Monday, January 30, 2006

Poll in the DM Register today

A poll conducted by the Des Moines Register shows some interesting results, discussed in an article that was published today.

The point that Thomas Beaumont and Jonathan Roos make in the article is that all of the 2006 Iowa gubernatorial candidates are not very well known.

So not all Iowans are political junkies, we're actually sort of a rarity.

John Deeth makes a good point in his blog here, where he notes that there are no benchmarks mentioned in the blog. He asks a very interesting question: how would other famous Iowans fare in a name recognition poll?

Political Forecast provides their assessment of the poll here. I would agree with Chris, the general public is not yet very tuned in to the race.

Here's my assessment. Of course, I'm looking at this with my Pro-Patty goggles, but two parts of the article stand out to me:

"Of those with opinions about the Democrats, 79 percent viewed Culver favorably and 21 percent unfavorably; for Judge, 76 percent had favorable opinions, 21 percent unfavorable; Blouin, 68 percent favorable, 32 percent unfavorable; and Fallon, 65 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable."


"Among those who do have an opinion now of the candidates, 66 percent viewed Nussle favorably, compared with 34 percent who view him unfavorably. Of those who know Vander Plaats, 65 percent see him favorably, compared with 35 percent unfavorably."

Clearly, Mom is one the best known candidates in the race, and has one of the best favorability ratings from people who know her.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Change of schedule

I had planned to go to Iowa City today, to collect nomination sigs for Mom. Looks like it's going to work out better to go next weekend.

So now I'm planning to be in Iowa City in the evening on Friday, Feb. 3 and during the day on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Song of Ice and Fire

George R. R. Martin has updated his website, and he gives us a few new hints as to what to expect in the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. Check it out.

For anyone who enjoys fantasy and science fiction, this guy is the best in the business. The only problem is, he's taking his own sweet time in finishing the series. But it's worth the wait. I've never read a fantasy series that was this engaging. It's got a little of everything, but what I love best is the medieval political intrigue he infuses in all of the storylines.

On the website, he also has a blog he calls Not A Blog, where there's a tidbit of his thoughts I really enjoyed about another guy named George.

Another cool thing about Martin, he used to work in Iowa. He taught at Clarke College in Dubuque in the 70s.

Heading back to my old stompin' grounds

I'll be heading to Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 28.

I'll be out and about, collecting signatures on my mom's nomination petitions. Anybody out there in Iowa City who would like to sign my mom's nomination petitions, or if you'd just like to chat or learn more info about Mom, look for me in the ped mall area or around the Pentacrest. I'll try to hang around there throughout the afternoon, as long as the weather is bearable.

Then, I'll be visiting some of my favorite places in Iowa City throughout the evening.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The cat is not amused

Midnight is also learning.

Sometimes the dog nips and yaps so much that he really gets annoyed. He scratches or bites the dog sometimes, but that just usually just makes the dog more ornery.

The dog seems to think the cat wants to play, but the cat has no interest in playing with the dog whatsoever.

Now the kitty is learning that if he just ignores the dog, it will start bothering somebody else.

Then the dog gets bored and whimpers so she can go outside and play with the other cats.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ariel is learning

Ariel is learning how to be friends with the kitties. She hasn't exactly learned that friends don't gnaw on each other's tails or chew on each other's feet, but she's learning.

Sushi Night

Last week, my brother and his girlfriend made their own sushi for the first time. They were so pleased with the results, a few nights ago they decided to make more and share it with us!

Of course, with the difficulty in obtaining fresh sashimi in rural southern Iowa, and no formal training, they chose to use a variety of fully-cooked tasty seafoods. The spicy tuna was excellent, as was the one with smoked salmon.

Here is a photo of the variety platter with the tasty creations, before they disappeared.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Makin Bacon

There's a new anonymous blog called "Who's Makin' Bacon," and they've got a bold proposal: eliminate the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. I think that was a Republican idea thrown around last year, and it didn't go very far.

Now in my book, there's nothing wrong with the idea of shuffling responsibilities around, but I think this anonymous blogger has it almost exactly backwards.

The DNR is probably the department that should have a lot of its responsibilities and staff shifted to other departments. Namely, the responsibilities of agriculture regulation. Those regulations now are under multiple departments, are disjointed and are not working very well.
Plus, it's just better to have these responsibilities under an elected official. Seems to me we shouldn't be putting all of the power in the hands of the appointed department heads. What if a Republican won the governor's office some time in the future? (Although I don't believe that will happen this year) A Republican governor would probably not put the right people in charge of the DNR.

Mom has a good Comprehensive Land Use proposal that would solve a lot of the problems we have now, and part of the proposal is streamline the ag regulations into one department. Under the proposal, zoning boards at the local level would be empowered to decide where certain types of agricultural operations should and should not be located. A state-level board would set the parameters and ensure that counties were in compliance.

But as I've said before, I'm obviously partial to my mom and her ideas.

Who's Makin' Bacon...reminds me of an old coffee mug at our neighbor's house that had a rather vulgar cartoon on it.

This Makin' Bacon guy (or gal?) is a complete jerk. He or she is just a mean-spirited crank, just tearing people down while offering no ideas or solutions. Now we know why they hide their identity. I'd be ashamed, too, if I ever did that.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Got rid of that ugly green template

I never like that green template I was using before, so I changed it. I know this is kind of bland, but at least it isn't green.

Anyway, just for's a link to a recent eBay auction that a friend sent to me. This is absolutely amazing.

