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Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 11

Ed Fallon talking with a farmer along the  pipeline route   photo: fallonforum.com

Ed Fallon talking with a farmer along the pipeline route photo: fallonforum.com

[Dave Bradley’s Sunday Funday civics quiz will be back next week.]

Please follow Ed Fallon’s walk across Iowa along the route of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline.  Go to http://fallonforum.com/pipeline-walk/  You can also follow on Facebook or get e-mail updates.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Eleven

by Ed Fallon

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – North of Oskaloosa, Iowa

Since last summer, it has been clear that Kelcy Warren’s company would push hard and fast to get the pipeline built as quickly as possible.

But walking across Mahaska County this week, I am learning just how aggressive they have been in making their sales pitch.

Today, I spoke with 12 landowners. About half were against the pipeline. Yet most feel there is nothing they can do to stop it.

One 60-year-old farmer who is dead set against the pipeline nonetheless signed a contract. The company paid him $60,000 for an easement to two acres, access to his property from the nearest road, and for the removal of nine mature cottonwood trees. (He was upset about the cottonwood trees because they provide shade for his cattle.)

But the money wasn’t the main reason he signed. The company official told him they would eventually get his land through eminent domain and he would get less money. The farmer described this sales rep as very slick, very aggressive. The rep would even call as many as six times a day, pressuring the farmer to sell.

The farmer also told me that the pipeline would run across the very highest part of his property. If it broke on his land, it would absolutely ruin the rest of his farm.

I wish I’d had a chance to talk with him before he signed the contract. I told him the company does not yet have the authority to condemn farmland. And I told him there is bipartisan legislation moving in the Iowa House and Senate that would make it impossible for a private business to condemn land for a pipeline.

While most pipeline opponents have yet to sign a deal with the company, some have. We need to keep in touch with them as well, and encourage them to keep us posted on things they are hearing from the company and from their neighbors.

For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail click here

Help this information reach more Iowans. Please like and share.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 10

Ed-walking-down-countryside-low-large-300x244

Ed Fallon walks along pipeline route in Iowa countryside photo: fallonforum.com

Please follow Ed Fallon’s walk across Iowa along the route of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline.  Go to http://fallonforum.com/pipeline-walk/  You can also follow on Facebook or get e-mail updates.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 – Keomah Village, Iowa

by Ed Fallon

One thing I’m learning from landowners I meet along the way is that I am the first pipeline opponent most of them have heard from. They’ve had repeated phone calls and home visits from pipeline officials, who have been described to me as slick, persuasive and even aggressive.

As a result, landowners are getting a terribly lopsided perspective on the pros and cons of the proposed pipeline. Help change that by donating to support the Iowa Pipeline Walk. Click here today.

I am very grateful for the tireless efforts of my coworker in Des Moines, Shari Hrdina, and for the many, many volunteers along the route who are helping to make this Walk happen.

I am grateful for the landowners involved with the lawsuit, and the expenses and effort they are willing to incur to do their part.

I am grateful to the organizations working through the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition for the excellent work they are doing.

And I am grateful to the Republican and Democratic lawmakers who are working on a bill that would curb the abuse of eminent domain. That bill could potentially stop the pipeline in its tracks.

It is clear to me that this Walk fills a niche that is instrumental in the concerted effort to stop the pipeline. It’s important that the conversations I am having with landowners not be the first and last they have with pipeline opponents.

Click here to help make sure the outreach and dialogue continue.

I am confident that if landowners have more information, less of them will be eager to sell out to the pipeline company.

For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail click here

Please help this information reach more Iowans. Please like and share.

Hillary Clinton On Gender Equality, GOP Letter, And E-mail Nontroversy

“The letter from GOP senators [to Iranian leaders] was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership and one has to ask what was the purpose of this letter? Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander in chief in the midst of high stakes diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter’s signatories.”  [Iowa senators Ernst and Grassley signed].

 

Letter To Iowa Landowners Along Proposed Pipeline Route

photo credit: wsj.com

Kelcy Warren’s Dallas, TX mansion-photo: wsj.com

Letter to Landowners
Posted on March 9, 2015 by Ed Fallon

This is the letter Ed is sharing with landowners and others he meets along the pipeline route.

Dear Fellow Iowan,

As I’m sure you know, a Texas billionaire named Kelcy Warren wants to build an oil pipeline through Iowa. I am walking across Iowa following roads near the path of the proposed pipeline. As a state lawmaker for 14 years, I worked to toughen eminent domain laws to protect property owners when government and developers tried to take land for private gain. I also served on the House Environmental Protection Committee because I care deeply about Iowa’s land and water.

