Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
April 2014
« Mar    

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 Funday – Happy Birthday, Part Deux

just not sure

just not sure

I think we all had a bit of fun bouncing all over in the time machine last week. The bruises on my head have recovered and I am ready to go again. And no, I will not wear a helmet nor ask directions for I am a man.

Buckle up and let’s hop in the old time machine once again.

1) Just this week we had one noted person quit a job and a replacement hired. Who will replace David Letterman on CBS’ late night show?

2) On April 10, 2004 a Presidential Daily Briefing from August 2001 is declassified. What is the headline for the Briefing?

3) One day you are nobody, next day you are in the news. This week Mike Carroll became well known to Iowans. Why?

4) In April of 2004, fighting continued in this city that had started when a convoy of American contractors was ambushed coming into the city. What city had this siege?

5) The Party Is Over! What came to a crashing end Wednesday night up in Ames?

6) On April 14, 2004 then Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft put the blame on who for the 9/11 attacks? (before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks)

7) 2004. The US is still using a color coded advisory system of terrorist activity. Can you name the colors in order from least to worst terrorist potential?

8) What European nation pulled its troops from Iraq in April 2004 following the election of a leftist government?

9) Back to Iowa this week. During an interview on IPR Governor Branstad said he might consider signing a bill making limited used of what legal?

10) Making a bid to be the first man to lose to two different women in two different states (in two years might I add), who threw his hat into the New Hampshire Senate race Thursday?

11) Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Home Run no. 715, what baseball great compared Obama’s critics to the KKK that threatened him in 1974?

12) In sports this week the starting guard for what division I school came out as gay?

13) In another step backwards for the women’s vote this fall, Republicans blocked what legislation this week?

14) Kiss and Tell. A Republican representative from Louisiana was caught on tape kissing an aid. What happened to the Aid?

15) Ten years later they did it again. What school won both the Men’s and Women’s college basketball tournaments?

16) Authenticated as ancient papyrus, this document indicates who was married?

17) You can’t go back to Kansas, Toto. What did Kathleen Sebelius do before she became the secretary of HHS?

18) Worldwide carbon dioxide levels average 400 PPM last week. This is the highest levels in how many years?

19) April 29th of 2004 what car company made its final car, ending over a century in business?

20) April 1st of 2004 what email service is launched?

Whew – It was a busy week. Well how about some answers?

1) David Letterman announced he would retire and CBS picked Stephen Colbert to replace him

2) “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”

3) He was the head of the Department of Administrative Services in Iowa and was fired by Branstad over the secret payoff scandal.

4) Fallujah

5) Veishea

6) President Clinton and Jamie Gorelick

7) Blue, least concern then green, yellow, orange and red.

8) Spain

9) medical marijuana

10) Scott Brown

11) Hank Aaron

12) University of Massachusetts

13) Equal pay for equal worth

14) She was fired by the representative

15) Connecticut

16) Jesus

17) Governor of Kansas

18) 800,000

19) Oldsmobile

20) gmail

See you next week!

Happy Birthday, Blogforiowa

birthday cake
Just a brief note on how blogforiowa and I crossed paths. I think the process I went through may be a process that many have gone through in the recent years. I have not been a highly political person all my life. I have been someone who tries to listen to arguments, evaluate them with what I know to be true and thus evaluate their validity.

Briefly , I was quite active on the college campus during the late ’60s and early ’70s against the Viet Nam War and for equal rights for all. Following the end of the War and what looked like real advancements in rights for all, I dropped out of politics and did what many others did. It was time for a job, a home and a family. We had some severe health adversity in our lives, so we did not in any way have a nice normal life. But we endured and raised a couple of fine young women.

Our kids finished college about the time that George W. Bush was given the presidency. It was not as though I was looking for something to do. I was quite happy to have an empty nest and some time of my own to work with. However, while we struggled through the ’80s with our problems, I could not help but notice a change in the attitudes of my fellow workers and the company I worked for. Things were less friendly. People all around seemed less giving, especially toward those who were poorer.

I must interject here that I spent 12 years in Catholic schools. One thing that stuck with me throughout all those years were the Church’s teachings on social justice. While the Church and I have long since parted ways, teachings on social justice have been my constant companion. At the base of these teachings is the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We rolled into the 2000s and like many I was not closely following politics day to day, but the trumped up impeachment had piqued my interest. The whole idea of impeaching a president on a personal matter was out of bounds. This was a signal that things were way out of whack in Washington. Folks I was working with couldn’t see a problem. They were mostly mouthing what they had heard on the TV or radio.

