Does a presidential nominee's choice of running mate matter?

Dan Guild sees Joe Biden’s choice as influenced by Bill Clinton’s counter-intuitive but “phenomenally successful” pick for vice president. -promoted by Laura Belin

After weeks of speculation, Joe Biden has made his choice: Kamala Harris. He wasn’t late. As the table below shows, his announcement was actually a little earlier than most by a day or two.

Will it matter? Political scientists have studied the matter and usually concluded no. I think the answer is more nuanced than that. 

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Iowa Senate district 20: Brad Zaun knows he's in trouble

Brad Zaun’s fifth campaign for the state legislature will be his toughest yet.

Like affluent suburban areas around the country, Iowa Senate district 20 has been trending away from Republicans. Democrats in the northwest suburbs of Des Moines did well in the 2019 local elections and more recently surpassed the GOP in voter registrations.

Zaun has adapted to the new environment with messaging that doesn’t mention his party affiliation, his votes for many controversial laws, his numerous attempts to ban abortion, or his early support for Donald Trump’s candidacy.

On the contrary, he is campaigning as an “independent voice” and leader on improving education and mental health services.

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Leading Iowa research centers merge

Two of Iowa’s best resources for public policy research have merged, the institutions announced on August 6. The Child and Family Policy Center and the Iowa Policy Project are building “on a collective 50 years of experience” and will be known as Common Good Iowa.

Look to Common Good Iowa for the rock-solid research, rigorous policy analysis and focused advocacy that Iowans have come to expect from CFPC and IPP, and for a new, invigorated approach to advance a bold policy agenda advancing equity and effective policy in four areas:

• Well-being of children and families, especially those failed by our current systems

• Adequate and equitably raised revenue to support strong public structures

• Workplace fairness and living wages for all Iowans

• Clean air, water and sustainable energy for a healthy future for all

Common Good Iowa will maintain offices in Des Moines and Iowa City, according to a news released I’ve enclosed below.

The two organizations have long collaborated on research published under the banner of the Iowa Fiscal Partnership. Some of their “greatest hits”:

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What the voting rights order revealed about Kim Reynolds

“Quite simply, when someone serves their sentence and pays the price our justice system has set for their crimes, they should have their right to vote restored automatically, plain and simple,” Governor Kim Reynolds said on August 5, shortly before signing a critically important document.

Executive Order 7 automatically restores voting rights to most Iowans who have completed prison sentences or terms of probation or parole associated with felony convictions. The Iowa-Nebraska NAACP estimated that the order paves the way for more than 40,000 people to vote this year. Going forward, approximately 4,700 Iowans who complete felony sentences each year will regain the same rights.

Reynolds had publicly promised to sign such an order seven weeks ago, after Republican senators declined to advance the state constitutional amendment that was her preferred way of addressing the problem.

Both the substance of the measure and the way the governor announced it revealed aspects of her leadership style.

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We can run. We can try to hide. But there is no Planet B

Julie Ann Neely: “We will live through this, but when the pandemic runs its course, environmental degradation will remain to disrupt our economy and threaten our health.” -promoted by Laura Belin

While simultaneously trying to stay safe and reopen the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us daily that we are all part of the interconnected web of life on earth. We are struggling with unprecedented disruptions in healthcare and the economy, as climate disasters increase in frequency and intensity, exacerbating health risks.

Long after this wave of infections ebbs and a vaccine is developed, we will still live with the reverberations. Whether we are able to deal with them depends on the leaders we elect in November.

In the grand scheme of things, Mother Earth doesn’t give a fig about politics, the stock market, big profits, or the lines we draw in the sand that divide us. Nor does she need us. 

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We deserve a break today. Two folks well worth "hooray"!

Herb Strentz profiles the most trusted figure of the COVID-19 pandemic and a Sister of Charity whose service to the targets of the Postville raid was legendary. -promoted by Laura Belin

Pardon the trifling with the McDonald’s jingle, but it catches the refreshing touch intended to recognize a couple of wonderful people — one you’re familiar with and one you’ll be delighted to meet.

They are Dr. Anthony Fauci, 79, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and Mary McCauley, 81, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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