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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:09 AM PST

Iowa State Senate Races

by punkrazz

The control of Iowa's state senate will determine whether Republican Governor Terry Branstad will be able to launch an assault on collective bargaining rights in the state ala Wisconsin. It will also determine whether Iowa will be able to maintain marriage equality. Prior to the election, Democrats held a slender 26 to 24 majority. Half of the 50 seats are up for this election. Follow beyond the squiggle to see a breakdown of the race...

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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 10:38 AM PST

Iowa Voting Early Update

by punkrazz

The swing state of Iowa is in full swing on election day...so far reports coming in on the process...

Live Tweets on voting in Iowa at this LINK

FROM DES, MOINES:

Turnout appears to be high in the metro area, with only a few minor Election Day glitches reported.

“I think it’s heavy everywhere; but we’re not calling into the precincts to see what turnout is,” said Jamie Fitzgerald, Polk County auditor. “It’s just too busy for that.”

A ballot reading machine at Plymouth Congressional Church in Des Moines needed to be replaced this morning. Two other county polling places started the day without power.

“That’s why we have paper ballots,” Fitzgerald said. “If there are any issues or interruptions in terms of powers or malfunctions, we’ve still got the paper ballots. Everybody’s vote counts.”

More after the squiggly line thingy....
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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 07:15 AM PST

Iowa Election Day Swinging

by punkrazz

Greetings from Swingtown! Iowa is one of those few states on that electoral map usually colored white, yellow, gray, or purple. Thanks to that distinction we get way more attention than we probably need but what the heck, if it means the President of the United States holds his last campaign stop ever right here in Des Moines, we will take it.

A few election day observations from the tall corn state below the fold...

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Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:59 AM PDT

Just Let Me Teach!!!!

by punkrazz

A teachers group in Indiana has gained some attention in education circles for little black wristbands they have created. (LINK) On the wristbands is a simple request, “Just let me teach!” The wristbands are the brainchild of 35 year old Indiana teacher Justin Oakley. He is 10 year veteran of teaching and also the president of his local teacher’s association. He created the wristbands because he had grown tired of so-called school reformers telling teachers how to do their jobs. The “Just Let Me Teach” wristbands have become a hot item, leading to a Facebook page with 1,240 likes and sales of over 4,000 wristbands to teachers across the country. (LINK) So what has led so many teachers to snatch up these wristbands? The answer is a loss of professional autonomy.

Follow me for more....

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Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM PDT

Des Moines Register Endorses Romney

by punkrazz

The once great, but now declining into corporate mouthpiece, Des Moines Register has come out endorsing Mitt Romney for President because he provides "fresh economic ideas".

LINK

That's right, the Gannet owned Register thinks trickle down economics is a "fresh idea". The paper goes on to fall for the "confidence fairy" that Paul Krugman has written about...

Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.

That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.

Follow for more foolishness....
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At a recent school board meeting my local school district reviewed the latest “proficiency” results on federally required measurements of reading, math, attendance, graduation, and participation. The district, with nearly 70% of its students qualified for free or reduced price lunches, missed the benchmarks set by the federal government on reading and math scores. With the exception of two elementary schools, all of the schools did not reach the bar of roughly 81% proficiency according to federal law. A school is given this “mark of shame” if any one of several sub-groups of students fails to reach the proficiency mark. Often, these reports are used to ask “what’s wrong with our schools?” or more recently “what is wrong with our teachers?” But to paraphrase John Donne we should “ask not for whom the bell of achievement scores tolls for, it tolls for all of us”.

Follow below for more...

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Hello, my name is Andrew Rasmussen. I am a middle school teacher in Des Moines. I am a member of a public employees union…and I am not, as some would have it, a public enemy!

From Wisconsin, to Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere, public employees and their unions have been cast as the problem in state budget crises. We are told that we are overpaid and have gold-plated benefits that are wrecking the states’ bank accounts. Well, I am here to tell you all not to believe the lies and distortions because contrary to what you may hear from the easily duped Tea Party crowd public employee unions are not the problem, they are one of the last groups holding back the complete corporate takeover of our country.

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The continued bashing of teachers' unions is an attack on all unions and on the public education system that serves as the soil for our civic life. The Michelle Rhee/Bill Gates/Arne Duncan crowd promotes a narrowly focused reform movement based on teaching to tests that test what is least important at the expense of rich, meaningful curriculum that will educate our students for participation in our democracy. Finally, educators are starting to stand up to this attack on one of the most valuable public institutions. One example of this is a group of educators in Des Moines, Iowa who have written a "Professional Educator's Creed" to stand up for a positive vision of education.

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I am a proud member of the teachers' union, the NEA and my state and local divisions of the union. I joined the very day I signed my contract and I am not afraid to tell everyone I am in the teachers' UNION. I don't cop out and call it the "professional organization" or some other cowardly term that tries to hide the fact that I am in a labor union. This post is my way of ranting a little on where I see my union now and in the troublesome future for public education.It is a call for my union leaders to ACT LIKE UNION LEADERS and not to play it safe to try and cultivate their influence gardens in the fancy back rooms of Washington D.C. No, the time is now for teachers in our union to get down and dirty, fight in the streets so to speak because we are truly and honestly fighting for the very heart and soul of American public education!

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A gorgeous fall early afternoon here in Des Moines saw more than 25,000 Iowans show up to see the man they launched to the Democratic nomination...

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A beautiful day here in the heartland....spent most of the sunny day canvassing my suburban neighborhood just north of Des Moines....as beautiful a day as it was there are two visitors to my fine state this weekend who are causing much head scratching among the local Repubs....join me after the fold for a look at John and Sarah's lost weekend in Iowa...

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I am simply stunned at another McCain and Palin visit to our beautiful state.

Follow me through the cornfields and below the fold...

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