the skipper

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Pls. vote for Roxanne: Sen. Dick Durbin is giving away campaign $$$...

To vote for Roxanne, go to:  

The last time I voted, Roxanne was in 2nd place but way behind 1st place to candidate Elaine Marshall (NC).

Please forward the link to your lists.

When you begin to receive emails from Durbin, simply unsubscribe.

I just spoke to a Durbin staffer. The contest is likely to continue for another week. He couldn't reveal the amount of $$$ being awarded to the winner because it is still being raised by the campaign.  They will not post a “results” page, as I requested, because they do not want to discourage candidate voting if a particular candidate is way ahead.

Vote here: 

This is critical because:



Conlin has raised far more money than any other challenger Grassley's ever had, but she would be in a stronger financial position if she hadn't decided early on not to take PAC money. Grassley's cash on hand advantage will allow him to saturate this state with television ads for the final months of the campaign. Conlin will be able to advertise statewide but for fewer weeks and probably at a lower intensity. She will also have to rely more on a ground game than Grassley.


We'll probably end up with the failed Massachusetts health plan (poll)

Daily Kos has a post on this subject:,-lack-of-cost-controls,-and-the-great-Massachusetts-experiment 

Three Harvard physicians conducted a study on “Romney care”.  Here's the PDF report:  

Their conclusion:

The nation must not look to Massachusetts’ health reform as a model. If we truly want to

provide comprehensive health care for all of us at a price we can afford, we must adopt a

single-payer plan.



Petition: As a member of "The Family", ask Grassley to denounce bill that would kill gay Ugandans..  Read & Sign the petition here

Full story and insight into “The Family” at the Iowa Independent: 

Grassley asked to denounce anti-homosexuality bill

Republican senator's ties to a powerful Christian group could give him leverage to impact the bill's passage

Iowa’s largest gay-rights group is asking U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley to speak out against a bill being considered in the in Ugandan parliament that would criminalize homosexuality.

Des Moines-based One Iowa is conducting a petition drive demanding Grassley denounce the bill and use his influence to stop it. The reason they believe Grassley could have an impact is his association with a group known as “The Family.”

“The Family, a fundamentalist group of powerful politicians in America and abroad has ties to Uganda legislators pushing this horrific affront to human rights,” the group said in a press release. “Our very own Sen. Grassley is a member of this so-called ‘family.’”

Continue reading:  



A pattern to Grassley's obstructionist ways

In February 2009, Grassley said he wouldn't vote for the stimulus package unless it contained mortgage relief for struggling homeowners even though he held a fundraiser with mortgage industry brass.  He also voted against cramdown months after calling for mortgage relief in Sen. Dick Durbin's amendment that would have allowed single residence homeowners to reshuffle their mortgage if they were falling behind on payments.  The law currently allows multiple residence homeowners to do this for their vacation homes and yachts. 

Now,  Grassley says the deal breaker for him in health reform is the individual mandate.  If folks are penalized for not carrying insurance, he won't support health reform.  But last summer he supported the individual mandate in at least 2 interviews. 


Continue Reading...

Grassley fundraiser w/ mortgage industry, after voting against Cramdown

“Grassley Hosting Fundraiser With Mortgage Industry Lobbyist, Months After Opposing Cramdown”


In late April, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment to the housing bill that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to provide relief for troubled homeowners by modifying mortgage payments. Among those who opposed the measure, which was known as “cramdown,” was Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

“It will cause interest rates to go up and will make it more difficult for people to get a mortgage,” the Iowa Republican said at the time.

Two months later, the people who benefited from Grassley's vote are poised to shower him with campaign donations. The senator is hosting a fundraiser on Monday evening with lobbyists and a political action committee representing, among others, key players in the mortgage and private equity industries.

The event will take place at the swank Capitol Hill restaurant, The Monocle, steps away from the U.S. Senate, and is soliciting donations of $2,500 to “host” or $1,000 for PAC or personal contributions.

The organizers of the event include Smith “Smitty” Davis, a lobbyist for the mega-firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, Pace Bradshaw of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Suzanne Hutchinson of the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, and the political action committee for Aflac Insurance.

Continue Reading: 


CQ report: Patrick Grassley to follow in grandpa Chuck's footsteps in 2016?

Can we unseat Sen. Grassley in 2010?  

A Younger Grassley Already Sharing the Iowa GOP Spotlight

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Iowa Republican Charles E. Grassley is heavily favored to win a sixth Senate term when he runs in 2010. And he will not be the only member of his family seeking re-election in Iowa: Pat Grassley is going for a third term in the state House.


But unlike many political “dynasties,” the Grassley duo is not father and son. Rather it is grandfather and grandson. None of the elder Grassley's five children ever delved into politics.

“Maybe it skips a generation,” said Pat Grassley, who recently turned 26 years old.

