Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
October 2014
« Sep    

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


Joni Ernst Meeting with SCJ Editorial Board

Quoting Wonkette“You can watch the entire, excruciating hour-long conversation here, although castration would probably be less painful.”

20 reasons Not To Re-elect Branstad

branstad jobs numbers

A big thanks to Don Paulson of Muscatine for letting me use and combine his two LTTEs to his local paper into one complete list of Branstad “accomplishments.”

We need to elect Jack Hatch as Iowa’s governor! There are a lot of blemishes on the record of our current governor. Here are twenty reasons not to re-elect Terry Branstad-

#20- Branstad’s campaign pulled a dirty trick by creating a fake Jack Hatch website.

#19- Branstad actually hosted the Family Research Council’s “hate fest” in Ames earlier this year.

#18- At a Texas fundraiser Branstad admitted support for “tort reform”.

#17- In an insult to the principle of the separation of church and state, Branstad was an active participant and signed a state declaration for Bob Vander Plaats’s “Day of Prayer and Fasting”.

#16- The renovations at the Iowa Veterans Home are mired in controversy.

#15- Branstad’s Administration gave up a $1 million solar grant.

#14- His corporate tax cut will leave cities and counties short of funds.

#13- The Orascom boondoggle.

#12- With our roads and bridges falling apart, Branstad has shown zero leadership on raising the gas tax.

#11- Branstad has cost the taxpayers over $500,000 in legal fees in trying to unfairly get rid of Christopher Godfrey.

#10- Branstad illegally closed the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.

#9- Branstad illegally closed 36 unemployment offices at the height of the Great Recession.

#8- Iowa’s water pollution and soil erosion are still a huge problem.

#7- Branstad’s Administration took the Chief Administative Law Judge’s position and made it susceptible to political pressure from the Governor’s office.

#6- Branstad still has close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

#5- Branstad has failed to cut the cost of state government. According to a study reported in the 8/31/14 Des Moines Register, state spending has gone up 17.5%.

#4- Another one of Branstad’s big goals was to create 200,000 jobs. So far the net number of jobs created since 2011 is around 74,000.

#3- Another big Branstad goal was to increase Iowa family incomes by 25%. Here was another miserable failure. According to the same Register study incomes have gone up just 0.17%.

#2- Branstad packed the Iowa Board of Medicine with people that did away with Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine arrangement.

#1- Instead of expanding Medicare, Branstad tried to push through a vastly inferior health insurance plan called the “Healthy Iowa Plan”.

#0- A state auditor report has found there have been 42 settlement agreements by this Administration totaling $2.4 million dollars.

These reasons should give everyone pause about re-electing Terry Branstad. Another reason may be his health.

At the first debate, Branstad’s shaking hands and erratic behavior was plainly evident. Does he have Parkinson’s disease or something like that? The rumors persist that if re-elected Branstad will step down after a time and allow the incredibly average Kim Reynolds to become governor without having to go through an election.

I’ve Got A Thousand Million Questions

A line from that Moody Blues song “Question” –
“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

And budgets and the wealth gap and the environment and health care and education and … well many more. Can I substitute for Dean Borg one week? Please?

1) Let’s start with the budget. Once again we appear to be moving to war with no talk of how we will pay for the bombs and the planes and the soldiers so on and so forth. Yet that will not stop us from going to war. However, we have bridges about to fall down, schools that are unsafe, sewer and water lines bursting around the country that are not being addressed. Why do we always have money for war, but no money for infrastructure needs?

2) An add on to the previous question, how will you pay for the next war? Please be specific on added taxes or program cuts and who will be affected.

3) Around the country we have seen corporations create major public damage to common goods like waterways, aquifers, land, health and more yet they walk away from responsibility for those damages. Tell me what you will do to relieve taxpayers of the burden of corporate irresponsibility?

4) As a country we have spent trillions to secure oil from the middle east through wars and standing armies and aid. It looks as though we will be in the middle east as long as we need oil. What are your proposals to get off the oil addiction?

5) who are you largest donors? What will they get for their investment in you?

6) When we go into war, the lives and bodies of soldiers are broken. We have been greatly negligent in repairing those broken lives and bodies. Would you favor a tax to pay for soldier maintenance throughout their lives before we send them into war?

7) Should there be a tax or cost added to products to pay for their impact on the environment?

