IA-Gov: Planned Parenthood emerges as key theme for Hubbell

The first television commercial promoting Fred Hubbell for governor begins running today “as part of a statewide six figure TV and digital buy.” I’m not aware of any Iowa candidate advertising so extensively so far in advance of the following year’s primary. (Jack Hatch launched his gubernatorial campaign’s first ad nearly ten months before the 2014 primary, but that spot ran for just four days, and only on Des Moines broadcast networks.)

Opening campaign commercials are often biographical. Notably, Hubbell chose to introduce himself to Iowa television viewers by emphasizing his commitment to Planned Parenthood rather than his extensive business career. It’s the latest sign that his early internal polling showed a strongly positive response when Democrats learned about Hubbell’s support for a leading women’s health care provider.

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Hey Democrats: Where’s our leadership?

Democratic volunteer Jonathan Wilder feels Iowa party leaders haven’t been welcoming enough to young activists who could help change our state’s political direction. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“I don’t think people want a new direction, our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.”

Those are the words of Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ Pelosi’s words seem to ring of confidence, but how can she be filled with so much confidence, when, while under her watch, Democrats have lost over 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts since 2008; including major governorships, Congressional, and state legislative seats?

The question that should be on everybody’s mind… Especially in the minds of party leaders like Nancy Pelosi, is why? Why have people stopped turning out and voting for Democrats? What has allowed the Republicans to gain so many positions in so little time? Why are the people of this country, who when polled issue by issue, are shockingly more in line with leftist thought; are choosing to vote against their own interests and giving their support to the Republicans?

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Prairie sunflower (Stiff sunflower)

Some native plants are unmistakable, but nailing down the ID on today’s wildflowers has been a challenge. When I first photographed a large colony of these plants on Mike Delaney’s restored prairie in Dallas County, I assumed they were sawtooth sunflowers (Helianthus grosseserratus) because of the serrated leaves. However, John Pearson of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources commented in the Iowa Wildflower Report Facebook group, “This may be Prairie Sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus), note reddish disc flowers. The long, leafless upper stems, however, remind me of Western Sunflower (H. occidentalis).” Leland Searles, another expert on native plants, mentioned that “sunflowers can be confusing.”

I ruled out western sunflower for a couple of reasons. Mike collected the seed that spawned this colony at Tipton Prairie, a never-plowed patch of land in Greene County in the northwestern quadrant of Iowa. But western sunflower (sometimes called fewleaf sunflower) is primarily found in the eastern part of the state. In addition, several sources confirm the central disk florets on western sunflower flowerheads are yellow. Most of the flowerheads on these plants had reddish centers, which is typical for prairie sunflowers.

Mike thought the plants might be giant sunflowers (Helianthus giganteus), but the central disk florets on that plant are darker yellow. Also, there can be more than one flowerhead at the top of the upper stems on giant sunflower plants. These plants had one flowerhead per stem, another characteristic feature of prairie sunflowers. Finally, the upper part of the stems on Mike’s plants had no leaves. Giant sunflower plants have leaves on the upper stems.

So, I’m calling these prairie sunflowers. Sometimes known as stiff sunflowers, Helianthus pauciflorus plants are native to most of the U.S. and Canada. I haven’t seen them anywhere other than on Mike’s land. Next year I hope to visit Tipton Prairie in the late summer or early fall, when they would be blooming. UPDATE: After I published this post, Mike told me he didn’t find any of these at Tipton Prairie this year, but he did find them in the “Rippey strip,” a narrow patch of native prairie several miles long next to the 144 Diagonal road near Rippey in Greene County. He believes he must have collected the original seed from the Rippey area.

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SERENITY NOW! Forget unity; Dems need a strategic alliance

Practical advice from Lauren Whitehead, a Solon City Council member, longtime Democratic activist, and Indivisible organizer in Johnson County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Y’all, we’re about to hit the anniversary of the worst day ever and I’m maxed out on rage. I’m beyond maxed out. I’ve reached a level of chronic underlying frustration and anger that is simply unsustainable, and I know I’m not the only one.

As a recovering addict AND a person with a diagnosed mental condition, I’m familiar with what “unsustainable” feels like. It impacts work, relationships, and ability to take care of your basic shit. It traps you in what feels like an inescapable situation of being unable to stop but also being unable to keep going on. So I know when I’ve hit a point where this is just not going to work, and I know I’m there, and I think a lot of other people are there, too. Rage is not an unlimited resource. It is the fossil fuel of our movement. It’s gotten us this far but we will run out. And it’s not good for us.

So here’s my proposal.

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The Socialist Revival. It All Began in Iowa

Jeff Cox is encouraged by evidence mainstream Democrats “will increasingly embrace the socialist policies brought into public debate by the Sanders campaign.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

When Bernie Sanders spoke to a sold out crowd at Iowa City’s Hancher Auditorium in August, sponsored by Prairie Lights Books, he prefaced his comments (full video here) by thanking the people of Iowa for their early support for his presidential campaign. “It all began here,” he said.

If that is true, historians will look to the 2016 Iowa caucuses as the beginning, not merely of a presidential campaign, but of a wholly unexpected revival of democratic socialism in America.

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One White House reporter's stunning inside view of access journalism

“I personally love it when he tweets,” said Bloomberg correspondent Jennifer Jacobs of President Donald Trump during a recent appearance in Des Moines, “just because his Twitter is an uncurtained window into his mind, and we always want to know what’s on his mind, unfiltered from his staff.”

Jacobs opened a window onto her own mindset as she told a room full of journalists “what it’s like to get good information out of the Trump White House.”

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