… Article continues in the link above.


UPDATED: Grassley is talking from both sides of his mouth on health reform...

UPDATE 5/14: The Iowa Independent is reporting that Grassley will not support the public option.
Grassley closes door on supporting public health plan: By Mike Lillis, 5/14/09, 2:12 pm
Yesterday we mentioned that Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee and a fierce opponent of public health plans, had left the door open to including a public option in the sweeping health care reforms he’s currently drafting with panel Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Today, Grassley all but eliminated the possibility that he would support such a plan, warning that it would be the first step toward a health care system controlled entirely by the government.

From a speech today on the Senate floor:

(Continue Reading) 


Thomas Beaumont published an article in the Des Moines Register on Wed., 5/13.  The Social Security and Medicare trustees just released a report saying both programs would be bankrupt sooner than previously thought.

The title gives it away:

“Grassley: Shaky entitlement finances show risk of public health plan”


Well, former Labor Secretary (and former Social Security/Medicare trustee) Robert Reich also has something to say on the issue, below. Reich is right, Grassley is wrong:

« Obama on Health Reform: The Dog That Didn't Bark | Robert Reich's Blog
The Truth Behind the Social Security and Medicare Alarm Bells
May 13, 2009, 8:01AM


What are we to make of yesterday's report from the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds that Social Security will run out of assets in 2037, four years sooner than previously forecast, and Medicare's hospital fund will be exhausted by 2017, two years earlier than predicted a year ago?

Reports of these two funds' demise are not new. Fifteen years ago, when I was a trustee of the Social Security and the Medicare trust funds (which meant, essentially, that I and a few others met periodically with the official actuary of the funds, received his report, asked a few questions, and signed some papers) both funds were supposedly in trouble. But as I learned, the timing and magnitude of the trouble depended a great deal on what assumptions the actuary used in his models. As I recall, he then assumed that the economy would grow by about 2.6 percent a year over the next seventy-five years. But go back into American history all the way to the Civil War — including the Great Depression and the severe depressions of the late 19th century — and the economy's average annual growth is closer to 3 percent. Use a 3 percent assumption and Social Security is flush for the next seventy-five years.

Yes, I know, the post-war Baby Boom is moving through the population like a pig through a python. The number of retirees eligible for benefits will almost double to 79.5 million in 2045 from 40.5 million this year. But we knew that the Boomers were coming then, too. What we didn't know then was the surge in immigration. Yet immigrants are mostly young. Rather than being a drain on Social Security when the Boomers need it, most immigrants will be contributing to the system during these years, which should take more of the pressure off.

Even if you assume Social Security is a problem, it's not a big problem. Raise the ceiling slightly on yearly wages subject to Social Security payroll taxes (now a bit over $100,000), and the problem vanishes under harsher assumptions than I'd use about the future. President Obama suggested this in the campaign and stirred up a hornet's nest because this solution apparently dips too deeply into the middle class, which made him backtrack and begin talking about raising additional Social Security payroll taxes on people earning over $250,000. Social Security would also be in safe shape if it were slightly more means tested, or if the retirement age were raised just a bit. The main point is that Social Security is a tiny problem, as these things go.

Medicare is entirely different. It's a monster. But fixing it has everything to do with slowing the rate of growth of medical costs — including, let's not forget, having a public option when it comes to choosing insurance plans under the emerging universal health insurance bill. With a public option, the government can use its bargaining power with drug companies and suppliers of medical services to reduce prices. And, as I've noted, keep pressure on private insurers to trim costs yet provide effective medical outcomes.

Don't be confused by these alarms from the Social Security and Medicare trustees. Social Security is a tiny problem. Medicare is a terrible one, but the problem is not really Medicare; it's quickly rising health-care costs. Look more closely and the real problem isn't even health-care costs; it's a system that pushes up costs by rewarding inefficiency, causing unbelievable waste, pushing over-medication, providing inadequate prevention, over-using emergency rooms because many uninsured people can't afford regular doctor checkups, and spending billions on advertising and marketing seeking to enroll healthy people and avoid sick ones.

Here's how much Sen. Grassley took from AIG

According to, per election cycle:

2008: $26,250
2006: $26,500
2004: $19,750
It's no wonder Grassley's outrageous comments criticizing AIG are too little, too late.  Grassley's only concern is winning his 2010 election…  JOHN DEETH's PREDICTION: (one more term for Chuck so he can pave the way for his grandson who is currently to young to run for the U.S. Senate).  If so, let's ruin his grand plan.  Why didn't Grassley speak out against the executive bonuses?  He could have drawn attention to their excesses and at least tried to change the legislation in the original TARP bill under Bush and the stimulus package under Obama.  Call on Grassley to give back his campaign contributions… bonus pay out.  Hypocrite!
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