Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Staffer Quits Culver; One More to Follow?

Another staff member has quit working for Governor Chet Culver. This time it's his Press Secretary Troy Price. Price is leaving to take over the marriage equality, gay rights organization, One Iowa. Brad Clark, One Iowa's former executive director, is leaving to become head of One Colorado. Clark sent this out to supporters:

Friends -

Thank you for all of your help and support of One Iowa’s historic campaign. The advancement of equality we've seen over the past year would not be possible without you. I am personally grateful.

I'm writing with mixed emotion as I let you know that I will be leaving One Iowa at the beginning of May to become the Executive Director of One Colorado. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be part of this historic campaign, and I am extremely excited about the challenge ahead!

And honestly the decision became that much easier when I knew that I'd be leaving the work in very capable hands. I am pleased to let you know that on June 1, Troy Price will join One Iowa and continue to lead our efforts to protect marriage equality in Iowa. Troy has worked various roles within the Vilsack and Culver administrations, most recently as Governor Culver’s press secretary. I have the utmost confidence that he will serve our campaign well in the months ahead.

I would be honored if you would join me in welcoming Troy and seeing you once before I take off:

Welcome Party
May 11 – 6:00-8:00 PM
Centro – 10th & Locust, Des Moines
RSVP: or 515-288-4019 x214

As you well know, we have a critical year ahead to maintain our fair-minded majority in Iowa and protect this victory. I am confident in Troy, our One Iowa team and partners, and the aggressive plan we’ve put together to protect our friends and ensure marriage equality is here to stay.

Again - please know that I am personally grateful for all of your help and support over the years to ensure this victory in Iowa. And I look forward to staying in touch moving forward.

All best -

Brad Clark
Campaign Director
One Iowa

The Des Moines Register's Jason Clayworth has a rundown on the staff departures at Culver's governor's office and campaign office.

Who's next? I think at least a half dozen people, some who work at the Iowa Statehouse, have told me Culver's Communications Director Erin Seidler will be leaving soon. Culver's office denied to the the Des Moines Register two weeks ago she had turned in plans to quit. A spokesperson in Culver's office had told me there was "no date set" for Seidler's departure when I asked last week. Today, he said "not sure" about whether her date has been set yet. Seidler is Culver's fourth communications director since he took office a little more than three years ago.

Lawmakers' questions to Kilcrease

she did answer a question that she doesn't think forcing iowa assn of school boards to comply with open records laws would hurt the organization's operations

when asked what kind of experience she had before coming to iasb..."i don't feel that is relevant to the conversation today"

what is the role/function of the iasb board? did the board have superior capacity over the executive director? kilcrease referred lawmakers to a packet from the iasb. she didn't provide additional details.

about her salary...were you there when your contract was signed? she cited 5th amendment rights. she also wouldn't address the validity of the signatures on the contracts

won't answer questions about her job duties...

do you have signed copies of your signed contract? will you provide copies to the board? kilcrease cited fifth amendment

did you interfere with audit of iasb? kilcrease said she doesn't have access to information/files on this

looks like her time is through. time to go see if she will answer our questions. see you on tv at 5 and 6 tonight

Kilcrease answering lawmakers' questions

I'm going to shorthand a few of former Iowa Association of School Boards' Executive Director Maxine Kilcrease's answers before lawmakers at the government oversight committee hearing at the Iowa Statehouse...

won't talk about the allegations she raised her own pay/benefits by the equivalent of about $150,000

won't talk about any problems with Kevin Schick. He was the former Chief Financial Officer accused of using an IASB credit card to pay for a personal trip to Bora Bora.

won't talk about travel she took with her job

says she doesn't have access to notes and records from her job at IASB

can't address whistleblowers at IASB

won't add anything to claims her attorney made in the opening statement that IASB was disorganized when she took over as executive director

Kilcrease at Iowa Statehouse

She is here. After weeks of dodging Iowa lawmakers' requests for her to show up before them for government oversight hearings at the Iowa Statehouse, Maxine Kilcrease has shown up this morning. A lot changed yesterday, of course, when a Polk County District judge refused to side with Kilcrease's attorney's motion to quash lawmakers' subpoena forcing Kilcrease here. After that ruling, her attorney said she would be here. And she is.

