Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
September 2014
« Aug    

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.

Fight Media Bias


Iowa Rapid Response Action

First responders to biased, imbalanced or factually inaccurate media coverage

Iowans for Better Local TV


FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

*FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship

Free Press

News Corpse

Prometheus Radio Project

Radio for People

Save the Internet

Save the News


Sunday Pictures

I have been collecting pictures to use in these posts for a while. Some never get posted but should.Thus, I have been toying with the idea of an occasional picture thread. Today I decided to do a short test picture thread.

what voters want

what voters want

Here's one for Bob Vander Plaats

Here’s one for Bob Vander Plaats



Still so very true

Still so very true

looks like we will be 100 years behind the rest of the world

looks like we will be 100 years behind the rest of the world

my favorite

my favorite

Sunday Funday – Wha’ Happened To August?

last day for the state fair!

last day for the state fair!

August. A quiet time before school starts. Usually filled with vacations and last minute fun before it is back to the books and studying.

Time for some last minute time at the pool or down at the the old fishing pond. August, a lazy, hazy quiet time — wait – what? The world seems to be exploding! Somebody spike the water with something really nasty? Settle down, people! It is August.

Well, at least John Boehner has it right. No work for congress in August and little more all year. That way you can’t blame Boehner, he has done nothing. Not one damn thing.

Can you keep up with it all?

1) Which Republican presidential candidate missed the Family Leader hate fest in Ames last week thus raising the ire of Bob Vander Plaats?

2) The police chief of Ferguson, Missouri said victim Michael Brown may have done what before he was gunned down by police?

3) Well-known star Robin Williams died early this week. What show did Williams make his TV debut on?

4) Lauren Bacall, another major Hollywood star from an earlier era also died last week. Bacall once said she was the dreaded ‘L’ word. What did she mean?

5) Bacall was half of a famous Hollywood marriage. Who was her long time husband?

6) The mayor of what Iowa city has been charged with 5 counts of sexual abuse of a minor?

7) Haider al-Ibadi is a name we will be hearing in the news a lot in coming months. Who is Haider al-Ibadi?

8) Iowa gubernatorial candidates debated Thursday on IPTV with what venue as the background?

9) A woman was charged with second-degree theft in Waterloo when she left a Hy-Vee with what item?

10) In Britain, medical trials are beginning on an injection of a gene into what part of the body to spur protein production that will allow this part to recover.

11) Pope Francis is visiting South Korea. North Korea says that they did not do what in response to the Pope’s visit to the South?

12) Ninety-four years ago Monday, what large group was granted the right to vote?

13) Aloha! Fifty-five years ago on August 21st, what President signed a proclamation bring Hawaii into the union?

14) President Obama accepted a hug from what recent critic of his at a private party Wednesday night?

15) The dumbest man in politics Thursday claimed that “undocumented Democrats” were bringing Ebola into the US from Central America. Can you identify this dumbest man in politics?

There was so much more that happened last week that it may take me a week to recover. May be time for a movie or something. I hear “Boyhood” is quite the movie.

Here are the answers:

1) Rand Paul.

2) stolen cigars from a convenience store. Paid quite a price if he did.

3) revival of Laugh-in in 1977

4) she was a Liberal!

5) Humphrey Bogart

6) Oelwein

7) the new prime minister of Iraq

8) The state fair

9) one of their motorized shopping carts. She claimed an employee said she could take it home as she had no ride.

10) into the heart.

11) Shoot three missiles from their coast just before the Pope’s arrival.

12) Women! August 18th, 1920

13) Eisenhower

14) Hillary Clinton

15) no, it is not Steve King. There is one even dumber, Louie Gohmert

Sounds like just in time for school to start, it will get plenty warm. Of course it will.

Hemp Fibers ‘Better Than Graphene’

marijuana gavel
I read this article concerning a new potentially breakthrough use for hemp with interest Wednesday. When I read this I hearkened back to an article I had read on a building material called hempcrete. This is a light weight material that has some very desirable properties that many builders would love to offer clients. Our daughter and son-in-law have been talking about building their own house so we frequently talk about what kinds of amenities they would like in that house.

