Gateway Market

Governor Denial

Dear Friends,

I received a welcome visitor in Payson, Arizona last week: my computer! As the Great March for Climate Action rolls across central Arizona, I am now able to resume regular weekly updates. I’ll continue to broadcast each program live from the March route, Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. On the docket for today is an analysis of this scathing critique of Governor Branstad by WHO news dude Dave Price. (And if you’ve got an opinion on this one, please call-in at 855-244-0077.) It’s spot on, so I’m just going to share the entire post and encourage you to view this link:

http://whotv.com/2014/04/08/political-fallout-governors-reputation-at-stake/

Writes Price:

Terry Branstad is Iowa’s longest serving governor. If he wins re-election, he would become the nation’s longest serving governor.

But he has to convince Iowans he’s still the best person for the job.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Don’t believe everything you hear Governor Branstad warned us Monday.

It turns out, maybe we should have believed former state worker Carol Frank’s claims she was paid hush money.

The truth of her words makes the governor’s previous emphatic denial that the offer didn’t happen potentially more damaging to his reputation.

The governor said repeatedly he never knew about confidential settlements given to former workers affiliated with a dozen different departments across the state.

Other controversies

Denial has been a big part of the governor’s response in other key statehouse controversies.

When state troopers driving him got busted from driving far too fast, the governor said, “The lieutenant governor and I were both in the vehicle. We didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t know the incident even occurred.”

When news broke staff at the Iowa Juvenile Home kept troubled children locked in isolation cells for months, the governor said he didn’t know.

Five months after the home’s former superintendent left, when asked whether she quit or got fired the governor responded, “I don’t know the information on that. I don’t try to micromanage departments and agencies.”

Three high profile controversies, three denials from the governor.

Add them together and they give his long-shot challenger this to question the governor’s leadership. “I’m just wondering who’s in charge? He says he doesn’t micromanage. But the question is, does he manage at all?” gubernatorial contender Jack Hatch asked.

The governor faced criticism for letting two men remain on their jobs too long. Employees said Public Safety Director Brian London’s management style ruined morale. And they said Commandant David Worley bullied residents and staff at the Iowa Veterans Home.

The governor had initially praised both men. Both men eventually resigned.

Voters will eventually have a choice to make. Do they think the governor doesn’t have a good grasp on what his managers are doing, as Hatch claims? Or when the governor finds out there has been a problem does he take decisive action?

The DAS director has been fired, the speeding troopers were reprimanded and the governor closed the Juvenile Home.

Come November voters decide whether Governor Branstad remains the best person for the job.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Climate March – Day 1

Greetings DM,

If I could have conceived a more difficult start to the Climate March, I’m not sure what it would have been. In Southern California, where drought has plagued the region, who could have imagined three days of heavy rain? The worst day was today – the start of our 3000-mile March.
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On top of that, Day One was long – a 19.4-mile trek through Los Angeles’ industrial underbelly and some of its most impoverished neighborhoods. The start of the rally was an auspicious location: a park overlooking the towering infrastructure of the Port of LA’s oil refineries, which are poised to beef-up production at a time when climate models make it clear we need to cut back dramatically on fossil fuel consumption. Over 1,500 people turned out for an invigorating rally and the first two miles of marching. The rain held off. It was a glorious start.

Then the rains resumed.

It was like Iowa in June, complete with thunder, lightning and torrential downpours. The rain turned city streets into raging rivers. Crossing intersections often involved wading through water up to our calves. Two marchers had to stop due to the risk of hypothermia. Others bailed out for a variety of reasons, including the need for strong backs to extricate our gear truck from the mud at our previous camp.

I was able to walk the entire distance, with great difficulty, and made it to our overnight stop at All Peoples Christian Church at 9:30 pm. Due to weather conditions, church members at the last minute let us stay inside, a kindness that was extremely well received by marchers. I was too exhausted to do much other than wash up a little and crawl into my sleeping bag.

