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June 2011

May 2011

Renewable energy mandate: Colorado sold a bill of goods

By PAUL CHESSER | The Pueblo Chieftain

Seven years ago, environmentalists sold Colorado voters a bill of goods: That forcing so-called “renewable” energy on customers would make air cleaner, save us from global warming and create thousands of net new jobs via “green” energy schemes.

They were wrong about all three.

The successful 2004 ballot initiative required that by the year 2020, Xcel Energy obtain at least 10 percent of its electricity from alternative (to coal and natural gas) fuels such as wind, solar and other nontraditional but allegedly “clean” means. Since then, lawmakers have upped the ante. In 2007, they raised the mandate to 20 percent and last year increased it to a 30 percent by 2020. Alternative energy entrepreneurs, who couldn’t sell their products without government to coerce it, cheered each increase.

Now they all have a lot of explaining to do.

Read the rest here:

http://tinyurl.com/3zjm565


New Behind-the-Scenes Video of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Announcement in Des Moines, Iowa

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. -- The Pawlenty for President campaign released a new video of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from Governor Tim Pawlenty's official campaign announcement in Des Moines, Iowa last week.  

The video is available here: http://www.timpawlenty.com/pages/announcement-iowa 

Citing his record of tackling tough problems as governor of Minnesota, Gov. Pawlenty promised to tell the hard truths necessary to get America back on the right track.  The 3-minute video features remarks by Former First Lady Mary Pawlenty, interviews with Governor Pawlenty, and comments by Pawlenty aides and supporters at the announcement town hall. 


BUSINESSMAN HERMAN CAIN WILL BE FEATURED SPEAKER AT THE FAMiLY LEADER’S PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES ON June 6th

Lectures To Be Delivered at Campuses in Sioux Center, Pella, and Iowa City 

Pleasant Hill, IA – Businessman Herman Cain will be the featured speaker at The FAMiLY LEADER’s Presidential Lecture Series at Dordt College, Pella Christian High School, and the University of Iowa on Monday, June 6th.  The full schedule is listed below.  

Dordt College, Campus Center, 498 4th Ave. NE, Sioux Center, IA  51250
9:00-9:45 AM - Leadership Roundtable (by invitation only)

9:45-10:00 AM - Press Avail
10:00-11:00 AM - Lecture 

Pella Christian High School, Vermeer Auditorium, 300 Eagle Lane, Pella, IA  50219
12:45-1:30 PM - Leadership Roundtable (by invitation only)

1:30-2:30 PM - Lecture

2:30-2:45 PM - Press Avail 

University of Iowa, Iowa Memorial Union, The Ballroom, 125 N. Madison St., Iowa City, IA  52242
4:00-4:45 PM - Leadership Roundtable (by invitation only)
4:45-5:00 PM – Press Avail
5:00-6:00 PM - Lecture 

The primary purpose of the Presidential Lecture Series is to provide national figures with a pre-planned, full day in Iowa to introduce them to Iowans and to give citizens an educational opportunity to become better informed about the pro-family vision of each speaker.  The lectures will be videotaped, emailed to our comprehensive database, and posted on our website to allow all interested citizens the opportunity to hear and watch the lectures.  The lectures of Governor Pawlenty, Congressman Paul, Congresswoman Bachmann, and Senator Rick Santorum are posted on our website at www.TheFamilyLeader.com

The FAMiLY LEADER will host the Presidential Lecture Series each month through August 1st.  Former Governor Tim Pawlenty was the featured speaker on February 7th and Congressman Ron Paul provided the lecture in Pella and Iowa City on March 7th.  Congressman Ron Paul also gave his lecture at Dordt College on April 11th along with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at Pella and Iowa City.  Senator Rick Santorum joined the series on May 2nd.  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is scheduled for July 11th.  Other invited speakers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.


County seats in Iowa generally perform better than their counties in population

County seat towns in Iowa tended to perform better than their counties over the last decade in population growth, according to a University of Iowa analysis of last year's U.S. census.

Jeff Schott, director of the Institute of Public Affairs, said that in counties that lost population between 2000 and 2010, the county seat tended to lose residents at a slower rate, or even grow.

And in counties that gained population, the seats tended to grow at an even faster clip.

For instance, while Bremer County grew 4 percent, county seat Waverly jumped by more than 10 percent. And while Cerro Gordo County fell by 5 percent, Mason City lost only 3.7 percent of its population.

"On the surface, you'd think that county seat towns should mirror the growth of the counties in which they're located, but that's not always the case," Schott said.

He said that 66 counties lost population while 33 gained population. Of the seat towns, 37 gained population and 61 lost. Schott said that county seats have a built-in advantage economically because they attract business as the government and law enforcement centers. They also tend to be economic and financial centers for their counties.

He said the 2010 census data also shows that many of them have become destinations for people who are moving from smaller towns in their county to be closer to services they can find only in county seats. This is especially true of senior citizens, who need health care and social services that county seats offer but other towns don't.

Other examples include Spirit Lake, where a 13.7 percent growth rate eclipsed Dickinson County's 1.5 percent growth: Ames, with a 16.2 percent growth that outpaced Story County's 12 percent growth; and Sac City, where a 6.3 percent loss in population was better than Sac County's 10.2 percent loss.

The trend wasn't universal, however, as 33 county seat towns performed more poorly than their counties. For instance, Ringgold County lost 6.2 percent of its population while Mount Ayr fell by 7.2 percent. And Fremont County fell by 7 percent while Sidney dropped by 12.5 percent.

Schott said many of the towns that didn't perform as well as their counties are located in urbanized areas where the seat anchors the growth of the surrounding area. For instance, while Des Moines grew by 2.4 percent, it anchors a Polk County that jumped more than 15 percent. Similarly, Johnson County's population increased by 18 percent, but Iowa City's increase was only 9.1 percent.

In a statistical quirk, three county seats and counties had the same rate of change in population: Benton County and Vinton gained 3 percent, Warren County and Indianola grew 13.7 percent and Henry County and Mount Pleasant lost 1 percent.

Dallas County grew a whopping 62 percent, one of the fastest growth rates of any county in the United States. But its seat of Adel grew by only 7.2 percent, in part because most of the county's development was in its eastern sections near Polk County, while Adel was just outside that boom ring.

Some county seats also managed to grow despite their counties losing population. While Buena Vista County lost .7 percent, Storm Lake grew by 5.2 percent. And while Hancock County dropped by 6.3 percent, Garner jumped 7.1 percent.

Schott pointed out that Lee County is a special case, as it has two county seats—Fort Madison and Keokuk. The county fell by 8.5 percent, Fort Madison dropped by 3.1 percent and Keokuk jumped 5.7 percent.


High-performance computing cluster is UI's largest 'supercomputer' ever

Tackling the world's biggest problems and advancing cutting-edge science and learning require computing power on a very large scale. Now researchers at the University of Iowa have access to a new high-performance computing (HPC) cluster that's the largest ever installed on campus.

"This system will enable University of Iowa researchers to make significant advancements in fields as diverse as biomedical engineering, flood prediction and mitigation, physics and astronomy, and global climate studies," says Mark Wilson, director of research computing at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering. "All these disciplines rely on the high-performance computing tools and methods provided by the new cluster."

Wilson cites two specific examples of cluster-enabled research:

--Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., professor in radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering, and Ching-long Lin, Ph.D., professor in mechanical and industrial engineering and applied mathematical and computational sciences, have collaborated on the development of an innovative digital human lung model. The model combines the best in lung imaging capabilities with computational fluid dynamics to create a complete and complex digital lung to advance both research and treatment.

--Gregory Howes, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and astronomy, studies turbulence in space and astrophysical plasmas and uses the HPC cluster for development and testing of complex, computationally challenging codes in preparation for runs on much larger National Supercomputer Centers elsewhere. He also is leading campus education efforts in the field of scientific parallel computing.

The HPC cluster -- dubbed Helium -- harnesses the computational power of 200 dual-socket, quad-core servers, yielding 1,600 computing cores. "Whereas ordinary servers often run at 5 percent of available capacity, computational clusters such as Helium tend to run at much higher utilization rates," says Ben Rogers, a systems administrator with the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. "This higher level of utilization is due to a combination of the nature of scientific computing combined with specialized software that efficiently allocates scientific jobs to the available servers. What that means in layman's terms is that computational problems performed on a researcher's desktop machine that could take weeks or even months to complete can be run in days, hours and even minutes on Helium."

Helium's $1.16 million cost was paid for by a group of 12 researchers who realized they were better off pooling their research grant dollars and getting far greater computing power in return.

"The 12 individuals involved in the purchase of Helium had complete control over their money and could have individually built smaller clusters in their own labs," says Jerry Protheroe, interim director of research services for Information Technology Services (ITS) and ITS's coordinator of Helium's installation. "Instead, they were willing -- enthusiastic even -- to share not just among themselves, but with others on campus who need a high-performance computing system to advance their research. There are other HPC clusters on campus, but none of this size. The next big breakthrough or cure for a disease could be here at Iowa -- it could be because of this system and this collaboration effort."

Protheroe says that, in addition to its traditional uses, the system allows researchers to conduct "trial runs" while they await access to even larger systems at other supercomputer institutes. And it gives instructors the ability to provide hands-on experience to students who will enter research fields.

Helium is relatively green, as well. ITS data center manager Dennis Rublaitus says that, in support of the university's sustainability initiatives, Helium uses an innovative, in-row, refrigerant-based cooling solution that allows for higher density cabinets – up to 20 kW. This method is 20 percent more efficient than traditional forced-air systems, Rublaitus says. "Higher densities translate to greater efficiency and more effective use of limited and valuable data center raised-floor space."

Protheroe hopes to be able to install other HPC clusters at the university. "The name Helium was chosen because it's the first of a number of noble gases on the periodic table of the elements. Similarly, we hope this is just the start of even bigger computing power at Iowa."


Sunshine on Medicare Fraud

By Jennifer Crull 

MOUNT PLEASANT, IA. -- Medicare is one of the largest entitlement programs that we have in this country.  Medicare was 3.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010 according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The CBO projects that Medicare will increase to 9.0 percent of the GDP by 2050.  That is a 190 percent increase.  With growth like that it is easy to understand why everyone is writing about how the federal government will be broke with the growth of the entitlement programs.  Plus, that 190 percent increase is just Medicare, not Social Security or Medicaid. 

 While we all know that there is a lot of reform that needs to be addressed with the Medicare program, one of the first steps is transparency concerning the financial reimbursements.  When the courts ruled in 1979 that physician payments would not be made public due to confidentiality of the doctor, little did they know that this would open the door to fraud over the years.  Right now you have no way of knowing if your doctor is over-billing Medicare or not. 

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud lists several disturbing facts on their Website about fraud with Medicare.  In 2007, $10.8 billion was made in improper Medicare payments.  Also, between 2000 and 2007 Medicare paid 478,500 claims that totaled $92 million to dead physicians.  

Transparency is desperately needed for the Medicare program.  That is why Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate File 756 on April 7, 2011.  This bill, entitled “Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act,” is to amend Title XI of the Social Security Act to make Medicare-claims data available to the public.  With this database, we would be able to search by doctors and by state.  This will give patients a better idea about what their doctors are billing for.  Plus, it would allow users of the data to alert Medicare of any potential fraud that they see when viewing the data.  For we all know that the most watchful eyes are the people in the community in which a doctor or supplier lives and does business.  

“While we all know that a lot needs to be done to overhaul the cost of Medicare, Senate File 756 is at least a start in the right direction in decreasing the Medicare fraud that is currently going on,” said Jennifer Crull, an IT Specialist with Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Sunshine on Medicare Fraud” from Public Interest Institute’s IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER is available at www.IowaTransparency.org. 

For an interview or more information on this issue, contact Jennifer Crull, Public Interest Institute IT Specialist.


Owned! Socialists confirm Glenn Beck's craaaaazy 'conspiracy theory'

The way the media mocked Glenn during what they celebrated as a 100% pure as the driven snow Arab Spring is looking more and more silly with each passing day. First, the extremist anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood have positioned themselves to grab power - and now, prominent socialists are openly bragging about how they 'coalesced' with other groups during this uprising to achieve one goal: end capitalism and the western way of life. Oh, and Israel is the 'enemy' and they, along with America, are the true obstacle to their socialist utopia. Hey! That's exactly what Glenn said all along! Watch the disturbing video HERE and get Glenn's reaction HERE


Report: Jim Tressel tenders resignation

Ohio_state_buckeyes COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jim Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country's top football programs.

"After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement released by the university. "The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."

Read more at ESPN:  http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6606999