Friday, May 30, 2008

The Big Fish

Iowa Repubs will get a look at who should be their best catch to beat Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. Yeah, I know. That was lame. But I needed to a reason to show off my brother Jake's 8 1/2 pound Channel Catfish he just pulled in at Carlyle Lake in southern Illinois.

Tonight, I will debate a forum between two of the three R's who want to knock Harkin out of office. For some reason, Steve Rathje, a Cedar Rapids businessman, has decided he doesn't want to take part in this debate and turn down the chance to go statewide for an hour. For free. In this race of little-known challengers with little money in the bank, it's beyond me why Rathje doesn't want to do this. Iowa Public TV seems to have bent over backwards to let him in at the last minute. They gave him 'til noon. But no change in plans. Oh, well, we'll need one fewer chair.

George Eichhorn, the Stratford attorney, and Christopher Reed, a Marion businessman, will get to make their case. It's my first live debate as a moderator. I hope I don't confuse Reed with the other Christopher, you know, Superman. My mom and dad are in the crowd, too. No pressure, not at all. And I'll try not to think of the fact that in too few hours after this hour-long 9pm debate wraps up, I have to step off in Saylorville for Dam to Dam. Dam.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I wish I could find the right word to describe what I saw in Parkersburg. It has to be one of the most overwhelming sight I've ever seen. Definitely the worst tornado damage I've seen covering bad weather in seven years in Iowa. I do remember seeing a horrible aftermath in Oklahoma City in the late 90s. It seemed like that damage was even more widespread. But both are just mind boggling.

I can't imagine what it's like for the people of Parkersburg. Imagine losing her home. Some lost family members, too. They lost their vehicles. They lost their businesses. So they have no place to live, nothing to drive and no place to work. How do they not just collapse and sob?

One of the most telling sites I saw was what used to be an empty field. Now it's become a junkyard that keeps growing. It has more than 200 vehicles. Although, vehicles isn't the right word anymore. They are just scraps. Mangled scraps. Each vehicle has some items in it. They may or may not actually be items from the owners of the vehicles. With the way the storm hit, there's hardly any way to tell. I found the insurance card in one from one of the men who died. It took our breath away. We didn't know how to react. I found a broken fishing pole in one. Wedding reception napkins in another. A wedding invitation in another. There was a flattened stroller. It is just incomprehensible the damage to these vehicles. Each one looks like the result of the worst traffic accident you've ever seen. Except there wasn't just one.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Hillary Clinton doesn't think she should quit the race yet because of a former President and a man who was murdered trying to become President? Here's what she told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out."

On "Meet the Press" Tim Russert pointed out that Bill Clinton actually had the nomination wrapped up in April (although Clintonian semantics may argue otherwise). But clearly, that's the afterthought in this statement. Was she really saying she shouldn't quit because of the chance of an assassination of Barack Obama? Really? What do the Clinton-should-be-the-Vice-President people think of this? Do you really think comments like these will help her chances?

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times included former Iowa Gov and big time Clinton supporter, Tom Vilsack, in the first tier of possibilities for Obama's running mate. Vilsack's inclusion seems a bit curious. He helped lead Clinton's efforts in Iowa. And Clinton finished third. He doesn't exactly speak well about Obama. Where would Vilsack help Obama?

The baseball season is now nearly 1/3 of the way completed. At some point, my Cardinals may need to be considered contenders. "May" is still the key word there. But what a surprise. The same could be said for the Tampa Bay Rays. Who knew all they would have to do was get rid of the "devil" in their name and then they would have the best record in baseball?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Breaking News: Agriprocessors CEO Out

It's only been the illegal immigrants prosecuted by the feds so far, but it looks like there will be some punishment at Agriprocessors in Postville following that big raid. The owner's son is apparently out of his job (Sholom Rubashkin is the owner's son). Here's the release:

Agriprocessors Announces Leadership Change

POSTVILLE, IA (May 23, 2008) – Aaron Rubashkin, the owner of Agriprocessors, Inc., announced today that the company will hire a new chief executive officer.
“The best course of action for the company, its employees, the local community and our customers is to bring new leadership to Agriprocessors,” Rubashkin said. “The company has begun the search for a new permanent chief executive officer. We have engaged a team of industry experts to help us identify and secure a new leader who can help us meet the needs of Agriprocessors today and in the future. We will make more information on the search process available by the end of next week.”