Day Two is only 8.4 miles. I’m not sure what to expect. Maybe the shorter distance will be a relief. Or we will still be too sore from Day One for it to matter. The rains are forecast to continue, so perhaps we should plan on being as miserable as yesterday.

From Los Angeles, Ed Fallon

Disenchantment with Obama Grows

Dear Friends,

If you think President Obama has been catching heat because of his indecisiveness on the Keystone XL Pipeline, his own supporters are about to turn-up the heat even further. Writes Peter Rothberg in The Nation:

“The {March 2nd} sit-in is expected to be the largest act of civil disobedience by young people in the recent history of the environmental movement and it will be led by just the demographic that helped propel Obama to the presidency. The protest, known as “XL Dissent,” is meant to send a clear signal to President Obama that the base that helped elect him sees Keystone XL as a decision that will define his entire legacy.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the Great March for Climate Action kicks-off its 3,000-mile trek with a rally that thousands are expected to attend. With these two historic events and the many, many other key initiatives being led by Climate Reality Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 350.org and others, the President has got to be thinking Keystone is not just a bad idea in terms of climate but in terms of politics as well.

For my central Iowa audience, here’s something fun you can do this week to help the Climate March. Sean Glenn will be marching the distance in silence. If you’d like to hear Sean speak and sing, your last chance for the next eight months may be this Wednesday (February 19th), 7:00-9:00 pm at the Historic Firehouse, 1041 8th Street (just west of the downtown Holiday Inn). I’ll be accompanying Sean on piano and guitar. Free-will donation suggested.

And while we’re offering the President constructive criticism, get this on your calendar: In an event sponsored by American Friends Service Committee called “Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” activist and author Josh Ruebner speaks and signs his book on March 4 at 7:00 pm at Drake University’s Olmsted Center.

Monday on the Fallon Forum, we’ll talk about Keystone and other climate-change news.

Tuesday, State Senator Jack Hatch, Democratic candidate for Governor, joins me to discuss the latest developments at the Juvenile Home in Toledo, including the impact of a judge’s favorable ruling on the lawsuit filed by Jack and other state lawmakers alleging that the Governor’s decision to close the home was illegal.

Wednesday, Dr. Charles Goldman joins me. Writes Charles, “President Obama, other Democrats and some Tea Party Republicans have actually found an issue that is engendering bipartisan support: reforming the draconian federal mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses that costs us $7 billion yearly and leaves 10% of Florida’s population without the right to vote due to prior convictions. While they are at it, how about increasing the likelihood that white collar criminals spend some serious jail time for their myriad offenses?”

Thursday, State Representative Dan Kelley joins me. Among other legislative happenings, I want to get Dan’s take on the proposal to extend the sales tax exemption at the Newton racetrack and his thoughts on the proposal to expand funding for preschool.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

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Meet Brad Anderson

Dear Friends,

The office of Iowa Secretary of State used to be either (1) a job you applied for because you were passionate about elections (think former SOS Michael Mauro), or (2) a position you sought simply because you wanted to run for higher office (think everyone except Mauro who’s held the job since the 1970s). The current SOS, Matt Schultz, wasn’t even subtle about his ambitions for higher office, serving less than one term before announcing a run for Congress.

So, I’ve invited two candidates running for that office – Brad Anderson (a Democrat) and Paul Pate (a Republican) – to join me on the Forum to talk about what they’d like to accomplish as SOS. So far . . .

Monday, Brad Anderson joins us. Brad has worked in Iowa elections for over a decade. He and his wife, Lisa, own a speech therapy business in Des Moines. Brad shared with me his goal of modernizing the office and improving voter turnout. We’ll also get his take on Matt Schultz’ efforts to make voting more difficult for some Iowans – as critics have characterized his voter-id effort.

Tuesday, we talk with Carol Berry of Wolf-pac about efforts through the legislative process to get big money out of politics. Specifically, the group is working to pass a resolution calling for a states convention to propose a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution, to establish “free and fair elections and the reversal of Citizens United.”

