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Iowa Women Standing For Wendy Davis

wendy_davis_running_for_governor

wendydavistexas.com

In honor of Rick Perry’s presence in the Hawkeye state this week, let’s all sign and share this letter to Rick Perry for Wendy Davis!

wendydavistexas.com

Rick Perry rubs elbows with the billionaire Koch brothers and their special interest friends, rather than working for Texas families. He appointed an executive from a predatory lending company to the Finance Commission of Texas in charge of cracking down on predatory lenders. He cut billions in education.

Rick Perry is an embarrassment. He has put his own political gain ahead.

Wendy Davis is a leader that will work to make the great state of Texas even greater. Sign up below to stand with Wendy Davis and defeat Perry’s cronyism.

Click here to sign this letter

Click here to view a video of Wendy’s story

Donate to Wendy’s campaign

Protestors: “Sally Mason Is Part Of The Problem”

old capital winterStudents at the University of Iowa are protesting President Sally Mason’s bizarrely insensitive and seemingly uninformed comments about rape and sexual assault.  In an interview with the Daily Iowan on Feb. 18 Mason said “The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature … “  Sexual assault is human nature?

Five times in the Feb. 18 interview, Mason characterized sexual assault as  a “bad thing” that “happens” to people, not once referring to the act of rape as a crime.

“when it comes to sexual assault and other kinds of bad things that can happen to people, you have to know more about it, we have to understand it, and I think what we’re seeing now is more people being willing to come forward and tell us when something bad happens.”

So, according to Mason, rape and sexual assault is just something bad that happens, implying that it is nobody’s fault. Further, she opines that we need to find a greater understanding about it.  One wonders if she also thinks we need to find a better understanding of other types of crimes.

To be fair, the interviewer’s question was specifically about how the UI was educating people on the topic of sexual assault.  So perhaps she didn’t really mean it like it sounded, but unfortunately the rest of her interview on this topic did nothing to indicate otherwise.

The implication that rape is “human nature” is not only incorrect but highly offensive and dangerous and frankly,  a deplorable way for anyone to characterize a violent crime, particularly a university president who should definitely know better.

Student Response

In response, students organized a respectably attended protest on the Pentacrest and a protest at Mason’s annual presidential lecture (see video and links below).  The Daily Iowan is publishing every letter received on the topic.

A statement was released by Mason on Feb. 20.  Notice how the rhetoric changed. The word crime appears twice in three short sentences.

 “Sexual assault is a terrible crime, one for which there is no excuse. The UI will take all the actions in our power to prevent rapes, to support victims, and to prosecute offenders. Even one sexual assault in our community is too many, and we must confront this together as a community. I am committed to do everything in my power to end this terrible crime on our campus.”

That’s more like it.  Not only is rape now a crime,  it is a terrible crime. We’re making progress! Now may they follow this statement with policy to match.

Bravo UI students for banding together and speaking truth to power!

Click here to read the DI interview with Sally Mason

Click here to view coverage of the pentacrest protest

Click here to read letters to the Daily Iowan in response to Mason’s comments

Officials respond to second day of demonstrations

Video of protest at Mason’s annual lecture on Feb. 24:

Bobby Kaufmann Disappoints Constituent

iowa capitolA disappointing week.  Too many reminders of why I didn’t vote for Bobby Kaufmann last time and won’t next time.

Despite a good bill regarding increases in penalties for animal abuse, and support for increasing the fuel tax in order to maintain our roads, he is still headed the wrong direction on the big items.

Nothing affects our state’s future course more than education.  Education needs to be our first order of business, and be the very first priority on the budget.  The Iowa House failed to invest in Iowa’s future this week.

This past week, Bobby chose to help “enable” the Iowa Taliban agenda.  In a bill that solves absolutely no problems, adds no safety to a private medical procedure, but restricts access to abortion for those most in need and disregards the fundamental rights of half of his district, he has chosen to govern by ideology. Obstructing the freedom to make personal choices about child-bearing gives conservatives a warm fuzzy feeling, without solving any actual problems.  Pretending that fetuses have a right to finish developing into a full term live birth strips rights away from women already fully involved in their lives.

Conservatives are wrong to view abortion as the apex of immorality.  In a time when contraception is safe and reliable,  producing children that you are unprepared to raise well is a far greater sin.

Parents have a moral obligation to prepare properly for child rearing. Responsible child rearing involves knowing what they will need to be taught and provided with to grow into healthy, productive adults.  Children cost money, and “God will provide” is not a financial plan. Sometimes the hard but correct choice is to terminate a pregnancy where the necessary elements for child rearing are not in place yet.

Placing requirements on women such as proving rape or proving health issues is a very slippery slope, and beyond demeaning.

