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Newtown: Two Years Later

protect children not guns

Who can forget the stunning news two years ago tomorrow. A mass shooting in a grade school. A grade school for God’s sake. Twenty kids under 7 killed in cold blood. Perhaps the worst horror anyone could imagine. Civilians dying in war is horrible. Children, innocent children, dying in war is an abomination. Children being slaughtered in one of what should be the safest havens in the world, an elementary school in peacetime in a country that claims to be peaceful, America. Horror beyond imagination.

We were out doing some Christmas shopping when the story came on the radio. I pulled the car off the road and started crying. When I regained composure, I called our daughter. I asked if she had heard what happened. She said yes she had. Just unbelievable she said. I didn’t know what to say. Hug that boy of yours extra tight today, I said. You never know what can happen.

We went home after that. What the hell does Christmas mean when some guy who has a grudge with the world can ruin lives forever in a moment of insanity or simply because he wants to?

With the loss of those lives hundreds were directly affected. Meaning was lost for them that days. Hope and dreams snuffed in a second. Thousands more would be affected personally. Millions upon millions reflected on what the sudden loss of a child in this way would mean to them or to their school or to their town or even their state.

There was a massive outcry at the time as there should have been. Many hoped that from this tragedy of tragedies that America would finally wake up and face their gun crisis. We lose far more people in this country do to shooting each other than we do to war, often at the hand of a loved one. Perhaps this would be the spark that would finally light the fire that would lead to sensible gun control laws.

But the corporate media and the NRA rode immediately to the defense of the gun industry. The NRA’s sole reason for existence is to make sure that the gun industry can continue to sell their tools of death without interference. Americans have a short memory. In the short space of a couple of months, the horror of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut had all but faded from the news. Those whose lives were shattered by the tragedy had been mostly ignored and once more a tragedy caused by guns was used by the industry to sell even more and more guns.

Tomorrow we will probably hear some speeches about guns and the broken lives they leave in their path. Will anything happen besides the sales of even more guns? Our corporate media spurs the fear of “others” through their slanted coverage of reaction to the deaths Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This fear divides us and drives us into silos from which we feel more comfortable attacking rather than talking.

There have been some 100 shootings in America’s schools since the tragedy in Newtown. Why should there have been even one more? Some 30,000 Americans die yearly from guns. Let us resolve to do what we must to stop the next one. And no, more guns are not the answer.

reagan on guns

Elizabeth Warren Asks: Who Does Congress Work for?

The House responds with a resounding “CORPORATIONS!” very late Thursday night. And it will only get worse after the first of the year, folks. Both in the country in general and in the state in particular

This is what America voted for? I doubt it, but no one told them that this (handing the government over to corporations) is what congress intended to do. It didn’t come up in the campaign. Americans are kept stupid by its corporate media. The corporate media is also the main driver in making far right wing policy the norm while making those of us who believe that government policy should be tilted for making life livable for all Americans. They have a vested stake.

Elizabeth Warren is the most visible of a small group of politicians that are fighting Wall Street for the very soul of the Democratic Party. They own the Republican party At the same time she is one of those fighting for a fair deal for citizens in their fight against turning the government over lock, stock and barrel to corporate interests. It is a small cadre of politicians that believe citizens and not corporations should be in charge of their government. Much as those who founded this country did.

From this corner we say “Go, Elizabeth, go.” We are behind you.

Democracy For America Still Drafting Warren For 2016

BURLINGTON, VT — Following the release of a POLITICO editorial by Governor Howard Dean announcing his intention to support the potential presidential candidacy of Sec. Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination, Democracy for America reiterated its decision, Tuesday, to join the emerging effort to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the Presidential campaign.  Click here for BFIA’s take on it.

Statement from Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America, on Gov. Dean’s Op-Ed:

“Democracy for America respects Governor Dean’s early support, as well as the commitment of the 24% of DFA members who voted for Sec. Clinton as their top choice in DFA’s recent poll of our membership on the 2016 presidential race. Senator Clinton would make a fantastic President and, should she win the nomination, DFA members will work non-stop to help her make history by becoming our nation’s first woman President.

