After my comments in Sunday's Des Moines Register editorial, which further exposed the murky waters of legislative compensation, I've gotta be giving Kim Pearson a run for her money in the "Most Popular Former or Current Lawmaker Among Fellow Lawmakers" contest. The editorial points out concerns I first raised in 1992, including how lawmakers:
-- Hide much of their salary in "per diem" and "constituent service" payments.
-- Avoid paying taxes on most of this money.
-- Pay legislative leaders as much as $60,000 - $75,000 per year.
The Register's editorial concludes with a call to action: "It is not right, and the Legislature should change this next year." Yeah, they should. But anyone wanna bet an apple pie they won't?
Meanwhile, the revolution that rocked Cairo, Tripoli, Madison, and Manhattan wound its way up to the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, into the loving and arresting arms of the NYPD, and onward to cities across America. The mainstream media is only beginning to pick-up the story, which grassroots and social media networks have tracked from the git-go.
Monday, after a conversation with Sue Dvorsky, head of the Iowa Democratic Party, we'll talk about the latest developments in the "Occupy Wall Street" revolution.
Tuesday, Frank and Kim Spillers with BE WUCA join us to talk about the power of attitude when it comes to accomplishing anything of substance in life, whether it's helping ignite a social change movement, launching a successful small business, succeeding in the classroom, or taking charge of one's personal health and well-being. "BE WUCA" stands for "Be Welcoming, Understanding, Comfortable, and Appreciative."
Wednesday, attorney Jim Larew discusses a climate-change angle not often considered. There are plenty of climate-change deniers out there, but the insurance industry is a true believer. That's been made clear by their rate hikes and policy changes. But if you think all these natural disasters mean insurance companies are losing money in big payouts to victims, think again. Angel Robinson, the consumer advocate with the Iowa Insurance Commission, also joins us for the conversation.
Thursday, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie is our guest. There are so many directions this conversation could go I don't even want to begin to tell you what to expect. But let's not waste too much time on potholes, street lights and barking dogs.
This week's Fallon Forum Freebie is a $25 gift certificate to Soul Flower, offering natural fiber and hemp clothing, including handmade items, hats, bags and jewelry. Soul Flower also has jam-band merchandise, Indian incense, and tie-dyed goods.
So, tune in from 7:00-8:00 pm, Monday - Thursday at 98.3 WOW-FM and online. You can download the Fallon Forum as a podcast, too. Thanks!
October 4 - Presentation on the Catholic Worker Movement (Indianola)
At 7:00 pm in the Simpson College Jordan Lecture Hall, Carver Science Building. The title of Martha Hennessey's talk is "The Catholic Worker Movement and its Relevance Today." Sponsored by Simpson College Amnesty International Chapter. Contacts Brian Steffen at
October 5 - Diane Wilson Speaks at JFAN Annual Meeting (Fairfield)
The annual meeting of Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors is at 7:30 pm at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, 200 N. Main St. The Leopold Group Sierra Club, Sustainable Living Coalition, KRUU-FM, and Radish Magazine, are co-sponsoring the event, which features a speech by Diane Wilson, a celebrated activist whose work has helped convince corporations to change their environmental practices. Contact Diane Rosenberg at (641) 209-6600 or
October 6 - Drinking Liberally (Sioux City)
Both card-carrying and non-card-carrying liberals are welcome to share conversation and libations the first Thursday of each month at 5:00 pm at Scotty's Pub, 1012 4th St. Contact Rick Mullin at
October 6 - Drinking Liberally (Des Moines)
Both card-carrying and non-card-carrying liberals are welcome to share conversation and libations at AJ's on E. Court, starting at 8:00 pm. Contact Kelli Griffis at
October 9 - Buy Fresh Buy Local Harvest Party (Des Moines)
At Drake University's Olmsted Center, 4:00-6:00 pm. Visit www.buyfreshdrake.org for more information.
October 14-15 - US Policy in Palestine-Israel (Ankeny)
Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church, 501 E. First St, hosts this statewide organizing conference to highlight the voices of people working to bring peace with justice to Palestine and Israel. Keynote speakers are Laila El Haddad, a Palestinian freelance journalist, and Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. More info at www.afsc-iowaconference.org
October 18 - Irish Jam at Open Sesame (Des Moines)
Discover the fusion of Lebanese and Celtic culture every third Tuesday of the month: belly dancing to Irish gigs and reels, Lebanese cooking washed-down with a pint of Guinness. All musicians patrons welcome, at 313 E. Locust St from 8:30-10:30 pm.
October 20 - Community Leadership and Activist Workshop (Des Moines)
Join local activists for an evening charged with education and change. Iowa Public Interest Research Group and the Public Interest Network team-up to discuss planning a campaign, activating others, and communicating with key decision makers. The workshop will be held on from 6:00-9:00 pm at the Polk County Central Senior Center, 2800 Forest Ave. Free and open to the public. Contact Sonia Ashe at
or (515) 282-4193 to register.
October 22 - Jim Winkler (Des Moines)
Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, will be the keynote speaker for MFSA’s Fall Regional Gathering at Walnut Hills UMC at 10:00 am. Jim will focus on “The Perpetual War,” and Las Americas will cater the meal. For more information, please contact Eloise Cranke at
or (515) 262-5974.
October 26 - Iowa Human Trafficking Conference (Ames)
Human trafficking happens even in Iowa, with more than 125 identified victims since 2005. Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell and others will speak about this growing problem and how to solve it at ISU Memorial Union, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Attorneys can earn 5.25 hours of CLE. Register at www.iowanaht.org.
October 27 - Green Drinks (Des Moines)
Join casual conversation with people interested in environmental issues and sustainable energy over something to eat and/or drink. It's from 5:30-7:30 pm at Gateway Market and Cafe, 2002 Woodland Ave. Contact Shari Hrdina at
November 12 - Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit (Des Moines)
November 19 - Contra and Barn Dance (Des Moines)
At Olmsted Center, Drake University, 2504 University Ave from 9:00-5:00. The 2011 The Summit brings businesses of diverse backgrounds together to network, learn and celebrate the immigrant entrepreneurship experience and its contribution to the overall community. Contact
Have fun, meet new people, get some great exercise as contra and barn dancing return to Des Moines. No partner or costume needed; all dances taught and called. Beginner lessons at 7:30 pm, dance from 8-11 pm. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors over 65, under 12 is free. Odd Fellows Hall, 29th and Kingman. For more info, visit www.contra-indications.org.