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Twelve years ago today, I was at my father's side in the hospital. A freak accident had put him in a coma, and he never woke up before he died on January 17. The year that followed was the worst in my life. I had a strong emotional bond with my father, who raised me after my mother died. When I signed up to write this week's diary for The Grieving Room, I planned to share memories of my father, but another loss now weighs even more heavily on my mind.

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Does anyone at Daily Kos still read state politics diaries? I'd like to bring those who are interested up to speed on who will be running the Iowa legislature, which reconvenes in January. Republicans elected their House and Senate leaders last week; Democrats did so yesterday and today.

Republican Governor-elect Terry Branstad will have a GOP-controlled House, but he'll have to cut some deals with a Democratic-controlled Senate.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act became U.S. law 20 years ago this week. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the law's key author and sponsor, keynoted an anniversary celebration in Iowa City yesterday. He called for further action, in particular personal attendant services for those who need them. But there's no question that the ADA improved the lives of millions of Americans.

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June 23 was the 30th anniversary of my mother's death. She was only 49. I was 11, the youngest of her five children.

I've learned a lot from the defining event of my childhood, but it comes down to this: you never stop needing your parents.

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Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:07 PM PDT

IA-Gov news roundup

by desmoinesdem

I've been posting less often at Daily Kos lately because Iowa campaign news is keeping me busy at my home blog, Bleeding Heartland. From time to time I will keep Kossacks up to date on our highest-profile races: Roxanne Conlin's bid against five-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic Governor Chet Culver's re-election campaign against four-term former Governor Terry Branstad.

After the jump you'll find lots of links on the Iowa governor's race since Branstad won the June 8 primary with about 50 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Bob Vander Plaats and 9 percent for Rod Roberts.

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cross-posted at Bleeding Heartland

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine warns that recently updated "birth control guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could undermine mothers who want to breastfeed," I learned from the ByMomsForMoms blog, sponsored by Lansinoh.

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It was overshadowed by competitive races for governor and other statewide offices, but a critical Democratic primary contest in Iowa House district 66 produced a big victory for marriage equality advocates on Tuesday.

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Washington Republicans have been talking up their chances of retaking the House of Representatives for months, and the National Republican Congressional Committee claims many recruiting successes in competitive House districts. However, before this week Republican primary voters had already rejected NRCC favorites in ID-01, KY-03, PA-04 and AL-05.

After last night we can add IA-02 and IA-03 to the list of districts where the NRCC sure doesn't know how to pick 'em.

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Election years provide many "teachable moments" for children. In 2006 my three-year-old loved coming with me to deliver yard signs. We talked about how some people like to tell everyone in the neighborhood who they are voting for, while other people like to keep that a secret. For weeks he would comment on yard signs as we drove around town. "Mommy, that person is also voting for Chet Culver!"

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Fri May 28, 2010 at 03:28 PM PDT

IA-Sen: Grassley up on tv

by desmoinesdem

Senator Chuck Grassley's re-election campaign unveiled its first television commercial of the year yesterday:

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Roxanne Conlin, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, begins television advertising across Iowa this week. I'm not able to embed the commercial, but click here to watch. The Conlin campaign released this transcript:

"I’m Roxanne Conlin. Taking on the special interests has been the cause of my life. Like taking on the big banks to help family farms at risk of foreclosure. I took on corrupt politicians and corporations who violated the public trust. I’m running for U.S. Senate to take this fight to Washington. Fight for relief on Main Street, not more bailouts for Wall Street. Because the special interests have had their turn. Now, it’s our turn. I’m Roxanne Conlin and I approved this message."

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When some Republicans tried to convince Iowa county recorders not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples last April, Iowa Department of Public Health officials made clear that ignoring the Iowa Supreme Court's Varnum v Brien ruling was not an option. Unfortunately, the IDPH has determined that marriage equality does not require equal treatment for married gay couples who become parents. Now IDPH Director Tom Newton has foolishly decided to fight a lawsuit brought by a married lesbian couple seeking to have the non-birthing spouse listed on their child's birth certificate. Heather and Melissa Gartner sued senior IDPH officials on behalf of their daughter this week, having tried and failed to resolve the matter through administrative channels.

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