pork Producers tent at the state fair with an apron on, flipping pork products. Most of them do it. Not much to criticize there, except most pork consumers I know prefer bacon to loins, burgers and chops.
“I’m running for congress because Washington, D.C. is a dysfunctional mess,” said the three-time challenger. “Incompetent. Inept. And they are not working for us. And it is high time that we put Iowa in Washington, D.C. and put Iowans first.”
Hard to argue about Washington’s lack of progress. It is also hard to imagine that her presence in the congress would do anything but continue the obstructionism and deadlock for which her party is responsible. During her time on the stage, she made no case for what she would do differently.
“As I travel the second district again and again, what I hear from people is who’s standing up for the little guy,” she said. “It’s a little obvious I am the little guy and I am standing up.” Here’s where the ship sailed into the sea of Republican themes.
“I am the little guy.” Think about that. An ophthalmologist with the monetary resources to lend her campaign more money than most Iowans make in a year. While her personal story is interesting, she is one of the moneyed class despite her diminutive stature.
She is plugged into the mainstream of radical conservatism as much as any Republican candidate. In her soapbox speech, she covered their current talking points: Benghazi, Obamacare, Lois Lerner, the NSA and IRS, people getting tangled in the social safety net (that she would transform into a trampoline), drones targeting citizens, the Veterans Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, Keystone XL, and others, all in 15 minutes.
Miller-Meeks was a living reminder of why working people should vote Democratic.
She touted her political appointment as director of public health as a positive credential. Blog for Iowa even gave her then benefit of a doubt at the beginning of her tenure, here and here. But what did she do besides participate in the Branstad government, including the settlement scandal that bears her signature? There is little evidence she did anything but tread water, waiting to run for office again.
“I may be small and I am a marionette, but I am nobody’s puppet,” she closed. Everyone who believes that, please stand on your head.
“We want to make sure that everybody has a chance to succeed,” said Wasserman Schultz during her soapbox speech. “Not only the people who are already successful.” That’s the difference between the two parties, and why a vote for Dave Loebsack is a vote for the future of working people in the second district.
One more thing. Book some time over the next two months to volunteer to help elect Democrats.
IOWA CITY– The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is hosting several events centered on the theme of “Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge”. Please mark your calendar to join us for any or all of the events, which include:
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7 until 9 p.m.
Film Screening – Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future
Shambaugh Auditorium, University of Iowa Main Library
In the digital age, half of our electricity still comes from coal. Dirty Business reveals the true social and environmental costs of coal power and tells the stories of innovators who are pointing the way to a renewable energy future. Guided by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell, the film examines what it means to remain dependent on a 19th century technology that is the largest single source of greenhouse gases, and features among others: Robert Kennedy Jr., Bill McKibben, Dr. James Hansen, Myron Ebell, Don Blankenship, Joe Lovett, Maria Gunnoe, Dr. Vaclav Smil and Dr. Julio Friedmann.
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2 until 5 p.m.
Student Energy Expo
Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union
The Student Energy Expo will include a job fair, student poster session, additional showings of Dirty Business, and the EPSCoR Imagine Energy Traveler.
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7 until 9 p.m.
Debate- Resolved: That the U.S. Congress should implement a plan to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030
Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union
Mark Jacobson (Stanford University) and Robert Bryce (The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research), along with members of the University of Iowa Student Debate Team, will debate the resolution, Resolved: That the U.S. Congress should implement a plan to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Thursday, Oct. 16, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge Symposium
Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union
This symposium takes a broad look at the scientific challenges and policy issues surrounding renewable energy, with special reference to Iowa and the Midwest. Should the government support a shift from nonrenewable to renewable sources of energy? Will shifting toward renewables decrease the pace of climate change or make us more energy secure? What are the technical barriers to rapidly increasing our reliance on renewable energy? What policy changes are necessary or desirable in order to promote renewable energy growth? Topics covered will include infrastructure development (e.g. wind farms; transmission lines), biofuels, emerging environmental problems, and distributed energy policy.
Thursday, Oct. 16, 7 until 9 p.m.
James Hansen Lecture
Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union
Dr. James Hansen, formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he directs a program in Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions. Dr. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change in the 1980s that helped raise awareness of global warming. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Sophie and Blue Planet Prizes. Dr. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power and for outlining actions needed to protect the future of young people and all species on the planet.
For complete details about the events, please visit:
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Leslie Gannon at 319-335-6817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Congressman from Iowa’s Fourth District is saying wacky stuff again, this time about the Iowa Secretary of State race where Brad Anderson faces off with a former SOS in a closely watched race.