Warren is offering landowners a lot of money for an easement to their land. But it’s important that you and other landowners in the path of the pipeline know the risks involved.

* Pipelines break. You may have heard about the big ones, like Yellowstone and Kalamazoo. But the full list of spills is incredible (See Wikipedia: “List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century”). It’s not a question of if Warren’s pipeline will break, it’s a question of when and where.

* When the pipeline does break, there isn’t enough money to clean-up even one spill. Warren’s company has pledged only $250,000 to clean-up efforts in Iowa. The Kalamazoo spill has cost almost $1 billion – and it’s not done yet. In Wisconsin, the pipeline company pledged $100 million – for one county!

* Even if the pipeline doesn’t break on your land, it will still affect your property values. No one has ever seen their property values increase because an oil pipeline ran through it.

* You won’t be the only one affected if something goes wrong. Iowa’s water is important to us all.

There are many unanswered questions and potential problems. The pipeline company wants you to think this is a done deal, that you should just sell them an easement to your land. But the Utilities Board hasn’t even granted them the right of eminent domain. And there is a bipartisan bill in the Iowa Legislature that would, among other things, make it clear that a pipeline carrying oil from North Dakota to refineries in Texas (most of which will be exported) does not constitute a public benefit for Iowa.

I talked to one farmer who’s against it because it goes through the pasture where he wants to build a home for his grand kids. I talked with another landowner whose forest would be decimated. I met a couple who were going to lose their home to the pipeline before they found a loophole that protected them. I have spoken with many other landowners, each with their own reason why they hope and pray that this pipeline will be stopped.

For the sake of these and many, many other landowners – and for your own sake – I ask you to carefully consider whether it’s worth a one-time cash payment, given the potential long-term damage to your property, your neighbors and Iowa’s waterways.

Thank you for reading this letter. I would be happy to talk with or meet with you or any of your neighbors. Here’s my cell phone number: 515-238-6404. And you also can reach me at fallonforum@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Ed Fallon

This Week On The Fallon Forum: Iowa Pipeline Walk, Wage Theft, Minimum Wage

fallon forumfallonforum.com

Saturday, March 7, 2015 – Bladensburg, Iowa
For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

“Are you out for exercise or are ya broke down?” asked the bearded man driving a white pick-up truck sporting a thick coat of mud. I laughed and said, “Neither,” as I explained that I was walking the path of the proposed pipeline. “I don’t much like what this Texas billionaire has in store for Iowa,” I probed.

The driver said, “There’s only about six people who are going to get rich on this thing, and none of them live in Iowa.” He owned land just up the road, not quite on the pipeline route. He was noncommittal on what he would have done had the pipeline company wanted to come through his land. But he agreed emphatically with me when I said the pipeline wasn’t going to improve anyone’s property values.

As I walked 14.3 miles to Hedrick today, I passed about two dozen rural homes. Most of them had probably received a letter from the pipeline company. Perhaps some of them had already settled, maybe even received a check. There was little activity on the road, and I only passed one farmstead with anyone outside – two men removing boards from an old barn. One of them told me he was for the pipeline. I wanted to ask him why, wanted to talk further.

But I felt rushed to get to Hedrick in time for an appointment, and realized that even at three miles an hour, I was moving too fast. I needed to slow down. Tackling 15-16 miles per day left me little time to stop and talk with people along the route. I decided then and there that, even if it meant extending the walk another two weeks, I would cut back the distance to around 10 miles a day. That would give me an additional 2-3 hours of potentially quality conversation time.

It also made sense, I concluded, to carry with me a letter laying out my concerns, and the concerns of others I had met along the way. I wanted something I could give to people I met, or leave at their doors if they weren’t home. If you’d like to see what I’m sharing with landowners, click here. Your feedback is most welcome.

Ed Fallon, "People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life."

Ed Fallon, “People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life.”

This week’s Fallon Forum again features State Rep. Dan Kelley as host. I’ll call-in and talk about the walk for the first half of the program. Then State Rep. Bruce Hunter joins Dan to talk about minimum wage and wage theft.

The Fallon Forum airs Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks!

President Obama’s Selma 50th Anniversary Speech

Some say this is President Obama’s most powerful speech.  Video is of the full speech. Full text is below.