Agriprocessors has long been committed to its workers and the local community, and to providing innovative and quality products.
The company is conducting an independent investigation of the circumstances which led to the recent worksite enforcement action, and is fully cooperating with the government. The company can not respond to specific allegations due to pending legal issues.

No Time to Debate

Leonard Boswell is still apparently too busy to debate Ed Fallon before the Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District. A bunch of lefty groups are putting together a forum next Wednesday. Fallon will be there. Boswell won't. An empty chair will take his place. Here's the latest press release to demonstrate the Congressman's busy-ness:

Congressman Boswell’s District Schedule
May 24 – May 28

Saturday, May 24 Des Moines Event
2:30 p.m. Boswell will speak at an event honoring former Congressman Neal Smith and dedicating the newly renamed Neal Smith Federal Building.
Neal Smith Federal Building
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines
Monday, May 28 Des Moines Event
7:15 a.m. Boswell will attend the S.O.S. (Stuff on a Shingle) authentic military breakfast, and appear on the Van and Bonnie Morning Show.
Camp Dodge
7105 NW 70th Ave.
Des Moines
9:00 a.m. Des Moines Event
Boswell will attend a World War I memorial service.
E 6th Street & University
Des Moines
10:00 a.m. Des Moines Event
Boswell will attend an event honoring veterans of the Korean & Vietnam Wars.
Korean & Vietnam War Memorials
State Capitol grounds
Des Moines
11:00 a.m. Des Moines Event
Boswell will attend a veterans’ memorial service.
Vets Auditorium, south Gaskell Room on the balcony level
833 5th Ave.
Des Moines
Tuesday May 27 Des Moines Event
2:00 p.m. Boswell will speak at the RaySociety event honoring World War II veterans.
Drake University
Harmon Fine Arts Center
25th & Carpenter
Des Moines
Wednesday May 28 Des Moines Event
10:00 a.m. Boswell will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Corporate Headquarters Building.
Grand Ave. & 14th Street, SW corner
Des Moines

Fuel Fuming

"Soaring Toward Insanity". I wish I would have come up with it. It's the lead headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, talking about gas prices. Seriously. This is out of control. It seems like we're doing what we're supposed to. We're carpooling. We're combining trips. We're buying more fuel-efficient cars. This is a joke. How can prices keep going up like this? Will those hearings in Washington, D.C. actually accomplish something? What can we consumers do? Better yet, what can elected officials do?

My family had some really lean years (that's saying this euphemistically) during the recession in the late 70s. I remember how tough it was for my mom and dad putting food on the table, paying the heating bill, finding a car that would run, etc. I really don't honestly see how lower-income people can do it right now. Food prices are good up a bunch. Gas prices are ridiculous. I just don't see how they do it.

I did a story yesterday on the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority. The Rideshare program seems like a no brainer. DART gives you a van, if you want to be the driver. You get free transportation and free gas, plus you get 200 personal miles a month. I interviewed a human relations guy from Principal yesterday. He figures he saves about 4 grand a year plus. And it only "costs" him about 15 minutes extra time in the a.m. picking up the other passengers. Seems like quite a deal. And his passengers pay monthly fee to DART. It works out to be roughly about a quarter as much as they'd spend if they drove themselves to work solo every day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two for the Price of 1

What do you make of this? Is this Hillary Clinton's graceful exit. I just received this from an "Iowa Democratic Heavyweight".



Veteran Presidential Campaign Strategist Jerry Crawford
Calls for Unity Ticket, Praises

DES MOINES, IA--Veteran Democratic Party leader Jerry Crawford today endorsed a “dream ticket” with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying it is time for the Party to unite regardless of who wins the nomination. “This election is more important than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton,” Crawford said. “For the sake of our Party and our country, Barack and Hillary need to take a hard look at running together.”

“Right now, our Party is brother against brother, literally—my brother is for Barack and I support Hillary. Soon we are all going to have to do what VoteBoth is doing--take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about how Democrats win in November.”

Crawford, a Des Moines native, is widely renowned as one of the Party’s savviest strategists and fundraisers. He has chaired the Iowa campaigns of the previous five Democratic nominees: John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton (twice), and Michael Dukakis. Crawford initially backed Tom Vilsack’s unsuccessful White House bid and last year endorsed Clinton, who named him her Midwest Co-Chair.

