Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mark Warner in Des Moines

I went to the Michael Mauro campaign event today in Des Moines. The event featured special guest, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

I saw lots of familiar faces in the crowded room. I introduced myself to several people and said hello to some friends. It's awesome to see so many people so excited about this year's election and the 2008 presidential season.

Mauro is going to be a great Iowa Secretary of State. He was really in his element today, as he talked about making voting more accessible to the public. He's got a ton of experience in the election process as Polk County Auditor, and he'll be ready to run the SOS office on Day One.

Now, I'll just say it flat out: After today, Mark Warner is now one of my clear favorites out of all of the possible 2008 presidential candidates. I really dig what he's saying. Warner is a very engaging speaker, funny, articulate and sincere. He has a great story, and he has a great record of executive leadership.

Chris Woods at Political Forecast is bugged by some of the things Warner has said, but I have to respectfully disagree. Warner understands the frustration that many Democrats are feeling about our somewhat fractured party. I won't dwell on this subject, but I do know how I feel personally and I know I like what Warner said about it.

Anyway, I am going to be paying very close attention to Mark Warner in the 2008 campaign.

Nussle losing, resorts to using first negative TV attack ad

For all his whining about negativity, Jim Nussle shows us all once again that he is a great big hypocrite.

Apparently, Nussle has launched the first negative TV attack ad of the general election season in Iowa. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm guessing it will be on the news at noon.

The fact of the matter is this: Nussle is losing. Chet Culver clearly has the momentum in this race. The Culver campaign has the best ideas about moving Iowa forward into the future. Nussle is working his tail off just trying to run away from his record in Washington as the chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee.

Here's more info on Nussle starting the first TV attack ads of the general election campaign.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Photo of Restoration Days Parade in Albia

A good friend just e-mailed this photo of Mom in the Albia Restoration Days Parade on Saturday.

The weather for the parade was very nice, and there were large crowds of people all along the parade route. If you look closely in the picture, at the far left...that's me with the dark green shirt. I was making sure there were many, many people sporting Culver/Judge stickers on their shirts. At the far right is my sister-in-law with the two "grand-dogs" all dressed up in Culver shirts. If you look closely in the crowd by the yellow truck, you can also see my brother Joe.

We were followed in the parade by The Boz himself, Congressman Leonard Boswell. Boswell's crew was really working hard. It was hard for me to keep up with Boswell's crew with the stickering.

If you've never been to Restoration Days in Albia, I strongly encourage you to check it out next year.

Mark Warner travels in Iowa

Presidential contender Gov. Mark Warner is currently traveling around Iowa, helping out Democratic candidates all over the state. I haven't yet had the opportunity to hear Warner speak in person, so I will definitely check this out. I'm going to plan on attending the event in Des Moines tomorrow, and I'll take my camera with me.

Here's the schedule of events for the rest of the day today and tomorrow:

3:00pm Meet & Greet in Onawa for Local Candidates

Location: Oehler Brother's

22815 Filbert Avenue

Onawa, IA

6:30pm Woodbury County Democrats --Win in 2006!

Location: Woodbury Democratic Headquarters

809 West 7th Street

Sioux City, IA 51103

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

8:00am Event for Iowa Democratic Party

Location: Home of Rep. Helen Miller

1936 15th Avenue N.

Ft. Dodge, IA

12:00 Story County Democrats – Win in 2006!

Location: Lucullan's Restaurant

400 Main Street

Ames, IA

3:00pm Meet & Greet For Secretary of State Candidate Michael Mauro

Location: The Plaza

300 Walnut Ave.

Des Moines, IA

Friday, August 25, 2006

Albia Restoration Days

It's time once again for Albia's big community celebration, Restoration Days!

Restoration Days is a celebration of Albia's beautiful historic town square. There's a ton of fun stuff to do, especially on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The events actually started last night at the Albia Theater, with the first performance of the annual Restoration Days Follies. The Follies is like an old-time Vaudeville show, with a variety of different live acts by talented local performers. My brother and I are running the lights for the show this year.

