Vin Diesel’s Emotional Tribute To Paul Walker

During the advance screening of the “Fast and Furious 7” movie in Los Angeles, the actor Vin Diesel made a speech presentation, in which the emotions started to overwhelm the actor due to the tragic loss of his co-star, Paul walker.

During his speech, Diesel was still loomed over Walker’s death, “This was a labor of love. It was in some ways the hardest movie I ever had to do. Because the relationships that you see on film are so real. When the tragedy happened, I lost my best friend, I lost my brother. Tonight…”

The sadness in the actor was shown when he was unable to finish the last sentence. But despite this, people in the audience started to encourage Vin Diesel by shouting words of love like “You got family here, Vin” to which the famous actor replied with “What can I say, guys. Thanks for being my family. Thanks for always taking care of us. Thanks for believing in us”.

The ending words in his speech were “Please know that we made this movie from our hearts, and know that this is our gift to you. And more importantly, it’s for my brother there. Let it be the legacy we know he deserves”.

Photo Credit: Por Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Vin Diesel  Uploaded by Dudek1337) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], undefined

Santorum Hires Iowa Campaign Chair

Former Pennsylvania Senator and potential Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus, announced on Monday that Assistant Majority Leader of the Iowa State House, Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls), will serve as Chairman of Santorum’s Patriot Voices in Iowa.

Rick Santorum said: “I am excited to announce the addition of Walt Rogers to our growing Iowa team and I am confident that his support today will again be a terrific lift for our efforts in the Hawkeye State. Like me, Walt understands the importance of not just being a Party of business-owners, but being a Party that fights for the worker and hard-working families. Our movement cannot win unless we recognize that the 90% of Americans who do not own their own business and the 70% of Americans who do not have a college degree need a champion. I am prepared to fight for them and I am thrilled to have Walt Rogers standing side-by-side with me in Iowa.”

Walt Rogers said: “I am thrilled to be a part of Senator Santorum’s efforts to fight for the American worker and family here in Iowa today. Senator Santorum has been consistent and passionate in his efforts to fight for hard-working families. This is exactly the type of message that resonates here in Iowa, and it is why he defied the Beltway pundits to win our Caucus in 2012. Hard-working Iowa families understand that Rick Santorum is a champion for them and I am looking forward to helping Senator Santorum take this message all across Iowa.”

Walt Rogers currently represents the Cedar Falls area in the Iowa State Legislature, being elected by his peers to serve as Assistant Majority Leader.  Rogers holds a Bachelor’s degree in Technology from the University of Northern Iowa. He and his wife Jenny (Ridder) have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Photo Credit:
Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Trump Announces Exploratory Campaign For President

The millionaire businessman Donald Trump insists about running a presidential campaign after doing the remark that he’s the only one who can fix the problems of the US.

The republican capitalist said he’s forming an exploratory committee to form the actions to make for a presidential campaign. Trump is focused on the US’s economic problems, explaining that the country is getting behind while the economy of Mexico, China and Japan are rising.

In an article made by the Wall Street Journal about auto companies changing their operation center in Mexico, “Mexico is just ripping us left and right. Mexico!” said Donald Trump “This has got to end”.

He also added, “China is ripping us left and right, Japan is now devaluing our currency”.

The Trump’s exploring committee would allow him to finance the initial stages of a presidential campaign. Is clear that he is planning to do the right choices like hiring political staffers and forming these kinds of committees. This shows that he might be preparing a serious 2016 campaign.

In a statement, the businessman said, “We must rebuild our infrastructure, control our borders, support local control of education, greatly strengthen our military, care for our veterans and put Americans back to work! We must stop other countries from totally taking advantage of our representatives who are being out-negotiated at every turn. I am the only one who can make America truly great again!”.

Trump has explained that his final choice for running would depend on the actions of the other candidates. Let’s remember that the list of republican candidates is still growing, but the millionaire said that he would stand out because of all the candidates are “politicians”.

In the statement, he exclaimed, “I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble. We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians — who are all talk and no action!”.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Iowa Company Launches Handwritten Thank You Card Service

Nick Berry, a Des Moines area business owner, has formed Thankably, a startup that focuses on handwritten thank you card services for small business and sales professionals.

