Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Purple Matters Tuesday night

Was President Obama silent for too long about the underwear bomber? (I heard one radio host call him the "dingaling bomber", but I'll stick to underwear for now) Should he have spoken publicly sooner than three days after the Christmas attack attempt? Message and strategy expert, Matt Paul, from Link Strategies, gives his message about the terrorist attack on this week's Purple Matters internet radio show on www.desmoineslocallive.com. Here's the link.

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at livestream.com

Are blogs about to go bye-bye? One professor at the University of Dubuque thinks, while they won't disappear altogether any time soon, he thinks they may start going away. Here's the link.

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at livestream.com

Here were the results of this week's Purple Poll. The question was who do you think is Iowa's celebrity of the decade? The votes came in like this:

Kurt Warner 12%
Shawn Johnson 40%
Tom Vilsack 3%
The Iowa Caucuses 33%
Ashton Kutcher 3%

Thanks for watching. Catch us next week live Tuesday night at 8pm central on www.desmoineslocallive.com

DSM Council Member Mad at Mediacom

Des Moines City Councilman Brian Meyer, who represents the city's south side, doesn't seem too happy with the Mediacom-Sinclair dispute. The battle threatens to keep the Iowa Hawkeyes Orange Bowl match up with Georgia Tech off television sets across the state for Mediacom customers. The game is scheduled to be televised on Fox. (Today's Des Moines Register has some background on the stalemate. And in full disclosure, my station, WHO-TV, has a financial agreement with Sinclair owned-KDSM to produce the nightly 9pm news).

Here's what Meyer posted on his Facebook:

Mediacom is horrible. go get yourself dish network or directv so you can see the Orange bowl. You won't regret it. and btw, the city doesnt have anthing to do with the cable franchise. The legislature took that power away from us....and I'm ok with that. Call your legislator to complain about your cable.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tom Vilsack

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack showed off his skinny self during his stop in Des Moines for the holidays. Actually, Vilsack seemed to show the "aw, shucks" demeanor he would sometimes show before his days in the national spotlight as the U.S. Ag Secretary. He looked noticeably thinner to me. But much like he declined to do when he was governor, he declined to tell me how much weight he had lost this time. To me, he looks the thinnest I can remember. He said he is still running "5,6, sometimes 7 miles". But he joked that if you saw him moving, you wouldn't think he was pushing that hard. Vilsack isn't known for his blazing speed, but he does have marathons under his belt. So it's not like he doesn't push his body. He did credit better eating, which was the theme of his visit today at the Hy-Vee in Des Moines.

Vilsack said he would unveil a $20 million pilot program next month to incent people to eat better. He didn't give out a lot of details. It sounds like they will come out next month. But when people use the USDA's food programs for lower-income families, they could get some kind of cash back or cash incentive on their monthly award if they buy healthy food.

What did you think of President Obama's remarks today about that attempted terrorist attack on Christmas? Did you expect more after three days of silence? Was it damage control after his Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano seemed to flip from Sunday to Monday? Sunday, she said the system worked, then Monday it failed. Something sure seemed to have changed in 24 hours time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Grassley Top 10 Tweeter

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is one of the tweetiest. He's made Politico's top 10 tweets of the year. Remember this one?:

“Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL”
Here's the full list.

Home From the Holidays

It's good to be back at work, well except for this crummy cold. We're very lucky though. We got to make it back to my wife's family in Tampa and mine in Belleville, Illinois. What a great trip, except for the drive back from Illinois last night. One driver went flying past us in Missouri...a few seconds later, he was spinning around in the ditch. What's the hurry, idiot?

Here's my take on a few stories that have developed over the past few days. What's more odd (or is it "odder"?) The cable channels scurry after a man locks himself in the bathroom (doesn't EVERYONE lock the door?) on the flight headed to Detroit where a possible terrorist tried to blow up a plane on Christmas. It turns out the man, who also apparently came from Nigeria, just had "stomach issues". Oops. And Florida Gators' Coach Urban Meyer had to quit for health reasons. Now, he's not quitting. Or maybe he is. He is just taking some time off. For now. Oops.