Wednesday, Mandy Hilliman and Megan Day Suhr join me to discuss legislative efforts to help Iowa’s midwives.

Thursday, Channing Dutton and I talk climate change. In fact, I may just let Channing host the show and drill (pun intended) me on questions related to climate, sustainability, fossil fuels and the Climate March.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Business Sponsors
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Now do you hear us, Mr. President?

Dear Friends,The most important game-related news this week will not be the Seattle Seahawks decimation of the Denver Broncos. The lead story in the “game” genre happens today: the massive nationwide response to the State Department’s report on the Keystone Pipeline – because as Bill McKibben with 350.org has said, if Keystone is approved, it’s “game over” for the climate.What’s really meant by “climate,” of course, is “humanity.” No one knows for sure what life will look like for our species one hundred years from now if we don’t successfully grapple with the climate conundrum. It may not be “game over,” but it probably won’t be pretty. President Obama talks the talk on climate. But what will he do on Keystone? Keystone is the pivotal climate moment. The President’s decision will show whether he truly understands the urgency of the situation or is merely paying lip service.

With last week’s State Department report, the Great March for Climate Action comes at a critical moment in the movement. The March travels through Nebraska in mid-July, crossing the path of the proposed Keystone Pipeline during the window of time when President Obama could make his big decision.

What’s it going to take for President Obama to do the right thing? Over 200 protests are planned today in response to the State Department report (see here). Twenty-two cities have signed on to the fossil fuel divestment campaign (see here). Over 76,000 people have committed to do civil disobedience to stop Keystone (see here). If this unprecedented level of citizen climate activism isn’t enough to convince the President to say ‘NO’ to Keystone, perhaps the Climate March will convince him.

Over 225 people have signed up to march all or part of the eight-month, 3,000-mile trek across America. Participants come from 37 states and six foreign countries. Hundreds of supporters have donated a total of over $200,000, and numerous businesses and organizations are providing equipment, endorsements, and other types of assistance.

Marchers themselves are making tremendous sacrifices. Giving up jobs and homes. Deferring college. Foregoing other commitments. We’re preparing physically and psychologically to walk 14-15 miles a day through heat, rain and all kinds of adversity. We’re gearing up to sleep in tents night after night, to leave behind our families, friends and modern conveniences. We know that immediate action on the climate crisis is needed and that stopping Keystone is pivotal. We’re willing to do our part. We’re eager to see if the President will do his.

Monday, we’ll talk Keystone and start the show at 5:30 to allow attendance at the 6:00 vigil at the Federal Building in downtown Des Moines. (See here for details about events in Des Moines and Davenport.)

Tuesday, we look at the latest developments in the controversy over sand-mining operations in northeast Iowa.

Wednesday, we’ll talk about the latest nursing home industry lawsuit, and the cozy relationship that Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds maintain with industry honchos.

Thursday, State Rep Dan Kelley and the Iowa Environmental Council’s Nathaniel Baer discuss the bright prospects for solar energy in Iowa.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

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The Inequality of Climate Change

Dear Friends,

It’s pretty certain that in the State of the Union address (Tuesday, January 28 at 7:30 pm CST), President Obama is likely to focus on income inequality. Sure, the issue polls well for him, and what politician can resist talking about an issue that polls well? Sure, the vast shift of wealth from most of us to the privileged few is a crisis that demands immediate action. After all, it’s what launched the Occupy movement in 2011 . . . if anyone still remembers.

But if Obama chooses to ignore – or merely pay lip service – to the even more pressing crisis of climate change, it will demonstrate a profound lack of wisdom and vision. If he wants to start off the conversation with income inequality, it isn’t difficult to move on to climate change and connect these two crises. Across the globe, it is the poorest populations who are being most adversely impacted by a warming world. And America’s poor aren’t immune from this reality either; consider the marginalized victims of Hurricane Katrina, or the farmers and ranchers in the path of the Keystone Pipeline.

