Tuesday, April 29

Supreme Court: Voters Need Picture ID

Just in time for the Indiana Primary, by a vote of 6 to 3, the US Supreme Court said that it is not unconstitutional to require that a voter show a driver's license or "other statutorily valid form of photo ID." to vote. Will this lead to an increase in voter fraud caused by persons purchasing fake IDs? Who knows--but it is more likely to make possible for the elderly and those who do not drive to be in line to have their vote not count.

Hey Fairfield, Every day is Earth Day

‘Everyday is Earth Day’
Film event brings together green activists and public

The Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew are hosting a special “green” event on Tuesday, May 6, which is open to members of the public. The event offers free admission and refreshments and will feature a film screening of “Global Warming: the Signs and the Science,” a film that uses expert dialogues on global warming to talk about how we can reverse its course. After the film, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in a discussion about the film and related issues.

WHAT: “Everyday is Earth Day” event featuring ‘Global Warming: the Signs and the Science’ film screening and discussion. Free and open to the public.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m

WHERE: Fairfield Public Library, 140 West Adams, Fairfield, Iowa

WHO: Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew supporters and the public

The Iowa Global Warming Campaign seeks to have state and national leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, discuss publicly, frequently and specifically how they will address global warming, and pledge that they make that plan a top priority. Iowa Global Warming’s founding members are the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew), Environmental Law & Policy Center, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Sierra Club's members and supporters are more than 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet. The Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

I-Renew (Iowa Renewable Energy Association) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1992. I-RENEW sponsors practical educational activities designed to reach individuals, farms, businesses, schools, and utilities, while also encouraging retail opportunities. The association is a vehicle for pooling and disseminating existing knowledge and experience in renewables and energy efficiency.

Thanks Mike Carberry!

Abstinence (Only) Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Medical and public health experts testifying before Congress said that abstinence-only programs are a poor use of tax dollars in terms of reducing teen pregnancy or reducing sexually transmitted diseases. Government statistics show that one in four U.S. teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and 30 percent of U.S. girls become pregnant before the age of 20. These programs, backed by those who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s.

Currently, 17 of the 50 U.S. states refuse to accept federal funds for abstanence-only programs. States include Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana, New Jersey, and Wisconsin among others.

A 2007 Government Accounting Office report that surveyed abstinence programs in 10 states concluded that such programs have not proven to work, and at times teach children medically inaccurate about condoms and AIDS.

Half of Yellowstone Wild Buffalo Shuffle Off

According to CNN, more than half of Yellowstone National Park's bison herd has died since last fall, forcing the government to suspend its annual slaughter program.

More than 700 of the iconic animals starved or otherwise died on the mountainsides during an unusually harsh winter, and more than 1,600 were shot by hunters or sent to slaughterhouses in a disease-control effort, according to National Park Service figures.

As a result, the park estimates its bison herd has dropped from 4,700 in November to about 2,300 today, prompting the government to halt the culling program early.

"There has never been a slaughter like this of the bison since the 1800s in this country, and it's disgusting," said Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign, a group seeking to stop the slaughter program for good.

Government officials say the slaughter prevents the spread of the disease brucellosis from the Yellowstone bison to cattle on land near the park. Brucellosis can cause miscarriages, infertility and reduced milk production in domestic cattle.

Wikipedia indicates that the Yellowstone Bison are the only continuously wild herd in the United States. This herd is descended from a remnant population of 23 individual mountain bison that survived the mass slaughter of the 1800s by hiding out in the Pelican Valley of Yellowstone Park. In 1902, a captive herd of 21 Plains bison were introduced to the Lamar Valley and managed as livestock until the 1960s, when a policy of natural regulation was adopted by the park.

Monday, April 28

Lombardo City Council Unanimous Choice

Iowa City council members selected Michael Lombardo, former County Administrator of Allegan County, Michigan with 10 years city management experience as City Manager. He will be paid $160,000 plus benefits tp manager the city's departments.

He was the unanimous choice among the City council members.

Former employers said about Lombardo: "I think by and large everyone seems to be pleased," Board Chairman Jon Campbell said. "He has some good experience, yet he's still young enough that I believe he has a lot to offer." "He has an enthusiastic personality -- very articulate, extremely neat and well-organized," he said. Bill Sikkel of Laketown Township said, "He will provide, in my judgment, a (fresh) approach ... a willingness to think outside the box."

Hopefully that type of thinking will be of benefit to Iowa Citians.

44 Americans KIA in Iraq in April

The AP Reports

Bombardments by suspected militants killed four U.S. soldiers Monday as troops tried to push Shiite fighters farther from the U.S.-protected Green Zone and out of range of their rockets and mortars.

At least 44 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in April, making it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since September.

The U.S. military said three soldiers were killed in eastern Baghdad by indirect fire, a reference to mortars or rockets. The statement did not give an exact location for the attack, but the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City has been the scene of intense fighting recently with Shiite militiamen.

A fourth U.S. soldier was killed by a shell in western Baghdad, the military said.

A showdown between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army — led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — has increasingly drawn U.S. forces into the battles. American commanders are particularly focused on trying to curb a rise in mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone.

What Would Steve Martin Do?

I'm reading Steve Martin's autobiography called "Born Standing Up" and am enjoying his straight-forward telling of his rise from Knott's Berry Farms magician to the "Wild and Crazy Guy" that most people my age came to know. One of the remarkable things that he discusses was his process of going from a comic/magician/musician/actor/juggler to Steve Martin.

He looked at himself and realized that his external world was not matching up to his internal philosophy about what made life's work meaningful to him and he intentionally started from scratch. That is to say he reinvented his act around the notion that he waned to be authentically original and not emulating other comics.

As time has shown, he was hugely successful in that endeavor.

So what would Steve Martin do If he were looking at the Democrats--which he probably is, just the same as we all are?

I think he would be encouraging Barack Obama to remember how he entered the race for the nomination--continue pushing the ideas that would help us be a more hopeful nation and for Hillary Clinton, I think he would encourage her to show her true self-- not be knock-off of some other politician.

We are sorely in need of an authentic leader, we've had enough of someone playing the part as written.

Come In From the Ledge

Is it me or does it seem like we are on the edge of a rude awakening? I'll admit that my current insecurity around work may be heightening my sense of dis-ease, but it seems to me that we are on this window ledge and we need to step back. What do I mean?