“However, Senator Elizabeth Warren, not Secretary Clinton, recently won first place in our membership poll by nearly twenty points. Senator Warren’s record of standing up to Wall Street and the big banks in the fight against income inequality is inspiring Americans and progressive activists nationwide. The strong support for Warren and the bold populist progressive vision she’s outlined for our country is why, later today, we’ll ask our members to ratify our decision to join the emerging Draft Warren effort.

“We’ve said from the very beginning of our discussions of 2016 that one of DFA’s top priorities will be ensuring that the battle for the Democratic nomination is a contest, not a coronation. Our members clearly agree with that priority which is why we’re planning to work on drafting Warren into the Presidential race and aren’t ready to follow the Governor’s lead in making an early endorsement of Clinton.” — Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

Facts about Democracy for America, the 2016 Presidential Election, and Gov. Howard Dean:

  • This week, Democracy for America announced that it would ask its members to ratify its decision to join the emerging Draft Warren effort.
  • Conducted immediately following the 2014 mid-term election, Elizabeth Warren placed first in DFA’s 2016 Presidential Pulse Poll of its membership with 42.6% of the vote. Bernie Sanders placed second with 24% and Hillary Clinton placed third with 23%.
  • Full results of DFA’s 2016 poll can be viewed (and manipulated) at: poll.democracyforamerica. com/results
  • While now chaired by Gov. Dean’s brother Jim, Democracy for America was founded by Gov. Dean and he continues to serve in a strategic advisory role for the group.
  • Governor Dean has a history of endorsing early in Democratic primaries, often backing unexpected candidates, like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013.
  • Governor Dean and DFA often agree on endorsements. In 2014 alone, DFA and Dean raised and spent over $1 million for their jointly-endorsed, top priority “Dean Dozen” candidates.

T. Neil Sroka
Communications Director, Democracy for America

Howard Dean Is Ready For Hillary

Dean crowd 2004Howard Dean is campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  I find two things interesting about this: 

(1) Apparently, Clinton wants Howard Dean’s support. Since Dean was transformed into a radical lefty unhinged monster by the media in 2004, and has been effectively ostracized from the DC inner circle since the Obama presidency,  this is somewhat surprising.  I interpret it as a signal that she knows she needs progressives on board with her campaign.  Could it also be a signal that she intends to not repeat the errors of 2008 and that she intends to defy conventional DC wisdom in the execution of her 2016 presidential campaign?  

(2) Howard Dean’s grassroots organization DFA is simultaneously running a “Draft Elizabeth Warren” campaign.  In today’s media driven, rigid, black or white world, this would seem at odds.  But when you think about it, why not?    It is possible that two opposing views can co-exist:  Dean can support Hillary and still support the idea that a primary should not be a coronation, which he has repeatedly said.  Howard Dean and DFA going off in different directions is a happy celebration of the democratic process.

Dean’s op-ed in Politico makes a powerful case for a Hillary Clinton presidency, and calls to mind who I believe Hillary really is, a thoughtful, competent, hard working person who cares deeply about the country. 

 I’m Ready for Hillary

by Howard Dean

Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as President. If she runs, I will support her. I have known Hillary for almost twenty-five years. We first met when I was the governor of Vermont and she was the First Lady, giving us the opportunity to work together in various capacities, particularly on expanding health care access. During those years, I have learned that she is one of the most conscientious and competent people I have ever met. She has an enormous capacity to analyze and solve problems. She has a work ethic that drives her to persist until the job is done and done right. And she has a record in the Senate of successfully working with both sides of our very combative political spectrum in order to accomplish goals that improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

One of the most important reasons I am supporting her is because Secretary Clinton understands the institutional requirements of the Supreme Court. More than 73 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court is no longer a fair arbitrator and is influenced by political considerations. I am one of those 73 percent. This Court has repeatedly made decisions that have harmed our country for the sake of extending a political and ideological agenda that is far outside the mainstream of American traditions—on issues like campaign finance, voting rights, the rights of women, and religious freedom.