You may notice a common thread (no pun intended) in the two materials is hemp. Like many others, I have to wonder how much longer the United States can continue to deny its citizens access to one of the most versatile plants on the earth. Unfounded fear drives some insane policies concerning hemp. Fears that grew out of myths and propaganda from the 1860s to the 1930s when the infamous Harry Anslinger used the ‘devil weed’ to cement his job in the Narcotics Bureau.

So for a couple of generations we have missed out on opportunities to develop so many uses for this plant. From clothing to building materials to construction to medicines, the hemp plant could be a major boost to our economy. Hemp could also be a major aid as a cash crop on Iowa farms that are currently so tied in to the monocultures of corn and beans.

Just like several legislatures throughout the country, including Iowa, did last year when hemp oil was irrefutably shown to be a elixir for epilepsy, America needs to grow up and accept that hemp is not the evil weed it is portrayed as. It is a plant that could bring in major revenue and be a large economic boost.

Take a look here to see just a short list of uses for hemp. Industrialist Henry Ford saw hemp as a great material for building his cars. Hemp also has great properties for regenerating soil that has been worn out and grows in areas usually unsuited for other plants. This would be especially good in Iowa.

In case you haven’t noticed, the attempted prohibition has failed. It is way past time America takes advantage of what hemp has to offer.

But wait, hemp does have some powerful enemies who buy a lot of influence. What is odd is that the list of interests lined up against hemp seem only to be concerned about possibly losing some business and nothing to do with any of hemp’s perceived problems. Here is a short list of those working hard to keep hemp bottled up:

1) Police unions
2) Privatized Prison Companies
3) Alcohol and Beer companies
4) Pharmaceutical companies
5) Prison unions.

Read the article for the whys of the opposition. I think it is fairly clear. Each of these groups has a major financial interest in keeping hemp illegal, especially marijuana.

I would love it if my kids could build a house out of an extra strong, lightweight, water-proof, well insulated and breathable material. A guy can dream can’t he?

Governor Hosts Hate Fest In Ames At 9AM Today

hosts hate group meeting in Ames today

hosts hate group meeting in Ames today

Our illustrious governor, in his new found quest to turn Iowa into a right wing haven, today acts as the host for the gathering of a group that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Today up in Ames, the Family Research Council (FRC) will be holding a day long hate fest with the target – and I do believe that target is a very appropriate word here – being those in the LGBT community. Today Terry Branstad welcomes into our state the likes of the Benham Brothers who lost a chance at a network cable show over their vociferous gay hatred, and lesser lights such as Ken Cucinelli, former Virginia attorney General, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry. This is only a partial line up.

Iowans should care deeply what their governor is doing in their name and on our payroll. Acting as host for a hate group goes beyond the pale in my opinion. Would he act as host for the Ku Klux Klan? Would he act as a host for the White Citizen’s Council? I would certainly hope not. Why then play host for a group that is in the same league, but does have the cover of religion to give this hate fest a patina of legitimacy? This so reminds me of the old Southern governors who proudly joined the Klan during the civil rights days. The FRC is hell bent on taking rights away from a specific class of citizens. Does that sound familiar? Are LGBT not citizens just like non-whites? Why then does Branstad endorse their cause?

Just last month Branstad cozied up to Bob Vander Plaats’ group, the Family Leader, by first endorsing and then participating in Vander Plaats’ phonied up “Day of Prayer and Fasting.” In case you are wondering, the Family Leader is a subsidiary of the Family Research Council and as such is also a hate group. Thus our governor has twice given this hate group cover. Can we deduct a little from his pay? Can we take away his double dip on his retirement?

As if endorsement of a hate group isn’t bad enough, Branstad seems to take real pride in mixing government with politics. One would think that a person whose job is to run an organization would at least have a vague idea what the very basic beliefs of that organization were. In the case of Branstad he heads up a governmental organization. As such that organization has as one of its basic tenets the separation of church and state. Thus he is violating the very underpinnings of his organization. Were he the CEO of say Kelloggs and hosted a meeting for General Mills, I would like to think his ass would be out the door in a minute.

