Back in the day there was a young man who wrote for the Des Moines Register by the name of Donald Kaul under the banner Over The Coffee. One of Kaul’s great delights or perhaps painful duties was to inform Iowans how the legislature annually made a mockery of what most Iowans considered common sense by hashing over seemingly ridiculous folderol. Once more the legislature is giving wits much fodder with their debate over when schools should start. Seems that the major economic driver in Iowa is the State Fair, no doubt the greatest of all State Fairs ever. Reading and Cyphering learning must be compliant to the whims of the awesomest of State Fairs!
Well, Sunday Funday is here with a solution for the legislature wanting to feed the fair and the schools wanting to – uh you know – educate. There are other breaks in the schools year that could easily be eliminated so the State Fair can be attended to. Start with Christmas and Easter breaks. It is usually cold in Iowa at those times, so let’s take time for the State Fair from the winter and spring breaks and move it to summer.
Were you paying attention?
1) Many folks called Ted do not really have Ted as their given name. What is the given name of ‘Ted’ Cruz?
2) With friends like this who needs enemies? What country was accused by the Wall Street Journal of spying on talks between Iran and the US?
3) Ted Cruz claimed a strange conversion occurred in him on 9/11 that caused him to turn away from what in favor of what else?
4) Appearing in Iowa last weekend, what potential presidential candidate said it is time to “crack down on Wall Street recklessness.”?
5) What Iowa legislator was photographed reading a book titled “Sex After Sixty” instead of paying attention to floor debate?
6) It appears one man in Iowa has decided that current Medicaid needs dismantling and that may be enough to make it happen. Who is this man?
7) He got away with murder, now he blames Obama for his image problems. What former darling of the right claimed Obama ruined his image?
8) Lieutenant Rags, move your troops! The National Park Service is considering using dogs at the Lincoln Memorial to stop what from happening?
9) Utah takes a few steps back as they once more opt for what method of executing prisoners?
10) Two US senators announced they would not run in 2016. Can you name them and their states?
11) As of last week, Starbuck baristas will no longer write what phrase on customer’s coffee cups?
12) After demonizing Obamacare, what Tea Party presidential candidate was discovered to be planning to sign up for Obamacare, claiming Obama was making him do so?
13) Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a Religious Restoration Act last week. One of the major consequences will be that, based on religious reasons, businesses can do what?
14) The SCOTUS is taking a case from Texas concerning free speech and the placing of what on Texas state license plates?
15) A combination Russian and US crew took off for a mission on the ISS. How long is this mission expected to last?
16) Jumping on the bandwagon, Willie Nelson is expected to launch a brand of what that will bear his name?
17) Bowe Bergdahl was charged with what this week?
18) In another major scoop for Wikileaks, what closely guarded document did the group release this week?
19) A state Senate Committee voted to make what medicinal crop available to possess Thursday after they made using it legal last year?
20) A sure sign of spring! What states got hit with tornados Wednesday?
Ok here is a new sport. It is up to you to figure out what it is:
3) turned away from rock and roll music and picked up country music
4) Martin O’Malley
5) Ross Paustian of Walcott
6) Governor Branstad
7) George Zimmerman
8) geese pooping around the National Mall
9) firing squad
10) Dan Coates of Indiana and Harry Reid of Nevada
11) “race together”
12) Ted Cruz!
13) discriminate based on their religious feelings
14) the confederate flag
15) a year – the longest for a US astronaut
18) the TPP trade agreement
19) medical marijuana
20) Oklahoma and Arkansas
Seems like whenever Republicans take their suppose great ideas outside of their little self reinforcing bubble, the reality they run into is harsh and brutal. Sadly it is seldom enlightening to them and they run shaking back to the glow of the burning BS that is Fox News and their wannabes.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a pathetic congressperson from eastern Washington, had the bright idea to take to Facebook to solicit horror stories about how Obamacare (also known as the ACA) has simply ruined America. She knew it was true because Fox and Boehner and the Kochs told her it did. They wouldn’t lie to her would they?
So Rodgers put her plea out there – tell me America about how bad this worst of all presidents ever not born in the US has so ruined your lives, your health, your fortune.
