Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Iowa State Fair, Ticket for 1, Please

John McCain's campaign hasn't formally announced it, but apparently he is making an appearance at the world famous Iowa State Fair. An email to supporters says the Senator will head to the fair August 8th. No other details have been released. Jackie Norris, Barack Obama's State Director, said Obama doesn't have plans to attend the fair.

McCain's State Chairman Dave Roederer didn't exactly predict a win. But he did make a prediction during our taping this afternoon of "Channel 13's Insiders" (seen at 9:30 on WHO-TV 13 Sunday mornings). He predicted that if McCain wins Iowa, he will win the presidency. Roederer believes if Iowa goes Mac's way, then it probably also means nearby states (Obama's "home" state of Illinois?) will, too. Jackie Norris declined to make any predictions, although she says she feels pretty confident Obama will win Iowa. She is taking nothing for granted though.

(This is hardly a comforting picture)

Anybody ever had a root canal? My tooth has been killing me the last few days. I don't normally have problems with it. My dentist couldn't really find anything wrong. Neither could the root canal specialist (I can't remember the fancy name they call him). Although, he said I will likely need a root canal at some point. That sounds horribly painful.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trippin' with Joe

Rob Hubler doesn't have numbers in his favor in his bid to unseat Republican Congress Steve King in Iowa's 5th District. There are far more "r's" than "d's". Hubler hopes Joe Trippi will change that. The release is below, but first a little history. A quick search on-line shows Trippi has worked on the Presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and John Edwards. Good thing Hubler isn't running for President, huh?

Here's the release:

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Joe Trippi, a nationally-recognized consultant who helped lead the internet revolution in American politics, will be the primary media consultant for the Rob Hubler for Congress campaign, it was announced by the Hubler campaign.
Hubler, Democratic candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 5th district, said that Joe Trippi & Associates will advise his campaign on internet strategy and message development in addition to producing broadcast media ads.
“Our campaign has begun to attract national interest and support on the internet and Joe Trippi’s counsel is sure to help us increase our visibility and fundraising through the internet,” said Hubler. “We are delighted that Joe and his staff will be working with us as we offer western Iowans new leadership and real representation in Congress."

Boz is back...Where is Schmett?

3rd District Congressman Leonard Boswell put together a little thank you for the thank yous he received during his latest hospital stint. To borrow a phrase from one of the producers in our news room..."he was still in the hospital?" Boswell spent two weeks in the D.C. hospital for what, we don't know. His office has never given specifics. Of course, Boswell never gave specifics about that 20 pound mass doctors removed several years ago. But voters re-elected him without that knowledge.

Where has Boswell's Republican challenger been all this time? Other than his official announcement, has Kim Schmett held any type of event? I sure don't remember any. It's interesting that Republicans complain constantly that Boswell has never accomplished much in Congress, yet they can't seem to beat him. Is Schmett saving his firepower for later on when strategists would argue voters are paying more attention? Does that work for a guy, who as far as I know, isn't well-known in the district?

Perhaps, he's working on his debate skills. I just found this posting:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hyperventilating over Hypermiling

I did a story last night on the news at 10 about hypermiling. Yes, some people may find this money saving tactic extreme. Some may call it stupid. Dangerous. Crazy. Completely ridiculous. Others think it's worthwhile. Worth the risk. They argue you don't have to do every tactic. Do only the ones you feel are worthwhile and safe. There seems to be no middle ground on this one so far...

We received this email from Zak:

"Dave Price's story on hypermiling was outrageous. Find something worthwhile to report on. This is a dangerous practice and all this does is give someone an idea that could harm themselves or others."

Connie isn't a big fan of my latest work either:

"I rely on your high quality of news content and watch your 10:00 news every evening. I was offended by Dave Price's money saving tips last night regarding the mileage saving tips. This was an example of irresponsible journalism. The tips involved illegal tactics (not stopping completely) and dangerous (turning off your motor on hills and drafting trucks on the highway). Dave should never have submitted that story and it should never have aired. I certainly hope you will not tarnish your high reputation by airing other questionable segments like this again."

Here's the story:

Speaking of outrageous...the Cardinals bullpen is imploding. 4 blown games in a row against the Brewers. 4 in a row! Something needs to happen. And fast.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hypermiling: All Hype or Worth the Risk?

