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March 2008

Press-Citizen's anti-war bias is clear

The Iowa City Press-Citizen ran an anti-war puff piece today that clearly demonstrates their disdain for the war, and how they'll try to slant *news* in order to sway people's perceptions.

The piece, titled 'Vet turns against the war after time in Iraq' (editors craft the titles, not the reporter), is an interview with Army National Guard Sergeant Andrew Duffy, who is now the president of the Iowa City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The Press-Citizen failed to ask Duffy tough questions, it's clear they simply wanted to craft an anti-war piece.  Here are some dubious parts of the article, areas where the PC did not care to live up to their journalistic obligation:

1. Duffy claimed that American soldiers - to include the command structure - are trained to be scared of Iraqi people.  That's highly unlikely and the PC didn't probe.  American soldiers are trained to be cautious and prepared, but not scared.  This is a prerequisite to No. 2, below.
2. The PC failed to mention that American soldiers have been killed and wounded by suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and people dressed like civilians or police or Iraqi military driving civilian or 'official' looking vehicles that ended up being car or truck bombs.
3. The PC failed to ask why Duffy was in a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road.  What exactly were the circumstances?  The implied, "Just because" by Duffy isn't to be believed and it's clear the PC did not care to properly check out his story.
4. Medical missions to nearby towns were denied Duffy said, but again the PC failed to ask why. If the risk was too great, then yes, the mission gets scrubbed.  The Army doesn't unnecessarily put it's people in extremely high-risk situations.  Each situation is different, and if the risk outweighs the mission need, then it's a "No-Go."

Something obviously dubious is how the PC was all too willing to make the Vietnam comparison. Duffy claimed and the PC wrote, "At the time, they had some of the drill sergeants who had gone through Vietnam," he said. "They were starting to compare this war to Vietnam. (But) I tried to stay positive."

Vietnam was a very, very long time ago, which would make these drill sergeants Duffy had at least 50 years old.  That's possible, but HIGHLY unlikely. These 'drill sergeants' would also most likely not be drill sergeants at the latter stages of a military career and many would have retired at the 20 years of service mark.  The Vietnam War ended in 1975, so a drill sergeant at about age 20 would have put in 20 years by 1995.  A thirty year retirement would have come in 2005 and that would require the promotions necessary to get to thirty years, well above the duties and responsibilities of a drill sergeant.

The PC completely failed to do some very basic 'check out all angles' reporting with this piece, and that's just irresponsible.  For a publication that puts up a front of 'open source' and objectivity, what they put into print should not be taken at face value.


Iowa has higher property taxes per capita than California

Last week the non-partisan Public Interest Institute, a public policy think tank based at Iowa Wesleyan College, released a table that shows a ranking of the 50 states (highest to lowest) ordered by Property Tax per Capita.   

Iowa ranked 18th out of the fifty states, with property owners paying higher taxes than those in notable states such as California, Florida, and Colorado.

Per Capita Property Taxes, by State from Highest to Lowest
1. New Jersey
2. Connecticut
3. New Hampshire
4. New York
5. Rhode Island
6. Maine
7. Vermont
8. Massachusetts
9. Illinois
10. Wyoming
11. Wisconsin
12. Alaska
13. Texas
14. Kansas
15. Michigan
16. Nebraska
17. Maryland
18. Iowa
19. Florida
20. Montana
21. Virginia
22. Washington
23. Colorado
24. Pennsylvania
25. Ohio
26. Indiana
27. Minnesota
28. Oregon
29. California
30. North Dakota
31. Nevada
32. South Dakota
33. Georgia
34. South Carolina
35. Arizona
36. Idaho
37. Missouri
38. North Carolina
39. Utah
40. Mississippi
41. Tennessee
42. Hawaii
43. Delaware
44. West Virginia
45. Kentucky
46. Louisiana
47. Oklahoma
48. New Mexico
49. Arkansas
50. Alabama

With Iowa already number 18 on the list, the impact of bigger government minded leadership in Des Moines on our property taxes could be devastating.  The Democrat led legislators in our state capital have already changed Iowa's collective bargaining law, which is a virtual lock to raise property taxes if Governor Culver puts his signature on it. 

