Media & Communications
An Inside Account of ACORN's Controversial 2008 Voter Drive PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Jamie-Lyn Markos   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 07:54
Go behind the scenes of ACORN's controversial voter registration drive, which did almost as much to hurt as it did to help Barack Obama win the 2008 presidential election, in the new memoir Ring of Fire 2008: My Wild Ride to the Bleeding Heart of ACORN's Last, Greatest, Voter Registration Drive by Miguel Esteban.

Way back in Election '08—which, like every presidential election, was the most important ever—the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now collected over 1.3 million voter registrations and joined forces with a broad coalition to spread the good news of "quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans" to nearly fifty million potential voters deemed least likely to cast a ballot because they were poor, minorities, or the youth.

Miguel Esteban was one of them. A young, Puerto Rican-American, starving artist who walked in the door of Orlando ACORN looking for a part-time job, he went from zero to hero after blowing the whistle on a conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud in early 2008. Because of his efforts, news of eleven Miami ACORN workers forging voter registrations did not make headlines until after Election Day, and Esteban went on to become an unlikely political operative upon his promotion to the national ranks of ACORN's “PolOps” division—Project Vote—where his official job title was, no joke, Quality Control Czar #2.

What really happened during ACORN's infamous 2008 campaign? How widespread were the electoral shenanigans that prompted the FBI to investigate ACORN in numerous swing states? In this era of SuperPACs, secret money and Web 2.0 "voter targeting" technology, how nonpartisan are the nonpartisan campaigns unleashed by groups such as ACORN each election cycle? Can the now defunct ACORN family of organizations best be described as AntiPoverty, Inc.? Is it true that ACORN not only perpetrated widespread voter registration fraud, but also helped cause the housing meltdown that precipitated the Great Recession, and if so, why wasn’t the organization bailed out by Uncle Sam? Were ACORN's "redshirts" communists? Un-American? Neo-progressives struggling to save America from itself?

Explore the answers to such questions and more in Ring of Fire 2008: My Wild Ride to the Bleeding Heart of ACORN’s Last, Greatest, Voter Registration Drive; which is scheduled for a three-part release: Part 1, which is 80,000 words in length, is available now; Part 2 is scheduled for release in early October; Part 3 is scheduled for release in late October. The full version, including hardcover, is scheduled for release during the holiday season.

eBook formats (with photographs) only $3.33:



EPUB (compatible with most eReaders) & PDF:

Apple iStore, Google Play, Sony, Kobo & more: COMING SOON


Paperback (170 pages w/out photos) only $7.99:

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Silver Oaks Communications Goes All Digital Cinema PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Julie Myers   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:23
Now shooting exclusively with digital cinema cameras

Moline, Illinois – 24 September 2012

First in the Quad Cities to acquire this cutting-edge technology, Silver Oaks has just added two SONY 4K cameras to its RED digital cinema cameras. These are the same cameras used to shoot critically-acclaimed television series and big-budget Hollywood films such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man. “This technology has been enthusiastically embraced by major directors because it offers the best qualities of 35-millimeter motion picture film in a digital HD format. Digital cinema cameras have the resolution, color fidelity and focus control of 35-millimeter film,” said Greg Scott, president of Silver Oaks.

RED cameras started the revolution in the motion picture industry when they were introduced in 2007. RED’s creator, Jim Jannard, founded and ran Oakley before following his passion to invent the innovative digital cinema camera. The cameras give film and video producers a total digital HD format that rivals 35mm cinematography.

With a staggering 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution – or 4K – this technology offers unprecedented resolution quality, depth of detail and color saturation. In comparison, HDTVs and even digital IMAX movies are at about 1.2K. Silver Oaks’ digital cinema cameras have four times the number of pixels as a high-end HD video camera, with data capture rates up to 300mb per second. “Images pop off the screen with stunning clarity,” said Silver Oaks video director, Greg Marten. “And by recording in the REDCODE RAW data format, there’s also greater flexibility in post-production to manipulate and enhance images, offering additional creative opportunities to our clients.” “With our 4K digital cinema cameras, we can capture a truly dynamic video image equivalent to a theatrical 35mm film – a distinctive capability that no one else in this market can offer, and which is paramount to our national clients,” said Scott.

Silver Oaks is a full-service media communications company providing single-source creative and production services. Expertise includes concept and development, production, writing and animation for print, broadcast and all eMedia. For over 29 years, Silver Oaks’ talented designers, writers, web and interactive developers, video and audio producers, animators and support staff have been developing media solutions for the corporate, educational and retail industries.

DoJ Fails to Answer Grassley Questions about Alleged Threats to News Reporter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:47

Friday, September 21, 2012


Grassley: Justice Department Fails to Answer Questions about Alleged Threats to News Reporter


WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley continues to press Attorney General Eric Holder for a complete accounting of a June incident in Louisiana where a senior civil rights lawyer for the department reportedly threatened a journalist.  Grassley initially asked the Attorney General about the incident in July.


Grassley said he was disappointed in the response from the department which failed to answer the vast majority of his questions and to produce the documents requested.  The alleged incident occurred at a meeting advertised as a public event to address the employment practices of a local fire department.