Thursday on the news at 10, I have a story on hypermiling. Some people think in a world of $4 gas, it makes total sense. Others think it's totally crazy. Hypermilers do things like over inflating their tires, putting their cars in neutral and turning off their engines so they can coast down hills without using gas. They'll roll through stop lights and stop signs, so they don't have to stop. Stopping, actually re-starting, uses a lot more gas. The extreme hypermilers draft, too. That's when they get so close to the vehicle ahead of them on the interstate, the other vehicle blocks their wind, helping them move without as much effort.

AAA isn't a big fan of this. If you over inflate your tires, they might rupture or blow. Putting the car in neutral could slow you down if you need to accelerate fast. And turning off your engine completely likely cuts off power to your steering and brakes. So it's far more difficult to control.

But a West Des Moines hypermiler (who doesn't draft, by the way, because he says, it's too dangerous) says he saves 20% on his monthly gas bill. That is 20 bucks a month he keeps in his pocket. He is an actuary, a man who works in numbers and risk every day. And he says hypermiling is definitely worth the risk. Do you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Microsoft in Urbandale?

Several sources close to the development project tell me Microsoft is looking at building its $500 million data center west of Interstate 35/80 in Urbandale near 128th and Meredith. The area is already full of development. A new Dahl's is under construction. 128th is being expanded from two to four lanes. If you're not familiar with the area, it's near the Paragon Prairie Tower (R & R Realty put that up). R & R also is the agency selling the land in that area.

Sources told me last month Microsoft is considering part of the McKinney farm south of Jordan Creek in West Des Moines. Obviously, it took me a little longer to get it out of them about the Urbandale location:)

Speaking of development, the Waukee City Council signed off on plans for TEAM Technologies from Cedar Falls to expand near Hickman and South Alice's Road. It's also a data center or data farm or whatever the correct term is. It's smaller than Microsoft's. This would be about a $14 million project. And some people say farming is dead... Not in Iowa, baby!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stay Away, Senator

The Washington Times broke this story as far as I know... Iowa's most nationally-known Senator Chuck Grassley isn't worthy of being a delegate at the Republican National Convention, or so it appears. The article says the Christian right of the party decided Grassley shouldn't get voting privileges at the convention.

This further plays out the rift between the Christian right and the rest of the party in the state. Is this the type of move that will help the party get McCain the most votes in Iowa and help republicans take back the state house and senate? Or will this just implode the party for an absolute election day butt-whippin' and a bigger blood bath afterwards? I suppose we will know in a few months.

Speaking of McCain...what do you think of the overall coverage of the presidential race so far? The Associated Press has this story out citing a non-partisan study that shows Obama is getting nearly twice the press attention McCain is. Is that fair?

The Cardinals lost another tough one. It seems like most losses lately are tough. Maybe it's just that I'm actually starting to think they may have a shot at the playoffs. I don't understand LaRussa's pitching decision. He wants 13 arms in the bullpen and it leaves him a woefully-understaffed bench. Looper, a pitcher, had to pinch hit in the the 10th? His bench was already gone by then. That's not good. If the bullpen is really that unreliable that he needs 13 pitchers, it's time to get some new pitchers!

A Celebration not in Ankeny Brass

For the past 25 years, Ankeny usually plays host to a pretty cool celebration. It's the annual Celebration in Brass. As a former trumpet player, I really have enjoyed the show. This year the chamber of commerce took a pass at hosting the event. Chamber Executive Director Julie Cooper told me her group had two other events around the same time so the board of directors voted not to sponsor CIB this year (she mentioned the Ankeny Golf Open and Summerfest, which would all take place within 20 days of CIB). has details about other stops on the tour, which does include a show in Dubuque this Saturday night. Time for a road trip.

Cooper said West Des Moines might consider taking it over. Let the music begin. Again.

Big four game series coming up for the Cardinals this week against Milwaukee. They need at least three of four in this series to keep the pressure on Chicago and hopefully start pushing the Brewers back in the standings. LaRussa sat Pujols yesterday. I know it was crazy hot and the Cards have 18 games in 18 days. But I'm curious if there was anything else to it. Pujols hasn't been driving the ball much. And I've noticed he's been wearing some type of sleeve on his left arm. We know he has a bad right elbow. But what is going on with his left arm? It seems he is always playing with some type of injury. And yet he is hitting nearly .360!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Move Over Microsoft

It looks like Microsoft may have a little data competition in the metro. Microsoft's been eyeing West Des Moines and Urbandale for months for its new data center (thanks, in part, to a bunch of tax breaks from the state of Iowa). My sources had been telling me West Des Moines would be the likely destination. Although several other sources say Urbandale looks stronger now. Hmmm...

