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Thune, Grassley Express Concern Over Approval of Foreign Purchase of Taxpayer-Funded A123 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:32

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today expressed concern over the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ (CFIUS) decision to approve the China-based Wanxiang Group Corps.’ investment in failed stimulus-funded battery company, A123. Thune and Grassley, who have taken the lead in seeking answers from both the Obama administration and A123 on the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the now-bankrupt green energy company, had urged CFIUS to protect U.S. national security and taxpayer interests as part of the transaction. A123 received over $130 million in taxpayer funds through the president’s stimulus bill, including $1 million the day it declared bankruptcy.

“I am troubled by the Obama administration’s approval of the Wanxiang purchase of A123,” said Thune. “Technology produced by A123 and funded by U.S. taxpayers should not simply be shipped off to China so that the military applications for these materials can be reproduced abroad. Senator Grassley and I remain concerned about the national security implications of this transaction and have called on CFIUS for a full briefing of the review. We will continue to press for answers regarding our national security and taxpayer interests.”

“We don’t have any answers on what will happen to the technology funded by the U.S. taxpayers,” Grassley said. “We don’t have any answers on whether U.S. national security concerns are protected. The only thing that’s clear is a foreign-owned company will benefit from the millions of dollars given to A123 through the President’s stimulus package. That’s troubling.”

On August 14, 2012, Thune and Grassley sent a letter to the Department of Energy after A123 announced a $450 million investment deal with Wanxiang to express concern about tax dollars going to a struggling company. There were clear indications that A123 was having financial problems even as the administration continued to pour millions of taxpayer dollars into the failing company.

On October 9, 2012, Thune and Grassley sent a letter to A123 expressing their concerns regarding the company’s potential agreement to grant Wanxiang majority control of the company. On October 16, 2012, A123 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and appeared to withdraw from the deal with Wanxiang. Instead, Wanxiang went to auction and bid on A123’s assets to acquire the company as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. CFIUS, which is charged with reviewing foreign investments, approved the transaction, according to an announcement today from Wanxiang.

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Loebsack Public Schedule for Tuesday, January 29 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:04

WHO Congressman Dave Loebsack

Davenport School officials

Parents

Mental Health Experts

WHAT Dave will facilitate a discussion about school safety with educators, school administrators, parents’ organizations and mental health professionals.

WHERE Wood Intermediate School

5107 North Division Street

Davenport

TIME 10:00am

 

Ride Along with DeWitt Police Chief

WHO Congressman Dave Loebsack

Chief Dave Porter

WHAT Dave will ride-along with Chief Porter on a tour of DeWitt

WHERE DeWitt Police Department

606 9th Street

TIME Tour begins at 4:00pm

 

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The 5 Steps to Wowing Your Lady on Valentine’s Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 28 January 2013 16:33

How will your 2013 Valentine’s Day be remembered? Good, bad, or, worse yet – indifferent!?

Fear not – there is a way of attaining the best outcome this Feb. 14, which is just around the corner.

Sadly, there are too many women – both single and attached – that feel especially lonely during this time of year. If you’re responsible for the romance in a woman’s life, you want to treat her right. Roses, a candle-lit dinner with atmospheric music and perhaps a post-dinner drive along Beach Avenue are sufficient details to cover the norm. These basics show your special lady that you are at least trying … But how does one go about WOWing her?

No matter what she might say, dressing down the holiday, like staying home and ordering your sweet heart’s favorite topping for takeout pizza, simply will not do.

While many men will not grasp the seemingly arbitrary importance of a typically frigid mid-February evening, the important thing to remember is you don’t have to. It’s not about you; it’s about her, and this is the only idea you need to keep in mind.

As a relationship expert and chef with two published books on relationships and one on recipes, I recommend creating a lasting memory with new and novel ideas. The brain’s feel-good “love” chemical – oxytocine – usually increases when women are presented with novel activities, beyond those established and preferred routines, according to recent studies.

Abandon old traditions and do something to sweep her off her feet with these five steps:

1. Before the big day, drive her wild with anticipation by telling her that you have the most amazing surprise for her. This promise will keep her guessing and make her think about your evening.

2. Know her favorite flowers. If you don’t, don’t panic. You can find out by making a comment, like “I’ve noticed plants blooming early this year …” and steer the conversation from there. In a beautiful vase, arrange an exotic bouquet and hide it somewhere in your home on the special day. She’ll like that you created the presentation.

3. Go to your local chocolate shop and select her favorite kinds of chocolate. Have it boxed and nicely wrapped to prevent her from knowing what it is when you present the chocolates to her.

4. Create a dish and name it after her. For example, if her name is Anne, you might call the dish “Tournedos Princess Anne.” This step is the most important. I can assure you that after having spent time in some top-notch restaurants, food that is named after a person is a special honor. We all know how women love it when their men do the cooking. What I do is cut and precook the vegetables, and I even make the sauce beforehand to make sure I get it as perfect as I can. Leave everything in the fridge. Then, on Valentine’s Day, I set the table before I start the cooking part. On both plates, place a fresh RED ROSE. The single rose is just part of making her think that that is all the flowers she will be getting (but we know differently). When she gets home, make sure to get her to promise you that she’ll stay out of the kitchen. Tell her not to spoil the surprise!

