Tag Archives: Iowa

White Anti-Gay Activist Wins Election After Pretending To Be Black

Dave Wilson: not black

Dave Wilson: not black

This is wrong on so many levels…

Think Progress

An electrician best known for mailing homophobic fliers to thousands of Houston voters attacking the city’s lesbian mayor narrowly won an election to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees after he misled voters into believing that he is African American. Dave Wilson defeated longtime incumbent Bruce Austin, who actually is black, in an overwhelmingly African American district.

Wilson’s campaign fliers were filled with black faces that he admits to simply pulling off of websites, along with captions such as “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.” Another flier announces that he was “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” which is the name of an African American former state representative. Only by reading the fine print will voters discover that the “Ron Wilson” who actually endorsed Dave is his cousin. The cousin lives in Iowa.

In an interview with a local TV station, the anti-gay activist turned higher education policymaker did not deny that he intended to mislead the electorate, instead justifying his actions by claiming that “[e]very time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters.”

It’s worth noting that Wilson was likely able to get within striking range of a 24-year incumbent member of the board due to a wave of scandals involving insider dealing by board members. Nevertheless, he defeated the incumbent Austin by just 26 votes, so it is likely that Wilson’s deceptive campaign tactics helped push him over the edge to victory.

The Houston Community College Board of Trustees governs the college and has the power to approve the school’s “educational program.” Previously, Wilson unsuccessfully tried to scuttle the campaign of victorious Houston mayoral candidate Annise Parker by mailing a flier to 35,000 voters featuring a picture of Parker standing by her same-sex partner and the caption “IS THIS THE IMAGE HOUSTON WANTS TO PORTRAY?”


Parker told a local news station that he opposed Parker because “[t]he openly gay lifestyle leads to extinction.”


Filed under Election Day 2013, Homophobia, Race

Iowa grants gun permits to the blind


Cedar County (Iowa) Sheriff Warren Wethington has been teaching his daughter, Bethany, to use firearms. A brain tumor left Bethany, 18, partially blind, but he believes that once she becomes of legal age to purchase firearms, she should not be excluded from her second amendment rights.
(Photo: Bryon Houlgrave, The Des Moines Register)

No, this is not an article from the onion.  What are they thinking?

USA Today

Here’s some news that has law enforcement officials and lawmakers scratching their heads:

Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.

No one questions the legality of the permits. State law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability.

The quandary centers squarely on public safety. Advocates for the disabled and Iowa law enforcement officers disagree over whether it’s a good idea for visually disabled Iowans to have weapons.

On one side: People such as Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who demonstrated for The Des Moines Register how blind people can be taught to shoot guns. And Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who says blocking visually impaired people from the right to obtain weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. That federal law generally prohibits different treatment based on disabilities

On the other side: People such as Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos, who said he wouldn’t issue a permit to someone who is blind. And Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, who says guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy that blind people can participate fully in life.

Private gun ownership — even hunting — by visually impaired Iowans is nothing new. But the practice of visually impaired residents legally carrying firearms in public became widely possible thanks to gun permit changes that took effect in Iowa in 2011.

“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” said Sgt. Jana Abens, a spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, referring to a visual disability.

Polk County officials say they’ve issued weapons permits to at least three people who can’t legally drive and were unable to read the application forms or had difficulty doing so because of visual impairments.

And sheriffs in three other counties — Jasper, Kossuth and Delaware — say they have granted permits to residents who they believe have severe visual impairments.

“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere said. “At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”

Training the Visually Impaired and more…



Filed under 2nd Amendment

House Republican ready to ‘defund the EPA’

H/t: Maddow commenter #1:

When House Republicans gather …Remind you of anything?

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

The Maddow Blog


And when it comes to “calling out” climate deniers, congressional Republicans are certainly giving progressives plenty to work with lately. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the vice chair of the House Science Committee, argued last week that “global warming is a total fraud” created by those who want “global government to control all of our lives.” A few days prior, Rep.Steve King (R-Iowa) described the entirety of climate science as “more of a religion than a science.”

And then there’s Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who made these startling comments at a forum in his local district this week. (Thanks to James Carter for the heads-up.)


In this unnerving clip, Miller argues in a room full of people, “This whole Al Gore thing of climate change unfortunately is not doing this nation any good.”

And while you might be thing, “Well, no, of course climate change isn’t doing the nation any good,” in context, Miller meant worrying about climate change is a bad idea.

Wait, it gets worse.