- Human relations: Reading recent entries to the local Press-Citizen have shown that there is a segment of people who are intolerant of black and brown Americans in our area. Much of this is fueled by ignorance and distrust, but it is also fueled by a sense that as long as things are said with anonymity, it's all good. But there is no hope if all that people do is snipe at one another and fail to learn each other's experience. Frankly we are quickly becoming a nation of whiners and complainers. Actions speak much louder than words. We need to act in our best interest.

- The economy: The prioritizing of fighting two wars is taking its toll on our nation and world's well-being. While we fiddle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the amount of debt we are incurring piles up and affects what are pressing domestic needs to shore up our social safety nets, improve our education systems, and develop the types of work that have lasting value.

- The American Dream: With insecurity both economically and with global climate change, there is a need to re-evaluate. The American Dream is more a legend than a reality. Every one of us having the opportunity to lead a good life has got to take priority over having more and more. A good life requires food, shelter, and clothing. It doesn't require us to live in huge houses with three cars and turning food into gasoline.

It really does feel like we are standing on a window ledge and wondering if we should jump. Maybe we should take a leap--a leap of faith that we can be a hopeful people who solves problems rather than grouse about what is wrong.

Friday, April 25

State(us) Whoa!

In case it hasn't been said enough, many parts of the U.S. are hunkering down to weather a recession. Unfortunately for states like, California, Arizona, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Ohio--state governments are going to the well to pay their bills.

If ever there was a perfect storm for a weak economy, this is it. Between fighting a war on two fronts, trying to soak up a housing foreclosure tsunami with a sponge, and a softening job market, I'll paraphrase the award winning song from the film "Hustle and Flow" and say: it's hard out here for government pimps.

Fortunately in Iowa, our affairs are well enough in order that our piggy bank won't break this time around, but for neighboring Wisconsin, times are hard. Wisconsin is bleeding Badger red to the tune of $650 million.

It is easy enough to attribute such things though. When people are out of work or working for less than they used to, companies are making deals to help themselves to state revenue, and traditional wells to derive taxes from are drying up, things will take a turn for the worse. Sadly, the people who'll always feel it first are the poor. And as the poor go, so goes the nation.

Who Owns Leonard Boswell?

This is sort of a clever knock on Leornard Boswell by a group called Progressive Kick.

Thursday, April 24

True Confessions of a Popular Progressive

This is about as personal as it gets on this blog. As of May 2nd, I will not have a job. I will join the ranks of the unemployed and not because it was my choice. Folks, I have been RIFed (downsized, pink slipped). Now, as I work for a "better" employer, I have known about this since January and have been applying for other jobs, but it doesn't change the fact that in less than a month my wife and I will be among the 47 million Americans without health care insurance, one more on the unemployment rolls, and one more family in danger of having their home foreclosed on.

So, having said this, all the entries I have made about those who are struggling feel a lot more personal to me. In fairness, unlike many who are "let go"--I do have a severance and savings to fall back on, but in a soft economy, who knows how long it will take to find work that is commensurate with my experience? So, as you can imagine, things are a bit up in the air.

I have not been blogging regularly as I usually like, but as I experience the social safety net for myself, I'll post my experiences.

In the meantime, I will continue fighting the good fight (and seeking the good peace). I am fortunate to have a supportive wife, great friends, and a personal resolve that it will all be better than okay. After all this is America.

Friday, April 18

City Manager Candidates to Stampede Iowa City

In an apparent about face about the type of city manager they are looking for, the Iowa City city council has selected four candidates with a combined experience of 107 years between them. While it is not exactly a cattle call, the City of Iowa City will be interviewing a new group of City Manager candidates on Thursday, April 24. The candidates to be interviewed are:

Paul Beecher, former City Manager of Kingman, Arizona - 33 years city management experience

- "Assistant Kansas City Manager Paul Beecher resigned for buying a $948,000 lighting system for Kemper Arena without City Council approval."

- Local (Kingman, AZ) developer and business owner Scott Dunton, who has made repeated calls for Beecher's termination at public meeting after public meeting, was relieved. "He was a scoundrel from the beginning. He was a scoundrel in Kansas City, Missouri, and he was a scoundrel in Dover, New Hampshire," Dunton said, referring to Beecher's two previous places of employment. "What he said is that when he left the city (of Dover) ... the city was better off. I believe that the city was better off because he left."

A. J. Johnson, City Administrator of Muscatine, Iowa - 31 years city management experience

- "Johnson has been Muscatine’s city administrator for nearly 18 years, according to Stephanie Romagnoli, head of human resources for the City of Muscatine.Johnson was hired on March 1, 1989, and is earning a salary of $102,018 this fiscal year, 2006-07, Romagnoli said. She said Johnson receives the same health ($12,002 for family policy), dental ($276.72 for single coverage) and leave benefits as other employees. Romagnoli said Johnson is also compensated with an annual car allowance of $3,000, and a contribution of 6 percent of his salary plus $1,500 into his retirement account."

Michael A. Lombardo, former County Administrator of Allegan County, Michigan - 10 years city management experience

- About Lombardo: "I think by and large everyone seems to be pleased," Board Chairman Jon Campbell said. "He has some good experience, yet he's still young enough that I believe he has a lot to offer." "He has an enthusiastic personality -- very articulate, extremely neat and well-organized," he said. Bill Sikkel of Laketown Township said, "He will provide, in my judgment, a (fresh) approach ... a willingness to think outside the box."

Carl M. Metzger, City Manager of Ankeny, Iowa - 33 years city management experience

- "Ankeny's investment in trails is really an investment in people of all ages," said Carl Metzger, Ankeny city manager. "Expanding our trail system offers recreational opportunities, including bicycling, hiking and walking, and improves the overall quality of life in Ankeny."

A Meet and Greet event is planned from 7:30-9:00 AM on Friday, April 25, in Room A of the Public Library. The public is invited to attend and meet the candidates.

More information on the candidates and the City Manager Search process may be found on the City website www.icgov.org.

FactCheck Blogcast 4.18.08

Clean Up on Aisle HUD: Bush to Tap "Disaster Expert" Steve Preston

Dick Cheney Swears At, er In Steven Preston

After the disaster that Alphonse Jackson turned out to be as the head of HUD through crony deals, is it any wonder that an expert on disasters is being named by President Bush to take over the department?