The Restoration Days Parade will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. It's usually a really, really big parade.

One of my favorite things about Restoration Days is the fact that there is always a fantastic art show. This year there are 40 artists coming from all over the Midwest to display their work. It's always worth a look.

So, if you feel like coming to Albia on Saturday, there's no shortage of fun things to do. Everybody's welcome!

Republican candidate for Congress criticizes current budget mess

In case you haven't heard, Congressman Jim Nussle is the chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. He is the chief architect of the federal budget in the House of Representatives.

To make a long story short, Nussle has used that leadership position in Congress to recklessly waste what was once a huge budget surplus. He has been at the helm as the federal budget has spiraled into the worst deficits in the history of the United States of America.

But it's not just Democrats who are criticizing Nussle's work in the House Budget Chair. A Republican running for Congress agrees that the federal budget is a mess. Jeff Lamberti criticized the budget mess at the Iowa State Fair, and you can now watch it here.

My mom has been traveling around the state this week, highlighting Nussle's poor performance in the budget chair. I caught up with her in Osky yesterday and snapped this photo.

Of course, Lamberti is trying to pin the blame for the deficits on Leonard Boswell. Let's see...Leonard Boswell is in the minority party in the House. Jim Nussle is in the majority party and actually writes the budget...I think it's safe to say that the budget mess is on Nussle's hands.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Harkin visits Albia, chats with constituents

Senator Tom Harkin stopped in Albia on Tuesday to discuss issues with Monroe County area constituents.

The event was held at the Highway Restaurant, which used to be an A&W. The restaurant recently changed ownership and has been remodeled. The food is pretty darn tasty and everything on the menu is affordable. So if you're ever down in the area, I recommend stopping by. It's the kind of place where you can order breakfast food any time of day...biscuits and gravy, pancakes, bacon...good stuff like that.

Anyway, Harkin had a good discussion with the people in attendance. He talked a lot about education...making college more affordable, providing federal funds to improve our school facilities, and a lot of discussion about the problems with the No Child Left Behind Act. There were lots of questions from the crowd.

KTVO TV from Ottumwa was there, but I can't get KTVO on my DirecTV. If I can find a story online about it, I'll edit this and add a link.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Political events in Albia

Sorry, I haven't posted much lately. We've kept ourselves busy over the last week around here. We went to the fair, which is always lots of fun. We also traveled out to Harlan and then on to Omaha to visit my wife's grandmas.

And then there's the garden, and we finally had a whole bunch of rain so I had to mow and...you know how it is.

I meant to post about Rep. Leonard Boswell's visit to Albia last week, but I just didn't get it done. It was kinda funny, I was in town taking care of some errands, and I happened to see Ottumwa Courier reporter Matt Milner hanging around on the Albia square. I thought there must be something interesting going on if the Courier sent somebody to Albia. As it turned out, Rep. Boswell was walking the square, visiting with people. I also saw my old boss Dave Paxton from the Albia Newspapers covering the story.

I caught up with Boswell at Benton Avenue Antiques and said hello. I know for sure he is well on his way to a solid victory.

Here's how Matt Milner covered Boswell's visit. I've always thought Matt Milner was a really good political reporter and I have always enjoyed his articles in the Courier.

Tomorrow, Senator Tom Harkin is traveling to good old Albia to visit with Monroe County residents. The event is Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 4:15 p.m. at the Highway Restaurant out on Hwy. 34.

I'll make sure I have my camera with me this time and I'll be sure to post something tomorrow night.

George R.R. Martin is coming to Iowa

Exciting news...one of my favorite authors is coming to Iowa!

George R.R. Martin, the writer of the awesome Song of Ice and Fire series, is going to be doing a book signing event in Dubuque on Sept. 26. I am so there.

Martin is perhaps the greatest fantasy writer in the business. His Ice and Fire series is already an astounding masterpiece, and it's not even finished yet.

Martin is so cool. He is not only a great writer of medieval fantasy, he's also a part-time blogger...although he calls his blog Not A Blog. He doesn't post on Not A Blog very often, but sometimes he shares some very thoughtful commentary on the politics of the real world.

