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 values were nowhere to be found today”
Ames, Iowa — Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to the remarks made at today’s Family Leadership Summit:
“Iowa values were nowhere to be found today at the Family Leadership Summit, hosted by Bob Vander Plaats and a number of extreme right-wing groups. One speaker after another pandered to Vander Plaats, calling for our borders to be closed, our health care to be taken away, and for freedoms to be taken away from anyone whose lifestyle they disagree with.”
“Iowans are tolerant, accepting, and value the rights of every citizen. Unfortunately, those values were not on display by any of the speakers at today’s summit.”
The Family Leadership Summit was held on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. This is the third annual summit and was hosted by the Family Leader, Governor Terry Branstad, as well as the Family Research Council, an organization recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. Speakers included Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, State Senator Joni Ernst, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Ted Cruz, former Senator Rick Santorum, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Progress Iowa is a statewide, multi-issue organization focused on research, education and advocacy regarding Iowa public policy, powered by more than 30,000 progressives. For more information visit progressiowa.org.
Nixon left a legacy that still haunts America. It comes to my mind on occasion when I sit and reflect on how America, that seemed to have so many good things going from FDR on through Kennedy and most of the Lyndon Johnson years, could have taken such a detour to what we have become.
We were just coming to grips with issues like civil rights and race, the environment, women’s rights, the use of military and many, many more issues. All these issues were finally getting acknowledgement that they were problems. People in positions of power were at least listening and taking some baby steps to start addressing them. Since then we have moved forward only at a very hesitating pace. When I reflect on what causes the hesitations, it all leads back to Nixon.
It seems like much of what shapes our country now is either from people who got their entre into the world of politics via Dick Nixon or because of the southern strategy endorsed by Nixon which tried to ignore civil rights issues for southern votes or because of Nixon’s policies themselves or because of the way he handled the presidency in such a secretive manner.
We have personalities such as Bush 1, Cheney and Rumsfeld making their entre into government under Nixon. Who could forget Henry Kissinger as National Security Adviser and Secretary of Defense? Do I need to say much more about that. Nixon’s period also loosed the infamous Powell Memo on the country. Powell was duly rewarded with a seat on the Supreme Court where he practiced what he preached.
Nixon had his way of dealing with the press, doing all he could to govern in secret and setting a model that future presidents would emulate. Who can forget VP Agnew’s infamous line “nattering nabobs of negativism?”
The southern strategy has been a huge obstacle in the advancement of civil rights in this country. The Powell memo has been a basis for many Republican strategies. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld resurfaced over and over til they finally emerged at the upper echelons of power, where they caused this country huge harm. Not only did they wreak havoc, but their ideas spawned into a whole generation that is now the Tea Party. The lessons from a war lost instead became lessons of selling a war.
One more legacy that Nixon left that has had quite an impact on America is his insane War on Drugs. Day in, day out lives are ruined because of arrests for small amounts of marijuana. Many of the laws and punishments on the books were spawned from Nixon’s war on drugs,
Beyond that is an unwarranted fear of all things hemp. This a plant family whose many species could give our economy huge boost with products that could range from clothes to building materials to medicines. But thanks to Dick Nixon the United States continues to shrink in unfounded fear from a very useful plant.
Did Nixon push his War on Drugs as a way to get back at those youngsters that tormented his presidency? That is a question for others. What we do know is that the effect of the anti-drug policy has been bad and long-lasting.
Forty years ago I celebrated what I hoped would be the end of the era of Nixon. Little could I have imagined that Nixon would have his revenge on us all.
Final side note: I find it interesting that 3 of our worst presidents hail from California, a state noted for its progressivism: Hoover, Nixon and Reagan.
With all the new gadgets and widgets and ways we can connect with the world almost instantaneously, going to the state fair has lost a bit of its luster. Growing up, per my father, we could not afford to go to the fair. So when I grew up I tended to look at the fair as a too expensive luxury. However, when we had kids we made it a point to go to the fair, so they would have the experience.
What experiences we had. Who can forget the time a super muggy day turned into a downpour while my kids were stuck in the air on the gondola ride that broke down? I felt sorry for laughing my rear off at them, especially after the two little drowned rats caught me laughing at them. Then there was the hottest day I have ever lived through. 107 degrees, and we spent it at the fair! At least we went through an hour of it at the fair before surrendering.
On your way, have some fun with these questions
1) Speaking at the state fair soapbox Thursday, Marianette Meeks sang an oldie but goody,accusing her opponent Dave Loebsack of being a puppet of who?
2) An old tradition died Thursday at Iowa State. The university’s president announced the end of what spring celebration at Iowa State?
3) Unwilling to wait too long to cash in on his tenure in congress, what former Republican leader announced he would leave congress on August 18?
4) Republicans had a good week spreading lies. Congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana claimed that immigrant children from Latin America carried what scary disease into the US?
5) Trying to outscare and out lie his colleague Rokita, Mo Brooks of Alabama claimed Democrats were waging a war on what racial group?
6) After taking a bullet in an assassination attempt on his boss, Ronald Reagan, what man fought for gun control until his death last week?