In his last gig, Steven C. Preston, a Wisconsin native who had no small business administration experience, was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the 22nd Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA was called to task for rulings that favored Blackwater USA under Preston, as well as for making loans to small businesses such as Microsoft, General Dynamics and others.

Preston has served in senior finance and operational roles at The ServiceMaster Company (see his compensation)and First Data Corporation, and worked as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.

"Boss" Springsteens' Long Time Keyboardist Dies

R.I.P. Danny F. If you don't know how integral he was to the E Street Band, give “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” a spin.

Danny Federici, the longtime keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen whose stylish work helped define the E Street Band's sound on hits from "Hungry Heart" through "The Rising," died Thursday. He was 58.

Federici, who had battled melanoma for three years, died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. News of his death was posted late Thursday on Springsteen's official Web site.

He last performed with Springsteen and the band last month, appearing during portions of a March 20 show in Indianapolis.

"Danny and I worked together for 40 years -- he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much ... we grew up together," Springsteen said in a statement posted on his Web site.

Thursday, April 17

Johnson County Auditor's Race to Be Contested

Mona Shaw has thrown her hat into the ring against long-time incumbent Johnson County Auditor, Tom Slockett.

She states: "I am running as a Democrat for the office of Auditor of Johnson County in the primary election to be held June 3, 2008. I am running as a Democrat because I believe in the Democratic Party platform, and I seek to implement policies outlined in the platform in the Auditor’s Office that are not currently practiced.

Moreover, I believe these policies should be practiced without regard to partisan or crony loyalty but that all citizens should be provided public services without regard to social or partisan status.

All politics are local, and local politics matter the most. I believe it’s time for voters to have at least one opportunity in life to interact and vote for a candidate who will tell the truth, walk the walk, treat people respectfully and fairly, and believe in integrity and the people more than political or social favor."

To learn more about Mona Shaw, go to her just opened web site.

Interestingly, Mona will accept no campaign contributions saying she "will neither solicit nor accept any contributions to this campaign. People, especially those without enough of a voice in our county, have better things, including more important campaigns, to spend their hard-earned money on than this race. Any contributions I receive will be returned with a suggestion of better places for that money."

This should be an interesting race given the history that the incumbent and challenger share.

Wednesday, April 16

Obama on Torture

From the Compassion Forum

At Least Six Good Reasons for Verifiable Voting

If a bill that is waylaid in congress is not passed to make it possible for states to verify the vote, about 30% of the nation's voters will use paperless electronic voting machines this November.


Rep. Rush Holt today strongly criticized House members for blocking legislation – the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 (H.R. 5036) – that would encourage states to conduct verifiable elections by converting to a paper ballot voting system, offering emergency paper ballots, and conducting hand-counted audits. Two weeks ago, the same legislation passed the House Administration Committee with bipartisan, unanimous support, including from some of those who voted to block the bill’s passage today.

H.R. 5036, as reported to the floor by the committee, would authorize funding to reimburse states with paperless jurisdictions that convert to paper-based voting systems in 2008 or provide emergency paper ballots that would be counted as regular ballots in the event of machine failure. The reimbursements would cover the cost of equipment conversion (from paperless touch screen machines to paper-based systems, such as optical scanners or computers with printers) and the cost of developing procedures for conducting hand-counted audits using independent, random selection of at least 2 percent of the precincts for audits under public observation.

If the bill does not pass or jurisdictions do not opt in, six complete states and some number of counties in 14 other states will be conducting completely unauditable elections in 2008. In addition, only about a dozen states will conduct audits.

Holt noted that the main objection to the bill was, according to Republicans, its projected $554 million cost.

“I’d like to ask the opponents how much spending is too much to have verifiable elections in the United States. I note that many people who opposed this legislation supported spending almost $330 million in recent years to provide election assistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I would have hoped those who supported efforts to export democracy abroad would be equally committed to strengthening democracy here at home,” Holt said.

Tuesday, April 15

Man, I Feel Like a Woman

This is just sloppy for a campaign to do, but funny...

CNN reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a list of 100 North Carolina “Women for Hillary” Tuesday, featuring 98 of the state’s most prominent Democratic women – and two men with gender-neutral names: Dana Cope,president of the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina, and Ashley Thrift, a Winston-Salem lawyer and chief of staff to former North Carolina Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings.

Iraq War--It Doesn't Add Up

From American's United for Change

The cost of the war in Iraq in numbers that add up:

· U.S. troops killed: 4,034 [Associated Press, 4/14/08]

· U.S. troops wounded: 29,676 [Defense Department, 4/8/08]

· U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001: Nearly 1.7 million [Defense Department, 2/29/08]

· U.S. troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan more than once: More than 599,000 [Defense Department, 2/29/08]

· U.S. servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who have children: 782,000 [Defense Department, 2/29/08]

. Percentage of these troops who have been deployed more than once: 40
[Defense Department, 2/29/08]

· Percent of current and former military officers who believe the Iraq war has “stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin:” 88% [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]

. Percent of these officers who say the U.S. military is weaker than it was five years ago: 60% [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]

· Percent of U.S. troops that have served in Iraq or Afghanistan at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.): 20% [USA Today, 3/6/08]

· Amount the United States is spending on the war in Iraq every month: $10.3 billion [Congressional Research Service, 2/22/08]


Second: $3,919

Minute: $235,160

Hour: $14.1 million

Day: $338.6 million

Week: $2.4 billion

Month: $10.3 billion

Year: $123.6 billion

[Congressional Research Service, 2/22/08]

According to the Congressional Research Service, we are spending $10.3 billion a month on the war in Iraq, which translates into $339 million a day. Every day that we are spending millions in Iraq means missed opportunities to invest in critical priorities here at home.

For the $339 million we spend in Iraq every day:

· 2,060 more Border Patrol agents could be hired to protect our borders for a year.

· 18,000 more students could receive Pell Grants to help them attend college for a year.

· 48,000 homeless veterans could be provided with a place to live for a year.

· 317,000 more kids could receive every recommended vaccination for a year.

· 955,000 families could get help with their energy bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for a year.

· Nearly 480,000 women, infants and children could receive nutritional help with the WIC program for a year.

· 2.6 million Americans without adequate health insurance could have access to medical and dental care at community health centers for a year.

· More than 100 local communities could make improvements to their drinking water with help from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for a year.

· 937 additional National Institutes of Health grants for research into diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes could be provided for a year.