America needs a thoughtful President who will appoint judges and justices who will stand up for the Constitution and the law instead of catering to the dictates of those who fund the right-wing Federalist Society. I am confident that Hillary Clinton will provide that leadership.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton built up a strong record of working effectively with our partners and allies to deal with challenges to global peace. In her four years as Secretary of State, she traveled nearly a million miles and visited with foreign leaders in 112 countries to address common problems from terrorism to overcoming the oppression of women to global warming. She has the experience and knowledge required to protect American national security in a time of new challenges that threaten peace and prosperity, including the menace that is ISIL. Secretary Clinton’s work serving President Obama has earned the respect of any thinking American—including Republicans—both inside the Beltway and around the country.

Finally, although the statistics suggest the economy is improving, over 60% of Americans aren’t feeling good about their own situation. Nearly all of the gains in the past fifteen years have bypassed the vast majority of Americans, while the holdings of the top 20% have increased dramatically. This is a fundamental disparity that will be the greatest challenge our next President must tackle—how to reestablish a commitment to all of us to restore the opportunity to live and achieve the American Dream.

Hillary Clinton will not shrink from this challenge. In the coming months, I expect her to lay out her plans to attack income inequality and help rebuild the middle class. She knows how to sell a broad range of Americans on these policies, and has shown how to stand up against extremist economic policies.

America needs a President who will focus on the next hundred years, not one who hopes to turn the clock back by a hundred years. I am sure I will have disagreements with her as she focuses on getting Americans back to work and rebuilding an America that works for all of us. I value and respect her enough that whatever differences may exist will be minimal compared to the tasks we really need to do for the good of restoring our country. We need a mature, seasoned, thoughtful leader at a time when maturity and thoughtfulness are increasingly rare commodities in Washington, D.C.

If I have the opportunity, I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President.

Howard Dean is the former governor of Vermont and the former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Sports Teams and Racial Slurs

caucasiansby Ralph Scharnau

Team monikers at all levels of sports–professional and amateur–often rely on First Americans for the words on their jerseys and inspiration for their cartoonish mascots. The impact is nationwide because the National Football League, with a number of Indian named teams, sponsors the most watched sport in the U. S.

The debate over the racist name and mascot of the professional football team based in the nation’s capital, the “Redskins,” has intensified in recent months. Of all the offensive sports teams’ names, none has captured the attention of the media and the public as much as the Washington team. Ironically, this is also the most well-known team name and likely perceived by the public as the most innocuous.

Yet, the term, “Redskins,” carries linguistic and historical evidence that constitutes a disparaging epithet insulting to Native Americans. It derives from a 1755 British proclamation identifying Penobscot Indians in Massachusetts as enemies for resisting the colonization of their lands. The proclamation established a genocidal practice of scalping Native American men, women, and children to earn a bounty. A bounty hunter could prove he had killed a native by turning in scalps called “redskins.” Indians became wild animals to be hunted and skinned.

In a May 10, 2013 USA Today interview, Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington football team, indicated the name would never be changed. Whether Snyder likes it or not, his team’s name is a living reminder of this horrifying practice.

The American public has been conditioned by the sports industry, educational institutions, and the media to trivialize indigenous people and culture as common and harmless entertainment. Some fans insist their team’s name is an honorable tribute, not a bias, just a team name, not a slur. Others cite the loss of legacy and money involved in adopting a new name.
For decades, virtually every Native American organization has condemned the use of demeaning images associated with sports teams. The slurs are hurtful and insulting to our nation’s first inhabitants and their descendants. They promote negative stereotypes, reinforce erroneous and hateful information, and remind indigenous people of the limited ways in which others see them.