America responded in a way Ms. Rodgers did not expect. Maybe she should have narrowed the group she was addressing a bit – but with the exception of some far right Republicans, most Americans like many of the aspects of the vile Obamacare.
What did America tell Ms. Rodgers? Read on, if you dare:
I’m very happy. We still have great coverage and our premiums are much lower than before
And now my daughter, diagnosed with MS at age 22, can have insurance. What do you plan to do with her?
My story is that I once knew 7 people who couldn’t get health insurance. Now they all have it, thanks to the ACA and President Obama, and their plans are as good as the one my employer provides–and they pay less for them. Now, that’s not the kind of story you want to hear. You want to hear made-up horror stories. I don’t know anyone with one of those stories.
I work for cancer care northwest. We actually have more patients with insurance and fewer having to choose treatment over bankruptcy. Cathy, I’m a die hard conservative and I’m asking you to stop just slamming Obamacare. Fix it, change it or come up with a better idea! Thanks
With Obamacare, I saved 300 bucks a month premium.. I have more coverage.. I like ObamaCare and can’t wait til we go to the next step… Medicare for ALL.
Instead of doing all you can to tear down our Nation why don’t you start working to make it better.. Seems like Republicans have just become the real terrorists of this Nation..
I love people like you Cathy who HAVE Gov’t Health Care who want to cancel it for others! it’s the Christian thing to do!
I work as the facilitator of a task force that is overseeing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Washington State. I have learned that the ACA is helping people who did not previously have health insurance get it. It is helping bring down medical costs. It is improving the quality of care. It is improving experiences of both patients and their families.
I work with doctors, nurses, hospital and clinic managers, non-profit service providers, citizens-at-large. Each of them can site an improvement they would like to make to the Act. But whether they are Republican or Democrat, from urban or rural areas, powerful or not, they all say the ACA is working.
Can’t you and your Republican colleagues stop trying to repeal this Act and work to make it even more effective? Please?
These are just a few comments pulled at random. There are literally hundreds more and I expect there will be hundreds additional as word of this Facebook page gets around.
If you have a strong desire to add your story or the story of a friend, here is the Facebook page:
Expect to be trolled. I notice that many of the commentors are being attacked. But trolls need work too, no matter how stupid they are. They are just making themselves look extra foolish as they make up ‘facts’ and try to diminish the stories of others.
Hope we hear a followup Rodgers experiment. My guess is that it will be disappeared.
Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism features poster art from more than 20 movements from the 1950s to the present, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycott, divestment from South Africa to protest Apartheid, boycotts of corporations using sweatshops, the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS), and many others.
Activists and solidarity groups have often responded to injustices by implementing boycott and divestment campaigns targeting companies and governments that support and sustain these injustices- and posters have been a primary tool for educating about the issues and inspiring people to action. This exhibition uses powerful posters to demonstrate the effectiveness of boycotts as a nonviolent tactic to end injustice and oppression.
In addition to the art exhibit, Scattergood, a 125 year-old Quaker boarding school, will also host a series of speakers. Events include a staged reading with Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander, and a screening and discussion of the film The World According to Monsanto.
Iowa AFSC director Kathleen McQuillen will open the exhibit March 31 at 7:30 p.m. with Dr. Maureen McCue, a founding board member for the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights involved with peace and justice efforts through her participation in a number of local and national groups. Dr. McCue will deliver a talk entitled “Reading Economic and Social Status on the Body.”
On April 9 at 7:30 pm, Iowa Poet Laureate and playwright Mary Swander will moderate a discussion following staged readings from her plays Vang and Map of My Kingdom. Mary Swander is a fourth generation Iowan, and a Distinguished Professor of English at Iowa State.
Other events will include a panel of youth activists speaking to the power of youth-led activism, moderated by AFSC Middle East Peace-Building organizer Katie Huerter at 2 p.m. on April 11.
Scattergood students will moderate a free viewing and discussion of The World According to Monsanto Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. on campus.
Ed Fallon will close the exhibit April 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a talk titled, “Turning Passion in to Activism.” Fallon will have just recently completed a 400-mile walk following the path of the proposed Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. In 2014, Fallon organized and led the Great March for Climate Action, one of the largest coast-to-coast marches in American history.
