Archive for the 'Iowa' Category

Represent, Iowa!

Jan 03, 2012 in Iowa

Holy smokes:

That’s the clean version. Just got back from Iowa and I’m feeling all Mr. Rogers.

-hw

NAACP endorses Vander Plaats.

Oct 13, 2009 in Iowa

Yeah, that Vander Plaats. He of Nussle/Vander Plaats 2009 fame.

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., registered Democrat and president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP announced his support for anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats on Monday. If elected, Vander Plaats has pledged to pass an executive order to halt the freedom to marry in Iowa, thereby disobeying Iowa law and operating beyond the powers of the Governor.

h/t oneiowa

-mg

Steve Burgmeier’s ethically challenged campaign contributors.

Aug 31, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Iowa, Politics

A complaint for campaign finance law violations was filed today against the Washington, DC-based National Organization for Marriage (NOM) who is financing Republican candidate Steve Burgmeier’s special election run in Iowa’s House District 90. New Jersey based NOM has pumped $86K so far into Burgmeier’s coffers. An extraordinary amount for an Iowa district campaign. Especially considering that the donors names have been kept secret.

-mg

Iowa: The best of the Democrats and the worst of the Republicans.

Apr 14, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Iowa, teh gay

Via Norm Sterzenbach

Matt Strawn, Chairman, Republican Party of Iowa:

“And then Friday with the ruling with the Supreme Court they see a governor that comes out, everybody in the state had an opinion on that ruling within five seconds of it hitting the newswire except our governor. He puts out a two sentence statement talking about it being a complicated issue that he has to talk to his legal advisors about. That’s not leadership and our people see that and Iowans see that, not just republicans..” [Iowa Press, April 10, 2009]

Chuck Grassley, U.S. Senator:

“You better ask me in a month, after I’ve had a chance to think.” [Des Moines Register, April 9, 2009]

It doesn’t take much to outclass gay-hating bimbos. Even pausing to think gets you booted out of the cool kidz club!

-jb

Republicans abandon that “heartland” bullshit.

Mar 06, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Iowa, Politics

I mean, pigshit.

As most in rural Iowa can attest, the state has become riddled with hog factories. These monstrosities, cruel and merciless towards the thousands of pigs crammed into each one, produce staggering amounts of methane-tastic pigshit, and an accompanying odor so brutal the wafting goodness of bacon on your griddle doesn’t stand a chance. While driving, if you can see a hog factory, you can just about smell it.

“You hold your breath and when it’s really bad you get the taste in your mouth,” said Carroll Harless, a 70-year-old retired corn-and-soybean farmer from Iowa Falls.

In Iowa, where the 20 million hogs easily outnumber the 3 million people, the rotten-egg-and-ammonia smell of hog waste often wafts into homes, landing like a punch to the chest.

“Once, we couldn’t go outside for a week,” said Karen Forbes, who lives near a hog feedlot outside Lorimor. “It burned your eyes. You couldn’t breathe. You had to take a deep breath and run for your garage. It was horrid.”

She recalls a citywide garage sale held in the town of 420 a couple of years ago that no one attended because of the stink that day.

It’s not just unpleasant:

New research conducted by investigators in the University of Iowa College of Public Health has found that the prevalence of asthma is elevated among children living on farms where swine are raised. Children living on swine farms where antibiotics are added to feed have a significantly higher prevalence of the respiratory disease, according to the UI study.

Ah, but Republicans are attacking $1.7 million dollars in a $400 billion spending bill because, get this, it’s pork. Oh, it’s pork alright…pork stuffing your fat asses while Iowans suffer real degradation in quality of living.

One would think a party so attuned to “the Heartland” would know this, but then again if there’s any evidence of the GOP smelling anything other than Limbaugh’s Oxycontin fumes, it remains undiscovered.

We’ll have two-party competition again when Republicans can stop racing to see who can be the stupidest human being on the planet.

-jb

McCain vs. The Des Moines Register!

Oct 01, 2008 in Iowa, Politics, Sarah Palin, Uncategorized

Completely oblivious to reality? Naw, he’s just lying through his teeth:

He doesn’t know Palin’s favorability ratings have plunged through the floor? He doesn’t know prominent conservatives and other professionals have written her off? Of course he does. Of course, he might be completely clueless and out of touch, but odds are he’s just a plain old liar like he’s proven himself to be. He had to go hold Palin’s hand to protect her from OMZGODKATIECOURIC, rambling about “gotcha journalism” when Palin was caught red-handed backing up Obama’s position (which, it should be noted, has already become the Bush administration’s position, as Obama is the real leader on foreign policy).

