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Civil Air Patrol to bestow highest honor on Senator Harkin as members make annual trek to Capitol Hill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Steve Cox   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:36

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Before Civil Air Patrol’s Command Council convenes in Washington, D.C., this week for its annual winter meeting, it will gather on Capitol Hill for Legislative Day on Feb. 27 to brief Congress on the U.S. Air Force auxiliary’s primary missions of emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. Legislative Day will also feature induction of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin into CAP’s Hall of Honor.

Civil Air Patrol will thank Harkin for his 30 years of CAP service during a congressional reception in the Senate’s Russell Office Building. Harkin – a former Navy fighter pilot who commands CAP’s Congressional Squadron – will become the 34th person inducted into the Hall of Honor in CAP’s 72-year history, and only the second member of Congress, joining former New York Congressman and fellow CAP Col. Lester Wolff, who was inducted in 1985.

“This Legislative Day is extra special,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. “In addition to the opportunity to tell CAP’s stories of service, sacrifice and love of country to our representatives and senators, we will also pay tribute to Sen. Harkin, who has been a staunch supporter of CAP’s missions for America.”

Soon after joining Civil Air Patrol in 1984, Harkin worked on the first full appropriations bill for CAP and has touted CAP’s volunteer missions and programs to his Senate and House colleagues ever since. To do this he often reached across the aisle to work with his Republican colleagues on CAP issues and missions vital to the nation and thousands of communities. He has also repeatedly promoted the cost effectiveness of CAP with government agencies such as the Air Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Harkin has been a rated CAP mission pilot and flown a number of training and actual missions, including counterdrug flights off the southern tip of Florida. He also has served as an adviser to CAP’s national commanders, providing valuable insight on how CAP can best address some of its budget and operational challenges. Most recently, he introduced Congressional Gold Medal legislation honoring the unusual service of CAP’s founding members during World War II, which quickly passed the Senate under unanimous consent and with 83 co-sponsors.

CAP officers and cadets visiting Capitol Hill for Legislative Day will urge support for H.R. 755, the companion House bill to honor founding members of CAP with a Congressional Gold Medal for their volunteer service in conducting combat operations and other emergency missions during World War II.

CAP’s Command Council will follow Legislative Day with its annual winter meeting, scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Washington.

The Command Council consists of CAP’s national commander, national vice commander, chief of staff,  CAP’s eight region commanders and its 52 wing commanders representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its members serve as advisers to the national commander.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 71lives annually. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

 
Hands Off Social Security Update PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rep. Dave Loebsack   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:23
Dear Friend,

I wanted to share with you a quick update on my efforts to protect Social Security and senior’s hard earned benefits. I am pleased to let you know that after urging the President to not include what’s known as “chained CPI” in his 2015 budget plan, the White House recently announced that it will not be included. This is great news! This move, which is used to calculate annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security, would have had a negative effect on Iowa’s seniors.

Please know that I will continue to keep fighting for seniors and ensure that Iowans who played by the rules, paid into the system, and worked hard get their earned benefits.

Sincerely,

Dave Loebsack
Iowa's Second District

 
Iowa Supreme Court Schedules Special Evening Session PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 15:33

Des Moines, February 24, 2014 —On Tuesday evening, March 4, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Godfrey v. State of Iowa, et al., beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom on the fourth floor of the Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines. The evening session is an opportunity for central Iowa residents, who may not be able to attend the court's regular morning and afternoon sessions, to watch the court conduct oral arguments.

Attorneys' briefs for the case and a guide to oral arguments are posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at:

http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Supreme_Court/Evening_Oral_Arguments_Des_Moines/index.asp

Proceedings will be streamed live from the Iowa Judicial Branch web site at: http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Supreme_Court/Oral_Argument_Videos/.

In this case, the Iowa Supreme Court will be asked if tort claims against state officials must be brought under the Iowa Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code chapter 669. The statute provides that if the actions of state employees that are the basis of the claim were within the scope of their employment, the employees have immunity and the State of Iowa will be substituted as defendant for the individual employees.

Plaintiff Christopher Godfrey is serving a statutory six-year term as Iowa's Workers' Compensation Commissioner. His term is due to expire April 30, 2015. He has sued the State of Iowa and several individuals, including Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, on a variety of claims, including violation of his constitutional rights, defamation, and intentional interference with contract.

Under Iowa Code section 669.5, the Iowa attorney general certified that defendants' actions were within the scope of their employment with the state. Based on the attorney general's certification, the individual defendants asked the district court to substitute the State of Iowa as the sole defendant in the case. The district court concluded that chapter 669 mandated a finding that the attorney general's certification on scope of employment was conclusive, requiring the court to substitute the State of Iowa for individual defendants. Plaintiff Godfrey contends the district court was wrong to dismiss the individual defendants from the case.

On appeal of the district court's ruling, issues before the Iowa Supreme Court include:

I. Does the attorney general's certification pursuant to Iowa Code section 669.5(2)(a) conclusively establish that a state employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment (and therefore the action is deemed to be an action against the state and the state is substituted as the defendant in place of the employee) or is the attorney general's certification subject to the court's (or a jury's) independent review?

II. If the attorney general's certification does conclusively establish that a state employee was acting within the scope of employment, then does the application of section 669.5(2)(a) result in an unconstitutional deprivation of plaintiff's due process rights?

A public reception with the supreme court justices will follow the oral arguments.