Monday, Anita Payne of Perth, Ontario joins us for a Canadian perspective on the Keystone Pipeline. We’ll also get Anita’s take on the recent visit to the U.S. by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to push President Obama to approve the Pipeline.

Tuesday we are joined by Tarah Heinzen, an attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project. We’ll talk about the DNR’s proposal to bring Iowa into compliance with EPA regulations to improve Iowa’s contaminated waterways. The long and short of it is the proposal hardly goes far enough.

Wednesday, Rob Hach with Anemometry Specialists joins me to debunk the oil-industry-financed anti-renewable propaganda espoused in a recent piece by Thomas Pyle.

Thursday, we’ll review the week at the Iowa State House, and see how well lawmakers did to fulfill their promise to accomplish as little as possible.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Business Sponsors
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Gateway Market
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Ritual Cafe
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The Book Store

Hatch for Governor

Dear Friends,

For three decades, Jack Hatch has been a strong progressive voice fighting for a better Iowa. Jack is an independent thinker who’s not afraid to challenge his own Party. Whether the fight is about creating jobs, getting rid of tax breaks for big corporations, expanding health care coverage or defending civil rights, Jack puts Iowans first.

His work in the private sector is equally impressive, and Jack has overcome all kinds of obstacles to build affordable housing in neighborhoods where it’s desperately needed.

Today, I’m endorsing Jack Hatch for Governor because he’s a strong leader with a solid track record and the determination to move Iowa beyond the failures of Terry Branstad. And I’m convinced he can win, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is and donating $100 to his campaign. Please consider doing the same. Speaking as one who ran for Governor, I assure you that it will make a difference.

Monday, Dr. Charles Goldman joins me to discuss medical marijuana. Charles writes, “Evidently it is hard to get a seat on a plane heading to Denver, as marijuana tourism takes off in the Centennial State. Here in Iowa, it is unlikely that we will see marijuana emporiums any time soon, but isn’t it time Iowa joined 20 other states and Washington, DC in formulating a humane state-regulated medical cannabis program? In advance of tonight’s program, you might want to view the video of Dr. Steven Jenison, who ran the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, at http://youtu.be/qYtxwPoAzwM.

Tuesday, Ambassador Ken Quinn of the World Food Prize joins me to discuss Howard Buffet’s “40 Chances: Hope for a Hungry World” exhibit, now on display at the WFP headquarters in Des Moines.

Wednesday, Michael Dietrick with the NRDC discusses climate change and the upcoming Citizen Advocates meeting in Des Moines.

Thursday, State Rep. Dan Kelley shares what’s happening at the Iowa Statehouse.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

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The Book Store

Wrong questions on gas tax

Dear Friends,

We’ve seen a lot of talk recently about the proposed gas tax hike. In farm country, agribusiness is concerned about rural bridges in decay – bridges that might see a couple dozen cars a day. In suburbia, developers are worried that one of their main urban sprawl cash cows might dry up. And of course, the road construction lobby is just drooling to get more money to lay asphalt and concrete anywhere and everywhere.

Yet what about reality? Is a car-centric transportation system what’s needed for the 21st century? For one thing, more roads mean more cars, more greenhouse gas emissions, and more climate change. Furthermore, as people drive less, it makes sense for the public investment to shift. And even as Governor Branstad and his Iowa House buddies deep-six a paltry sum for passenger rail, I predict they’ll have no problem justifying truckloads of cash for highways.

And I would not be surprised to see the debate shift from a gas tax hike to a sales tax hike, thus making those of us who use the roads the least (i.e., low-income Iowans) pay for the desired “improvements.”

See my additional comments in today’s Register online, and tune-in tonight, Monday, for more talk on this topic. Your views welcome, too, at (855) 244-0077.

Tuesday, we talk with Scott Warner of Corazon Coffee Roasters about the debate over what it means to be “fair trade.”

Wednesday, we talk with Harold Hedelman about another tool for folks wanting to do more about the climate crisis. Harold talks about the Natural Resources Defense Council’s upcoming Citizens Advocate training in Des Moines. (See Events page for details.)