Source: House Appropriations Committee

Things Are Getting Bitter and Bitter for Obama

The MOMs (master's of media) are having a field day with Barack Obama's statement about the "bitter" small town workers. The press freely echoes the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and John McCain who try to make political hay out of his statement which I quote below:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them."

"And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not," Obama reportedly continued. "It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

“People don’t feel like they're being listened to," Obama said. "And so they pray and they count on each other and they count on their families. You know this in your own lives. And what we need is a government that is actually paying attention, a government that is actually fighting for working people day in and day out, making sure that we are trying to allow them to live out the American dream.”

We can argue about whether the words are politically correct or the degree to which they are true for every person living in a small town, but it is not possible to argue that there is a lot of truth to them. But are his words "elitist", as the Clinton and McCain campaign claims or simply observational? I would argue that in the context they were stated, they are observations. By definition, elitist means "The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources."--clearly he was not claiming superiority, so much as trying to explain differences.

As he later explained, he was describing the disappointment that people who have been let down by again and again by the government. Obama said, “the underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so.”

At the crux of all of this is the inability for some to admit that what John Edwards termed the "Two Americas" exists and Obama was reflecting this view. It is detestable to think that opponents would choose to apply a scorched earth policy to kneecap the only candidate that uses honest reflection to drive home his points. It is more detestable that the press is slipshod in reporting what is actually going on in the lives of people living in small town America.

It may be a bitter pill for some of us to swallow, but Obama is mostly right. The only thing he neglected to say is that media has a lot to say about what we absorb as true--Big Media, give us some truth.

Thank You For Not Smoking

Governor Chet Culver helped clear the air in Iowa by getting it out of bars and restaurants, even though the same can't be said for casinos and the Iowa Veterans Home.

In a move that is likely to have positive effects for future Iowans, the smoking ban which will be in effect on July 1st will even the playing field for bars and restaurant owners who fought against it's approval.

By making the ban statewide, most bar and restaurant owners should find it easier to attract qualified people to staff their establishments and will find no negative effect to their businesses since all establishments will have to play by the same rules.

Clearly there will be issues concerning businesses that are in towns with casinos or are across state lines where smoking bans are not present. However, since 18% of adult Iowans smoke, this leaves over a great number of people with which to do business.

Monday, April 14

So You Want to Be a Trillionaire?

Check this out--what we could be doing with the "War Dividend"

US Goes Flacid on North Korean Nuke Declarations

Apparently we've gone all "kinder and gentler" with a nation formerly known as one quadrant of the axis of evil.

According to the Financial Times, North Korea no longer will be required to provide a complete declaration of its nuclear activities under with the US.

Pyongyang last year agreed to produce a “complete” declaration of its nuclear activities as part of the six-party agreement reached with the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

The US previously insisted the declaration include details about past uranium-enrichment activities and the proliferation of nuclear technology to Syria. The US has accused Pyongyang of helping Damascus build a secret nuclear reactor that Israel destroyed in a mysterious air strike last year.

After struggling for months to persuade North Korea to provide a full declaration, however, the US has decided to compromise. Christopher Hill (see bio), the US negotiator on North Korea, has reached a tentative deal under which Pyongyang would only “acknowledge” US concerns about uranium and proliferation, in a secret side-agreement.

Going Back(Yard) to the Country

Fred Meyers, the King of Backyard Abundance, sent out this notice. If you haven't seen the possibilities a backyard can hold to improve the environment, you've got to check this out!

Do you want to help our environment, but need inspiration and ideas? Backyard Abundance is once again sponsoring free events to show how pioneering Iowa City residents have designed environmentally-beneficial features into their yards. In addition to yard tours, hands-on events will demonstrate how to implement these beneficial features in your own yard.

Since the summer of 2006, hundreds of people have visited ecologically-diverse residences to learn innovative ways to improve their yards and help our environment. This year, the yards are just as varied and interesting. Learn how to create a healthy backyard forest, understand how to manage your storm water, and discover how to maintain native prairie plants. We also plan to team up with the newly formed “Food Not Lawns” organization to do exactly what their name implies: show step-by-step how to convert a lawn into a beautiful garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

These tactile events are presented in the context of understanding how our well-being is directly affected by the health of the land and wildlife; how caring for our local environment is equivalent to caring for our family and community. This grassroots approach to land care helps explore and improve our relationship with nature so we can create outdoor spaces that are equally healthy for plants, animals, insects, and people.

The first event is Saturday, May 10, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the home of Jim Fluck and Julie Scott, 38 Quincent Court, Iowa City. They are working to restore the health of their beautiful woodland backyard to its pre-settlement resiliency. Photos and descriptions of this event and others can be seen on the web site: http://BackyardAbundance.org.

If you would like more information, please contact Fred Meyer at fred.meyer@BackyardAbundance.org or 319-358-7665.

Sunday, April 13

Iowa House and Senate Pass E-Bill

Despite being voted against by our two area Representatives (Mary Mascher and Vicki Lensing), the Iowa House has followed the lead of the Senate and approved a proposed constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of future sales tax increases to the environment.

If the constitutional amendment is approved, the Legislature could create a 3/8-cent sales tax to fund those efforts. The tax would go to such efforts as protecting natural areas of the state, cleaning up Iowa waterways and funding parks, trails, fish and wildlife habitats and soil conservation.

A special commission studying ways to secure reliable funding for natural resources came up with the plan, which would generate an estimated $150 million each year.

Troops Home Now!

Despite the lack of attention being paid to the war in Iraq, at least 19 American troops have been killed in Iraq since last Sunday, making it the bloodiest week in Iraq this year. The death toll is now more than 4,030 since the US occupied the country in 2003, according to media count based on Pentagon figures.

Added to this, the Iraqi government has dismissed 1,300 of its soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month’s Shiite-on-Shiite battles in Basra.

The announcement followed the admission that more than 1,000 members of the security forces had laid down their weapons during the fight, which Prime Minister al-Maliki characterized as a campaign to restore law and order to Basra, a strategic and oil-rich southern city.

Friday, April 11

Earthapalooza - April 22nd

From Mike Carberry from I-Renew
Iowa City’s Earth Day Extravaganza

The Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew are hosting a special “Earth Day” event on Tuesday, April 22, which is open to members of the public. The event offers free admission and refreshments and will feature a film screening of “Global Warming: the Signs and the Science,” a film that uses expert dialogues on global warming to talk about how we can reverse its course. After the film, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in a discussion about the film and related issues. The event also includes a Sierra Club Cool Cities/Counties Press Conference & an Eco Fair with information tables from 12 local environmental groups.

