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Archive for January 2012

Follow The Black Earth

Follow the Black Earth 

In the Buffalo Commons
west of East of Eden
East of Hundredth Meridian
In a Land Between Two Rivers
In the Middle Way
In the Upper Midwest
In the Upper Mississippi Watershed
Unfolding flowing rivers
Out of crevasses of the Craton
from melting Glaciers of Ice Age
Lay the Heartland
Rivers flowing out Streams of Compassion
of Loving Kindness
into DreamTime
Here in High HimalIowa
Our Bio~psychic Intuitive Song Sings
“Follow the Black Earth”
from Our Ancestors to Seventh Generation yet to Come
Comes Ancient~Future
Our Entrance INTO Ecological Age
Our Co~Creation
Our Re~Inhabitory Time
Into Ecozoic
If there is a bible belt
It IS the Sacrament of Soil
It is Song of our Earth Soul
Good Earth
Good Soul
Follow the Black Earth
is the Scripture written
Our Heart
Our Heart Song
Good Earth Song
Flowing Out
from Our Hearts
Filling Up
the Divine Symphony
of InterBeing
In Many Compositions
of Soil
Earth Soul
Making Up the Heartland
Follow the Black Earth
this Earth matter
It is Mother Earth
Singing Our Heartland
Earth Soul
Back to Us
Follow the Black Earth
There is the Earth element which is Home
There is the Wind element which is Power
There is the Water element which is Life
There is the Solar element which is Fire
There is the Aether element which is Desire
All this is Love
with Equality of Interdependence
We have Love, Power
and Justice
which is True Peace
a Truly LIVING
Peace Land
Follow the Black Earth
this is the only
Earth that Matters
This is the Earth Matter
of All that IS
Earth Community
Common Unity
Our Communion
Verite Verdant Vriditas
of Our Livingry Life Commons
of All that There Is
Holy the Firm
This Holyest Earth
Welcome to Iowa
Welcome to Our Journey Into 2012
from Friendly Folk
from Iowa Folk
from Good Earth Folk
some knowingly
most unknowingly
Following the Black Earth
WelcOMe hOMe

PS Good News!
if you aint from Iowa
and its in your Heart
you’re a part of it too

John Shumaker
Somewhere Sunday
West of east of eden
Following the Black Earth

This Week On The Fallon Forum: Berkley Bedell, Mother Jones

Monday – Thursday from 7:00-800 pm, join us for the fusion of politics and civility at 98.3 WOW-FM and on-line at  Call (515) 312-0983 or (866) 908-TALK to participate in the conversation.  If you miss the show, you can hear it as a podcast and please help support local progressive talk radio with an online donation  or by check to PO Box 13421, Des Moines, IA 50310.

Dear Friends,

Monday, Gavin Aronsen joins us. He’s a reporter with Mother Jones and was one of six journalists arrested in this weekend’s occupy protest in Oakland. Check out Gavin’s report on the incident here.

Tuesday, Sylvia Piper with Disability Advocacy Now joins us again. We also talk with former U.S. Congressman Berkley Bedell about his new book “Revenue Matters: Tax the rich and restore Democracy to save the nation.” We’ll be  giving away a couple copies of Berkley’s book, too.

Wednesday, we talk about a story that continues to heat up: Bruce Ratstetter’s Tanzanian land grab. Anuradha Mittal with the Oakland Institute joins us, and we take a look at the ISU connection.

Thursday, it’s State Rep Dan Kelley (D-Newton) and lots of open-line conversation.

So, tune in at 98.3 WOW-FM and online. You can download the Fallon Forum as a podcast, too.  And don’t forget to visit The Fallon Forum website at  Thanks!


Natural Disasters In The U.S. And Nuclear Power: Why Iowans Are Getting Involved

The Iowa Legislature is considering enacting a law to subsidize the nuclear power industry this session.