Since Crawford chaired the Dukakis campaign’s Iowa bid in 1988, the Democratic nominee has won the Hawkeye State every four years except in 2004, when George W. Bush edged out John Kerry by a razor-thin 49.9%-49.23% margin. Iowa is a must-win state for Democrats in November.

Crawford joins the growing ranks of prominent Democrats supporting a unity ticket with both Obama and Clinton. Representatives David Scott (GA) and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH), both outspoken advocates for Obama and Clinton, respectively, argued Monday that a unity ticket was essential for victory in November. Other unity ticket backers include Governor Ed Rendell (PA), former Governor Mario M. Cuomo (NY), Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY), and DLC chairman and former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (TN).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Does Size Matter?

Go ahead. Insert your Viagra/Cialis joke here. Does size matter? I mean, when it comes to crowds. Barack Obama drew about 7,500 last night in downtown Des Moines for his first post-caucus visit. John McCain's return run brought in about 250. By my math, that means Obama brought 30 times as many peeps. What does it mean? Obama's people say it proves Obama has all the mojo. Senator Chuck Grassley, on behalf of McCain, told us polls matter more than rally size (I'll be curious what he says about polls later on in the campaign).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Majority Rules

It's 8:20pm. Barack Obama just sent out an email to supporters saying that he has now claimed enough delegates to give him the majority. Here's the email:

Dave --

The polls are closed in Kentucky and votes are being counted in Oregon, and it's clear that tonight we have reached a major milestone on this journey. We have won an absolute majority of all the delegates chosen by the people in this Democratic primary process.
From the beginning, this journey wasn't about me or the other candidates. It was about a simple choice -- will we continue down the same road with the same leadership that has failed us for so long, or will we take a different path?

Too many of us have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. We've seen promises broken and good ideas drowned in a sea of influence, point-scoring, and petty bickering that has consumed Washington. Yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment -- or perhaps because of it -- people have stood for change.
Unfortunately, our opponents in the other party continue to embrace yesterday's policies and they will continue to employ yesterday's tactics -- they will try to change the subject, and they will play on fears and divisions to distract us from what matters to you and your future.
But those tactics will not work in this election.

They won't work because you won't let them. Not this time. Not this year.
We still have work to do to in the remaining states, where we will compete for every delegate available. But tonight, I want to thank you for everything you have done to take us this far -- farther than anyone predicted, expected, or even believed possible. And I want to remind you that you will make all the difference in the epic challenge ahead.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

He's on His Way

I'm told Barack Obama just landed at the Des Moines International Airport. Meantime, the Faculty Lounge, a local band here made up of area teachers, has been entertaining the crowd here in the East Village area of downtowno Des Moines. That crowd just keeps coming. The campaign expected 10-11,000. We'll see how the numbers come in. You know how the camps try to low ball their estimates. The line shows a lot of people still haven't made it inside.

It's actually getting a little chilly out here. Not cold. But chilly, now that the sun is going down. I doubt these packed in peeps will feel much of the chill though. I'm sitting way too close to Shane's Rib Shacks. That's not fair. I'm trying to watch the diet now that I'm less than two weeks away from running Dam to Dam. Damn barbecue.

Waiting for Obama

It's nearly 8pm here in downtown Des Moines. It's already been a long day. These waiting-for-the-Presidential-candidate events definitely aren't quick. The afternoon started with a little excitement, almost too much excitement. We have to drop off our equipment, so the secret service can check through it all before events like this one for Barack Obama tonight.

We were told we could pick up our equipment and get into our place on the media riser at 4:30. 4:30 came and went and so did many media's patience. Many of us needed to be in place for our 5pm live shots on the news. It was close. Producers back at the station kept calling wondering if we were going to make it. At about 4:45pm, the secret service started letting us come through the security line. We made it onto the media riser by 4:52pm. Crisis averted.

I'm hearing there may be 10-11,000 here tonight. It's a far cry from the 75,000 who came out to hear Obama in Portland, Oregon. But let's not forget those Oregonians don't get much of a chance to see these v.i.p.'s like we do in Iowa.

From where I'm sitting, I can see the line stretching on the ends of two different blocks. This place will be packed. I can't imagine many of these people will even get to see a glimpse of Obama. You would hope they can at least hear him.

