Category: Government Spending

Another Potential Scandal Brewing In Iowa’s Education System

Iowa map educationWith a sweeping education reform package currently being worked on by a bi-partisan Conference Committee at the Statehouse, some potentially damaging information about how the state is representing student achievement is coming to light.  Late last week the citizen group Iowalive released a report that would, if true, give all Iowa parents and legislators cause for grave concern.

The crux of the report is Iowalive’s claim that the standards our Department of Education is using to report student proficiency levels is misleading.  This, according to the group, stems from Iowa having adopted a lower standard to measure student learning called the “40th National Percentile Rank”.  This current set of standards was adopted a decade ago by the then Governor Vilsack administration and is different from …


The Republican vs. Libertarian Feud In Iowa Must End

photo1The battle between traditional Republicans and Libertarians that began in Iowa on Caucus night in 2012 has risen to a destructive level and needs to be addressed.  If it weren’t so publicly obvious I would call this an opinion—but the reality is it’s a fact.   What has transpired to this point is a lot of bomb throwing from each side and very little, if any, attempts to search for the potential common ground that would result in, at the least, a truce—and perhaps even a mutually beneficial alliance.

Some Background

The feud started when, after having a relatively modest presence in 2008, Ron Paul inspired Libertarians organized and made a concerted effort to acquire as many county central committee seats as possible on caucus night.  …


Challenging Iowa’s Proposed Education Reforms: Part 1 of 3 (Increased Teacher Pay)

Later this session the Iowa Legislature will debate various measures, namely the Governor’s, designed to improve the performance of our state’s K-12 schools.  There are three main components to the Governor’s proposal and in a continuing series we will look at each separately.  Today we start with the most expensive—the $160 million for increasing the base teacher salary from $28,000 to $35,000 over the next three years.

First things first here, before they appropriate an additional dime of taxpayer money to this system it is both fair and prudent that at least three simple questions be asked and answered—Who are the great teachers in Iowa? Who are the average teachers? and Who are the bad teachers?

To clarify, by “who” I mean a literal list …


Meet Your 2013 Democrat Caucus In The Iowa House: Occupation Breakdown

When the inevitable battle with public-sector employees in Iowa begins to rage here in the next few months and every elected Democrat in the state marches in lock-step with union negotiators, the following will help you understand this phenomenon.

Not only does their ideology lend itself to supporting the concept of an organization/government “protecting” people from the free market–it turns out that this cast of Democrat legislators largely are the unions.

Iowa House Democratic Caucus by Occupation

Below is a look at the occupations of the 46 Democratic members of the Iowa House that will be in office the next two years.

Teachers/Principals former and current = 12

Attorneys = 7

Occupation Unclear = 4

Social Work = 2

1 Each of the Following— …


Grassley and Branstad Blowing Smoke on Wind Power

The tax credit for wind energy is back on the agenda, and Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley and Terry Branstad are taking leadership roles in fighting for the extension, going so far as to appear together at a press conference about it.

Wind energy is my favorite target at the moment, because it combines socialist economics, corruption, aesthetic vandalism, junk science, and cynical political machinations – all melting together into a hideous soup of wasted money and ruined skylines.

Tough Love

After the last election, targeting two of Iowa’s best known Republicans for criticism is perhaps a risky business, but for those who think I – with my dislike of leftists – shouldn’t be doing it, I offer the following historical analogy:

In the days of …


Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Well, Barack Obama will be President for a second term. It is now time to take a look around, and prepare for what is likely to happen next. Based on my observations and what I’ve learned over the years, these are my predictions:

No Housing Recovery

Commentators have been calling the bottom of the housing market – and screaming with increasing urgency that it was time to buy – since 2007. The Fed has cut interest rates to nearly zero, and through quantitative easing has flooded the financial system with new money. This will continue for the near future, especially since QE-infinity was announced earlier this year. There remains no recovery in the housing market, and there won’t be a recovery.

Bad monetary policy has …


In Latham vs. Boswell Congressional Race—The Candidate’s Voting Records Speak Volumes

Below is the full text of the “Letter to the Editor” I sent to several newspapers in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.  I believe it makes the case against re-electing Leonard Boswell in a concise fashion.  If there is anyone you know still on the fence in this race feel free to forward it to them.

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For the last ten years I have been represented in the U.S House by Rep. Leonard Boswell.  During this time I have often disagreed with his positions, but never have I been more convinced that he has grown out of touch with the challenges facing my fellow Iowans, and our nation at large, than I am this year.

The number one piece of evidence proving this has been his …


Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 44)

((Click for TCR: Iowa’s complete overview of the races that will decide the Iowa Senate))

The Candidates

Tom Courtney (D)  vs.  Bradley Bourn (R)

Tom Courtney is the incumbent in the race and currently serves as the Senate Majority Whip and as the Democrat Chair of the Government Oversight Committee.  Bradley Bourn retired from the military in 2009 after 24 years, and in that same year unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Burlington City Council.  He has started a small business called Voil Fuel & Services, which produces biofuel from used cooking oil.

The District

Senate District 44 sits in the Southeastern corner of Iowa and is composed of Des Moines and Louisa Counties, and the Western half of Muscatine County.  The registered voter …


First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012

Debate, Podium, President, Discorse, PoliticsThe most impressive thing about Wednesday night’s Presidential Debate is what it was not: a contentious barrage of angry epitaths like those being thrown throughout the blogosphere or even in some of the Republican Primary Debates. Both men were smiling, civil, and even appeared to be listening as the other spoke. President Obama carried on the same criticisms of Romney’s plans, and the Governor politely said that the President’s information was wrong. They both agreed with each other regarding areas of common ground. We suspect that the rules holding applause had a positive impact on the cordial nature of the debate, although it certainly didn’t hurt that Moderator Jim Lehrer’s folksy demeaner and attempts to steer the conversation helped keep the discourse on an even …


The Conservative Reader: Iowa Interview with Representative Kevin Koester (Part 1 of 2)

After easily defeating a primary challenger in June, Iowa House member Kevin Koester was kind enough to sit down with The Conservative Reader: Iowa to discuss his upcoming general election in November, as well as the many issues he will be dealing with should he earn a third term in the Iowa Legislature.

The Primary, The General Election, and the Pulse of House District 38

The process of winning re-election for Rep. Koester began even before the legislative session ended, as the first order of business was winning a primary challenge by Saylor Township resident Brett Nelson.  As the session ran long, Koester made several hundred phone calls in his downtime and began getting acquainted with the voters in his newly re-drawn House District 38.…


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