The real and harmful effects on indigenous people, particularly the young, occur every day. The American Psychological Association called for the “immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams, and organizations” nearly ten years ago. The American Counseling Association and the American Sociological Association also support elimination of these disgraceful, shameful, and racist stereotypes.
Indians have waged a long campaign urging sports leagues to stop promoting slurs that denigrate others on the basis of race and ethnicity. Major civil rights groups and coalitions of religious leaders have also pushed for name changes. A groundswell of DC public opinion now approves abandoning the “Redskins” name. Support has come from President Obama and a bipartisan group of fifty U. S. Senators as well. Even staunch right-wingers like Representative Tom Cole, himself a Native American, and columnist Charles Krauthammer have called for a new name.

The movement against offensive Native American names and imagery has had an impact with the number of First American logos, names, and mascots dropping from over 3,000 in 1970 to less than 1,000 today. Many colleges and universities across the country have dropped their Native American names, mascots, and logos.

The issue here is not political correctness but promoting human dignity. Using Indian names, likenesses, and religious symbols to excite the crowd at athletic contests shows disrespect and dishonor. The elimination of the misrepresentations and abuses of Indian images, names, and spirituality will require much more work.

Ralph Scharnau
December 4, 2014

Because Women’s Lives Matter

Pro Katha Pollitt“Pro, Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” a just-published book by Katha Pollitt, could just as easily have been called “Because Women’s Lives Matter,” adopting the phrase used in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting. Framing reproductive rights as a Civil Right must be asserted if we are to successfully combat the increasing prohibitions against not only abortion but even birth control.

“Pro” is also a book about civil rights for women who choose to have children. This task – so crucial to the survival of humanity – is horribly maligned by our economic and political policies that make parenting extremely difficult if not impossible for many poor women and/or women who want to also fulfill their lives with careers outside the home.

Pollitt spends many pages in the book describing women’s rights to raise children in a society that truly values motherhood with equal pay laws, child care subsidies, access to health care and education, family planning guidance, and respect for the work women do in and out of the home.

“Pro” is an unapologetic and well-researched book about the right of a woman to make reproductive choices based on her unique needs, which is precisely the compromise made when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v Wade. This basic right for the sex of our species that gets impregnated from the widely practiced sex act underlies all other rights that women have. If she can’t control her body, how can she ever control her wages, her career, her family, or any other aspect of her life?

However, this fundamental right of women to lead their own lives is exactly what so offends the patriarchy that still largely governs public and private life on this planet.

See, the anti-choice movement is not about protecting life; it is about controlling women’s lives. More specifically, disallowing her to have reproductive freedom keeps her in a position of lesser power in society and in the home. As one woman stated in a Playboy interview published in 1970 before Roe v Wade, “I feel like I don’t have to be declared nutty to make up for the fact that my diaphragm didn’t work. I refuse to go through this humiliating process.”

At that time, before the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, some women in some circumstances in some states could still have a legal abortion. She had to prove she was mentally unstable to a court. Or she had to have enough money to get an illegal abortion at a provider willing to skirt the law at the right price. Or have access to any of the women’s support network that existed to enable a woman to not have to give birth because she conceived.

Legalization of abortion has little effect on the number of abortions women have. In fact one million American women had abortions each year before Roe. The same number of women have abortions today, but under the safety of legality. Furthermore it is safer for a woman to abort than to carry the fetus to full term. Only .6 in 100,000 women die as a result of abortions- compared to 8.8 women per 100,000 who die of child birth. This liability is the reason why most health insurance plans covered abortion before it became an issue with the Affordable Care Act. According to the National Institutes of Health “Legal induced abortion is markedly safer than childbirth.”

The decision to bear a child is among the most significant decisions women make. And since women, who by nature and evolution, are the sex that are equipped to do this, it must be women who are enabled to make a decision as a personal choice. As Pollitt puts in her crucial book, let women decide. Women’s right to decide for themselves when and if having a child is good for her and her family is, according to Pollitt, “a positive social good.”

Tracy Leone
Iowa Federation of Labor

Today On The Fallon Forum

fallon forumCatch this week’s Fallon Forum live on Monday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM “La Reina.” Join the conversation by calling in at (515) 528-8122. And you can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 5:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.