Let’s Get Together, Act and SHUT DOWN this Legislation

“Natural Disasters in the U.S. and Nuclear Power” is the topic of a talk by John Rachow M.D.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at  7:30pm,  Main Meeting Room at the Hiawatha Library,
150 West Willman Street, Hiawatha

Dr. Rachow, immediate past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), is speaking in response to the recent disaster in Japan.

All are welcome. The public is invited. There is no charge.

Iowa PSR is leading a grassroots campaign against an advanced cost recovery bill, a measure which would enable utilities to collect the capital expense for a new nuclear reactor in advance from their customers.  The bill, which is being seriously considered by the Iowa House of Representatives [italics BFIA’s], was supported by MidAmerican Energy.  If the bill passes, MidAmerican would be allowed to recover all development costs from ratepayers and retain the advanced payments, if for any reason, a risky new nuclear reactor is not built.

Linn County Green Party
PO Box 2151
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2151

Robert Schultes M.D.
319-360-5119 (12:30-1:30pm, 5-9pm)

Directions to Hiawatha Public Library:  Take I 380 through Cedar Rapids up to Hiawatha exit, from the North take Hiawatha exit just before you come into Cedar Rapids


Watch That Gas Price!

If things seem to be going too good, they probably are. I am the kind of person who sees a cloud behind every silver lining. Right now  the silver lining of Republican discord couples with some good news from the Obama side.

But I can’t help but remember that the oil companies hate Obama. Thanks to Citizen’s United, they will be able to weigh in heavily against Obama this summer and fall.

But more than that, they have the ability to manipulate prices. And if one thing could cripple an economy almost overnight it would be $5 or more for a gallon of gas. Pay attention.

Walker aide singing like a canary in John Doe investigation
While officials in Wisconsin are checking the over 1 million signatures to bring Scott Walker to a recall election, the John Doe investigation into corruption during his time as county commissioner and governor continues to come closer to his desk. Thursday, a former aide worked out a plea bargain deal with investigators.  That usually means, I get a light sentence for turning in evidence on higher ups.

Can Walker govern from behind bars?

Still endorse Gingrich?
A thought crossed my mind last night while watching Gingrich continuing to send out dog whistle messages on racial politics. The question is, do those who endorsed Gingrich in Iowa still endorse this type of thinly veiled racial politics? If you see one of his Iowa team, ask them.

Drug testing for welfare recipients? How about……
I see the latest hot legislation among ALEC legislators is to have anyone who receives welfare to be drug tested at some frequency at their own expense. I guess this is yet another way to shame the very poorest into realizing that they also must get off the “government tit”  (I love these Grassey-isms).

I don’t think such a bill goes nearly far enough. Testing should include anyone who gets any type of a check from any level of government. I know this is a radical idea but I would like to know if my legislators are sober. So I would include them and extend testing not only to illegal drugs, but alcohol as well. Alcohol has been shown to be without a doubt the most destructive of all drugs.

The governor should also be included, maybe twice as often since he is also dipping out a pension. And it should include everyone in his office, all county boards, sheriffs and any and all city employees. Much like welfare recipients, they also are getting tax money. So we should have some means to make sure we are getting our money’s worth.

Something the Legislature could do.
With the LIHEAP cuts this year, I fear many Iowans will be without heat next year. Instead of chasing non-existent fraudulent voters or demonizing the poor yet again, how about putting some of that money toward keeping some of our fellow citizens from freezing, starving or dying of lack of medical care?

Vilsack closing on King in 4th

Almost forgot to include this bit of good news. Eight months out and it looks like Christie Vilsack has a real shot at Steve King. From Dailykos Wednesday, the Public Policy Polling has the race close already. Show Christie some love if you can!

Christie Vilsack (D): 43
Steve King (R-inc): 49
MoE ±3.1%


Sunday Funday – A Couple Of Cantankerous Founders

One of my favorite founders is Tom Paine. Probably one of the most instrumental and at the same time the hardest to like. He was a firebrand. As Thom Hartmann points out, Paine proposed concepts like social security, universal health care and keeping a wary eye on corporations long, long before anyone else. But he was not universally loved. Neither was Sam Adams who seemed to be behind every fight that happened in Boston. So, I am stealing a couple of questions on Tom Paine and Sam Adams, a couple of cantankerous fools that got us into a little tiff. This should be fun.

