Ta-Nehisi Coates Lectures at Iowa State University on Racism and Lies

An Iowa State University graduate student shares impressions from a January 31 lecture by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “A Deeper Black: Race in America.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

I would like to start this article by admitting that I have not read all the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates. I have read several of his articles in The Atlantic, for which he is a national correspondent. Most recently, his article from The Atlantic, “My President was Black,” is an amazing read that will make you angry at what racism has done to politics in America but in the end leave you with even more love and appreciation in your heart for President Obama. Coates has also authored two books, The Beautiful Struggle (2008), and Between the World and Me (2015), which debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. He also happens to be the author of the new Black Panther series from Marvel!

Despite my somewhat limited exposure to his works, I have known Coates as an avid advocate in the fight against racism as well as for his instrumental voice in sharing his experiences and thoughts as a Black American, and am thus a fan. Coates speaks his mind when it comes to politics in a fierce and refreshing way, and his visit to Iowa State University as a guest lecturer following a tumultuous first week of political chaos was invigorating.

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Our first trip to Northern Iowa- County number 6, Osceola County

The series continues; previous installments are here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our sixth-smallest county in terms of population, Osceola County. The 2010 census found 6,462 people living in the entire 399 square miles, the 3rd smallest in Iowa. To put this in perspective, Osceola County is roughly equal in population to the city of Oelwein (Fayette County).

Osceola County is north and just a bit west of Des Moines, bordering Minnesota on its north border. The highest point in Iowa, Hawkeye Point is located within the county. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Osceola County, Sibley, is 236.1 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Osceola County was founded in 1871 when it was separated from Woodbury County, and was the last county established in Iowa. The county was named after the Seminole chief Osceola.

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Leadership contest may leave Iowa Democrats more divided than before

UPDATE: Derek Eadon was the winner; have added more about the meeting below, along with the audio from his first comments to reporters as state party chair and background on the new vice chairs. Democrats avoided a polarizing result today.

For many years, the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee “elected” the state chair in name only. In reality, insiders rubber-stamped a decision made by one person (Senator Tom Harkin, Governor Tom Vilsack, or Governor Chet Culver). So I was thrilled to see an open competition among four talented people seeking the top position in 2015. Contrary to some predictions, that race was not a foregone conclusion for the establishment’s favorite candidate; Andy McGuire needed three ballots to win.

The spirited campaign to become state party chair for the next two years is encouraging, considering the huge challenges facing our party after losses in November exceeding most people’s expectations.

I decided early not to endorse any candidate, because everyone in the field brought valuable skills and experience to the table. Reading the pieces posted here by Julie Stauch, Kurt Meyer, Derek Eadon, Sandy Dockendorff, Blair Lawton, and Kim Weaver, along with messages to State Central Committee members from Mike Gronstal and Bob Krause, I felt confident that whoever won would understand the key tasks facing the party and could draw on many good ideas floated during the process.

As today’s election approached, I have become increasingly concerned that the outcome will leave Iowa Democrats more angry and divided–party because the voting procedure won’t allow for consensus-building, and partly because some old hands simply don’t understand the mindset of many activists energized by the Bernie Sanders campaign.

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An Outsider's Opinion on the Race for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

Highly-engaged Democratic volunteer nwfisch attended a January 10 meeting in Dubuque, where six candidates to lead the Iowa Democratic Party spoke to activists and answered questions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

As a teacher, I wouldn’t consider myself a political insider. I live a modest life and try my best to advocate for my students through politics. I’ve become more involved in the local party over the past year and I recently had the chance to hear six of the candidates running for chairperson of the Iowa Democratic Party.

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Another Southern Iowa Red County- Wayne County (5/99)

Continuing a 99-part series. Previous installments are here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our fifth-smallest county in terms of population, Wayne County. The 2010 census found 6,403 people living in the entire 527 square miles (34th smallest) that are within Wayne County. To put this in perspective, it is roughly equal to population with the city of Oelwein. Wayne County is south and just a bit east of Des Moines. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Wayne County, Corydon, is 70.5 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Wayne County was founded in 1846 from Appanoose County and was named after Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne.

As we’ve seen as another trend in these first five rural counties, the highest population in the county of 17,491 was in the 1900 census. Wayne County has lost population in every census since that time.

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Number 4 of 99: Taylor County

Previous installments in this series can be found here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This week I will review our fourth-smallest county in terms of population, Taylor County. The 2010 census found 6,317 people living in the entire 532 square miles (36th smallest) that are within Taylor County. Taylor County is south and west of Des Moines. It borders on two of the other sparsely populated counties we have already reviewed, Adams and Ringgold.

According to Google Maps, the county seat of Taylor County, Bedford, is 115 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Taylor County was founded in 1847 when it was separated from Page County and was named after General (and soon to be president) Zachary Taylor.

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