State Senator Jerry Behn, a Republican from Boone, is out of the race for governor. I'm not sure most Iowans knew he ever was IN the race. He endorsed former Governor Terry Branstad. So the race is down to Branstad, Chris Rants, Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts. Selfishly, four is a lot easier to cover than five, and, of course, far easier than it would have been if Christian Fong and Paul McKinley stayed in the race. I will be curious if we will still have four R's in the race a month from now after candidates turn in the financial reports that show how much cash they've raised (or haven't raised).

Former Des Moines school board member Jonathan Narcisse is "exploring" a run at governor. Who saw that coming? He has been traveling the state with Rants talking about issues. Will Narcisse go through with this or will he just travel around and rip on his fellow Democrat, Governor Chet Culver? Will he actually try to primary Culver, which would probably require a ton of money? Or will he try a run as an Independent?

Two Republicans say they want to run against Democratic Secretary of State Mike Mauro. The only thing I can remember since Mauro has been in office that has at all been controversial is that he was Sec of State when the feds released the critical report of how the office spent money from the Help America Vote Act. The findings, though, found fault in the way Chet Culver ran the office when he had the job before he became governor. However, Republican challenger George Eichhorn has made the report an early campaign issue.

In tv, we have to work holidays (well, I didn't this year:) But I've had my share. The U.S. Senate did some holiday working, too, on that health care overhaul. If this is the best plan to help Americans, why did they have to hurry to get it done and risk keeping the politicians away from their families over the holidays? Was the support for it that tenuous that Democrats couldn't risk waiting until after New Year's to vote on the bill? Ahh, democracy.

My hometown St. Louis Rams look better and better...well, better and better at getting the top draft pick next year. Their loss today gives them 14 losses so far. A 1 and 15 season looks like a real possibility. I'm so proud!

And my St. Louis Cardinals should tell Matt Holliday to forget it. I'm tired of the drama. Get someone else to help the offense. Well, unless Holliday will sign for reasonable money. Then, go ahead and sign him:) But if Mark DeRosa is really considering a 2 yr/$12 million offer from the Giants, then match it and sign him, regardless of Holliday. Do it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Purple Matters

It's been over the river and through the woods, so sorry I haven't posted this week's "Purple Matters" until now. We're enjoying some much-needed warmth in Florida with family. Wouldn't you know it, they're having a cold spell here? It's only supposed to be in the 50s during part of our trip. But I guess I shouldn't complain after the Blizzard of 09, huh?

Our "Purple Matters" internet radio show is broken into three parts, in case you can't watch it all in one sitting.

We begun with Bill Maske. He's a school superintendent, who is giving up his job, so he can run for Congress in Iowa's 4th District. By the way, it's pronounced like "mask", not "mas'-kee".

Here's the link:

Joel Smits of Cedar Falls didn't like what he saw when he went to meetings, or more appropriately, he didn't like what he didn't see. So he decided to start of group to get more people like himself out and about and involved. He wants to take back America.

Here's the link:

Do you hold grudges against an ex who screwed you over or that neighbor who doesn't take care of his lawn? An Iowa professor completed some research that shows that grudge could kill you, so you better start forgiving!

Here's the link:

We won't have a show next Tuesday night at 8pm central. But we will be back the following week. Have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top U.S. Senate Races

Chris Cilliza's "The Fix" in the Washington Post ranks the top 10 U.S. Senate races for the past decade. Somehow, Iowa doesn't get one in the list. What about that humdinger of a race, Chuck Grassley vs. Colonel Sanders look-a-like Art Small in 2004? So disappointed...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sarah Palin's book

Hey purple friends,

This week we're debuting our Purple Matters text poll by Catchwind. Here's this week's question: If someone gives you Sarah Palin's new book, "Going Rogue", for Christmas, what would you do?" You have 5 choices.

A. Read it right away. You betcha!
B. Maybe read it later.
C. Won't read it.
D. Re-gift it
E. Burn it!

Here's what you do...Dial the number 72466 on your cell phone. Then just text the word, matters. Only that word, matters. Nothing else. No quote marks around it...just the word, matters. After you send it, you will then get the question sent to you. Then you reply with your vote using the letter a,b,c,d or e.

Just so you know, we're not selling your cell phone number to crazy telemarketers, annoying political groups or anything like that. We won't share it with anyone.

