“Because I grew up in an America that was investing in education for all of our kids.”
owans are experiencing real impacts from climate change, including heavier rains and increased flooding. Human health effects from climate change are just as real and are already being felt in Iowa, according to a statement released today by statewide group of 180 Iowa scientists.
“Climate change is negatively impacting our water quality, increasing exposures to allergens and air pollutants, introducing new infectious diseases, and imposing increased stress on Iowa families,” said Peter Thorne, Professor and Head of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
The scientists say the health related effects of extreme weather events are the most obvious, immediate, and direct. These events are increasing in frequency and severity as our atmosphere warms and holds more moisture.
“Repeated heavy rains increase human exposure to toxic chemicals and raw sewage that are spread by flood waters,” said David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa.
Degraded water quality is also directly associated with climate change. “In farm states like Iowa, higher water temperatures combine with high nutrient levels to create large harmful algal blooms which make water unsuitable for human and animal consumption and for recreation,” stated Osterberg.
“The Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans,” which was released last week, was signed by 180 science faculty and research staff from 38 Iowa colleges and universities. The statement is the 4th Annual Iowa Climate Statement issued by Iowa scientists and researchers.
“The strong support for the statement reflects the consensus among Iowa science faculty and research staff that action is needed now to lower emissions and find new ways to adapt to climate changes in order to reduce the risks of new health problems,” stated Dave Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University.
Climate change is also making it more difficult for many Iowans to breathe. Plants produce more pollen, pollen that is increasingly potent in response to warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels in the air.
“The number of Iowans with respiratory problems such as childhood asthma has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In many cases, this is linked to increased exposures to flood molds and to higher indoor moisture, as well as to lung-damaging ozone and fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels,” said Thorne.
“New infectious diseases are becoming more common in the Midwest as the organisms that carry them move north due to rising temperatures. Disease carrying mosquitos and ticks are living longer and expanding their range due to increasing temperatures, more rainfall, and longer summers,” said Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean, Department of Global Health, Des Moines University.
“Our changing climate’s influence on mental health is less obvious, but it is well established that thousands of Iowans have been impacted by stress from the loss of homes and income due to climate-related flooding and drought,” Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University.
“As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, climate related health problems will continue to grow,” said Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University. The scientists agree that adopting strong climate change policies will play a vital role in diminishing human suffering and illness now and for generations to come.
“It is clear that expanding energy efficiency and clean renewable energy efforts will have the co-benefits of reducing air pollution and the creation of additional jobs and economic opportunities for Iowans,” stated Bernstein.
The lead authors of the “Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans” include:
- Peter S. Thorne, Professor and Head Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
- Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean , Department of Global Health, Des Moines University
- David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
- Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University
- David Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University
- Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University
- Editing assistance by Connie Mutel, Senior Science Writer, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa.
The 38 Colleges and Universities of statement endorsers:
Buena Vista University
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines University
Eastern Iowa Community College
Ellsworth Community College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Maharishi University of Management
Mount Mercy University
Northeast Iowa Community College
Scott Community College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Saint Ambrose University
University of Dubuque
University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Upper Iowa University
Western Iowa Tech Community College
William Penn University
Endorser affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not reflect views of their academic institutions.
The statement can be found at www.cgrer.uiowa.edu
Joni Ernst Cites Her Religion As Reason She Would Vote For A “Personhood” Amendment to U.S. Constitution
Ernst told the Sioux City Journal editorial board on Wednesday that she would support a federal “personhood” measure if she were elected to the U.S. Senate. “I will continue to stand by that. I am a pro-life candidate, and this has been shaped by my religious beliefs through the years,” she said. “So I support that.”
A “personhood” amendment to the U.S. constitution would give not just a late term fetus “personhood” rights, but also would bestow “personhood” upon a moment-after-conception fertilized egg.
