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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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Vision Iowa Approves $140,000 To Fund Christian Park

Jesus parkArticle on Huffingtonpost.com

A new Christian park being built in Sioux City, Iowa, has advanced into its second phase of construction after Vision Iowa, a state program operated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, approved a $140,000 grant to assist with the park’s construction costs in April.

In response to the “rise of secular influence in our culture,” the park brochure states, Shepherd’s Garden seeks to create “a permanent Christian green space for the community” that “promotes visible reminders of Christian values and symbols.”

On Monday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation penned a letter to the chairwoman of Vision Iowa, Cathy Reece, criticizing the government entity for violating the constitutional ban on public sponsorship of religious activity:

It is difficult to understand how this grant could have been approved. The “join us” section of the brochure — the plea for money — actually quotes the King James bible, Psalm 23 … Crosses decorate the brochure and park. This is openly about space to promote Christianity, not a public space.

Shepherd’s Garden is of course free to construct their Christian green space, but the government cannot support it. This is one of the most egregious grants for a religious purpose FFRF has encountered. Vision Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority must rescind the grant to comply with the Constitution.

Complete with prayer spaces and a “Walk of Faith” with Bible-inspired walkway stones, the $810,000 project cleared a major fundraising obstacle when the Vision Iowa program — tasked by the Iowa Legislature to support projects that expand the state’s cultural, educational and recreational attractions — approved funding for the project last month.

The park, which is also supported by private donations, will be built on an abandoned lot owned by the religious nonprofit Shepherd’s Garden Foundation as “a visible reminder that God’s presence is not confined to sacred institutions and buildings, but is very much a part of the public sphere,” according to the park brochure.

#NoSlowLane

There is still time to save the free and open internet from ruin. Watch Senator Al Franken give the best explanation so far of what fast lanes and slow lanes will mean in practical terms, and why they will destroy the internet as we know it if allowed. As Senaator Franken has stated, net neutrality is the first amendment issue of our time.

 

CAFOs: Not Just For Rural Iowa Anymore?

Factory farms poisoning IowaThe encroachment continues. There is a proposed huge factory hog farm 5 miles north of Ames and Nevada. Our friend Greta Anderson posted this on FB yesterday:

This is the CAFO one mile from my house that I’m fighting. Please, if you live in Story County and have not signed my other paper petition, consider signing here. Time is running out on us. The hearing is in 8 days. (7 now)

Maschhoff farms has a poor environmental record. It has been fined the maximum amount by the Iowa State Department of Natural Resources for violations at other facilities. We don’t want to see the same thing here. The proposed location, Section 11 in Milford Township, is 4 miles from the Story County Conservation Center, 5 miles from housing in North Ames and Nevada. The potential for air and water pollution from a facility this size is huge, and shouldn’t be tolerated in this location. When the wind blows, we WILL all smell it. Our property values and environmental quality WILL suffer.

Click here to sign the petition!

Let’s speak out against CAFOs in Story County!

Text:

To: Story County Board of Supervisors, Wayne Clinton

Prevent Maschhoff Farms from building a 4600-head CAFO hog confinement 5 miles from North Ames!

Sincerely,
[Your name]  Click here to sign!

 

People Turn Out For Reclassification And Real Net Neutrality

al franken on net neutralityThe fight to save the internet is in its final stage as of yesterday. The FCC has voted for 120 days of public input. This is going to take all of us. Please participate by contacting the FCC, President Obama, your senators and representative in congress.  The FCC, the president, and our representatives are being pressured and lobbied every day by highly paid, skilled and motivated for-profit organizations who want their way.   They are supported by tea party conservative ideologues and corporate shills who live in districts telling our representatives that net neutrality is a bad idea.  If we do not participate, we are helping them win.

Contact the FCC

Link to the FCC proceeding Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet

Ask your congressman to sign the letter to the FCC from the Congressional Progressive Caucus

Call your congressman

Call FCC Chair Tom Wheeler

Tell President Obama: Don’t Kill the Internet

Sign the petition to the FCC: The internet is a public utility

 

The PAC To Get Money Out Of Politics

A PAC to fight money in politics.  Pledges collected after goal is reached.  This is worth a listen.