McCain’s campaign is a trainwreck and that’s why he’s behind by massive margins in the battleground states. What’s he going to do, go scold every journalist who dares point out what everybody knows? Damage control up until Nov. 4th is a strategy?

Common sense must prevail.

-jb

Forgot about these mega-LULZ-worthy comments:

NPR: Given what you’ve said Senator, is there an occasion where you could imagine turning to Governor Palin for advice in a foreign policy crisis.

MCCAIN: I’ve turned to her advice many times in the past…

Merf!

Holy smokes, human trafficking in Iowa?

May 15, 2008 in Iowa, Local, Women

In our age of information and communication, so many can remain trapped and unable to cry out for help.

-jb

The market has spoken.

May 10, 2008 in Energy, Ethanol, Iowa, Peak Oil

Here at Iowa Liberal we’ve spilled a lot of ink bemoaning the ethanol boondoggle and contended that mass transit is a better idea than expecting consumers to wait around for whatever combination of miracle alternative fuels that will allow them to carry on driving Ford Expeditions and GMC Yukons. And we’ve never said that these alternatives won’t exist, just that they’re not scalable to the point of providing a viable replacement for gasoline. Metro commuters seem to agree:

Mass transit systems around the country are seeing standing-room-only crowds on bus lines where seats were once easy to come by. Parking lots at many bus and light rail stations are suddenly overflowing, with commuters in some towns risking a ticket or tow by parking on nearby grassy areas and in vacant lots.

“In almost every transit system I talk to, we’re seeing very high rates of growth the last few months,” said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.

“It’s very clear that a significant portion of the increase in transit use is directly caused by people who are looking for alternatives to paying $3.50 a gallon for gas.”

Some cities with long-established public transit systems, like New York and Boston, have seen increases in ridership of 5 percent or more so far this year. But the biggest surges — of 10 to 15 percent or more over last year — are occurring in many metropolitan areas in the South and West where the driving culture is strongest and bus and rail lines are more limited.

Hopefully we wont have to wait until gas is six or seven dollars a gallon before state and local leaders start looking into light passenger rail service along I-80 or I-380. Regardless of those who are pathologically opposed to anything resembling mass transit it’s inevitable that pubic demand will bring these alternatives to the fore simply because it’s more economically feasible than waiting for electric cars (which would necessitate a massive overhaul of the electric grid, the costs of which would invariably be shifted onto taxpayers) or E85 ethanol which, even in it’s infancy, is proving to be a massive disappointment.

-mg

Holla back, Ames!

Mar 28, 2008 in Iowa

-mg

Clinton campaign robo-calls Iowa delegates.

Mar 16, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clintonitis, Election crap, Iowa

Got this email from an Obama delegate in Cedar Rapids:

I just wanted to let you know that I talked to over 7 pledged Obama delegates at yesterday’s Democratic County Caucus who received robocalls from the Hillary campaign to help support her at the county caucus. This is clearly a flip-flop on the statement given by the Hillary campaign as linked above. I talked to people within the Obama campaign and it didn’t really gain any ground. Maybe you can bring this up on iowaliberal?

She recently remarked that pledged delegates can switch. Unfortunately, Iowans haven’t bought into her sales pitches over the last 3 months because Obama gained 7 yesterday. There are a number of counties that once carried Hillary that changed to Obama yesterday as well. I guess the robocalls didn’t work. Too bad.

The article that was mentioned in the email can be found here.

-mg

Taking it to Republican-lite Democrats in the primaries.

Feb 14, 2008 in Election crap, Iowa

When I find that Democrat politicians are letting me down, I remember that it’s not all Democrats, it’s just certain Democrats. And while they may get liberals to vote for them to avoid a Republican, there is a window when progressive grassroots democratic types can make their choices heard: primary time, baby. And if you haven’t heard, liberals just scored a victory thanks to blogger love with Donna Edwards over Al Wynn.

