Friday, June 30, 2006

Conjoined squash

I don't know if this is a common thing or not. This is the first time I've grown squash. I just thought it was kinda cool.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Broccoli and baby carrots

Well, we harvested our first broccoli, carrots and some cabbage from the garden tonight. The broccoli is just a small little bunch, but the plants are promising a lot more.

The cabbage and baby carrots will soon be transformed into cole slaw for this weekend.

As for the rest of the garden, it survived a brief hailstorm earlier this week. No damage, but I was worried. The hailstones were almost dime-sized.

The corn is looking kinda weird. Some of it looks great, but some of it is stunted. I don't know why. The tomatoes are looking good. There are several small green tomatoes on some of the plants. The pepper plants aren't growing very tall, but I still think they'll rebound if we get some more nice rain. The squash and cucumbers are really doing well. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of a really cool double-squash.

In other news, I received a nice note from Sam Garchik, the editor of Blog for Iowa. Apparently he knows my brother Joe, he went to school with Joe at the University of Iowa. So I've added Blog for Iowa to my recommended reading list.

I've spent most of the last week or so avoiding political blogs. Just needed a break from it. And I have friends coming from far away this weekend to visit, so I've been busy preparing for their arrival.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Jim Nussle's record reveals a consistent lack of support for public education

While Jim Nussle likes to go around saying he supports public education, his record in Washington as a member of the Congressional Republican leadership shows that he is no friend of public schools.

This is one of the most important issues to Iowans, and Chet Culver is clearly the candidate for Iowans who want to improve our public education system.

But it looks like some Republican pro-Nussle bloggers are trying to smear Chet Culver again.

I won't promote their crap by providing links. But to clarify any confusion out there, I'm going to post this AP story:

Culver gets teacher union nod
Associated Press

Friday, June 16, 2006

DES MOINES, IA - The state’s 32,000-member teacher union endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver today, declaring him "one of us" and warning that Republican Jim Nussle’s record doesn’t match his campaign rhetoric.

"As a former classroom teacher and coach, he has a deep understanding of the challenges and frustrations facing educators and a keen grasp of current education issues," said Linda Nelson, of Council Bluffs, president of the Iowa State Education Association.

In accepting the endorsement, Culver said he wants "to be a champion for teachers, a champion for kids."

Nelson said the board running the union’s political action committee -- made up of six Democrats and six Republicans -- interviewed both candidates Friday morning, and recommended Culver. The board’s recommendation was ratified by a larger, 76-member governing committee and by the union’s executive board, Nelson said.

Both Culver and Nussle have called for raising teacher pay, with Culver saying it should be increased to "at least" the national average while Nussle wants it even higher.

"Both candidates spoke about raising teacher salaries and that was what we wanted to hear," Nelson said.

While Nussle voiced support for many of the union’s goals during the interview, Nelson said "his congressional voting record reveals a consistent lack of support."

"What he did say didn’t match at all his congressional voting record," she said.

In a statement issued today, Nussle said he’ll continue to push for raising teacher pay.

"My priority is to have Iowa set the standard for world class education and that starts by raising teacher pay above the national average," he said. "As governor, I will work to ensure more reliable and more predictable funding for education so we have the best and brightest teachers in the classrooms teaching our children."

The last time the teacher’s union endorsed a Republican gubernatorial candidate was Gov. Terry Branstad’s 1990 bid for a third term in office.

The endorsement gives Culver a cadre of foot soldiers in every corner of the state. Teachers are traditionally politically active and are also respected in their communities. It also opens the union’s coffers to Culver, resources he needs after an expensive primary fight.

In addition to pointing to Culver’s call for higher teacher pay, Nelson said union leaders liked his support of increased spending on preschool programs, boosting basic state aid to local schools and putting in place new loan programs for college students.

"Chet Culver is truly one of us," Nelson said.

You never know what you'll come across when clearing out the memory card

Here's a pic I came across on the memory card in the camera. I took this photo a few weeks ago at the community gathering for Chet Culver in Davenport. Should have posted it then, but I didn't come home directly after the event and things got a little hectic during that time.