Someone will win a $25 gift card from Starbuck's just for voting. We'll have one of these text polls every week. Maybe I should come up with a cooler name than "Purple Matters text poll". I'll get working on it:)

Thanks for voting. Please pass this along to friends and co-workers, so we can get the most people possible to vote. And we'll see you this Tuesday at 8pm central for our next show on www.desmoineslocallive.com...unless another blizzard of the century hits.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Iowa Efficiency Report

Governor Chet Culver stood Tuesday before a crowd of people who probably don't normally approve of all of his money plans. He spoke at the luncheon of the Iowa Taxpayers Association at the group's meeting in West Des Moines. But Culver tried to assure the crowd he is working to do what the members would want: save the state money. Culver released a 111 page report from a state consultant that outlined 90 ways to save big bucks.

The Iowa Efficiency Report, Culver said, would save about $341 million next year and nearly $1.7 billion over five years. That first year savings would just about erase the projected budget shortfall for next year (Culver uses about $400 million as the shortfall. Others, like the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau , put the number closer to $1 billion But what is a few hundred million dollars among friends?).

Republicans will appreciate seeing some of their ideas from the past few years put into the cost-saving idea pile...like consolidating the state's email systems, cutting the number of state employees (through early retirement, in this case) and reducing the state vehicle fleet. There are plenty of others in here, too, though.

Here's the report. Happy reading. It will keep you company if you're an Iowan trying to get through this blizzard:) I'm going to now leave work to try to make it to our home in West Des Moines. Won't be fun...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Baucus Girlfriend with Des Moines Ties

(photo courtesy: billingsgazette.com)

Montana Senator Max Baucus apparently dated his staffer and then recommended her for a post for U.S. attorney in his state. Baucus doesn't sound like he is denying the recommendation. The staffer/girlfriend has numerous Des Moines ties. Melodee Hanes graduated from Drake University in Des Moines. She later served as Assistant Polk Couny Attorney and as an adjunct law professor at Drake, according to her resume.

Republicans want an ethics investigation. I asked Iowa Senator Tom Harkin what he thought of the news of his fellow Democrat. He said he didn't really have a comment about the story. He told me he first learned of the story this morning by reading the newspaper. And he added, "Issues like this...best just to wait until all the facts come out and stuff like that."

Harkin also predicted a health bill will pass out of the senate before Christmas with a bill to the president in January. And he continues to say a public option will be part of the final bill.

Trompeter's Boyfriend's Car Involved in Shooting

There's a bizarre story coming out the Twin Cities. Friends were having a going away party for former Des Moines anchor Jeanette Trompeter last night (after getting laid off from her job, she took a job in California). Jeanette and her boyfriend were getting ready to go to the gathering. Her boyfriend had his car running at their house in the driveway when he ran inside to grab some wine. A thief swiped the car and then got shot by police. Jeanette and her boyfriend are o.k. Here's the story.

She posted this message to friends on Facebook:

Hi friends. Thank you for the concerns. I'm fine. David's fine. Yes, it's all true. A very strange experience indeed. One minute the police are here helping us, taking reports, etc. A few minutes later their lives are in danger. Gives me new appreciation for the risks they potentially face on every call.

We saw the new movie, "Blindside" last night. Good. Really good. A little predictable, I suppose, as many movies based on sports often are. It was a bit weird to see Sandra Bullock as a blonde with a southern accent. But she seemed believable.

Republicans Pick New Executive Director

The Republican Party of Iowa has a new executive director. He used to work for Ames native Gentry Collins (Political Director for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.) Here's the release from the party:

Chairman Strawn Welcomes Executive Director Jim Anderson
Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn today announced Jim Anderson was confirmed by the Republican State Central Committee as the party’s new executive director. Anderson comes to the Iowa GOP from the Republican National Committee in Washington, DC, where he served as the RNC’s Deputy Political Director.

“Iowa Republicans are poised for sweeping gains in 2010 from Terrace Hill to local offices. We are fortunate to have someone of Jim’s talents joining our effort to bring competent and principled government to the people of Iowa,” said Strawn.

“I appreciate the trust placed in me by Chairman Strawn and Iowa Republicans. Iowans are rightly frustrated by Governor Culver’s failed leadership, and I’m ready to work with our candidates and grassroots activists to advance the Republican agenda with victories next November,” said Anderson.

Prior to serving as Deputy Political Director at the RNC, Anderson worked in Iowa in 2008 as part of the RNC’s Victory campaign and previously served as an appointee of President George W. Bush in the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Anderson is a native of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania and a graduate of James Madison University.