The right-wing congressman went on to say, “I will defund the EPA.” When Miller was asked about warnings from the Navy about the national security threat posed by the climate crisis, one of his constituents shouted, “The admirals are idiots!” The congressman proceeded to explain why he has no use for the Navy’s judgment, and says he has his own scientists who tell him what he wants to hear, and just “a few years ago,” some wacky scientists warned we’d “all be ice cubes.”

Miller concluded, “Our climate will continue to change because of the way God formed the earth.”

Miller is a 10-year veteran of Congress who currently serves as the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.


Filed under Climate Change, Climate Change Denial, Right Wing Myths and Falsehoods

Rand Paul: Benghazi should preclude Hillary Clinton from higher office


Sen. Rand Paul Delivers Immigration Address Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Conference

The most likely character to oppose Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in 2016, Sen. Ron Paul, claims she shouldn’t run because of Benghazi.  It’s Amazing just how dense those guys really are.  Hillary hasn’t even announced that she’s running at all, but they’re so afraid of her supposed momentum from both Democratic and Republican women voters, that they are trying to stop her before any announcement.


If Rand Paul sees himself as the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, it’s clear he’s prepping for Hillary Clinton to be his Democratic opponent.

A full three and a half years out from the next presidential election, the Kentucky senator spoke before the Iowa Republican Party Friday night in a speech that rivaled a campaign rally. He latched onto the GOP’s latest rallying cry against the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead last September, to focus his criticism on the former secretary of state.

“First question to Hillary Clinton: Where in the hell were the Marines?” he asked.

This week saw a resurgence in the GOP-led crusade to surface what some in the party have called a massive “cover-up.” Their efforts were already successful in blocking Obama’s hand-picked nominee to succeed Clinton at the State Department, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, leaving Clinton herself as next-in-line to be cast with blame.

“It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office,” Paul said.

Paul was coy in expounding on his presidential ambitions, telling reporters Friday that while he had not ruled out gunning for the party’s nomination, he would not make a decision until 2014. Clinton has largely avoided addressing 2016 chatter, though a number of polls matching her up with an array of hypothetical opponents show Americans see her as a favorite to lead the Democrats in the next election cycle.

The roughly 500 attendees at the state GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner seemed keenly aware of Iowa’s electoral influence in the early presidential landscape. “The process of selecting the next leader of the free world begins in Iowa, and it’s already begun,” GOP Rep. Steve King said earlier in the evening.

Paul, who joined the theme of Obamacare-bashing seen throughout the annual event, said that after the Republican loss in the last election—largely due to lacking appeal with minority voters—the party needed to adjust how it treated Hispanic voters and work toward a deal on immigration reform.

“We have to change the way we’re talking about it and who we are if we want attract the Latino vote,” he said.

“If kids think we’re hostile toward them, they’ll never vote,” he added of appealing to young people. ”We’re an increasingly diverse nation, and I think we do need to reach out to other people that aren’t like us, don’t look like us, don’t wear the same clothes, that aren’t exactly who we are. We’re going to have to do something.”


Filed under Benghazi, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Attacks Sasha And Malia Obama

Why are some GOP Congressmen and Senators such cowards?

Think Progress

This week, Breitbart News broke a long-standing security protocol and published a story detailing the precise location where President Obama’s daughters are vacationing this week. On Wednesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) used the report to attack the First Daughters for taking a vacation.

King’s comments came during an appearance on Mickelson in the Morning, an Iowa-based radio show. A caller, Carla, brought up sequestration and proceeded to criticize the Michelle Obama and her daughters for taking a vacation in the Bahamas. King agreed — “Carla, you’re on point and on the mark all the way through” — before criticizing them for also taking a vacation last year in Mexico. “That was at our expense, too,” King bemoaned.

CALLER: When I see the First Lady and the beautiful girls going off to the Bahamas waving goodbye to us, it’s really hard to stomach. When we’re tightening our belts, either all of us should do it or none of us should do it. This, I am pretty tolerant, I always have been, I usually shut my mouth. This is not acceptable.

KING: Carla, you’re on point and on the mark all the way through. […] You’re right on the president. He needs to show some austerity himself. Instead he wanted to tell America how bad it was going to be. […] We’ve got the president doing these things. He sent the daughters to spring break in Mexico a year ago. That was at our expense, too. And now to the Bahamas at one of the most expensive places there. That is the wrong image to be coming out of the White House.

Listen to it:

This notion that the Obamas are living a life of excess is beginning to take hold among conservative members of Congress. At the CPAC conference earlier this month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) smeared Obama for enjoying “the perks and the excess of the $1.4 billion presidency,” a charge that “fail[s] on the facts in simple fairness,” according to CNN.

