The ACLU of Iowa is seeking a policy director

I don’t post job listings here often, but since many Bleeding Heartland readers have substantial public policy experience and are interested in the issues at the core of the American Civil Liberties Union’s work, I wanted to spread the word that the ACLU of Iowa is hiring a policy director. The full job listing is after the jump. The non-profit organization will accept applications through June 26, with the goal of filling the position by August.

The eventual hire will be "responsible for advancing the ACLU’s broad civil liberties agenda before the state legislature, executive branch, and local governmental bodies," leading policy projects related to "areas including but not limited to voting rights, racial justice, criminal justice reform, immigrant’s rights, free speech, reproductive freedom, women’s rights, LGBT rights and privacy rights."

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Memorial Day open thread

Once known as Decoration Day, the concept of honoring Americans who died in military service on the last Monday in May "originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971." Many Americans visit the graves of fallen relatives on Memorial Day. Morgan Halgren described visiting the grave of her uncle, who was killed in action during World War II, during a trip to the Netherlands.

In a guest editorial for today’s Des Moines Register, Joy Neal Kidney described her family’s annual ritual of visiting Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry (Dallas County), to honor the memories of relatives including three uncles killed during World War II.

Lynda Waddington’s latest column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette called for offering "more than words" to the war dead and their surviving families.

Since Memorial Day weekend is also the unofficial beginning of summer, it’s a good time to share Mario Vittone’s must-read piece for recreational swimmers: "Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning." Once a lifeguard at Valley View Aquatic Center in West Des Moines jumped in to help a child in trouble in the shallow pool where I was standing near my children. Although I could not have been more than fifteen feet away, I hadn’t noticed a thing.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Iowa DNR issues stop work order on Bakken pipeline route "ground-disturbing activity"

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has told attorneys for Dakota Access the company is "no longer authorized to engage in any activities" related to a permit previously issued for a pipeline across the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area in northwest Iowa, Gavin Aronsen reported at Iowa Informer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service informed Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp on May 25 that a "significant archeological site" identified within that Wildlife Management Area "may fall along the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline," more commonly known as the Bakken pipeline. Consequently, the federal agency revoked approval of that permit and asked the DNR to "stop all tree clearing or any ground-disturbing activities within the pipeline corridor pending further investigation."

Citing the letter from the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as e-mail communication from Iowa’s State Archeologist John Doershuk, yesterday the DNR sent Dakota Access a stop work order for the eastern half of the Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County, overlapping the proposed pipeline route. Aronsen posted both letters in full. Iowa Informer is a must-follow for Bakken pipeline news.

The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition is holding a day of action in Oskaloosa (Mahaska County) on Saturday, May 28. In the morning, kayaks and canoes will float along the South Skunk River near where the pipeline would cross it. Along that section of river, paddlers will pass "7-generation landowner Sylvia Rodgers Spalding’s property adjacent to the proposed pipeline route." Authors Carolyn Raffensperger, Fred Kirschenmann, Angie Carter, and Rachel Morgan will read from the recently-published book Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America at 3 pm at the Book Vault in Oskaloosa (105 South Market Street).

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Two reasons Patty Judge is smart to highlight flood response role

Former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge launched her first television commercial as a U.S. Senate candidate on May 24, two weeks before primary voters will determine which of four Democrats will take on six-term Senator Chuck Grassley.

The 30-second spot, which is running in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, highlights Judge’s work as the Culver administration’s Homeland Security Advisor, which gave her a leadership role as state government responded to devastating 2008 floods in eastern Iowa.

It’s a smart strategy.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Dwarf larkspur

Like last week’s featured plant, Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) was a new addition to my wildflower "life list" recently. I went hunting for it at the Woodland Mounds Preserve in Warren County on a tip from Marla Mertz. (By the way, her guest post about showy orchis is a must-read if you missed it earlier this month.)

Sometimes known as spring larkspur, dwarf larkspur is native to more than 20 states east of the Rocky Mountains. I enclose below more pictures of this species, which is "quite hardy and very adaptable to home gardens," according to garden writer Gene Bush.

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