The question is whether she will actually answer questions. She is dressed in a black suit and dark glasses. Her attorney, Sean Spellman, is reading an opening statement. He began with, "thank you for having us here". Do people believe Kilcrease is really thankful for the "invitation" to come here today?

Spellman came after lawmakers, actually one in particular, although he didn't call out Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, by name. Courtney has made comments about "thieves" and they should lock up people responsible for "100 years". Spellman argued yesterday Kilcrease can't get a fair shake in this hearing because of comments like those.

Let's start the show...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Huckabee on tv

Mike Huckabee, television star or Mike Huckabee, our next president. Which one do you think? Huckabee's supporters sent out the good news about his tv show on Fox. He's trouncing the competition, according to the release. What's ahead for him? He just changed his residency to Florida. No state income taxes there. Is that a sign he is starting to make the big bucks? And if he is, will he be willing to give them up and run for president again? Yeah, I know it's early. But it's not TOO early to start talking about this. What do you think?

President Leaves, Culver on Chuck Todd's Show

We heard rumors President Obama would stop by Java Joe's in downtown Des Moines before he flew out of town. NBC's Political Director Chuck Todd was supposed to be interviewing someone on his MSNBC show. We were making plans at the station of how to get a crew out to the coffee shop EARLY Wednesday morning. We already had a crew taking care of the prez's departure at the airport. And I was getting back late last night from the prez event in Ottumwa. So I must say, I wasn't jumping up and down at the chance to get a short night's sleep to go stake out the prez.

Turns out, it wasn't the prez. It was the gov. Governor Chet Culver made the early appearance on Todd's show. Todd asked him why his poll numbers are worse than the prez's and other Democrats:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Obama in Ottumwa

Hi, from Ottumwa. It's 4:17pm as we wait for President Obama to arrive from Mount Pleasant. That town's adopted son, former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, is shaking hands in the gym here at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, so we assume the prez must be close. NBC told us the prez did stop for a piece of rhubarb pie and coffee on his way here. It was an unannounced stop for obvious security reasons.

Speaking of...yesterday, the owner of Baby Boomers Cafe told us about the plans for the prez to stop by a private party tonight at his place in Des Moines' East Village. The Obamas were huge fans of Boomers' chocolate chip cookies during the 2008 campaign and helped launch those cookies to international stardom. But apparently, now that the word got about about the private, invite-only party, the prez will not be attending. Now that word got out, it sounds like too many security issues for the secret service to have to handle with crowds gathering, etc. Too bad for the cafe's owner. He's a nice guy, who probably didn't realize he jeopardized the event by letting us know about it. I feel bad for him and for the 100 people who were invited to attend, who probably really looked forward to the evening.

4:28..the prez is on his way in. He's early. More later. See you on tv.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Obama Coming to Baby Boomers' reception

We had been wondering what was going on with President Obama's travel plans. Tuesday, he is scheduled to stop in Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant and Ottumwa. But the Ottumwa event should finish by dinner time and he doesn't fly out of Des Moines until Wednesday. Now we know how he will spend his time Tuesday night. The owner of Baby Boomers Cafe, Rodney Maxfield, confirmed the president is supposed to stop by a private reception at his restaurant Tuesday night. Maxfield said the party is a reception for Obama advisor, David Axelrod. He said 3rd District Congressman Leonard Boswell and Governor Chet Culver are also expected to attend. He is planning on finger foods, drinks, etc. for about 100 people, which is all the place holds. And, of course, there will be several thousand cookies, he said. The Obama family developed quite a sweet tooth for the chocolate chip cookies during the 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign and the cookies have since received international fame on shows like Rachel Ray and Oprah.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Culver Skips Breakfast Club

There's a group of influential business/philanthropic types who meet on Tuesday mornings at Biaggi's, a West Des Moines restaurant. If you want to know who attends, just think of the most well-known last names in the area. Chances are, they're in it. The group has about 65 to 70 regular members. Last Tuesday, the group invited Terry Branstad, a Republican candidate for governor. He spoke to the group. This past Tuesday, the group invited Governor Chet Culver. He didn't speak to the group. Two members told me he never showed up and the group had no idea he would be a no show.