1) With which religious doctrine did Thomas Paine align himself ?
a) Deism
b) Protestantism
c) Atheism
d) Roman Catholicism

2) What was the name of Paine’s monograph (published 1776), in which he outlined the case for America to seek political independence from Great Britain?
a) Plain Truth
b) Anyone For Tea?
c) Common Sense
d) No Taxation Without Representation

3) George Washington at first lauded Thomas Paine, indeed he had Paine’s words from “Crisis” (“These are the times that try men’s souls…”) read to his troops before they crossed the Delaware in 1776. Over what issue did the two men quarrel, never to be reconciled?
a) Taxation
b) Constitution
c) Free trade
d) Slavery

4) Edmund Burke published a highly critical account of the French Revolution entitled “Reflections on the Revolution in France”. Which phrase incensed Paine so much that it inspired him to write his famous riposte “Rights of Man”?
a) The swineish multitude
b) The grasping goats
c) The greedy pigs
d) The selfish sheep

5) Thomas Paine died on 8th June 1809 in New York City. According to contemporary reports how many mourners attended his funeral?
a) Six
b) Six hundred
c) Sixty
d) Six thousand

6) Samuel Adams’s father ran what type of business?
a) Bank
b) General Store
c) Clothing Story
d) Brewery

7) What group did Adams establish to handle communications?
a) Committees of Correspondence
b) Sons of Liberty clubs
c) Revere’s Riders
d) Stamp Act Congress

8) How many people died in the Boston Massacre?
a) five
b) ten
c) twelve
d) sixteen

9) Adams held what nickname?
a) Father of Our Country
b) The Great Emancipator
c) Father of America
d) Patriot of the Revolution

10) The Sons of Liberty, who threw 342 boxes of tea into Boston Harbor, were dressed as what?
a) British Sailors
b) Colonial Soldiers
c) Naragansett Indians
d) French Clowns

A couple of fun guys, I tell ya’! BTW – I got these questions from and


1) a) Deism (according to the answer sheet.)
2) c) who could forget Common Sense
3) d) Slavery
4) a) the swineish multitude
5) a) six
6) d) brewery – but you all knew that, right?
7) a) committees of correspondence
8) a) 5
9) c) Father of America
10) c) they were dressed as Indians, remember?

Chuck Grassley: Broadband Killer And Corrupt Hack

Thanks to an email from a friend, I stumbled on a couple of articles that give a picture of Chuck Grassley that is probably closer to reality than the whitewashed image we get from the corporate media.

So with that, I will simply link to these articles and let you draw your own conclusions:

ALEC Attacks! Will Iowa Have A Voter ID Law?

I just got an email from my county party leader that SOS Matt Schultz will be following the ALEC lead and propose the Voter Photo ID bill for Iowa. This is one of ALEC model legislation bills aimed at supressing voter turnout. As many know the lower the voter turnout, the better the chances Republicans will win. That is because Democrats tend to be less reliable voters. If they can be discouraged in any way, then that lowers the possibility they will vote.

So the email contained a response from the Iowa Democratic Party

Voter ID’s hidden costs would pile up

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has introduced a new voter ID bill, which would enact unnecessary barriers to voting and potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“Voter fraud is not and never has been a problem in Iowa, this latest bill is just as misguided and unnecessary as previous attempts in the state,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky. “While it’s easy for Secretary Schultz to downplay the cost of this restrictive law in a press conference, he’s ignoring the hidden costs that taxpayers will needlessly be stuck with.”

During today’s press conference Schultz said there would only be a “nominal” cost for printing flyers, which would be the only method of educating voters about the change in Iowa law. This ignores the fact that similar bills have cost other states millions to implement.

