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Calls to Action

Robert Reich To Keynote Working Families Summit In Ames

robert reichLAST CALL!! Working Families Summit Registration Deadline MONDAY!!

To attend, you must RSVP by Monday, May 11th

Feel Free to contact Sue Dinsdale with any questions! sdinsdale@iowacan.org

RSVP online at: REGISTER NOW! or call 1-800-372-4817

Join us at the

Working Families Summit

Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Scheman Building, Iowa State Campus, Ames, Iowa

FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!

The event features keynote speaker and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Also speaking and leading workshops are leading civil and progressive rights advocates including Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice; Larry Cohen – President Communications Workers of America (CWA); Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO; Rich Fiesta, Executive Director Alliance for Retired Americans and many Iowa leaders.

Doors open at 9
9 am Registration

(Many organizations will have informational tables so come early and check it out!)

10 am: Summit Begins! Invocation – Speakers – Worker’s Stories – Discussion

11:30 am LUNCH

Afternoon:

Workshops: presented twice at 12:30 and 1:30 pm – so you will be able to pick 2!

Common Sense Economics
The State of Latino, Immigrants, and Refugee workers
Wages and Wage Theft
Making Work Family Friendly: Child Care, Paid Medical Leave
Civil Rights and Your Rights
Education-The Future
Attacks on Workers
Will I Ever be Able to Retire??

Keynote Address by Robert Reich: Making America Work for the Many, Not Just the Few

Call to Action and Closing

If you want to see change and a better future for the 90 percent of Iowans who are not positively affected by economic gains, come to the summit and find out how to make a difference.

Donations to the Mid Iowa Community Action Food Bank (MICA) will be collected. Suggested items include: Crackers; Soups; Raman Noodles; Rice; Hamburger Helpers; Toilet Paper; Hygiene Products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste etc.)

GET ON THE BUS: buses will originate in the Quad Cities and Dubuque, with stops along the way in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids (QC Bus), and Waterloo and Cedar Falls (Dubuque Bus), possibly other locations TBD.

To reserve a seat on the bus, call 309-738-3196 or email tracy@iowaaflcio.org

Availability on a first-come, first-served basis

For more information, contact Sue Dinsdale at sdinsdale@iowacan.org or 319-354-8116

Updates will be posted on our website: www.IowaCAN.org

And on the Working Families Summit Facebook Page

RSVP online at:

REGISTER NOW!

Registration ends May 11

Sponsors include: the AFL-CIO along with many Iowa labor and advocacy organizations focused on concerns for working families in Iowa: the Iowa Federation of Labor; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); Communications Workers of America (CWA); Iowa Postal Workers Union (APWU); Progress Iowa, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Iowa State Education Association (ISEA); Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN); Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Laborers International Union of Northern America (LIUNA); Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA); Iowa Policy Project; Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa; Iowa Community Action Association; Iowa Main Street Alliance; Fair Share-Iowa and the American Friends Service Committee.

Sue Dinsdale,Executive Director
Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN)
ICAN Education Foundation
1620 Pleasant, Ste. 225
Des Moines, IA 50314

sdinsdale@iowacan.org

Iowans Overwhelmingly Oppose Branstad Plan To Close MHIs

MHIAction Alert From Progress Iowa

We need your help to show Governor Branstad he can’t keep ignoring his constituents.

An independent survey released today showed that Iowans oppose his plans to shut down mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant (by a 68-12 margin) and his efforts to privatize Medicaid (by a 52-22 margin).

Unfortunately, Governor Branstad is better known for acting like a self-appointed emperor than for his responsiveness to constituents.

Will you help us spread the word and show how strongly Iowans feel about these issues?

Here’s how you can help:

Click here to share the news on Facebook (you will need to be logged in)
Click here to Tweet about Iowans opposing Branstad’s plans

Shutting down the mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant would be devastating to the patients who need care and their entire communities. And Branstad’s efforts to privatize Medicaid amount to nothing more than a dangerous corporate takeover of health care for more than 500,000 Iowans.

With your help today, we will make sure the Governor, and all Iowans, know how widespread the opposition is to these two dangerous proposals.

Thank you for all you do,
Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

P.S. To read coverage of today’s survey in the Des Moines Register, click here. And be sure to send the story on to your friends and family as well!

Debt Ceiling To Be Reached Monday

garrison keeler on republicans

Amazingly, there has been little fanfare on this round of debt ceiling limit. While Republicans claimed we would never go through this again, we are about to go through it again.

There has been little fanfare most likely because the near monopoly that Republican backers have on our media understand that Republican hostage taking in the last iteration of the debt crisis was horribly received by the public. This may be an especially touchy time to force yet another crisis caused by bad governing when we just avoided shutting down the Department of Homeland Security a week or so ago. The public may be getting sensitive, so it is probably best for our media not to even bring it up.