I could go on and on, but I know I'm a total nerd about this so I'll spare you any further geekiness.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Culver and Harkin visit Ottumwa

This morning I went to Ottumwa, where Chet Culver and Sen. Tom Harkin visited for a discussion focusing on the minimum wage.
There was a good crowd on hand, with lots of familiar faces from Ottumwa. And I wasn't the only one who drove over from Monroe County. I saw my neighbor there, and I didn't even know she was going.

State Sen. Keith Kreiman did the introduction, and he noted that next year, when the Legislature is controlled by Democrats, the very first bill that will be passed will be an increase in the Iowa minimum wage.
Culver and Harkin both discussed at length the importance and impact of raising the minimum wage during their speeches. They also discussed how many times Congressman Nussle has worked against raising the federal minimum wage.
Harkin talked about the sham that the Republicans recently tried to pull when they attached an increase of the federal minimum wage to a huge tax break for rich people.

And I heard a new theme that really has a nice ring to it. Culver versus Congressman Nussle: Iowa common sense versus Washington D.C. nonsense.

Culver Crew marches in the State Fair Parade

I joined up with the Culver crew yesterday for the Iowa State Fair Parade. It was quite a sight to see all of the green shirts surrounding the Culver truck, marching down Grand Avenue chanting "I-O-W-A...Chet Culver all the way!"

Just after we crossed the river, we were joined by Mom and Chet. They shook hands with folks in the crowd all the way through the rest of the parade. We received lots of cheers and applause all the way through the parade. It's a great feeling to know we have the support of so many people in this campaign.

Special kudos to Scott from the campaign, who created the awesome signs that were attached to the truck.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Potato Salad...for the masses

So I made this potato salad for the Fourth of July. It was a really big hit. We had about 25 people show up, and they ate it all right down to the last morsel.

I got the recipe from a cookbook printed by my grandparents' church. The recipe was submitted by Cheryl Chambers.

So anyway, it was such a success, I'm making the potato salad for my brother's wedding reception this weekend. The only problem is I need to multiply the whole thing to feed a huge crowd of people. Here's what I came up with...

Potato Salad for the Masses

25 pounds of russet potatoes (I'll be using 20 pounds of potatoes I harvested from my garden, plus five pounds from our friendly Hy-Vee)
4 dozen eggs
3 white onions, diced (also harvested from my garden)
3 cups pickle relish (nothing fancy is necessary)
2 quarts + 1 cup mayonnaise (absolutely, positively NO Miracle Whip, only Hellman's REAL Mayonnaise here)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (pardon me, would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?)
4 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

Gotta hard-boil the eggs first, then get them refrigerated. Then boil the potatoes, don't peel 'em. Refrigerate the potatoes until they're cold. Get the shells off the eggs, then chop 'em up along with the taters and then the onions.

Everything else gets mixed up for the dressing, then poured onto the potatoes, eggs and onions. Refrigerate, but do not freeze.

I hope it works! I may need to make some minor adjustments, but I think it should be good. I start boiling eggs tomorrow.

New poll: Culver winning, Nussle losing

There are some new poll numbers out there for the Iowa governor's race, and our man Chet Culver is winning!

The poll was done by Rasmussen, which is one of the most reliable pollsters out there.

Here are the numbers:
Culver - 41%
Nussle - 38%
Not Sure - 17%
Some Other Candidate - 4%

Political Forecast has some good analysis of the poll here.

Here's my spin on the poll numbers:

Jim Nussle has outspent Chet Culver by a huge margin so far in this campaign, and Culver continues to lead.

Culver has accomplished this by assembling a great team, by being direct and honest about his beliefs and goals, and by putting forward a bold vision to lead Iowa forward.

To his credit, Nussle has also detailed a lot of ideas and plans. Good for him. But Nussle is on the wrong side of a lot of important issues. Real issues that matter, like properly funding public eduction. And, obviously, Nussle's biggest drawback is the fact that he's a Bush crony at a time when lots and lots of people are getting really tired of George Bush.