I'm a big fan of NBC's "The Office". But has this season lost a little of its creative originality since Jim and Pam got married? Someone forwarded this article whose author thinks so. What do you think?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Incumbents and Tiger Woods

Chet Culver, Chuck Grassley, Leonard Boswell...what are you thinking? Any worries about next year now? Yes, the general election is 11 months away. But it sure was interesting to see what happened to incumbents this week. A 23 year old challenger upset a man more than three times his age, who has served two decades on the Des Moines City Council. In West Des Moines, a 20 year veteran member got bounced. Two incumbents also went down in Windsor Heights. And another one fell in Ames.

If you combine those results with some polls that show support for office-holders tumbling, it makes you wonder whether this "throw the bums out" mentality is just misguided angst about the economy (which could evaporate if the economy rebounds next year) or if it will remake the overall look of government. Hmmm....

There's a lot of speculation about which of the five remaining Republican candidates will leave the race for governor next. Christian Fong became the first to exit, if you don't count Senator Minority Leader Paul McKinley (although some question how "in" the race he ever really was). It sure doesn't sound like the next man out will be former House Speaker Chris (don't call me Christopher any more) Rants, at least not this week. Today, Terry Branstad's campaign sent out a release touting legislators (Rants' current co-workers) who are supporting the former four-time governor. Here's the release from Branstad, followed by one Rants sent out today.

Governor Terry Branstad Announces Legislative Leadership Team
(URBANDALE) – In a sign of growing momentum as he explores a bid for governor, Gov. Terry Branstad today announced the support of Republican legislators from across the state as part of his initial legislative leadership team.

“These individuals are on the front lines of legislative debate,” said Branstad. “They recognize the need for conservative solutions in dealing with the state’s record budget shortfall. They sounded the alarm, but unfortunately, Gov. Culver was unwilling to listen. I share with them their positive vision for our state’s future and look forward to working with them to advance Iowa’s comeback.”

Branstad says this team will work on expanding the governor’s support across the entire state.

“One of the first goals of this team will be to expand and broaden the base of our campaign’s support within the House and Senate Republican caucuses over the coming months,” Branstad said.

The list of Gov. Branstad’s legislative leadership team are as follows:

Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull
Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyeden
Sen. Larry Noble, R-Ankeny
Sen. Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines
Rep. Steve Lukan, R-New Vienna
Rep. Ralph Watts, R-Adel
Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, R-Wilton
Rep. Rich Arnold, R-Russell
Rep. Lance Horbach, R-Tama
Rep. Annette Sweeney, R-Alden
Rep. Henry Rayhons, R-Garner
Rep. Dave Tjepkes, R-Gowrie
Rep. Erik Helland, R-Grimes
Rep. Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf

Last month, the Branstad 2010 Committee announced that former State Rep. Carmine Boal, R-Ankeny, would serve as the statewide organization chair.

Rants: “Some of us know Terry Branstad all too well”

“Terry Branstad is saying those who believe he isn’t conservative enough ‘don’t know him.’ The trouble is that some of us know Terry Branstad all too well,” said Rep. Chris Rants, candidate for Governor from Sioux City.

“It was Terry Branstad on the other end of the phone when he called lobbying me to raise the cigarette tax when I was Speaker. It was Terry Branstad wielding the veto pen when he gutted our education reform legislation because Republicans wouldn’t go along with all the spending he wanted. It is Terry Branstad’s signature on the largest tax increase in Iowa history,” added Rants.

“Opposing the Branstad tax and spend record doesn’t make someone a member of the ‘confrontational right,’ it just makes them a fiscal conservative.”

On Wednesday Terry Branstad told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald that those criticizing his record as governor, "Now I have people saying I'm not conservative enough. Now I have people calling me a moderate, or a liberal," he said. "These people don't know me."

The article with Branstad's comments can be found here - http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=265298
Is there any woman out there who won't come out this week to say she had a fling with Tiger Woods? Why will his wife stay with him after all of this? It's probably just the media's fault. Maybe they beat him in the face with that golf club, too.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Purple Matters

Thanks for checking in on "Purple Matters" our internet radio show on Tuesdays at 8pm central on www.desmoineslocallive.com.

