On Iowa’s Abortion Ban Bill

This bill outlawing abortion before the point most people would know they are pregnant will not lead to the end abortions in Iowa.

This ban will lead to unsafe abortions.

It will lead to unhealthy women.

It will lead to babies, known to be unviable while still being carried to term, to die outside the womb.

It will lead to dead would-be parents.

It will lead to unwanted or unsupported children.

It will lead to rape survivors being responsible for raising their rapists children.

It will not protect the living.

Instead it will force Iowans into childbirth.

If we trust Iowans, we must trust them with their own bodies, planning their own parenthood and their own medical decisions. The majority of Iowans — your constituents — believe abortion should be legal and safe.

Please oppose this bill.

Gov. Kim Reynolds Calls Special Session to Ban Abortion

Press release from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds:

Today, Governor Reynolds announced she will convene the General Assembly of Iowa on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. for a special session with the sole purpose of enacting legislation that addresses abortion and protects unborn lives.


A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from March found 61% of Iowans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 35% said the procedure should be illegal in all or most cases.

Reynolds, previously:

“I trust Iowans to do the right thing.”

Republicans are Legalizing Child Labor After Nearly 80 Years of Protection

Academics John A. Fliter and Betsy Wood writing in The Conversation:

As scholars of child labor, we find the arguments [Iowa Gov. Kim] Reynolds and other like-minded politicians are using today to justify undoing child labor protections echo older justifications made decades ago.

In our view, Iowa has the most radical new law designed to roll back child labor protections. It allows children as young as 14 to work in meat coolers and industrial laundries, and teens 15 and older can work on assembly lines around dangerous machinery.

Teens as young as 16 can now serve alcohol in Iowa restaurants, as long as two adults are present.

U.S. Labor Department officials argue that several provisions of Iowa’s new law violate national child labor standards. However, the department has not disclosed a clear strategy for combating such violations.

It’s not ideal to have 16-year-olds serving booze late at night, and it certainly sets up situations where kids might be abused or exploited by both their employers and their employers patrons, but legalizing work in notoriously dangerous meat-packing plants and on assembly lines is irresponsible. As a nation we said no to this.

But, as our rural population shrinks and our overall population ages, conservative who oppose immigration have backed themselves into a workforce corner, and so increasingly need kids to fill dangerous jobs.

Mass Shootings as Pro-Gun Propaganda

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

We often hear statistics about “mass shootings” in the United States. But those aren’t really what most of us think of as mass shootings. Most news and policy organizations use an FBI-derived statistic which looks at firearms incidents in which four or more people are shot, regardless of the severity of the injuries. That can include stick-ups gone wrong, family disputes, gang hits, everything under the sun.

When most of us think of mass shootings we’re talking about school shootings, or the seemingly related kinds of indiscriminate mass shootings we just saw in Allen, Texas, the one last year in Buffalo and the countless others. They’re different in kind from other shootings. And we know them when we see them.

[…]the statistics we see about mass shootings don’t really take these salient factors into account. If anything they understate the rapid growth of this kind of mass shooting. It’s frequently said that the mass shootings in this category get outsized attention compared to the vast numbers of people who die everyday in “ordinary” shootings, or firearm suicides. And that’s true in terms of toll in human life. But that ignores the salient point. Mass shootings as I’m defining them here are a form of terrorism and a successful one. Their indiscriminate nature is meant to instill a generalized terror and demonstrate the power both of the individual shooter and guns themselves.

America’s continued infatuation with guns and tolerance for gun violence has myriad reasons. But significant is our willingness to put up with it — and, in fact, increase the likelihood of being victims of gun violence ourselves — is the self-reinforcing pro-gun propaganda of mass shootings in Marshall’s definition (indiscriminate, goal to maximize death, shooter’s expectation to die).

Because the policy solutions are so impossible (not because they aren’t clear, but because they feel so impossible politically), we can feel like the only accessible solution to these events of indiscriminate mass-death terrorism is to arm ourselves. More guns feels like the only solution when someone might just kill you for not reason other than instilling fear.

These mass shootings, and others, are, ironically, pro-gun propaganda.

Feinstein Remains Unwilling to Entertain Discussions about Leaving the Senate

The New York Times:

Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, whose recent bout with shingles included contracting encephalitis, is frailer than ever. But she remains unwilling to entertain discussions about leaving the Senate.

Being a trailblazer can’t be easy, and you almost certainly get used to people telling you what you can’t do or what you should do, and you become a trailblazer by ignoring and defying those naysayers.

But knowing when to step aside is a critical skill of leaders, often easier for outsiders to see. Feinstein, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg before her, are only hurting the causes they care so deeply about and have fought so hard for.

Under Iowa’s Theocratic Governor, No Wonder Young People Flee the State

A former Iowan writes to the Los Angeles Times:

The current governor, in my opinion, is a threat to social progress and basic academic freedom. She has supported banning books from school libraries, eliminating gun safety, banning almost all abortions, restricting LGBTQ rights and more.

Is it any wonder that young people leave Iowa after graduating from its public universities? Young people in Iowa and elsewhere are being deprived of obtaining an education in which controversial subjects are discussed. Democracy cannot flourish in such an environment.

If you are a person in your 20’s or 30’s, looking to start a career and, maybe eventually, a family, would you stick around a place that would make planning for those big decisions difficult at best? I sure as shit wouldn’t.

Who Can Ruin Their State the Best?

Emine Yücel in Talking Points Memo:

For some time now, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have been locked in a high-stakes competition, using anything and anyone as props — including vulnerable migrants and children — to score points with Trump supporters and collect MAGA clout at a national level.

Meanwhile, Red State Trailblazer Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is heading down a similar path without the national fanfare. Attacks on transgender kids? Check. Abortion ban? Check. So-called parental rights? They went big and bold on “school choice” that will cost millions and continue to hammer away.

Reynolds’s is currently working to reorganize the entire state government, which looks to take control away from county officials and consolidate power in the governor’s office.

Getting Bad and Sloppy

Tom Barton and Izabel Zaluska reporting for The Gazette:

A rush is on in the Iowa Legislature to fix an oversight resulting from a previously passed property tax reform package that could mean potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue in the coming months for some Iowa cities.

The state legislature, controlled by the alleged party of small government, has filed and passed a lot of legislation that hurts cities and their ability to make local decisions. And a lot of that legislation is sloppy, which almost always leads to unintended consequences and then rushed “fixes”. Surgical strikes these are not; instead they are broad messaging bills that also have real-world impacts.

With cities and counties in the throes of setting their budgets to take effect July 1, the error by the state has thrown the process into disarray and may cause cities, counties and school boards to either lose millions of dollar they planned on — or raise tax rates more than they wanted.

It’s not like cities throw these things together at the last minute, or wait until the legislature is back in session. At this point, cities have been working on budgets for months. Budgets, as the story notes, are due in March but there are public hearing and publication deadlines that mean they need to be finalized in January and early February, so if cities are going to suddenly see millions of dollars less than they expected, that’s kind of a big deal.

Art of the Iowa Capitol as a house of horrors by Rhaomi via Dall-e

In and Out of Character

Trump’s “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” that turned out to be a sale of licensed NFT’s when it seems interest is at best waned seems out of character for a presidential candidate. But is seems very in character for this particular former president.

There was, I think, a gap in the steaks and for-profit scam university because he had other, more valuable things to sell. But NFT sales con man is who he is.