BATTLE AGAINST BOREDOM: Or, if you are feeling a little less academic, check out this dizzy of a site.

SOMETHING TO KEEP YOU BUSY: So the fam is coming to town and subsequently, I'm off to Athens for a few days.

In the interium, test your knowledge of Iowa's female leaders. Don't worry, I'm not on there.

PROTECTIONISM TREADS CAREFULLY: We all love our Italian shoes, but it looks like the EU is willing to go the extra step to ensure that all of Europe keeps the love.

Watch your step Vietnam and China, you're being slapped with new shoe dumping penalties!


MOST OBVIOUS NEWS OF THE DAY: Brought to you by the good folks at BBC, a new opinion poll shows that one in three French are racist.



SOCIAL SECURITY UPDATE: Still unsecure as ever, last Thrusday the Senate voted to continue to be idiots. Like a Rummy-style campaign, the world greeted the vote tally with shock and awe.

Okay, more like an exasperated yawn lacking meaningful reaction.

The amendment, if it had come to fruition, would have required Congress to spend Social Security funds only on Social Security. Again, shock and awe.

The vote was 46-53. For your peace of mind and viewing enjoyment, please feel free to bring hellfire and scorn upon the following dissenters of the DeMint-Crapo amendment:

AR Senator Blanche Lincoln Democrat (501) 375-2993 No
AR Senator Mark Pryor Democrat (501) 324-6336 No
CA Senator Barbara Boxer Democrat (916) 448-2787 No
CA Senator Dianne Feinstein Democrat (310) 914-7300 No
CO Senator Ken Salazar Democrat (303) 455-7600 No
CT Senator Christopher Dodd Democrat (860) 258-6940 No
CT Senator Joseph Lieberman Democrat (860) 549-8463 No
DE Senator Joseph Biden Democrat (302) 573-6345 No
DE Senator Tom Carper Democrat (302) 674-3308 No
FL Senator Bill Nelson Democrat (850) 942-8415 No
HI Senator Daniel Akaka Democrat (808) 522-8970 No
HI Senator Daniel Inouye Democrat (808) 541-2542 No
IA Senator Tom Harkin Democrat (515) 284-4574 No
IL Senator Richard Durbin Democrat (217) 492-4062 No
IL Senator Barack Obama Democrat (312) 886-3506 No
IN Senator Evan Bayh Democrat (317) 554-0750 No
IN Senator Richard Lugar Republican (317) 226-5555 No
LA Senator Mary Landrieu Democrat (225) 389-0395 No
MA Senator Edward Kennedy Democrat (617) 565-3170 No
MA Senator John Kerry Democrat (617) 565-8519 No
MD Senator Barbara Mikulski Democrat (410) 263-1805 No
MD Senator Paul Sarbanes Democrat (410) 962-4436 No
ME Senator Susan Collins Republican (207) 622-8414 No
ME Senator Olympia Snowe Republican (207) 622-8292 No

MI Senator Carl Levin Democrat (313) 226-6020 No
MI Senator Deborah Stabenow Democrat (517) 203-1760 No
MN Senator Mark Dayton Democrat (612) 727-5220 No
MO Senator James Talent Republican (573) 636-1070 No
MT Sen. Max Baucus Democrat (406) 449-5480 No
MT Sen. Conrad Burns Republican (406) 449-5401 No
ND Sen. Kent Conrad Democrat (701) 258-4648 No
ND Sen. Byron Dorgan Democrat (701) 250-4618 No
NE Sen. Ben Nelson Democrat (402) 441-4600 No
NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg Democrat (973) 639-8700 No
NJ Sen. Robert Menendez Democrat (202) 224-4744 No
NM Sen. Jeff Bingaman Democrat (505) 988-6647 No
NM Sen. Pete Domenici Republican (505) 988-6511 No
NV Sen. Harry Reid Democrat (775) 882-7343 No
NY Sen. Hillary Clinton Democrat (518) 431-0120 No
NY Sen. Charles Schumer Democrat (518) 431-4070 No
OR Sen. Gordon Smith Republican (503) 326-3386 No
OR Sen. Ron Wyden Democrat (503) 589-4555 No
RI Sen. Lincoln Chafee Republican (401) 453-5294 No
RI Sen. Jack Reed Democrat (401) 528-5200 No
SD Sen. Tim Johnson Democrat (605) 332-8896 No
VT Sen. James Jeffords Independent (802) 223-5273 No
VT Sen. Patrick Leahy Democrat (802) 229-0569 No
WA Sen. Maria Cantwell Democrat (206) 220-6400 No
WA Sen. Patty Murray Democrat (206) 553-5545 No
WI Sen. Russell Feingold Democrat (414) 276-7282 No
WI Sen. Herb Kohl Democrat (608) 264-5338 No
WV Sen. Robert Byrd Democrat (304) 342-5855 No
WV Sen. John Rockefeller Democrat (304) 347-5372 No


MOVE TO IOWA, GET A JOB: We always knew that Iowa was the center of the universe. Now, there's further proof that Iowa is also the center of the economic universe.

