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National crackdown on synthetic drugs PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 27 July 2012 08:46

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is the sponsor of legislation enacted earlier this month that bans the chemicals used to make a dangerous synthetic drug called K2 or spice.  Grassley’s measure is named for David Rozga, an 18-year-old Iowan who committed suicide shortly after trying the product, bought from a local store.  This week, the Drug Enforcement Administration is leading a national crackdown against the manufacturers, distributors and vendors of synthetic drugs.  Grassley made the following comment on the national crackdown.  The DEA’s press release is available here.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration is doing exactly what needs to be done.  These drugs are poison.  It’s a testament to the cynicism and greed of manufacturers, importers, and distributors that these products were ever put on store shelves.  But now that these drugs are illegal from Florida to Alaska, law enforcement is right to crack down and spare more kids the cruel fate of my constituent, David Rozga.  I realize drug manufacturers will continue to change formulas to skirt the law as fast as we can enact it.  If they have any conscience, they’ll find legitimate ways to make money instead of preying on 18-year-olds.  Congress will enact new laws as needed.”

 


 
DAVENPORT MAN WINS $10,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amy Garringer   
Thursday, 26 July 2012 15:45

DES MOINES, Iowa – After using a combination of his own numbers and an easy pick on his Mega Millions® ticket, a Davenport man won $10,000 in the July 17 drawing.

Brian Dahl, 52, said he always chooses the Mega Ball number when he plays and lets the machine choose the rest of the numbers.

“I play all of our birthdays on the Mega Ball,” Dahl said. “I couldn’t believe I got the first three, then skipped one and got the last one.”

Dahl, who is a dealer representative for the Greater Quad Cities Auto Auction, called his wife to tell her the good news.

“She was excited,” he said. “I’ve been telling her I’m going to win for a long time.”

Dahl purchased his winning ticket at Kwik Shop, 3129 Rockingham in Davenport. He said he plans to share the big news with the store he’s been visiting for years.

Dahl used his son’s birthday for this particular Mega Millions play.

“He couldn’t believe it,” Dahl said.

Dahl checked his ticket July 18 while at home and claimed his prize shortly after at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

“My youngest son is getting married in a month, so this is going to come in really handy,” he said.

The winning numbers in the $28 million Mega Millions drawing on July 17 were 1-13-21-49-55 and Mega Ball 17. The Megaplier® number that night was 4. Dahl’s ticket matched four of the five white balls and the Mega Ball to win a $10,000 prize. If he had added the multiplier to his ticket, he would have multiplied his $10,000 win by four to claim a $40,000 prize.

Players can multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) with the Megaplier up to four times. The cost is $1 per play.

Winning numbers may be checked at the lottery website at www.ialottery.com or through the winning numbers' hot line at (515) 323-4633. Winning numbers may also be checked with lottery retail outlets or by calling the lottery at (515) 725-7900 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.9 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

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Jobs Expert: Standardized People Won’t Win America’s Future PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 26 July 2012 15:45

Since former President George W. Bush amped up standardized testing throughout the nation in 2002 with the No Child Left Behind Act, critics say results have been negative.

“The bottom line is that there is no clear correlation between standardized testing and the knowledge and skills kids will need to prosper in the 21st century world of work,” says Peter Weddle, former CEO of Job Bank USA, Inc., and author of A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream (www.AMultitudeofHope.com).

“It seems we’re more interested in creating a homogenized workforce than a nation of individuals who have learned what their talent is and how to bring it to work with them,” he says.

Consider these statistics:

• Annual state spending on standardized tests has increased by 160 percent – from $423 million in 2002 to $1.1 billion in 2008, according to the Pew Center on the States.

• Since 2002, the United States dropped from 18th in the world in math on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 31st place in 2009, with a similar drop in science and no change in reading.

• The NCLB Act has drastically narrowed content, according to a study by the Center on Education Policy.

“This problem begins very early on. We take kids in elementary school and give them tests. Those who do well are designated as ‘gifted and talented,’ which means that everyone else is, by definition, ungifted and untalented. And, that’s just not true.  In effect, we’re devaluing all the capabilities that are not reflected in a standardized test,” he says.