Why does the party of personal freedom and individual rights exempt women from that concept?

Laura Twing lives in Cedar county, with her husband and various animal companions.

MEMO: Legislative Inaction

progress iowa
“The Republicans who run your Iowa House say they won’t approve public school funding for the 2015-2016 school year, even though the law requires it.”

MEMO

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa Executive Director
DATE: February 14th, 2014

RE: Iowa’s ‘House of Distractions’

The Iowa legislature failed to meet a crucial deadline yesterday, when they were supposed to approve K-12 funding for the 2015-2016 school year.

Securing that funding in advance is even more crucial now, as our schools are funded at $1,500 lower per pupil than the national average, and more and more students are living in or on the brink of poverty. Those students count on our public schools for opportunity, and rely on our elected officials for leadership.

Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a 6% funding increase for next year, meeting their obligation to our students and restoring critical funding for our schools. Unfortunately, the Iowa House of Representatives refused to consider any increase and did almost everything except fund our schools during the past week, turning themselves into the Iowa House of Distractions.

What has the House of Distractions been doing, if not following the law and funding our schools? Here are a few of the issues they chose to focus on this week:

Comparing guns to hot dogs: Rep. Matt Windschitl, debating HJR4, compared gun deaths to deaths caused by… hot dogs. If we regulate guns, we might as well regulate hot dogs.

Restricting access to women’s health care:
The House passed a bill banning the use of so-called telemedicine delivery systems for medication abortion, restricting access for women primarily in rural areas. They did this despite the fact that as access and education about abortion has increased, the rate has decreased.

Listening to the extreme right on education:
In a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Sandy Salmon, only right wing experts were heard, including a self-proclaimed author of template legislation for ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. No parents, teachers, or students were listed as invited participants.

Email sent by Rep. Sandy Salmon; emphasis/highlight added, 2/9/14:

From: “Salmon, Sandy [LEGIS]”

Date: February 9, 2014 at 6:30:35 AM CST

Subject: testimony for subcommittee

Thank you for serving on a subcommittee with me that will look at issues related to the Common Core.

I wanted to give you the heads up that some speakers will be coming from out-of-town to give testimony at the subcommittee meeting. They are the following people:

Jane Robbins J.D., senior fellow at the American Principles Project, whose work includes education policy, student privacy and parental rights issues. Ms. Robbins has drafted state legislation on educational transparency and sovereignty that has led to a parallel resolution by the South Carolina Southern Baptist Convention, model ALEC legislation, and emulated legislation in several states.

Henry Burke of Omaha, Nebraska, is a Civil Engineer with a B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) for 37 years and has worked as a Civil Engineer in construction for over 40 years. Mr. Burke had a successful 27-year career with a large construction company.

Henry Burke serves as a full-time volunteer to oversee various construction projects. He has written numerous articles on education, engineering, construction, politics, taxes, and the economy including state specific costs for the implementation of Common Core / Iowa Core.

Bruno Behrend, J.D. is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute in Chicago. The mission of the Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

Thank you for helping to look into this and we’ll see you this coming week!

Sincerely,
Sandy Salmon
State Representative Iowa House District 63

Following only the laws they choose to follow: After failing to meet the school funding deadline set by state law, the Iowa House passed a bill changing state law, meaning they could delay funding. One Representative who opposed the change asked “so you’re going to pick and choose which laws you follow?”

None of these proposals are expected to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate. All of these proposals serve only as a distraction from the real responsibilities of the Iowa House, the first of which is funding our schools. While they should have been working toward better opportunities for Iowa students, they instead chose to spend time on distractions.

More than 1,700 have petitioned House leadership to fund our schools. School administrators oppose their funding delay by a 98 percent margin. It’s time the leadership in the Iowa House of Representatives start leading and stop distracting. They should put an end to the House of Distractions and get to work.

HouseOfDistractionsShare

Branstad To Create A New Job

Terry!
According to the Terry Branstad method of accounting for jobs he will be happy to know that when he loses his next year it will not count against him. Plus when the Democrat takes his place, that will count as another job created by Branstad!

Gay Marriage In Illinois?
They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! What’s that? Oh, there really are gays everywhere. I’ll be darned. They are getting married and raising kids and your marriage has not been ruined. Somebody been lying to us!

Wages

bill maher on low wages

Walker
Scott Walker is starting to make noises like a presidential candidate. Sorry, Mr. Walker but many of us will ever see you as anything more than a Koch sucker.

Did You Ever Hear?
Have you heard someone say “I don’t have kids in school, why should I pay taxes for schools?” Well look at this chart and see if there aren’t a few things YOU would like to cut out.

mad at the right people

Note To Ken Cuccinelli
Couldn’t have happened to a better person, Cooch. The loss, I mean. Maybe TMAC will really turn Virginia into a place for lovers – of all stripe. On your way out the door, take one more read of this.