 

thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/president obamas_selma_50th_anniversary_speech_full_text

Below, the full remarks of President Barack Obama as he speaks from the Edmund Pettus Bridge marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Selma, Alabama
March 7, 2015

As Prepared for Delivery —

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher – met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America – that idea ultimately triumphed.

As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation. The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them. We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And in the days to come, they went back again and again. When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came – black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing. To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson. And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had. Faith in God – but also faith in America.

The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?

What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience. That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance. It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents:

“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

These are not just words. They are a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny. For founders like Franklin and Jefferson, for leaders like Lincoln and FDR, the success of our experiment in self-government rested on engaging all our citizens in this work. That’s what we celebrate here in Selma. That’s what this movement was all about, one leg in our long journey toward freedom.

The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall. Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid. Young people in Burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule. From the streets of Tunis to the Maidan in Ukraine, this generation of young people can draw strength from this place, where the powerless could change the world’s greatest superpower, and push their leaders to expand the boundaries of freedom.

They saw that idea made real in Selma, Alabama. They saw it made real in America.

Because of campaigns like this, a Voting Rights Act was passed. Political, economic, and social barriers came down, and the change these men and women wrought is visible here today in the presence of African-Americans who run boardrooms, who sit on the bench, who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from the Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval Office.

Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors. Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past.

What a glorious thing, Dr. King might say.

What a solemn debt we owe.

Which leads us to ask, just how might we repay that debt?

First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough. If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done – the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.

Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism. For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair.

Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.

We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America. If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress – our progress – would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.

Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much.

“We are capable of bearing a great burden,” James Baldwin wrote, “once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”

This is work for all Americans, and not just some. Not just whites. Not just blacks. If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel, as they did, the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on – the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for – the protection of the law. Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.

With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure every child gets an education suitable to this new century, one that expands imaginations and lifts their sights and gives them skills. We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class.

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge – and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in fifty years. We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction, because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.

We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea – pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit.

We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some; and we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That’s our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We are the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because they want their kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied. We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We are the inventors of gospel and jazz and the blues, bluegrass and country, hip-hop and rock and roll, our very own sounds with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of, who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.”

We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer. Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect. But we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge. When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary. For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country’s sacred promise.

May He bless those warriors of justice no longer with us, and bless the United States of America.

Loebsack To Discuss Expanding Broadband In Rural Areas

loebsack banner

Loebsack to Discuss Expanding Rural Broadband in Columbus Junction, Fairfield and Wellman

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will be visiting Columbus Junction, Fairfield and Wellman on MONDAY, March 9th, to meet with local elected and economic development officials to discuss efforts to expand access to broadband internet in rural areas. Loebsack was recently named to the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over broadband issues.

Columbus Junction Rural Broadband Visit
City Hall Council Chambers
232 2nd Street
11:30am

Fairfield Rural Broadband Visit
LISCO
1680 Highway 1 Suite 1500
2:00pm

Wellman Rural Broadband Visit
City Hall Council Chambers
316 8th Avenue
4:00pm

PSR Iowa And UNA Iowa Co-Sponsor Fundraiser For Climate Action

psr-logo-officialIowa Chapter
Physicians for Social Responsibility
20 East Market ● Room 200 ● Iowa City, IA 52245www.psriowa.org

Dear Friend,

  • 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.
  • 2014 was the year of the Great Climate March for Climate action from Los Angeles to Washington DC over 8 months and 3,000 miles.

Now it’s 2015…

PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa are co-sponsoring a dinner and fundraiser featuring a presentation by Ed Fallon on the Great Climate March and the Bakken Pipeline

Thursday March 11, 2015, 5 PM to 8 PM
at the University Club at 1360 Melrose Ave, Iowa City
Free Parking

Admission is $40 per plate for this sit-down dinner and presentation

Ed Fallon, former Iowa legislator and the leader of the 2014 Great March for Climate Action, will be speaking about his experiences walking across the country, and his encounters with the President’s special advisers on Energy and Environment.

Of the Great Climate March Ed tells us “We experienced things most people can’t even imagine. Throughout our journey, we encountered first-hand some of the unprecedented weather climate scientists have predicted. And we met face-to-face people impacted by climate change and people grappling with an expanding fossil fuel infrastructure that is damaging or destroying their land, water and very way of life.”

Ed will be joining us from a new March. Starting March 1, Ed will walk across Iowa engaging the land owners along the route of the proposed Bakken Pipeline. The plan is for the pipeline to begin hauling crude oil from North Dakota across Iowa to Illinois for eventual refining in the gulf beginning some time in 2016.