Berry said that he first sampleblearned the importance of a well written thank you card when he took his first job after leaving the military.  “My very first sales job was selling copy paper for an office supply company in a small town in west Texas. Dialing for dollars to find companies that wanted to buy pallets of paper. The guy who “trained” me on my very first day said, in the upper right hand drawer of your desk are three boxes, one is blank thank you cards, one is blank envelopes and the third is first class stamps. I don’t care if they buy a paperclip from you, the first time someone buys from you, you stop what you’re doing and you send them a thank you card.”

15 years later, Berry becomes Facebook friends with a retail wholesaler who was sending thank you cards to all of his customers and was looking for a service that would send out handwritten thank you cards for his wholesale company.  “I reached out to him, found out what he was looking to pay, bought a pack of thank you cards, and timed myself on how long it takes me to write out the card, and envelope, attach a stamp, stuff it and seal it. I actually ended up doing it for an hour straight to see how many I could do with a 45 word template.” Berry said.  “We agreed on a price and I had my first order of 35 cards.   I reached out to the other sales people I know, and started getting feedback, and adjusting my thoughts based on what my customers were willing to pay for.”

Bulk mailings are cheaper than buying from Thankably, but Berry is not concerned.  “I have found in my research handwritten envelopes get opened 15 times more than personalized printed mail, and response rates are 40 times more effective for handwritten versus bulk mail. I know our product is greatly more expensive than bulk mailings, but the response rate and relationship it builds I think makes up for the cost. Our value proposition over printed or bulk mail is it’s written by a human, and I have gotten samples from every alternative out there, and they all suck when you compare it to a human hand, and a pen.” said Berry.

Iowa Senate Votes In Favor Of Banning Powdered Alcohol

Yesterday, the Iowa Senate voted in favor of Senate File 123 by a vote of 48-2 which would ban the selling or possession of powdered alcohol in the state. The bill will now go onto the State House where it is expected to pass.

While the alcohol is legal nationally after a decision last week by a federal government agency,  some state legislatures are busy trying to ban it. Powdered alcohol is expected to be distributing the product by this summer.

Supporters claim the powdered alcohol is dangerous and could easily get in the hands of children, could be snorted to get drunk, and should be banned by the legislature.

41f4550e4b95e0413cb056f5936d4fd2Palcohol, a manufacturer of powdered alcohol, says that banning the powdered alcohol is irresponsible, will create a dangerous black market, and will cost the state financial resources.  They also claim snorting powdered alcohol makes no sense. “Listen, people can snort black pepper. So do we ban it? No, just because a few goofballs use a product irresponsibly doesn’t mean you ban it. But even the goofballs won’t snort Palcohol due to the pain the alcohol would cause. It really burns. Imagine sniffing liquid vodka. Second, it’s impractical. It takes approximately 60 minutes to snort the equivalent of one shot of vodka. Why would anyone do that when they can do a shot of liquid vodka in two seconds?”

Palcohol also said on their website that a ban could create a black market like it has for marijuana:

By banning powdered alcohol, the state will create a black market which means the state loses control of the distribution. A concerned parent came up to me and said she supported the ban of Palcohol to keep it away from her 15 year old daughter. I asked her which is easier, for her daughter to buy marijuana or a bottle of vodka in a liquor store? There’s no way a 15 year old can buy vodka in a liquor store but it’s easy to buy marijuana on the street. That’s because marijuana is banned so there are no rules on distribution so anyone can sell it to anyone else. Banning Palcohol will make it easier for kids to get access to the product because there is no control over distribution.

How Your State Senator Voted?

Yeas, 48: Allen Courtney Jochum Schoenjahn Anderson Danielson Johnson Schultz Behn Dix Kapucian Segebart Bertrand Dotzler Kinney Seng Bisignano Dvorsky Kraayenbrink Shipley Bolkcom Feenstra Mathis Sinclair Bowman Garrett McCoy Smith Brase Gronstal Petersen Sodders Breitbach Guth Quirmbach Whitver Chapman Hart Ragan Wilhelm Chelgren Hogg Rozenboom Zaun Costello Horn Schneider Zumbach

Nays, 2: Dearden Taylor

Absent, none.