The Obama folks say this won't be a victory speech here tonight. But I bet it will come close. I'm sure Obama won't dog on Hillary Clinton. Expect a little praise for her, no praise for John McCain and a lot of praise for Iowans. It all started here, remember. And I doubt Obama will let any of these people here tonight forget it.

Nor will he let people across the country forget. Make that people across the world. There are about 300 media members here, someone from the Obama campaign just told me. I've already seen Japan and German crews. I'm sure there are many more.

You wonder if Iowans are tired of this yet. Or maybe January to May was enough of a break. I guess we'll know once we see how many people come here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome Back, Barry

(Photo Courtesy: AFP)

I wonder what Hillary Clinton thought when she saw pictures like these from Oregon. 75,000 people (or so it's estimated) came to see hear Barack Obama in Portland. It doesn't look like Obama will officially have the nomination secured when he comes to downtown Des Moines Tuesday night. But he might be able to say by then he has a majority of delegates.

What kind of crowd will greet him in Des Moines? It's scheduled as an outdoor rally. Will it sound like a victory party?


We got our butts kicked in softball again Sunday. We're 0-2 so far. Man, I felt old. We played a bunch of guys who clearly shouldn't have been playing in our league. High school/college age, mostly. Young punks.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Random Questions

Just a few questions to end the night...

What changed for John Edwards? Why is he now good with Barack Obama for President?

Does Hillary Clinton really think she can still win? Is she just campaigning to raise money to pay off her debt?

Will the unions hold a grudge against Governor Chet Culver for vetoing that collective bargaining bill? Does the Gov care? Or was he thinking ahead to the elections, both in 08 and his in 2010?

Who finally convinced Culver he was wrong to take that 9% pay raise at a time the news is full of layoffs, foreclosures and higher gas and food prices?

How painful will it be to see Jimmy Edmonds in a Cubs uniform when his new team returns to Busch Stadium in St. Louis July 4th?

Will it possibly hurt as much as seeing Jason Isringhausen's next appearance for the Cards? Ouch. It hurts already.

Catching Up

My whirlwind week is wrapping up. I'm glad I wasn't paying the gas for our cross-state commute to Waterloo. The detention site, camp, holding area...I don't know what the correct term would be is a bit surreal. It's the old National Cattle Congress grounds. They have dairy shows there. I think Cedar Falls High just held its prom there last weekend.

It almost doesn't look like our country. I'm not used to seeing prisoner camps like this. I've never seen so many federal agents in one place. Hundreds? The detainees, as you might guess, looked freaked out. At least many of them did. Some constantly shook their legs as they waited in the makeshift federal courtroom inside the Electric Park Ballroom. (A photographer at our station remembers making the drive there numerous times for dances back in the day). Other detainees showed no expression at all. It was hard to say what they were thinking or feeling. I wonder how many of them seriously thought this could happen.

Late Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney's office in Cedar Rapids revised its detainee number. Not sure what happened. But it dropped from 390 to 389. I wonder how much this whole process cost? All the agents, the hotel rooms, the meals, the transportation, all the materials they brought to the cattle has to be millions. All the detainees are gone now. But the feds rented the place through May 25th. Is there a second raid in the works? The U.S. Attorney's office did acknowledge there were 697 complaints of fraud, identity theft, etc. at the Agriprocessors Plant in Postville. Yet the feds only nabbed 390 people. Oh, yeah, make that 389. Have all the others fled the area. Fled the state? Fled the country?

What about the bosses in all of this? Swift management and owners seemed to escape unscathed. How will the Agriprocessors higher ups fare?...they had no idea any of this was going on? Even though there seems to be almost as many complaints about undocumented workers as there are total workers at the plant? This story doesn't seem to be over just yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Welcome to Waterloo

We just arrived in Waterloo. Quite a scene as we sit across the street from the National Cattle Congress. This place went up in 1912 to host a dairy convention. Apparently, Des Moines tried to swipe it. But local businessmen put up the money for prizes to keep the shows here. They've been here ever since from what I gather.

This place is crawling with federal agents. They are everywhere. Dozens, if not hundreds, are here. Emergency vehicles and SUV's are constantly coming and going inside of the one gate that I can see is open at this hour (it's about 11:30am, btw). Men in black keep a close eye. No sign of Wil Smith yet. It seems like almost every vehicle has darkened windows. Aren't those illegal?