This was the beginning of the feeling of isolation that I would feel for the next several years. The internet was new, but we were not yet connected. Thus I was unable to see that the feelings that we were going through were shared by millions. As the Bush presidency proceeded we became more and more uncomfortable with our political situation. The direction that our country took after 9/11 had us truly puzzled.

Then one day I was substitute teaching and the regular teacher had left his computer up on the internet. He had left a site up called I found kindred spirits. One of the links was to, AKA the orange Satan. Once more I found thousands of kindred spirits. I also began reading material I had seen nowhere else. One of my real problems was that I knew as the Bush group led us to war that we were being lied to, I just didn’t know what the truth was.

From there we actively sought out those of our persuasion. The first place I looked was the Democratic Party in our county. Our county was quite red at the time, which had enhanced our isolation. I rather pushed my way in. Later I would attend candidate meet and greets and other gatherings. One of my personal concerns was that the almost total control of the media by right wing groups be broken up. The fact that we could not find information on what was really happening in the world was evidence to me that access to information in the United States was sorely lacking.

At one meet and greet there was an appearance by a group called Iowans for Better Local Television. Folks that were almost on my wavelength. We made friends with these folks and remain close today. 2004 was coming and I had decided that it was time to get back into the political saddle. When I heard Howard Dean enumerating the sins of Bushco that we had learned the hard way, we hooked on to his campaign and stayed on to the end and beyond.

We worked for Kerry that year, but Dr. Dean was still the one who had our hearts. Since those days we continued to run into various friends we made through the Dean campaign. Trish Nelson asked me to write an article or two for blogforiowa. There was no reason to be a shrinking violet anymore. We have kids, and we wanted to do what we could to change the direction of the country. This seemed like a good place to start.

I am learning so much every week doing this. Like most bloggers, it is a labor of love. Plus I get to run a weekly trivia page which I so enjoy.

Iowa Families Struggle to Meet Basic Needs‏


Today we put out the second installment of our Cost of Living in Iowa report, which found 1 in 6 Iowa households do not make what is needed for a basic-needs household budget (3 out of 5 single-parent households).

Basic RGB

As co-author Peter Fisher noted in our news release:
“No one discussing issues such as the minimum wage, and eligibility for child-care assistance, can reasonably ignore the economic realities facing these families.”

Find the report here:

Kind regards,
The IPP Staff

Mike Owen
Executive Director

The Stink In The Air? Koch Money In Iowa Politics!

It seems like it is almost impossible to turn on the TV in Eastern Iowa right now without hearing what a supposedly bad man Bruce Braley is. Night and day, day and night the spots play endlessly pounding the message over and over. Welcome to the world where those with too much money have been given a green light to spend as much money as they want thanks to two horrible Supreme Court decisions, Citizens United and McCutcheon.

Through various think tanks, action committees, 501c4 committees and who knows what other venues, Charles and David Koch are able to use their money to constantly drive their message into our homes. To me it is like them coming into my house and farting over and over and over. They expect me to love the smell of their stink because they are so rich that whatever they do is beatiful because of their money. They also seem to believe they can put a mask over their faces in the form of a front organization and we won’t figure out that it is Charles and David who are actually doing the farting.

But the masks have been pulled back and there are Charles and David bald faced, stinking up the air. I do not want them im my house anymore and I am betting that they have stunk up the air so badly in Iowa that most Iowans want them to take their stink somewhere else. Bruce Braley is not the only one the Kochs are trying to harm with their stinking money. Braley is only the best known one they are going after. Remember last fall when Koch money tried to buy some seats in the Coralville municipal election? That sure stunk when it was uncovered.

No doubt whoever is Braley’s Republican opponent this fall will have the weight of the Koch brother’s stinky money to run with. Sure many may think that having the constant drumbeat of smelly “educational” PAC advertisements is a good thing. But it will be a two edged sword. Iowa voters will know that there will be some expected payback for all the money the Kochs will spend. It makes no difference which of the Tea Party candidates is picked to run against Braley, they will dance to the Koch Brother’s tune.