Republicans are so divided at this point that they haven’t even gotten together to talk about just what hostages they plan to take in this crisis. One thing for sure, there is a faction of the current congressional Republicans who will in no way vote to keep the government running. Iowans should be proud, since that faction appears to be headed by our own Neanderthal (apologies to any surviving Neanderthals), Steve King.

Yep, Iowa politicians are making quite the name for themselves these days. King, Grassley, Ernst. They make folks think Iowa is a backwater once more.

Governing from created crisis to created crisis is a horrible way to govern. Why do we elect folks who vocally hate government to run the government?

Notice Of Public Hearing On HF 80

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa Legislature
Public Hearings
Legislative Services Agency – Legislative Information Office – www.legis.iowa.gov

HF 80 – A bill for an act establishing the state percent of growth and including effective date
provisions. (Formerly HSB 58)
Sponsored by the Education Committee –
Monday, January 26, 2015
7:00 PM (introductions begin)
After introductions, the hearing will be for two hours in the RM 103.

General Requirements:

Speaking time per individual for the public hearing on HF 80 will be 3 minutes (written testimony is encouraged but not required). Written testimony or comments maybe emailed to housechiefclerk@legis.iowa.gov.

The cut off time to sign up to speak is 5 p.m. on Monday the 26th.

Persons wishing to speak or leave comments available to the public via the legislative website may sign up electronically at Public Hearings.

You may also sign up at the Legislative Information Office (LIO), Room G16, located in the Iowa State Capitol or call 515-281-5129 if you have questions. Please do not leave a recorded message by telephone.

Meghan Nelson, MPA
Assistant Chief Clerk
Iowa House of Representatives
515-281-5383

Something For People Of Faith And No Faith

interfaith alliance[Note from BFIA … Just because you don’t have religion does not mean you have “no faith.”  One can have faith in many things.  But the point is, this event is for everyone!  And that is a good thing.]


Crossroads

A civility project of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

MOVING THE PROGRESSIVE VOICE FORWARD

Rev. SickelkaDavid
Incoming Chairperson, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

January 16, 2015

11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC)
Waveland Hall
4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines

$10 per person (payable at the door)

Rev. David Sickelka, incoming chairperson of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, will lead a discussion on how we will move the progressive voice forward together in our state.  Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is building toward the future with an exciting yet challenging new 3-year Strategic Plan, which addresses areas of Program, Outreach, Communications, Fund Development, and Human Resources.

How can progressive people of faith and no faith across Iowa be part of this movement for change? The discussion will be interactive and informative and we hope you will be part of it!

Reservations must be received by Tuesday, January 13, and may be made at info@interfaithallianceiowa.org or by calling 515.279.8715. If you make a reservation and are unable to attend, payment for your reservation is appreciated if you do not cancel by the Tuesday deadline.

hearing loopThis venue has a hearing loop and those with telecoils may use them.

Like Crossroads on Facebook!  You can find Crossroads on Facebook. We will have updated info on speakers for the coming months. Reservations will still need to be made by email or phone.

Crossroads is a monthly gathering of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. An opportunity to learn, to participate in civil dialogue, and to discuss issues at the crossroads of religion and politics.

Manure Spills Causing Toxic Algae In More Iowa Lakes

email inboxThanks CCI (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement) for sounding the alarm on toxic algae!

iowacci.org/

First it was Ohio, then Lake Red Rock in Iowa, and now it’s Big Creek Lake – toxic blue-green algae has struck again.

A reader sent us this photo that he took at Big Creek Lake last week with this comment: “Can see from the photo that water quality is one of Branstad and the DNRs’ top priorities…”

The toxic algae’s unpleasant odors and potentially dangerous health effects cannot be ignored.

blue-green toxic algae EMAIL(1)This toxic algae growth is caused by runoff from corporate ag, including factory farms.

When we look at the number of manure spills, just in the past year, the growth of this harmful algae is not surprising.

55 manure spills since Sept. 2013 when the DNR signed the Clean Water Act Work Plan – that’s over 1 manure spill per week. ​​​

The DNR must issue permits to these manure polluters – here is one action you take right now:

Share this photo on FB to keep the #cleanwaterfight in the public eye!

October is going to be a busy month for the #cleanwaterfight – stay tuned!

They DUMP it, you DRINK it, we won’t stop ’til they clean it up,

The Iowa CCI Crew

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
2001 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311-3229
515-282-0484 . www.iowacci.org

Medicare Still Working

save medicare
I am here to report that Medicare is still in full fettle. This month I joined up. What a feeling. I feel like I have just moved into a grand home with few worries. No more wondering if the landlord will toss us out on our ear because he can. In more practical terms it means I can go to see a medical person without the fear that we may lose our home and everything we worked for. For a cost way less than half of what some really bad “insurance” used to cost me, I can now get real medical care. Plus the system itself is doing well.