Maybe to make amends, he should host a meeting of Muslims in Iowa, and perhaps a meeting of Atheists. I see the Atheists just had a meeting last month. Where was the coveted Branstad endorsement for that?

Why, then, would Branstad host a group that is labeled a hate group and at the same time violate standards of the organization he heads? One can only guess and that is exactly what I will do.

- First, despite spending big bucks to bury Jack Hatch early, Branstad is still having problems with his re-election. His scandals, his lack of leadership and his cozying up to the very right wing of his party has not gone unnoticed by Iowans. Thus Branstad is having to once more come begging on his knees to the extremist wing of his party for their votes. Branstad has never been trusted by those folks and now he must supplicate himself.

- Second, I think Branstad wants to curry favor with potential Republican presidential hopefuls, thus they may remember him when they become president, maybe rewarding him with a nice cabinet job. And he could leave Iowa in the hands of his Lieutenant Governor, the awful Kim Reynolds.

Iowans need to reject this endorsement of a hate group and the mixing of church and state. Of course the best way to show your disapproval is at the polls this November. And bring a friend!

Newton Daily News Editor Fired For “Being Christian”

The first amendment

The first amendment

Ran across this story Thursday. A portion is reprinted here. The whole story plus other links are at the link.This story has a lot of twists and looks to me like one that may well wend its way to the Supreme Court. With the makeup of the current Court, that is a real concern.

An Iowa newspaper editor who was fired after posting an anti-LGBT blog post is irate over the firing and claims that his religious freedom was violated.

Media critic Jim Romenesko reported on his blog Wednesday that Bob Eschliman, former editor of Newton Daily News, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that he was fired for being a Christian.

Eschliman — who refers to himself on his Facebook page as an “Evil Conservative” — is being represented by an attorney from the Liberty Institute, a Christian law practice dedicated to injecting faith into public policy and to fighting efforts by the courts to separate matters of church and state.

The former editor was fired in May after publishing an anti-LGBT rant on his personal blog, in which he railed against “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo,” claiming that LGBT people of faith are attempting to rewrite the Bible to “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

Eschliman expressed an opinion publicly although not while he was working. Can he not express his personal opinions, especially religious ones, publicly without fearing loss of job and benefits? On the other hand, people in management positions can be fired without cause. Does the owner of the business not have the right(?) to pick employees at the highest levels.

Just a few weeks ago the SCOTUS told us that corporations had a right to impose their religious beliefs as part of the employment contract. Does it not also have a right to remove employees whose religious beliefs come in conflict with business practices? The guarantee of religious freedom is that the government will not interfere with a person’s freedom or create a state religion. It says nothing about private businesses. During my working days our company decided we would be a 7 day a week, 24 hour a day operation. When one man objected saying Sunday was a sacred day for him, the boss told him “Well., I guess you have a decision to make then.”

One issue that must loom large in the background is the effect of Mr. Eschliman’s now known religious conservatism may have on the business. Were I a subscriber, I would most likely drop the paper because I would think that the editor would be putting his slant into news stories. Beyond that there may be an effect on advertiser orders. Advertisers simply quit advertising in that paper fearing that they may be considered guilty by association for supporting this paper with its business.

Once upon a time in America (settle back, it’s story time) printing presses were in great supply. If a person had an opinion, they could buy a printing press and publish and distribute it. Nowadays our comparable technology would be the internet. As of today the internet remains open and neutral. If Mr. Eschliman has an opinion that he feels he must share with others, he can pay a small fee and grab a chunk of internet real estate to sound off.

If net neutrality is squashed by the FCC (and that is what I expect) then outlets for dissenting voices may well be choked by “the market.”

While I may disagree with Mr. Eschliman’s views – and I certainly do – to me it is much more important that he and any others who feel they need to express themselves in public have an outlet on the internet.

Sunday Funday – Rummage In The Ramp Time.

whoops make that 2014

whoops make that 2014

One of my favorite events of the year is on once more. The giant garage sale known as “Rummage in the Ramp” started Friday and continues until next Sunday, August 3rd. If you are unfamiliar with this event, it is something unique to Iowa City. Apartment leases in Iowa City go from August one year through July of the next year. As students and others move out, they often leave behind some pretty decent furniture.