The Tea Party candidate will avoid issues so that should they win, they will be able to be manipulated by the Kochs while claiming they are not breaking campaign promises. It makes no difference who the candidate is, they will be owned by the Koch Brothers and will be totally beholden to them.

The Koch Brothers’ money stinks, their front groups stink, their PACs stink, their attempts to buy politicians in Iowa stink. Iowans proudly have a fiercely independent streak. To think that the Koch brothers feel they could ‘sneak’ into Iowa behind patriotic sounding front groups to buy an election from a bunch of rubes stinks big time.

Go away Koch brothers, take your money and your anti-middle-class attitudes back where you came from. Iowans do not want it. And, yes we will be watching.

Happy 10th Birthday Blog For Iowa

BFIA: Trish Nelson, Caroline Vernon, Dr. Alta Price, Paul Deaton, Dave Bradley. Photo by Dan DeShane

BFIA: Trish Nelson, Caroline Vernon, Dr. Alta Price, Paul Deaton, Dave Bradley. Photo by Dan DeShane

Why Philadelphia Made Me a Deaniac

The 2000 election was supposed to have elected Al Gore as the first environmentalist president. He was a shoe-in after a popular Bill Clinton, or so some of us thought. What happened after the U.S. Supreme Court gave the election to Bush was people I know, from the whole political spectrum, launched into activism unlike any in my experience. Howard Dean was at the center of this. Who had even heard of the 79th governor of Vermont as votes were counted, and then the counting was stopped in the election of the hanging chad?

When the 2000 election wasn’t settled on Nov. 7, we were enthralled. I listened to the returns on the radio as I drove to Chicago for a meeting on the 8th. When I reached the motel, I stayed up late watching the early morning coverage on television. I followed the Supreme Court action at home and downloaded a ream of briefs to read. It was a unique time. It was a cursed time. I felt sitting on the sidelines was no longer an option.

The turning point came shortly after the Al-Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and not for reasons one might think. My flight was scheduled to depart Moline, Ill. that day for Philadelphia. After our staff meeting in Eldridge, the televisions in the operations room were turned on with live images of smoke emitting from the World Trade Center. Air travel would not be an option that afternoon.

When I did fly to Philadelphia several days later, the aircraft was almost empty. Enroute to the Eastern Iowa Airport, the car radio informed me that President Bush was also heading to Philadelphia to fulfill a campaign promise at a battered women’s shelter. It meant a possible delay getting to my work site at the former U.S. Steel facility in Bucks County. As we approached, Air Force One had already landed, so we circled for 20 minutes— the delay was minimal.

After getting a rental car and leaving the airport, there were law enforcement officers on every corner, thousands of them. As I headed to work, I passed the presidential motorcade on I-95, heading back to the airport. It was only 10:30 a.m. All that public money on the flight, and law enforcement for a political event? The seed was planted: Bush had to go.

The rest is the history of Bush 43. Things rubbed the wrong way. The television address on the invasion of Iraq seemed similar to Nixon’s explanation of the invasion of Cambodia— both presidents appeared to be deceiving us. There were Cheney’s secret energy meetings, Christine Todd Whitman’s brief tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a thousands cuts against everything I held dear. We were ready for change in 2004.

From the beginning of the 2004 campaign, I didn’t care for Howard Dean. He had the endorsement of Democratic leaders, including Al Gore, and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, but no one I knew was supporting him. Our small family caucused for John Kerry, who won the nomination, and we lost the November election.

Vindication of Dean’s new campaign style came in the form of Democracy for America (DFA), which I heard about from the current Blog for Iowa editor, Trish Nelson and her friend Ellen Ballas at a DFA training at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

At the training, I met Arshad Hasan, Dorie Clark, Dave Leshtz and others who provided training in the mechanics of winning elections. Things like estimating voter turnout, fund raising, and setting a timeline for the canvass, were all important lessons. Thing is, the DFA techniques worked.

We experienced some success in 2006, and the culmination was in the ultimate grass roots campaign of Barack Obama, with Howard Dean as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. To say Howard Dean wasn’t a part of the transformation of electoral politics would be a lie. Unlike certain politicians, I’m not willing to tell a lie.