WHAT: “Earthapalooza” event featuring ‘Global Warming: the Signs and the Science’ film screening and discussion. Eco Fair and Sierra Club Press Conference. Free and open to the public.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City Iowa

WHO: Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew supporters and the public


6:00 pm: Event starts with Mike Carberry (IGW) welcome speech about Earth Day and Global Warming Solutions.

6:15 pm: Presentation of Cool Cities/Counties Certificates to representatives of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and Johnson County. Photo opportunity and short thank you speeches by recipients.

6:45 pm: Introduction of documentary film “Global Warming: The Signs and The Science”

6:50 to 7:50 pm: Documentary film “Global Warming: The Signs and The Science”

7:50 to 8:45 pm: Discussion of film, global warming science and solutions and next steps with guests Sharon Benzoni (UI), Michelle Kenyon Brown (I-Renew) and other climate change and renewable energy experts.

The Iowa Global Warming Campaign seeks to have state and national leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, discuss publicly, frequently and specifically how they will address global warming, and pledge that they make that plan a top priority. Iowa Global Warming’s founding members are the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew), Environmental Law & Policy Center, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Sierra Club's members and supporters are more than 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet. The Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

I-Renew (Iowa Renewable Energy Association) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1992. I-RENEW sponsors practical educational activities designed to reach individuals, farms, businesses, schools, and utilities, while also encouraging retail opportunities. The association is a vehicle for pooling and disseminating existing knowledge and experience in renewables and energy efficiency.

Just the Facts from FactCheck

Thursday, April 10

Clinton and Obama in Statistical Tie in PA

On the CNN Ticker

Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead over Sen. Barack Obama in the crucial primary state of Pennsylvania has dwindled to 4 points, a CNN average of recent polls calculated Thursday shows.

The New York senator now holds a 4 point advantage over her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, 46 to 42 percent. Twelve percent of likely Democratic voters there remain unsure.

Recent CNN "poll of polls" suggest the race in Pennsylvania is tightening before the state's April 22 primary. A poll of polls calculated two days ago showed Clinton with a 6 point lead in Pennsylvania, and a poll of polls last Friday showed her on top by 11 points.

Added to this news, an AP poll says Barack Obama's lead over John McCain in a hypothetical match-up has evaporated, according to a just released Associated Press poll.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are now statistically tied with McCain, suggesting the Arizona senator may be benefiting from the drawn out Democratic primary race.

In the latest survey, Clinton holds a 48-45 percent lead over McCain while Obama and McCain are even at 45 percent. Factoring the poll's 3 point margin of error, both Democrats are even with the presumptive Republican nominee.

Lensing Says No Way to SJR2002

Representative Lensing agree that Iowa waterways are increasingly more polluted, that funding is cut to natural resources, but is against the only guaranteed way to create a permanent funding stream to do something about this environmental crisis. What's wrong with this picture?

Thank you for your concerns about SJR2002. You are correct - the Iowa River is one of the most polluted rivers.

I do support funding for natural resources - but through an appropriated stream of dollars not a Constitutional amendment.

I want you to know that during my time in the Legislature, I have worked for and supported protecting our environment and natural resources. I have consistently voted for increased funding for REAP and other programs for the environment. I appreciate your concerns about sustainable funding.

However - changing the Constitution is not something I take lightly. The Constitution is the framework for our state government. Putting budgetary items in the Constitution is not something I support.

The Legislature crafts a new budget each year based on revenue and proposals. I know that the Natural Resources budget has been cut repeatedly and the Legislature needs to work on keeping those dollars where they are allocated.

I will continue to work on water and air quality, parks and trails, wildlife and natural resource issues. But I cannot support SJR2002.

Thanks you again for contacting me about this legislation.

~ Vicki Lensing

Monday, April 7

Hillary Clinton Kicked Maintaining Damage Control?

As Hillary Clinton continues to campaign in the continental U.S., her spouse, the former Commander-in-Chief is trapsing about in Puerto Rico causing one to wonder if she is trying to tie down one more of her loose cannons?

The Gazette reports "Bill Clinton told Puerto Ricans on Sunday his wife will boost employment for island residents if elected president, as well as ensuring them the same access to affordable health care as people who live on the mainland.

The former president is spending two days here on behalf of his wife ahead of the June 1 Democratic primary in which Puerto Rico could have a rare opportunity to have a say in national politics."

Three Soldiers KIA, 31 Injured in Iraq

From CNN

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and 31 others wounded in two rocket attacks Sunday afternoon in Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

Earlier Sunday, fighting between U.S. troops and the Mehdi Army militia loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr left at least 20 dead and 52 wounded in Baghdad's Sadr City, according to an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.

The U.S. military said it had no information about the Sadr City fighting.

Clinton Chief Strategist Steps Down...Sort Of

Mark Penn, whose firm's relationship to the South American nation of Colombia has been called into question, has resigned as Hillary Clinton's chief strategist. However his consulting firm will still be retained by Clinton's campaign.

Friday, Penn acknowledged he had a meeting with the Colombian ambassador to the United States earlier in the week in his role as his firm's (Burson-Marstellers) chief to discuss the pending U.S.-Colombia trade pact, which Clinton has been highly critical of on the stump.

Clinton's campaign had paid Penn's political consulting firm, Penn, Schoen and Berland, more than $6 million by the end of February and owed the firm $2.5 million, according to her campaign finance reports.

Sunday, April 6

Story Doesn't Add Up... Again

After being pummeled for here story about being under sniper fire in Bosnia which didn't add up, Hillary Clinton once again was in deep trouble, but this time for repeating a story told to her by a sheriff's deputy.

Meigs County sheriff's Deputy Bryan Holman met with Clinton when she visited southeast Ohio ahead of the state's March 4 primary. He told her he had heard the story of Trina Bachtel, who died in August. Clinton took the story and made it part of her stump speech, using it as recently as late Friday, at a rally in Grand Forks, N.D.Here's video

ABC reports:

For the second time in recent days, Sen. Hillary Clinton has had to drop a story from her stump speech after being challenged on its accuracy.
Hospital denies Hillary Clinton's story of pregnant woman denied health care.