I got an e-mail today from Jim Dean supporting Ed Fallon against Leonard Boswell in Iowa. He has this interesting theory that Democrats can keep primaries competitive so that having a Democratic majority on Congress actually means something. At least that’s what my crack-addled mind gathers. The differences between Ed Fallon and Leonard Boswell? From the email:

Is there mitigating evidence for Boswell? Or should we merely be happy he has a (D) next to his name? Iowans who lean liberal should have somebody in office who represents them, I think, not somebody who gets into office and then represents Republicans and fatcats.

-jb

Obama wins the night in Iowa City.

Jan 03, 2008 in Barack Obama, Iowa, Iowa City

Just got back from caucusing here in Iowa City and I’m glad to report that it was a resounding Obama victory.

There was a total of 719 people in attendance at Precinct 24 and before I left the numbers went thusly:

  • Obama: 382 votes
  • Edwards: 169 votes
  • Clinton: 120 votes

Keep in mind there were a little over a hundred votes that weren’t yet counted but considering the above I think it’s safe to make conclusions.

I’m watching CNN right now and they’re openly mourning the loss of their preferred candidates; Clinton and Giuliani.

-mg

PS-the Clinton camp almost didn’t make viability and even after they reorganized they were only a few over.

Shockah!

Dec 15, 2007 in Iowa

The Dead Moans Register goes with the status quo candidates.

-mg

News from back home.

Dec 15, 2007 in Huckabee, Iowa, Republican Caucus, Romney, Uncategorized

I was born in Humboldt County, Iowa so the story caught my eye. At a recent stop at the Rustix Restaurant (never been there*) the weakened and wizened Mitt Romney accused Mike Huckabee of sounding like a Democrat after negatively characterizing President Bush’s foreign policy in a recent article in Foreign Policy. Here’s the crux of the article:

“The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad,” the former Arkansas governor writes. He called for a change in “tone and attitude,” and said that President Bush “has never adequately explained the theology and ideology behind Islamic terrorism” to the American people.

Basically, Huckabee wrote a criticism that, by any rational standard besides those held by the online devoted, is rather tepid and is quite mainstream. Nevertheless, Romney, seeing an opportunity to appeal to some of that good old-fashioned, Red State reactionary statism, labeled his opponent a turn-coat. Or even worse, of sounding like a Democrat. Ouch! But what does it mean?

In the stretch towards the Iowa caucus, Romney has seen his Iowa campaign steadily deflate from a strong, front-runner position to a bunch of bewildered and directionless also-rans and even though today’s headlines aren’t about what Huckabee said about Bush but what Romney is saying about Huckabee, the important thing to recognize here is that Romney is now an outside candidate reacting to a front-runner. The chisel-jawed, pundit adored and once awash-in-cash Mitt is now reduced to dishing out toothless pejoratives guaranteed only to appeal to the most dedicated Limbaugh acolytes. Good luck with all of that.

- mg

*looks to me like it’s the old John Deere building on main street. I’m glad somebody there in Humboldt had the imagination and bravery to tear off all of that ugly aluminum siding and embrace some of the local craftsmanship hidden behind it.

Storm Lake teen charged with terrorism.

Nov 09, 2007 in Iowa

A thirteen year old boy from Storm Lake, IA who threatened his teachers is being charged with terrorism. 

Pointless.

-mg   

Mark and Barack, BFF.

Oct 31, 2007 in Barack Obama, Iowa

My twin brother is an elementary school teacher and an Obama activist.  Here he is with the man himself at what I’m guessing is the Eastern Iowa Airport (known to everybody who lives in Eastern Iowa as the Cedar Rapids Airport but for reasons involving some arcane naming dispute remains known officially by it’s more vague moniker).  He got the honor of assisting the future President during his latest visit.

-mg

Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain

Oct 19, 2007 in Iowa, Local, Politics, Uncategorized

Makin’ Iowa look real good on the national stage. One of the things that makes Iowa great is its even temperament; the Beatles didn’t go there, but Chet Baker played Des Moines. The hysterical tone that both coasts love to spoon-feed the public doesn’t govern your average Iowan day. Anybody who’s ever worked in Iowa ag, even for a season, knows that the dudes from the country don’t usually say anything at all unless they really feel like it needs to be said. (It should be noted that this makes for disastrous family dynamics.) Undoing over 150 years’ worth of hard work by repressed Lutherans, some joker from Sioux City decides to make Iowa look like Kansas. Or should I say Colorado? Anyway, thanks, bud. The very thing midwestern conservatives need is to come off like 4th-string cable news guests so thrilled to find themselves on camera that they can hardly contain their glee, and so obsessed with Senator Clinton that one rather suspects they have well-worn posters of her taped to the insides of their closet doors.