“Of course, we want to take care of our academically proficient kids, but we have to find a way to do that without signaling to every other child that they were at the end of the line when talent was handed out.”

Too many Americans are stuck in old ways of thinking, from the classrooms of our elementary schools and colleges to the workplace,” Weddle says. “But we’re in a new economy and the path to the American Dream has changed. That means our old-school thinking must change as well.”

He offers ways Americans can get back in the game as world leaders:

• We need to accept that the economy has changed: The first step to change is acknowledging it’s needed, Weddle says. “Our employers are no longer competing with cheaper labor; they’re up against smarter labor worldwide,” he says. We hold a trump card, however: We have the most diverse pool of talent on the globe, whereas countries such as China and India have, by choice, a homogenous workforce.

• We must give career education greater priority: In China, every college student must, as a requirement of graduation, take a yearlong course that teaches them the skills and knowledge to manage their own careers effectively.  In the United States, that instruction is missing from college curricula. Yet, 53.6 percent of all college graduates under the age of 25 are now either unemployed or underemployed.

• We need to redefine talent so we can use it: “Our culture has taught us that talent is the province of exceptional people doing exceptional things,” he says.  “We can see the talent of Lady Gaga, but not the talent of an accounts payable clerk.  And that’s myopic.  We are all endowed with talent, but we have to discover it, nurture it and then bring it to work with us.”

• We have to see ourselves as a ‘work in progress’: “The world of work is changing at warp speed – new technology, shifts in the global marketplace and changes in consumer tastes,” he says. “That’s why we need to be committed to continuous learning.  Regardless of our educational degree, years of experience or level of seniority, we need to be acquiring new skills and knowledge all of the time.”

About Peter Weddle

Peter Weddle, a former recruiter and human resource consultant, is the CEO of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, a trade organization. He has written or edited more than two dozen non-fiction books regarding careers and employment; “A Multitude of Hope” is his first work of fiction. Weddle is the founder and former CEO of Job Bank USA, Inc., one of the largest electronic employment services companies in the United States.

 
Braley Statement on Passage of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Thursday, 26 July 2012 15:34

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after the House passed the Federal Reserve Transparency Act introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). This legislation calls for an extensive audit of the Federal Reserve System before the end of 2012.

“This bill is a bipartisan, common-sense solution to make sure that there is transparency and accountability within the Federal Reserve and I’m proud to be a cosponsor.

 

“We look to the Federal Reserve to provide guidance on the stability of our economy, and as taxpayers we deserve to know that the Fed is handling its responsibilities in a fair and public way. Ensuring that the Federal Reserve undergoes an extensive audit is one way to make this happen.”

 

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced the Federal Transparency Act of 2011 last year and Rep. Braley signed on as a cosponsor, joining 273 other representatives.

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Grassley Asks FDA to Explain Instructions to Contractor on Documents PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:33

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking the Food and Drug Administration to explain a purchase order with a contractor certifying that 80,000 pages of employee communications posted online did not contain sensitive or personally identifiable information.

“The documents contained screen shots of employees’ personal email and their email addresses,” Grassley said. “That’s personally identifiable information by common-sense standards, and it’s protected by the Privacy Act.  It appears the purchase order certifying there was no personally identifiable information was incorrect, and the FDA needs to account for that.”

Grassley is investigating the FDA’s email surveillance of a group of whistleblowers who are concerned about the safety and effectiveness of certain medical devices.  A government contractor, Quality Associates, Inc., and the FDA put 80,000 pages of documents related to the whistleblowers on the Internet in the process of archiving them, raising questions about violations of privacy protection laws.

Grassley wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg to seek an explanation of the purchase order.  His letter is available here.  Last week, Grassley wrote to Hamburg, seeking information about the scope of the surveillance project and who exactly authorized it.  That letter is available here.

Grassley also wrote to other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, that had documents made publicly available through the same contractor.

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