Ernst awkwardly attempted to downplay it to the SCJ editorial board saying, “we don’t have consensus” (like don’t worry, it’s not gonna happen!). But if she were to be elected, there is little doubt that she would be voting yes on a “personhood” amendment as soon as Republicans bring it up in congress which you can bet will be immediately. She did already cast a vote for a fetal “personhood” amendment in the Iowa legislature in 2013. In any event, how much sense does it make for a candidate to defend her position on an issue by arguing that it’s never going to happen anyway?
There is a wide range of implications to “personhood” that frequently go unmentioned. A “personhood” amendment would not just make safe, legal abortions unavailable in the U.S. – with no exception for rape and incest – it could also affect the legality of birth control, such as emergency contraception and the IUD. And the implications of this potentially go beyond making some common convenient forms of birth control illegal, to a woman potentially being charged with manslaughter for having a miscarriage. Yes, I agree, that sounds crazy, but has that stopped Republicans, the Kochs, ALEC, yet? The “stand your ground” laws seem crazy too, but a kid carrying Skittles was deemed enough of a threat that a gun-toting man got away with murder. The voter ID laws seem crazy too but they are happening.
Ernst herself has admitted that she owes everything to the Kochs so let’s not pretend she would represent anyone other than herself if, God forbid, she ever made it to Congress. This is a short but very interesting video.
Staci Appel has been out fund-raising and out-polling her tea party opponent David Young. “The support we’ve received has been humbling and ensures we’ll have the resources to continue talking to voters about keeping the promise of retirement security, investing in education, raising the minimum wage and putting Iowa families first.”
Vote for Staci Appel if you live in the 3rd. Volunteer to help her campaign.
“…When Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst flirted with the “Agenda 21″ conspiracy theory — a favorite of Glenn Beck, in which the U.S. government and the United Nations are supposedly conspiring to force rural people in Iowa and elsewhere to leave their homes and be relocated to urban centers — national pundits didn’t see it as disqualifying. Nor did they when it was revealed that Ernst believes not only that states can “nullify” federal laws they don’t like (they can’t); and, even crazier, that local sheriffs ought to arrest federal officials implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is quite literally a call for insurrection against the federal government. I guess those are just colorful ideas.
And in the last few years, there’s a baseline of crazy from the right that the press has simply come to expect and accept, so the latest conspiracy theorizing or far-out idea from a candidate no longer strikes them as exceptional. Sure, there are exceptions: For instance, Republicans Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell both saw their candidacies derailed by their crazy or outsized statements.
But during this cycle, Republican crazy just hasn’t broken through at all. It’s almost as if the national press has just come to accept as normal the degree to which the GOP has moved dramatically to the right. At this point so many prominent Republicans have said insane things that after a while they go by with barely a notice.
This is an era when a prominent Republican governor who wants to be president can muse about the possibility that his state might secede from the union, when the most popular radio host in the country suggests that liberals like Barack Obama want Ebola to come to America to punish us for slavery, and when the President of the United States had to show his birth certificate to prove that he isn’t a foreigner.
So ideological extremism and insane conspiracy theories from the right have been normalized. Which means that when another Republican candidate says something deranged, as long as it doesn’t offend a key swing constituency, reporters don’t think it’s disqualifying. And so it isn’t.
Paul Deaton wrote a story on Blog for Iowa back in April about Marionette Miller Meeks’ involvement in the Branstad administration settlement scandal. Check out his article for more links to information and additional newspaper coverage of the story.
The following is a recent press release from the Loebsack for Congress campaign.
As head of the Iowa Department of Health, Dr. Miller-Meeks has a slim record of accomplishments. She seems to rely solely on the achievements of Governor Branstad’s economic team, which she had no part of, as a way to try and bolster her record in state government.
The one headline she did make during her tenure as head of the Department of Health was using taxpayer dollars to pay off a former employee in a political hush money scandal. Dr. Miller-Meeks’ signature appears on the settlement (pages 5-8), which Governor Branstad himself deemed illegal. This settlement gave $20,000 taxpayer dollars to a former employee to keep quiet about her time serving the people of Iowa.