-tt

Good ole Iowan Civil Disobedience

Oct 18, 2007 in Iowa, Librulz, Politics

I apologize if this was already covered in a previous post.  But I have been under a rock for many years, and this exciting news came to my ears.  There are few times that I can be proud of my Iowan connection.  But this one incident I think will stand the test of time.

Apparently some students in Des Moines stormed Chuck Grassley’s office and demanded that he take a legislative stance against the war in Iraq.

-aa

Window of opportunity.

Sep 01, 2007 in Iowa, Local

Unless Representative Steve King shows up with a bazooka, I will be attending my first gay wedding this Wednesday (but not these two). I’ll have more info after it actually happens.

Besides the occasional job interview, I only wear a suit to weddings and funerals and since I’m more or less a simple guy I’ve got only two suits. One of which I prefer over the other because it’s a custom tailored Paul Stuart that makes me look a lot more respectable than I actually am (and I don’t mind saying that I look quite dashing in it). The other is a suit I bought from Banana Republic and had fitted by the local Korean tailor (Bunsun Alterations of Iowa City). A tie, of course, has always been optional. 2007 has played out in true sitcom fashion for me. Not only have I had three friends die, two friends and my sister have all gotten married so you can imagine my dry cleaning bill! With a stroke of luck I’m hoping to end this year with a score of 4-3, weddings versus funerals, and with a bill at the cleaners well into the three figures mark I’m anxiously awaiting 2008!

-mg

Iowa Under Water.

Aug 24, 2007 in Environment, Iowa, Iowa City, Uncategorized

That’s me holding a Smallmouth bass at one of my favorite fishing locales in Iowa City. It’s the railroad bridge perpendicular to Riverside Drive right next to the historic Dairy Queen. It is also the point where the then Western-most train depot led way for Mormon trekkers who made preparations for their arduous journey West.

Concrete pylons narrow the path of the water and produce a sizable increase in hydraulic velocity which results in a “scour hole “, or depression, following or immediately behind the pylons, followed down stream by a wide-spreading “riffle” where the speed and force of the water column disperses. Hungry predator fish will predictably hold right at the leading edge of the pylon where the quick water meets the edge of the slack water. They will use that area as an “ambush point” because smaller forage fish will lose control and get disoriented by the quick water and become easy prey for larger, more opportunistic species which will patiently hold position in the “slack” water in order to conserve energy.

This morning I couldn’t fish at my above favorite location because it’s completely under water. In the picture I’m standing on top of the train bridges’ xxxxxxxx-most pylon because with a couple dozen medium-sized minnows it’s the most opportune location for crappies, white bass and the occasional walleye (and since I’m a fisherman I’m not about to completely disclose why). Unfortunately, during conditions of heavy precipitation, leisure activities are put on hold. The Iowa River watershed is expansive but because of the wise management of the Army Corp of Engineers, Iowa City is normally spared the tribulations caused by weather related flooding. Other Iowa locales haven’t been so lucky, my hometown included, and growing up in a miniscule river town I know their plight.

Since this is an Iowa blog I welcome any all photo contributions. It’s always amazing to witness the climate extremes everyday Iowans endure. Here’s to hoping that all who read this blog are safe and have enough fresh water to drink.  The DM Register has coverage.

-mg

Obama runs the gauntlet.

Aug 20, 2007 in Barack Obama, Election crap, Iowa

Jesus, I never thought I’d post a vid from FOX:

Doug Burns of Iowa Independent has a thorough blow-by-blow.

Dem contenders will be a little less eager to take Obama to task in the future now that he’s shown that he can turn the cross hairs into the spotlight.

-mg

Market discipline is for suckers.

Aug 19, 2007 in Farming, Iowa

From today’s Des Moines Register:

Cass County farmer Blaine Behnken asked the candidates during today’s Democratic presidential debate how they plan to help small farms protect themselves from large companies that take over the rural landscape.

Behnken, 35, said he felt none of the candidates adequately answered the question and were, instead, largely sidetracked with a follow-up question about trade agreements.

“It seems like everybody is worried about war and health care, but I thought, well, nobody is worried about farming,” Behnken said.