For the past month, the New York senator liked to tell the tale of a pregnant woman who was denied health care from an Ohio hospital because she did not have $100 the hospital demanded to treat her. After being turned away, the woman was brought back to the hospital days later with severe complications. She had to be rushed to another facility for advanced treatment, but it was too late. Both the woman and the baby died, Clinton told her audiences.

The hospital, which was never named in Clinton's speeches, objected this weekend, saying it wasn't true and demanded that Clinton stop telling it.

The Clinton campaign told ABC News today that the candidate heard the story from a deputy sheriff and had no reason to doubt the story.

"If the hospital claims it didn't happen that way, we certainly respect that and she won't repeat the story," said Clinton spokeswoman Mo Elleithee.

I Wonder If...

Despite the obvious sadness that the passing of a Hollywood icon (particularly one who quoted lines from the movie "Woodstock", kissed Rosalind Cash, discovered Soylent Green was made out of people, and then went on to run the NRA)can bring, I wonder if the coroner pried the gun out of Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands"

Charlton Heston (1924-2008) - Remembered in Quotes

“Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn't trust you with our health care system. America didn't trust you with gays in the military. America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don't trust you with our guns.”

“I've played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses - and that's probably enough for any man”

Friday, April 4

Fallon Calls for End of Earmarks

From Ed Fallon for Congress:

Ed Fallon today called for abolishing congressional earmarks, challenging incumbent Congressman Leonard Boswell to match his own pledge to refuse earmarks and to work to end the practice. "If Congressman Boswell isn't agreeable to earmark reform, then I believe the public has an interest in hearing a debate between the two of us on the issue," Fallon said.

"Earmarks are the epitome of pork barrel spending, and are an abuse of power, position, and taxpayers' trust," Fallon said. "They allow members to direct spending to their pet projects, often as payback to big donors. Lobbyists spent $160 million to influence Congress in 2006. They got great return on their investment -- $12 billion in earmarks."

Fallon pointed out that his opponent in this race, Rep. Leonard Boswell, is a worse than average offender. In 2007, the average House member who was not a member of the Appropriations Committee obtained $4 million in earmarks. "Despite increased public outrage over earmarks," Fallon said, "Congressman Boswell actually increased his use of earmarks this year, securing earmarks worth $33.1 million, up from $32.3 in the previous budget."

Fallon noted that he has endorsed the Change Congress movement's pledge to abolish earmarks, and that his own pledge is featured on the first page of his campaign website: "I, Ed Fallon, do hereby pledge that I will personally support spending reform in Congress by refusing to seek, support, or enact earmarks during the appropriations process, and will work for the abolition of earmarks."

His Truth is Marching On

The words of Martin Luther King resonate as loudly today as when he said them.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

Chet Culver and Mike Mauro Do Iowa Voters a Solid

Touch-screen voting in Iowa is dead and that's a good thing. With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Chet Culver signed into law a new plan for the state to spend $4.6 million to bring the same voting technology to all 99 counties. The whole state would have voter-marked paper ballots that could be recounted by hand if necessary.

Not only will this save voters time, but greatly reduces the opportunity for voter fraud that touch-screen machines may allow. Although there was initial disagreement about providing a paper trail for every voter, the Governor and Secretary of State Mike Mauro were able to stand together on this important issue.

According to Sean Flaherty from Iowans for Voting Integrity, nationwide, about 30 percent of voters will use paperless touch-screen voting machines in November, including all voters in South Carolina and Georgia, and some voters in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas.

Thursday, April 3

Hog Confinement Escapes Washington

Congratulations Iowans, you may have already won $61.79 in the pork barrel lottery. According to an AP story, Iowa has gone from #36 to #17 in terms of earmark appropriations. Now some are going to attribute it to the Democrats, but take two steps back if you love Chuck Grassley, he brought home more pork than anybody.

According to the "Congressional Pig Book" members of Iowa's congressional delegation have gotten more than $184 million in pork-barrel spending for the state.

Iowa had ranked 37th in a similar study in 2006. That's when lawmakers got about $72.2 million in earmarks. That's about $24.34 per Iowan.

Since then, Democrats took control of Congress and replaced Republicans in two of Iowa's congressional seats. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, also resumed chairmanship of a key appropriations committee.

However, it's a Republican - Sen. Charles Grassley - who has the highest overall spending attributed to him.

This year's national budget includes more than 11,000 earmark projects worth more than $17 billion.

Obama Gains New Endorsements, Takes in $40 Million

In addition to Barack Obama's campaign raising more than $40 million in March, giving him a substantial financial advantage over Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as they compete for votes heading into the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, he has also received two more important endorsements in remaining primary states that could prove helpful to his march toward the nomination.

Highly respected former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, the top Democrat on the 9/11 Commission, endorsed Obama on Wednesday, as did Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a former Clinton administration appointee. This is on the heels of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announcing her support for Obama on Monday, and earlier high-profile endorsements by Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Casey and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina former John Edwards strategist, Joe Trippi said, "I really believe May 6 has the potential to be everything. Every day you see increased pressure on Hillary Clinton about why she's staying in, and if she could win in North Carolina it would shut down that kind of talk and open up the possibility she could get there" to the nomination."

Mike Gravel Going Off The Rails or Prophet of Deja Vu

You may not be able to get this out of your mind...Democrat turned Libertarian, Mike Gravel lights up YouTube with his unbelievably vibrant rendition of the Beatle's "Helter Skelter"--all we are saying, is give Mike a chance? Hat tip to TC.

1000 Friends Supports City Subdivision Plans, FAIR Encourages Participation

In what is largely important, on paper, to developers and city planners and more of concern to the rest of us when put into action, the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight (April 3) in the Emma Harvat Room at City Hall to discuss proposed new subdivision regulations for Iowa City. The City's subdivision code establishes rules for the layout of home lots, streets, and infrastructure in new residential neighborhoods and commercial areas. All interested persons are encouraged to attend.

The proposed code reflects the vision and direction prescribed in the City’s long-term Comprehensive Plan, along with elements that citizens have identified as components of desirable neighborhoods. These include development of compact, sustainable neighborhoods that are pedestrian-oriented, offer a mix of housing, provide aesthetic value, build a sense of community, provide well-designed commercial areas and places for work and industry, and overall, create a safe and pleasant living environment.

Local Progressive group FAIR! has urged its members to attend the sessions, predominately to ensure that housing affordability and sustainability are addressed in the code.