Anyway, another city in the metro looks like it will get its own smaller data center than the one Microsoft is planning to build. It's not West Des Moines or Urbandale. I'll tell you more Monday (that's what we call a tease in the tv biz:)

How 'bout my Cards? A huge home run in the 8th by red hot Troy Glaus. And then Izzy blows it in the 9th...again. I wonder if it's time to cut him lose? I know he has done a bunch for the team. But he just can't seem to get it done. I don't know whether it's mental or physical. But he just seems to keep failing. Sad. But then midget Miles hits a granny in the bottom of the ninth to win it. What a year this has been! If they could just get a closer and a good shortstop.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

After Hours

Someone was burnin' the midnight oil in the Lt. Gov's office. I received an email from the Rebuild Iowa Office around 1:37am to say Patty Judge wants FEMA to take those nasty, mold-covered trailers back, instead of making Iowans, who already homeless and suffering from floods, live in them. Didn't we go through this during Hurricane Katrina? Heckuva job.

Sunday is apparently National Ice Cream Day (do I have to buy someone a card for this?). In 1984 President Reagan declared the special day. BTW, the ice cream cone was invented in St. Louis in 1904. At least that's what I hear. Here are the top 12 ice cream searches on Yahoo over the past month: (my favorite flavor, Raspberry/Chocolate Chip, isn't listed)

1. Vanilla
2. Chocolate
3. Strawberry
4. Banana
5. Green Tea
6. Peach
7. Coconut
8. Oreo
9. Ube (It's Phillipino)
10. Coffee (including espresso)
11. Spumoni
12. Cherry

My Cardinals are smokin' right now. Ludwick, Ankiel, Pujols, Glaus...they're all hitting. (My brother picked a great game to go sweat in the sun to watch:) But why is Tony torching the bullpen the way he is? Todd Wellemeyer was mowing down the Padres Saturday(after getting knocked around in the first two innings). Why did he lift him in the 7th? Why not at least let him finish the inning to save some strain on the bullpen?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Gov on TV

A lot of Iowa roads suffered a lot of damage, and the state of Iowa will need a bunch of money to fix them. But Governor Chet Culver told us today raising the gas tax isn't the way to raise that cash. He mentioned other states have looked to "privatizing" roads, which I assume means he was talking about toll roads. I don't think he was pushing the idea here. But I don't recall him saying he wouldn't go for it either. Stay tuned on that one, I guess.

King vs. Culver--Earlier this week, Steve King, Iowa's Republican Fifth District Republican Congressman, told me he is "looking at" running against Culver for governor in 2010. I didn't expect Culver to say, "bring it on, buddy" (or some other moniker). And he didn't.

He told me he was actually looking forward to working with King next week when he goes to D.C. to work on finding federal money for Iowa's flood recovery efforts. Part of his quote was, "we'll worry about 2010 in a couple of years. Right now I'm trying to get the job done as governor and we have to work together. Even though it is an election year and what do you expect, a little partisan rhetoric is always part of the process." Oh, well. I tried.

The Gov also said he thinks ticked off smoking voters won't take out their nicotine-less-fueled anger against lawmakers who voted for the smoking ban. In fact, he said just the opposite. He thinks voters will reward lawmakers who voted for the ban. We'll have to see what some bar owners think about that.

The Gov wouldn't take a position on whether he thinks the legislature should add casinos to the ban during the session next year. He said, "we'll see what the next step is in terms of that issue and any others." Again. I tried.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Man, I thought finding freebies on the internet would be no sweat. Oops. It can be done. But it took me forever. There were so many places promising you something. But really you had to answers all kinds of questions first and many times you had to buy something. How is that free? And I didn't find a single offer for one of those "free" $250 or $500 gift cards from some place that turned out to be legit. All I found were scams.

For the past week, I've gone blurry-eyed searching through these things. I've come up wth a dozen freebies so far. Post a comment below if you have your own. There have to be more good ones out there that are actually FREE!


Quik Trip free hot dog and 32 oz. drink
$5 gift certificate when you buy $50 merchandise (yeah, I know. Not quite free).
$20 gift certificate for opening baby registry
free Nivea for Men Extreme Comfort Shaving Gel and Post Shave Balm
Free Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce
Pledge Multi-Surface Duster Starter Kit
Clorox Color Safe Bleach
Gillette Body Wash
Honey Clusters Cereal and Oats and Chocolate Bar
Scott’s Xtreme Rags
Granola cereal
FitSmart bar

This is making its way around the internet. A Cardinals' friend sent it to me (and, yes, it's a joke!)