An appropriate question to ask Mr. Behnken would be “do you have paid lobbyists w0rking on your behalf in Washington?”  If not, then you’re one of the tragic consequences of farm bills that disregard family farmers.

-mg

Final Frontiers.

Aug 15, 2007 in Iowa, Science

I never quite understood this drive to colonize either our moon or Mars. I’ll admit that when thought of in terms of the enormous sums we shovel into the coffers of Halliburton or Blackwater, manning a space station seems a helluva lot more compelling mode of Military Keynesianism. Still, I’ve always thought that we could probably save the money and colonize an area just as inhabitable and crummy; the Arctic. I may be on to something. Turns out Tibet is most like Pluto. I would have guessed Humboldt, Iowa in mid January. It’s cold, lifeless, and the inhabitants certainly behave like bizarre, single-celled organisms.

- mg

Iowa City is tops to live in.

Aug 07, 2007 in Iowa, Iowa City, Uncategorized

Iowa City regularly makes it into major publications as a terrific place to live so it’s not a surprise to me that we’re on this MSN list (gleaned from Sperling’s Best Places) of “10 low cost locales where jobs are plentiful.”

Once the state capital, Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa and has one of the highest levels of educational attainment in the country. While it still retains some of its traditional agricultural base, Iowa City has expanded its economic sector to include light manufacturing, high tech and biotechnology businesses. Despite its isolation from other large towns (Des Moines is 110 miles away), Iowa City feels progressive, Sperling says. It boasts a lively cultural scene, a complete offering of goods and services, an attractive downtown and active community efforts. Older tree-lined neighborhoods comprise the east and south parts of town. More suburban developments springing up to the northeast and west, heading into nearby Coralville.

Larger retail developments are confined mainly to the nearby I-80 corridor, and sprawl issues are modest. The area is a scenic mix of flat river valleys and wooded undulating hills, which help shelter the area from some of the more severe storms in the state. Summers are warm, but winters can be harsh, with below-zero evening temperatures fairly common.

Those who write of Iowa weather commonly describe our summer months as warm which leads me to believe that they’ve not spent a lot of time outside of their air-conditioned environs while they are here. The fact that spring and fall only last two weeks is regularly ignored. Spring gives way to oppressive heat which is invariably made worse by ample humidity. As of this writing the temperature is eighty-five degrees, humidity seventy-two percent and the dew point is seventy-one degrees! Winter begins seemingly after the first golden leaf hits the ground. The writer is correct about the lack of severe storms, however. Despite the occasional killer tornado Iowa City thankfully misses out on a great deal of inclement weather.

Money magazine also has Iowa City listed as both a best place to live and retire. Kiplinger also has some admirable comments for Iowa City. The town is listed on their top ten places to live in the Midwest.

-mg

Ethanol: bad for Iowa water

Jul 20, 2007 in Energy, Environment, Ethanol, Iowa

I’m providing a link to the brochure The Rush to Ethanol which details some of the hard-to-swallow realities regarding corn based ethanol. For now, let’s leave aside the fact that even if 100 percent of the U.S. corn harvest was dedicated to ethanol, it would displace less than 15 percent of national gasoline use, and look at some of the other negative impacts corn-based ethanol would have. Intensive mono culture planting of corn results in depleted nitrogen levels in the soil. Soybean rotation was the productive solution for years since soybeans naturally restore nitrogen levels in the soil and is also a very lucrative crop to grow (though soybeans regularly trade in the $8 a bushel range, corn productivity per acre is far more making up for the $3 to $4 per bushel corn usually trades at). To replace the nitrogen that corn uses farmers typically resort to the use of liquid fertilizers which are derived exclusively from rapidly depleting fossil fuels like natural gas. Judged in terms of nitrates and phosphates Iowa already has some of the worst water quality in the world. With the increased nitrogen needed to support a strict, non-rotational crop schedule it can only get worse.

-mg

ps> some decent comments here.

Hello Jim Nussle, Goodbye Fiscal Discipline*!

Jun 20, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Iowa

For his subservience, Jim Nussle has been named the new White House Budget Director. Better hold on to your wallets.

-mg

*Not that Republicans had any to begin with.

update>  Common Iowan has a more perplexing link.  The WaPo referred to Nussle as having “been seen as a hawk on spending issues.”  WTF?  I had some rubber stamp imagery in mind.