Pictured are, from left, my dad, John Judge; my mom, Patty Judge; our friend in Davenport, Dau Truong; Chet Culver and Mari Culver.

Future Youth Delegates?

Now that the convention is over, I have been going through a large batch of photos taken at the event. This one is my favorite. At left is my niece Annie, in the middle is my niece, Caty, and at right is their dad, my big brother Doug.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lots of great speakers

Well I must say we have some great candidates running this year in the Democratic Party.

I decided to pay attention to the speeches and try to take some photos rather than mess with the blog. Check Political Forecast for a better report from Chris Woods.

I should have some good photos of today's events. I'll try to get some of them posted tomorrow, probably tomorrow night.

Back to business

We've re-convened and we've gone through the election of members to the DNC. Now it's time for the youth caucus members to be recognized.

Time for some speeches

There is a person speaking right now on behalf of Denise O'Brien, the candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Attorney General Tom Miller just sat down next to us and said hello.

And now, we have Michael Mauro taking the stage. He is running for Iowa Secretary of State.

Tom Miller spoke next, followed by Mike Blouin. They both gave very good speeches, focusing on party unity. Ed Fallon is up next.

Fallon: "The bottom line is this: Jim Nussle must not become Governor of Iowa."

Debating amendments to the party constitution

Lots of discussion and debate on a number of amendments to the party's constitution. This process can sometimes be long and difficult, but things are moving forward fairly quickly.

Live at the Iowa Democratic Party State Convention

I'm here at the Polk County Convention Complex liveblogging with by brother's Mac Powerbook G4.

Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson is speaking now.

Now we're discussing a special resolution on ethanol. I like this resolution. I'll get the text of it later and post it.
Next it's a resolution on deficit and debt, followed by a resolution on education.
And now a resolution thanking and recognizing Gov. Tom Vilsack for his leadership as governor.

Iowa Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald has now taken the stage and he's talking about the state's college savings plan and the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt.

Now a resolution honoring Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson for her tireless work for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Whoa, here comes Tom Harkin! I'm going to sign off for a while and listen to this. Added a photo above.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rubbermaid to close plant in Centerville

This is another devastating loss to our area. Rubbermaid is closing its plant in Centerville, leaving at least 500 people out of a job within 90 days.

Lots of people from Albia worked there. I have several friends who worked at Rubbermaid after we got out of high school.

This area of the state is really in desperate need of some good economic news, and we're just not getting much. We're looking forward to the big development of Honey Creek State Park at Rathbun Lake, but it can't possibly replace 500 manufacturing jobs lost in Centerville.

This is just more evidence that the state of Iowa needs a new direction in its economic development efforts.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rain needed

We need rain badly. I'm going to have to do some serious irrigation soon.

But overall, the garden has been very successful this year. I think we've finally found the best location for it.

So far, we've enjoyed lots of nice radishes, spinach, green onions and a very tasty variety of leaf lettuce.

Tonight, I harvested the very first pepper of the year. It's small, but promises to be spicy.

We currently have 18 tomato plants growing nicely, a large patch of potatoes, a row of broccoli, a row of carrots, some cucumbers, lima beans and green beans. We've had some serious bug problems on the beans, but I'm avoiding the use of pesticides.

We also have a nice variety of peppers, including green and yellow bell peppers, jalapenos and some little red hot ones. There's also an experimental row of garlic, which I really hope is successful.

And I can't forget the most important plant in the garden: sweet corn. I have built a three-wire electric fence just to protect the corn from the horde of raccoons that reside just beyond the edge of the woods.

Anyway, the dirt is bone dry. I'm going to do a rain dance tomorrow, and if that doesn't work...the Rathbun Regional Water Association is going to be getting a lot more of my business.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I just have to say, I am really disgusted by the viciousness that has been posted on a particular Iowa Republican blog by anonymous cowards. Republicans are apparently going to be even more cruel and vile during this campaign than ever before. I guess they didn't learn their lesson when they did the same thing to Leonard Boswell and it backfired on them.