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Hi To All The New Worlds Out There
The Keppler telescope has allowed scientists to estimate that there are possibly some 20 billion planets in “Goldolocks” zones just in our galaxy, with potentially billions more throughout the universe. I can hardly wait until we make contact and can start fighting a war over whose God is the one and true God.

- from Mark Twain:

“Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.”
See you soon?   Alien

Good Question

voter's question

Bullying The Poor And The Weak

bullyMost of us woke up to the news that once more the poor had benefits cut. Since they have few advocates anywhere in our governmental system this is hardly a surprise. As a group the poor are beat up day in and day out on right wing media. One thing they always point out is that a job is the best poverty program. What they fail to point out is that Republicans in congress have obstructed multiple jobs bills. Yesterday Paul Krugman pointed out in his New York Times column that there is an out and out war on the poor. After discussing the current state of Republicans shredding the safety net, Krugman goes on to say:

“So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.

So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.”

It is not just a war on the poor but also a war on those who may be loosely affiliated with the poor or subgroups within the poor.
- There is a very open and ugly war on women. This includes the war on abortion which just adds to the need for a safety net.
- War on the elderly that has been in the background for many years is slowly coming into the open.
- War on immigrants. This has really escalated. The immigrant group is one group that is fighting back.
- There has been an almost open war on workers for a long time which has lead to lowering wages in general and many full time positions not even earning enough money to get out of abject poverty working for major corporation ( hint: McDonald’s and Walmart)
- And the granddaddy of them all – the war on unions that is well into its second century. Strong unions could help in resolving many of these problems.
- Finally the new war on those groups likely to vote for Democrats. These are the new restrictions on voting that seem to be aimed at groups mentioned above.

As I mentioned, the immigrant group is showing signs of working as a block. One of the tactics that Republicans have perfected over the years is to split groups apart with wedge issues to keep them from forming a block to go after their issues. If they are to have any form of success, they need to get by the wedge issues and join with other groups to elect representatives to work for all the “other” groups.

If you take all those in this country that either are a member of one of the groups mentioned above or have a loved one who is a member of one of those groups, I would estimate it would cover nearly 80% of Americans. Imagine, just imagine if 80% of Americans banded together to focus on electing and pushing representatives who would work for a better life for all. Those votes would speak very loudly. So loud they could win the Wars!

‘Iowa Women Deserve Better’ Rally

progress iowaDES MOINES– From the desk of Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa.

Progress Iowa to hold “Iowa Women Deserve Better” rally at state capitol

Featured speakers include Rep. Marti Anderson, Senator Jack Hatch, Rep. Tyler Olson, and Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

Progress Iowa will hold a rally on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at the state capitol in opposition to Governor Branstad’s politicization of women’s health care and his partnership with anti-abortion activists and the Iowa Board of Medicine to eliminate access to women’s reproductive health care.

The Iowa Board of Medicine is considering a proposed rule change that would ban the state’s telemedicine delivery system for medication abortion. Telemedicine is a safe and common practice, which has been in place since 2008 in Iowa. In 2010, the Iowa Board of Medicine reviewed the rules governing the telemedicine delivery system for medication abortion, and upheld the current system. Since then, Governor Branstad has filled the entire board with his hand-picked replacements. And recently, the Des Moines Register uncovered an email between Governor Branstad’s staff and an activist coordinating a petition to the Board requesting that the rules be reviewed and changed.

“Governor Branstad is proving that politicians make lousy doctors,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Politics should never dictate health care, but the governor keeps injecting himself into personal decisions that should remain between a woman and her doctor. And his administration’s partnership with anti-abortion activists in an orchestrated political attack with the Board of Medicine is shameful.”

WHAT: Iowa Women Deserve Better Rally.

WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 28, noon.

WHERE: Iowa State Capitol, West Steps.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Rep. Marti Anderson, Sen. Jack Hatch, Rep. Tyler Olson, Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell.

The “Iowa Women Deserve Better” rally is being co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, and One Iowa. For more information, visit progressiowa.org.

Proud of the Iowa Supremes Today

Iowa Supreme Court

Iowa Supreme Court

In case you had missed it yesterday, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a decision they had made in January that yes, indeed, you can be fired from your job just for being too attractive. If you hadn’t guessed already the ‘defendant’ in the case is a female and the Iowa Supremes who ruled are a bunch of overgrown boys.

From talkingpointsmemo:

Coming to the same conclusion as it did in December, the all-male court found that bosses can fire employees they see as threats to their marriages, even if the subordinates have not engaged in flirtatious or other inappropriate behavior. The court said such firings do not count as illegal sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender.