Thursday, State Rep. Dan Kelley is back on the hill – and back in the studio with us for an update on the first week of legislative action . . . or inaction, as some are predicting.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Business Sponsors
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Corazon Coffee Roasters
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The Book Store

From Belfast to Palestine

Dear Friends,

Mairead Maguire, noted Irish human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has endorsed the Great March for Climate Action. “When governments fail to do what is possible to protect the very livability of a territory, its ability to produce food and provide shelter, climate change becomes a human rights issue,” said Mairead. (Full text of endorsement and press release available here.)

I’ve invited Mairead to join us on the Fallon forum at her earliest convenience. Her work began in response to the violence in Northern Ireland. More recently, her activism on behalf of Palestinians landed her time in an Israeli jail (see here). She helped found Peace People and she won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize at age 33.

Thanks to Ben Allaway for inviting Mairead to endorse the Climate March. Writes Ben, “I was really struck with Maguire’s view of climate change as a human rights issue. Governments can turn things around on this issue, and if they don’t, it feels to me like a human rights violation.”

Monday, we are joined by Jonathan Narcisse, who just announced his candidacy for Governor on the Democratic ticket. Also, speaking of Palestine, Maria Filippone with Des Moines Onstage tells us about the upcoming production of My Name is Rachel Corrie. (See our Events Page for full details.)

Tuesday, we talk about how natural gas fracking has caused 100 cases of confirmed water pollution over the past five years – and how several states have been less than forthcoming with information about the problem. Also, dancer Elizabeth Adams joins me to discuss several angles on Des Moines’ blossoming cultural scene, including the question of when – and what – is appropriate for children.

Wednesday, Rob Hach with Anemometry Specialists joins me to discuss the growing market for small wind and solar energy systems. We also talk about some of the legal challenges facing wind energy, specifically lawsuits involving the death of eagles and eminent domain.

Thursday, Ken Quinn with the World Food Prize is my guest as we discuss “40 Chances,” a photography exhibit by Howard Buffet now available for viewing at the World Food Prize building in downtown Des Moines.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. Thanks! – Ed

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Corazon Coffee Roasters
Dianna’s Wedding Cakes
Fighting Burrito
Gateway Market
HoQ Restaurant
Ritual Cafe
Tally’s Restaurant Bar & Catering
The Book Store

Dem v Repub: Is there a difference?

Dear Friends,

So much of politics these days involves the utterance of tiresome clichés. “I’m leaving office to spend more time with my family,” for example. Or, “This campaign is about creating jobs and lowering taxes.” When I’m done laughing, my response to both is, “Yeah, right.”

The two political clichés that get under my skin the most aren’t spouted by candidates, but by voters:

1. “There’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans,” and

2. “I vote straight ticket because my Party’s candidates are good and the other Party’s are bad.”

The truth is, there IS a difference between Democrats and Republicans . . . usually. And there are plenty of Democratic leaders who don’t give a hoot about the average person’s plight, and some Republicans who do.

The clearest truth is this: America needs to move beyond the iron-fist grip the two major parties have on our political system. There are as many views on how to accomplish this as there are disgruntled voters. We’ll discuss it during a special one-hour edition of the Fallon Forum tonight from 4:15-5:15 with Dr. Charles Goldman, who adds this observation:

“Ever wonder where our democracy went? You need look no further than our election system. Let’s talk about voter suppression tactics, gerrymandering and the Iowa case making its way to the Supreme Court regarding donor disclosure that is being pushed by James Bopp Jr, one of the right-wing architects of the Citizens United decision.”

There’s no program Tuesday or Wednesday this week. But join Charles and I tonight, and me on Thursday at the usual time of 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. Thanks! – Ed

Business Sponsors
Community CPA & Associates
Corazon Coffee Roasters
Dianna’s Wedding Cakes
Fighting Burrito
Gateway Market
HoQ Restaurant
Ritual Cafe
Tally’s Restaurant Bar & Catering
The Book Store



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