For more information, visit http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Supreme_Court/

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Is Your Inner Child Keeping You Trapped in a Bad Relationship? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 February 2014 16:55
5 Questions to Ask Yourself;
The Answers May Help Set You Free

It happens when we see politicians repeatedly make the same self-destructive mistakes - think former legislator Anthony Weiner’s repeated sexting scandals.

Or we hear friends complain repeatedly about the horrible job they’re “stuck” in.

Or, in a rare glimmer of insight, we wonder why we’re still hanging on to a “romance” that makes us miserable.

“When people seem mentally healthy and it looks like they could easily make a change that would make them happier, we’re absolutely baffled by why they don’t,” says Steven Jay Fogel (www.StevenJayFogel.com), author of the new book Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living (March 2014).

When you’re the “stuck” person, the why may seem more evident: You’re scared, or you think, “If I just keep doing the right things, it will all work out.”

Either way, it’s likely they—and you—aren’t making a conscious choice at all, Fogel says.

“We think we’re making decisions based on the present, but we’re usually not. We tend to operate on automatic pilot, responding to situations based on the coping strategies and thinking patterns we developed in childhood,” he says.

“When those strategies are dysfunctional, we just keep repeating the same behaviors over and over again.”

The good news is that we can learn to recognize that “default” thinking and rewire the brain to change it, says Fogel.

The cofounder of Westwood Financial Corp., one of the nation’s leading private commercial real estate owners, Fogel draws from decades of neuroscience and mindfulness research to offer solutions.

What can you do to get yourself unstuck? Get started, he suggests, by answering these questions—in writing!

• What is causing your pain? Think about whether you’re in a relationship or job that’s become less and less satisfying and increasingly painful over a long period. Describe in writing the elements of the relationship or situation that are persistently causing you pain and how long you’ve been experiencing these problems. Knowing that there are three ways to end your suffering - accept the situation, change it, or remove yourself from it - write down the reasons you’re staying even though you’re suffering and what is preventing you from choosing Door 1, 2 or 3.

• How are you interpreting your partner’s behavior? If you repeatedly fight about the same issues, describe the issues. Think about whether you’re unconsciously investing the issue with a meaning based on your “autopilot” thinking. For instance, if you’re arguing because your partner’s messy and ignores your requests to be neat, are you interpreting that as disrespect toward you? Do you further interpret that disrespect as a lack of love for you? Is it possible that your partner is just not a neat person and that has nothing to do with his feelings for you?

• Do you have impulsive autopilot behaviors that are causing problems? We can often check the impulses that stem from our autopilot brain just by stopping to think before we act. Bursts of anger are one example; suppressed anger that turns into passive-aggressive behavior is another.

• Do you feel shamed or blamed by your partner’s critical comments? Write down the comments accurately—as they were spoken. Then think mindfully about whether your partner was really shaming you or if you interpreted the comments in that way because of your own inner critic. If it was the former, have a conversation with the person about how you feel when this happens, and state that you’ll be more open to the feedback if the criticism can be expressed objectively.

• Did you bring a myth with you into the relationship? If so, describe the myth. For example, you might have believed that you will cure everything that’s wrong with the other person. Or that she will fix all of your problems. Describe how you came to believe that myth and what it would take for you to release it.

About Steven Jay Fogel: Steve Fogel is a principal and cofounder of Westwood Financial Corp., one of the largest owner-operators of retail properties in the United States. He is a licensed real estate broker and past chairman of the California Arts Council. Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, publishing March 11, 2014, is his third book. He is also the author of My Mind Is Not Always My Friend: A Guide for How to Not Get in Your Own Way (Fresh River Press, 2010) and The Yes-I-Can Guide to Mastering Real Estate (Times Books-Random House)

 
In Iowa’s Interest: Free Online Tax Preparation and Filing PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 21 February 2014 16:47

Tax season is once again upon us and for many Iowans, the process of filing taxes is a daunting one.  Iowans in need of assistance may be able to take advantage of free or reduced-price tax preparation services.  Please keep reading to learn more.

What are the advantages of the IRS Free File Program?

In addition to the cost savings, this online program walks taxpayers through the filing process to make filing your taxes simple and fast.  Sending tax forms electronically reduces the chance that important documents are lost in the mail and in many cases, could mean Iowans receive a return faster. With computer filing through the IRS or the Iowa Department of Revenue, in comparison to privatized firms, refunds usually come far faster, and with no fee.  Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen IRS Free File and ensure that it remains both accurate and secure.

Who is eligible?

This year, all taxpayers with a 2013 adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less may use IRS Free File to prepare, complete, and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost.

 

How do I use the Free File Program?

To begin, you must visit www.IRS.gov/freefile. Users will find a list of free file alliance member companies and may either choose the one that fits their needs or utilize the “help me find a company” tool.  After selecting a company, taxpayers will be transferred to the company's website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns.

Are other free resources available?

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free filing assistance for low-to-moderate income taxpayers age 50 and older.  This service is available online at www.aarp.org/taxaide or by visiting one of the AARP Foundation assistance centers in Iowa. In addition, the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. There are several IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Iowa, including in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. Locations can be found at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-My-Local-Office-in-Iowa.

What about my Iowa income taxes?

There is a similar program for State of Iowa income taxes that can be found at http://www.iowa.gov/tax/.

For more information on filing your federal taxes, visit www.freefilealliance.org or  http://www.aarp.org/money/. You can also visit Senator Harkin’s website at  http://harkin.senate.gov/, or follow him on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ and Twitter  https://twitter.com/.

A PDF version of this article is available here.

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