The state isn't the only level of government jacking up your taxes.  Higher property taxes have already been given approval by local officials in a number of area communities.  The Johnson County Board of Supervisors have given the OK for higher property taxes as well.

Unless citizens speak up against these tax hikes, Iowa will most definitely be climbing up the Per Capita Property Tax list, and quickly.   


Senator Dvorsky misleads public

DvorskyState Senator Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville), is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of his constituents with a guest opinion piece he wrote for the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

In his piece Dvorsky claims, "Democrats are balancing the state budget responsibly while keeping our commitments to Iowans, including improving student achievement and teacher quality, creating more good-paying jobs, and ensuring access to affordable health care for every Iowan."

Democrat Dvorsky is misleading the public.  There is no indication that an adopted budget approved by the Democrat led legislature, will be responsibly balanced.

Regarding Democrat Governor Culver's budget, State Auditor David Vaudt assessed the following In a press release issued February 12, 2008:

Iowa's "Charge Cards" are Maxed Out

The Governor's budget "maxes out" Iowa's charge cards - the funds used to balance the budget. These funds include the Senior Living Trust Fund, various tobacco related funds, and the Property Tax Credit Fund. "The depletion of these funds in Fiscal Year 2009 leaves a $193 million hole for Fiscal Year 2010," commented Auditor Vaudt. "The question taxpayers should be asking is - how does the Governor propose to fill that hole?"

Bonding Leaves Future Generations Paying for Current Year Operating Expenditures

One-time bond proceeds of $67 million are used to balance the Fiscal Year 2009 operating budget and taxpayers will pay for those services for decades to come. Auditor Vaudt stressed, "This is contrary to good budgeting principles because this practice leaves future generations to pay for current year operating expenditures."

Spending Continues to Exceed Revenue

Auditor Vaudt noted planned expenditure growth of 16% over a two-year period (Fiscal Year 2008 and Fiscal Year 2009) still outpaces anticipated ongoing revenue growth of 12% over the same time period. Auditor Vaudt added, "Considering 80% of that two-year revenue growth comes from tax and fee increases, it's obvious the trends in expenditure growth are unsustainable through economic growth alone. To spend at such a torrid pace, we must increase taxes and fees at a torrid pace. That in turn, could adversely impact economic growth in our state."

Rainy Day Funds Provide False Sense of Security

"With $600 million sitting in the "Rainy Day" funds, it's easy to get a false sense of security," Auditor Vaudt cautioned.  Considering the $361 million spending gap built into the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, a substantial revenue shortfall could wipe out the "Rainy Day" funds in just one year, Auditor Vaudt warned.  "With a looming threat of recession, such a scenario is entirely possible."

Infrastructure Funds Diverted for General Fund Expenditures

The Governor's budget proposal makes a statutory reallocation of $90 million from long-term infrastructure spending to fund General Fund services. "As last year's bridge collapse in Minnesota underscored, states across the country are facing the need for increased infrastructure spending," commented Auditor Vaudt. "It makes no sense to borrow money for a prison as the Governor's budget proposes to do, while at the same time divert a large infrastructure revenue source that could pay for a substantial portion of such a project without incurring debt in the first place.

Short-Term Focus Continues

"Longer-term planning will allow us to assess how today's decisions will impact tomorrow's budgets," said Auditor Vaudt.  "The Governor's budget proposal calls for a 5.7% increase in spending next year, but is also sets Iowa up with at least a 5.7% spending gap, $361 million, the following year.  It's appropriate to ask the governor how he plans to bridge that gap.  Will it be through tax and fee increases, or will he find areas to reduce spending?  Iowans want to know where the Governor is leading them."  Auditor Vaudt also refuted the notion planning 2 years ahead is too difficult, noting the accuracy of his prediction last year the Legislature would increase expenditures at least 5.5% as a consequence of the commitments made in the 2007 session.  The Governor's budget calls for a 5.7% increase in spending.

The Auditor's assessment of the budget is not a favorable one.  The Democrat planned expenditure growth of 16% over a two-year period (Fiscal Year 2008 and Fiscal Year 2009) outpaces anticipated ongoing revenue growth of 12% over the same time period.  That puts the state budget in a shortfall of $361 million.  How is that "balancing the state budget responsibly?"