This is the second time in four days Culver didn't come to a planned event. Saturday, he angered Jasper County Democrats by canceling a scheduled appearance at Uncle Nancy's Coffee Shop in Newton. The shop had agreed to stay open late for the governor's appearance. One of the organizers told me Culver's campaign didn't give a reason for the cancellation. The campaign later told me the governor attended several other events that day in eastern Iowa.

As I write this at 11am, the campaign has not given me a reason as to why Culver failed to show up for The Breakfast Club meeting Tuesday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Frew Leaving Governor's Office


Chief of Staff John Frew is leaving Governor Chet Culver's office. His office has denied talk for the better part of the past month that Frew would leave. But several Democrats close to the Iowa Statehouse have said Frew would leave around May 1st. The governor's office has not confirmed a departure date. There is a press conference in Cedar Rapids this afternoon to address Frew's future. Stay tuned...


The Cedar Rapids Gazette has more on this departure. Frew will work for Mayor Ron Corbett. The press conference is scheduled for 2pm.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Culver Skips Campaign Stop

Did Governor Chet Culver get double-booked? The Newton Independent reported Saturday that Culver skipped a 3:30pm campaign appearance Saturday in Newton with little notice. Thursday, the governor's office released his public schedule. You can see where the problem is. The office scheduled the gov in Cedar Rapids at 1:30 for an official governor's event there. By the way, it's about a 1 1/2 hour drive to Newton from C.R.

His campaign told me about the cancelation, "A scheduling conflict came up - he was in Cedar Rapids touring newly-rebuilt facilities through flood recovery efforts, and attended a Veterans remembrance concert in the Quad Cities this evening."

Here's what was on the public schedule:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

WHAT: Governor Culver will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopened National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. The Czech Museum received $10 million from the Culver/Judge I-JOBS initiative to rebuild after the floods of 2008. It is the first flood recovery project in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village funded by I-JOBS.

WHERE: National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
87 16th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA

WHEN: 10:30 a.m.

WHAT: Governor Culver will tour the Linn County Sheriff’s Office during an open house to celebrate its reconstruction after the floods of 2008.

WHERE: Linn County Sheriff’s Office
310 2nd Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA

WHEN: 1:30 p.m.
I'm tired from the Cardinals and Mets game last night. I can't imagine how the players feel! They played 20 innings. That's a double-header plus another 2 innings for good measure. Those guys have to be beat. If you don't like Cards' manager, Tony LaRussa, you would have plenty to question about the way he handled the game. Double-switching out cleanup hitter, Matt Holliday, really hurt the Cards' chances in extra innings. The Mets just kept walking Albert Pujols when they knew the pitcher's spot would have to come up next. It was tough to watch. A fun game, but tough to watch. Cards' catcher, Yadier Molina, caught all 20 innings last night. Somehow, he is catching tonight. How is that possible? LaRussa must have no faith at all in the newly called up rookie catcher, Bryan Anderson. NO faith all.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pawlenty and Pataki

TPaw and GeorgePa (doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?) are both headed to the Des Moines metro in the next few days. Is it an early 2012 Iowa caucus match up? Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty headlines the Iowans for Tax Relief's Iowa Taxpayers Day event Saturday afternoon in Urbandale. That event could be a fight for the headlines. Not only will TPaw be there, so will 5 men who want to be Iowa's next governor: Republicans' Terry Branstad, Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts, along with Independent Jonathan Narcisse and Libertarian Eric Cooper (the Iowa State professor not the Major League Baseball umpire from Ankeny). That will be a lot of people trying to make it into the news cycle for Saturday night/Sunday morning. Will TPaw push out everyone since he's a possible presidential contender for 2012? Will one of the Republican candidates for governor edge his way in? Is there enough room for more than one major story out of this event? Stay tuned.