The ruling upholds a judge’s decision to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit filed against Fort Dodge dentist James Knight, who fired assistant Melissa Nelson, even while acknowledging she had been a stellar employee for 10 years. Knight and his wife believed that his attraction to Nelson — two decades younger than the dentist — had become a threat to their marriage. Nelson, now 33, was replaced by another woman; Knight had an all-femalestaff.

The all-male court issued its revised opinion Friday in the case after taking the unusual step last month of withdrawing its December opinion, which had received nationwide publicity, debate and criticism.

Nelson’s attorney, Paige Fiedler, had asked the court in January to reconsider, calling the decision a blow for gender and racial equity in the workplace. She had warned the opinion could allow bosses to legally fire dark-skinned blacks and replace them with light-skinned blacks or small- breasted workers in favor of big-breasted workers.

Couple things to say here: Wow what an incredibly stupid decision. I try to fight Iowa’s reputation as backward hayseeds and then our highest judges make decisions like this that prove that yes the state has turned around under Branstad and is headed directly to the 1800s. And the people of Iowa must be proud to have thrown competent judges off the court to have them replaced by Moe, Larry and Curly. The judges who were thrown off the court earned a well deserved “Profile In Courage” award. Bet no one on this group gets one.

Amazingly it was an all male court that decided that when a male can’t control himself and act as a mature citizen, then it must be the woman’s fault. How very,very 19th century of you, boys.

Pretty hard to hold your head up high as an Iowan with neanderthal rulings such as that. What next for the Boys’ Club? Women as property?

Maybe I am over reacting, but I want the women in my life to be treated equally with men. In employment, in health care, simply in all aspects of life. If the dentist in question has a problem he should resolve it himself, not make someone else pay the price. I used to hear all this talk about “personal responsibility.”

If I were a woman I would certainly find another dentist quickly. As a man who supports women, I would do the same. Maybe he can control himself when he is all alone.

I can only hope there is an appeal. I believe that would be to the Supreme Court. They are no longer a Boys’ Club.

Short Thoughts On A Saturday Morning.

425974_3142943487122_1071014505_32954121_1658586772_n

One of our daughters lives in Mississippi. This is of course one of the states that would rather watch a woman die than to let her have a needed medical procedure if it was called for. It scares the hell out of her, and it scares the hell out of her parents. At least we currently do have the outlet that we could get her back to Iowa for health care if we had to. She is lucky in that respect. Most women are stuck dealing with the health care where they live. It is hard to believe that in modern day America we have to deal with 3rd world political decisions.

If I were a woman, married to a woman, had a sister, had a mother or had a daughter I would never vote for any politician who would deny any woman health care in America that is deemed necessary between a woman and her doctor. It is the 21st century, folks. Women should be able to get safe legal medical procedures in all of the United States and its territories. To deny that is to deny women their rights as human beings.

“Obamacare” Will Succeed.
As I have said before, the greatest fear the Republican Party has now and has had for decades is that Democrats would pass some sort of national health care. Their fear is that it will work. If it works, much like Social Security and Medicare, it will create at least a generation of voters who will thankfully vote Democratic. And they will vote Democratic also because they will know that national health care will need to be amended to work at its best and they know Republicans will NEVER, NEVER do anything to help such a system.

Let me say that “Obamacare” will succeed simply by comparison to the laughable system Republican policies have backed us into over the past 3 decades. Simply the fact that some 50,000,000 Americans will actually be able to see a doctor will mean the world to them. Then there are the next tier of some 50,000,000 who have insurance but are kept from doctors by prohibitive deductibles and co-pays. The biggest problem we will have will be that the system was built to deny care to a segment of the population, so there will be some overcrowding. Answers will be created to meet these problems and jobs will be created.

Republicans will not just sit back and let the ACA (Obamacare) succeed. No they will do everything they can to undermine the law of the land. Look for major assaults on several fronts trying to stall the January 1st implementation date. Remember these assaults will be carried out by Republican members of Congress who have sworn to uphold the Constitutions and laws of the US.

Walmart Versus Washington, D.C.
Most here know that Walmart got in a tussle with the city of Washington D.C. over the wages that Walmart workers in future stores in DC would be paid. Walmart wants to pay minimum wage and the DC council wants them to pay at least $12.50/hr. There are several aspects to this story. One I have heard very little about is the amount of welfare Walmart get from our government that translates into more money in the pockets of the Walton kids (big winners in the lucky sperm contest).

Because Walmart pays so little and is now moving to using more and more temp workers, many of their workers end up receiving food stamps, medicaid and other government services that you and I pay for. We should be applauding the DC council and hope that other governmental units across the country follow their lead.

bernie sanders speech