Dead Moans

May 21, 2007 in Iowa, Local, Local Politics

Bleeding Heartland, in regards to the devastation the Jordan Creek Mall has brought, asks the following question:

Polk County residents might have some clue that the new shopping out west is hurting the older malls and businesses in the metro area, but are they aware that they have paid for much of the infrastructure supporting these new shopping centers west of Des Moines?

The answer is a resounding “KINDA!”. I can’t speak for the denizens of Des Moines proper but I can tell you from anecdotal experience that the residents of Urbandale, West Des Moines, Clive, etc. have long fetishized the irrational expansion of Jordan Creek because they sincerely believe that success equals the number of chain restaurants a given community can support. Having said that I’d like to additionally add that Valley West Mall and Merle Hay Mall brought suit against the city of West Des Moines over the building of Jordan Creek Mall on the grounds that they were illegally using tax increment financing to improve upon the surrounding infrastructure. The case was dismissed by the Iowa Supreme Court. Here is the ruling. So I don’t think a majority of the population gives a damn. They’re too enamored with the Cheesecake Factory to care but obviously somebody is paying attention.

-mg

Some good news for once.

Apr 24, 2007 in Environment, Iowa

Essential Estrogen points us to this promising news from the Daily Iowan.   The Iowa Farmers Union is calling for a statewide moratorium on the construction of high-density livestock confinement buildings.  I posted about this last week and it’s really terrific to hear that there’s some momentum behind a solution.   We’ll see where it goes.

-mg

Iowa water…bad and getting worse.

Apr 19, 2007 in Disappointing Dems, Environment, Iowa

Anybody who lives in the Iowa City area could read this article and not be at all surprised.  It appears that the Iowa River is number three on the list of most endangered rivers because of failure to adequately adhere to Clean Water Act standards.  High on the list of pollutants are the usual suspects that can be found in most Iowa waterways;  fecalform bacteria, phosphates and nitrates from farm run-off and animal confinement operations.  To be fair we shouldn’t leave out your neurotic neighbors who are so obsessed with having a green lawn they think that the more fertilizer they apply the greener it will get.  I’m not going to hold out hope for any action on the part of our state government now that Patty Judge is our new assistant vice governor.  It’s common knowledge she’s in the pocket of the hog confinement industry.

-mg      

Obama in Iowa.

Apr 11, 2007 in Barack Obama, Iowa

Goddamn, he was in Dakota City, practically my family’s back yard. Sounds to me like there are Americans who take Obama seriously, and then there’s Bush’s base. Every day he shows why.

“He’s low-key; he speaks like a professor,” said Jim Sayer, 51, a farmer from Humboldt. “Maybe I expected more emotion. But the lower key impresses me: He seems to be at the level that we are.”

Mary Margaret Gran, a middle-school teacher who met him when he spoke to 25 Iowans eating breakfast at a tiny diner in Colo on Friday morning, summed up her view the moment Mr. Obama had moved on to the next table.

“Rock star?” Ms. Gran said, offering the description herself. “That’s the national moniker. But dazzle is not what he is about at all. He’s peaceful.”

Indeed, those who learn about Obama realize he’s far more than a trend. I’m not the first one to highlight the following part of the story, but it bears repeating.

Mr. Obama was approached by a woman, her eyes wet. She spoke into his ear and began to weep, collapsing into his embrace. They stood like that for a full minute, Mr. Obama looking ashen, before she pulled away. She began crying again, Mr. Obama pulled her in for another embrace.

The woman left declining to give her name or recount their conversation. Mr. Obama said she told him what had happened to her 20-year-old son, who was serving in Iraq.

“Her son died,” he said. He paused. “What can you say? This happens to me every single place I go.”

The next day, at the rally here, Mr. Obama described the encounter for the crowd. The woman, he said, had asked if her son’s death was the result of a mistake by the government. “And I told her the service of our young men and women — the duty they show this country — that’s never a mistake,” he said.

He paused carefully as he reflected on that encounter. “It reminds you why you get into politics,” he said. “It reminds you that this isn’t a game.”

It reminds you that Obama’s thoughtfulness isn’t prepared for him by speechwriters to be ignored in policy, ala Bush, and that he obliterates Hillary Clinton in emotional honesty. There is no other candidate who can heal the wounds Bush has left on America.

