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July 2008

Responding to McCain ad, Obama plays race card

A hard hitting and substantive political ad questioning Barack Obama's ability to lead has the Democrat presidential hopeful resorting to playing the race card.

The ad also places focus on how Obama himself is more hype than substance.  But instead of addressing charges made in the ad - that Obama opposes drilling for more oil here at home and he has talked about raising taxes on electricity - Barack Obama responded to the ad by pretending to be a victim and playing the race card.

"What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

A saavy, sharp candiate would have laughed off the ad and explained matter-of-factly why the charges made in the ad weren't valid.  Obama didn't do that.  The comments from the first term Senator of Illinois lacked substance.

"I'm disappointed that Senator Obama would say the things he's saying," McCain told reporters in Racine, Wisconsin.

Editor's Note:  Note Obama's comment, "...he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."   We're sure the Senator knows that only George Washington appears on dollar bills and he just misspoke, but this is the kind of stuff the drive-by liberal media loves to make fun of George Bush on, and they aren't doing so with Obama.  Can you say, "Double-standard?"  Yes you can!  The drive-by liberal media wants Obama to appear more articulate than he really is, so they don't report his mistakes in speech, recall, or facts.  Oh, he's great with a teleprompter, we'll give him that, but the guy misspeaks all the time.  Stay tuned as the campaign heats up.  His many, many statement screwups will become public.  Please also be advised, this isn't the first time Obama has played the race card either.

Folks were mislead on SILO tax proposal

The Cedar Rapids Gazette was liberally pleased to report yesterday that Johnson and Linn County have collected $48 million for schools.  The amount of money reported was collected with the local option sales tax (SILO) that went into effect in July 2007.

During the height of the campaign season for that tax hike issue, some proponents made the argument that folks could afford the extra $30 or so annually the additional tax would cost them.  After all, it would be good for the schools and $30 or so a year isn't too much to ask, it's for the kids.....yada, yada, yada, emotional appeal stuff right?  Many folks bought that line and voted for the tax. 

So how much has this tax hike really cost people?  The reported $48 million that has been generated, comes from the pockets, wallets, and purses of residents from Johnson and Linn counties when they shop.  People from outside of Johnson and Linn pay the tax as well when they shop here.  That being stated and understanding that folks residing outside of Johnson and Linn counties *contribute* to our area schools (taxation without representation), Johnson County has generated $17.622 million, and Linn County has generated $30.297 with the school tax.  Divide respective county populations into tax receipts, Johnson County's 118,038 and Linn's 201,853 and that's about $149 per resident.  And again, understanding that people living outside Johnson County and Linn County contribute to the tax plan, it is clear that the pro-tax argument of, "It will only cost you about $30 annually" was a very false one. People from outside these counties are NOT contributing the entire remaining balance of that $149 per. 

The "It will only cost you about $30 a year" argument was completely bogus.  There's no data to back such a figure up.  How do we know that?  Because the checkout people in each and every store, punching the keys at the register aren't asking everyone where they're from and writing it down.  And the small number of stores that are collecting something like zip code data, are doing so for marketing reasons, they're not sharing that data with the state.  So what we have here are some tax proponents who made up a figure and intentionally low-balled the *estimated* out of pocket figure for the sake of tax hike passage.  The argument could be made that some people just flat out lied in trying to convince others that this tax would be a *good* tax.  Were pro-SILO folks tied to the schools so hell bent and selfish in seeking passage, that they willfully shoved the truth aside?  How *good* is a tax if it's based in lies?  Snake oil anyone?

Oh, and never mind that for the Iowa City Community School District, this sales tax wasn't really needed.  It was a sheer want.  The ICCSD has had all the cash it needs to successfully turn out good students since 1994.  What's not known by many folks is that Superintendent Plugge spends far too much money on administration, and not nearly enough on student education.  That's why he keeps asking for more of your money - for administrative pipe dreams and to cover his butt in other areas.  With passage of the SILO, Plugge now has his feet propped up on his desk because he's rolling in your dough, and people still aren't onto him about how bad he really is with your money.