Please join is for what will prove to be a stimulating and educational evening:

5-6 PM: Arrive & gather with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.
5:45 PM: Sit-down dinner served
6:00 PM: Opening remarks from PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa.
6:15 PM: Ed Fallon’s presentation and discussion

For questions or more information contact us at info@psriowa.org or phone 319-530-3608

Hughie Tweedy To Pipeline: “My Land Is Not For Sale – Not For A Million Bucks”

fallon forumfallonforum.com/

Beginning on March 2, 2015, Ed Fallon began a walk of 400 miles following the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. He will walk from the southeast corner of Iowa to the northwest corner of the state, meeting with landowners and others to talk about the importance of respecting farmland and the imperative to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Follow his walk on the Fallon Forum website. You can also keep track of Ed’s walk on Facebook and through regular email updates.   For Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

Here is Ed’s post written yesterday, prior to embarking on the first step of his journey.

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Hughie Tweedy fallonforum

Hughie Tweedy/photo credit fallonforum.com

I’ve not even taken the first step of my walk and I’m already meeting landowners opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Last night I had dinner with Hughie Tweedy at a Lee County farmhouse. Hughie is a colorful, fiercely independent farmer whose homestead is just a few farms west of the Mississippi River – and directly in the path of the pipeline. A forest that Hughie and his Dad before him planted and cared for would be torn to pieces if the pipeline were built. Hughie considers his land sacred, and cannot understand how anyone would condemn it for an oil pipeline.

Hughie informed the pipeline company that, in no uncertain terms, his land was not for sale, not for a million bucks. His neighbors don’t want a pipeline coming through their land either, but many feel helpless, resigned to the notion that “you can’t beat City Hall.”

Last night, I told Hughie about some of the nearly two dozen eminent domain battles I was involved with back in the 1990s and 2000s. I told him how farmers and landowners banded together to stop developers who wanted to take their land. Often it was for a lake or an airport, sometimes for a mall or a four-lane highway. When people in the path of these projects stood firm – and got others to stand with them – more often than not, they won.

Hughie is one of several Iowans featured in a documentary focused on Iowans fighting against the misuse of eminent domain. Last night, our evening went late as the documentary crew filled the living room with cameras and equipment and captured much of our conversation.

Today, I head down to the Mississippi River for the first leg of my journey. I’ll take with me cedar, sage and sweet grass given to me by my Native American friend from Earlham, Robert Knuth. Following Robert’s instructions, I’ll offer a prayer of protection for the land threatened by this pipeline, and a prayer that Hughie Tweedy and all caretakers of the land will continue to stand strong.

On today’s Fallon Forum, [see re-broadcast times below] I’ll call in with an update from the Iowa Pipeline Walk as State Representative Dan Kelley hosts the program in the KDLF studio. Also, Dan interviews the new director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Jeremy Rosen, about the surprising lack of pardons issued to federal prisoners by President Obama. Also, State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines joins Dan to talk about the achievement gap in education.

Ed Fallon, "People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life."

Ed Fallon, “People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life.”

The Fallon Forum airs live on Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks!

Ed Fallon

Is This Hell? Not Yet But It Will Be If The Iowa Legislature Legalizes Fireworks

dog with ears covered 2Yes it will be hell for dogs, veterans with PTSD, children and parents of children who are injured, not to mention the hell of further poisoning Iowa’s groundwater, if Iowa lawmakers legalize fireworks.   Nobody needs fireworks.  You can go see a fireworks display on the 4th of July.  This will do nothing but degrade the quality of life in Iowa.  Contact your senator, write a letter to the editor. 

Here is a great sample letter by BFIA’s Dave Bradley.  Spread the word!

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I sent this to my rep (Sands) and senator (Courtney):

Just heard that there is a bill to legalize fireworks going through the legislature.
I am at a loss to understand why grown ups would legalize these little bits of dynamite that will inflict pain and suffering.

We already have plenty of injuries with fireworks every year. This would only increase it dramatically as it would be putting the state seal of approval on private use of fireworks.

If keeping injuries down, especially to children isn’t important, please think of veterans who have returned from war and are extremely sensitive to the noises and lights of war.

I can only guess there is some group in Iowa looking to make a quick buck off this. Making bucks off the injuries and fear that fireworks cause just doesn’t seem to fit with Iowa’s culture.

Thank you for your time.