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Justice Department Silent on Pornography Found on Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Computer PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:18

Friday, October 14, 2011

Justice Department Silent on Pornography Found on Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Computer

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that 100 days after he sent a letter to the Justice Department questioning why the department declined to prosecute an assistant United States attorney after the Inspector General found that the attorney had spent hours online  viewing adult content during work hours, he still has not received an official response.

According to the Inspector General, the Assistant U.S. Attorney acknowledged he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography, including one case of child pornography.  The report indicates that the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case.

Grassley said his staff has contacted the department several times since the letter was sent, but has yet to receive an official response from the Justice Department.

In a July 7, 2011 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley questioned the department’s decision to not prosecute and delay disciplinary action against the attorney.  He also asked the types of cases the attorney worked on and the steps the department has taken to update its technology to keep pornography off its computers.  Grassley said he’s looking to be sure these types of activities are stopped in the future.

Last year, Grassley learned that 33 employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission who were found to have viewed pornography during work hours were not terminated and were given uneven and light disciplinary action.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s July 7, 2011 letter to Holder.  Click here for a copy of the signed letter.

 July 7, 2011

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

On May 31, 2011 I received a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) in response to a request Senator Coburn and I made to all Inspectors General to provide semiannual reports on closed investigations, evaluations, and audits that were not disclosed to the public.

This report contained what appears to be an inexcusable mishandling of serious allegations against an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) which calls into question the DOJ’s internal controls and prosecutorial discretion.  The report cites the following OIG investigation of an AUSA:

“The OIG conducted an investigation concerning allegations that an AUSA was using his government computer to view inappropriate material on his government computer.  The investigation determined that the AUSA routinely viewed adult content during official duty hours, and that there was at least one image of child pornography recovered on the AUSA’s government computer.  The AUSA acknowledged that he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined prosecution.  Disciplinary action against the AUSA is pending.”

This report relates to OIG investigations from October 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011 and was submitted two months later.  As the case for disciplinary action is “pending” as of May 31, 2011, this means that, at the very least, the DOJ has allowed an admitted serial viewer of pornography – possibly child pornography – to serve as an AUSA for two months, if not longer, and has yet to take action.  This is simply unacceptable and compounds the questions raised by the fact that this AUSA was found to have “at least one image of child pornography” on his government computer and yet he was not charged with a crime.

Regarding the DOJ’s decisions in this case, I respectfully ask the following questions:

1.      Is this individual still employed by the Department of Justice?

a.       If so, in what capacity?

b.      If not, when did this individual leave employment with the Department of Justice?

i.      Was this departure voluntary or were they terminated?

2.      Is this individual eligible for a government pension?

a.       If so, has the DOJ made any efforts to strip this individual of his or her pension?

i.      If so, what efforts have been made?

ii.      If not, why not?

3.      What types of cases did this AUSA handle?

4.      Did the cases this AUSA was assigned to handle ever lead to any interaction with children?

5.      Was the decision not to prosecute this individual made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which he or she served?

a.       If so, did that raise any concerns regarding a conflict of interest?

b.      If not, what office made the decision not to prosecute this individual?

6.      How was this individual able to evade the DOJ’s pornography filters?

7.      Has the DOJ made efforts to upgrade its pornography filters as a result of this individual’s actions?

a.       If so, what efforts have been made?

b.      If not, why not?

Thank you for cooperation and attention in this matter.  I would appreciate a response by July 21, 2011.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact my office at (202) 224-5225.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

 
Safe Use of Alternative Heating Sources During National Fire Prevention Week PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph King   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:20

Tampa, Fla.  (October 12, 2011) – In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is providing home and business owners with guidance on the safe use of alternative heating sources.

“Each year, consumers seek ways to save on home heating costs by turning to things such as space heaters, fireplaces and wood or pellet stoves during colder months,” said Julie Rochman, president & CEO of IBHS. “While alternative heating sources can be affordable options, particularly for just one room at a time, if used incorrectly, they also can increase the risk of a house fire. Consumers should exercise great caution and follow all safety procedures when using any heat source.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fires involving heating equipment peak in December, January and February, as do deaths from these fires. Further, in 2009, heating equipment was the second leading cause of all reported home fires and home fire deaths. U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 64,100 heating-related home fires each year between 2005 and 2009, causing an average of 560 deaths, 1,620 injuries, and $904 million in direct property damage.