Do you know where your money is going?  And here's another pleasant thought.....  During the campaign season, proponents predicted the tax hike would generate about $108 million over a ten year period.  Gee, another one of those arbitrary *estimates*, imagine that.  Well, in just its first year, Johnson County collected $17.622 million, far exceeding expectations.  Who are these bean counters Plugge relies on anyway?  Are they the same folks he undercounts student populations with every year?  So with the tax exceeding expectations (bad economy huh liberals?), does that mean the tax will be shut off early when budget expectations are met?  If that predicted $108 mark is achieved in say six years, do you think Lane Plugge, out of the goodness of his heart, will say, "I propose that we rescind the tax."  Heck no!  You're stuck, Plugge will gladly take more of your money even though he doesn't really need it and rest assured, before that ten year mark hits, the campaign to keep that tax going will be well under way.  Keep in mind that the $108 million figure was used in campaigning.  That mark was used for budgeting and project proposals, and a time frame was established.  Voters voted yes or no based on that data. 

Make no mistake, the proposed SILO was nothing more than a money grab, and quite frankly a repulsive one. The ICCSD is now fat, never mind that property tax growth in the area has outpaced student population growth.  Simply put, that means the SILO truly wasn't necessary.  There was and is plenty of money available in pre-SILO existing sources for our children's education (as opposed to the school board's wish list of 'nice things to have'), and those sources are growing, along with the SILO. The property tax base in Tiffin is growing, Solon is growing, North Liberty is growing.  School Superintendents should be challenged on their money management, not given blank checks simply because and when they ask for it.

Folks were mislead on the SILO tax proposal.  School districts in Johnson County truly didn't and now most certainly don't need additional funding.  But we're stuck for another 8+ years with a tax that cannot be repealed.  School districts need to spend the millions they have already been given, responsibly.  Don't give somebody like Superintendent Plugge, another blank check. 

Roof Fire at Procter and Gamble

IOWA CITY -- At 1:40 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2008, the Iowa City Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a fire on the roof of the Procter & Gamble plant at 2200 Lower Muscatine Avenue. Two fire engines, one aerial ladder truck and the command vehicle were available to respond. All other fire units were involved in other emergency calls. As the initial report stated that flames were visible in the rafters and from the roof, a request was made for mutual aid from the Johnson County Mutual Aid Association, with both the Coralville Volunteer Fire Department and the West Branch Volunteer Fire Department responding. All off duty ICFD personnel were called back as well.

Upon arrival at the scene, the first fire unit was directed to the roof area above the mixing room of the facility. There they were met by members of the fire brigade of the P&G Emergency Response Team. The fire had been knocked down initially by the fire brigade and was extinguished within 10 minutes of the arrival of the ICFD. Fire crews then spent some time removing layers of roofing material to check for extension of the fire and other hot spots before turning the scene over to the fire investigator at 2:30 AM.

Investigation revealed that the fire had started as a result of “hot work” being performed on the roof earlier in the day. This work involved welding metal supporting brackets under the plywood and rubber membrane roofing material. The welding had ignited the plywood which had smoldered for some time before spreading to the rubber membrane and roof tar. The damaged roof area measured approximately 55 square feet. The last fire unit left the scene at 2:53 AM.

Structural damage was estimated at $12,000.

More Doctored Polling & Liberal Media Manipulation

The most recent Gallup tracking poll - an average of three days' worth of interviews with registered voters - Gallup gave Barack Obama a comfortable lead over John McCain, 49% to 40%.

Those interviews with registered voters were conducted July 24 - 26.  Liberal media outlets were quick to jump on those results, telling just one side of the story. 

And then there's this, what you won't see in your liberal paper:  From the same data set, but narrowed down to those Gallup *judged* most likely to vote: McCain leads, 49% to 45%.  Yes, the same three days' worth of interviews, providing different results.

Editor's Note:  Grain of salt anyone?  Is objective mainstream journalism dead?  Here we have a mainstream polling outfit manufacturing news, and media outfits going along with it.

Using Federalism to Reform Education: Reagan Style

By John R. Hendrickson

“It’s time to face the truth. Advocates of more and more government interference in education have had ample time to make their case, and they’ve failed,” stated President Ronald Reagan in a radio address to the nation in the spring of 1983. Reagan’s point is still true today.

"Each year, the United States spends more than $550 billion on K-12 public schools — more than 4% of the nation’s gross domestic product,” noted Dan Lips, who is an education policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation. In addition, Lips reports that “a student attending a public school in 2008 can expect taxpayers to spend an average of $9,266 on his or her behalf — a real increase of 69 percent over the average per-pupil expenditure in 1980.” In other words public education is not starving for more taxpayer dollars.

On all levels from K-12 education to higher education students are not receiving the proper education that they deserve or need in order to function in today’s economy. Taxpayers are also being asked to provide more money for education when academic results are declining. For example, Lips reported that “on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, 33 percent of fourth-grade students scored ‘below basic’ in reading.”