What Did The FCC Decide Today?

hope for the internetFCC Approves Plan to Allow for Paid Priority on Internet
Source: Washington Post

OR

FCC Votes to Move Ahead on Net Neutrality Plan
Source:  New York Times

The only certainty at this point is that the Democratic commissioners including chairman Wheeler, have voted for  4 months of public comment after hearing from 364,000 of us. Republican commissioners who oppose net neutrality say FCC does not have authority to regulate.  We have to keep the pressure on.

The next phase will be four months of public comments, after which the commissioners will vote again on redrafted rules that are meant to take into account public opinion. But the enactment of final rules faces significant challenges.  Read more:

Here’s a link to the FCC proceeding #14-28 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.

Fill out the form, let them know what you think.

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/

FCC Considering Title II

 

Climate Change Open To Debate Only On TV

So true! NPR does this all the time too.  If there is a single tea partier and a hundred progressives at a rally or a protest or any event, they give equal coverage to both “sides.”

 

Senator Bernie Sanders To Speak At Clinton County Dems Event

Bernie Sanders doesn't want corporate moneySanders will be the main dinner speaker on May 17 at the “Hall of Fame Dinner for 2014″ hosted by the Clinton County Democrats.

Join us for the CCD’s largest fundraiser of the year. This is not an event to be missed! There will be a pre-dinner social hour with Congressman Dave Loebsack and Senator Jack Hatch, followed by dinner and a keynote address by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

If you cannot obtain tickets online, please contact Jean Pardee at 242-8111 or jmpardee@mchsi.com

Bernie Sanders may also be heard on Fairfield Iowa’s community radio station,  KRUU-FM

KRUU’s Dennis Raimondi is interviewing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, May 13 .

Speaking Freely airs Tuesdays 1pm-2pm CT [rebroadcast Thursday, 8am].

Help Your Congressman Save The Free And Open Internet

hope for the internetYour Democratic representatives in Congress want to do everything they can to support net neutrality but they need your help. There is always pressure from the usual right-wing crowd.  Your congressman needs to hear from you in order to do the correct thing.  Even if you already know your rep. supports net neutrality, that is no longer enough. We need them to take specific action to stop FCC Chair Wheeler’s plan to kill the internet.  We need the FCC to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers or public utilities so the FCC can have a greater ability to maintain net neutrality and prevent corporations from discriminating against certain websites and content.  See previous post on BFIA

The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have penned a sign-on letter to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler asking him to withdraw his plan to allow the corporate takeover of the Internet and an end to net neutrality. We need as many Democrats to sign the letter as possible. It’s now or never for net neutrality. Call your member of Congress today.

The Honorable Thomas Wheeler
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

As you develop a proposal to oversee access to the Internet, we urge you to adopt strong and enforceable open Internet rules that proactively protect Internet users from unfair practices, including the blockage of lawful traffic or discrimination among content providers by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The rules must preserve the Internet as the open platform that it is today by recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers. Without strong protections, the Internet could devolve into a closed platform in which those who pay the most can overwhelm other views and ideas.

We agree with your previous statements and those from President Obama that expressed similar concerns. ISPs will continue to explore ways to boost revenue by imposing discriminatory charges that will decrease the openness of the Internet. There is ample evidence that protecting the open Internet against such threats is critical for users and businesses alike. However, reports indicate that the current FCC proposal creates an Internet fast lane that would prioritize some Internet traffic and allow ISPs to discriminate against everyone else. The FCC cannot protect the open Internet by allowing discrimination.

We urge the FCC to use its clear authority under Title II of the Communications Act to reclassify the transmission component of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service. Recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers under the law is common sense. Reclassification would also complement the Commission’s efforts to promote innovation, competition and investment in universally available, reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure.

Over one million people have already gone on the record in support of reclassification. We urge the FCC to consider this support for strong, enforceable open Internet rules as it moves forward with the rulemaking process.

Sincerely,

Raúl Grijalva
MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Keith Ellison
MEMBER OF CONGRESS

CC: Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Michael O’Reilly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission