Sunday Morning Coffee is politics and religion with a little gossip thrown in for flavor. You can comment here, if you wish, or you can visit on my personal Facebook Page and/or Twitter @MichaelLibbie. So many fun things happened this week it's hard to find a starting point...so let's just dive in:
Things in New Jersey ain't looking so good for the "no-nonsense" Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). He tells us that within five minutes of learning of the lane closures he fired his chief of staff. Did not speak to her. Did not ask any questions. Just fired her and then promised, in his nearly two hour press conference, to get to the bottom of the scandal by talking to the folks he said were not involved. Huh? Gov. Christie is a former US Attorney you would think he might start asking questions of those whom he believes are guilty. Unless, of course, he doesn't want to. Here is an interesting read from my friend Steven Rosenfeld. I'm grateful New Jersey has him...we've got our own problems in Iowa. More on that later.
Eight years after a debilitating stroke "The Lion of Israel" has died. Many things about Mr. Sharon have been broadcast since his death and most of them false or misleading. (photo: mikhail/Shutterstock) Let it be said that he loved his country, he pursued peace, even at the cost of displacing thousand of Jews from the Gaza. And, of course there are the "odd stories" coming out as well. One of the weirdest was a "prophecy" that, "...the Messiah (Jesus) will come back". It is attributed to a 108 year-old rabbi. I swear...some folks will go to great lengths in an attempt to legitimize their faith. For all of you who delight in the talk of "The End of Days" this article will take you to nirvana.
It seems that equality is an issue in Utah. And, I guess for those of you who love this notion of "states rights" that's OK. I'm hoping the gay couples who live in Utah might consider moving to Iowa. We could use your help, talents and families. You see our population, according to some, is shrinking.
Speaking of Iowa
He's gone. Rather than face what was sure to be a crushing defeat in 2014 at the hands of Brad Anderson, Iowa's Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R-IA) is abandoning his position to run for Congress in the 3rd District. I suspect he will find some comfort in the outlying areas of the district where folks don't much care for "them illegals" and love voter fraud conspiracy theories. It's getting to be as crowded a field among the GOP for that position as it is for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). Stepping up to run again for Secretary of State is our friend Paul Pate. I like how it rhymes too. In announcing Mr. Pate made reference to the "gridlock in Washington". Uhm...OK. But he said it in a nice, non-partisan way.
In more news from Des Moines it seems that we have lost our Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks quit last week and many are expecting she will run (again) for Congress in the 2nd District. That, rather than her quip about Mountain Dew being the number one item purchased with food stamps, is no doubt the reason for her leaving. Besides I'd suspect many in the GOP believe her Mountain Dew statement is...true. Stay tuned.
ALEC & The Democrats
I missed this last week but my friends over at Bleeding Heartland didn't. It seems that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a group that lobbies hard for conservative and pro-corporate legislation, listed all of the 150 members of the Iowa Legislature as members of the organization. Once that was learned Democrats in the House and Senate shot back a letter to ALEC challenging the report. Here is the full story from our friends at Bleeding Heartland.
Speaking of the Iowa Legislature
They are back.... The gavel falls tomorrow and we're off to the races. One of the hot button issues that may get buried in a "polar vortex" is the gas-tax hike. Nobody wants to touch it...well, almost nobody. Rep. Josh Byrnes (R-Osage) chairs the House Transportation Committee. He has said he'll introduce a bill to increase the gas and diesel fuel tax by a dime in an effort to raise $230 million to fix Iowa's aging roads and bridges. With most lawmakers eyeing re-election in 2014 don't look for this to go too far. After all we have values to protect. Tomorrow evening the Greater Des Moines Partnership will hold a gala making welcome our legislators. I'll make sure I ask the question.
In what has got to be the worst public relations debacle since the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act Website (well...at least locally) the Board of the Iowa State Fair had cow-pies in their face this past week. It seems, the Board, aware of reports from other states that indicated they were missing out on thousands of revenue dollars due to either under-reporting, skimming or just plain theft, made the decision to have fair-goers buy tickets for stuff they wanted to eat and/or drink. The tickets were going to be worth fifty-cents. You know how many tickets you would have to haul around to buy a bucket of cookies or a large beer? Plenty. The public and vendors screamed and within a day of posting the new rules the Board decided enough was enough and put out a press release that was heavy on "oops" and light on details. When I contacted Lori in the Media Office I was told, "...the press release is all we are saying". Cashless at the State Fair really isn't a bad idea but I think the Board needs to work a little more on their PR.
Things with Mom have gotten tough over the past couple of weeks. At nearly 94 she has some major issues. It's nearly a full time job caring for her needs and some of the fear she has...daily. Not really sure how long we can continue to be her primary care-givers. We'll see.
Have a wonderful Sunday...thanks for reading.