The solution to the education problem should not include further increases in national or state funding or even the continuation of federal programs such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), but rather is found in limiting federal involvement, strengthening and supporting parental and school choice programs, and allowing states and localities greater control. States should also ease restrictions on both charter schools and parents who choose to home-school their children.

Article 1, Section 8, of the United States Constitution lists the enumerated powers of Congress, and education is not listed as a power of the legislative branch. Although the Framers believed education to be highly crucial and important to a civil and moral society, they believed that issues such as education could best be handled at the state and local level or by private institutions such as church affiliated colleges and universities.

In the early 20th century, the progressive movement, led by individuals such as John Dewey, pushed to centralize, bureaucratize, and regulate the federal government, which included involvement in education. The Nation is still dealing with the “progressive education” theories of intellectuals such as Dewey, but the current record shows that perhaps, yet again, the Founders were correct.

In the 1980s President Reagan wanted to reverse the course of education by abolishing the Department of Education and limiting federal involvement, while returning education policy back to parents and state and local governments. Reagan wanted to use federalism to reform education. Reagan wanted to work toward the passage of “tuition tax credits, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and voluntary school prayer.”

President Reagan’s solution to reforming education is much different than the approach taken by President George W. Bush and NCLB, which has only required more red tape and more taxpayer dollars. Dan Lips has noted that the administration has “requested $24.5 billion for NCLB programs for fiscal year 2009 — an increase of 41 percent over 2001 levels.”

In order to reform education, we need to follow Reagan’s direction, which in reality is the correct constitutional direction to follow. Continuing the status quo of educational policy is not only unfair to children and taxpayers, but it is dangerous to our national identity and security. “If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance,” stated Reagan.

John R. Hendrickson is a Research Analyst with the Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, IA. 

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New business opens in Iowa City

Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), a leading developer of immunology biotherapeutic products, has opened a new plasma collection facility in Iowa City at 408 South Gilbert Street.

The company operates nine additional FDA licensed and European certified plasma collection centers in various locations throughout the United States. Earlier this year, BPC announced aggressive plans for further expansion of its plasma collection centers during the next two years. The new Iowa City center will provide BPC with the type of quality donor demographics they seek to address the global demand for this very important source material.

“We are extremely pleased with the newest addition to our plasma center network” said Dr. Rainer Pabst, Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking forward to building upon this foundation to reach our goals of continued growth and expanded range of top-quality plasma collections.”

BPC expects to add over 30 jobs to Iowa City’s local economy and currently has opportunities for medical personnel and phlebotomists. In addition to supporting the local economy through employment opportunities, the center has now opened its doors and is actively recruiting plasma donors.

“I am proud to be representing BPC in their newest venture here in Iowa City” said Becky Devor, Iowa City Center Operations Manager and a 17-year Iowa City resident. “I’m excited to work with friends and neighbors to enhance the quality of life of the many patients that rely on plasma-based medical therapies.”

Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation develops and manufactures pharmaceutical and biotherapeutic products with a specialization in immunology. Biotest Pharmaceuticals will offer the hyperimmunoglobulin Nabi-HB®, a key product used in the prevention of hepatitis B. Biotest Pharmaceuticals also is currently working to develop additional products including a polyvalent immunoglobulin (IVIG, Phase III) and Civacir® (Phase IIb), for the prevention of hepatitis C in liver transplant patients. Biotest Pharmaceuticals was formed in 2007 as part of the Biotest AG acquisition of Nabi Pharmaceuticals’ Biologics business unit, including its plasmapheresis centers across the United States. The company employs approximately 525 people in the U.S. Biotest Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Biotest AG.

Biotest AG, Dreieich, Germany, is a company that researches and manufactures pharmaceutical, biotherapeutic and diagnostic products and has specialized in immunology and haematology. In its Pharmaceutical segment, Biotest develops and markets immunoglobulins, clotting factors and albumins based on human blood plasma. These are used for diseases of the immune system or hematopoietic system. In the Biotherapeutic segment, Biotest researches in the clinical development of monoclonal antibodies, including in the indications of rheumatoid arthritis and blood cancer. The Diagnostic segment spans reagents and serology and microbiology systems which are predominantly used in hygiene control, as well as serology, used, for example, in blood transfusions. Biotest has around 1,800 employees worldwide and its shares are listed in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange's Prime Standard.

UI awards scholarships to six 2 Plus 2 transfer students

The University of Iowa has awarded 2 Plus 2 Transfer Scholarships to six Iowa community college students who will be transferring to the UI this fall.