Dvorsky isn't being honest with his constituents and nothing he wrote in his guest opinion piece should be believed.  Regarding the proposed budget, the Democrat led legislature needs to learn how to cut spending.  Their cocaine-like bad habit of tax and spend is undesired and unacceptable.


Real disposable income on the rise

Good_money Personal income increased $56.0 billion, or 0.5 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $48.7 billion, or 0.5 percent, in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $12.0 billion, or 0.1 percent.  In January, personal income increased $30.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, DPI increased $43.7 billion, or 0.4 percent, and PCE increased $42.0 billion, or 0.4 percent, based on revised estimates.  Real disposable income increased 0.3 percent in February, compared with an increase of 0.1 percent in January.  Real PCE was unchanged in February; and increased 0.1 percent in January.

Goods-producing industries' payrolls increased $2.7 billion in February, compared with an increase of $1.1 billion in January; manufacturing payrolls increased $2.2 billion, compared with an increase of $1.7 billion.  Services-producing industries' payrolls increased $12.0 billion, compared with an increase of $20.9 billion.

Editor's Note:  Will the local liberal media run this story?  They received the same press release.....


UI to host annual Invention Convention April 5 in Carver Hawkeye Arena

InventionHave you ever seen a product in the store or on TV and wondered why you didn't think of it first? Would you like to know how a "Boredom Buster for Livestock," a "Drool Dabber," a "Paws Prohibited: TLC (Toilet Lid Closure)," or a "Sled Slingshot" could impact your life?

You'll find these and many more inventions at the Invent Iowa 2008 State Convention Saturday, April 5, at the University of Iowa Carver Hawkeye Arena. The event begins at 8 a.m. with registration and setup of the inventions, followed by a ceremony recognizing the inventors from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The public will have a chance to see the inventions from noon to 1 p.m.

Students in third through 10th grade representing 145 towns throughout Iowa participated in local and regional invention conventions this year to qualify for the State Invention Convention. A total of 358 students will present 266 inventions to demonstrate solutions they feel will make life easier or more enjoyable for many people.

This is the 21st year for the statewide invention convention, which alternates between the UI and Iowa State campuses. Invent Iowa is sponsored by the UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development as well as the UI and ISU Colleges of Engineering. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has been a staunch supporter of Invent Iowa since its inception in 1987. Over the past two decades, approximately a half million students have participated in Invent Iowa.

"Some students are very altruistic with the inventions they create," said Clar Baldus, Invent Iowa State Convention coordinator and administrator for the Inventiveness in the Belin-Blank Center. "In school, students are handed problems to solve every day. Invent Iowa encourages students to decide what the problem is and to solve it themselves with whatever technical skills they have at that point."

To reach the state convention, inventions must first qualify at local and regional conventions sponsored by the state's Area Educational Associations and regional coordinators. Students selected as meritorious winners at the state invention convention will each receive a $50 savings bond. Additionally, six inventors will be awarded $500 scholarships from the UI and ISU Colleges of Engineering that can be applied toward tuition if the students ultimately attend either college.

"Once they reach this point they are considered state inventors," Baldus said. "The state convention is about celebrating this accomplishment."

In the past, inventors from the convention have been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in Wallaces Farmer magazine, and in other national media outlets.

Invent Iowa is a multidisciplinary program designed for students in grades kindergarten through high school. The curriculum is accessible for free through the Belin Blank Web site and has been used worldwide. Each year more than 30,000 students participate in Invent Iowa activities. Students are encouraged to develop inventions that meet the requirements for a patent in the United States: they must be "new, useful and non-obvious." Students are also encouraged to keep journals documenting their inventions' development from concept to completion.

For more information contact Clar Baldus, at 1-800-336-6463, clar-baldus@uiowa.edu or visit http://www.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/events/inventia/.


UI honors student wins 2008 Truman Scholarship

Deboom A University of Iowa honors student who plans to pursue a career in foreign policy research has been named a 2008 Truman Scholar. Meredith DeBoom, a UI junior from Sibley, Iowa, is one of 65 students from 55 U.S. colleges and universities who have been selected for the award.