Full Text of Senate File 123

  1  1    Section 1.  Section 123.3, subsection 5, Code 2015, is
  1  2 amended to read as follows:
  1  3    5.  "Alcoholic liquor" or "intoxicating liquor" means the
  1  4 varieties of liquor defined in subsections 3 and 43 which
  1  5 contain more than five percent of alcohol by weight, beverages
  1  6 made as described in subsection 7 which beverages contain more
  1  7 than five percent of alcohol by weight or six and twenty=five
  1  8 hundredths percent of alcohol by volume but which are not wine
  1  9 as defined in subsection 47 or high alcoholic content beer as
  1 10 defined in subsection 19, and every other liquid, or solid,
  1 11 powder, or crystal, patented or not, containing spirits and
  1 12 every beverage obtained by the process described in subsection
  1 13 47 containing more than seventeen percent alcohol by weight or
  1 14 twenty=one and twenty=five hundredths percent of alcohol by
  1 15 volume, and susceptible of being consumed by a human being,
  1 16 for beverage purposes. Alcohol manufactured in this state
  1 17 for use as fuel pursuant to an experimental distilled spirits
  1 18 plant permit or its equivalent issued by the federal bureau of
  1 19 alcohol, tobacco and firearms is not an "alcoholic liquor".
  1 20    Sec. 2.  Section 123.49, subsection 2, Code 2015, is amended
  1 21 by adding the following new paragraph:
  1 22    NEW PARAGRAPH.  m.  Sell, give, possess, or otherwise supply
  1 23 for human consumption powdered or crystalline alcoholic liquor.
  1 24                           EXPLANATION
  1 25 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
  1 26 the explanation's substance by the members of the general assembly.
  1 27    This bill prohibits a person or club holding a liquor control
  1 28 license or retail wine or beer permit, or their agents or
  1 29 employees, from selling, giving, possessing, or supplying for
  1 30 human consumption powdered or crystalline alcoholic liquor.
  1 31 Pursuant to the provisions of Code section 123.50, a violation
  1 32 of the provisions of the bill is a simple misdemeanor and
  1 33 is grounds for the revocation or suspension of the person's
  1 34 license or permit.
       LSB 1197SV (1) 86
       ec/nh

Photo Credit “Iowa Senate” by Miles530 – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iowa_Senate.JPG#/media/File:Iowa_Senate.JPG

Iowa Senate Passes Bill To Give Employees Time Off For Caucuses

Bill Faces Strong Opposition In The House

Yesterday, the Iowa Senate voted 26-24 in favor of a Senate Bill that would allow employees to take unpaid time off to vote in the Presidential caucus without penalty from their employer.   The bill now goes onto the Iowa State House where it will face tough opposition in the Republican controlled House.

Opponents say that the bill is invalid as caucuses are held by Iowa’s two major political parties and not held by the state of Iowa.  Supporters believe it will encourage participation in the Presidential Caucuses by Iowans and strengthen Iowa’s first in the nation status.

How Your State Senator Voted?

Yeas, 26: Allen Dearden Jochum Schoenjahn Bisignano Dotzler Kinney Seng Bolkcom Dvorsky Mathis Sodders Bowman Gronstal McCoy Taylor Brase Hart Petersen Wilhelm Courtney Hogg Quirmbach Danielson Horn Ragan

Nays, 24: Anderson Costello Kapucian Shipley Behn Dix Kraayenbrink Sinclair Bertrand Feenstra Rozenboom Smith Breitbach Garrett Schneider Whitver Chapman Guth Schultz Zaun Chelgren Johnson Segebart Zumbach

Absent, none

Text of the Senate File:

  1  1    Section 1.  Section 39A.5, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code
  1  2 2015, is amended by adding the following new subparagraph:
  1  3    NEW SUBPARAGRAPH.  (3)  As an employer, denying an employee
  1  4 the privilege conferred by section 43.91A to attend a precinct
  1  5 caucus, or subjecting an employee to a penalty because of the
  1  6 exercise of that privilege.
  1  7    Sec. 2.  NEW SECTION.  43.91A  Employees entitled to time to
  1  8 participate in presidential precinct caucuses.
  1  9    1.  Any person entitled to participate in a precinct caucus
  1 10 held as part of the presidential nominating process in this
  1 11 state who is required to be present at work for an employer
  1 12 during the four=hour period starting one hour prior to the time
  1 13 the precinct caucus starts is entitled to take unpaid leave for
  1 14 as much of that four=hour period as is necessary to participate
  1 15 in the precinct caucus except as provided by this section.
  1 16 Application by any employee for such absence shall be made to
  1 17 the employee's employer individually and in writing at least
  1 18 two weeks prior to the time the precinct caucus is scheduled to
  1 19 start.  The employee shall not be liable for any loss of wages
  1 20 or salary or any other penalty except for the loss of wages or
  1 21 salary for the hours of unpaid leave actually used.
  1 22    2.  a.  An application by an employee for an absence may be
  1 23 denied by an employer if all the following circumstances exist:
  1 24    (1)  The person is employed in an emergency services position
  1 25 which shall include peace officer, fire fighter, emergency
  1 26 medical personnel, and any other position that affects the
  1 27 protection of public health or safety, or is employed by an
  1 28 entity that would experience severe economic or operational
  1 29 disruption due to the person's absence.
  1 30    (2)  The employer filed a written notice with the
  1 31 commissioner at least seven days prior to the date of the
  1 32 precinct caucus specifying exigent circumstances justifying the
  1 33 denial of such leave for personnel described in subparagraph
  1 34 (1) and declaring the minimum number of such personnel,
  1 35 by position, needed to protect public health and safety or
  2  1 maintain minimum operational capacity, as applicable.  A copy
  2  2 of this written notice shall be provided to employees of the
  2  3 employer.
  2  4    (3)  The number of persons employed in a position that did
  2  5 not apply for an absence is less than the minimum number of
  2  6 persons in that position needed by the employer to protect
  2  7 public health and safety or maintain minimum operational
  2  8 capacity, as applicable.
  2  9    b.  If the circumstances in paragraph "a" exist as to a
  2 10 particular position of the employer, then the employer may deny
  2 11 the minimum number of employees in that position applying for
  2 12 an absence that is needed to yield the minimum staffing level
  2 13 for that position as specified in the written notice to the
  2 14 commissioner.  The selection of which employees applying for
  2 15 an absence shall be denied an absence shall be made without
  2 16 regard to political party affiliation, political belief, or
  2 17 affiliation with or support for any candidate, or for any of
  2 18 the grounds for which employment discrimination is prohibited
  2 19 in this state.
  2 20    3.  This section shall not be construed to prohibit an
  2 21 employer from doing any of the following:
  2 22    a.  Authorizing paid leave to all affected employees.
  2 23    b.  Allowing all affected employees the option to work
  2 24 additional compensatory hours to the extent otherwise permitted
  2 25 by law, at a time designated by the employer not in conflict
  2 26 with the time needed for caucus participation, equal in number
  2 27 to the number of hours taken to participate in the presidential
  2 28 precinct caucus as provided in subsection 1.  The option of
  2 29 working compensatory hours may be exercised individually by
  2 30 each employee.  Work performed during the compensatory hours
  2 31 shall be compensated in the same manner as work performed
  2 32 during regular hours.
  2 33    Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT.  This Act, being deemed of
  2 34 immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.

UN Is To Investigate Reports of Kim Jong-Un’s Slave Army

Several claims of a 20.000 “bonded laborers” from North Korea have opened an investigation by the UN, the reports says that the slave army are shipped around the world, and it is believed that these laborers are forced to work in China and Russia, including the 2022 World Cup Facilities in Qatar.

A UN official has informed that Russia, China, and the Middle East have been receiving thousands of workers from the secretive North Korea. These workers are used to “acquire foreign currencies”, said the UN official.

NK Watch, a Seoul-based human rights group claims that these laborers are placed in other 40 countries around the world, reporting an amount of 100.000 workers that produce $3 billion for Pyongyang.

Special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman talked this week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where he said that the North Korean government is been responsible for abductions, tortures and rapes of 200.000 people since the 50’s. He added that his investigation is now in the “bonded laborers” working for Kim Jong-Un’s government benefit. “It has now emerged more and more visibly and therefore it is time to address the matter in a way that clarifies the real situation,” Darusman said to reporters.

Several reports and investigations describe theses “slave laborers” as workers with high working hours and poor payments. Last year a report said that North Korean laborers were paid as little as 10% of their salaries for the Qatar’s World Cup project.

Darusman said, “A sizeable number are working in the Middle East also. These workers are being used to acquire foreign exchange, for example”.

The investigator is requesting a visit to China to inquire the investigation of a possible group of 20.000 workers located in the country.