A few years back someone had the brilliant idea to sell the stuff rather than bury it in a landfill. Over the years the City has expanded to taking donations of usable items from anyone. And thus you have the makings of a giant garage sale. New stuff is added daily, so if you have an item in mind you may want to chck back daily. Under the Chauncey Swan parking ramp by the City rec center. More info here:

Were you paying attention?

1) They can’t do anything, but Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending who to the border?

2) A Florida jury last week leveled tobacco company RJ Reynolds with a judgment worth how much in damages for a tobacco related death?

3) Deaths last week included this usually unflappable hero of TV series and movies. Who was this solid lifelong liberal, best known as Maverick?

4) The FDA issued a warning that the powdered form of what common substance – even a teaspoon – could be fatal following the death of an Ohio teenager?

5) Two big annual events in Iowa had their culmination yesterday, one in Davenport and one in Guttenburg. What are these two events?

6) In the crazy middle East, Israel shelled what thought to be safe building, killing 4 and wounding 16?

7) This June joined May as a record setter for what?

8) Once more acting because Republicans in Congress refuse to do their jobs, President Obama signed an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors against what group?

9) Jack Hatch blasted Governor Brandstad last week for turning down what?

10) According to LULAC spokesman Joe Henry, how many Central American refugee kids have come to Iowa (+-25)?

11) In northeast China the largest microraptor dinosaur fossil, Changyuraptor, was found. It had what unusual feature?

12) Tuesday two federal courts issued conflicting rulings about an hour apart on the legality of what?

13) The Johnson County, Iowa Board of Supervisors passed resolution Thursday to encourage the testing of what concept car in Johnson County?

14) History you never hear in school department. In 1919, the worst of the “Red Summer” race riots begins in what midwest city on July 27, 1919?

15) Republicans came unglued when the FAA banned American airline companies from landing in what airport due to danger from war?

And these are just a few of the happenings this week. Sixty-one years ago, the Korean War ended, but just 11 years later President Johnson sent 5,000 more “advisors” into Viet Nam signalling the involvement buildup yet to come. Oy Vey!


1) National Guard troops.

2) $23.6 billion

3) James Garner

4) caffeine

5) In Davenport, the annual Bix Biederbeck celebration. In Guttenburg RAGBRAI ended.

6) a hospital

7) global temperature.
The average temperature over global surfaces for June 2014 was 1.3 degrees above the 20th-century average of 59.9 degrees. In May, the Earth’s temperature was 1.33 degrees above the average of 58.6 degrees.


9) $1 million grant to study solar applications in Iowa

10) 139 (114 – 154 range)

11) Four wings (and feathers)

12) ACA exchanges

13) driverless cars

14) Chicago – much of our labor and race history is seldom taught

15) Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

August next week which means (here it comes) back to school time!

“We Are Willing To Fight For It!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Senator Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation last Saturday:

If Reublicans take control of the senate, our country will once more be stopped from moving forward. Worse yet we will most likely go through two years of money wasting impeachment hearings or nearly as bad, committees clogged with nothing but investigations on Obama (and Hillary Clinton by proxy).

Elizabeth Warren lays out in a short space most of what the Democratic Party stands for:
- Addressing the Climate Crisis
- Equality
- regulation of Wall Street
- Good, affordable Education through post secondary.
- decent paying jobs and equality of pay
- Science
- net neutrality
- Social Security and Medicare.
- Women

Give a few hours and a few dollars to help Bruce Braley. Iowa simply can’t afford to send another far right wing Republican to Washington. Also, do not forget Dave Loebsack, Staci Appel, Jim Mowrer (to beat the crazy King) and Pat Murphy. Iowa desperately need to fully retire our part-time, double-dipping, scandal ridden governor and put a man with vision, Jack Hatch, in his place.

A few dollars, a few hours and we can do it!