In Wisconsin, for example, where Republicans passed a similar law last year, it is estimated to cost taxpayers nearly $6 million. Those costs include a substantial education program, $2 million to cover additional employees at the Department of Transportation and the cost of free IDs, and over $1.6 million to re-issue student IDs that do not comply with the new law.

Iowa would likely see many of these same costs. Under the new voter ID bill, college and university IDs are only valid if they include an expiration date, something that is not standard practice in the state and would require that IDs be updated before they are valid. During the press conference even Secretary of State Schultz admitted that he did not know how many Iowans do not have an ID to vote or how many would seek a free ID under this proposal.

Secretary Schultz also failed to address the difficulty some Iowans may have in obtaining a free ID. If someone does not have an ID already, they would need to provide identification like a birth certificate or passport – both of which would not be free – before receiving their ID to vote.

“It’s clear that there was very little thought given to the cost of this bill and its impact on voting in the state. We cannot waste millions of dollars that could otherwise be invested in education, infrastructure, or even programs to register more Iowans to vote,” added Dvorsky.

“Unfortunately, this is part of a larger campaign by Republican leaders to restrict voting and damage democracy across the country.”

IDP left out one important phrase “government agency issued photo ID.” For my disabled wife, this is a big deal if I were not available. Such IDs would need to be kept current. Since she can’t drive and the issuing offices are 30, 20, 25 and 40+ miles away it would be a major undertaking for her to keep such an ID up.

Schulz proposed this law last year and was taken to task by many Republican auditors. One such story was covered by blogforiowa last year.  At a board of supervisors meeting in Cerro Gordo County, county auditor Ken Kline was asked about the bill and replied:

“He [Kline] was asked by a constituent at a Board of Supervisors meeting what he thought of the proposed law.

“Am I opposed to it? No. But what problem are we solving?” asked Kline.

He said to his knowledge, Iowa never had a problem of someone voting in someone else’s place.”

So it is a solution looking for a problem that will waste a ton of money. All this just for Matt Schultz to curry favor with the filthy rich that run ALEC and the Tea Party. Look for a companion bill to suppress student voting if this one passes.

And the funny thing is that if you have already falsified your ID, a photo is not going to stop you from voting under that false ID. So it doesn’t even solve the problem it purports to.

Occupiers To Retake Peoples Park

Occupy action alert from Ed Fallon

Dear Friends,

I have important, breaking news to share with you:

In response to the decision by City of Des Moines officials to no longer allow Occupy Des Moines to remain at Stewart Square, we will re-occupy Peoples Park (E 7th and Locust) on Sunday, January 29. We’ll meet at Stewart Square Park (E 14th and Grand) at 2:00 pm and march to Peoples Park. Then we’ll hold a General Assembly at our indoor headquarters on the third floor at 504 E Locust.

If you were among the 500 people at the first Occupy Des Moines General Assembly at Peoples Park on October 9, please come. If you weren’t, please come. To reclaim our country from corporate and political corruption, this movement must grow. There have been disagreements, as there are within any movement for social and political reform. Let’s put those behind us as we march back to where things started and plan the next steps.

The City of Des Moines has been reasonable to work with. I wish all public officials took the Occupy Wall Street movement seriously. Unfortunately, as Governor Branstad demonstrated on October 9, he not only chose to ignore the legitimate grievances we raised, he even denied us our right to air those grievances in a public space. We’re willing to give Governor Branstad a second chance, exactly 15 weeks after 35 of us were arrested at Peoples Park.

As a next possible step in redeploying the “occupation” and maintaining pressure on national banks that have acted both unethically and illegally, Occupy Des Moines members are engaged in ongoing discussions about how best to assist individuals who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. Stay tuned for more on that.

Spread the word! And PLEASE GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE we’ve created to promote this event. Sign up to attend. Share it with others. Let’s speak with one voice that we expect the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement be taken seriously. Thank you.



Are You Eligible For Earned Income Tax Credit?

BFIA readers, according to Rep. Dave Loebsack, there were many Iowa families who were eligible, but did not receive the EITC last year.  Let’s help our congressman spread the word to our fellow Iowans about this savings.  Please pass this on.