1000 Friends of Iowa, whose mission is to promotes responsible development that conserves and protects our agricultural and natural resources, revitalizes neighborhoods, towns and cities, and, improves the quality of life for future generations sent out an email stating their support:

1000 Friends of Iowa has engaged more in local ordinance-related work over
the past couple of years. With regards to advancements in zoning code reform, I am happy to share that Iowa City is a bright spot on our map of Iowa. However, we need your help to make it shine as bright as possible.

While local ordinances are often thought of as mundane and boring jargon, they are really the policy force behind the kind of community we will live in for years to come. Iowa City is considering a draft subdivision ordinance and a public hearing is scheduled for this Thursday evening. We've provided information below, and encourage you to speak up at this one, consider attending a future meeting, and/or getting in touch with local city officials. Pass the word!

Stephanie Weisenbach
1000 Friends of Iowa

1000 Friends of Iowa encourages you to speak up in support of these changes, which will put Iowa City development in a better direction for improved community design when new development occurs. It’s important to speak up in FAVOR of something good, and not just always react to what we don’t want.

Additional input from you could also help to address any issues that the city may not have considered already in the development of this draft ordinance.

Goals of the Comprehensive Plan that the Subdivision Ordinance will

· Plan for the development of sustainable neighborhoods that are compact, pedestrian-oriented, contain a mix of housing, with neighborhood focal points and commercial centers;
· Create an interconnected street pattern that provides connections between neighborhoods, efficient routes for the provision of emergency and public services, and multiple routes to neighborhood destinations, such as schools, parks, and neighborhood commercial areas.
· Design streets that are safe, attractive and pleasant for all modes of transportation;
· Narrow pavement widths for local streets while providing adequate right-of-way width for street trees and sidewalks. Combined these factors will that help to slow traffic, allow for a more complete tree canopy over neighborhood streets, and make neighborhoods streets safer and more pleasant for residents;
· Buffer residential neighborhoods from higher volume streets and highways; and
· Provide for accessible parks and trails within new neighborhoods.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold at least two public meetings to hear and review public comments and suggestions. Following Planning and Zoning Commission review, the Commission's recommended draft will be forwarded to the City Council for review, public comment, and adoption. If you have questions please contact Karen Howard by phone at (319) 356-5251 or email at karen-howard@iowa-city.org.

AN ADDED NOTE ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING: 1000 Friends realizes that affordable housing is a key issue for Iowa City to address and is a concern for residents. Recently we were sent information about a very unique report about the connections between affordable housing and parking policies. Talk about connecting the dots for unique solutions! To read this report by the Victoria Transport Institute.

NATO: Yes to Missle Shield, No to Ukraine, Georgia

Reuters reports NATO leaders were set to endorse a planned U.S. missile shield for Europe on Thursday, a senior U.S. official told reporters.

The final summit statement would "recognize the substantive contribution to the protection of the allies" from the missile defense system to be deployed in the Czech Republic and Poland, the official told reporters.

According to the BBC, NATO has confirmed it will not yet offer membership to Georgia or Ukraine after the 26-member alliance was split amid strong objections from Russia.

Due to a conflict between Greece and Macedonia over a territorial issue, the alliance also said it would not invite Macedonia to join.

In what may be a continuation toward increased NATO influence in the Middle East, United States will be able to move some of its troops to Afghanistan's south once France sends a battalion of troops to the east of Afghanistan as part of efforts to bolster the 47,000-strong peacekeeping force, meeting Canada's conditions to keep troops in Afghanistan, the official said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier

Tibet Your Life

While we have been ensconced in our own little imbroglios, citizens promoting a Free Tibet have been busy too. Government forces from Tibet and China cracked down on the largest and most sustained anti-government protests in Tibetan areas across western China in almost two decades. Additionally, officials have ordered boosted "ideological education" and "ramped-up propaganda" in Tibet to expand anti-separatist sentiment and to vilify the Dalai Lama after the protests, another official newspaper said Thursday.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested or turned themselves in to police after deadly rioting last month in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, the city's deputy Communist Party secretary, Wang Xiangming, said.

Trials will be held before May 1 according to the AP this is "an apparent sign of the government's determination to close the book on the violence well ahead of the Aug. 8 opening of the Beijing Olympic Games."

The story continues "Beijing has sent thousands of police and army troops to the area to maintain an edgy peace, hunt down protest leaders, and cordon-off Buddhist monasteries whose monks led protests that began peacefully on March 10 before turning violent four days later.

Wang said 800 had been arrested in the Lhasa violence, while another 280 had surrendered to take advantage of a police offer of leniency.

Chinese officials have put the death toll at 22 and Tibetan exiles say nearly 140 people were killed."

Wednesday, April 2

Wal-Mart Caves to Public Pressure

A threatened boycott based on the actions of Arkansas-based retail giant Wal-Mart toward a brain-damged ex-employee cause the company to take stock, CNN reports.

A former Wal-Mart employee who suffered severe brain damage in a traffic accident won't have to pay back the company for the cost of her medical care, Wal-Mart told the family Tuesday.

"Occasionally, others help us step back and look at a situation in a different way. This is one of those times," Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Pat Curran said in a letter. "We have all been moved by Ms. Shank's extraordinary situation."

Eight years ago, Debbie Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

After a tractor-trailer slammed into her minivan, the 52-year-old mother of three lost much of her short-term memory and was confined to a wheelchair. She now lives in a nursing home.

She also lost her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, who was killed shortly after arriving in Iraq. When Debbie Shank asks family members how her son is doing and they remind her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Wal-Mart's health care plan lets the retail giant recoup the cost of its expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit. And Wal-Mart set out to do just that after Shank and her husband, Jim, won $1 million after suing the trucking company involved in the wreck. After legal fees, the couple received $417,000.

Wal-Mart sued the Shanks to recoup $470,000 it paid for her medical care. However, a court ruled that the company could only recoup about $275,000 -- the amount that was left in a trust fund for her care.

The Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court declined in March to hear the case.

Shameful: Women Soldiers More Likely to be Raped than KIA

Congresswoman Jane Harman writes in the Los Angeles Times, "Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq."

According to Harman, "numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult."

Added to this, Harman writes, "According to DOD statistics, only 181 out of 2,212 subjects investigated for sexual assault in 2007, including 1,259 reports of rape, were referred to courts-martial, the equivalent of a criminal prosecution in the military. Another 218 were handled via nonpunitive administrative action or discharge, and 201 subjects were disciplined through "nonjudicial punishment," which means they may have been confined to quarters, assigned extra duty or received a similar slap on the wrist. In nearly half of the cases investigated, the chain of command took no action; more than a third of the time, that was because of 'insufficient evidence.'"