Former New York Governor George Pataki comes to Des Moines on Tuesday. I think it's his first trip here since he came last April as part of the American Future Fund speakers' series at Drake University. USA Today has a backgrounder on Pataki's new project. He is working with a group called Revere America. It's a 501 (c) 4 group that aims to get 1 million signatures to repeal President Obama's new health care law. The group has an ad that will run in Iowa. It's supposed to be Paul Revere riding his horse.

Of course, any visit to Iowa, the home of the first-in-the-nation caucus gets people wondering if Pataki will again consider running for president. What do you think?

Grassley vs. Conlin

Iowa Democrats have unusually high hopes to unseat long-time U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley this year. Historically, Grassley stomps his Democratic challengers every 6 years ever since he won the seat by beating Democratic Senator John Culver in 1980. Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin out raised Grassley in the first quarter this year(The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont breaks down the numbers). The total includes $250,000 Conlin loaned to her campaign.

NBC's First Read hasn't bought into those high Democratic hopes for an upset, at least not yet.
*** First Read's Top 10 Senate Takeovers: If it's Friday, it's time for another First Read Top 10 list. Today, we take our monthly look at what we consider to be the Top 10 Senate takeovers. The number in parentheses is our ranking from March.
1. North Dakota (1) -- With Byron Dorgan's (D) retirement and John Hoeven (R) in the race, this remains at the top
2. Delaware (2) -- Mike Castle (R) is still the driver's seat
3. Nevada (3) -- Harry Reid got health care through, but his poll numbers still look bleak
4. Arkansas (5) -- The Lincoln-Halter primary is for real. Are Dems counting on a flawed GOP nominee to hold on to this seat?
5. Indiana (4) -- If he wins his GOP primary next month, does Dan Coats (R) continue to call Obama a "socialist"?
6. So far, Giannoulias has "survived" the Broadway Bank cloud over his head. But does that change when the bank actually gets shut down?
7. Pennsylvania (9) -- Specter vs. Sestak is starting to heat up. Does a better economy help the Dem winner in what's looking like a toss-up general election?
8. Colorado (6) -- Jane Norton (R) might have her own real primary, with DeMint and other conservatives backing Ken Buck
9. Missouri (8) -- Robin Carnahan (D) has begun her attack on Roy Blunt (R) for being a Washington insider. Does that begin to change the polls?
10. Kentucky (unranked) -- We could put other races here (CA, NH, OH even FL), but this month we’re going with the Bluegrass State. Democrats do have a path for victory here, especially if Rand Paul wins in the GOP primary in May. What will be fascinating is Mitch McConnell's reaction to a Paul victory; he can be a tad vengeful.

Speaking of high hopes, I have them for my St. Louis Cardinals. I can tell I'm expecting big things this year. The Cards are off to a 6-3 start, the 4th best record in baseball. They have played 3 series so far. But each time, they won the first 2 games and then lost the last 1. I was disappointed with the loss each time, especially yesterday's to the previously winless Houston Astros. With the starting pitching the Cards have been getting, I'm almost expecting a win. That feels good. So far:)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party

As I sit at my desk and wonder why I didn't wear sunscreen on my forehead, here are a few observations about the tea party at the Iowa Statehouse:

The Crowd--I estimated 400-500 people when I arrived around 11:45am. About an hour later, when the crowd seemed to be at its largest, I guessed around 1,000. State Troopers estimated 1,100. They later upped that estimate to closer to 1,500. I went with 1,500 in my tv stories. A release from the Des Moines Tax Party claims 3,000. Not sure how I could have missed 1,500 people.

The People--No one said anything racist that I saw in light of some critics who say this nearly all-white group (I only saw 2 people who weren't white) contains a lot of racists. If there were racists there, I didn't hear or see anything. Most people were extremely pleasant sitting in the beautiful sunny afternoon.

The Others--I did get my share of anti-media, uhm, shall I say, "comments", from a hand ful of people. People came out and told me (yes, I mean told, not asked) to report the REAL story. I think we did.

The Protesters--There were a few protesters to the protest (protesting a protest...does that become a double negative?:) One man wore a t-shirt about Jesus and held graphic, anti-abortion signs. He got into shouting matches with a few tea partiers. They claimed he was a liberal plant to make them look bad. We didn't include him in our story. He got away before I could try to find out who he was.

