Visiting a metal fabrication plant in Sioux City this December, Mitt Romney touted his successful business background, saying those qualifications are what America needs right now.
"I want to use the experience I have in the world of the free enterprise system to make sure that America gets working again. ... These are tough times," said the Republican presidential candidate. "You guys have jobs. Hope your spouses do. But I know these are tough times."
But not as tough in Iowa as in many other parts of the country.
In Greece, caroling season runs through the Orthodox Christian holiday known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Traditionally, children go door-to-door, playing the triangle and singing songs of the season. In return, people give them a few euros for presents.
But this Christmas, Greek retailers say sales fell 30 percent from last year. The unemployment rate is at record levels, crime is rising and austerity is dampening everyone's spirits.
The body count from prescription drug overdoses has risen in Kentucky, and narcotics officers face a daily dilemma in trying to find time to investigate prescription drug trafficking while also being ready to dismantle a methamphetamine lab on a moment's notice. From 2009 to 2010 in Kentucky, prescription drug overdose deaths climbed from 78 a month to 82. While this year's statewide overdose death numbers won't be available until the middle of 2012, the drug task force in Warren County has seen a 30 percent increase in prescription drug trafficking cases in 2011.
The Kentucky Lottery's current definition of an online game is one in which tickets are purchased through a network of computer terminals at retail outlets - games such as Pick 3, Mega Millions and Powerball. That definition, however, could change in light of a recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice, which puts the regulation of online gaming squarely in the hands of the states.
If you're a fresh vegetable lover, it's hard to get excited about what's available in the supermarket produce section in the dead of winter. Whatever is there often has made a long journey from a field in a distant, sunny locale and been sprayed with something to keep it looking fresh. It's usually a little worse for the wear.
A local state representative with some first-hand experience in gubernatorial politics has pre-filed a bill that would change the way slates are chosen for the state's top two offices. Rep. Mike Harmon's bill would allow candidates for governor to wait until the general election to name their lieutenant governor running mates instead of having to pick someone before the primary as is currently required. Candidates would have four weeks after the May primary to name a candidate.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:
"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"
But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).