It’s appropriate that America designates a day to recognize the incomparable contributions of labor unions. But with so many politicians (mostly Republicans) actively working to obliterate organized labor, we would do well to spend more than just a day discussing issues affecting America's workers.
With that in mind . . . Tuesday, Colin Gordon with the Iowa Policy Project talks about wage theft and the $600 million each year stolen from Iowa workers! Folks might be astounded to learn how many low-wage workers are not paid the wages they are legally owed. And if you think the State of Iowa is doing its job to crack down on violators and protect such workers, think again. For a little homework on the subject, check out the Iowa Policy Project’s new report.
Wednesday, Chris Wilbeck of Greene County talks about the potential impact of a 5,000-head corporate hog confinement proposed for her area. Folks there are still reeling from an unsuccessful battle to stop a confinement earlier this year. If the second one is built, there would be 12,400 hogs within a two-mile radius of Chris’ home. (To sort of put that in perspective for us city folk, the population density of two-square miles in Des Moines is 5,030 - and a hog produces twice as much excrement as an adult human!)
The confinement operator is Prestage “Farms,” a huge enterprise with its corporate tentacles wrecking havoc in six states. To sign a petition to stop them, click here.
And let me just throw this out there: What is it going to take before Iowa Democratic lawmakers - who for years campaigned in favor of local control yet did nothing when they had power - free themselves from the chains of corporate money and stand with the people they pledged to support?
Thursday, we discuss why labor leaders are unhappy with Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey, who once said that binding arbitration is "not the way we normally do things in the United States" and that allowing workers to organize without a secret ballot "violates a bedrock principle of American democracy." As Mother Jones once pointed out, “Mackey's tired canard has been debunked over and over. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial board, home of anti-labor commentary, finally admitted . . . that the ‘the bill doesn't remove the secret-ballot option.’"
Also, Thursday, Sonia Ashe with Iowa Public Interest Research Group discusses a new report on Super PACs. The report is called “Megaphones for Millionaires,” and it’s timely given the vast infusion of corporate money in the November election.
Friday, with one eye looking back at this week’s Labor Day celebrations and one looking forward to an Iowa Legislature set to convene in just four months, we’ll talk about some other issues affecting Iowa workers, including raising the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
So, join the conversation live, Monday-Friday, online from 12:00-1:00 pm on the Fallon Forum website. Call in at 244-0077 or toll free (855) 244-0077. And tune-in to Bradshaw, Monday-Friday from 1:30-2:30, also on the Fallon Forum website. Video and audio podcasts are available, too.
Thanks! - Ed
September 6 - Drinking Liberally (Des Moines)
You don't have to be a card-carrying liberal to enjoy political conversation and excellent libations at AJ's, 419 E Court starting at 8:00 pm every Thursday. If the revolution is going to start anyplace, it's over a frosty libation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 14-30 - World Premiere of “Sense and Sensibility” (Des Moines)
The book by Jane Austen has been adapted for the stage by Iowa’s Kerry Skram. Performances are at the Des Moines Social Club’s Kirkwood Theater, 4th and Walnut. For tickets, call MIDWESTIX at (515) 244-2771.
September 18 - Irish Jam at Open Sesame (Des Moines)
Discover the fusion of Lebanese and Celtic culture every third Tuesday of the month with Irish jigs and reels, Mideastern belly dancing, and Lebanese cuisine washed-down with a pint of Guinness. All musicians and patrons are welcome at 313 E. Locust St from 8:30-10:30 pm.
September 27 - Coleen Rowley 'Blowing the Whistle on War' (Des Moines)
At 7:00 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 42nd and Ingersoll, Iowa's own Coleen Rowley talks about the need to end our permanent war economy and state of perpetual war. Coleen grew up in New Hampton Iowa and was part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation before blowing the whistle on bad intelligence work in the wake of September 11. She was Time magazine's PERSON OF THE YEAR in 2002 and is an important voice in favor of government transparency. Contact Jeff Weiss at
October 3 - Jim Hightower: Taking Back Our Food and Agriculture (Fairfield)
Hightower gives the keynote at the Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors annual meeting at 7:30 pm at the Arts & Convention Center, 200 N Main St. An outspoken critic of CAFO animal production, Hightower will address what is needed to turn around our environmentally destructive, nutritionally compromised system of industrial food production. Contact Diane at
October 6 - The Shrinking Middle Class (Des Moines)
At Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, 10:00-2:00. Cost is $10 and lunch is provided for this presentation and panel discussion. Income inequality, rising costs, political corruption, and economic instability threaten our global household. This seminar will explore a variety of current problems and contemplate solutions surrounding the erosion of middle class political and economic power while providing a theological context for these contemporary struggles.
October 7 - Images of Peace Interfaith Prayer Service (Des Moines)
A 7:00 pm at DMACC Auditorium, Urban Campus, 9th and University for an interfaith prayer service featuring a video by Rodger Routh, presenting images of peace from various faith traditions and a variety of perspectives. At the end of the service people will walk to the Path of Peace Sculpture nearby to scatter the soil gathered from representatives of many different faiths at last year’s Interfaith Service. Sponsored by the Des Moines Area Ecumenical Committee For Peace. Contact Eloise Cranke at (515) 262-5974 or Susie Paloma at (515) 480-1872.
October 20 - Contra Dance at Odd Fellows Hall (Des Moines)
Contra-Indications is hosting a contra dance at Odd Fellows Hall, 2904 Kingman Blvd, 8:00-11:00 pm, with lesson at 7:30 pm. Live music by Barn Owl Band; Jill Allen as caller. $10 adults; free under 12; $25 family maximum. Visit