In announcing the winners, Madeleine K. Albright, Truman Scholarship Foundation president, noted that the award is given on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of "making a difference."

DeBoom, who is majoring in political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and international studies in CLAS and International Programs, hopes to specialize in energy and environmental policy in her future career. She is also a founding member of the UI Civic Analysis Network, a nonpartisan policy research center for the Iowa Legislature. She has served as a teaching assistant, a sorority president, a three-term student government senator, and a founding member of a campus community service group. DeBoom has studied foreign policy in Russia and is currently an intern in the EPA's Climate Change Division. A farm girl at heart, she said she enjoys golfing, making life to-do lists, and exploring the great outdoors.

The 65 Scholars were selected from among 595 candidates nominated by 283 colleges and universities. Each selection panel interviewed finalists from regions composed of three or four states and generally elected one scholar from each state and one at-large scholar from the region. Each panel typically included a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant and a past Truman Scholarship winner. DeBoom worked closely with the University of Iowa Honors Program in preparing her scholarship application.

Each Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd U.S. president. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. There have been 2,610 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.


Your efforts are working

Iverson A special thanks to all of you who called your elected representatives last week regarding the collective bargaining bill, House File 2645, which would strip the bargaining power of local school boards and local elected officials, and place it squarely into the hands of local negotiators.

Despite our best efforts, the bill still passed.  However, because of your action, the public has heard about this bill and it currently awaits a signature from the governor before it can become law.

According to Gov. Culver's office, more than 1,000 calls have been made, telling him to veto this bill!

Please continue your calls to (515) 281-5211 and let the governor know that you support the veto of this bill.

Iowa's newspapers agree...


"...The heart of this bill began in bad faith. Democrats appear to have muscled it through simply because they could, driving a deeper wedge not only among partisans in the statehouse, but labor and management in the schoolhouse and city hall..." - The Quad City Times editorial, March 26, 2008


"...More time is needed to better understand and debate this potentially significant measure. Perhaps that's where the debate should begin. It appears, however, Senate Democrats have no interest in openly debating this bill. Rather, they want to rush it through right after the Easter holiday..." - The Sioux City Journal editorial, March 26, 2008


"...Gov. Chet Culver should veto this one. The bill's potentially huge impact on taxpayers and the lack of sufficient public debate are ample reasons for the governor to buck fellow Democratic leaders..." - Cedar Rapids Gazette editorial, March 26, 2008


"A power grab. An end run. Those are some of the ways to describe the attempt by Democrats at the Statehouse to expand union clout by fast-tracking legislation this week with little time for public comment. Changes in the labor-crafted legislation are not modest...What's going on up at the Statehouse is about the Democrats being in charge of both chambers and having the votes to move forward legislation they have long sought. That's their right. The discussion leading up to the vote, however, has been too hurried for most Iowans to have an impact, which is also their right." - The Des Moines Register editorial, March 22, 2008


Stewart Iverson is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa


Michelle Obama bashes America

Michelle_obama_angryBarak Obama’s angry wife, Michelle, is back in the news. A YouTube video of her has surfaced of a speech that she gave January 23rd, 2008 in Columbia, South Carolina. 

"We don't like being pushed outside of our comfort zones.  You know it right here on this campus. You know people sitting at different tables, y'all living in different dorms.  I was there.  Y'all not talking to each another, taking advantage of the fact that you're in this diverse community because sometimes it's easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions, it makes you feel justified in your ignorance. That's America.  So the challenge for us is, are we ready for change?" ~ Michelle Obama

Ladies and gentlemen, she said, “…because sometimes it's easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions, it makes you feel justified in your own ignorance.  That's America.”  This woman and her husband have without a doubt been influenced by Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his brand of black victim hood and hate America speech. 


America is not about being 'justified in our own ignorance'.  America is about fixing its flaws, never as fast or as efficiently as we would like, but always working towards that end. How does Michelle Obama otherwise explain the efforts made by so many people of all backgrounds to end racism and protect civil rights?  America is about doing what's right, not ignorance.