8) Why do companies get tax breaks when they move jobs and facilities out of the US? What will you do to bring these jobs and facilities back? How will your approach work.

9) There is a new awareness of battered women in this country. What have you done in the past to address this problem and what do you propose that the government can do?

10) Finally – It has been nearly 2 years since the Sandy Hook massacre. We are killing each other as if we are in an internal war. What proposals will you advance to end this slaughter and tell us why they will work?

I could go on and I bet you could also. I really want to hear questions that affect our daily lives and see if the politicians understand what their platitudes mean.

“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

Sunday Funday – Oops About That Harkin Steak Fry

harkin_braleyIf I am not wrong I wrote last week’s quiz as if the last Harkin Steak Fry was last week. I am a total Bozo, but I am not telling you anything you already didn’t know. If you did go to the event last week you no doubt secured an excellent seat. Hopefully you get squatter’s rights for this week.

Thirty-seven years is a long time. I think phones were still connected to the wall 37 years ago. Thank you Senator and a long life to you. By the way, I certainly hope we don’t see you as a lobbyist for any corporation.

And now: the quiz!

1) In recent years Harkin has invited 3 folks who have made noises about running for the Democratic nomination in 2016 besides Hillary. Can you name them (hint: 2008,2011, 2012)

2) Which state has had its bond rating downgraded for the seventh time and second this year under their governor who wants to be president?

3) The eyes of the world will be on what want-to-be nation next week as it votes for its independence?

4) At a Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Maquoketa, a gunman died while apparently trying to kill what county official?

5) Experimental vaccines have kept a group of macaque monkeys free from what disease for 10 months?

6) Two Minnesota senators have addressed the crowd at the Harkin steak fries over the years. Can you name them?

7) Multitudes of female Ravens fans attended Thursday night’s game wearing the jersey of what Ravens player?

8) The National Organization for Women (NOW) called for the resignation of what business leader this week?

9) On Wednesday, President Obama announced what strategy for the Middle East?

10) The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for the first time ever fewer than half of American adults were what?

11) DNA tests revealed Aaron Kosminski as one of history’s most sought after mystery men. Who was Aaron Kominsky revealed to be?

12) Yet another major retailer announced that its credit customers may have been compromised. What retailer announced it was hacked this time?

13) What major world economy contracted at an annual rate of 7.1% in the second (April – June) quarter?

14) The Apple watch was introduced this week. The screen of the Apple watch will be made of what ultra-hard substance?

15) The sheriff of Rock Island County, Illinois resigned this week when he pled guilty to official misconduct for what actions?

It was a busy week. Bet Senator Harkin won’t miss the foofahrah all that much.


1) 2008 – Brian Schweitzer, 2011 – Bernie Sanders and 2012 – Martin O’Malley

2) New Jersey

3) Scotland

4) the county assessor – he had a tax complaint.

5) Ebola

6) Paul Wellstone and Al Franken

7) the suspended for domestic violence Ray Rice

8) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of the Rice affair.

9) air strikes on ISIL

10) married – maybe we need more marriage equality.

11) Jack the Ripper

12) Home Depot

13) Japan

14) sapphire glass

15) cyber stalking a woman.

Americans Need To Work Together To Solve Our Nation’s Problems

together we will standLooking for a way forward, a new vision for our country calls us to step outside of our comfort zones.  How can we work together to solve our county’s problems? One of the first steps will be to properly identify problems, and their causes. Another is to let go of ideas that may have worked in our past, but aren’t working now – being willing to take pieces from our favorite “isms” and join them with others to form paths forward.

Could our national “character” use a little tweaking towards more gentleness and cooperation, and less fear and competitiveness?

Separating the ideals of how we would like government to work, from the pragmatics of what we actually have available to work with, and what is actually possible.

Can we solve the debt issue? If we (temporarily!) value the principle of low taxes less than the solving of our debt, yes we can! Through restructuring our tax systems (temporarily!) by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and changing loopholes, we can erase our enormous debt.

While doing that, we also need to discuss the deficit in our budget using sound mathematics and accounting principles rather than ideological principles. We need to be willing to reassess priorities. We need to debate respectfully how our “scope of government” and “the general welfare” might be different in this century, from the time period when our nation began.