The Irony--Is it ironic that people supporting and celebrating their right to organize and express their freedom of speech demanded the protesters were escorted away?

The Party--It seemed the bulk of the people I met were or still are registered Republicans but have grown unhappy with the Republican party...too moderate towards gay rights issues and too liberal on taxes and spending. A few told me they prefer the term "conservative" to describe their political leanings.

The Demographics--The majority was white and older than 50. Not everyone was that age, of course. But the bulk of the people were. I did only see 2 non-white people out of the 1,500 people I estimated in the crowd. What does that mean to you?

The V.I.P.'s--I only saw Republican politicians (or political hopefuls) there. Here are the folks I saw: Windsor Heights Rep. Chris Hagenow, Grimes Rep. Erik Helland, Gov. candidate Bob Vander Plaats, 3rd District congressional cands. Brad Zaun and Pat Bertroche (Jim Gibbons tweeted that he was coming there, too. But I never saw him).

The Outcome--That's what I want to see. There's no doubt these people have a LOT of frustration. Many of them say taxes were there biggest issue, at a time when most Americans actually paid less in federal taxes this year. Is there anger more than that? Is it really the overspending? Is it the health care debate? Is it Obama? What do you think? I want to see if this anger will continue through the elections and, of course, at whom do they direct their anger? Just Democrats? Incumbents in general? Will they show up in large numbers at the polls? The unknown sure is fun, isn't it?!

I think I'm hungry. Time for dinner. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fred Grandy Fired

It looks like Gopher has been thrown overboard. Grandy, grew up in Sioux City and served in Congress before challenging then-Governor Terry Branstad in the Republican primary in 1994. Grandy had a radio gig in Washington, D.C. But Mediabistro reports the company is letting him go to save money.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Palin Banning Cameras?

We knew Sarah Palin went rogue. But is she going private, too? A story out today reports Palin may ban cameras at her speech at California State University, Stanislaus (never heard of it). As a public person, should we be allowed to show you what she says and does during her speeches?

Two Iowa communities just won props in a national award for sustainability. Newton won a small community honor. Davenport won one for mid-sized. Here's the release:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) and Siemens Corporation today announced that nine communities across the country have been selected as finalists for the 3rd annual Siemens Sustainable Community Awards. The finalists were selected based on their outstanding efforts to achieve complementary economic, environmental and social goals, as well as to improve the overall quality of life within their communities.

“Despite – or perhaps because of – the tough economic conditions we’ve been enduring, more communities across the country embraced public-private partnerships as a core strategy for promoting sustainable community development,” said BCLC Senior Vice President and Executive Director Stephen Jordan. “All of the finalists for the awards made important contributions to their home towns this year.”
2010 Siemens Sustainable Community Awards: National Finalists

Large Community — Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; and Philadelphia, PA

Mid-Size Community — Davenport, IA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Hoover, AL

Small Community — Casselberry, FL; Manhattan Beach, CA; and Newton, IA

Details about the finalists, as well as the award winners from 2009 and 2008, are on BCLC’s Web site .

Culver on campaign

Chet Culver talked to us. It's just like when that cute girl, Dawn, talked to me in my 7th grade science class. O.K., it's not anywhere near that exciting. But I was surprised the governor didn't talk with reporters after a bill-signing Monday at the Iowa Statehouse. The news had already officially come out that his campaign manager, Abby Curran, was quitting. Curran made the fourth key manager who quit in recent months. (The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont catches us up with the names and dates). I first heard talk Curran was leaving a few weeks ago. I called her and asked whether it was true. She told me, no, she wasn't leaving.

Monday was so surprising because Culver almost always talks to us after a public appearance. In fact, I can't think of a single time he hasn't since he became governor. Maybe I'm forgetting some instance. But nothing comes to mind. Tuesday, he talked. Here is part of what he had to say to defend all the changes in his campaign. He said, “That happens. That happens in campaigns. It happens in every professional office and we're moving on and we're excited and we're ready to win this race."