She said, “… the challenge for us is, are we ready for change?”  This begs the question, “Where in the world did Michelle Obama learn about these stereotypes in her head?”  Did she perhaps learn this stuff while studying at Princeton University and Harvard Law School?  Did she learn this at the hospital that pays her $300,000 a year? 


This quote should piss you off, "It's easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions, it makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That's America.  So the challenge for us is, are we ready for change?" 


Michelle is slamming America, she's playing the race card, and she’s doing so in hypocritical fashion.


The fundamental nature of conservatism is that it does not care what race, sex, or creed a person is.  People like Michelle, the people on the left, they are the ones infatuated with the markers of race, sex, and religion.  And yet those on the left always try to label conservatives constantly with racism.   But it's their twisted icon, as any reasonable person can see.  The racism in America is now on full display, and it’s coming from the Democrat party elites.


UI Hospitals and Clinics to open new Emergency Treatment Center

Emergency_room Emergency medicine specialists at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will begin caring for patients in the new Emergency Treatment Center (ETC) April 2.

The original 21,000-square-foot ETC opened in 1978. It was designed to accommodate 20,000 patient visits per year, but ETC staff treated 40,000 patients last year.

The new $30 million facility encompasses 60,000 square feet and is built to handle 60,000 patient visits per year. The project, involving multiple construction phases, began in February 2005. When the new clinical area opens to the public on April 2, crews will renovate the existing facility. The project is slated for final completion in 2009.

The new ETC features a patient and family-centered atmosphere, providing a personal, private experience for each patient. Spacious, quiet, non-threatening patient care areas encourage family involvement and assure patient confidentiality.

Multiple private triage and registration areas promote efficient, confidential interaction with patients entering and leaving the ETC. Improved parking and access will also enhance the experience of patients and visitors. The new facility also incorporates tracking devices, entrance and exit controls, and advanced security cameras.

Designers incorporated features to provide the most efficient flow for patients and staff in and out of the 28 spacious, private patient rooms, half with private restrooms. There are three major critical care rooms and three specialized trauma rooms, each able to accommodate two stretchers.

The new ETC provides two rooms for psychiatric emergencies and one specialty room for ophthalmologic and dental emergencies. Special accommodations are available for evaluations of sexual assault victims, management of bariatric patients, and observation of patients with chest pain. Designated areas for pediatric and urgent care are also included in the facility.

The expanded nursing station, now four times larger than the current area, provides an unencumbered area for staff and specialty service consultations. Staff members also have visible and accessible room layouts, strategic equipment placement and user-friendly work areas. The width of the hallways has been increased from eight feet to 10 feet.


UI President Mason names Loh new executive vice president, provost

Wallace D. Loh, dean of the college of arts and sciences, professor of public service, and professor of psychology at Seattle University, has been named executive vice president and provost of the University of Iowa, pending approval by the Board of Regents. He will begin his duties Aug. 1.

"It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Wallace Loh has accepted the position of Executive Vice President and Provost," UI President Sally Mason said in making the announcement. "He brings vision, energy, and experience to help lead us as we pursue our goals of a high quality, accessible education; scholarship, research and creativity that advance our collective knowledge and culture; and service that reaches all Iowans and beyond."

Mason thanked the members of the provost search committee, saying, "You deserve our thanks for a magnificent job. You cast a wide net, brought us a superb group of finalists, and allowed students, faculty, staff and others to meet the candidates and to offer assessments of those candidates' strengths and weaknesses. Of course, your collective wisdom on the final selection was invaluable. Your dedication and service to this University are truly outstanding."

Loh succeeds Michael J. Hogan, who left the UI to become president of the University of Connecticut in September 2007. Lola Lopes, former associate provost and long-time UI faculty member, is serving as interim executive vice president and provost.

The executive vice president and provost is the university's chief academic officer and the highest-ranking university official after the president.  The provost fosters the creation, advancement, and implementation of the academic vision for the University.  Responsible for all academic departments, colleges and programs, the provost oversees the processes of faculty appointment, development, promotion and tenure, as well as faculty grievance procedures.  The provost also establishes all academic policies, oversees reviews of all academic units, and leads and implements strategic planning.