Good news, bad news

Bleeding Heartland user dbmarin is a musician, former Register reporter and sound designer. His collaboration with video artist Oyoram (7even Stories High) is currently featured at The Des Moines Art Center’s IMMERSIVE installation.

I’ll start with the good news.

It looks as if Matthew Smith, deputy superintendent for the Des Moines Public Schools, has been tapped as the interim superintendent while the district searches for Tom Ahart’s successor.

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How we got here?

Bleeding Heartland user dbmarin is a fourth-generation artist-educator and former Des Moines Register beat reporter with roots in Buxton, Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

The last five years have been a real education for me moving back to my home state of Iowa after living in Northern California for the last 30 years. As Robert Ray-sensibility gave way to Terry Branstad and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), I wondered, what were the national and state Democrats doing about all of this? Surely, they could prevent Iowa from moving way too far away from its sensible-progressive heritage.

Apparently I misjudged something along the way because around 1988 or 1989, Rush Limbaugh arrived to stay on Des Moines radio. (During the late 1980s, I thought most Iowans would be too smart to allow caustic BS from a Cape Giradeau, Missouri loudmouth to take hold.)

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Silicon Suckers

The juxtaposition of last week’s “Waukee Scores Apple Server Farm” story with the “Iowa Nursing Home Budget Crisis” story revealed to me, the advanced rot of political obeiesance to corporations at the expense of badly frayed public resources and services.

The Los Angeles Times column on the subject put it as well as could be stated. Of course Bleeding Heartland covered the nursing home crisis here.

After reading the LA times story, it was darkly funny to read this story in the New York Times about Mr. Cook, CEO of Apple, “Barnstorming for Moral Responsibility”.

Not only are these corporate out-of-state care facilities taking advantage of our citizens on the low end of the scale, you have the richest, most profitable company on the planet, literally skimming future dollars off the top!

Those of you with Apple stock are probably grateful for your good fortune. Maybe those dividends will offset the taxes we may have to pony up to recover what Apple is taking away.

(When you look at the size of the tax breaks Iowa coughed up at a time when the DHS budget shortfall puts hundreds of people at risk,it makes me wonder if Mr. Cook might consider adding some of his latte allowance to fund Iowa’s ailing social programs? Frankly, I think we’ll have a better shot at convincing him than we will waiting for the Reynolds administration to Think Different.)

Oh Oh, She's At It Again

Well, it looks like our own (your own?) Senator Joni Ernst has been spotlighted by Glen Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and writer Jordan Smith at The Intercept: “Senator Joni Ernst Puts Planned Parenthood–and Access to Birth Control–on the Chopping Block.”

Looks like she’s set to be the face of the ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ contingent. I may be mistaken but I think she’s going to be facing a firestorm over this and Vander Plaats et.al. won’t be able to save her. Between this and Terry Branstad’s local destabilization of Medicaid, I seriously wonder how her rural constituents are going to take this.

A disappearing act?

I’m not sure what to think any more. Grassley and Judge had a debate last night. The night of the Presidential Debate. The most watched political event so far this century. They debate in Sioux City? At Morningside College.

For some reason, I missed the Sioux City throwdown (something about a presidential candidate threatening the entire voting process distracted me…,) but believe me, I would have loved to seen or heard Judge and Grassley today online somewhere. So far, I find nothing. Video, Transcripts or even a good newspaper story.

I know Grassley pulled out of IPTV debate but I had no idea that he could manage a ‘stealth debate’ so far off the radar. I would appreciate a link if someone has one.

Grassley, Ernst vote against Zika Funding (updated)

Note from desmoinesdem: Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among 29 Republican senators to vote against a cloture motion on an amendment that would add $1.1 billion for combatting the Zika virus to a larger budget bill. The motion passed yesterday by 68 votes to 29. Senate Democrats would prefer stand-alone legislation on Zika, to get the funding to President Barack Obama’s desk more quickly.

Not too much to say here friends.

Just click the link and shake your head at the callousness.

MAY 19 UPDATE from desmoinesdem: Senator Ernst’s office did not respond to my request for comment on this vote.

Patty Judge’s Senate campaign released this statement on May 17:

Statement on Grassley’s Votes Against Bipartisan Bills to Combat Zika Virus

DES MOINES, Iowa —Patty Judge released the following statement tonight after Chuck Grassley voted against multiple bipartisan bills to combat the Zika virus:

“Public health officials have warned Congress for weeks about the serious threat the Zika virus poses to the country. Yet instead of working across the aisle on commonsense solutions to help address the looming public health threat, Chuck Grassley voted multiple times today against bipartisan proposals to provide emergency funding to combat the Zika virus. Once again Chuck Grassley is refusing to do his job. Iowans expect their Senators to put their health and safety above partisan posturing, and yet after decades in Washington, it’s obvious Chuck Grassley is failing his constituents once again.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Grassley e-mailed this response to what she called a “misinformed comment from Patty Judge.”

This statement is confused and uninformed, at best. The government has already been authorized to spend more than $500 million in reprogrammed funds on the Zika threat. Sen. Grassley voted to proceed on a Cornyn amendment that was paid-for under budget rules. That amendment was prevented from moving forward. Sen. Grassley’s vote against proceeding on the next amendment was to say the legislation ought to be paid for and fiscally responsible. There hasn’t yet been a vote on that amendment. When the amendment is up for an actual vote in the next day or so, Sen. Grassley plans to vote for the legislation. Like the Senate majority leadership, Sen. Grassley understands the Zika threat and dealing with it now to protect mothers and children.

SECOND UPDATE from desmoinesdem: Ernst’s office e-mailed this comment.

Senator Ernst voted in support of a proposal that provides additional resources to combat Zika virus, without adding to our debt. This includes providing funding to the Centers for Disease Control, incentives for manufacturers to develop vaccines and treatments of the virus, and boosting mosquito control by removing layers of bureaucratic red tape so our local communities can more effectively and efficiently tackle this problem. Ultimately, Senator Ernst voted for the final passage of a larger package which does ensure we act quickly to prevent the Zika virus from spreading.

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