Iowa's electricity monopolist Midamerican Energy has written a bill to let it "monopolize the sun"

Iowa State Representative Gary Carlson [R-91/gary.carlson@legis.iowa.gov] introduced House Study Bill 185, co-drafted by lobbyists for Midamerican Energy, one of Iowa's regional energy monopolists, with a long history of trying to subvert the "net metering" rules that allow Iowans to put solar panels on their roofs and sell power back into the grid when they are generating more than they are using. Read the rest

Satire: No charges for Iowa man arrested after he dressed up as Mr Freeze and shouted nonconsensual polar vortex puns in public

Satire site The Sioux Falls Headliner has a funny alternate-universe story in which an unnamed man was taken into custody after he dressed up as Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role as Mr Freeze in 1997's Batman and Robin, drove to the local Walmart, and stood in the parking lot, hollering cold-weather puns at passersby. Read the rest

Court strikes down Iowa's unconstitutional ag-gag law

"Ag-gag" laws -- which ban the collection of evidence of wrongdoing on farms, from animal cruelty to food-safety violations -- are a sterling example of how monopolism perpetuates itself by taking over the political process. Read the rest

Iowa gun distributor sends free AR-15s to North Dakota high schools

After the city of Bismark, ND voted to spend $25,000 to equip school "resource officers" (a euphemism for "uniformed, armed police officers") with AR-15s, an Iowa gun distributor called Brownells decided to donate the assault weapons to the school district. Read the rest

Devin Nunes's much-touted California farm secretly moved to Iowa in 2006, in a district dependent on undocumented workers

California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes (previously) has been one of Trump's most ardent supporters, who has used his office as Head of the House Intelligence Committee to promote the evidence-free conspiracy theory that Obama's FBI spied on the Trump campaign. Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

A progressive Democrat is challenging the racist, authoritarian Steve King for his Iowa Congressional seat

Rep Steve King (R-IA, @SteveKingIA, 202.225.4426) is a notorious Islamaphobe, surveillance advocate, conspiracy theorist, xenophobe, and all-round asshole; he's held his seat since 2003 but now he is being primaried by his own party and challenged by a celebrity ballplayer turned Sanders Democrat, J.D. Scholten -- a native Iowan who decided to move home and run against King during the first Woman's March, in January 2017.

Read the rest

Confronted by angry voters, GOP Senator Joni Ernst flees Iowa town hall through a side-door

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a "rising star" in the GOP, ran as an "independent" thinker, but has dutifully toed the GOP line since taking office -- that's why the town halls on her "99-county tour" of Iowa are packed with angry people who want to know about Trump's relationship to the Russian government, and the GOP's plan to destroy their health care without anything credible to replace it; it's also why most of the stops on Ernst's tours are planned photo-ops at factories instead of public events where voters can actually talk to their elected rep. Read the rest

Thin-skinned Iowa lawmaker hangs up the phone on reporter who asked about his "anti-coddling" bill

Iowa state Rep Bobby Kaufmann [R-73] introduced "Suck it up, Buttercup" legislation to make it easier for the police to arrest anti-Trump protesters and for the courts to give them long prison sentences; the bill's headline element, though, is that it would order campuses to end the provision of counselling and other services for students anxious about the election of a man who ran on a white supremicist ticket. Read the rest

After advertiser complaints, Farm News fires editorial cartoonist who criticized John Deere & Monsanto

Rick Friday has been the editorial cartoonist for Farm News for 21 years, with a weekly slot in every Friday's paper. Read the rest

Cruz soundly beats Trump in Iowa; Hillary edges past Bernie

Ted Cruz, the right-wing psycho largely despised by his own party, prevailed yesterday over Donald Trump, the nativist inflatable Cheeto largely despised by everyone, to claim most of Iowa's Republican presidential candidate delegates.

On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton, the shifty centrist who rarely says the same thing twice, narrowly edged a .3% margin over Bernie Sanders, the disheveled pinko grandpa.

With the whiff of Pyrrhic victory—22 delegates to Sanders' 21—it's a tantalizing suggestion of that rare thing in Anglosphere politics: interesting choices. Read the rest

GOP "kingmaker" proposes enslavement as an answer to undocumented migrants

Jan Mickelson hosts one of Iowa's top talk-radio shows and has entertained many of the GOP's nomination hopefuls who want his endorsement for the all-important Iowa primary. Read the rest

Iowa principals asked to wear bodycams

They're just cheap clip-ons that write to SSDs and have no tamper-evident measures. Read the rest

Crazy-wonderful kids' music CD

Kembrew McLeod sez, "For Kids and By Kids: Songs From Iowa Rock City is a new (and free!) children's album I put together with my wife Lynne Nugent, an editor at The Iowa Review. Her team created a beautiful gatefold CD package with a 24-page lyric and liner notes booklet." Read the rest

GOP senator who boasted about her family's self-reliance received $460K in federal subsidies

Iowa Republican senator Joni Ernst gave her party's official response to the State of the Union address by boasting self-righteously about her humble origins and how her self-reliant, heartland-state family pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, but conveniently failed to mention that her family's farm was the beneficiary of nearly half a million dollars in federal subsidies. Read the rest

Star Wars Tree Sweater

This is how they yarn-bomb in Iowa City. (via Ellen Kushner) Read the rest

Boss creates "Guess who I'm going to fire next" contest

William Ernst, owner of the QC Mart chain of stores headquartered in Bettendorf, Iowa, has lost a court case against an employee who claimed benefits after quitting. Ernst had created a contest that invited his employees to guess who among them would be fired next, and a cashier named Misty Shelsky quit. Ernst tried to get out of paying her benefits, saying that people who voluntarily leave their positions are not entitled to unemployment pay. Administrative Law Judge Susan D. Ackerman sided with Shelsky, calling the contest "egregious and deplorable."

New Contest – Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired!!!

To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today’s date, today’s time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope.

Here’s how the game will work: We are doubling our secret-shopper efforts, and your store will be visited during the day and at night several times a week. Secret shoppers will be looking for cashiers wearing a hat, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a QC Mart shirt, having someone hanging around/behind the counter, and/or a personal car parked by the pumps after 7 p.m., among other things.

If the name in your envelope has the right answer, you will win $10 CASH. Only one winner per firing unless there are multiple right answers with the exact same name, date, and time.

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