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Gov. Branstad denies ten applications for commutation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:34

(DES MOINES)  - Gov. Terry E. Branstad denied the following application for commutation:

Darrell Bizzett, age 64, committed his crime on September 1, 1970, in Woodbury County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Murder – 1st degree.

Rodney Borushaski, age 40, committed his crimes on August 12, 1996, in Polk County.  He is currently serving two life sentences for Murder – 1st degree.

Raymond T. Freie, Jr., age 71, committed his crime on August 28, 1981, in Hancock County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Murder – 1st degree.

Mark Greiman, age 51, committed his crime on July 27, 1998, in Cerro Gordo County.  He is currently serving a twenty-give year sentence for Robbery – 1st degree (85%).

Kevin Johnson, age 58, committed his crime on June 29, 1980, in Pottawattamie County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Murder – 1st degree.

Ed Shaker Nassif, age 43, committed his crime on September 1, 1990, in Linn County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Murder – 1st degree.

Dee Jay Radeke, age 49, committed his crime on May 31, 1991, in Linn County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Kidnapping – 1st degree.

Robert C. Richey, age 68, committed his crime on May 8, 1996, in Bremer County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Murder – 1st degree.

Arthur Rogers, age 40, committed his crimes January 27, 2000, in Scott County.  He is currently serving two twenty year sentences for Robbery – 2nd degree (85%).

Richard T. Steltzer, age 69, committed his crime on February 6, 1979, in Warren County.  He is currently serving a life sentence for Kidnapping – 1st degree.

 

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Loebsack Statement on the Postal Service Canceling Plan to End Saturday Delivery PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that they would be canceling their plans to end Saturday delivery.

“The announcement by the Postal Service that it has canceled its misguided plan to end Saturday delivery is good news for the people of Iowa. Saturday delivery is important to Iowa’s economy, seniors and small businesses.  Now it is time for Congress to do its job and act to give the USPS the tools necessary to avoid this situation in the future.  The USPS would not be in the financial situation it is today if it had not been required to pre-pay retirement funds, which no other agency or business is required to do.  I will continue to push for commonsense legislation that will responsibly restore USPS’s fiscal solvency while protecting Iowan’s access to postal services ”

Loebsack is a cosponsor of legislation, which would address the USPS’s financial needs without the upheaval and job loss.  He has urged leadership on multiple occasions to address postal reform as soon as possible and is currently a cosponsor of H. Res. 30, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the UPSP should continue with its 6-day mail delivery service.

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In the Battle of the Sexes, Men aren’t Doing So Well PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:24
Author Offers 3 Tips to Level the Playing Field

The headlines would be comical if they weren’t so sad – and numerous.

“YOUNG WOMAN SCAMS LOVE STRUCK ELDERLY MAN OUT OF $200,000” (Elk Grove, Calif., January 2013)

“Just Google and you’ll find all kinds of news stories about men who willingly give up their cash, their luxury cars, even an ex-wife’s diamond ring,” as in the Elk Grove case, says Charles D. Martin, author of “Provocateur,” (www.provocateurbook.com), a novel about smart, beautiful women and the power they wield over men.

“As men, we never like to admit that we may be outsmarted by a woman – but the truth is, it is happening all the time!”

And it’s getting worse, for men.

“Women are far outpacing men in numbers of college degrees. They now outnumber men, earning almost 60 percent of college degrees,” Martin says. “And while that doesn’t necessarily make them ‘smarter’ than men, it sure does add to their advantage.”

In addition women have other (obvious) advantages.

“In the presence of a sexy woman, men lose their ability to think or act rationally,” Martin says. “That’s an enormous advantage for women! Men do not realize that it is women that are in charge of the mating process.”

How can men level the playing field? Martin has some suggestions:

• Recognize the predator – and the prey. If you are an older gentlemen, particularly one with some status or affluence and a young, attractive woman comes on to you … be on guard. She probably has nefarious, not amorous, motives. Keep your pants zipped and your wallet stowed until you are totally persuaded that her affection for you is genuine.

• Remember, they don’t have to be young to be dangerous. The woman arrested in the Elk Grove, Calif., case was 30 years old. There are also recent news stories about a 54-year-old woman stealing more than $85,000 from a 93-year-old man, promising him a “big payoff.” In another case, a 45-year-old woman had a 60-year-old man paying for her elective surgeries, limousines, even a $1,000 dog. She was arrested in December. “They may be moms or grandmoms, but they’re still women,” Martin says.

• Even if you are happily married, you are still vulnerable. Beware the “perfect storm,” which occurs as a man ages and tries to hang on to his virility, just as his high school sweetheart is also showing signs of wear. That makes him vulnerable to a younger female with ulterior motives. If a sexy woman comes on to you, get away fast.  These “Provocateurs” can get the best of you in a nanosecond.

About Charles D. Martin

Charles Martin runs a hedge fund, Mont Pelerin Capital, LLC, and serves on the investment committees of prominent universities. An established business writer, his first novel focuses on the intrigue that often exists between alpha females that take on – and conquer – dominant males. Martin lives with his wife in a coastal town south of Los Angeles.

 
Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, May 7 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ethan Spotts   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:21

Crossing guards shepherd us safely across the street. They keep children safe from traffic throughout the year — no matter the conditions: wind, rain, snow or sweltering heat.

Since 2005, the State of Illinois has been officially honoring these individuals with Crossing Guard Appreciation Day. This year, the event takes place on May 7.