My first mention on Blog for Iowa was by Ed Fallon on Nov. 17, 2007, in a post titled Action on Coal Plants. What cemented my Deaniac status and my relationship with the group at Democracy for Iowa,  was when Trish Nelson asked me to start writing for Blog for Iowa. My first post was on Feb. 25, 2009 with an open letter to the Iowa Department of Natural resources on the then proposed Marshalltown coal-fired power plant. At some point along the way I got less formal, trading my suit for a T-shirt, but I have been writing ever since. And we can thank Philadelphia for that.

Congratulations Blog for Iowa! May you experience many new writers and another ten years.


How The Money & Media Complex Is Sabotaging Our Elections

Eastern Iowa Sustainability Lectures

the-climate-reality-project-logoPaul Deaton of Blog for Iowa will give a series of four public lectures about personal finance, the environment and nuclear abolition between April 19 and 24. If you are nearby, please consider attending one of these events:

April 19, 11 a.m.: “Alternative Living: Focus on Finances” with Solon resident and writer Paul Deaton. Paul gave up his 9 to 5 job to focus on his writing. He will describe his creative methods of putting food on the table and how he covers his expenses to survive and thrive. Part of the American Library Association Money Smart Week, Solon Public Library, 320 W. Main St., Solon, Iowa.

April 19, 1 until 3 p.m.: Soap Box Speech on the environment: “Mount Tambora, Mount St. Helens and Nuclear Famine” at the Celebration of Life at Old Brick, 20 East Market St., Iowa City, Iowa.

April 23, 6:30 p.m.: “Earth Week: Climate Reality in Iowa” at 220East, 220 East Fourth St., Waterloo, Iowa.

April 24, 6:30 p.m.: “Earth Week: Climate Reality in Iowa” at the Independence Public Library, 805 1st St. East, Independence, Iowa.

For more information email Paul Deaton here.

DFA Night School: April 2014 Training Dates

dfa night

DFA Night School is our free online training program that allows anyone to learn the skills to win from their own home.

At the end of the day, winning comes down to our ability to turnout more supporters than our opponents do. On a grassroots campaign or for any grassroots organization, people are the key to building capacity and data can help us leverage our resources strategically. The sessions will cover the key skills and strategies to effectively IDing  voters, empowering your volunteers and harnessing widely available data.

Sessions begin at 9pm ET /8pm CT and run for one hour.

Monday, April 14th — Targeting your Voter Universe
Months before Election Day, a campaign should know how many votes the winner will need to receive on Election Day. This session will walk through how to find your win number, identify base and persuasion precincts and prioritize GOTV universes.

Tuesday, April 15th — Running an Effective Volunteer Program
A grassroots campaign is never run on staff alone, nor can any campaign be run entirely by an irregular volunteer force. Campaigns and grassroots organizations depend on well-developed volunteers. We’ll focus on showing participants how to develop and maintain a solid volunteer program.

Wednesday, April 16th — Precinct Organizing
Organizing from the ground up, starting at the grassroots, begins at the most basic of all electoral units, usually called a “precinct.” This session focuses on strategy and best practices for neighbor-to-neighbor organizing.

Thursday, April 17th — Putting the Voterfile to Work
In addition to the publicly available voter rolls, your local party may have access to a Voter File. A Voter File combines the publicly available data with information gathered through voter contact. This session will walk through pulling lists, cutting turf, managing volunteers and more.

Click here to register

Taking The Supreme Court Back

DFA-dean-mccutcheon-calloutWe already know that holding the Senate this November matters. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Wednesday underscores just how crucial holding our majority in the Senate is — and how the fate of our democracy could depend on who wins just a handful of seats in November.

The extreme right-wing justices on our current Supreme Court have made it clear that they want to eliminate every barrier restricting corporate shills like the Koch Brothers from controlling our political process. First, there was Citizens United. Now, the McCutcheon decision, which eliminated all aggregate caps on campaign donations. And in his opinion this week, Chief Justice Roberts set the stage for successful challenges of every single remaining element of campaign finance reform.

Fortunately, we have a stronghold that we can use to turn the Supreme Court around for good: the U.S. Senate, which single-handedly decides the fate of nominees to our nation’s highest court.

Turnover in the Supreme Court can happen without warning. Republicans have used these openings over the past several decades to build a court that tows the line for special interests and makes decisions based on ideology, not legal precedent. Now, we need to take the court back. But we can’t do it if we lose our majority in the Senate now.