Even though the ACA was supposed to address problems with the health care system (or more accurately the health insurance system), insurance companies have done all and everything they can to subvert its mission. The policy I had for the past eight months was sold to me with one set of providers, but that was switched when I went to use it. Thus I was little better off than before. With Medicare that is not a worry.

Prior to the ACA, it was pretty much a given that if you were over 50 pretty much everything you would see a medical person for was a “pre-existing condition” and thus not covered by the insurance company. So for years I paid out big bucks for horrible coverage, just like most of the country. This is what led to health care being one of the central issues of 2008. Most people wanted and still want I believe a form of Medicare for everyone. What we got is protection for the health insurance industry with a few trinkets for the consumer.

Thus we are still the only major economy without universal health care and we still pay nearly twice what any other country pays per person while getting about half the results. Taking a chunk out for that middle man that adds nothing to the actual care of a patient really affects the system. Too bad a person has to wait to 65 to finally have access to decent health care in this country. Medicare is a great template for what this country should be aiming for.

No doubt Medicare is a popular program. So popular that Republican candidates for national and statewide offices have had to couch their once outspoken opposition to Medicare in phraseology that attempts to hide their real intent. Joni Ernst has a commercial that claims she favors Medicare when in reality she will be one pushing hard to voucherize Medicare. Her loyalty is not to get good medical access for Iowans young and old, but to deliver on what the Koch Brothers tell her to do. Lying about her position is not a problem when it may accomplish her goals.

We know how Steve King feels about medical care – it is just not for the poor and middle class. David Young is using the old and long debunked lie that Obama stole $700 billion from Medicare. Anyone who tells you that is an idiot, pure and simple. In the second district we see Mariannette Miller-Meeks lining up with libertarian tea bagger Rand Paul. Her policies have shifted way to the right of the years. Her views on Medicare have moved also. I really find it hard to believe that a doctor would work to restrict access to health care, but there she is to prove me wrong.

I must say I do not know where Rod Blum stands, but I could guess and I am sure I would be close. Most of the Republican candidates say they do not want to take Medicare away from those who have it. That is simple logic. That would be political suicide. But taking it away from a generation that Reaganomics has oppressed to the point where they have seen the middle class slowly disappear is fair game to them.

Just another in their war on the middle class. Now, I believe and I think most Iowans believe that Medicare and its companion programs Social Security, Medicaid and the current ACA, are social contracts between the government and the citizens. Remember we are the government and we do direct what our representatives do.

In case you have forgotten, Terry Branstad would have been ecstatic to dump the Medicaid portion of the ACA like all his Republican buddies. But he was forced to compromise and put in at least a form of the new Medicaid due to a gutsy stand by his now opponent Jack Hatch. Branstad would love to have a chance to roll back that decision. Electing Jack Hatch would give Iowa a chance to join those at the top tier of health care. We really owe it to ourselves to send Branstad packing and to put a man with vision for the common Iowan in the governor’s mansion.

If health care is still a concern of yours and your family, and it should be if you are human, there is little question that you should vote for Democrats this fall.

IA-04: The Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Jim Mowrer

mowrer_kingIowalabornews.com/

Iraq War Veteran and congressional candidate Jim Mowrer has been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans, an organization with more than 30,000 members in Iowa.

In a letter of endorsement, the organization wrote that Mowrer’s positions “demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans,” and that “[his] leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization and benefit cuts ensures these programs will be around for current and future generations.”

Jim Mowrer: “I am humbled that the Alliance for Retired Americans believes that my election to the House of Representatives will enhance the quality of life for older Americans. While Congressman Steve King continues to vote to cut Social Security benefits and end Medicare as we know it, I’m committed to preserving and strengthening Social Security programs for years to come.”

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

Jim Mowrer grew up on a farm in Boone, Iowa. He is a life-long resident of the 4th district.

When Jim was seven, he lost his father in a farming accident. Thanks to his father’s Social Security survivor benefits, Jim’s family was able to get back on its feet. Jim worked hard and graduated from Boone High School and married his high school sweetheart, Chelsey. Today they have two boys, Carter (6) and Jack (3).

A month after the Iraq war started, Jim joined the Iowa National Guard, eventually serving in Iraq with the 1-133 Infantry Battalion.

In 2010, Jim was asked to serve as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Army. At the Pentagon, Jim helped start and oversee the Army’s Office of Business Transformation – tasked with making the Army more effective, while saving tax dollars.

Jim Mowrer’s whole life has been about service to our country and protecting what makes America and Iowa great.

Iowa Water Quality Public Hearings This Week

cciHere’s a note from CCI:

The rule passed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) two weeks ago brings Iowa closer into compliance with the Clean Water Act for the first time ever. But, it can be stronger, and the DNR must enforce it. That’s where your voice comes in!