Culver continued, “I think (former Iowa governor) Tom Vilsack is a good model. He had three campaign managers. It all worked out perfectly."

Vilsack wasn’t the incumbent in that race as Culver is now. Vilsack was a little-known state senator from the small southeastern Iowa town of Mt. Pleasant, who had been down nearly 30 points in the polls before turning around his campaign and winning.

Last Friday, after MSNBC's First Read said Culver was the most endangered incumbent governor in the country, he responded with this..."I think Iowans love underdogs".

Tom Vilsack used the underdog theme in his failed presidential bid.


Apparently, golfers like to endulge their sweet tooth after winning the Master's tournament. A viewer posted this on CNN catching Phil Mickelson in the drive-through at Krispy Kreme. Is this big news? No. But it is kind of funny that it looks like Mickelson is still wearing his green jacket!

And how 'bout my Cardinals? Albert Pujols is absolutely locked in. What a stud! I still have many questions about the right-handed relief in the bullpen though. I hope Ryan Franklin wasn't a one-year wonder as a closer. He has looked shaky. I really hope Motte and Boggs can offer some steady hands in the back-end of games. I would still like to see Kyle McClellan get a shot a starting. But it looks like he, again, may have to wait until next year.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gubernatorial Debate, New York Times Moving into Kansas City

For those of you salivating for more of the Branstad v Vander Plaats v Roberts debate match up, here's the latest from the Des Moines Register on how the third of the 3 debates will work (the second debate takes place May 1st in Cedar Rapids). Here's part of the release from the Register today:

Des Moines, IA– The Des Moines Register will hold the Republican Governor’s candidate debate on Thursday, May 20, 2010. The debate will be from noon-1pm CDT.Questions also will be posed by a panel of journalists, led by The Des Moines Reigster's political columnist Kathie Obradovich. Also on the panel:Dean Borg, Host and Moderator of Iowa Public Television’s IOWA PRESS O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa News Director In addition to the live broadcast on IPTV World (channel 11.3 and Mediacom channel 119), the debate will also be streamed live at and Both sites will also archive the debate. The debate will also be rebroadcast on Thursday, May 20 from 7-8pm on statewide Iowa Public Television. Viewers will also be able see highlights from the debate at

To keep our newspaper theme going...the former owner of this television station, The New York Times, is expanding into the Midwest.

Catching Up

We had some internet issues at work Saturday, so I didn't get to do my catchup blog. So, here are a few thoughts on the past week of work I missed while we were on vacation.

Yeah, I know. This is catsup. Not catchup. But it's close:) This picture is in honor of a town where I used to live: Collinsville, Illinois. It's home to world's largest catsup bottle, or so it claims. This is 170 feet tall and stands where the old Brooks Catsup plant used to operate. Collinsville also hosts the International Horseradish Festival. I don't know if they serve catsup there.

O.K., here we go...

Waterloo Representative Kerry Burt has given up his re-election bid. That ends an uncomfortable position for Democratic leaders. More on that in a bit. First, the catchup...Burt already pleaded guilty to drunk driving last year. You'll remember he said he had been drinking with Governor Chet Culver, although the governor's staff maintains the two were not downing drinks together all night and that the gov couldn't say where Burt was the final five hours of the evening. Burt, who is also a firefighter, refused to resign from his seat following the incident. Although, now that the attorney general has filed criminal charges against him for lying about where his kids live, Burt has now given up his re-election efforts. Burt sent his kids to a school at the University of Northern Iowa. The A.G. contends Burt used a false address for his kids to he could pay a fraction of the tuition costs he should have paid (he should have paid about $37,000 more according to the A.G.). Another Democrat, Anesa Kajtazovic, had already filed to run against Burt in the primary before the charges came down against him, so this now avoids putting Democratic leaders in a tight spot where they have to choose Burt or his opponent in the primary contest. Problem avoided...well, other than the fact that Burt could now go to prison.

