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Monday, April 05, 2010

After spending 90 minutes at a town hall meeting with U.S. Senator "Chuck" Grassley and a couple dozen fellow citizens of northwest Iowa in a room across from my own office at school, I can report that I miss Maine politics.

Grassley is known for his endorsement of the "death panel" rumor before another citizen forum last August.

The discourse pretty much consisted of attacks on "Obamacare" (it's gonna raise taxes and send out IRS agents after us), a dose of global warming denial, disdain for "environmentalists," and evangelical wisdom that God leads us to ask for Israel's help in controlling the Mideast. Grassley pretty much replied "sure," "yes," and "uh ha" to whatever people said. A noteworthy moment occurred when Grassley failed to correct a biker-looking dude with an xed-out "Socialism" tee shirt who had called President Obama "the illegal alien in the White House."

Beforehand I thought hard about a question to ask the senator. After a bit of research I decided to ask him about what happened with his Small Business Tax Relief Act that he proposed last summer. It included a tax provision known as "loss carryback" which eventually swept through Congress and was passed as part of the Unemployment Compensation Act of 2009, along with the extension of the home buyer tax credits.

Loss carryback allows most companies (but not bailed out ones) to deduct current losses against profits up to five years into the past. Initially it was supposed to help only smaller businesses ($50 million income or less). But by the time this provision passed in early November of last year the business size cap was off, making the provision a gigantic $30-$40 billion deficit-building government hand-out to big business -- including big homebuilders who over-built and suffered losses when the market sank and bit them.

So I asked Grassley today, "What happened to the size cap?"

He played dumb. I told him that it was originally his own bill. Nope, he couldn't remember. He invited me to submit a written question, which I did do. I handed it to his aid. We'll see what they say. Probably that huge tax giveaways are wonderful for jobs and the economy.

I had one more question that I didn't end up having time to ask: Why is it that when it comes to this type of deficit-increasing handout to big business, Republicans seem not to be very upset that the debt is run up and you become perfectly docile in bipartisan cooperation with the Democrats?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This is a new advertisement for Duracell featuring my new school and one of its most important programs!! I get the feeling people in Maine who want to promote wind power could learn from this.

There is a story HERE at the Iowa Lakes website.
Snow cover in the upper Midwest
Estherville, Iowa (+ below the "a" in Sioux Falls) is in ground zero for snow this winter.

Very few parts of the country have deeper snow than right around here. Maine is close! Otherwise, the Great Lakes snow belts are the only other places where it's as deep.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Iowa roads on Jan 8 2010
Hello Midwest! Road conditions are very difficult with many closures due to drifting.

"Western Iowa residents are advised to stay home..." is the radio report of the hour. Wind chills are at the -40 level (F or C, take your pick).

This is where The Owl has gone -- Northwestern Iowa. New job, and a very good one in the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. Good Internet has been installed in the new place and I have a little time to post due to the nasty weather outside. I've decided that the blog will remain alive, so don't stop checking. I think Maine some day will benefit from the kind of experiences I am having here. Just a feeling.

I do think this is a great area. Of course I love the prairie landscape, even though Ms. Owl never will give me an inch to make that comment without pointing out how beautiful is Maine. Of course she's right. Prairie is an acquired taste.

I'll get back to political commentary soon enough. We'll see where the blog will go. Meanwhile, just a couple of comments on that story--the underwear bomber. Check these previous posts:
Note that those posted before the Christmas Day incident over Detroit. For now, draw your own conclusions. But do listen to the NPR drumbeat over every single one of the last hundreds of top-of-hour newscasts. Those stories blogged in Maine Owl never are mentioned. Obama agrees with Cheney about wanting this to be war, but the "enemy" never is allowed to have form other than un-detailed hateful madness.