Krusty Konservative...whoever you ought to delete that crap and apologize. You brag about the traffic on your blog when you ought to be ashamed of the childishness you're promoting.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bee On A Bachelor's Button

Here's a photo I took with the new camera (well, it's not brand new, it's a hand-me-down from Dad).

The photo shows a bee enjoying our flowers out by the birdbath.

The flower is called a bachelor's button, or so I'm told.

I still haven't been able to make the camera focus to my liking. I should have been able to make the bee the primary focus of this shot, but I didn't quite nail it.

But it's a great camera and I'm sure I'll get it figured out. It's a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT.

When I was at the newspaper, we used a Fuji and a Nikon I was very used to them and comfortable with all of their functions. I'm still discovering how to make this Canon do what I want it to do.

John Edwards

Here's a photo of John Edwards speaking at the Iowa City event.

It's obviously not my best work as a photographer, but I have a nice digital camera now so I hope to be adding a lot more photos to my blog posts. I just need to work with the camera a little more to get used to it.

John Edwards visits Iowa City with Chet Culver

I just got home from Iowa City, where I attended a rally with our gubernatorial candidate, Chet Culver. The special guest at the event was John Edwards, who is truly an inspiring speaker. He also has some very, very strong supporters all over the state and he'll be a heavyweight in the 2008 caucuses.

At the event today there were a whole bunch of Johnson County officials in attendance, as well as Congressional candidate Dave Loebsack. Loebsack is running for the seat held by Rep. Jim Leach, and I think he's going to give Leach a very serious challenge.

The food at the event was fantastic. Some of the best barbecued pork I've had in a long time. Tasty sauerkraut made for a delicious side dish.

I had the honor of meeting one of Iowa's most distinguished political bloggers, John Deeth. I gotta get myself a laptop like he has.

The event was held at the Larew law office, which is located about a block from where I used to live. For a considerable amount of the time I lived in Iowa City during the 90's, I lived with six other dudes at 332 North Van Buren, in a house that was famously dubbed "The Metal House." The place got the name because we were all fans of heavy music and several of us were in local bands that played at Gabe's and other local venues.

Just walking up the street to the event brought back a million memories. I used to walk on those sidewalks almost every day. The neighborhood hasn't changed much, which is a good thing.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yep, that's me

It's really weird to see myself in the paper.

This photo appeared on Page 6 of Wednesday's Des Moines Register. It features our governor and possible presidential candidate, Tom Vilsack, and our future governor Chet Culver.

At the far right, half cut off in the photo is my wife Steva. Next to Steva, right behind Chet Culver, is my future sister-in-law Allison. I am the dorky bald guy in the back. It was a really unexpected exciting moment, which is obvious by the silly expression on my face.

Oh, and that photo that is posted on John Deeth's blog? The dude with the beard is my little brother Joe.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thank You

Sorry this has taken so long to get a thank-you posted, but I couldn't get connected to Blogger for most of the day.

Last night was an awesome evening for all of us who have worked so hard on this campaign.

I have to say that the staff and volunteers who assembled for the Culver campaign are a force to be reckoned with. I want to extend my gratitude to all of you. With a crew like we have, we should have no problem in November. We just have to keep up the intensity and never back down.

And I can't say thank-you enough to all of my friends out there, all over Iowa. I believe you guys made a big difference in this thing. Oh, and by the way...I'll be bugging you guys again later this summer, cause this thing ain't over yet.

The Primary phase of the election is now finished. The Iowa Democratic Party has chosen its candidate and its message. Now we have to get our party unified. We have to work together to make sure Congressman Jim Nussle never takes up residence at Terrace Hill!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gov. race analysis

This is from yesterday, but hey, I've been busy. The Hotline has some really good analysis of the race for Governor. It's definitely worth a read.

Here is the part that really stands out to me:

"Blouin's fundraising got off to a slow start and given the name I.D. disadvantage he had, that wasn't a good sign. Blouin needs to be outspending Culver almost 2-1 to make up the gap, something he probably won't be able to do."

The whole article gives a really complete look at this race, I highly recommend reading the whole thing.