Dear Friends,

“What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.” – Samuel Gompers, founder and long-time president of the American Federation of Labor

The American Labor movement has a prestigious history of accomplishments that benefit each and every one of us. Samuel Gompers – who died ninety years ago this week – provided the Labor movement not just with leadership and vision, but with a firm moral compass as well.

Yet as I walked across America, I met hundreds of hard-working people who had lost faith in Labor – people whose lives and land were being ruined by fracking, pipelines and pollution from oil and gas refineries. In each case, Labor’s leaders turned a deaf ear to the plight of those in the cross hairs of fossil-fuel expansion. They were focused solely on jobs to the point that they no longer cared what impact those jobs had on the well-being of others and future generations.

And I had to ask, “Has Labor lost its moral compass?”

As I attended one of the public meetings on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline last week, I thought about Gompers. Sure, everyone can get behind building a school. But what would Gompers say when it came to building jails, prisons, arsenals or pipelines? Would he agree with the leadership of the Iowa AFL-CIO in choosing to side with Big Oil over farmers, landowners, environmentalists, and the long-term best interest of its own members? I seriously doubt it.

I panned the roughly 250 people in attendance at last week’s public meeting and saw a crowd mostly opposed to the pipeline, or at best unconvinced. Then there was the other side: a few officials and staff of the corporations that will get rich; a handful of labor union reps; and some key Democratic and Republican operatives, including a former state party chair (Republican) and a former legislative leader (Democrat).

So, what does the Iowa Democratic Party Platform say relevant to the proposed pipeline?

“We support . . . Converting from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy;”

“We oppose . . . Tar sands oil/Keystone XL Pipeline;” and

“We oppose . . . Favoring private enterprise with Eminent Domain.” (On this point, the platform of the Republican Party of Iowa concurs.)

Given their history and stated policy, leaders of both the Iowa AFL-CIO and the Iowa Democratic Party should come out against the Bakken Oil Pipeline. In doing so, they would stand with their core constituencies and demonstrate an integrity and vision that look beyond short-term job creation and the next election cycle.

ed fallonAnd yes, they’d make Samuel Gompers proud.

Thanks, and I hope to meet you on the airwaves this week!

Ed Fallon

Holiday Giving With The NDAA

Photo Credit - Reuters

Photo Credit – Reuters

Congress put an unexpected gift under the Christmas tree the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has become.

The U.S. is poised to give a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of national forest in Arizona that is cherished ancestral homeland to Apache natives. Details of the proposed land deal can be found here.

The giveaway of Apache burial, medicinal, and ceremonial grounds is currently within the bounds of Tonto National Forest. Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining company Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, is to be the beneficiary of Congress’ largesse at the expense of Apache natives.

News of the land provision in the NDAA was kept under wraps until late Tuesday, when the bill was finally posted online. The land deal appears on page 1,105. The bill passed the U.S. House on Thursday 300-119. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate where it is expected to pass during the lame duck session.

The Resolution Copper website describes the deal as “developing an Arizona copper resource to benefit the world. Located near Superior, Arizona, the  project hosts one of the world’s largest untapped copper resources.”

The Apache have a different view.

“Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland,” Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe said, referring to the overall area in question. “We’ve had dancers in that area forever — sunrise dancers — and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.”

Rambler said whether Rio Tinto’s economic assertions are true or not, it may not matter.

“It seems like us Apaches and other Indians care more about what this type of action does to the environment and the effects it leaves behind for us, while others tend to think more about today and the promise of jobs, but not necessarily what our creator God gave to us,” he said.

This year Congress named the NDAA the “Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” after the retiring Senate and House Armed Services Committee chairmen. Arizona Senator John McCain is said to have been instrumental in getting the mining deal added to the law.

“The Resolution Copper project has the potential to utterly transform these communities (near Superior, Arizona),” wrote McCain in an article in AZCentral. “At full capacity, the mine could create as many as 4,000 jobs and produce roughly 25 percent of our nation’s domestic copper supply. Arizona as a whole will likely benefit from tens of billions of dollars in increased economic activity over the lifespan of the mine.”

