Iowa agriculture, climate change, and "SWAPA"

Paul W. Johnson is a preacher’s kid, former Iowa state legislator, former chief of the USDA Soil Conservation Service/Natural Resources Conservation Service, former director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and a retired farmer. -promoted by Laura Belin

In the early 1980s there was a serious farm crisis in Iowa. Land and commodity prices were falling, so banks were calling in farm loans and foreclosing on farmers who couldn’t pay up. Maurice Dingman was bishop of the Des Moines area during those years, and he was speaking up strongly for farmers who were suffering during this time. I was impressed by his defense of family farmers.

In 1987 David Osterberg and I were serving in the Iowa legislature–he representing Mount Vernon, I representing Decorah–and working on groundwater protection. Industrial agriculture sent their lobbyists to weaken our legislation, and newspapers were carrying stories about their fierce opposition to our work.

During this time, Bishop Dingman phoned us and suggested we have lunch together. 

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When Iowa farmers took to the streets--and got results

Dan Piller: The “Farmers Holiday” movement was the Black Lives Matter of the Corn Belt during the early 1930s. Mass protests, including blocking traffic, changed government policy.-promoted by Laura Belin

The churches, coffee shops, and co-operatives of northwest Iowa that gave us Steve King and a huge majority for Donald Trump in 2016 are no doubt generating massive disapproval of the Black Lives Matter protests, adding their voices to the call for “law and order” in the distant cities.

It might come as a surprise to many of these folks, who probably nodded through their Iowa history courses, that they enjoy their status as entitled owners of some of the richest farm land in the world primarily due to the government rescue of agriculture in 1933. That policy was a response to civil disorders that on several occasions prompted the governors of Iowa and Nebraska to call out their National Guards.

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Joe Biden got small bounce but has commanding lead

Dan Guild has four takeaways from the first round of presidential polling following the Democratic National Convention. -promoted by Laura Belin

I wrote here frequently in 2016 about conventions and bounces. Four years ago, polling showed that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received a good bounce from their conventions. Did Joe Biden?

This is the first time since 1964 that we did not have high-quality polling between the conventions. The data, such as it is, shows four things.

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Iowa's first Black woman presidential candidate doesn't want your vote

At least six minor party or unaffiliated presidential candidates have qualified for Iowa’s general election ballot, according to the official list published on August 14. (Petitions for a seventh, Kanye West, are still under review in the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.)

One of the little-known presidential contenders, Ricki Sue King, set out to make history with her candidacy and succeeded. But she doesn’t want Iowans to vote for her.

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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's Planned Parenthood affiliate rejects Margaret Sanger's harmful ideas

“We are owning our organization’s history and are committed to addressing the implicit bias and structural racism within our organization and communities,” Planned Parenthood North Central States declared on July 24, near the top of a statement denouncing racist and eugenicist ideas espoused by Margaret Sanger. Formed in 2018 when Planned Parenthood of the Heartland merged with a neighboring organization, the affiliate operates 29 clinics in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Many who believe in Planned Parenthood’s mission–especially the white women who have been the majority of the organization’s volunteers in Iowa–know little about Sanger other than that she established the country’s first birth control clinic. Although I’m a third-generation supporter of Planned Parenthood in Iowa, I was ignorant about Sanger’s eugenicist views for much of my adult life. Those views were repugnant, and it’s important for reproductive rights advocates to be clear about rejecting them.

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