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Politics
Dems move to diverse states

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidates plotted their paths Wednesday into state primaries now expanding to include voters of color, while the party's establishment braced for a long and increasingly uncertain nomination fight ahead.

Sen. Bernie Sanders' win in the New Hampshire primary set off a new round of strategizing among moderate party stalwarts searching for a way to knock the Vermont independent off course. Former Vice President Joe Biden made a personal appeal to donors nervous about his dismal showing in the first two contests, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar hustled to take advantage of a burst of momentum and money. Pete Buttigieg, second to Sanders in New Hampshire and slightly leading in delegates, made a pitch to pull critical union members away from the progressive senator.

"This is far from over, and this is going to be a pretty extended process," said Jim Margolis, who advised California Sen. Kamala Harris' defunct campaign.

The race rolls ahead to Nevada, which holds a caucus on Feb. 22, and South Carolina, whose primary is a week later. That lineup sets up an immediate fight over the voters largely left out of contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, namely Latino, black and union voters.

That put immediate pressure on leading candidates to show they could compete outside of the largely white states that launched the nominating procession.

Meanwhile, Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price announced his resignation Wednesday after a disastrous caucus process beset by technical glitches led to a dayslong delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.

The embarrassing episode also threatened Iowa's cherished status as the first voting contest of the presidential primary season and led both front-runners to request a partial recanvass of the results.

"The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party," Price wrote in a resignation letter a week and a half after Iowa's caucuses.

Buttigieg, the former South Bend mayor, argued that Sanders' Medicare for All plan would unravel some unions members' gold-standard healthcare plans, pointing to the influential Culinary Union that represent workers on the Las Vegas Strip.

"If the choice is between Sen. Sanders telling them they're going to have to give that up and me saying that we can enhance and increase choice without asking them to sacrifice what they have worked so hard for, I think that is a very good debate for us to have and I'm looking forward to having that debate," Buttigieg said on NBC's "Morning Joe."

Klobuchar's campaign worked to keep a tailwind from Tuesday's strong third-place finish. A campaign that once was down to boasting of being in the "top five" vacuumed up donations — more than $6 million in recent days — and scrambled to build out the field operations and advertising needed to put the cash to use. 

The Minnesota senator appeared to benefit from Biden's slide, scooping up new support from older and moderate voters. Biden's campaign on Wednesday tried to reassure donors it could stop the bleeding with a retooled media strategy. On a conference call with donors, Biden and advisers said he would be increasing his visibility with more media interviews and would increase spending on radio ads, according to a participant on the call.

His campaign has raised just $4 million since his lackluster performance during the Iowa caucuses, the campaign told the group, describing the disappointing finishes there and in New Hampshire as a gut check for a candidate once viewed as the clear front-runner. They offered assurances that Biden's base of support with black voters was still solid, and said it remained the key to reviving his bid once they start voting in large numbers in Nevada's Feb. 22 caucus and South Carolina's primary.

If the result from the first two states to vote — Iowa and New Hampshire — demonstrated anything, it's that no candidate has a clear hold on the coalition needed to win the nomination. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar, national newcomers from the Midwest, have demonstrated little backing from minority voters. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has also struggled to expand her support in the early contests or pick up momentum that might win over black votes in South Carolina, where African American voters make up more than half the Democratic electorate.

The race only gets more competitive and more expensive for Super Tuesday. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has been campaigning in those delegate-rich states for weeks, opting to skip the early scramble. His effort, and his millions in cash, appear to be making inroads with voters, including the black voters Biden is banking on.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ended his 2020 campaign Wednesday after his late bid failed to catch fire or resonate with voters. He was the last remaining African American candidate in a Democratic presidential field once defined by its diversity. Two other candidates dropped out in the wake of weak finishes Tuesday night: moderate Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and political newcomer Andrew Yang.


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Green screen technology
Sioux City middle school students learn green screen technology

SIOUX CITY -- Cameron Keleher can't see very well and his movement is somewhat restricted. However, the West Middle School eighth grader is the star of his own video.