Poll numbers haven't been kind to Governor Chet Culver. And now MSNBC's First Read proclaims Culver the most endangered incumbent governor in the U.S. Culver said "Iowans love underdogs". He compared himself to the underdog University of Northern Iowa Panthers who stunned Kansas in the NCAA tournament. Is it a good sign for him to have to accept that he is an underdog for the job he already holds?

Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King doesn't seem to be trying to deflect any talk that he may run for president in 2012. He brought in fellow lightning rod, Minnesota's Rep. Michelle Bachmann, for a fundraiser Saturday night. Should we take this seriously that King may run for prez? Does he have any chance to win?

Paddy O'Prado. Quite a name, huh? The horse hopes to make quite a name for himself and for Iowa May 1st at the Kentucky Derby. Paddy is owned by regular Channel 13 Insider and Des Moines Democratic activist, Jerry Crawford, along with a handful of other Iowans.

That isn't Crawford on the horse, in case you were wondering:) Here's a release sent on Crawford's behalf:

“Iowa, we’re going to the Derby,” was the announcement Jerry Crawford made today after the 86th running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keenland in Lexington, Kent. He was referring to the second-place finish by Paddy O’Prado in the $750,000 stakes race, which is a qualifier for the Kentucky Derby. The top 20 horses ranked by graded earnings qualify for the Derby.

A Crawford-led investor group, Donegal Racing—composed primarily of Iowans—owns the three-year-old Paddy O’Prado, who broke his maiden on March 6 with a win in the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The investor group bought the horse for $105,000, making him something of a Cinderella story, and with his qualification for the Kentucky Derby, he is on his way to the ball.

The Donegal investors in addition to Crawford are:

• Dennis Albaugh
• Jason Loutsch
• Peter DeCoster
• George Cataldo
• Gary Kirke Sr.
• Gary Kirke Jr.
• Judi Smith
• Joe Savage
• Bill Jacobson, MD

In today’s race Paddy was actually leading before being overpowered by long shot Stately Victor.

The Kentucky Derby runs on May 1, at Churchill Downs and Kent Desormeaux, who has more Derby wins under his belt than any other active jockey, will be riding Paddy. Desmormeaux rode Paddy in the Blue Grass Stakes today.

The Derby is run on dirt and the Blue Grass was run on polytrack. Paddy broke his maiden on turf.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Disney World

Greetings from Florida. We're finishing up a great visit with family in Tampa. We managed to get a quick day in at Disney World. O.K., my feet don't feel like it was a "quick" day. And, man, I wish I owned that place. They practically print money. Wow! But two impressive things I noticed were smiles and cleanliness. Nearly every worker was smiling and there was hardly any trash on the ground. Almost makes you forget you just paid 12 dollars for a hamburger. Almost.

I always feel like I'm a bit lost on what's happening back home when we go out of town. I didn't get to watch the first Republican gubernatorial debate. Anybody stand out? Did someone score any good points? Change any minds? What did you think?

I did a double-take watching the news down here. There was a banner across the tv screen that said, "Culver arrested". I thought, what did Governor Chet Culver possibly do that could mean he got arrested? Nothing, it turns out. It was someone down here named Culver. I guess 9 years in Iowa are starting to show. I think everything that happens has to involve Iowa! Not this time.

And what would you think if your boss wanted you to tell him who the "battery drainers" are at your office? An Orlando news director send out a message to staff saying he wanted everybody to list the three biggest negative workers. Apparently, they could do it anonymously. He asked for the biggest "battery chargers", as well. What do you think of this approach? Let's be honest. We all have people who don't work as hard as the rest of us. But are you comfortable ratting out the drainers at your place? Do you think it's appropriate for your boss to ask you to do it?

We're off to watch a little baseball tonight: Tampa Bay (don't call them "Devil" any more) Rays vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Growing up, my favorite St. Louis Cardinal was right-fielder, George Hendrick. He is the first-base coach for the Rays these days. I'd love to meet him. Let's play ball!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Fort Dodge Workers to Get Paid for Casino Rally

Fort Dodge is paying its city employees to rally for a casino, according to the Fort Dodge Messenger. State gambling officials take a tour of Fort Dodge Wednesday and the city will pay workers who want to go to the rally to greet them. The workers aren't required to go, according to city leaders.