The Supreme Court couldn’t have made the stakes more clear: If we are ever going to get our democracy back, we need to hold the Senate NOW. Pitch in $3 now so DFA can double our efforts in tight Senate races.

The debate over big business money in politics couldn’t be more personal to me. In 2004, my campaign was able to beat the odds and gain national prominence by ditching the special interests and focusing on the grassroots. Small-dollar donations and on-the-ground volunteers — not piles of corporate cash — made our organization as formidable as it was.

But that was before Citizens United. It was before McCutcheon. This new flood of special interest money makes it harder than ever to run people-powered campaigns that give working Americans a say the way mine did. And with every bad ruling, it will become more and more difficult for progressives to avoid turning to corporate cash to get their point across.

We deserve an America where every single person’s voice is heard — not one where the 1% get all the “speech” their billions can buy them. Together, we can turn these precedents around and give our government back to the people. The fight for our democracy starts now, with DFA’s support for progressive champions in the Senate up for reelection like Jeff Merkley and rising stars like Rick Weiland — who is running an inspiring Senate campaign in South Dakota driven by his opposition to Citizens United.

If we can help people like Jeff Merkley and Rick Weiland win in November, they will help us get the Supreme Court — and our democracy — back on track.

We know the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson won’t be sitting on the sidelines this year. We can hold the Senate — but only if we go all in right now. Donate $3 today to help our endorsed candidates keep the Senate securely in Democratic hands.

Thank you for fighting with us when the stakes are highest,

- Howard

Gov. Howard Dean, Founder
Democracy for America

Sunday Funday Happy Birthday Edition

just not sure

just not sure

Turn around and you are ten! Happy Birthday Blog For Iowa! As has been noted here before BFIA is one of the blogs that came from the start of the DFA or Democracy For America movement. DFA continues to go strong. Dr. Dean and brother Jim continue to go on strong being among the clearest beacons for where our country should be going. Let us wish all mentioned above many more years of activism in helping bring this great country back to its glory and moral leadership.

So today we will have a quiz for last week and ten years back.Crank up the brain cells on a Sunday morning. They need the exercise.

1) Let us start with something simple. What was the split on the McCutcheon decision announced by the Supreme Court this week?

2) Ten years ago on April 8th this then National Security Advisor was grilled by the 9/11 Commission. Who hemmed and hawed their way through this testimony?

3) Over in Iraq, the bumbling Coalition Provisional Authority has a big headache with what non-elected cleric who is head of a group known as the Mahdi Militia that threatens stability?

4) Last week, tsunami waves emanated from an earthquake with an epicenter in what country?

5) Earlier this week in Iowa, parents of epileptic children met with Gov. Branstad to seek his support for what?

6) March 15, 2004, Presidential election takes place in Russia. Who wins the Russian presidency by a large margin?

7) In March of 2004 John Allen Muhammad is sentenced to death in Virginia for his role in what scary D.C. series of events?

8) This week some information about activities that were going on during the Iraq war are beginning to be released. What activities and who was doing it?

9) March 11, 2004. This event in Spain during morning rush hour killed or wounded nearly 2000. What happened?

10) This week it came out that the fix for a faulty ignition switch that is linked to 13 deaths in GM cars would have cost how much?

11) In the NCAA basketball tournaments in 2004, we had one school winning both the Men’s and Women’s titles. What school was that?

12) Who was the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in April 2004?

13) This week Mozilla’s new CEO stepped down after less than 2 weeks due to controversy over his past political donations. What donation in particular were users upset with?

14) March 18,2004: Justice Antonin Scalia refuses to recuse himself from a case even though one of the parties in the suit is a close friend of his. Who is this close friend?

15) March 21,2004: The War in Iraq is vehemently denounced by what former US President?

Kind of fun bouncing down memory lane, wasn’t it. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Well, here are some answers:

1) 5 to 4. 5 Republican appointees, 4 Dem appointees.

2) Condoleeza of course

3) Muqtada Al Sadr

4) Chile

5) medical cannibis.

6) Putin. You know that bare chested man the Republicans love.

7) The Beltway sniper attacks in D.C.

8) The CIA was the perp and torture was their game.

9) coordinated bombs set off in the Madrid subway system

10) 57 cents

11) Connecticut.

12) L. Paul Bremer

13) a $1,000 for prop 8(hate) in california in 2008.

14) former VP Dick Cheney

15) Jimmy Carter.

More next week? I think so