Reuters reported that in Beijing, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hong Lei expressed, “China hopes the international community can fairly and objectively view North Korea’s human rights situation and pay attention to the difficulties and challenges North Korea faces in its social and economic development and provide more constructive assistance”. He added also that human right disputes must be solved through talking.

Photo Credit: By Roman Harak (North Korea) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

HBO Wants More of “Game Of Thrones”

Fans of the famous tv show “Game Of Thrones” are beyond than happy since HBO announces that executives want to run the show for more than seven seasons.

Though the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have told Entertainment Weekly that the vision of an ending in the seven season, HBO is showing a huge interest in more of it. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said, “we started this journey with David and Dan. It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go ten years as both a fan and executive? Absolutely”.

Is also well known that Benioff and Weiss are planning on giving a satisfying and proper ending to the series, no matter the amount of seasons that it would take to achieve this.

David Benioff had said, “We know basically how many hours are left in this story. We don’t want to add 10 hours to that. It’s about finding that sweet spot so it works for us and for HBO and, most of all, it works for the audience.”

Lombardo has been informing that executive is planning a conversation with the creator to analyze all the possibilities and correct ways to get more of Game Of Thrones but at the same time they want to respect the Benioff and Weiss’s visions.

So far, the only official information from HBO is the renewed for season 6, and negotiations have been made with the cast for the season 7. The only sure thing about the show is that the upcoming fifth season will deviate from the original storyline from the books, as also the news of the death of an unexpected character and the direction that Sansa’s storyline will take.

Photo Credit By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Game of Thrones cast  Uploaded by Dudek1337) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Vladimir Putin Using Fleet Of Ships To “Spy” British Military

A senior army commander has revealed that Russia has been using a fleet of spy ships to listen the British military communications.

A UK defense minister and Lord West of Spithead, a former top naval officer who served as First Sea Lord, said that Vladimir Putin had deployed a fleet of Russian ships, turning this move into a “provocation” act.

It is informed that the spy ships are disguised as trawlers. But, in fact, the ships are Hi-Tech vessels targeting RAF bases in Coningsby and Lossiemouth.

Capable of intercept military communications up to 200 miles, these “spy ships” have been spotted by NATO aircraft in the North Sea.

In the latest three weeks, the ships had been spotted six times, raising a general fear due to the unpredictable actions from Putin could be part of a Russian operation against Britain. This also follows several reports of Russian bomber flying near Britain.

Since a large NATO exercise that is taking place closed to Russia it’s been alleged that the Moscow mobilization of its entire northern fleet is a Putin response to NATO and its eastward expansion for their broad policy of containment, though Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov says that Russia is unperturbed by the NATO exercises.

The Russian deployment contains more than fifty ships and a hundred of aircraft, commented Lord West during an interview. “Instead of uniting forces to fight evil, the worst of which is terrorism, Western nations are drawing new divisive lines, trying to realize containment schemes against unwelcome states. Today, Russia has been chosen as the target,” he added.

The tension between Britain and Russia has been rising since the RAF deployed two fighter jets to warn a couple of Russian bombers that were flying dangerously near the British airspace.

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DOT Requires 10 Automated Traffic Cameras Shut Down

Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) released its evaluation of annual automated traffic enforcement (ATE) reports to six cities that utilized ATE systems on the Primary Highway System in 2013. Cities who submitted the reports are Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Muscatine, and Sioux City.

As part of the evaluation process, the Iowa DOT reviewed 34 camera locations, 24 of which will be allowed to continue to be used on the primary system. The Iowa DOT is requiring the removal of cameras at the other 10 locations.

“Safety on Iowa’s transportation system is the Iowa DOT’s number one priority,” said Steve Gent, director of the Iowa DOT’s Office of Traffic and Safety. “I think the reports show that several ATE locations are working to keep drivers safe. The department is working with cities to help further encourage long-term safety solutions through the use of engineering and enforcement methods.”

According to the Iowa DOT, “administrative rules enacted in 2014 require cities wishing to utilize ATE systems on the Primary Highway System to submit an annual report to the Iowa DOT. The department evaluates the reports and makes recommendations to cities to assure ATEs are being implemented to enhance safety of the roadways and ensure placement does not cause unnecessary distractions or obstructions for motorists that could cause unsafe situations.”

For a list of the evaluations for each of the 6 cities and which cameras are to be removed, click here. 

The cities have until April 17, 2015 to remove the cameras. The cities may appeal the decisions within 30 days.