In a fundraising letter, Rep. Steve King wrote, that by electing Anderson as Iowa secretary of state, Democrats had a master plan to deprive U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of votes needed to win re-election in 2016.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what they are up to,” wrote the congressman. I’m glad he is not a rocket scientist, as Armageddon would already have arrived.
Of course he seeks to fire up his base and garner political campaign contributions by his outrageous statements. However, here’s where he got the Democratic strategy wrong.
The struggle isn’t about 2016, it’s about 2020 and who controls the state legislature, not only in Iowa, but across the country.
“We have an opportunity to pick up a state house here (in Iowa),’ said Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a breakfast meeting in Iowa City last Saturday. “That is absolutely critical. We have to look forward to 2020 when we go through the next re-districting. We want to control the majority of legislative chambers by the time we get to the next re-districting. I know it’s not that sexy or interesting. We have got to make sure we reverse the losses we had in 2010 when we controlled the majority of legislative chambers.”
Iowa is repeatedly credited with a fair re-districting process after each decennial U.S. census. Brad Anderson has emphasized an equitable approach to serving as secretary of state should he be elected. Minutiae matters more in close elections, and naturally Democrats want a fair person like Anderson to hold that office.
Anderson’s issues are increasing voter turnout, making it easier to start a business, caucus integrity, and military and overseas voting. Leave it to Iowa’s fourth district representative to miss the obvious and divert attention to chimeras and charlatans.
If you haven’t learned about Brad Anderson and his ideas to serve Iowa as secretary of state, it’s time to study up. Check out his web site here.
Contribute to Anderson for Iowa here.
As the fall campaign begins, remember to budget some time to help elect Democrats. That’s our master plan, and thank goodness King doesn’t read Blog for Iowa, because we don’t want him to know we are busy organizing midst his blustering.
Anderson summarized where his race is at, by the numbers in the following email sent Sunday, Aug. 17:
There was a national story on the Iowa Secretary of State’s race a couple months ago where the reporter pointed out: “There’s nothing glamorous about running for secretary of state.” As Lisa can attest, I’ve never been one for glamor.
Over the past few weeks I’ve put thousands of miles on my pretty unglamorous Chevy Sonic (and even a few new dents) while traveling the state to meet with voters and volunteers. Every step of the way I’ve been inspired the people I’ve met and and the passion Iowans have for protecting our right to vote and electing a new Secretary of State.
I’ve always been a numbers guy. Now that the election is 78 days away, I want to take a moment to thank you for your continued support and update you on the status of the campaign over the past few weeks, by the numbers (of course).
3,886 - Postcards handwritten by our volunteers.
2,867 - Miles driven.
354 - Supporters at the first annual AndersonFest picnic (I say “first annual” because we are going to do it again next year after we win).
12 - Iowa towns visited.
8 - Subways visited on the road.
2 – New policy ideas proposed to create an Iowa veteran business registry and increase access to Iowa military voters serving overseas.
0 – Number of times I wished running for Secretary of State was more “glamorous.”
When I announced our campaign for Secretary of State, I made a promise to you that we will run a substantive campaign focused on the issues at stake, and we will never be outworked.
Over the next 78 days we will continue to travel across the state talking about these important issues and building the grassroots network we need to win. I look forward to seeing you out there on the trail.
At the meeting in Muscatine where we met Jack Hatch, Mr. Hatch said that he was really torn the night Monica Vernon lost her primary race for first district representative. While Mrs. Vernon lost, it did leave her available to entertain other offers. Jack Hatch went right up to Cedar Rapids with another offer – run with him as his Lieutenant Governor candidate on the Democratic ticket.
Fortunately for him and for Iowans, Monica Vernon said yes. Saturday afternoon my wife and I had a chance to be in attendance at an event for Monica Vernon in Muscatine. We both could easily see why Hatch wanted her on his team.
From the moment she entered the Democratic offices in Muscatine you could tell that she felt among friends. She gave a short off the cuff speech with the gubernatorial debate as the subject. Mrs. Vernon noted that Hatch was the person with the new ideas that can move Iowa forward after 4 years of sitting still under Branstad. Those who have not seen the debate can watch it online here.
We then went into a question and answer period. It was quite apparent that this is a person with high intelligence, a very quick mind and a vast storehouse of experience from being a mother to running a very successful small business to her recent stint as a city councilor in Cedar Rapids. She also exhibited an empathy for the citizen that is rare plus for a politician. I noted to myself that this is in sharp contrast to Branstad who almost cavalierly mocked disaster aid for cities, especially Cedar Rapids, in the debate Thursday.