The exhibit will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from March 31 through April 11; additional visiting hours may be arranged upon request by contacting email@example.com. Scattergood Friends School is located at 1951 Delta Ave., east of West Branch, Iowa.
For more information on the art exhibit and events, contact Christine Ashley, head of school for advancement and development at 319-530-7149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRANSTAD HEADLONG RUSH TO PRIVATIZE MEDICAID
Medicaid provides health coverage to just over a half million of the most vulnerable people in our state, including seniors, families and children, pregnant women, and people living with disabilities.
In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowans with a proposal to privatize almost all of Iowa’s Medicaid system, which is jointly funded and administered by the federal and state governments.
Iowa’s Governor has again decided on his own to make big changes to the health care of other people—people without much political power.
At this moment, only two things are certain.
One: There will be major changes to the health care of at-risk Iowans and to essential services for seniors and the disabled. This includes the social safety net that all Iowa families might need in the future.
Two: With a cost of $4.2 billion, this will be the largest single purchase in state history. The winner will most likely be for-profit, out-of-state companies that will take home as much as $630 million a year. [Bolding BFIA’s]
Under the Governor’s plan, these decisions will be made at breakneck speed by a handful of people in his administration. The Branstad Administration plans to do more and do it faster than any other state. This approach ignores lessons other states have learned when adopting the managed care approach: Be methodical. Work with vulnerable Iowans and service providers. Take the time to make sure you do it right.
Iowa Medicaid is, after all, Iowa’s second largest insurance company.
This week, the Iowa Senate unanimously approved SF 452 to protect vulnerable Iowans and the safety net we all count on.
SF 452 creates a process to closely monitor this transition, ensure that tax dollars are used wisely, and be sure that vulnerable Iowans have access to critical healthcare services. It outlines consumer protections to protect high-quality care that emphasizes consumer choice, self-direction, person and family centered care, nearby access to care, and fair appeals.
The Senate voted this week to provide some accountability to ensure that the most vulnerable Iowans have access to quality health care.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after House Republicans passed their budget for Fiscal Year 2016.
“It has long been said that a budget is a set of priorities, a vision of where one believes the country should be headed. The Republican-supported budget that passed the House today fails to reflect the priorities of Iowans I meet every weekend when I travel around my district. This budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, disinvests in education, cuts important funding for rebuilding our infrastructure and eliminates vital job training programs. At a time when our economy is still continuing to recover, this is the wrong approach to putting our nation on a sustainable path forward. We need to pass a budget that invests in our nation’s future by growing our infrastructure, providing retirement security for seniors and making sure any child who wants to can afford to attend college. We need a budget that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-to-do.”
“All we wanted was to have the house fixed.” – Kenneth Larkin
Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Nineteen
Posted on March 24, 2015
by Ed Fallon
Monday, March 23, 2015 – Cambridge, Iowa
Click here to go to original post at fallonforum.com
For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here
I’ve seen plenty of “Gas Pipeline” markers during the course of this walk. Today, I saw my first “Oil Pipeline” marker – on the front lawn of a well-kept farm near Cambridge, Iowa. I wondered about that as I knocked on the door. I was greeted by Kenneth Larkin, and after introducing myself said, “I notice you’ve already got a pipeline running across your property.”
“No,” said Kenneth. “I’ve got five! One carries propane. Two that used to transport LP gas now run fiber optic. The fourth one, the one marked ‘Oil Pipeline,’ doesn’t really carry oil. It carries distillates – gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene – and they’re all running through the same pipe with a slug of water in between.”
I had no idea you could transport different fuels through the same pipeline at the same time, merely separated by water. Before Kenneth could tell me about the fifth pipeline, I had to ask:
“So, you’re pretty accustomed to pipelines. I suppose it doesn’t bother you to have one more running across your property?”
“No!,” he said. “I don’t like the pipe I’ve got. They’re dangerous. We had an explosion once.”