This is who we have become as a nation. Exploring for and producing every last resource on the globe, regardless of long standing and legitimate concerns, for the sake of jobs.

Where will the copper go? It will be traded on the world market. One of the buyers is expected to be the country with the biggest shopping cart. Today’s that’s China. Another indicator of the times in which we live.

The government favors the military, and since the NDAA is expected to pass each and every year, what better place to hang an ornament of interest to the richest corporations in the world? The goal is economic development, but at what cost? Politicians like John McCain don’t answer that question.

Say Hello To ALEC’s Little Brother, ACCE

just in case legislators forget what to do

just in case legislators forget what to do

Maybe you missed it because there was no birth announcement. The lack of a birth announcement is probably due to the fact that the parents, Charles and David Koch and their corporate concubines don’t want anyone to know. Just like ACCE’s bigger brother, ALEC, ACCE works best behind closed doors and under a rock. ACCE stands for “American City County Exchange.” This will allow the Koch to – shall we say – get involved in your local city councils and county government.

If the Kochs and their lackey congress critters can’t turn the government over to business at the national level, they will work to do so at the state level through their lackey legislatures. And now if they can’t turn government into their personal servant at the national or state level, they now have a new surreptitious organization to corrupt at the local level. If you feel that government is becoming responsive only to those with money, you are right. This is just what the Kochs want. After all they have the money and lots of friends with money.

ALEC and ACCE just completed a session meeting behind closed doors with corporate biggies rubbing elbows with legislators and now supervisors and councillors. Playing kind of a reverse Santa Claus where Santa sits on the knee of the legislators asking for presents. Later there will be campaign donations in a world where campaigns are conducted mostly on the expensive media.

While ALEC seldom announces their want list, we can make some informed guesses. However, the ALEC watchdog group at the Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD) PR Watch published what they believed to be on this year’s wish list. So from the the CMD, here is an educated forecast for what we may soon see popping up as “model legislation” for legislatures around the country:

Blocking Local Minimum Wage Increases
Citizens in red states like Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota voted overwhelmingly in favor of raising their state’s minimum wage on November 4, as did Republican and Democratic voters in states like Wisconsin, where twenty communities supported advisory referendums in favor of raising the wage.

With such a clear divide between the policies that voters support and those that ALEC corporate interests like the National Restaurant Association (which has been fighting for a $2.13 sub-minimum wage) want legislators to implement, the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force will feature a presentation on “Minimum Wage Preemption Policies.”

ALEC has long pushed bills like the “Living Wage Preemption Act” to block city, county, or local governments from enacting progressive economic initiatives like a higher minimum wage. In light of the renewed grassroots push for fair wage laws, this bill to crush a local government’s ability to increase wages in their community will likely be a top ALEC priority in 2015. (ALEC legislators have also been active in banning local paid sick day efforts, passing 10 laws after Wisconsin’s paid sick days preemption bill was shared at ALEC’s August 2011 meeting).

Local Right to Work

The ACCE meeting will also feature a presentation titled “Local Right to Work: Protect my Paycheck.” ALEC has long pushed anti-union “Right to Work” laws, which allow non-union members to free-ride on union representation, reaping the benefits of union negotiations for wages and benefits but without paying the costs. Michigan’s right to work law, for example, was a word-for-word copy of ALEC’s model legislation and sponsored by ALEC members.

With ACCE, ALEC is now trying to promote this anti-union legislation at the local level.

In September, the Washington Examiner reported that “Conservatives are starting to push the idea that city and county governments can pass union-restricting right-to-work laws, even though it may not be legal and has been tried only a handful of times in the last 70 years.” It is unclear whether local governments have the authority to pass right to work under the Taft-Hartley National Labor Relations Act, but in August the Heritage Foundation issued a report arguing that they do. Heritage hosted a panel discussion on local right to work in August featuring representatives of ACCE, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, and highlighted what they viewed as opportunities for local ordinances in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Those are the two top wishes, but of course business asks for a big package which will also include:

Depriving Low-Wage Workers of Health Insurance

Electronic cigarettes – stopping legislation on vaping nicotine

Protesting “Global Taxes” on Tobacco

Regulating Ride-Share Companies – exempting Uber and Lyft from common carrier laws

Industry-Friendly Dental Bills – moving dental services to less trained “practitioners”

Rigging the Game for Insurers – pretty self explanatory

Free Trade! – again self-explanatory

School Privatization – one of ALEC’s perennials, but once more carving out new areas for business to control. From the article: As one ALEC member told an ALEC education subcommittee earlier this year, “we need to stamp out local control.”