“Proper maintenance and use of alternative heating sources is a critical step to reducing fire risk,” Rochman said. “In addition, it is important to have your fireplace, wood or pellet stove professionally cleaned and inspected each year before it is used – and never, ever use kerosene heaters indoors.”

Prior to using any alternative heating devices, IBHS recommends installation of carbon monoxide detectors in several parts of the house. IBHS’ Alternative Heating Sources web page provides home and business owners with complete guidance on selecting and using alternative heating sources.

For example, IBHS notes that proper placement of an alternate heating source, such as stoves, is essential. Half of all fire deaths attributed to home heating systems resulted from the heating equipment being placed too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding, according to the NFPA. Stove placement should allow adequate space for installation, maintenance and replacement, flue or vent pipe routing and - most importantly - a safe location relative to combustible materials. Further, protection of the floor or combustible surface under a stove must be addressed.

To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

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About IBHS

IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.

 
Riverside Theatre Taking Orders for Holiday Wreaths PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sarah Burnett   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:05

October 12, 2011, Iowa City, IA -

Decorate your home with beautiful balsam items this holiday season!

Riverside Theatre is once again selling holiday wreaths. This year's offerings include a teardrop swag, wreath, and a centerpiece. Prices range from $20-$26.

All proceeds benefit Riverside Theatre.

All orders must be placed by Tuesday, November 1.

Orders will be available for pickup after Wednesday, November 16. Those who order will be notified by email when the orders have arrived.

For more information or to print an order form go to http://www.riversidetheatre.org/holiday-wreath-sale. Those with questions may email development@riversidetheatre.org.

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House Passes Braley Bill to Protect Vets’ Homes from Foreclosure PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:04

Washington, DC – Late last night, the US House approved a measure written by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) that would expand and improve protections against home foreclosure for American military veterans.  Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  The measure was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The last thing a servicemember should be worrying about while fighting for us overseas is whether a bank is foreclosing on their family’s home,” Braley said.  “The recession and housing crisis have been hard on many military men and women.  Military families are required to move from place to place, and many have been left underwater in homes that are no longer worth what they used to be.  Veterans deserve a fair shot at getting their financial house in order when they come home.  This bill provides protections against aggressive banks.”

Military homeowners have faced unique challenges during the recession.  Military families who would otherwise remain current on their mortgages are often forced to move because the military requires them to.  Because of the housing downturn, military families are often unable to sell their homes quickly at prices that will enable them to pay off their mortgages.  Many military families are also forced to make ends meet with lower housing allowances at their next duty stations, and they can lose the incomes of non-military spouses when they move.  Overseas deployments further complicate the financial picture.

To help protect military veterans while they’re deployed overseas, banks are prohibited from initiating foreclosure proceedings against veterans returning from service abroad for a period of 9 months after they return.

Braley’s bill, the Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act, would expand this foreclosure protection to one year from the date of a servicemember’s return from a deployment.

The Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act was included in a broader bill, HR 1263, that expands and reforms mortgage protections for American veterans and their spouses.  The legislation passed the House unanimously.

Video of Braley speaking in support of the Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act can be viewed at the following links:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwvPem8PFAU

Downloadable video for TV broadcast: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21501138/Braley.10.11.11.mov

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Lt. Gov. Simon collects 2,000-plus phones PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 14:11

Proceeds go toward domestic violence prevention

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will showcase the more than 2,000 phones collected last week during her HopeLine cell phone drive to benefit Springfield and Chicago domestic violence agencies. In exchange for the phones, Verizon will donate more than $10,000 to agencies and provide refurbished phones to survivors of abuse.

DATE: Tuesday, October 11
TIME: 2 p.m.
LOCATION: Lt. Governor's Office, 214 Capitol, Springfield

SATELLITE COORDINATES:
Slug: Successful Cell Phone Drive for Domestic Violence Awareness Month Media Avail
Date: 10/11/11
Time: 3:30 PM (CT) - 3:45 PM (CT)
Satellite: AMC 15KU
Transponder: 01
Slot: D9
Downlink Frequency: 11733.5
Downlink Polarization: V
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Symbol Rate: 3.978729
FEC:  3 / 4
Data Rate: 5.5
For technical assistance please call IOCI Media Services - Satellite at 217-785-5499.

 
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