-jb

I *heart* Joel Bolkcom

Feb 20, 2007 in Corporate shenanigans, Iowa, Local, Uncategorized

Ever rent an apartment in a college town?  Then you’ve probably been ripped off by a shady landlord or property management company.   Withholding some or all of deposit funds under flimsy pretexts is all too frequent in any community that has a largely transient population.  Landlords take advantage of the fact that student renters commonly lack the sufficient resources (both monetarily and the time associated with litigation) to pursue unfair treatment.  It’s also a pretty safe risk considering the lack of any meaningful penalties for those caught stealing.  That’s why I applaud this legislaton recently introduced that would give renters a fairer shot at representation and recompensation :

“First, the proposed bill would change the legal condition to win damages in court to proving the deposit was retained “wrongfully,” as opposed to in “bad faith.” At present, the court must be convinced that the landlord acted with “malicious intent” in withholding the deposit beyond the 30 days allowed by law. But under the bill, the tenant would only have to prove the landlord retained the deposit beyond the 30-day period without justifiable reason.

Second, if passed, the bill would increase the maximum damages for wrongfully withholding a deposit to double the amount of the deposit or the portion of the deposit wrongfully retained, or $500, whichever is more.

This would effectively set the minimum punitive damages a tenant could receive at $500. The current maximum reward a plaintiff can receive under current law is $200.”

Joe Kelly, a lobbyist representing the Iowa Landlord Association, the Manufactured Housing Association of Iowa, and Landlords of Iowa isn’t thrilled:

The most ‘egregious’ part of the bill, in his opinion, is the change of legal standard from ‘bad faith’ to ‘wrongfully,’ because that would give a judge little discretion in rewarding damages if a landlord made an honest mistake.  “When you put a straitjacket on a judge like this, it’s hard for us to support it.”

I’m sure the above was said with a straight face.

-mg

North Liberty protests Coralville annexation

Feb 03, 2007 in Iowa, Local, Local Politics, Uncategorized

The Johnson County residents that live in between North Liberty and Coralville are voicing concerns about being annexed by Coralville and it’s no wonder why. Coralville city planners lack the vision to endeavor anything for their community beyond the standard formula :

  1. Annex land for development
  2. Develop cheap, high-density housing that is only accessible via car
  3. Annex strips of property to accomodate commercial demand (only accessible by car)
  4. In ten years time when the desirability of your cracker box “homes” start to wane go back to step one.

When I first moved to Iowa City I used to read the dismal Press Citizen and was amazed on several occassions at all of the unprovoked letters to the editor denouncing what Coralville residents perceived to be an Iowa City elitism. It reminded me of the type of inferiority complex I witnessed by my then-girlfriend’s West Des Moines parents. They were always quick to shun the decrepit state of neglected downtown Des Moines and point out how “progressive” and “forward looking” the western suburbs were in comparison. Valley West Mall being a favorite example. That is until the new Jordan Creek developments were proposed. Then their attitudes rapidly changed.

Coralville is much the same in that they sure are proud of their big fucking mall. So much so that they’re the only community that I know of that puts an aerial view of the mall on a postcard (I shit you not) just in case you’re so overcome with consumer bliss that you absolutely must send your friends and relatives a bird’s eye view of the air conditioning units and tarred roof of the Coral Ridge Mall. The problem is that Coralville planners look to a town like West Des Moines and can’t wait to make the exact same mistakes.
North Liberty have fucked things up to a similar extent by building atrocious looking condos and cul-de-sacs all up and down the 380 (embarrassingly referred to as “The Corridor” by the local media) but it can’t be as bad as anything Coralville has planned. At least North Liberty has sidewalks.

-mg

Iowa Races

Nov 08, 2006 in Iowa, Iowa Gubernatorial, Local Politics, Politics

The Des Moines Register has a good rolling ticker in place with up-to-the-minute results so it might be handy to keep a tab open for them.

My polling place was at City High here in Iowa City and the sole electronic voting station that was located there was completely abandoned throughout the duration that my significant other and I were there.  Even when the paper ballot feeder/reader jammed up nobody made a move towards the touch-screen system.  When one of the poll workers called up the help desk the line quickly expanded out the door yet all present stood by patiently while the jam was cleared.  What a bunch of hippy Luddites, eh?

-mg

“SOS, indeed.”

Aug 01, 2006 in Iowa, Local Politics, Uncategorized

Iowa Republicans are so crooked and disheveled they can’t find a candidate to run for the Secretary of State position.

-mg