The DNR is gathering Iowans’ thoughts on improving the state’s water quality goals as part of its three-year review of water quality standards and goals.

Can you attend a water quality hearing and remind the DNR what must be done for a Clean Water Iowa?

These public meetings are being held in the following places:

Spencer
Today! Sept. 3, 4 to 6 p.m.
Spencer Public Library (Round Room), 21 East Third St.

Washington
Thursday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Washington Public Library (Nicholas Stoufer Room), 115 West Washington

West Des Moines
Monday, Sept. 8, 10 to 12 p.m.
West Des Moines Public Library (Community Room), 4000 Mills Civic Parkway

Independence
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Falcon Civic Center, 1305 Fifth Ave. NE

Clear Lake
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 4 to 6 p.m.
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce Lakeview Room, 10 North Lakeview Drive

Here is what we need to make sure the DNR doesn’t forget:

You must ramp up the inspections to find and fix problems at factory farms.
You must issue clean water act permits to all factory farms.
There must be tough fines and penalties for polluters.
Of course, tell the DNR why clean water is important to you personally!

They DUMP it, you DRINK it, we won’t stop ’til they clean it up,

The Iowa CCI Crew

P.S. Can’t make one of the hearings? Submit written comments by Oct. 15 to: Rochelle Weiss, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 East Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, or by e-mailing Rochelle.Weiss@dnr.iowa.gov.

Jim Mowrer Calls Out Steve King On His Obstructionist Tactics

jim mowrerExcellent interview with Jim Mowrer at Salon.com.   Here is an excerpt.

Could you talk a bit more about what you saw at the Pentagon? What’s an example of the kind of dysfunction you’re thinking of when you talk about your front-row seat?

The work I did at the Pentagon was to establish the Army Office of Business Transformation, and what we did there was to reform some of the Army’s business operations and make them more efficient and effective. So I had to work with Congress — the House and the Senate and the Armed Services Committee — and saw many times when we could not take action that was needed because of extreme partisan differences or parochial interests.

We had in many cases even generals saying, “We don’t need this program” or “We don’t need this machine any longer” yet Congress continued to fund those things, and we couldn’t get the job done.

Do you think your opponent, congressman King, deserves any special credit (or blame) for the level of stasis in Congress right now? Or is he just one among many, someone without any particular influence?

He is someone who pushed for the government shutdown last fall. When it ended, he said he wanted it to keep going. I think he’s someone who’s not interested in finding any kind of solutions or making Congress work. He’s much more interested in driving a partisan divide. His answer to everything is no. He does not want to get anything done. He wants to be an obstructionist. He’s said he wants to be a better obstructionist and he wishes there were more obstructionists like him in Congress; and that’s exactly what the people of Iowa don’t want right now.

I’m sure there are plenty of issues about which you and Rep. King differ, but what comes to mind when you think of areas where the difference between you two is the most pronounced?

Well, again, there is a stark contrast between us on almost every major issue and, frankly, almost every single issue.

But the biggest contrasts are probably when it comes to Social Security. When I was 7, my father was killed in a farming accident, and Social Security is the only thing that kept my family from falling so far down that we couldn’t get back up. So I believe in strengthening and protecting Social Security, while he voted to raise the retirement age to 70, and has said he wants to actually raise it to as high as 75 (because Wal-Mart will hire people until the age of 74). That’s a stark contrast.

On minimum wage, he’s said he doesn’t believe there should be a federal minimum wage, that it should drift away. I want to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, as Sen. Harkin has proposed. But I think the biggest difference between him and me is that I want this country to be successful no matter who gets the credit, no matter who the president is. I’ve served under a Republican president and I’ve served under a Democratic president; I just want this country to be successful.

When you say you want to strengthen and support Social Security, does that mean you won’t support any reform that ultimately leads to lower benefits? I ask because what we’ve often heard from activists who are worried about the federal budget is that they, too, want to protect Social Security — but their version of protection can end up meaning cuts. So, just for my clarification, you’re saying you would not support any plan that led to lower benefits?

If you’re referring to plans like chained CPI or raising the retirement age, I am dead-set against those. I would not support either under any circumstances — and that’s where the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District are on this.

Social Security is one of the most successful government programs that’s ever existed. It is overwhelmingly popular. It provides income security for 58 millions seniors, as well as people with disabilities and people who receive survivor benefits. Half of the seniors in this country would live in poverty without it. So we need to protect Social Security, which needs to be maintained at its current level and needs to be fully funded.

Right now we have a cap on the amount [of income that’s taxed for Social Security]. It stops at $117,000; so you have millionaires and billionaires who are not paying into Social Security beyond that cap … When I make my case to voters, a lot of people aren’t even aware that the cap exists — so [lifting the cap] is a very, very good first step.

(click here to read the entire interview at Salon.com)