FBI Infiltrated U of Iowa Anti-War Group

The Des Moines Register reported an FBI informant and undercover police officer infiltrated a peace organization at the University of Iowa prior to the RNC convention in August 2008.  It is reported that that surveillence began as early as the fall of 2007.

Confidential FBI documents obtained by The Des Moines Register show an FBI informant was planted among a group described as an “anarchist collective” that met regularly last year in Iowa City. One of the group’s goals was to organize street blockades to disrupt the Republican convention, held Sept. 1-4, 2008, where U.S. Sen. John McCain was nominated for president.

The undercover Minnesota deputy who traveled to Iowa City was from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, which infiltrated a group known as the “RNC Welcoming Committee” that was coordinating convention protest activities in St. Paul.

The undercover officer accompanied two activists from the Twin Cities who attended the University of Iowa in April 2008 for a Midwest campus anti-war conference.

The Iowa City Police Department was not aware that an FBI informant was monitoring local anti-war activists last year, Police Chief Samuel Hargadine said. But he confirmed to the Register that he was notified by Ramsey County authorities last year that they were sending an undercover officer to Iowa City.

Read the entire story for more details.  

It is pretty amazing national security resources would go to monitor a peace group in Iowa.  As one of the people in Iowa said, “There are not a lot of bomb throwers in Iowa City.”

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Iowa School District Cancels School Next Week Due to H1N1 Flu

The Marshalltown School District is cancelling school next week due to 6 reported cases of the H1N1 flu in the county, including students at several schools. From the Des Moines Register

A spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health said none of the patients required hospitalization. But Marshalltown’s schools are being closed to try to prevent more infections. The news came a few hours after Gov. Chet Culver declared a public-health emergency in the state. Culver’s declaration was based on federal confirmation of an Iowa case of the disease, also known as swine flu. The confirmed case involved a southeast Iowa woman who became ill last week after returning from a vacation in Mexico, where the disease first cropped up. Culver’s declaration allows the state more flexibility in trying to slow the disease, also known as swine flu.

The Marshalltown Times Republican says officials are waiting on more test results to be confirmed.

Marshall County Public Health now reports six probable cases of the virus in the area with five more tests pending results. Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center has set up an emergency call center for those with H1N1 virus symptoms at 641-754-5270. Hospital officials recommend those who believe they are infected to call the number first. They have also set up an emergency flu clinic in a remote area of the hospital.

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Marshalltown Considers Banning Non-biodegradable Plastic Bags

The city of Marshalltown is following Marshall County’s lead and is considering banning non-biodegradable plastic bags. Marshall County took action to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags last summer.

The Marshalltown Times Republican covered a joint meeting with the city council and the county supervisors and has quotes from Marshalltown Mayor Gene Beach…

“It is still my desire to discuss a plastic bag ordinance here, which would somewhat resemble the ordinance in the county,” Beach said.

The mayor went on to state, “I think it [the county ordinance] is a solid ordinance, frankly.”

Beach said that sometimes irresponsible behavior creates the need for ordinances, and he is still noticing plenty of plastic bags blowing around, even out in the county. Further adding to the need, according to Beach, is there is no incentive to recycle plastic bags.

“It costs less to make a new plastic bag than it does to recycle an old one,” he said.

Supervisor Pat Brooks said the county’s ordinance has garnered a lot of attention. Most recently, the city of Indianola asked to review a copy of what the county passed last year.

Brooks also said the two businesses affected in the county have not been significantly hurt by the issue.

“We have not prohibited plastic bags,” he reminded those in attendance. “We have prohibited those plastic bags which do not degrade.”

This would make Marshalltown the first city in Iowa to have such an ordinance. I would have thought a city such as Fairfield or Iowa City would have moved to adopt an ordinance like first, not Marshalltown.

This ordinance is a common sense idea that is a win for the environment and a win for the state of Iowa since the biodegradable plastic bags are made from corn.

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Boswell Pushing for Expanding Amtrak in Iowa

Rep. Leonard Boswell is pushing for a feasibility study of Amtrak service from Chicago through Iowa to Omaha.

Iowa's Third District Congressman Leonard Boswell has asked that AMTRAK study the feasibility of extending a proposed Chicago to the Quad Cities passenger train not only to Iowa City and Des Moines, but also on west to Council Bluffs and Omaha. This is the first time that AMTRAK has been asked by a government official to consider extending service beyond Des Moines. AMTRAK, at the request of the Iowa Department of Transportation, is looking at the feasibility of a Des Moines to the Quad Cities and Chicago train. […]

If passenger train services returns in Iowa between the Quad Cities and Council Bluffs-Omaha, it would use the former Rock Island line. Cities along the route from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River include Davenport, Iowa City, Grinnell, Newton, Des Moines, and Atlantic.

I am definitely on board with this idea.

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It Was All Worth It

After watching Barack Obama's speech last night I realized that it truly was worth it. It was worth the all the miles I drove to hear all the candidates speak, all the time I volunteered, all the phone calls I made, and all the doors I knocked days before the Iowa caucuses in below zero weather.

Inauguration day was about the show, the monuments, the weight of the presidency, and the historical moment in our nation.

Election day was about the people, the volunteers, and the excitement.

The night of the Iowa Caucuses was about the beginning of a movement.

Last night, though, it all came together. Barack Obama called all Americans to the table to act. He spoke, not as a member of a political party, but as our President. President Obama was no longer making promises on a campaign trail, but instead laying a vision for our country, a path back to prosperity.

UPDATE from desmoinesdem: The full transcript of Obama's speech is after the jump. 

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Rooting for Failure

Rush Limbaugh is not a big fan of Barack Obama. That part is not surprising.

However, this quote from Rush is…

I want everything he’s doing to fail … I want the stimulus package to fail … I do not want this to succeed.

I was not a big fan of George W. Bush, but it wasn't always that way. I began not to like Bush after numerous failures during his prescidency. There was the Iraq War, Mission Accomplished, Katrina, tax cuts for the wealthy, torture, domestic spying, just to name a few. I didn't root for him to fail even though that is all he seemed to do as president.

What Rush and the Right is doing is completely different. They are rooting for Obama's failure because it would lead to their personal gain. Rush would get better ratings and more money. Republicans would have a better chance at getting elected. It would also lead to the demise of our great country.

I am sorry, but putting one's own well being before country is what I call unpatriotic.

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