More here

More Events For Peace Lovers in Iowa

Peace Events for April From UI Anti-War:

Fri. April 11: "The War, the Economy, and the Elections"--Richard
Becker of ANSWER will speak 7pm, Northwestern Room (#345), IMU.

Mon. April 14: Be part of a discussion about establishing a Student
Peace Alliance on the UI campus. 6:30pm, Illinois Room (#348), IMU.

Fri.-Sun. April 18-20: Campus Antiwar Network Conference. This is
the Midwest Region's yearly conference where schools from South Dakota
to Ohio come to Iowa City to convene to work on organizing a stronger
student antiwar movement. Go to WWW.CAMPUSANTIWAR.NET for more

Mon. April 21: Norman Finkelstein, renowned scholar on the issue of
Israel-Palestine, will speak at Grinnell College at 8pm in Room 101 in
the Joe Rosenfeld Center, 1115 8th Ave in Grinnell.

Tues. April 22: Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie,
will talk about the book 'Let Me Stand Alone', a collection of
Rachel's writings. 7pm, Black Box Theater (#360), IMU.

Congress: No Compromise to Telecom Immunity

From True Majority

For months now, we've been talking about the Bush Administration's demands of immunity for phone companies guilty of illegally spying on Americans.

Now, the President is at it again. Just yesterday, the Politico newspaper reported that the administration is, "now in a position where they want to talk about a possible compromise".1 We've seen this before. Every month or so, the White House floats a new trial-balloon of a possible compromise bill which inevitably includes immunity for phone companies.

Call House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer right now and tell him to keep telecom immunity off the table.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

As the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer must stand with the true majority of Americans. Let him know any compromise that provides Bush, Cheney, and their partners at big telecom with amnesty is unacceptable.

Then, let us know how your call went:

Okay, You Non-Haters Out There, Show Yourselves

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a map that shows where known hate groups exist and those of us who are anti-hate groupies.

According to the SPLC, the number of hate groups in America rose again last year.
The latest annual count of hate groups operating in the United States rose to 888 last year, capping a 48% increase since 2000.

Go ahead, put yourself on the map, you won't be alone.

Thank Goodness for Paper Ballots

Apparently the 2008 election results are already in...

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

From The Onion

Tuesday, April 1

Cornelia Mutel Reads at ICPL April 8th

From Mike Carberry, local chapter president of Sierra Club and all-around good chap.

WHAT: Cornelia Mutel reads from her new book "The Emerald Horizon - The History of Nature in Iowa.” Free and open to the public.

WHEN: Monday, April 8, 2008 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Iowa City Public Library room A, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City IA

WHO: Sponsored by the Iowa City Area Group of the Sierra Club.

Cornelia Mutel will read from her new book: The Emerald Horizon. Mutel “combines lyrical writing with meticulous scientific research to portray the environmental past, present, and future of Iowa. In doing so, she ties all of Iowa’s natural features into one comprehensive whole.”
“Cornelia Mutel’s passionate dedication to restoring this damaged landscape—and by extension the transformed landscape of the entire Corn Belt—invigorates her blend of natural history and human history. Believing that citizens who are knowledgeable about native species, communities, and ecological processes will better care for them, she gives us hope—and sound suggestions—for the future.” The reading is sponsored by the Iowa City Area Group of the Sierra Club and is free and open to the public.

Clinton Pennsylvania Lead Dwindling

According to Rasmussen Reports:

Senator Hillary Clinton's lead in the Pennsylvania Primary is shrinking.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Pennsylvania shows Clinton leading Barack Obama by just five percentage points, 47% to 42%. For Clinton, that five-point edge is down from a ten-point lead a week ago, a thirteen-point lead in mid-March and a fifteen-point advantage in early March.

Support for Clinton slipped from 52% early in March, to 51% in mid-month, 49% a week ago, and 47% today. During that same time frame, support for Obama has increased from 37% to 42%. Obama recently received a key endorsement from Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and has also spent more on television ads than Clinton. If Obama is able to pull off an upset in the Keystone State, it would effectively end the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Obama currently leads Clinton nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

However, while an Obama victory could end the nomination battle, Clinton remains ahead in the state and recently demonstrated her ability to finish strong in the Ohio and Texas Primaries.

Tensions clearly remain in the contest. If Obama is nominated, just 56% of Clinton supporters say they are likely to vote for him against John McCain. Forty percent (40%) of Clinton voters in Pennsylvania say they are not likely to vote for Obama.

On the other hand, if Clinton is nominated, just 67% of Obama supporters say they are likely to vote for her against McCain. Twenty-nine percent (29%) are not.

Tom Walz to Speak

Tom Walz, the social entrepreneur who started Wild Bill's Coffee Shop and Uptown Bill's Small Mall because of his affiliation with Bill Sackster is speaking tonight.

SOCIAL ACTION SPEAKER From St. Patrick's Church in IC:
"Social Service and Social Action: Not an Activity, But a Way of Life," presented by UI Professor Emeritus Tom Walz, Tuesday April 1, 6:30 pm at the Newman Center (Clinton St & Jefferson St., Iowa City). Refreshments will be served.

Fallon: Leonard Boswell Is a Cross-Dresser

This report from Des Moines Register writer April Pheull,

An e-mail allegedly sent out by his congressional challenger, Ed Fallon, stated
that "Do constituents of Leonard Boswell approve of their 'Cross-dressing
Congressman'?" The message then went on to allege that Congressman Boswell
had been seen in Lane Bryant stores trying on women's clothing and furnished
a picture of Boswell wearing a mid-length red dress.

Spokesperson for Congressman Leonard Boswell, JoDee Winterhof , in a press conference this morning said, "The allegations that Rep. Boswell is, was, or ever will be a transvestite are outrageous. This is the kind of low level attacks that Ed Fallon has been pulling that simply have no merit." He went on to say that Boswell had indeed put on the dress, but it was merely to entertain his wife of over 50 years, Dody and, said Winterhof "Dody was none too amused."

A spokesperson for the Fallon campaign said, "While we can get no "redress" from Congressman Boswell on his allegations of misdeeds by our campaign, apparently he does fill out a "red dress," very amply."

Gark: Happy April Fool's Day!