(Brussels) Anheuser-Busch has accepted a $52 billion takeover bid from Belgium-based InBev NV to create the world's largest beer maker and end a month-long standoff. While pitching the deal in recent weeks, InBev chief executive Carlos Brito has said that he is "committed to the city of St. Louis" and that changes here would be minimal. One that Brito said will show up shortly after this weeks Major League Baseball All-Star event in New York will be a minor one in the long standing uniforms worn by the St. Louis Cardinal Baseball team. First-baseman Albert Pujols, one of the first to try the new outfits said "while it may take a little time for Cardinal fans to fall in line behind the change, I personally like them a lot. They'll really be enjoyable during those hot, muggy days in late July and August. I expect all of the fans will be wearing them before the end of the season!" Sporting goods stores around the St. Louis area report brisk sales of the new Cardinal memorabilia.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Steve King for Governor?

Does Steve King want to run for Governor of Iowa in 2010? It sounds like a "maybe". King told me he "is looking at it." He said "that whatever duty calls, that's what I will do. But I've made no decision yet. I go to bed at night without it on my mind. And I get up in the morning and it's not always on my mind when I wake up."

It's not always on his mind. Hmmm. King said Culver has to take the blame (as the head of the state) for the state spending way too much money since he took over and for signing that smoking ban. King isn't a big fan and thinks it's an unfair law since it sets different standards for different businesses. He also told me Iowa could become a "weekend Mecca for same sex marriages" for people everywhere if the Iowa legislature doesn't pre-empt a possible Iowa Supreme Court ruling that would allow gays and lesbians to marry in our state.

The only person I've heard who is also likely, if not definitely, planning on running for governor is Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats. He has already tried twice before. But as they say, the third time is the charm.

What do the Dems think of a King vs. Culver matchup?

"Steve King has shown once again that he is willing to put his concerns for his political future ahead of the concerns of the people of the 5th District.

While the people of Western Iowa are faced with record gas prices and skyrocketing health care costs, King has turned his back on them to focus on his own political ambitions.

Steve King’s record shows he has failed to deliver for Iowa families and our rural communities. Voters in the 5th District will send King a strong message this November, when they send Rob Hubler to Congress."

-Scott Brennan, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party

I feel obligated to all fairness to Steve King, I did ask him about whether he wanted to run for governor. He didn't come to me to tell me what he was thinking.

APB for Sheriff Gilbert

Who shot the sheriff or, is it, who did the sheriff want to shoot? My desk mate here at the station, Mark Tauscheck, dug up this little ditty about former Dallas County Sheriff Brian Gilbert...

Here's what he wrote...

More problems for former Dallas County Sheriff Brian Gilbert... Last year, Gilbert was found guilty of stealing $120,000 from his own department. Now he's accused of harassing his ex-wife and threatening to kill her over the phone.

Gilbert now lives in Arizona. According to Dallas County District Court records, Gilbert faces first and third degree harassment charges in connection with phone calls he made last month to his ex-wife, Tina Gilbert. According to the affidavit, on June 11th, Brian Gilbert called and threatened Tina and one of her friends, stating "he would come to Iowa and put a bullet in Tina Gilbert's head and be gone without anyone knowing it."

It also states he called her several times that same week to intimidate her and imply he was going to hurt himself. The Dallas County attorney would not comment on the Gilbert case. But he did say typically those charged with misdemeanors are not extradited to Iowa. He said the person would only face arrest if he returned to the state.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ed Boesen Died

One of the most well-known florists in Des Moines is dead. A family told me Ed Boesen died last night while he was on a business trip in Davenport. He declined to elaborate, other than to say Boesen had "some type of reaction" and died at a Davenport hospital.

The Boesen family operates seven floral shops in Iowa and seven other recently purchased shops in Wisconsin. Ed was also the owner of Exec One Aviation at the Ankeny Airport.

Boesen was 43 years old and leaves behind a wife and four children.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Director Gipp

Decorah Republican State Rep. Chuck Gipp now has a new title: Director. Gipp finished up his nine-term career in the legislature this spring. He seemed well-liked with his fellow Republicans, and for what it's worth, he is well-respected in the media. Current Minority Leader Chris Rants is usually a pretty easy soundbite. Let's just say, he likes to speak his mind, which quite frankly, is nice for us in tv. We need a guy who can express himself with a little emotion from time to time. No doubt Gipp knew the issues when he was House Majority Leader, but he was a far different soundbite than Rants. He didn't get all riled up too easily. We had to work for a passionate soundbite from him:)

Today, Gipp began his new job as Director of the Division of Soil Conservation. It's a full-time gig that pays 85k.