He went on to explain in great detail – and with evident mastery of the technical aspects – what caused the explosion to occur. I got out my computer and frantically tried to keep up with him. Failing miserably, I piece together the story as best I can:
The pipeline company takes electricity off the high line. They run it through a box with a wire that goes underground to where it’s attached to the pipeline. That reverses the polarity of the ions in the soil, and the pipeline grabs hold of those ions and expands. But the polarity reversal also eats holes in the copper tubing to Kenneth’s propane tank, and follows a line into the house where the propane meets up with the water heater. When the water heater kicks on . . . KABOOM!
“Someone could have been killed if they’d been near the water heater,” mused Kenneth. “My wife, Judy, who has since passed away, had nick-knacks in the window and the explosion blew them clear out to the road ditch.”
I’m still reeling from Kenneth’s story when he says, “Nope. I don’t want this oil pipeline. I think that wind and solar are two of the bases that we should pursue more of. Why do we need fossil fuels? This country has advanced so far, but we’re still using more and more oil.”
In just over 30 minutes, this guy has become my latest hero. He’s against the pipeline for personal reasons AND gets the broader social and environmental concerns.
But I want closure on the explosion. “Did the company compensate you for damages?” I ask.
“Well, we just told them all we wanted was to have the house fixed,” said Kenneth. “They drug their feet and they drug their feet and they drug their feet. Close to a year passed, and our lawyer said we might just as well sue them. The day before we were supposed to go to court, I never will forget. This big, black Cadillac sedan pulls in, and three guys in three-piece business suits out of Tulsa, Oklahoma get out. They pull out one of those big check books. I showed them the bills for fixing the house, and they just wrote us a check, and that was that.”
A happy finish to a story that could have ended much worse. But I am still not satisfied.
“What about that fifth pipeline,” I probe.
“Oh, that one belongs to the Koch Brothers,” concluded Kenneth. “It’s empty.”
“Yeah, I know that,” I said. “Do you have any idea why it’s empty?”
Kenneth tells me about a conversation he had with a Magellan Pipeline Company worker. The guy told him that oil running through that pipeline was a product of fracking. It had salt in it. “That salt was supposedly rusting the seams on the inside of the pipes, and that’s why they’re not using them.”
I asked Kenneth if he felt we could stop this new pipeline from being built. “You don’t have enough money to stop them, and Branstad has already sold us down the water,” said Kenneth. “But if the company is not allowed to use eminent domain, then they can be stopped.”
“And as far as I’m concerned,” said Kenneth, “they ain’t coming on my property.
(Editor’s Note: Cheryl Valenta, Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, announced three informational meetings in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Iowa City about the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline proposed to the Iowa Utilities Board in January).
Have you heard about the proposed crude oil pipeline project that will cut through 18 counties in Iowa?
The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition will host an informational meeting and conversation at the Cedar Rapids Public Library about the proposed Bakken oil pipeline on Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in Beems Auditorium, rooms A and B. Taylor Broby, an ISU student from North Dakota and Cheryl Valenta with the coalition will speak, and a short video will be shown with time for questions. Plan to attend to learn about the potential impact to Iowans. Bakken Pipeline information can be found at NoBakken.com.
Another opportunity: the Iowa City Sierra Club will host a similar meeting at the Iowa City Public Library on Wednesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. Wally Taylor, chair, Iowa Sierra Club and Cheryl Valenta will speak.
Earlier that day, UNI is hosting a conference “The Ethics of Energy Production,” UNI Maucker Union, April 15 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Discussion will relate to the proposed Bakken crude oil project, and the Rock Island Clean Line project, with representatives from all angles speaking on these issues. This conference is free, but you must register by calling: 319-273-6194. Full details are here:
Please take the time to be informed on these important issues. The future of Iowa depends on people who care about the earth.
We hope you can join us. Thanks.
Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition
Ed talks about the Pipeline Walk with State Rep. Dan Kelley today at 11:00 a.m. Also, State Reps. Bruce Bearinger and Sally Stutsman discuss the House Rural Caucus – Catch the Fallon Forum live on Monday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) Join the conversation by calling in at (515) 528-8122. And you can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.
Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Seventeen & Eighteen
Thursday, March 19, 2015 – Mingo, Iowa/Friday, March 20, 2015 – Maxwell, Iowa
Walkin’ the Bakken is proving to be a bigger undertaking than I imagined. My deepest thanks to all of you along the route who have helped with logistics or who have walked with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I also want to acknowledge three colleagues who are making a huge difference in the success of the Walk. Shari Hrdina, who served as the Administrative Director of the Great March for Climate Action, keeps all the pieces from falling through the cracks. And there are so many pieces! Shari is the glue behind the scenes, and we could not do this without her.