We spend a tremendous amount of money on public assistance of various kinds. Romney’s figure of 47% will do for an example. Mathematically, is this percentage of “non-producers” in our economy sustainable? Of course not! In a perfect world, that percentage would be zero, but that is not a realistic goal. This is where accurately identifying the underlying causes of this problem comes in if we want to lower that percentage permanently.

If we are assisting people who can’t make ends meet because they are not educated enough for “good jobs,” wouldn’t investing more up front for their education be both more economically sensible and offering them more dignity as humans? If we are assisting people who can’t keep a job due to health issues, isn’t investing in supportive, early intervention health care that keeps them more productive both more logical and dignified?

The only thing keeping us from investing properly in our citizens and our future, is our fixation on the principle of “making it on our own.”  This principle needs the perspective of properly defining average versus exceptional. Our American “rags to riches” dream celebrates the success of exceptional people. We are not all exceptional people. By definition, very few of us are exceptional. Most of us are average, some of us are below average, no matter what category we discuss.

Can we solve our off-kilter political system? To perfection, no. Since so many of us are too frustrated to participate in elections, should we come up with a different form of governing? Should we limit who “qualifies” to vote, or should we pay more than lip service to educating voters?

Governing, or managing happens. In business contexts, we value the concept of managing. We seem to view managing/governing in our civil lives as evil. Either we manage our society with accountable elected officials, or we let others manage it, i.e., religious groups or business interests who are not accountable to us.

Our management needs are different now than when we began and “small government” is another principle that distracts us from improving how government does its job.

Let us admit that we cannot reach any of our desired Utopias, and work on things we can fix, together.

Laura Twing



Sunday Funday: The Last Harkin Steak Fry

Senator Tom Harkin

Senator Tom Harkin

In case you forgot today is the last annual Harkin Steak Fry. This is an annual fundraiser that helps pay a lot of bills for the Iowa Democratic Party. We can’t go this year due to previous commitments, but we do encourage all others. In case you hadn’t heard (do you live in a cave?) the headliners this year are that family from Arkansas, the Clintons.

We have been to a couple of these events. Always ran into friends from across the state. This was the main attraction for us. We did see an up and comer from Chicago name of Obama one year. I think that odd name may have held him back from going anywhere in politics.

Were you paying attention last week?

1) First the bad news. Oktoberfests in Germany are being threatened by a strike by the makers of what?

2) Jack Hatch claimed Branstad “can’t buy back his integrity.” What was Hatch referring to?

3) Eric Cantor couldn’t wait to leave his old job to get to his new job. How much will Cantor make in his first year as a Wall Street lobbyist?

4) Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager quit. This man is the central figure in the bribery conviction of what former Iowa state senator?

5) Amid crises in the Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq what group met in Wales last week?

6) A federal judge in New Orleans ruled Thursday that what company was guilty of “gross negligence” in the 2010 Gulf oil spill?

7) What would be football pioneer was released by the Rams and is now a free agent?

8) What scion of a notable American political family left her job as an NBC reporter, raising speculation one of her parents would run for president?

9) Thursday marked a major job action by workers in what industry?

10) Spontaneous combustion was blamed for a fire near Sioux Center that burned a large amount of what?

11) From the governor’s mansion to the jail house. The last governor of what state is now facing decades in jail after being convicted of corruption?

12) In a major breach of privacy what were leaked and posted on the internet?

13) President Obama pledged to defend what states against a threat from Russia?

14) A judge in Chicago had a two-fer Thursday when he overturned gay marriage bans in what two states at one time?

15) What company announced the siting of its giant battery factory in Nevada after a huge multi-state competition?

As most know, Joan Rivers died last week. She was truly a unique personality.

Now for some answers:

1) Pretzels. Pretzel bakers are threatening a strike just before Oktoberfest.

2) The hush money scandal that continues to swirl around the Branstad administration.

3) $3.4 million. That is about $10,000 a day.

4) Kent Sorenson


6) BP. finally someone is standing up to them.

7) Michael Sam

8) Chelsea Clinton.

9) Fast food industry protesting low wages.

10) Corn, about 2.7 million bushels.

11) Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell

12) private celebrity nude photos, apparently hacked from a cloud storage site.

13) the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)

14) Indiana and Wisconsin

15) Tesla. The plant is expected to employ 6,500.

Should be good fall weather for the Harkin event. I hope everyone enjoys it.

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!