Hodge-Podge: Branstad For Bishop!

branstad jobs numbersI understand Terry Branstad is a Roman Catholic. I never knew this because I never cared before. As one who truly believes that the separation of Church and State must as wide as a galaxy it really irked me to see him leading the phony-baloney “day of prayer” last Monday. Terry, if you want to be bishop go for it. I think you would make a lousy one after cutting food aid for the poor 2 years in a row and doing all you could to stop Medicaid in Iowa before making the poor pay for it. You may be religious, but you sure as hell are not moral.

Sending The Refugees Home
Would be like telling fire fighters to take the people they just rescued back into the burning house. Really, Branstad? Really Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman? You both claim to be Christian, yet in a true test of your Christianity you turn your backs on those in need.

I do believe in the separation of Church and State. This is not a religious question, it is a question of morality. Here are two governors who proudly fail that test and want your vote. Morality and government should not be separated.

How To Pay For The Lawsuit Against Obama
The whole concept of the House suing President Obama is so ludicrous it is beyond laughter. Boehner and his sycophants think they have outsmarted both Dems and the far right with this one. But one thing Tea Baggers insist on is that the cost be offset. I have a humble suggestion and shall send it to Mr. Boehner.

Mr. Boehner, I recommend that this epitome of frivolous lawsuits be paid for by taking the salary, travel costs, staff salaries and any other perks from any member voting for this suit. If they truly believe this is a legitimate and necessary suit, they will gladly give up a few years of pay and perks. You may also need to ask them for donations. I see no reason why I or any other taxpayer should pay so much as a nickel for this tomfoolery!

Science On The March
Holy Moley is science ever marching forward at breakneck speed. Couple of really interesting developments these past couple of weeks. Too bad the Tea Party hates science, because they are truly missing some fantastic advances. When they come back to earth they will have a lot of catching up to do. Here are a couple that really caught my eye:

1) Researchers may have found a way to stop type 2 diabetes. Very preliminary, but very promising.

2) Future farming in a high-rise? Taking place now in Japan. Takes up less surface space while making it much easier to recycle, control pollution and farm darn near anywhere. My son-in-law and I have been talking of this for years.

Christie Running!
At least as well as he can run for president while carrying around tons of corruption. Hobbled by many major corruption stories in his administration in New Jersey, Chris Christie has time to take a trip to Iowa and New Hampshire. At least in Iowa he will be able to compare corruption notes with another scandal plagued governor, our own Terry Branstad.

Putin, Plane Shot Down and Republicans
When My wife and I heard of the tragedy in the Ukraine with the speculation that Vladimir Putin may be responsible either directly or indirectly we could not help but remember that only a few weeks ago Republicans from the US Senate to the Us House down to the state house were expressing such admiration for Putin. They used Putin as an example of a “man of action” and someone who gets things done. Wonder how they feel about their hero now. My teachers used to tell to be careful when you pick heroes. Most are not anything like what they appear to be.

I also recall how our last President Bush implied he was a good guy:
“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Raise your hand if you are really glad Obama is President and not Bush or any other war hungry Republican.

Branstad Admin Nixes Solar Power Grant
Like a good corporate Tea Party governor the Branstad administration rejected a $1 million grant based on corporate lobbyists objections.

They wanted changes to the grant that the energy office were unwilling to make, since they were making them for no one else and they would gut the purpose of the project.

Terry, you can’t stop progress forever. If Iowa’s voters have a lick of sense it will only be for another few months. Jack Hatch will move Iowa forward!

Keep it up and Iowa Republicans will be irrelephant:


Sunday Funday: County Fair Edition

Come one, come all to the great Muscatine County Fair in historic West Liberty, Iowa. We have exhibits of plants and foods; we have show animals of all varieties and we have a midway with thrilling rides and scrumptious one of a kind fair food – including elephant ears and half-pound tenderloins and delicious fried onions! Mmmmm, Mmmmmm, once a year that is some fine eating.

See your friends, see your neighbors. Enjoy a show in the grove while you eat a delicacy. Stay for the races and cheer on the local favorites! See YOU at the fair.