In honor of Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Active Transportation Alliance are asking neighbors to share stories about their local crossing guards. Chicago and suburban residents can share how much they value their crossing guard at www.activetrans.org/crossingguard.

The public is invited to share stories until through May 7, 2013 — the day Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn declared as Crossing Guard Appreciation Day.

“Crossing guards provide an invaluable service to our communities,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “They are out there every day making the streets safer by helping children get to school and guiding residents as they walk to their bus stop.”

Here are a few ways you can help celebrate the efforts of your local crossing guards.

  • Download and present them with a certificate of appreciation: www.activetrans.org/crossingguard.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Give the guard a gift card to a local business.
  • Share details about the great work that a particular crossing guard does in your neighborhood.
  • Visit www.activetrans.org/crossingguard to read comments people made about their favorite crossing guards in recent years.

 
Grassley statement on the Motion to Proceed to Reid Gun Control Legislation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:00

Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

The Motion to Proceed to Reid Gun Legislation

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Click here for video of the speech.

Mr. President, earlier today, I met with families from Newtown, Connecticut to discuss the legislation we are currently debating.  It was emotional and difficult for all of us.  I thank them for sharing their stories of their loved ones and their concerns with me.  I hope my colleagues will also consider meeting with these families.

At the meeting, they called for a debate on the legislation, a debate we are having.  And under the new procedures available under Senate Resolution 15, the Majority Leader can move to proceed to a measure and vote on some amendments.  A vote against the motion to proceed does not cut off debate or votes on amendments.

Nonetheless, Mr. President, we are in the unusual position of being asked to take a leap into the unknown.  We are being asked to vote to proceed to an uncertain bill.  That bill is not even the bill that we would likely consider if the motion to proceed were successful.  The language on background checks would change.  Remarkably, if the language changed, it would be replaced with language that does not now exist.

The world’s greatest deliberative body should not operate in this fashion.

In the Judiciary Committee, four bills were considered separately.  There was no consensus.  Three of them have now been combined.  But they are not ready for consideration.  At the time, the sponsor of the background check bill said it was not ready.  There are numerous problems with that bill.

Movement of firearms from one law-abiding citizen to another would be legal or illegal based on arbitrary distinctions that citizens could not be expected to know.  This is true even though when this language was the subject of a hearing in a previous Congress, a witness pointed out the problems.  But no changes have been made to address those issues.  Even an official with the ACLU says that criminal laws should give more guidance to citizens.

The bill operates in a way that would make gun safety efforts more difficult.  That does not make any sense.

The bill requires recordkeeping for private sales.  That is a step toward gun registration.  Indeed, we heard testimony in the Judiciary Committee that “universal” background checks cannot be effective without gun registration.

And the ACLU official is right to be concerned about the threat to privacy that the background check language presents.

He notes that the government would possess information concerning gun owners that it would not be required to destroy within 24 hours, as it must for current background checks.

He also points out that the bill contains none of the restrictions in current law that prevent other parts of the government from using the database for purposes beyond why the information was supposedly obtained.

The background check provision is also not ready for consideration because of the new federal felony that it creates.  If a law-abiding gun owner’s gun is lost or stolen, he or she would be required to report that to both the Attorney General and appropriate local officials within 24 hours.  At the markup, I asked a number of questions of the bill’s sponsor about how the offense would work.  For instance, who would pay for the additional law enforcement personnel who would take those calls?  What would a citizen’s legal obligation be if the gun were misplaced rather than lost?  What would determine when the loss occurred that started the 24 hour period?

The sponsor said that these issues would be clarified.  So far, however, they have not been.  So law-abiding citizens will not know whether they are acting in compliance with the law or face a 5 year jail sentence.  The issues have not been clarified, but we are being asked to proceed to the bill anyway.

This new offense criminalizes inaction.  That is a grave threat to freedom.  Except for filing tax returns or registering for the draft, we punish bad actions.  We do not punish inaction. This new crime punishes failure to act.  And it only applies to those who lawfully own their guns.  A criminal whose gun is stolen is not required to report that fact.  With this offense, law-abiding citizens can be turned into felons, but felons cannot commit a crime.  Under this new offense, law-abiding citizens might be looking at five years in jail for doing nothing.  And all that is necessary for the gun to be subject to the reporting requirement is that the gun once moved in interstate commerce.

The Supreme Court has outlined three categories of situations in which Congress can rely on the Commerce Clause.  This is not one of them.

If Congress can do this, it can make people take all sorts of action simply because they owned a product that once moved in interstate commerce.  Like bread.  Or soap.  And they can face jail time if they do not do what Congress demands that they do.  Even the individual mandate from Obamacare only established a penalty, not a prison sentence.  I do not think 90 percent of Americans would support this universal background check bill if they read it.

The motion to proceed also goes to a bill that contains language on straw purchasing and gun trafficking.  I voted to report that bill to the Senate floor.  Many changes were made to that bill at my behest.  An amendment of mine was adopted.  At the time, I expressed concerns.  I spoke of my desire to have those concerns worked out before the bill went to the floor.  I said I would not necessarily support that bill on the floor if those concerns were not responded to.  They have not been addressed so far.  And those provisions were tied to the ever-changing background check provisions.

The whole process makes me wonder whether the efforts to pass a bill on this subject really are serious.  It seems that if a half-baked bill is brought up, the majority can be sure that they can force Republicans not to agree to proceed to it.  It seems like that may be just what they want to happen.   If so, that is a very cynical way to treat a very serious issue.

Mr. President, how can we responsibly proceed to a bill that contains language that even its sponsor admits is not ready for consideration?

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