Except in the finished product, you won't be able to see him at all.

That's because Cameron is wearing a green suit in front of a green screen.

By using a process known as chroma key, video featuring Cameron -- in a bright green suit against a bright green background -- can be digitally isolated and removed. 

Having Cameron pick up and lift a chair will give viewers the impression that the chair is moving by itself.

According to video production teacher Jo Dee Weltz, this form of technical hocus pocus is used by TV meteorologists whenever they give a forecast or by movie directors whenever they want to dazzle audiences with a special effect.

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In Weltz's case, she is using green screen technology as a way to instruct her students on the "4 C's of 21st Century Skills." 

The 4 C's are critical thinking (solving problems); creativity (thinking outside of the box); collaboration (allowing kids to work together towards a common goal); and communication (letting them learn the best ways to convey ideas).

"It may look like we're just making videos in this class," Weltz explained. "Instead, we're introducing to students to skill sets they'll need long after they leave the classroom."

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"They may not be making videos at age 25, but they'll be solving problems while collaborating with their colleagues in practically any occupation," she added.

In Cameron's case, he's simple happy to hone his personal video making chops. After all, he has more than 250 videos of him playing basketball.

"I'd like to learn how to edit and add more special effects," he explained.

Cameron's video making classmate Jacob Uhl is simply amazed by picking up some of the tricks.

"I think it's cool how we take Cameron out of the picture by using green screen," Jacob said. "We can also add a different background by using green screen."

In fact, video production eighth grader Yaslin Murillo literally put herself inside of a video game.

She ran across a green screen floor and backdrop while classmate collaborators Brisa Avila and Alexa Parrish superimposed images of an interactive video game.

"That turned out really well," Brisa said as the trio viewed the 15-second finished product. "It looked like Yaslin was right inside the game."

Despite being a burgeoning video maker, Yaslin already knows she wants to become a veterinarian while classmates Brisa and Alexa want to become a police officer and a mechanic, respectively.

While Jacob is still on the fence about his future occupation, Cameron is pining for a career in the NBA and possibly, a side gig as someone who documents cool basketball shots.

Well, Cameron already has a head start by knowing the ins and outs of green screen technology.

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State-and-regional
Iowa House advances resolution on abortion constitutional amendment

DES MOINES -- It appears the Iowa Senate on Thursday will debate a proposed constitutional amendment to specify there is no fundamental right in the Iowa Constitution to abortion or public funding of the procedure.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said that’s “a definite possibility” after the Family Leader tweeted that Senate Joint Resolution 21 would be debated Thursday morning,

Whitver

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved the resolution — House Study Bill 577 on an 11-9 party-line vote that sends the bill to the full House for debate.

Supporters on the House committee said the legislation is needed to correct a 2018 judicial “overreach” by the Iowa Supreme Court that “usurped” legislative authority by essentially creating a right that did not exist before the court’s 5-2 ruling to strike down limits on abortion.

8 of the biggest issues facing the Iowa legislature this year

The resolution calls for an amendment prescribing language that eventually could come before Iowa voters to declare the Iowa Constitution “shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”

“Don’t be fooled,” Rep. Karin Derry, D-Johnston, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “Proponents of this amendment would have you believe that this is simply about making the Iowa Constitution silent or neutral on abortion. That this amendment to the Iowa Constitution is needed in order to prevent ‘late-term’ and taxpayer-funded abortions. That it’s about addressing judicial overreach.

New abortion battle looming at Iowa Capitol

Gov. Kim Reynolds fired the first salvo by saying, “it’s time and, unfortunately, it’s necessary” to protect the unborn by starting the process of amending Iowa’s constitution to make clear it “does not grant a right to an abortion.”

“Don’t be fooled. This amendment is about restricting women’s freedom to make their own health care decisions. It’s about telling women what they may or may not do with their own bodies — with their own future,” she said.

Rather than make the Constitution silent on abortion, Derry said, the word “abortion” would appear five times in the 69-word amendment.