Monica Vernon also exhibited confidence that she and Jack Hatch had the right programs to get so many things that are crumbling in Iowa back in good shape from education to water and air quality to getting good jobs in Iowa. Her manner of speaking was as if she were talking with old friends at a backyard bar-b-que.
Monica Vernon is ready for prime time. She is confident, competent, knowlegable, experienced and a natural leader. If you do not want Iowa to continue slogging along with less than mediocre results it is time to elect a team that is ready to move Iowa forward. Jack Hatch and Monica Vernon will work with local and regional resources to put Iowa back at the top. Looking at their opponents you certainly can’t come to the same conclusion.
August. A quiet time before school starts. Usually filled with vacations and last minute fun before it is back to the books and studying.
Time for some last minute time at the pool or down at the the old fishing pond. August, a lazy, hazy quiet time — wait – what? The world seems to be exploding! Somebody spike the water with something really nasty? Settle down, people! It is August.
Well, at least John Boehner has it right. No work for congress in August and little more all year. That way you can’t blame Boehner, he has done nothing. Not one damn thing.
Can you keep up with it all?
1) Which Republican presidential candidate missed the Family Leader hate fest in Ames last week thus raising the ire of Bob Vander Plaats?
2) The police chief of Ferguson, Missouri said victim Michael Brown may have done what before he was gunned down by police?
3) Well-known star Robin Williams died early this week. What show did Williams make his TV debut on?
4) Lauren Bacall, another major Hollywood star from an earlier era also died last week. Bacall once said she was the dreaded ‘L’ word. What did she mean?
5) Bacall was half of a famous Hollywood marriage. Who was her long time husband?
6) The mayor of what Iowa city has been charged with 5 counts of sexual abuse of a minor?
7) Haider al-Ibadi is a name we will be hearing in the news a lot in coming months. Who is Haider al-Ibadi?
8) Iowa gubernatorial candidates debated Thursday on IPTV with what venue as the background?
9) A woman was charged with second-degree theft in Waterloo when she left a Hy-Vee with what item?
10) In Britain, medical trials are beginning on an injection of a gene into what part of the body to spur protein production that will allow this part to recover.
11) Pope Francis is visiting South Korea. North Korea says that they did not do what in response to the Pope’s visit to the South?
12) Ninety-four years ago Monday, what large group was granted the right to vote?
13) Aloha! Fifty-five years ago on August 21st, what President signed a proclamation bring Hawaii into the union?
14) President Obama accepted a hug from what recent critic of his at a private party Wednesday night?
15) The dumbest man in politics Thursday claimed that “undocumented Democrats” were bringing Ebola into the US from Central America. Can you identify this dumbest man in politics?
There was so much more that happened last week that it may take me a week to recover. May be time for a movie or something. I hear “Boyhood” is quite the movie.
Here are the answers:
1) Rand Paul.
2) stolen cigars from a convenience store. Paid quite a price if he did.
3) revival of Laugh-in in 1977
4) she was a Liberal!
5) Humphrey Bogart
7) the new prime minister of Iraq
8) The state fair
9) one of their motorized shopping carts. She claimed an employee said she could take it home as she had no ride.
10) into the heart.
11) Shoot three missiles from their coast just before the Pope’s arrival.
12) Women! August 18th, 1920
14) Hillary Clinton
15) no, it is not Steve King. There is one even dumber, Louie Gohmert
Sounds like just in time for school to start, it will get plenty warm. Of course it will.
I read this article concerning a new potentially breakthrough use for hemp with interest Wednesday. When I read this I hearkened back to an article I had read on a building material called hempcrete. This is a light weight material that has some very desirable properties that many builders would love to offer clients. Our daughter and son-in-law have been talking about building their own house so we frequently talk about what kinds of amenities they would like in that house.
You may notice a common thread (no pun intended) in the two materials is hemp. Like many others, I have to wonder how much longer the United States can continue to deny its citizens access to one of the most versatile plants on the earth. Unfounded fear drives some insane policies concerning hemp. Fears that grew out of myths and propaganda from the 1860s to the 1930s when the infamous Harry Anslinger used the ‘devil weed’ to cement his job in the Narcotics Bureau.
So for a couple of generations we have missed out on opportunities to develop so many uses for this plant. From clothing to building materials to construction to medicines, the hemp plant could be a major boost to our economy. Hemp could also be a major aid as a cash crop on Iowa farms that are currently so tied in to the monocultures of corn and beans.