5. When everything is ready, plate the food, cover it and take it to the dining table, and then ask her to come and sit. Before you uncover the lid, have her close her eyes. Retrieve the hidden bouquet, place the flowers on the table, and ask her to open her eyes. Pay attention to how she responds. Tell her what you’ve named the dish.

But that’s not all – after the meal, take her by the hand, walk her to the living room and sit her down. Bring out the boxed chocolate, go on one knee and tell her, “This is for you,” or, “You make me feel whole,” or, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you.”

Overkill? – Not at all. Remember, you don’t have to know why this works, but only that it does work.

About Ernest Quansah

Ernest Quansah (www.relationshipadviceforsuccess.com) is a love relationship success expert with more than a decade of experience. He is the president of Relationship Advice for Success, and founder of Online Dating, Relationship, and Marriage School (ODRMS). After much research and experience with heartache – divorce, breakups and the devastating consequences – he has discovered the keys to finding and maintaining meaningful, long-lasting romantic relationships. He is also the author of Do’s and Don’ts of Relationships: Nine Steps to a Deeper, Richer Love Relationship, 2nd edition.

 
Avoiding Tax Refund Identity Fraud PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 28 January 2013 16:32

By Jason Alderman

Many people file their income tax returns as early in the year as possible. Some are eager to claim their tax refund right away, while others are simply following their New Year's resolution not to procrastinate until midnight, April 15.

Let me add another good reason to file your taxes right away: tax refund identity fraud.

That's where someone uses your Social Security number (SSN), birth date and other private information to file a fraudulent income tax return in your name and then pockets the resulting tax refund. Often, a victim's first clue is a letter from the IRS contesting their legitimate tax return, saying one has already been processed under that name. It can take months – and mounds of paperwork – to unravel the mess.

This scam has proliferated in recent years thanks to a confluence of events:

  • There's a thriving black market in personal information stolen from healthcare facilities, nursing homes, schools, insurance companies and other institutions that require an SSN as identification.
  • The IRS is pressured to begin issuing refunds shortly after taxpayers start filing returns in mid-January, even though employers and financial institutions aren't required to submit withholding and income documentation until the end of March. Thus, disparities often aren't caught until months later.
  • The growing popularity of electronic filing, where hard-copy documentation (like W-2 and 1099 forms) isn't required.
  • Many people receive refunds via direct deposit and prepaid debit cards. Criminals open and close accounts using bogus addresses long before the theft has been detected.

Thanks to severe budget cuts and chronic understaffing – not to mention constantly playing whack-a-mole with thieves who dream up new schemes – the IRS is hard-pressed to keep up. In one extreme example, the agency issued more than $3.3 million in refunds for 2,137 tax returns filed to a single address.

But all is not lost. The IRS has significantly beefed up its fraud-prevention efforts. In 2011, they intercepted nearly 262,000 fraudulent tax returns seeking almost $1.5 billion in refunds related to identity theft. And they now issue special personal identification numbers (PINs) to impacted taxpayers to protect their future tax filings.

So what should you do if you've been victimized? Typically, the IRS will send you a notice that:

  • More than one tax return for you was filed;
  • You have a balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year in which you didn't file a return; or
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer you don't recognize. This could indicate that someone has used your personal information to get a job.

If you receive such a notice, don't ignore it. Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039 at www.irs.gov) and return it with a copy of the notice to the address provided on the notice. If you did not receive a notice but believe you may be at risk, the form contains separate submission instructions.

The IRS's Identity Theft Protection website (www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection) includes tons of helpful information, including ways to tell whether your identity may have been stolen, how to report a breach and tips to avoid identity theft.

And finally, file your tax return as early as possible to beat potential scammers to the punch. If you owe money, you can always file your return now and mail the payment by the April 15 deadline.

 
2013 Doodle 4 Google Contest PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Robert Haus   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:24

The Google "doodles" are the fun versions of the Google logo that you see on the Google homepage throughout the year in celebration of special events and people. Once a year, the company gives K-12 students across the U.S. the chance to display their own Google doodle on www.google.com through the Doodle 4 Google contest.

Google just announced the 2013 Doodle 4 Google contest, with the theme “My Best Day Ever...” This is a chance to give students a blank canvas to exercise their creative imagination and doodle about their best day ever -- be that in the past, present or future. Google is excited to see moments or thoughts that range from very small and personal to broad and far reaching -- maybe even out of this universe.

The stakes are high: in addition to seeing their doodle displayed on Google’s homepage in May, the winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for their school. Last year, Google received a record 114,000 submissions.

Students can submit doodles until March 22, and Google will announce a winner from every single state on May 1. Last year’s Iowa winner was Alexis Zaugg, from Southdale Elementary School in Cedar Falls, IA.

You can find the full blog post announcing the contest below. More information, including all contest rules, is available at google.com/doodle4google. Please also feel free to use the videos I’ve included to help your story come to life, and I’m happy to provide images of past years’ winning doodles.

Please let me know if you have any questions. We’re hoping to get the word out to students across Iowa, so we’d appreciate your help in communicating about the contest.

 
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