What do you think? Should taxpayers pay city workers to go to this rally during their work hours? Is this the proper us of tax money or should city workers take vacation time or make up the time they miss some other time to go to this rally? Or do you think city workers should help lobby for the casino since it could bring hundreds of jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars to town?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Gubernatorial debate, Branstad tv ads, Culver's acccomplishments

It looks like the debate over the debate is now over. KTIV, the NBC affiliate in Sioux City, hosts the first debate of the 3 Republican gubernatorial (that is such a weird word, isn't?) The station first planned on blocking other media and the public from watching the taping of the debate. It wouldn't be aired live, just shown on tape later. Other media weren't happy. The Iowa Democratic Party challenged Republican candidates to back out of the debate if KTIV didn't change the rules. It looks like things have changed. The station will broadcast the debate live on the web. Plus, Iowa Public Television will carry it, as well. That would seem to be good for everyone involved. Thanks to the media for being accessible to the media.

Speaking of tv, you're about to see former Governor Terry Branstad on it more. He starts tv ads Monday and also lays out his job creation plans.

Democratic Governor Chet Culver's campaign released a list of highlights of the week. I don't recall seeing something like this from the campaign before. Here's the release.


Iowa’s economy continued to improve for a fifth straight month, according to the Iowa Leading Indicators Index for February.
The index of eight economic indicators gained 0.7 percent in February, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue, which compiles the data.


Gov. Chet Culver signed into law Thursday a bill making it illegal for people younger than 18 to use cell phones while behind the wheel and for older drivers to send or read text and e-mail messages.

"It's a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will save lives and keep Iowa drivers safe," Culver said.

With Culver's signature, Iowa became the 21st state to enact a texting-while-driving ban, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

( I don't recall the governor speaking out strongly about what he specifically wanted to see on this texting ban before lawmakers passed the bill.)


The Iowa General Assembly shortened its session to 79 days to save taxpayers' money, yet managed to balance the budget in a severe recession, streamline state government and pass a raft of bills affecting everything from bicycle safety to puppy mills

The state will get by for another year without going into the red or raising taxes in a recession, which is no small feat.

(Republicans school districts will have no choice but to raise property taxes because of Culver's budget. I wonder when we will know for sure who is right in this fight.)


The 2010 legislative session was a victory for all Iowans. As a former teacher, I give the legislature an “A.” As a former coach, the Democratic legislative leaders each get my vote for MVP.

I thank legislators – both Democrats and Republicans – who made the 2010 session so successful. On several occasions we worked together and reached across party lines on bills such as the one to honor former A-P football coach Ed Thomas. This legislation honored the wishes of his family and hopefully will prevent another similar tragedy.

We worked together to save taxpayer dollars, create jobs, and protect our priorities. We’ve kept our promises and, most importantly, we have moved Iowa forward.

And, as other states continue to debate how much taxes will increase, we balanced our budget – just as we have done every year since I took office—without raising taxes!

(Do you ever notice how politicians keep taking credit for balancing the budget? In Iowa, they are constitutionally required to balance the budget. Shouldn't that be expected of them then to balance the budget?)

CULVER: GAY MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION HAS NO PLACE IN IOWA’S CONSTITUTION Chet Culver today made his strongest public statements to date about gay marriage, telling reporters that discrimination has no place in Iowa’s constitution.

“We stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state constitution have no place in our state constitution,” Culver said of the legislature’s resistance to multiple attempts to end equal marriage right for same-sex couples.

(I don't believe the governor said anything this strong before lawmakers ended the session and ended any possibility of allowing voters the statewide chance to amend the constitution and ban same-sex marriages.)


Under intense pressure from Iowa politicians and other members of the media, Sioux City NBC affiliate KTIV has changed its coverage plans for Wednesday's first Republican gubernatorial debate. However, the public and other members of the media are still barred from attending the event.

KTIV and the three Republican candidates for governor in Iowa came under increased scrutiny Thursday for agreeing to take part in a debate that is closed to the press and the public.

(I can't remember any media organization getting hammered this month for its handling of a debate.)

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.