“Abortion opponents use such inflammatory, deceptive and frankly insulting language to mislead and to distract from their true agenda, which is to ban abortion in Iowa,” she said.

Holt

Committee Chairman Steven Holt, R-Denison, responded, “There are two lives ... two souls ... two humans” involved in an abortion.

“Republicans are often accused of denying science when it comes to climate change,” he said. “Unfortunately, the same could be said of those who are pro-choice. The science is clear. Life begins at conception.”

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He went on to say it’s the people of Iowa, not unelected judges, who should decide how Iowa regulates abortion. In striking down the Legislature’s 72-hour waiting period, the Iowa Supreme Court said it “freed ourselves from the private views of the Constitution’s founders” in favor of interpreting the constitutional question by the “current prevailing standards.”

That created a fundamental right to an abortion where none existed, Holt said.

The ruling, he said, tests the Legislature’s constitutional role to make laws. The amendment is needed “to respond to the challenge to the legislative authority that is expressed” in the court’s decision to strike down the 72-hour waiting period, which, Holt added, led to a lower court striking down the fetal heartbeat law.

Without HSB 577, Holt said, Iowa is likely on its way to later-term and taxpayer-funded abortions.

The amendment would not ban abortion in Iowa but continue to make it subject to federal ruling and federal laws, he said.

If approved by the House and Senate, the measure would have to pass both the House and the Senate in exactly the same form this session and in the 89th Iowa General Assembly elected in November before the measure would come before Iowa voters, as early as the 2022 general election.

Iowa lawmakers move abortion amendment to House committee

The proposal seeks an amendment prescribing language that eventually could come before voters to declare the Iowa Constitution “shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”

PHOTOS: The year in Sioux City weather

Jesse Brothers, Sioux City Journal 

Sioux City's Owen Hoak  won the 50-yard freestyle conference championship with a time of 22.62 seconds during the Missouri River Conference championship swim meet against Council Bluffs at Sioux City West on Jan. 30. 


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Wind chill of minus-30 expected Thursday, with cold temperatures through the day

SIOUX CITY -- A day of bitter cold is expected in the Sioux City metro area on Thursday. 

Temperatures began cratering in the evening hours Wednesday, following daytime high temperatures in the mid-30s. The temperature is expected to dip below zero before midnight Wednesday. 

Overnight lows Wednesday into Thursday morning are forecast at 8 degrees below zero, with wind chill values Thursday morning as low as 30 degrees below zero. 

The daytime high temperature Thursday is pegged at 8 degrees above, with wind chill values not rising above zero until around 6 p.m. 

Photos: Historic Siouxland blizzards

Average daytime high temperatures this time of year would be around 34 to 35 degrees.

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has issued a wind chill advisory from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 9 a.m. Thursday. Several schools in the area are planning late starts or closures Thursday, while area churches have cancelled activities. 

Lance VandenBoogart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the intense, rapid chill is the result of a cold front moving south. 

"It's a strong cold front, an Arctic cold front, that is pushing through the area," VandenBoogart said. 

It'll be even colder elsewhere in Siouxland. In Orange City, Iowa, Thursday morning's low temperature is forecast at 16 degrees below zero, with wind chill values as low as 39 degrees below zero. Comparable temperatures are expected in Cherokee, Storm Lake and and Le Mars, Iowa. 

PHOTOS: The year in Sioux City weather

Despite the sudden drop of nearly 30 degrees, no low-temperature records are expected to be broken Thursday in Sioux City. The record low temperature for Feb. 13 is 24 degrees below zero, set in 1905. The record lowest daytime high temperature for Feb. 13, 3 degrees above, was set in 1900. 

"You guys are going to be about 15 or so degrees warmer than that," VandenBoogart said. 

Temperatures are expected to rebound rapidly after Thursday night, when the overnight low is pegged at 2 degrees above. By Friday, the high temperature is expected to hit 35 degrees. 


More weather information

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