Recently released data shows that Iowa may face a worker shortage as early as 2012. Okay, so there is the negative flip-side that this is a result of our slow population growth and aging population. But seriously? Nahhhh...

So, if you want a job and lots of open space free of pesky kids, move to Iowa!

THE MOST HATED PEOPLE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA: And the award goes to the Board of Regents. Hands down.

The search for a new David Skorton is turning ugly at the University of Iowa. Mostly, because the Board of Regents decided to blatantly disregard University of Iowa faculty, staff and students by declaring Regent Teresa Wahlert head of the search process.

This is where problems happen, people.




SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM IS GOOD: Much like apples and brushing one's teeth is good for one's body, social security reform is good for our national, collective body.

Despite several major policy addresses, it seems that Republicans--let alone our dear, embattled President--are unwilling to touch the infamous third rail of politics: social security reform.

However, leave it up to our breath-freshening Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to introduce an amendment in the Senate which, if successful, may lead to actual debate on social security reform.

And as we all know, the potential of debate is really moving forward in Washington.

According to Students for Saving Social Security, the DeMint Amendment creates a reserve fund in the budget resolution that would enable Congress to pass legislation protecting all or part of the Social Security surpluses. Novel idea, eh?


AN AMERICAN IN GREECE, PART I: Grecians like to go on strike. More than ouzo, more than feta, more than island-hopping, Grecians love that strikin'.

The other day in my Sales Management class, we were discussing the power of unions and their subsequent striking antics. I said something to the effect that the Japanese are on target, since they continue on their jobs and only wear an armband in protest.

My professor stood silent for a moment and then with great theatrics, declared: "You're a Republican! A conservative one too!"

Yes, my Greek friends, you are correct.

THE IOWA SENATE HAS A GAY 'OL TIME: As it debated same-sex marriages on Tuesday.

Although Iowa already has a law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, a group of gay couples has filed a lawsuit challenging that law.

Result: lots of debate leading up to sure-to-be heated elections. Oh, politics.

IOWA PLAYS BASKETBALL WELL, DESPITE STEVE ALFORD: Okay, so it seems that Iowans should be "happy" with Steve Alford. Afterall, we won the Big Ten Tournament and well, that usually bodes well with one keeping his or her job.

So, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and try not to hate Steve Alford long enough to enjoy a little good 'ol Iowa b-ball.

Be sure to wear your green, black and gold on St. Patty's Day when Iowa will surely pummel Northwestern by opening play in the 2006 NCAA Division Tournament!


AN AMERICAN IN ATHENS: Actually there are quite a few of them. And they tend to travel in flocks/tour groups.

Sorry I've been out for the last few days. I've been busy drinking Starbucks...uh, I mean seeing "stuff" in Athens. More to come soon.


VOTING DOES A STUDENT BODY GOOD: The University of Student government elections are over. Thank God.

Sincerest congratulations to all of the candidates, particularly our new president and vice-president, Peter McElligott and Addison Stark.

As a four-term business senator in the Undergraduate Collegiate Senate, as well as an active participant in the last four campaigns, I've seen a hell of a lot in collegiate level student politics--oh yes, I'm invoking Satan's hacienda--yet, this election year was particularly nasty.

Marred by controversy, the elections yielded a record number of complaints to the Student Election Board, the student-run election oversight body. Worse yet, the level of bad sportsmanship and opportune, negative campaigning towered to new heights. Though I wasn't on campus to witness it, allegations of flagrant campaign violations peppered the electoral landscape.

Why does the University of Iowa Student Government matter and why do fair, serious elections matter even more? Afterall, rarely do administrations accomplish, well, anything. Yet still, major money flows through our student veins and important issues like, say, identifying a new president, loom over us.

In my mind, the election turned out the right way. The Daily Iowan was right in endorsing McElligott-Stark and, surprisingly, for the right reasons. Too bad every other aspect of the race went so terribly wrong.


TIPPIE HAS A NEW HOMEDADDY: Or dean, as they may call it in more distinguished circles.

William C. "Curt" Hunter, currently dean and distinguished professor of finance at the University of Connecticut School of Business, will take over the post this July.

Mr. Hunter was formerly Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He also currently serves as a Director of the Xerox Corporation and a Director of Nuveen Investments Mutual Funds. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York) and serves on the Finance Advisory Council at DePaul University, the Governing Board of the Credit Research Center at Georgetown University, and the board of directors of Beta Gamma Sigma, Inc.

It appears that under the leadership of Mr. Hunter, the Tippie College of Business will continue it's excellence in finance through initiatives like the Hawkinson Institute of Business Finance and the Vaughn Institute for Risk Management and Insurance.

Congrats, Mr. Hunter!

IOWA IS ADVANCED: When it comes to filing taxes at least.

According to the IRS, more than 67% of Iowans pay Uncle Sam online. Not only are we wicked good at growing soybeans, but we also have the greatest proportion of electronic tax returns.

Thanks, Al Gore.

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