We live in a crazy world. This morning we are waking up to the terror attacks that happened in London and the responses from our
president and others. Predictably Mr. Trump took the opportunity to push for his "travel ban" and then condemn the Mayor of London with this tweet: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and the Mayor of London says, "There is no reason to be alarmed!". The guy never misses an opportunity to look foolish because that is NOT what the Mayor said. Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee my personal look at some of the political news you may have seen or might have missed all laced with opinion. Why? Because it's Sunday Morning! Grab a cup and let's go!
Paris and Pittsburgh
Several hundred Republicans got together in Washington D.C. for a "Pittsburgh Not Paris" rally. The irony they were gathering at Lafayette Park may have been lost but it was quite the event. Attendees were told that other protests were in the area by those upset with Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord and that if confronted they should just sing, "This is Our Land". The event was organized by the Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Republican Party of Virginia. Forty-Five did not attend...he went golfing. Also lost on the group was the fact the mayor of Pittsburgh announced that his city would move forward and hold to the Paris agreement. Bill Peduto tweeted, "The United States, Syria, Nicaragua & Russia in deciding not to participate in the world's Paris Agreement. It's now up to the cities to lead."
Meanwhile nine states have formed the United States Climate Alliance — which, so far, includes 30 mayors more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses. The nine states are California, Connecticut , Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. They are also negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations. When asked about the founding of the alliance in a call with reporters, California governor Jerry Brown just about summed it all up. “This is an insane move by this president,” he said. “The world depends on a sustainable future. It’s tragic, but out of that tragedy I believe the rest of the world will mobilize, will galvanize our efforts.” That is exactly what is happening. No word if Iowa will join up. Gov. Reynolds was too busy dancing and eating pork at the Ernst Roast & Ride. (Watch Out For Polar Bears - Cartoon by Tim Lloyd)
I'm not sure if this is the goal but it is becoming more and more clear that the rest of the world is "moving on" without the leadership of the United States. It is tragic that our nation has become the butt of jokes and our standing on the world stage has been reduced to a cartoon. However 36% of you love it and "Making America Goofy" seems to be just fine with you.
I've come to realize that being a Republican requires one to ignore not only science but also math. Last week a "shocking" story came out in the Des Moines Register saying the new manufacturing tax break, touted by the GOP and business groups like the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, could cost the state $80 million more than projected. This is on top of a nearly $250 million shortfall that has already forced lawmakers to cut $118 million in state programs and withdraw $113 million from reserve funds. In addition, state budget directors are concerned that tax revenue is down.
Lemme see if I can help. When the only economic effort the State of Iowa concerns itself with is monumental tax breaks for already successful companies, a call to lower taxes on existing businesses and passing tax shifts from business to homeowners you can't make the numbers work. It's time to end this crazy cycle and put the people of Iowa before phony economic development schemes. When Iowa is writing checks to already rich and successful companies and cutting mental health care, education and a host of other critical programs it is not sustainable. But it's that tricky math thing.
This weekend while Sen. Ernst (R-IA) chummed it up with Vice President Mike Pence and others on the Roast and Ride the Boone County Democrats held a Picnic for the People. About 200 people showed up for the event where eight gubernatorial hopefuls lashed out at former Governor Terry Branstad and Governor Kim Reynolds and their failed economic policies. Speaking at the event were John Norris, State Senator Nate Boulton (D-DSM), Dr. Andy McGuire, State Representative Todd Prichard (D-Charles City), Cathy Glasson, Davenport Alderman Mike Matson, John Neiderbach and Brent Roske (an "Independent" but allowed to speak at the event). It was quite the deal and, of course, the Republicans could not contain themselves from being small and spiteful. Jeff Kaufmann, Chair of the Iowa GOP, wrote to the faithful, "The difference couldn't be more clear: more than 1,300 Republicans gathered for the second consecutive day celebrating the progress we've made and touting the things we seek to accomplish, while Democrats are holding a meeting across town in a telephone booth on Elm Street, stuck in the past." Yeah...he's feeling the heat.
This one slipped past me. Cathy Glasson is a nurse. She is also from Johnson County and a labor union president. I know, or have met, each of those people listed above but not Ms. Glasson. My only engagement with her was a video she released last week. Have a look:
It's well crafted, well delivered and hits on so many progressive issues. While it might be a little long I was struck by how well done it is. So, why is she in the field? Good question. A political watcher suggested to me that she may be the "alternate labor candidate" to Sen. Nate Boulton (D-DSM) who has piled up a host of labor endorsements or that party officials couldn't have just one female running in former party chair Dr. Andy McGuire so Ms. Glasson was tapped. I dunno but it makes for good conversation.
Third District Congressional Action
And, on Friday, Cynthia Axne announced she is running to replace Rep. David Young (R-IA) in Congress. I confess I do not know Mrs. Axne although we run in the same marketing circles. She and her husband run a consulting and web design company in West Des Moines. This makes two women committed to the race. Axne joins Des Moines consumer rights attorney Anna Ryon who announced her candidacy in March and has been a regular at various Democratic meetings in the district. Yet to announce is my friend Pete D'Alessandro and my friend and fellow Windsor Heights Chamber member Theresa Greenfield a real estate executive. Getting crowded huh?
Fourth Congressional District
Meanwhile my friend Kim Weaver has decided to drop out of the race in the Fighting Fourth. She is a wonderful person but the issues about her work as a paid psychic proved to be too much.
One of the ways Republicans took control of Iowa was that the party worked overtime finding people to run for city council, boards and commissions including school boards. All of which are supposed to be non-partisan but...not so much if you intend to build a bench...which has been a major failure of the Iowa Democrats. But that...may be changing. Last month in the small town of Solon Lauren Whitehead, an activist in the Democratic Party and organizer for Invisible, won a special city council election. Here is that story from Iowa Starting Line. Last week Louisa Dykstra (speaking at right and center below) of Windsor Heights launched her bid for the Des Moines School Board. On hand for her announcement party were several dozen Democratic Party activists and elected officials including State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad (D-DSM) which sends a powerful signal to his constituents. Louisa has long been active pushing education agenda items and, judging by the way she has gone about announcing, she is in it to win it all as an At Large Candidate. Also at the event was current School Board Member Connie Boesen who just launched her campaign to unseat Des Moines City Council Member and fellow Democrat Skip Moore.
Wow...even on the local level folks are getting in and getting busy.
I lost two friends last week both connected to my faith. I received a text from Alan Steckman the president of Adas Israel the Mason City Jewish Congregation that I have served for the past 29 years that Don Gilbert had died. Don was a life-long Methodist who was a regular attendee at our Shabbat services and loved to come to our Midrash (Torah Study) on Saturday mornings. Well read and kind he was a delightful addition to our small congregation.
Then, last week, after the holiday of Shavout I learned that my friend and wife of Rabbi Marshall Berg died in Chicago. From what I understand it was quite sudden. Rebbetzin Shirley Berg zt"l was a giant in religious education and kindness that radiated from her home and Beth El Jacob for 48 years. It is a crushing loss for all who knew and loved her. May we all be blessed by her memory. Finally, word is
that Rabbi Berg is in poor health. He should have a Refuah Shelayma...recovery.
Finally, my friend Desmund Adams is going through a rough time. His 21 year-old son is to have open heart surgery this week in Iowa City. Out of the blue Khalil developed heart failure and may be in line for a heart transplant. Desmund and his bride Shondalette have been through so much over the past month. If you are the sort who offers prayers and comfort...I'd invite you to do so.
Thanks for reading...and have a good week.