Peter Clay works with our local supporters along the route to organize meetings. Peter joined last year’s Climate March for 700 miles, and is now instrumental as a volunteer with the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. He continues to keep us networked and supporting each others’ efforts.
Landowners are asking lots of legal, procedural and technical questions that I can’t answer. Managing this critical task is David Goodner of the Des Moines Catholic Worker. David is one of the most promising young organizers I know, and he’s getting back in touch with the hundreds of landowners and rural Iowans I’ve met along the Walk.
Of course, with legal questions, it helps to have . . . a lawyer! Several experienced attorneys are working with landowners and other parties opposed to the pipeline. Wally Taylor with the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and I recently discussed the contracts signed by landowners – many of whom are opposed to the pipeline. Here’s what Wally shared:
“A number of attorneys agree that the easements landowners are signing or being asked to sign by Dakota Access have serious problems that adversely impact landowners. In fact, for landowners who have already signed easements, they could declare the leases null and void. Landowners should not sign anything until they have discussed the easements with an attorney. Review by an attorney would only require a short conference that would not be very expensive but would save the landowners a lot of heartache.
“We have also discovered that Dakota Access is now presenting an addendum to the easement to provide insurance coverage. The insurance allegedly covers liability of the company up to $5 million per year. This is per occurrence, not per landowner. There is also an additional umbrella coverage for another $5 million. One problem with this is that $10 million doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of cleanup.
“Other pipeline spills have incurred costs of hundreds of millions of dollars, or even over a billion dollars. Another problem is that this is an insurance policy. Anyone who has dealt with insurance companies knows that the company will either deny coverage or try to limit the amount of the insurance payment. A landowner would have to take legal action to be properly compensated, involving great time and expense.”
More and more Iowans are stepping forward to help defeat the pipeline. Perhaps you are already engaged as well. If not, and if you’d like a niche in this critical undertaking, let me know and we’ll make it happen!
Friday, March 20, 2015:
Another testy week in Des Moines.
We all certainly could use a laugh to lighten the mood in the Capitol building, but, once again, an attempt at such got very lost in translation. A silly book title (with blank pages inside, I am told), an inappropriate caption for a picture of a representative holding said book, and social media converged to send an inaccurate picture of Iowans nationwide.
No laughs, and less motivation to dialogue and work together.
Today we have the third example in little over a week of how far we are from substantive debate. Republicans brought forth HR 8, encouraging a constitutional amendment to restrict the authority of the federal government. Yesterday, we had the discussion on changing the collective bargaining procedures for teachers. Last week we had discussion about prerequisites for performing abortions.
Hopefully, all three of these are dead, dead, dead in the Senate chamber. Republicans were likely aware of this fate, and although referring to the proposed changes as minor in scope, and knowing that there would be principled opposition to each, they engaged all of our legislators in a certain waste of time and money.
I would feel better about the floor time spent on these, if anyone had brought up sincere points that had a chance of educating and changing minds on these issues. But there were none. There was no attempt to present a thorough picture of all the tangents in each issue. No one started these floor “debates” with even the slightest intention of listening for new information, and that is where the disrespect of bringing these issues up at all, solidifies into rancor and distrust.
We get it, that you disapprove of abortion. But making it illegal, or harder to access, doesn’t end it. Doesn’t even lower the numbers substantially. Punitive laws that make no difference to reducing those numbers are not Christ-oriented, just vengeful.
We get it that you hate taxes. Change the debate to focusing on our current and future common needs, not finding arbitrary levels of “low taxes.”
We get it that you want to root out inefficiencies in education. Show us that this is not a backhanded attempt to dismantle public education, by being as vigorous about finding inefficiencies in other areas.
We get it that you don’t like “government.” But there will always be “governing” by some process, and a representative democratic republic is always a better choice than the oligarchy/theocracy that republicans are pushing for, no matter what size it is. Smaller does not equal efficient, period.