January 27, 2012

Dear Friend,

I know family budgets are tight right now, and, having been raised by a single mom, I know what it’s like to worry about paying the bills, especially this time of year.  I wanted to send you this short message on Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) awareness day to make sure you’re aware of this tax credit that could save Iowa families money.

The EITC can put up to $5,751 in the pockets of eligible taxpayers (for example, those with earnings under $40,964 for a married couple with two children) with the simple check of a box. In 2011, over 200,000 Iowans claimed the EITC, receiving an average of about $2,000 each. Despite this, 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not receive their EITC in 2011. That is why I have attended EITC events in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to raise awareness. I volunteered at these events to help local residents fill out and file their federal income tax returns. If you believe you may be eligible for the EITC, click here to find out more or click here to find a free file site near you.

I hope you will join me in getting the word out about this important tax credit.


Dave Loebsack
Iowa’s Second District




Everything You Need To Know About How To Start Your Own Community Radio Station

In December of 2010 the House and Senate passed the Local Community Radio Act by voice vote in both chambers. Reps. Dave Loebsack (D) and Tom Latham (R) were co-sponsors of this important legislation.  President Obama signed the LPFM act into law on January 5, 2011. 

For everything you need to know about how to apply for a LPFM station in your community, here are some links.   

Start a Radio Station – Prometheus Radio Project   

Pacifica – How to Start a Community Radio Station

Join LPFM Yahoogroup

FCC Report Vindicates Community Radio, Again
Prometheus Radio Project

On January 5, the FCC released a long-awaited report on the economic impact of low power FM (LPFM) stations on their full-power commercial neighbors. The FCC’s report was required by the Local Community Radio Act, in a provision that had long been requested by commercial broadcasters fighting against the expansion of community radio. As expected, the 100+ page study revealed that LPFM stations do not cause harm to other stations.

In the words of the report, “the presenceof LPFM stations has no measurable effect on the economic performance of the average full-service commercial FM station.”

What does this say about the broader impact of LPFM stations? Although they have a neutral effect on other stations, the report includes several conclusions about the positive impact stations have in their communities. The authors note that “LPFM stations appear to be much more likely to carry a variety of programming genres than full-service commercial FM stations.” Instead of subscribing to a single common format, most community radio stations include one or sometimes many genres of music and talk that are otherwise unavailable.

Measuring listenership is difficult because most LPFM stations are located outside the markets rated by Arbitron (though this will change with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act). However, for the LPFM stations that are rated, the report found that many achieved high values of what’s called Time Spent Listening (“TSL”). This rating “suggests that the popular LPFM stations tend to attract a small but loyal fan base, which tunes in for long periods of time and/or switches stations less frequently than the average full-service station listener.”

For community radio producers and supporters, these conclusions will be no surprise. But it’s helpful that the FCC’s own research supports the common-sense notion that community radio serves a greater diversity of listeners and needs than do commercial stations.

To inform the report, Prometheus submitted the results of our LPFM survey data on stations financials as well as earlier formal comments to the FCC. The authors extensively cite both our filings, even referencing what we think is the main point: “Prometheus argues that the premise for the study is flawed because the Commission’s goals would be well served if LPFM stations are providing competition to the radio industry and because incumbents do not have a right to be protected from competition.”

After all, even if LPFM stations did present an economic threat to their neighbors, wouldn’t this be cause for celebration, as commercial stations would be forced to better serve their communities in order to retain listeners? As we noted in our comments, the FCC should not be in the business of protecting incumbent broadcasters from new ones.

The study also mentions our argument that many LPFM stations are reaching new listeners who are otherwise unserved by local media, meaning that stations don’t necessarily draw listeners away from other stations, but rather increase radio listenership in general. For many of us, commercial radio isn’t worth listening to, because it doesn’t reflect our local communities, our language, our politics, or our culture. Expanding community radio may actually increase the viability of FM radio as more people find a reason to tune in.