King is strongly considering running for Iowa’s open Senate seat in 2014. His potential candidacy is already causing consternation among establishment Republicans who worry that he will be a Todd Akin-redux, appealing only to far-right conservatives and turning off everyone else.


Filed under Obama Derangement Syndrome, Obama Family, Rep. Steve King



The New Yorker

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre warned that the N.R.A. would vigorously oppose any legislation that “limits the sale, purchase, or ownership of politicians.”

“Politicians pose no danger to the public if used correctly,” said Mr. LaPierre, who claims to have over two hundred politicians in his personal collection. “Everyone hears about the bad guys in Congress. Well, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a vote is a good guy with a vote. I’m proud to be the owner of many of those guys.”

Mr. LaPierre’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Carol Foyler, a politician-control advocate who has spent the past twelve years lobbying for stricter limits on the sale of politicians.

“Right now, a man like Wayne LaPierre can walk right into Congress and buy any politician he wants,” she said. “There’s no background check, no waiting period. And so hundreds of politicians are falling into the hands of people who are unstable and, quite frankly, dangerous.”

In addition to limiting the sale of politicians, Ms. Foyler said, it is time for society to take a look at the “sheer number” of politicians in the U.S.: “There’s no doubt that we would be safer if there were fewer of them.”

For his part, the N.R.A. leader ended his testimony by serving notice that he would “resist any attempt” to take away the hundreds of elected officials he says are legally his.

As if to illustrate that point, he clutched Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) close to his chest and bellowed, “From my cold, dead hands.”


Filed under Humor

Obama, Tearful, Finishes Campaign In Iowa, Where It Started

This was President Obama’s last campaign speech ever

(Start at 12:00 point to see the president’s speech.)

The Huffington Post

As sentimentality goes, President Barack Obama hosting the last campaign event of his political career in Des Moines, Iowa, is hard to top. The  Hawkeye State launched the then-junior senator from Illinois to national prominence. And there is a movie script-like quality to having such a historic political trajectory emerge out of the frosty cornfields.

Speaking just steps from his 2008 caucus headquarters on Monday evening, it seemed at times as if the magic hadn’t faded.

“I came back to ask you to help us finish what we started because this is where our movement for change began,” Obama declared. “To all of you who’ve lived and breathed the hard work of change: I want to thank you. You took this campaign and made it your own … starting a movement that spread across the country.

“When the cynics said we couldn’t, you said yes we can. You said yes we can and we did. Against all odds, we did,” he said.

Wiping the occasional tear from his eye, and looking over a crowd of 20,000, Obama concluded with the same story that he told on the last day of his ’08 campaign: about the origins of his signature “fired-up-ready-to-go” chant. The arc of his first term in office was seemingly complete.

But if anything, the late night rally in Des Moines underscored how different Obama’s first and second White House runs have been. For all its poignant undertones, Monday night marked the end of a campaign that had little of the emotional appeal of four years ago. There was no sweeping “hope” narrative, no history-making proposition, no shadows of the Bush years to escape. Instead there was a business-like approach to a daunting task: how to re-elect a president with a slate of accomplishments, but with reduced popularity, a poor economy and no novelty.

“The biggest difference between 2008 and 2012 is that the sense of the mission changed,” said one Obama campaign adviser who, like nearly everyone, would discuss the campaign’s inner workings only on condition of anonymity. “In 2008, there was the sense of optimism and hope around the mission -– of changing the world. In 2012, the mission is as much the clear-eyed recognition of how important stopping the other side is. It is a grimmer, more realistic sense of mission.”

How Obama’s aides traversed this path is a story that will be told in greater detail in the election post-mortems. But months of conversations. And it shows a team that, while lacking the heartstrings of 2008, stayed true to other guiding principles: data-driven decision-making and solid execution.

“There has always been a laser-like focus on the part of the campaign on how to get where they need to be,” explained Hari Sevugan, who served as a spokesman for the 2008 campaign. “It was about delegates in 2008 and pathways to 270 [Electoral College votes] in 2012. “The formula, then and now, was always inspiration and energy at 30,000 feet and a no-nonsense attitude toward numbers and mechanics on the ground.”

Continued here…

1 Comment

Filed under Election Day

Romney’s Post Debate Bounce Evaporates as Obama Returns to Leading by 5

Yesterday the conservative pundits (and some Dems as well) all but declared Mitt Romney the potential winner of the 2012 Presidential race.

Uh…what happened?


Mitt Romney may have gotten one of the shortest post-debate bounces in history as swing state and national polls reveal Obama in the lead.