Here's part of the release:

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has hired Chuck Gipp as the new Director of the Division of Soil Conservation.

The Division of Soil Conservation is responsible for administering state programs and providing leadership to farmers, landowners, communities and others to promote the protection and management of soil, water and mineral resources. The Division also assists Soil and Water Conservation Districts and private landowners to meet their agricultural and environmental protection needs.

“The Division of Soil Conservation makes up nearly half of the Department and I’m very confident the Chuck will provide strong and visionary leadership as we continue to address the conservation issues and opportunities facing the state,” Northey said. “Both his experience as a state legislator and an actively engaged farmer in Northeast Iowa will benefit both the Division and the farmers they partner with.”

"I'm extremely excited by this opportunity with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship," Gipp said. "I've worked in agriculture as a farmer and in the dairy industry, so I look forward to now helping other farmers expand their conservation efforts."

Gipp has been a member of the Iowa House of Representatives since 1991, serving House District 16, and retired following the 2008 legislative session. While in the legislature he served as Majority Leader from 2002 to 2006 and Majority Whip from 1995 to 1999.

He has also been managing partner of A-G Swiss Farms, Inc., a diversified farm that he operated with his brothers near Decorah, IA. They specialized in the breeding and milking of registered Brown Swiss dairy cattle.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Is This What It's Coming To?

(Yeah, I know. I dangled my preposition in the title. But it's Friday.)

This story just crossed on the Associated Press. How bad are things if we're looking for death stats in gas prices? Here's the story...

Researchers are seeing a silver lining in high gas prices. They say that as gas prices go up -- auto deaths decline. Their study found that for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths. For drivers ages 15 to 17, the decline was 6 percent.
The study looked at fatalities from 1985 to 2006, when gas prices reached about $2.50 a gallon.

Professor Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama-Birmingham says with gas now over $4 a gallon, he expects to see a drop of about 1,000 deaths a month. But co-author David Grabowski, of Harvard Medical School, cautions that the estimate could be offset somewhat by the shift to smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and an increase in motorcycle and scooter driving.

(I tried to find a font the color of gas. It's the best I can do.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More on Boswell?

If you're looking for more info on what's going on with Leonard Boswell, well, I don't know what to say. Much like last time around (in 2005 when Boswell had his first surgery), his campaign is slow to say much and when it does, it says very little.

This statement came around 9pm.

Washington, DC—Today, Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell underwent surgery to have a revision from his previous surgery in 2005.
Following is a statement from Boswell’s Chief of Staff, Susan McAvoy:
“We are pleased to report that the surgery was a success, and the Congressman is resting comfortably with his family. He will be back to the people’s business soon and expects to be back to work in the near future.”

That is it. Do they really think this is all Iowans need to know? Right or wrong, Boswell is a 74-year-old man who underwent some other type of surgery in 2005. He wants voters to trust him to re-elect him to another term in office.

Boswell to my knowledge never has really told us much about that "mass" doctors removed from his abdomen. His campaign said it was "non-cancerous", yet the Congressman underwent chemotherapy, lost some hair and a bunch of weight.

So we know this latest surgery has something to do with the first one. I'm told from several Democratic sources this surgery took place this morning. Yet, we didn't receive any official word from his office until about 9pm after I and I'm sure other reporters from across the state began calling.

Undoubtedly, this is a delicate matter. Undoubtedly, friends and family only want what's best for the Congressman. Undoubtedly, politically this is also delicate. Democrats don't want to see this newest health issue for this senior citizen legislator to scare Iowans into thinking he is no longer able to handle the rigors of office. Let's hope the Congressman's office believes it's important to tell voters what's happening. Let's hope those voters will learn more information about the man they've elected to represent them in one form or another for three decades. Let's hope they learn more than "a revision from his previous surgery in 2005."

Boswell's Health--breaking news

(Leonard Boswell pre-2006 surgery)

Several sources confirm to me central Iowa Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell has undergone surgery in Washington, D.C. You'll remember last time he had surgery, we had a tough time getting information about it. In fact, I don't recall Boswell ever really talking fully about this. His office didn't deny the surgery today. But all a spokeswoman will say is that he is "fine." In fact, she told me that several times during our brief phone call.