Please go to the link and read the sickening details of how the Kochs and their compadres plan to subvert our government for their business interests.

Sunday Funday – Awful Christmas Shows Edition

So easy an elf could ace this one

So easy an elf could ace this one

It is always a challenge anymore to see if we can withstand the onslaught of horrible Christmas shows with so many has been or never were stars singing Christmas songs in tortured ways that cause the writers of said songs to roll in their graves. This is in addition to the knuckleheads that insist that saying “happy holidays” or anything that isn’t “merry christmas” is an insult. Sorry there Bubba, but it is just a greeting that happens every year around the winter solstice. There are many religions and non-religions that celebrate the return of the sun somewhere in December that most any greeting is okay.

It was a quiet week wasn’t it? Or Maybe it wasn’t:

1) Meeting in Washington, DC last week what extreme business oriented group handed out their desired laws for next year to state legislators?

2) Can you identify the Tamir Rice mentioned in today’s introduction?

3) “December 7, 1941 – A day that will live in infamy.” Who spoke these words before a joint session of Congress?

4) December 5th, 1933 was indeed a day to celebrate. An era ended on that day when the 21st amendment to the constitution repealed what?

5) Information meetings began across Iowa preparing for the construction of what?

6) Maybe you didn’t notice, but last week America officially became the world’s #2 economy behind what other country?

7) Were “Black Friday” sales – a retail indicator every year – up or down this year?

8) A congressional committee is investigating Japanese auto parts maker Takata for what defective part they have supplied to numerous auto makers?

9) Yesterday was one of the first holidays of December, a month with many holidays. This holiday is big in Europe. What holiday was celebrated yesterday?

10) Akai Gurley was shot by police in a stairway by police in Brooklyn. What unusual step did police then take as Mr. Gurley lay dying?

11) As one wit said “He pointed at himself and said “Out!” Dale Scott became the first member of what profession to come out as gay?

12) Iowa’s Board of Regents voted last week to do what to tuition at Iowa’s regent universities last week?

13) As badly needed as the rain and snow were, it brought a mixed bag of good effects and bad to what drought stricken state last week?

14) SCOTUS justices heard arguments Wednesday in the case of a woman who was refused to be given light duty and then was fired by UPS because of what physical condition she had acquired?

15) While police and National Guard confront protestors on the streets of Ferguson, Mo. what armed volunteer militia is watching the proceedings from rooftops?

Bonus: The US did something it hasn’t done for 42 years Friday. Do you know what it was?

Double bonus: The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear oral arguments in a case involving Texas’ ability to choose the messages it allows on government-issued license plates. What symbol is Texas trying to keep off its license plates?

Stay warm – soon we celebrate the return of the sun.



2) The 12 year old boy shot in Cleveland by police. He had a pellet gun in his hands at the time in a nearly deserted park.

3) FDR

4) the 18th amendment aka prohibition

5) the Bakken oil pipeline that will cut across Iowa diagonally

6) China

7) down about 11% and that includes Thanksgiving day sales

8) air bags – they have exploded in some vehicles for no reason killing some.

9) St. Nicholas Day

10) texted their union representative.

11) baseball umpires

12) freeze tuitions for in state students for the 3rd year in a row

13) California

14) pregnancy

15) Oath Keepers (how do they get away with that you wonder? So do I)

Bonus: Launched a crew capable space craft above low earth orbit

Double Bonus: The confederate flag. (maybe I am nuts but isn’t that a flag of treason?)