Homeland Security Federal Protective Services Police cars have also been going in an out. I've never seen them before. But I think we've seen at least seven of them in the last five minutes. A couple of men in dark suits are now walking around. They look important. I'm wearing a dark suit. Maybe someone will think I'm important, too. No, probably not.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Call the Doctor

O.K. Maybe I'm being a "jerk" as John McCain would say...but, does this ad sound a little strange to you? Perhaps, a bit ironic? McCain's talking about health care, but, to me, he sounds like he needs a little health care himself. You sound sick to me, Senator...

The Raid

So what do you make of the worst kept secret in eastern Iowa...what turned out to be the raid of the AgriProcessors, Inc. in Postville. 300 arrests, at least, we're hearing. This seems to be quite the event...dozens, if not hundreds, of federal agents rounding up and then busing out possible illegal immigrants. The feds have a big "staging" area set up in Waterloo.

We had a tip another city would be targeted, as well. So we hit the road this afternoon to that city. Nothing. At least, not yet. We're back in Des Moines for now.

These are among the first few emails we've received after the 5pm news coverage of the raid:

"Watch a replay of the ICE raid today. Tell me why your reporter, who was at the site, is blatantly sympathetic to the people arrested? They are felons if they forged documents.
Your station has never fully reported on burden these illegals have placed on the people of Iowa. I don't feel any sympathy for criminals."

"Sorry, I do not have all the sympathy some seem to have for anyone that is breaking the law. If the people came into this country legally, I would have no problems with them having those jobs. I cannot see why we should let people from other countries come in here and tell us how to treat them. If we went to another country, we would have to abide by their laws, or else."

Here are a few VIP responses...

From Congressman Bruce Braley:

My immediate thoughts are with the families impacted by today’s events. In Postville there are hundreds of children whose lives have been changed because of this raid, and in the wake of the December 2006 Swift Company raid, I want to make sure their well-being is a priority.

If people have broken the law, there should be consequences. There’s a legal system in place to determine those consequences, and justice should be fairly imposed with due process.

I’ll be interested to see if federal authorities will be bringing any charges against the employer. We know that the Swift Company never faced any charges after the raid in Marshalltown, and the enforcement of immigration violations against corporations has plummeted during the Bush administration. Until we enforce our immigration laws equally against both employers and employees who break the law, we will continue to have a problem with immigration.”

From Governor Chet Culver:

"My office was informed last week there would be an impending federal exercise in the Waterloo area. I was briefed via telephone this morning at about 10:15 am by the U.S. Attorney for Northern District, as the exercise was happening.

The state’s role in today’s exercise has been limited. The Department of Public Safety is providing traffic support on the scene, and if additional criminal activity is discovered through the course of the exercise, the DCI is prepared to investigate at the state level.

I believe it is important that we crack down on illegal immigration. Illegal means illegal. Not just those who cross the border, but also those who are responsible for helping make it happen -- traffickers, identity thieves, those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and anyone who has taken advantage of employees or turned a blind eye. At the same time we must take care to protect due process, and consider the impact on a small community and the people involved.

My Administration has made clear to the federal government the importance of ensuring the humanitarian side of this exercise is addressed in the community, and I have received assurances from the federal government that they are doing so.

I have also directed relevant state agencies to convene a working group under the Lt. Governor’s direction to ensure that state agencies are assisting the community in dealing with this event. This group will include representatives from Iowa Workforce Development, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Human Rights, the Department of Education, the Department of Public Health, and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Working group members have met this afternoon with the Lt. Governor to get briefed on this and begin working through their agencies to assist the community.

While this is a federal exercise, my office will continue to keep the public and press informed of any additional state involvement."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Meat

Did you see any of that "Ballot Bowl" on CNN this weekend? They listen in on speeches by the candidates. Raw, as we call it in the biz. Any way, Hillary Clinton sure seemed to offer up a lot more meat than Barack Obama. A lot more specific ideas. No question Obama can give an inspirational speech. But once he starts going head to head with John McCain, won't he have to put some meat in his speeches, too, and not just dressing?

Apparently, Klayton Korver left a pink t-shirt that says "Korver's Girlfriends" for my wife. Should I be worried? Do I need cooler hair to compete?