Boswell had some type of large mass removed from his abdomen in 2006. The spokeswoman said the office will have a statement on this "shortly".

Iowa Chops

Hockey fans...get ready for the Iowa Chops. Yep, forget the Iowa Thunder. Thanks to the gang at WHO-TV 13's Sports Soundoff show and its fans, the minor league hockey team in Des Moines will now be called the Chops. Soundoff fans voted the Chops as the best name and it looks like the local hockey gurus agree. So props to Andy Fales and Keith Murphy!

Surely, they'll serve Iowa pork chops during the games, right? Surely, they will.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Outside with Barry

I guess we can forget a Democratic National Convention sequel with Barack Obama. Well, at least a sequel INSIDE the convention hall. Obama made a name for himself in 2004 giving a speech inside the old FleetCenter in Boston. It looks like he's taking his act outdoors later this year in Denver. 75,000 adoring, screaming supporters filling the Denver Broncos stadium. Obama's Campaign Manager David Plouffe sent out this email to supporters:

Dave --

I wanted you to be the first to hear the news. At the Democratic National Convention next month, we're going to kick off the general election with an event that opens up the political process the same way we've opened it up throughout this campaign. Barack has made it clear that this is your convention, not his. On Thursday, August 28th, he's scheduled to formally accept the Democratic nomination in a speech at the convention hall in front of the assembled delegates. Instead, Barack will leave the convention hall and join more than 75,000 people for a huge, free, open-air event where he will deliver his acceptance speech to the American people. It's going to be an amazing event, and Barack would like you to join him. Free tickets will become available as the date approaches, but we've reserved a special place for a few of the people who brought us this far and who continue to drive this campaign. If you make a donation of $5 or more between now and midnight on July 31st, you could be one of 10 supporters chosen to fly to Denver and spend two days and nights at the convention, meet Barack backstage, and watch his acceptance speech in person. Each of the ten supporters who are selected will be able to bring one guest to join them. Make a donation now and you could have a front row seat to history: We'll follow up with more details on this and other convention activities as we get closer, but please take a moment and pass this note to someone you know who might like to be there. It will be an event you'll never forget.

Thank you,


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Lighten Up, Tubby

I was just catching up on some reading while I watch my Cardinals struggle again against the Cubbies. BTW, was the home plate ump from last night from Chicago or what? His calls were terrible, just terrible.

Anyway, what would you think if once a year the government put a tape measure around your waist? We all know many of our friends and neighbors are a little too chubby these days. Almost one in two is overweight, if not obese. But how far is too far for Big Brother to go to slim us down? Japan apparently thinks a tape measure to the tummy isn't too much.

One Iowan who definitely doesn't have to worry about it is Shawn Johnson. We ran into her at a sushi place in West Des Moines on the 4th of July. Yeah, I know, what better way to celebrate being an American than with some Japanese cuisine? Shawn doesn't have an ounce of fat on her. I'm sure she didn't try the fried dumplings like we did:) BTW, did you know she has her own website?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

West Des Moines and Urbandale

Microsoft and the state of Iowa have finally announced we will have a new neighbor. Microsoft will build a data farm in central Iowa. The company isn't saying where yet. Actually, the company isn't really saying much at all to me yet. I've been calling Redmond, Washington for the last few months ever since a little birdie told me to watch for this deal. But the company spokeswoman has never returned my call. I sure hope that's not the way the company will do business here.

All the state is saying is that this new data farm will go in central Iowa. My sources tell me the decision is down to two cities, West Des Moines and Urbandale, although no city leader/official from either city will attach his/her name to a quote on this. Apparently, this is pretty sensitive stuff and no one wants to be the squealer that jeopardizes the deal. I get the feeling West Des Moines has the edge right now. But I wouldn't bet my shrinking 401K on it yet.

The Des Moines Register reports the data farm will be in excess of half a billion dollars. It has to be at least $200 million to qualify for some of the free bees from the state of Iowa. The legislature passed a provision giving a company that spent at least that much on a project tax breaks on computer equipment purchases and electricity. This project would seem to easily qualify. Duh...

Google is already opening a similar operation in Council Bluffs that should open next year. That one is a $600 million project. And those jobs pay $50 plus. So these seem like the good jobs our state needs to attract and keep "young" people here.

Yahoo, where are you? There's still room.