Got to wonder how much longer the whole Fair circuit will survive. I am sure it is one tradition that will not go away easily. Many, many kids remember the fair with love all their lives – the rides, the animals, the friends. But most fairs are just scraping by these days. We wish them another hundred years of success.

I got some questions for you

1) The two big stories of the week happened within the same hour on Thursday. One was the downing of the plane in Ukraine. What was the other?

2) The Branstad administration nixed a million dollar deal from the feds this week which would have studied what in Iowa?

3) Surprisingly, an overwhelming number (74%) of Republicans who have this like it very much. What is it?

4) Steve King is seeking to end this wage scale on projects paid for with federal funds. What is this wage scale called?

5) A proposed pipeline that would cut across Iowa would move oil from where?

6) Reaching back to a historic events, 25 years ago yesterday was a tragic day in Sioux City. What happened?

7) Another week, another judge declares laws against marriage equality invalid. What state joined the ranks of equality this week?

8) Netroots Nation met in Detroit this week. Along with all its other troubles, Detroit is now cutting what utility from households in arrears in payments?

9) 73 in real years, but still looking all of 17, what character died taking a bullet aimed at his gay friend?

10) You would think after this long this guy could run on his record. Who spent $1M on his re-election in 7 weeks?

11) After becoming a right wing whipping dog, what soldier is out of therapy and assigned to a low pressure desk job?

12) In Arizona, a Congressional candidate staged a big show of stopping a bus of immigrant kids only to be informed the bus was actually what?

13) In California, a measure to split the state up has enough signatures for the 2016 ballot. This measure will split California into how many states?

14) What major tech company announced it would be laying off 18,000 over the next year?

15) If you lived in Los Angeles and wanted to wash your car, how much might it cost you?

Where were you 45 years ago when Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon? I was working at a gas station on the interstate. I had a small B&W TV that barely got a picture. Customers came and went, most stopping for a few moments to watch events unfold. It was a magic day.


1) The invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel

2) Solar Energy

3) Obamacare or the ACA. Please keep fighting it, Republicans.

4) the prevailing wage scale

5) North Dakota (the Bakken Field)

6) United Airline Flight 232 crash landed after losing all flight controls

7) Florida

8) Water. Citizens of Detroit have appealed to the UN.

9) Archie Andrews. Killed off after a long run

10) Branstad. And no, he can’t run on his record

11) Bowe Bergdahl

12) a group of YMCA kids going to camp. He said they looked really scared

13) 6

14) Microsoft

15) $500 for frivolous use of water.

RAGBRAI??? Never heard of it!

Immigrants In Iowa – From IPP

Once more, the folks over at Iowa Policy Project take an hot button issue, take the emotion out of it and give us a sober fact based report. I certainly wish some of our politicians would take a cue from IPP in their actions. This month they look at the effect of immigrants in Iowa.

As an aside, in today’s parlance “immigrant’ has seemed to become synonomus with “Latino.” IPP in no way designates a specific group of immigrants in their report. This is some interesting reading for the Fourth of July weekend in a land built on immigration.
Immigrants in Iowa
What New Iowans Contribute to the State Economy

Immigrants are important to Iowa and its economy:
- generating income as workers, spending money as consumers, and contributing to state and federal revenues as taxpayers;
- starting businesses that contribute to local economic development and job creation; and
- contributing to the vitality and culture of Iowa communities.
In fact, immigrants make up about 4.3 percent of the Iowa population, account for 4.5 percent of the state’s economic output and represent 1 in 20 Iowa workers.

These contributions would increase further if immigration reform were to make work authorization or a path to citizenship possible for the subset of Iowa immigrants who currently lack such documents. That subset — undocumented immigrants — pays an estimated $64 million in state and local taxes, and another $37 million in federal payroll taxes.

In a new report for the Iowa Policy Project, researchers Heather Gibney and Peter Fisher explore the facts that should be part of an accurate understanding of Iowa’s immigrant population and its relationship to the state’s economy. Read our new report — or the two-page executive summary here.

immigrant contribution chart

Did you know? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over half of undocumented workers have federal and state income taxes withheld from paychecks, along with payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Yet they are unable to access benefits that they are helping to fund. Learn more in our new paper.