Our softball team (it's kind of a station team, since we all either work at the station or used to work here) didn't get blown away, but we did walk away with an "L" today. It was our first game of the 14-game season at the Des Moines Parks and Rec league. The wind was crazy. Not good for me to try to pitch. Oh, well. We got down early but came back at the end to at least make it respectable, 11-9. Better luck next week. At least I didn't give up any home runs.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Curious About George

Repubs have apparently found their George to take them to that de-lux apartment in the sk-y-y...I mean to Washington.

Seems like the Repub establishment has focused on George Eichhorn to take on Democrat Tom Harkin for the U.S. Senate. George Eichhorn's campaign sent out a list of (by my count) 33 Republicans endorsing his bid for the June primary. The top three names on the list include Sen. Minority Leader Ron Wieck, former Senate Prez Jeff Lamberti and former GOP Chair Mike Mahaffey. You won't find current House Minority Leader Christopher Rants on that list. I recall watching a very heated exchange between Rants and Eichhorn several years ago in the House chamber (that was before rookie Democratic politican McKinley Bailey took away the seat in the fall).

Tom Harkin's campaign has taken notice. It just sent out a fundraising appeal noting Eichhorn's entrance into the race.

Dear Dave:

Tom Harkin launched his re-election campaign in March to serve Iowa as our United States Senator and continue the fight for progressive change for our state and our country.

The Harkin campaign is busy preparing for November, building the organization, raising the funds, and working hard every day to make sure Tom can continue to fight for us in the Senate.
Click here to help our campaign by making a donation today.

So far this year two Republicans are actively campaigning to challenge Tom in November, Steve Rathje and Chistopher Reed.

Earlier this week a third Republican announced his candidacy for the Senate. George Eichhorn appears to have the institutional Republican support that could make him competitive in the June 3 Republican primary and beyond.

Show your support for Tom Harkin by clicking here to make a donation of $25, $50, or $100 today.

According to the Associated Press, "Eichhorn released a list of 33 prominent Republicans who are endorsing his effort. Supporters include state Senate Minority Leader Ron Wieck and former Senate President Jeff Lamberti."

We have long known that the Republicans are not going to go out without a fight. In all of Tom's previous elections, well-funded conservatives have waged hard and dirty campaigns, laden with distortions of Tom's tremendous record of accomplishment. We expect this campaign to be no different.

Tom is unafraid of Republican attacks and has repeatedly stood up for us by taking on the Bush Administration. In fact, last year Tom was literally the strongest congressional critic of the Bush status quo, as he won the distinction of being "the most vetoed Senator" by the Administration.

Iowans want positive change, and that's why Tom is taking nothing for granted and is hard at work to build a blue Iowa in 2008.

Please show your support for real change in Washington by clicking here to make a donation to our campaign today.

Thank you for your support.

Jeff Link
Campaign Manager
Citizens for Harkin

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Still Waiting on Hill

With the chatter getting louder about Hillary Clinton finally bailing out of the race for President, I figured I would hit up the Iowa v.i.p.'s to see if they wanted to add to the volume. Nope. Far from it.

Jerry Crawford, a top Iowa advisor, thinks she oughta keep going. Tom Vilsack takes it a step further. First of all, he says NBC's Tim Russert has something against Clinton. He has made that obvious with his coverage, Vilsack claims. (Russert, after Obama's big North Carolina win and narrow Indiana loss, said the race is over). Vilsack thinks Clinton can still win. BTW, he also thinks she had a "good" night Tuesday. For the record, I didn't hear that from anyone else I talked with the entire day. Vilsack said Clinton needs to win the upcoming states and win over the unpledged superdelegates. He also said Clinton needs to get superdelegates already pledged to Obama to switch to her. I can't find a case of that happening so far.

Third District Congressman Leonard Boswell, another Clinton backer, is still backing. Here are his words from his staff.

“I will support the eventual nominee for president. At this time, there are still millions of voters out there that have a right to vote in their primary. We need to be patient and let the process work. I am confident the situation will be settled before the Democratic National Convention.”

So what about those undecided, overly coveted superdelegates??? Democratic Party Chair Scott Brennan is still staying neutral. Come on, Scott, give us some news! But Brennan doesn't sound like he thinks Clinton has much of a shot to win the nomination. Our other undecided super Senator Tom Harkin (who seemed pretty cozy with Obama at the Steak Fry. Yes, it was the Steak Fry of '06, but I'm saying...) Anyway, if you are waiting to hear Harkin say, get out, HRC, well, you will keep waiting.