Recipients of the new scholarship, which is worth $1,000 per year for up to two years, include four students from Kirkwood Community College and two students from the Eastern Iowa Community College District, which includes Scott, Clinton, and Muscatine community colleges.

Kirkwood recipients include Anthony Pompo, Casey Everts, David Rainey of Cedar Rapids; and Giorgio Daddezio of North Liberty. Recipients from the EICC District include Travis Overton of Long Grove and Osama 'Malki of Muscatine.

The 2 Plus 2 Guaranteed Graduation Plan provides valuable planning resources for Iowa community college students in select majors who intend to transfer to UI after earning an associate of arts degree. Participants who follow the plan's degree-planning checkpoints are guaranteed a UI bachelor's degree after just two additional years of study.

Eligibility for participation in the plan was expanded to all Iowa community colleges in 2007, and the university expects to award more scholarships as participation grows.

Editor's Note:  Enrollment numbers are up, there's cash being awarded to colleges and students in the forms of grants, scholarships and donations.....  and liberals still pretend that higher education is just too tough to obtain these days? 

Road Trip! Young Republicans Blog and Twitter Their Way Across the U.S.

By Sarah Lai Stirland

They're like the Merry Pranksters, without the merriment or the pranks. A group of four college Republicans have set off across the country in a rented Ford Explorer to remind America that not all young people are Barack Obama supporters, and that it's still possible to drive 2,500 miles without once crossing a Democratic district.

Better get going: The Where Is The Red team have a lot of ground to cover

The quartet, who call their project "Where is the Red," left from Tampa, Florida in June, and are currently in Gahanna, Ohio. They plan to end their tour in conservative Orange County, California in late August. As they travel, they're doing volunteer work for GOP congressional campaigns, and broadcasting the trip in Twitter updates, blog posts and a Google Maps application tied to their GPS.

"We believe in Republicans, and we know that we have every chance in the world to regain our seats in Congress and win the presidential election," says Christie Jackson, 22, one of the four young Republicans. "We're just trying to draw attention to all the young people who are already excited, and who sometimes get ignored by the media."

Conservative bloggers have been despairing over the enthusiasm gap between supporters of John McCain and those backing Democratic rival Barack Obama. Polling data shows that 60 percent of Democrats under 30 voted for Barack Obama during the primaries, while only 34 percent of Republicans in the same demographic voted for John McCain. Sites like Things Younger Than John McCain poke fun at the presumptive Republican nominee's age, and a torrent of anti-McCain videos are flooding YouTube.

The Republican road trip - organized by the College Republican National Committee -- is meant to energize McCain's younger supporters. All four of the traveling quartet are blogging, and one of them, Chris Caraballo, a 24-year-old film student at the University of Southern California, is shooting video. Joining Caraballo and Jackson on the road are Kerry Donnelly, a 21-year-old Fordham University graduate, and Jeremy Harrell, 22, a University of Miami at Ohio graduate.

"One reason we're using the technology that we're using now is to draw attention to the fact that there are new, interesting, relevant, and extremely efficient ways to get information to people," says Jackson, who just graduated from Clemson University. "That's why we're keeping track of our trip ... through our blog and other Web 2.0 tools."

The venture's use of syndication, GPS and mapping software is generally more interesting than the content of the entries themselves -- many of which document the tedium of volunteer political work, with discourses on envelope-stuffing and other office tasks, though they occasionally produce video spots, like this faux-public service spot in Ohio's contested 15th congressional district.

Jackson is excited to be fighting for her party, at a time when the GOP is widely expected to suffer significant losses on Capitol Hill. The Cook Political Report predicts that Democrats could pick up between five and seven seats in the Senate and 12 and 17 seats in the House this year. The report says that the presidential race is a toss-up.

"I think it's really been encouraging," Jackson says of her trip thus far. "I think all of us feel really excited for November, and I think that's one of the reasons we're doing this. It's to show that Republicans our age are excited about winning in November."

Iowa City Police investigate assault

IOWA CITY -- On Thursday, July 24th, 2008, at 10:52pm, Iowa City police officers responded to 2724 Wayne Ave, apt B2, to investigate an assault complaint. Responding officers located two males who had been involved in an altercation at that location. Both males were transported to University of Iowa Hospitals where they were treated for non life threatening injuries. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers.

Iowa City area crime stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest of this suspect.  Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 358-TIPS (8477).  All calls are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed.  Individuals providing information do not have to reveal their identity to collect a reward.