It's a 1976 Ibanez Custom, like my guitar. It's exactly the same as mine!

I bought mine back in '95 for $200, and I've never seen another one like it before.

Looks like I made a pretty good investment, but I'll never sell mine. Too bad I don't have enough dough to get another one.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thank you

I need to thank State 29 for a gracious response to my previous post. I appreciate that. And yes, State 29 has generally been fair to my mom in their blogging.

I do, however, disagree with their assessment of the race. June is a long way off. Lots of things could happen before the voters make their decision. Mom clearly has the most experience, the best record and the best proposals on the table...and Iowa voters still have a lot of time to consider each of the candidates.

I would also respectfully disagree with the assertion that the anonymous letter was nothing more than a critique of Mom's stump speech. On the surface it appears to be more of a calculated attack than an honest critique.

Ask yourself...who goes to a political forum and just out of the blue decides to viciously and specifically attack two of the five candidates in an e-mail to a popular blog? Maybe Mom had a bad night, but c'mon, that sure didn't sound like an honest critique of a speech.

Anyway...I've been around politics for more than half my life, and my skin will probably never be thick enough.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Strolling through the blogs

There's a nasty anonymous letter about my mom on State 29. Sheesh.

Oh well, I'll address some of the issues, since I know her fairly well.

"First question is how did she get to where she is at?"

Well, she started by getting involved in the local Democratic Party in the 1980s. She served several years as the Monroe County party chair, working to help Democrats at the local and state level. She was very good at it. And then, after re-districting opened up a state Senate seat, she was recruited to run for the state Senate. At that time, the district was very large, the largest in sheer square miles of any Senate district. She defeated a candidate in the primary in 1992, and then went on to defeat a very solid Republican opponent (a Republican who is in the Iowa House today).

Trust me, this is a tough district for Democrats, but Mom always did well. She was re-elected in 1996 with a very impressive margin. During her time in the Senate, she served as Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader.

In 1998, she ran for Secretary of Agriculture, and defeated a strong Republican opponent. During her time in office, she raised the profile of the position and became known throughout the Midwest as a leader in agricultural policy. She was invited to speak at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and she served as party parliamentarian.

She was re-elected again in 2002, defeating a list of candidates on the ballot.

In 2004, she was again invited to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. This time, she had the honor of serving on the party platform drafting committee with other Democratic leaders from across the nation.

That's kinda how she got where she is. There's a good bio on the Patty Judge website.

So no, she didn't get where she is by being a "crankly ol' Farmwife," but I'm sure that title wouldn't bother her one bit.

The writer goes on to spout some anti renewable fuels nonsense, and then lays into Chet Culver with an equally unfair and baseless attack.

He skips sharing much of his opinion on Mike Blouin (hmm...) throws out a South Park quote and endorses Ed Fallon.

Just down-right mean spirited stuff.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dang, if I only had 600 grand...

Aah, wouldn't it be fun to buy this? Arguably one of the coolest pieces of real estate in Iowa. I hope somebody can keep it going, and I hope they don't change a thing.

Then again, the bathrooms could use a little work.

Snow storm, and I'm fine with it

We're getting hit right now with some really heavy snow. It's been coming down fairly steadily since about 2 p.m. and I think there's quite a bit more on the way.

It's going to be a perfect night to settle in and watch Battlestar Galactica (is this not the best show on TV right now?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lots of exciting things are happening in the Monroe County Democratic Party.

Last night I attended the Democratic Party caucus for my precinct. My mom and dad were there, along with most of my family. It's always an amazing thing to participate in this democratic process. My mom has a lot of great supporters here in Albia, and we're all going to make sure she is elected Iowa's first female governor.

My mom's campaign is in full swing, and she spoke to a large group of our neighbors and friends at the Monroe County courthouse. She explained how things are going in the campaign, and talked about some of the issues that are important to us out here in rural Iowa.

If there's anybody out there who is unsure about the Democratic candidates for governor, let me invite you to take a look at my mom's website. There's a ton of information on there about her campaign. Just go to and check out the info.

She has plans for solving the problems with livestock confinement regulation, providing health care coverage for Iowans and for making Iowa a national leader in stem cell research.

There are several other Democrats in the race, but mom is clearly the most experienced candidate. She has a background in a griculture and health care, being a farmer and former registered nurse at the Monroe County Hospital.

I have met most of Mom's opponents, including Jim Nussle. Nussle is going to be a very tough Republican to beat. I think Mom has the best chance, because she can be shown as the most clear contrast from Nussle in almost every aspect.

I met Sal Mohammed at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He was probably the most interesting person I spoke to all night. He's got a really fascinating story. It's hard to see how he could be a successful candidate, however.

I've run across Chet Culver more often than the others, since he's been in Albia for various events from time to time. He's a good guy, and I have nothing but good things to say about him. No matter what happens in this election, Chet has a great future in Iowa politics.

Ed Fallon is a candidate who may surprise people. I met him early last fall, before Mom announced her candidacy. He has some great ideas, and some not so great ideas. I really do agree with him about the Iowa Values Fund. I just hate the idea of the state government doling out big wads of cash to corporations. There are better, proven methods of attracting businesses to Iowa that don't involve such tactics.

Which leads me to Mike Blouin. He's gotten some support from legislators and the insider set, but of all the candidates he's definitely the last choice in my book.

But, of course, I'm partial to my mom!

I'll be adding a lot more updates here soon.

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