Just like several legislatures throughout the country, including Iowa, did last year when hemp oil was irrefutably shown to be a elixir for epilepsy, America needs to grow up and accept that hemp is not the evil weed it is portrayed as. It is a plant that could bring in major revenue and be a large economic boost.
Take a look here to see just a short list of uses for hemp. Industrialist Henry Ford saw hemp as a great material for building his cars. Hemp also has great properties for regenerating soil that has been worn out and grows in areas usually unsuited for other plants. This would be especially good in Iowa.
In case you haven’t noticed, the attempted prohibition has failed. It is way past time America takes advantage of what hemp has to offer.
But wait, hemp does have some powerful enemies who buy a lot of influence. What is odd is that the list of interests lined up against hemp seem only to be concerned about possibly losing some business and nothing to do with any of hemp’s perceived problems. Here is a short list of those working hard to keep hemp bottled up:
1) Police unions
2) Privatized Prison Companies
3) Alcohol and Beer companies
4) Pharmaceutical companies
5) Prison unions.
Read the article for the whys of the opposition. I think it is fairly clear. Each of these groups has a major financial interest in keeping hemp illegal, especially marijuana.
I would love it if my kids could build a house out of an extra strong, lightweight, water-proof, well insulated and breathable material. A guy can dream can’t he?
Once again, our friends at Iowa Policy Project come to controversies with those nasty little things called facts. Not sure if they meant for this to happen, but they published two guest opinions in local papers that took a couple of old business pushed chestnuts out for examination and found them wanting.
In one Heather Gibney examines Iowa’s low minimum wage and the arguments for it and argues that they simply don’t hold water. In a paragraph that really hits home Gibney states:
“If you want to make a philosophical case against the minimum wage, go ahead, but it won’t feed families. And, despite the scare tactics about effects on job numbers, good research by the Center for Economic and Policy Research has examined the most rigorous economic research over the last two decades on the impact of minimum wage increases on employment and found no effect.”
A few days later Peter Fisher comes along to do battle with the long pushed concept that Iowa has a bad business climate. This concept has been leveraged by business lobbyists to try to leverage business favored legislation over decades. Here Fisher takes this idea to task and finds it quite wanting:
“So where does this “terrible tax climate” notion come from? The basis for it is a Rube Goldberg contraption built by the Tax Foundation called the State Business Tax Climate Index. It is a mishmash of 118 tax features, selected to emphasize progressivity. These various measures are weighted arbitrarily and combined into a single number for the index.
This number has no real meaning. It produces wacky results because it gives great weight to some minor tax features (such as the number of tax brackets) while leaving out completely two things that have a huge impact on corporate income taxes in Iowa: single sales factor, and federal deductibility.
Only by ignoring the important factors can the authors conclude that Iowa’s corporate income tax ranks 49th. Supposedly only one state has a worse tax. Yet the Iowa corporate tax per capita amounts to only half what it does in the average state, and the tax actually paid by business is among the lowest in the country. The authors’ own charts show that corporations are taxed quite lightly here.”
As always I invite you to keep up on IPP’s well thought out take on issues important to Iowans, especially their pocketbooks. Stop in here a couple times a week to see what is happening
Iowa Public Television hosted the first gubernatorial debate between Senator Jack Hatch and the incumbent yesterday at the State Fair. It is 60 minutes of time worth spending if one cares about Iowa politics and the future of our state. The link is below. Both candidates seemed engaged and combative in the debate. Hatch won by a distance, but decide for yourself.
Don’t have 60 minutes for politics?
Here’s what Senator Hatch said when asked why people should support his campaign for Iowa governor.
“The important difference in this campaign is leadership. We have been campaigning throughout this state. I may be from Des Moines but I have lived in Iowa my whole adult life and this state is important to me. And when you find out what is going on today when our limited agenda by the governor this last year is not reaching to every corner of the state and we find out that there needs to be new leadership and there needs to be a fresh start in education and job development and in taking care of rural Iowa, quite frankly. I think people feel that the governor has been there too long, that the governor is not in charge of his administration. That he didn’t know about all these scandals that are coming on. It’s nothing that I’m making up. I’m not the one that has secret settlements with fired employees. I’m not the one that had my director of administrative services have hush money to the employees. I’m not the one that had the no hire list, which Governor Branstad created in his second term. These are not things made up. These are now real. And he’s been told by the courts twice that his actions have been unconstitutional. When you have a governor who acts unconstitutionally, he’s acting above the law, he’s acting without the respect of the legislature. People realize they want something fresh and new.”
Contribute financially to Jack Hatch’s campaign for Iowa governor by clicking here.