DCCC backing Abby Finkenauer in IA-01

The main political arm of U.S. House Democrats is officially promoting Abby Finkenauer as its preferred candidate to take on Representative Rod Blum in Iowa’s first district.

Finkenauer was among the initial group named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program for this election cycle, as first reported by Roll Call’s Simone Pathe on November 15. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Representative Jimmy Panetta were featured guests at a Cedar Rapids fundraiser for Finkenauer’s campaign on November 19.

Continue Reading...

Bill Dix: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Tracy Freese: In the private sector, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s handling of a sexual harassment scandal would have gotten him fired and escorted from the building. Freese is Dix’s Democratic challenger in Iowa Senate district 25. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix has been hailed as a nice guy. That façade cracked during Tuesday’s press conference with Iowa media outlets. The exchange began nicely enough; Mr. Dix came off as friendly and humble. He played the lovable fool and reminded me of the neighbor you would expect to sell ten boxes of Girl Scout cookies to.

But by the end of his time in front of the cameras and microphones, his demeanor took a turn for the worse.

Continue Reading...

Stop using professed respect for Jews as cover for racism and Islamophobia

Prominent Iowa Republican Jamie Johnson resigned yesterday as leader of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, after CNN exposed a pattern of racist statements and “inflammatory remarks about Islam” between 2008 and 2016.

Johnson told CNN his past comments “do not represent my views personally or professionally”; “Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently.”

Whatever Johnson believes today, his generalizations about lazy, promiscuous, drug-using African Americans and Muslims who “want to cut our heads off” didn’t attract any special notice, let alone condemnation, in Iowa GOP circles. Republican activists elected the reverend to serve multiple terms on the party’s State Central Committee. Presidential candidates also sought Johnson’s support. He worked for Rick Santorum before the 2012 caucuses and for Rick Perry and Donald Trump at various times during the 2016 election cycle.

As a Jew, I want to express my utmost contempt for how Johnson praised American Jewish culture as a rhetorical device while denigrating other minority groups.

Continue Reading...

Tax bill backed by Blum, Young, King skewed toward wealthiest Iowans

Representatives Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) joined most of their Republican colleagues in the U.S. House today to pass a tax bill that would greatly increase the federal deficit, conferring most of the benefits on corporations and people far wealthier than most Iowans. Tens of millions of low to moderate-income Americans would pay more in federal taxes if its provisions became law, because a number of tax credits and deductions would be scrapped or scaled back.

To cite just one example: ending a tax break for out-of-pocket medical expenses would have a “catastrophic effect on disabled people” as well as anyone who spends a substantial amount on chronic health conditions or fertility treatments.

Meanwhile, an estimated 203,000 Iowa children would be either fully or partially left out of the expanded Child Tax Credit included in the House bill. Repealing the estate tax, which applies “only to the value of an estate that exceeds $5.5 million per person ($11 million per couple),” would benefit about 70 Iowa families in 2018, some 0.2 percent of all estates.

House Republicans know their tax plan will cost many Americans more. For that reason, before bringing the bill to the floor–with no hearings–they waived a rule that “had been put in place to make it difficult to increase taxes.”

Continue Reading...

IA-Gov: Fred Hubbell has big edge in name ID

Unusually early and extensive statewide advertising has paid off for Fred Hubbell’s gubernatorial campaign, a recent survey commissioned by Iowa Starting Line suggests. While about half the respondents said they are unsure how they will vote in the June 2018 primary, Hubbell was by far the best-known candidate among seven Democrats running for governor and had the most early support on a ballot test.

Continue Reading...

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Prairie dock

Before Bleeding Heartland’s wildflower series goes on winter break, let’s revisit a late summer bloomer. Today’s featured plant is one of four native species in the Silphium branch of the aster family. (The others, which also have yellow composite flowers, are cup plant, compass plant, and rosinweed.)

Prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), sometimes known as prairie rosinweed, is among the tallest plants on the tallgrass prairie. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists Iowa as part of its native range. My understanding is that while prairie dock is common throughout Illinois, it doesn’t really belong in most parts of Iowa. However, I’ve seen it in several Des Moines area prairie plantings, where it blooms in August and September.

According to the Illinois Wildflowers website, prairie dock tolerates drought and “rocky or gravelly soil” well. Though “rather slow to develop,” this “long-lived plant” is “very reliable and nearly indestructible when mature.”

Continue Reading...
View More...