The big confusion today has been over the Gallup daily tracking poll. On Monday morning, the Gallup daily tracking poll had the race tied at 47%-47%, but by Monday afternoon, the poll was updated to show President Obama leading 50%-45%.

So, what gives?

It turns out that Gallup broke with their own tradition, and changed their methodology. Instead of using a 7 day rolling average, they compared two sets of three day averages. Monday afternoon’s update included Saturday and Sunday polling. When they returned to the 7 day average, and included polling after the new jobs numbers were released, President Obama returned to a 50%-45% lead.

More data is needed, but it seems that Mitt Romney got roughly a one day bounce from the debate. The combination of Romney being called out across all media for his barrage of lies along with the vastly improved unemployment rate worked together to virtually neutralize any bounce that Romney had gained from Wednesday night.

The latest swing state polls are coming in, and it looks like the Romney bounce is also fading at the state level. The latest polling of Colorado shows Obama leading Romney 47%-43%, and in Virginia, the president leads 50%-47%. Even conservative pollster Rasmussen has Obama leading in Colorado and Iowa. Rasmussen polls are frequently cited by conservatives and Fox News, but they have been found to have a4 point bias towards Republicans. So when Rasmussen claims Obama is up by one (Colorado) or two (Iowa) the potential Obama lead could be closer to 5 or 6 points.

Continue reading here…


Filed under Mitt Romney

Ann Romney to GOP Critics: “Stop It. This Is Hard.”


I am tempted to call Mrs. Romney “The Queen of Mean” but that would put me on the same level as those who have been saying for at least five years that Michelle Obama is an angry Black woman.

The fact is we don’t know these women so I, for one,  won’t be so quick to play tit for tat.


During an interview with Radio Iowa last night, Ann Romney had a message for the growing ranks of Republicans who have criticized her husband in recent days.

Stop it. This is hard.

You want to try it? Get in the ring, she said.

This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.



Filed under U.S. Politics

Meet Rep. Steve King, Romney’s New ‘Partner’ In Congress


Talk about “bat crap crazy”, Steve King and Michele Bachmann are neck and neck for the championship of “craziest Congressman ever!”

Now, imagine King partnering with Mitt Romney on important issues.   To me, it’s unfathomable.

Think Progress - 9-7-12

Today, Mitt Romney enthusiastically endorsed Rep. Steve King (R-IA), saying “he needs to be your Congressman again. I want him as my partner in Washington!” If Romney were elected, then, he’d be partnering on legislation with one of the most radical members of Congress:

1. King is the leading defender of dog-fighting and animal torture in the United States. King recently suggested “there was something wrong” with the priorities of people who wanted to criminalize dogfighting while boxing was legal. When challenged on that assertion, King went on a bizarre diatribe about how the kidnapping, rape, and forced abortion of an underage girl wouldn’t be illegal under current law. King’s prodogfighting statements are consistent with a long legislative record of defending the inhumane practice as well as his recent sponsorship of legislation that would enable the torture of animals on farmswhile critically weakening food safety standards.

2. King compares immigrants to dogs, proposes keeping them out with electrified fence. Describing immigrants as birddogs, King said that we should only take “frisker” people, “not the one that’s over there sleeping on the corner.” This makes his remedy for illegal immigration, an electric fence, unsurprising, which he justified by saying “we do this with livestock all the time.” He also thinks that multicultural groups are about self-pity and that immigrants who “love taxes” aren’t real Americans.

3. King believes states can ban birth control and that contraception may destroy America. King, who adheres to a revisionist interpretation of the 10th Amendment, disagrees with well-established Supreme Court precedent guaranteeing a woman’s right to control her own body. This may be because King thinks that access to birth control may “let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we’re a dying civilization. Hypocritically, King has proposedthat it is unconstitutional for states to ban foie gras. King, like Todd Akin, has “never heard of” a rape-induced pregnancy.

4. King tends birther. King personally searched for and discovered Obama’ birth announcement in Hawaii newspapers, he remains unconvinced that Obama was born inside the United States, positing the notion that “they might’ve announced that by telegram from Kenya.”

5. King sympathized with a terrorist and secessionism. After being informed of an attempted right-wing suicide attack on an IRS building, King expressedempathy with the terrorist’s motives, saying “It’s sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it’s going to be a happy day for America.” Further, after the passage of the health care law, Kingintimated that parts of the country may need to secede from the Union,claiming that “we wouldn’t have to do that” if his audience could beat “the other side” to a pulp and chase them down.

And there’s much, much more where that came from.


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Filed under Mitt Romney, Rep. Steve King