And as of yet, Dr. Miller-Meeks has refused to answer any questions about her involvement in this scandal.
The abuse of taxpayer dollars to cover up happenings in the Department of Health is sickening. Dr. Miller-Meeks needs to be held accountable for her involvement and serious questions need to be raised, such as:
- How did the decision to fire the IDPH employee come about? Was a review conducted? What were the criteria used for the review? Were other positions/persons considered for elimination? If so, which ones?
- After the decision to fire the employee was made, was Dr. Miller-Meeks involved in drafting and negotiating the secret agreement?
- Did Dr. Miller-Meeks blindly follow instructions by Governor Branstad and sign a $20,000 hush money settlement to cover up what appears to be rampant cronyism, or did she act on her own and directly engage in political retribution?
- Will Iowa taxpayers be able to trust Dr. Miller-Meeks to manage Washington’s budget mess when she wasted $20,000 for political payoffs?
- How can Iowans expect Dr. Miller-Meeks to bring change to Washington when the only change she brought to Iowa was inserting New Jersey style politics in state government?
The taxpayers of Iowa deserve answers and they deserve more from their public officials.
Last week President Obama reiterated his “unequivocal support for net neutrality” because he does not want to “limit the power of the Internet.”
The President said he can’t just call up FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and tell him what to do, but we can. If you haven’t called, e-mailed or signed a petition, now is the time.
Call FCC Chair Tom Wheeler 1-202-418-1000.
Click on the link to send an e-mail to Tom Wheeler. This only takes a second: http://www.fcc.gov/leadership/tom-wheeler-mail
Sign a petition.
BURLINGTON, Vt — Today, Democracy for America (DFA), has endorsed seven Iowa House candidates in an effort to help Democrats end Republican control of the state’s lower chamber.
The Iowa State House candidates Democracy for America has endorsed includes Dave Grussing (IA-HD-7) , Charlie McConkey (IA-HD-15), Scott Ourth (IA-HD-26), Joe Riding (IA-HD-30), Teresa Meyer (IA-HD-63), Curt Hanson (IA-HD-82), and Kristi Keast (IA-HD-95). Democrats need to gain just four seats to secure control of the Iowa State House.
“Whether they were voting against an increase to the minimum wage or trying to block legislation designed to guarantee women receive equal pay for equal work, Iowa House Republicans have fought even the smallest efforts to address growing income inequality. This November, Democracy for America members in Iowa and across the country are looking forward to helping Hawkeye State voters end Republican obstruction in Des Moines, turn the state House blue, and send all politicians with 2016 ambitions a powerful message about the importance of responding to the growing divide between the wealthy and everyone else.” — Jim Dean, Chair, Democracy for America.
DFA’s endorsements for Iowa State House are a part of the organization’s “Purple to Blue” Project, a national, multi-year effort launched in 2013 to win state House and Senate chambers across the country by making so-called “purple” state legislative seats decisively Democratic.
As a part of its efforts in Iowa this Fall, DFA intends to contribute over $36,000 directly to Iowa State House candidates and their field efforts to turn out key voters. The group will also work to encourage its over 10,000 in-state members to participate in volunteer canvass efforts for DFA-backed candidates up and down the ballot throughout the Hawkeye State.
Additional key facts about DFA and today’s Iowa State House endorsements:
- DFA has 10,309 members in Iowa and 1 million members nationwide.
- During the 2014 cycle, Democracy for America members have have made more than 1,892 individual contributions to DFA-backed campaigns in the Hawkeye State.
- Also in Iowa this cycle, Democracy for America has endorsed Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate, Staci Appel (IA-3), and Jim Mowrer (IA-4).
- Since DFA’s 2004 founding by Gov. Howard Dean, DFA members have contributed more than $31 million, made more than 8.9 million volunteer calls and successfully elected 802 progressive candidates across the country.
T. Neil Sroka
Communications Director, Democracy for America