Laura Belin

IA-04: Don't be so sure the latest uproar will hurt Steve King

When U.S. Representative Steve King thinks out loud, national headlines often follow.

The Des Moines Register’s Robin Opsahl was first to report on King’s musings at the August 14 Westside Conservative Club breakfast in Urbandale.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” […]

“Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”

To many, the comments seem indefensible. But I suspect many conservative Republicans in Iowa approve of King’s uncompromising stance on abortion, even if they don’t like how he talked about the issue.

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Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Tall green milkweed

Of the seventeen milkweed plants (Asclepias genus) that are native to Iowa, only five are widespread in our state: common milkweed, swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed, whorled milkweed, and sand milkweed.

Today’s featured plant, Tall green milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), is considered “scarce” rather than endangered or threatened in Iowa. Its native range includes parts of eighteen states from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, plus the Canadian province of Ontario. According to the Illinois Wildflowers website, preferred habitats have exposure to full sun, with “moist to dry conditions, and sandy or gravelly soil,” including “dry-mesic railroad prairies, sand prairies, rocky glades, edges of sandy wetlands, roadsides, pastures, and abandoned fields.” This species is sometimes known as prairie milkweed.

Tall green milkweed plants typically reach a height between one and three feet, so aren’t particularly tall compared to some summer wildflowers on the prairie, such as compass plant or cup plant. But it’s taller than a related species called green milkweed ( Asclepias viridiflora). The Minnesota Wildflowers site advises that flowers of Asclepias hirtella “are different enough to avoid confusion, plus A. viridiflora is typically a shorter plant with less densely packed leaves.”

I’ve never seen tall green milkweed in the wild, so relied on other photographers for all of the images enclosed below.

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Democrats have candidates in all top Iowa Senate targets

Fifteen months before the 2020 election, Democrats have at least one declared candidate in each of the four most vulnerable Republican-held Iowa Senate districts. That’s good news for a party that needs to start making up ground in the upper chamber, where Republicans hold 32 of the 50 seats.

Bleeding Heartland will publish a fuller review of the Iowa Senate landscape (comparable to this first look at 2020 state House races) when the field is set in more competitive districts. For now, here’s where things stand in the top Democratic targets:

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