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker talked about his old life and new life. Now that he has left his post, he talks about the behind-the-scenes decisions about that raid on a Swift meatpacking plant in Marshalltown. He said, despite media reports, officials gave very serious attention beforehand to make sure children wouldn't be separated from their families. He said they even planned out how to care for animals that might be caught up in the process before they made it through to slaughter.

Whitaker also talked about running for office. He said it became clear to him a while back, though, that Terry Branstad would run and would be a force. He also expressed concern about "the bench" for Republicans in Iowa, not that there aren't people on the bench, but rather that the people on the bench don't get a chance to get in the game.

AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan also joined us. He thinks it's ridiculous that critics say state workers make too much money. And he doesn't see how Governor Culver or state lawmakers can come back next year and ask state employees to give up more.

Here's the link for their part of the show:


Christian Fong dropped out of the race for governor. He said it was all about the money. He won't rule out joining Terry Branstad's ticket or any other candidate, for that matter. Fong also wouldn't rule out running for office again. In fact, far from it. He also talks about what will be the best thing about leaving the race.

Here's the link to his appearance on the show:


Thanks for listening. Please vote on our War Tax Poll at the top right of the web page. And please keep your comments coming as we keep working to improve our show! See you next Tuesday at 8pm for "Purple Matters" on www.desmoineslocallive.com!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Zaun to Announce for Congress Thursday

Add another name to the race for Congress. Republican State Senator Brad Zaun will announce Thursday that he wants to take on 3rd District Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell. Zaun told me last month he was thinking about running. Now, he's ready to say he's doing more than just thinking. He will announce at 10am at Sellers Hardware in Des Moines. Zaun worked there when he was growing up (his mother owns it now). He later operated Zaun's Hardware in Urbandale as he started transitioning into politics.

The primary race is getting a bit crowded now. Former National Guard pilot Dave Funk announced first. Then former Iowa State wrestler and coach Jim Gibbons got in. Republicans now have a three-way battle for the nomination.

Anyone else want in?

Fong Suspends Campaign

And then there were five. Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong is now "former" candidate, or so it appears. Fong's campaign sent out a release that he is suspending his campaign. I haven't talked to him yet, so I don't know much more than what's in this news release.

There has been growing belief among Republican insiders that former Governor Terry Branstad's entrance into the race has suck the attention and money away from the other candidates and that we would soon see a few candidates drop out. Rod Roberts, Jerry Behn, Chris Rants, Bob Vander Plaats and Branstad remain. Who will be next to exit?

Here's the release from Fong's camp:

(Cedar Rapids, IA) Christian Fong, Republican gubernatorial candidate announced that effective today he will suspend his campaign for Governor.

“Today, I announce the suspension of my campaign. From this time forward, we will not be actively campaigning for the Republican nomination for Governor. While today marks a change of direction for our campaign and for myself personally, today is not an end to my passion to see the Iowa Dream restored,” said Fong.

“Over the coming months, I intend to be actively involved in the process even if it’s not as a formal candidate for Governor. Iowa is faced with historic challenges and opportunities. The decision voters make in 2010 will greatly shape the future of our state. I personally want to ensure we continue to have a lively discussion about reforming our income tax code, reversing population and job losses in Iowa and addressing the “Brain Drain.” Electing a Republican nominee who is committed to addressing these issues with substantive plans will lead to success, both next November against Governor Culver, and through the next four years.”

“To my supporters and those that have generously supported my campaign financially, I give my sincere thanks. Your support and passion for our state deepened my conviction that this campaign reflected not only our core Iowa values, but our bright future as well. Our vision was clear, but the financial hurdles too great. Yet it is the responsibility of each generation to build on the blessings of liberty in Iowa, and so I will continue to stand with you for the future of our great state,” concluded Fong.

Christian Fong graduated from Underwood High School in Southwest Iowa at the age of 16 and then attended Creighton University, graduating at age 19. After college, he and his wife, Jenelle, located in Cedar Rapids and Christian started work at AEGON. Fong put his career on hold to attend Dartmouth, earning his MBA. He and his family returned to Cedar Rapids, where they reside today and attend River of Life Ministries church. When the floods of 2008 hit Cedar Rapids, Fong founded and still serves today as the CEO of Corridor Recovery, a non-profit flood relief organization that coordinated recovery efforts. The Fongs have three children.