“This nominating contest has given more Americans the opportunity to see the candidates up close and has energized our party with new voters. That is a good thing. I believe that every Democrat should have the opportunity to vote in their state's primary or caucus and let their voice be heard.”


But the biggest news of all....Def Leppard is coming to the Iowa State Fair August 16th (the day after my birthday). Wanna guess what I want for a present this year? I wonder if I can get my 80s hair back by then... No, I better not. A mullet would stand out too much at the fair...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


A big loss in North Carolina. A narrow win in Indiana. Plus, she had to dig into her own bank account (again) to help pay the bills--$6.4 mil this time, $5 mil last time. But Hillary Clinton doesn't look like she's giving up. I'm trying to get a hold of her top supporters in Iowa. Should she punt or hope for the Hail Mary pass here? The numbers don't seem to work out in any reasonable scenario for her to win the nomination. Is she just hoping for another Reverend Wright story times 100? Or maybe Barack Obama will just spontaneously combust?


I don't want to rip on our print brothers and sisters (television has its own economic woes and challenges these days). But have you seen the newest, new version of the Des Moines Register?

The paper is thinner. No doubt. But it sure looks whiter, too.

A paper from last week is on top (before the changes); one from today is underneath. Notice any extra white in the margins?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Barry Clinton or St. Louis Rockies

Such a tough choice tonight. Clinton vs. Obama on the cable news outlets. My St. Louis Cardinals against Colorado on FOX sports. What to do...what to do. Too bad this tv doesn't have picture in picture. Oh, well.

I predicted earlier in the day it would be a split tonight, in the political game, I mean. I figured Obama had to take North Carolina. And I thought (sort of confidently) that Clinton could take Indiana. But as I write this, Obama's making a charge. Indiana looks to be pretty close.

If that holds up, Clinton sure is going to have a tough time selling herself to the remaining undecided superdelegates. I mean, what is her argument? She's been talking about all this momentum. But the big mo is m.i.a. tonight. I don't see how a butt-kicking in Carolina and, at best, a squeaker in Indy looks like the big mo. But the Clintons are masters at spin. That's why she pays her spinners all those millions, right? They'll earn their money tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Debate over Debates

Leonard Boswell's campaign says he's too busy to debate, with the Farm Bill and all. Ed Fallon's not buying it. He thinks, surely, Boswell can find one day somewhere to debate him. After all, Fallon says the candidates have received at least 10 requests to go head-to-head.

Boswell did debate Republican Jeff Lamberti back in 2006. He didn't debate Republican Stan Thompson in 2002.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mac's Back

John McCain makes his return to Iowa later today. I get five minutes with him after his health care town hall meeting at the Polk Co. Convention Complex. Those five minute interviews are always kind of tough. Not much time to really get into very much. While we're hearing early on, Iowa will again be a battleground state for the Presidentials this fall, you wonder exactly what that means. Barack Obama clearly did much better in this state. So does that mean he'll hit it a lot harder if he's the nominee than Hillary Clinton, who didn't do as well. Plus, she hasn't exactly talked up this state or the caucus process since she left town.

The following is a joke forwarded to me. You right-leaners will like it a lot more than the lefties. Indies, I don't know what you'll think of it. I'll try to post these from time to time just so you can see what's being passed along to in boxes these days.

Read it all the way thru-- You will smile and shake your head yes. You will love it

Robin Williams, wearing a shirt that says 'I love New York ' in Arabic. You gotta love Robin Williams.... Even if he's nuts! Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan. What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message. Robin Williams' plan...(Hard to argue with his logic!) 'I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.'

1) The US will apologize to the world for our 'interference' in their affairs, past and present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those 'good ole boys'. We will never 'interfere' again.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany , South Korea , the Middle East, and the Philippines . They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.

3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are. They're illegal!!! France will welcome them.

4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5) No foreign 'students' over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a 'D' and it's back home, baby.

6) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not 'interfere.' They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us, 'Ugly Americans' any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH...learn it...or LEAVE...Now, isn't that a winner of a plan? 'The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'you want a piece of me?' ' If you agree with the above forward it to friends...If not, and I would be amazed, DELETE it!!