7) In a video confrontation between Steve King and 2 Dreamers, what potential presidential candidate can be seen running away like he’d seen a ghost?
8) This week in August has many major events, including the dropping of the atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities. Can you remember the two Japanese cities?
9) August 6, 1965. What historic legislation is signed into law on that date and has been gutted by the Supreme Court recently?
10) The Democratic candidate for Montana senator dropped out due to a scandal concerning what?
11) Thursday evening President Obama announced humanitarian aid for what group in Iraq?
12) Forty and fifty years ago last week were very historic. Forty years ago (Aug. 8), what President made an extremely historic speech?
13) Fifty years ago, the US Senate passed what resolution that was based on false information?
14) Bank of America agreed to pay about how much for their part in starting the economic meltdown in 2008?
15) President Obama espoused what position on the internet neutrality issue?
The twists and turns of history are somewhat strange at times. John McCain recommended that the US allow arms sales to Viet Nam. My guess is that the arms industry needs some sales. Really strange McCain!
1) Pelosi and Obama. Talk about repeating a theme.
3) Eric Cantor. Guess he can smell the money
4) Ebola. Guess old Todd is no doctor, nor very smart.
5) Whites. yep that is what he said.
6) Reagan Press Secretary James Brady
7) Rand Paul, damn near choked on his hamburger.
8) Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nagasaki was hit because the original target, Kokura had cloud cover.
9) the Voting Rights Act
10) plagiarism. Never bothered Rand Paul…..
12) Richard Nixon announced his resignation.
13) Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave Johnson the power to retaliate in Viet Nam
14) About $17 billion. Note that they “agreed” to pay. What ever happened to fines?
15) Obama came out in favor of net neutrality and against proposed “fast lanes.”
Today is Herbert Hoover’s 140th birthday. What ever you think of him he is Iowa’s only native President.
We were invited to an appearance by Jack Hatch at a friend’s house the other evening. I must say that I was greatly impressed by the man. Unlike the boisterous campaign of his opponent, Senator Hatch was subdued yet quite forceful in his presentation. Mr. Hatch has specific plans to move Iowa forward.
I will admit I did not take notes. I was not planning on writing on the Hatch candidacy for awhile if at all. However, his presentation made me want to get out and shout “vote for this guy. He’s got the leadership Iowa has been lacking.”
Hatch is using a method of campaigning we haven’t seen enough of lately. He is talking about his vision for a better Iowa, he is talking about how we must do things right for Iowans, he is talking about education and the environment and jobs, real jobs with companies locating in Iowa for the right reasons. In short Hatch is painting a picture of what Iowa can be, and it can be great.
What Hatch did not do was spend much time talking negative about his opponent. He believes that Iowans are better than the negative campaigning. As he noted, Branstad has already spent many millions going negative on Hatch and so far it has gained Branstad nothing. Perhaps the day of running your opponent down as a campaign tactic no longer has the power it once did.
What Iowans do want is a leader who will work in their favor, not just for those who have money and power. What Iowans want to see is results, Jack Hatch went over some of the battles he has led in the legislature over his time in the senate. The story of the showdown with Branstad over the ACA Medicaid extension was fascinating. Like all other Republican governors, Branstad tried to refuse the ACA Medicaid program. Mr. Hatch, who has been probably THE leader for healthcare in Iowa, pushed hard for for Iowa to join in the expansion. Over the end of the legislative session in 2013 a group led by Hatch held out to the point that Branstad accepted a compromise. Thanks to Hatch’s leadership, poor Iowans had the benefits of the expanded Medicaid.
While Jack Hatch won’t dwell on Branstad’s shortcomings, I will. Our state has missed a great chance to progress in the past 4 years. This must be talked about and assessed.
In the past four years we have seen our infrastructure deteriorate to the point where roads are a hazard to our autos. We have seen our waterways deteriorate to the point where they are rated among the worst in the country. Our governor uses his line item veto to cut food for the poor. As noted in a previous post, our governor consorts with a named hate group to push a specific religion in Iowa.
Then we have the scandal of his firing competent bureaucrats and replacing them with cronies. In many cases those fired were paid to keep quiet with taxpayer’s money. We also have Branstad doing all he could (just like every other Republican governor) to stop the ACA, including joining the Florida led lawsuit. Couple that with his stance on the Medicaid extension and his line item veto of food for the poor and you realize Branstad has no love for the common Iowan.
And let us not forget his piss poor record on jobs. The numbers he uses have been shown over and over to be quite bogus. Iowa has gained jobs, but not the portion we should be getting just from the recovery. If Iowa has 1% of the population, we should get 1% of the job gains just to keep pace. Who can forget Branstad turning away money for train upgrades? Just to bookend that, let us remember his turning away of money to study solar energy in Iowa on the request of oil and gas lobbyists.
This is just a small rehash of the Branstad administration this time around. Make no doubt he sees his job as taking care of the rich and powerful. As such, it is very easy to see the stark contrast between he and Democrat Jack Hatch.
So, Iowa, in a nutshell you have a choice – more government for the rich or a governor who will govern for the whole state. Doesn’t seem like a hard choice for me.