Yeesterday morning, the Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Varnum vs. Brien regarding the constitutionality of Iowa's so-called "Defense of Marriage Act". Passed in 1998, the act defines "marriage" as a union between a man and a woman. The Iowa Supreme Court may uphold the lower court's ruling declaring the act unconstitutional under Iowa's equal protection and due process laws.

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From Obama transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett (via the Washington Post), plans are underway to establish a White House Office of Urban Policy in order to better coordinate federal efforts to help America's cities.

I have blogged about this before. I am excited that president-elect Barack Obama has such a clear understanding of urban issues and a demonstrated intent to deal with them in a comprehensive and straightforward manner.

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It is my hope that Barack Obama is elected to the office of President of the United States. It appears at this time to be the likely result. As the next President, Obama will inherit a stinking putrid mess:

  • Our military is stretched to the breaking point prosecuting two wars without definable "win" goals.
  • Years of deregulation have created a financial system best described as a foggy swamp. Nobody knows which direction the exit is located.
  • Millions of Americans are without health insurance, many of them children. Those that have health insurance see their premiums rise by double-digits every year.
  • Many of our cities struggle to provide basic services, education, police, and fire protection to increasingly poor populations.
  • Increasing economic and cultural segregation have lead to a polarized country, half "other" and the other half consumed by fear of "other" - terrorists, Muslims, Black people, Mexicans, welfare cheats, poor people, anti-Semites, socialists, Marxists, Arabs, Indians, community organizers...

Unfortunately, in his desire to win, John McCain is drawing on a politics of division to make his case. He has passed the point of "Country First" and proceed on to a new strategy of "Win at All Costs".

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I stay on top of a lot of progressive architecture blogs. For my money (time), Progressive Reactionary is one of the best. The most recent blog post over there says in much better words than I could why Barack Obama is the right option for people who are interested in urbanism and urban revitalization.

A key quote:

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The Des Moines Register has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. No doubt, those predisposed to believing that the media are uniformly "librul", will play down the steady drip-drip of high profile endorsements falling to Obama.

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Vote for Obama - Iraq

19 Oct 2008

Every election is important, from school board to county supervisor, from local ballot initiatives to the quadrennial circus of the presidential election. This one is no exception.

On each of the most pressing issues facing this country today, there is a clear choice between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

This is the first in a series of blog posts detailing why Barack Obama is the candidate best suited to lead this country through the next four years. They are guaranteed to be tumultuous. It will require a steady, thoughtful, and charismatic leader like Barack Obama to navigate us through these treacherous waters.

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Republican Polk County Supervisor Bob Brownell is building a significant online presence including:

According to his Linked-In page, Brownell's interests are: homelessness, affordable housing, economic development, lead paint poisoning and bureaucracies. As a Supervisor, and as a Board Member of Neighborhood Finance Corporation, he has demonstrated his understanding that a strong urban core is critical to a healthy region.

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Scenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewScenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewThe West Des Moines City Council placed itself in citizens' living rooms this evening when it adopted an ordinance dictating that no more than three "unrelated" adults may live in a single-family home.

People most likely to be affected:

  • Same-sex couples
  • Immigrants
  • Non-traditional families
  • Economically struggling families
  • Young homeowners

Ordinances like this have not-so-hidden racial and economic undertones. While Iowa courts have found other cities' attempts constitutional, that doesn't make it right.

There are legitimate reasons to restrict the number of people who may reside in a house: building codes already have standards regarding how many people can safely inhabit a dwelling unit. The number of people has nothing to do with the relationship between the residents. A good example of this is same-sex couples, who are currently not recognized by the State as being related. Regardless of what the politicians say, this legislation is intended to restrict the types of people who can live in West Des Moines.

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As I write this, Congressional leaders are meeting with the White House to hammer out details of a massive bailout of troubled financial firms and banks. The public has been presented with the following extortion scenario: pay us $700 billion or life will return to the dark ages. I've been doing a lot of reading and there seems to be a general consensus among academic experts and political analysts:

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I am saddened and angered that the Republican leaders have such disdain for people who dedicate their lives to making their communities safer, stronger, and better equipped to deal with changing economics.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said the following in her acceptance speech:

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."

Rudy Giuliani was aggressively dismissive of community organizing in his speech as well.

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