“I’m very concerned about what allegedly occurred in New Iberia.  If the news reports are accurate, the conduct by the Justice Department would strike at the very heart of a free press.  The department’s failure to answer questions and to produce relevant documents is unacceptable on a subject so fundamental to this country’s founding,” Grassley said


Grassley said he expected complete answers to his letter by September 28.


Here’s a copy of the text of the letter.  A signed copy can be found here.  Grassley’s July 17 letter can be found here and the department’s response can be found here.


September 20, 2012


Via Electronic Transmission

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.                           

Attorney General                       

U.S. Department of Justice                       

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.                          

Washington, DC 20530                         


Dear Attorney General Holder:


I write regarding the Department of Justice’s letter dated September 4, 2012 from Acting Assistant Attorney General Judith Appelbaum.  Ms. Appelbaum was responding to my July 17, 2012 letter to you.


In my letter, I expressed my concern about reports of an incident at a public meeting in New Iberia, Louisiana involving a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division.[1] A letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press summarized the reports on the incident as follows:


It is our understanding that on [June 12, 2012], Ms. [Rachel] Hranitzky arrived at the meeting and immediately asked if any journalists were present. When a Daily Iberian reporter attending the meeting responded in the affirmative, she informed him that he could neither record the meeting nor quote her statements. According to other attendees, the meeting had been advertised as a public meeting intended to address concerns with the city fire department’s hiring and promotion process.  However, citing ‘special rules’ of the Department of Justice for agency attorneys, Ms. Hranitzky instructed that her statements be neither recorded nor quoted. When the reporter questioned this instruction on the basis that Ms. Hranitzky was speaking at a public meeting, she apparently threatened him with the possibility that the DOJ could call his editors and publisher, and warned that he would not ‘want to get on the Department of Justice’s bad side.’ Furthermore, it is our understanding that Ms. Hranitzky demanded the reporter leave the meeting, although—after making his objection known but agreeing not to quote her—he was ultimately allowed to remain.


The reports about the incident in New Iberia and the existence of a DOJ policy or “special rules” which were the cause of the incident are troubling.  Consequently, I wrote you and asked several direct questions and made requests for documents.


The September 4 response letter ignores the vast majority of my questions and does not provide all of the documents I requested.  Accordingly, I am attaching a copy my July 17 letter and ask that you directly answer all of my questions and produce all of the documents that I requested.

Also, the September 4 response letter raises a new question.  The letter states that “the [Civil Rights] Division has taken steps to ensure that its employees are fully aware of the Department’s consistent policy that public meetings are open to the public, including the press.”  Describe in detail each of the “steps” taken.


I ask that you provide written answers and documents by September 28, 2012.





Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee


Cc: Hon. Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee


[1]  Matthew Beaton, “`DOJ practice’ slammed by politicos, group,” The Daily Iberian  (July 8, 2012) (available at

News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Lora Adams   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:29

MOLINE, ILLINOIS – WQPT’s local public affairs program “The Cities with Jim Mertens” will be focusing on local political races in the coming weeks finishing with a 3 hour special that will air the Sunday before election-day.

In the coming weeks the following candidates will appear on The Cities, which airs each Thursday at 6:30 pm, Sunday at 5:30 pm on WQPT and on WVIK on Fridays at 7:00 pm.

Rep. Pat Verschoore (D) Illinois 72nd House District                         September 13, 2012

Neil Anderson (R)


John Archer (R) Iowa 2nd Congressional Candidate                           September 20, 2012

Cheri Bustos (D) 17th Illinois Congressional Candidate                     September 27, 2012

Rep. Rich Morthland (R) Illinois 71st House District                         October 4, 2012                           Mike Smiddy (D)

Sen. Shawn Hammerlink (R) Iowa 42nd Senate District                      October 11, 2012

Chris Brase (D)


Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) 17th Illinois Congressional Candidate       October 18, 2012

Sen. Mike Jacobs (D) Illinois 36th State Senate District                     October 25, 2012

Bill Albracht (R)


“We are happy to have a longer format to focus on the issues that impact our local communities,” said host, Jim Mertens. “Our program guide and website will list the times that each candidate will appear during the 3 hours special so that our viewers can focus on the candidates that they are most interested in hearing from,” said Jerry Myers, WQPT’s Program Manager.

WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

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Sisters on a Mission To Make a Better World For Our Children’s Future PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:16
By: Debbie Burns

Patty Cockrell and I are sisters and best friends, and we wrote a children’s book series, “Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow,’’ (, after seeing way too many sad things on the evening news.

The terrible things happening around the world distressed both of us. It was very sad to see the way people bullied each other and we realized it was harming so many people.

After a particularly tragic event -- the death of a small child in England at the hands of two boys not much older than him on Feb. 12, 1993 -- we were devastated. We knew we had to try to do something to change what we saw happening. We didn’t know what to do or how; we just knew we had to do something.

We want all children to be safe, to have honest values, and care about the world we live in. We decided that we needed to start with very young children. Since we read to our children when they were young, we thought the best way we could help was to write stories for children with full, color illustrations so they can enjoy looking at the pictures while the story is being read to them.

We started to write our stories on Feb. 15, 1993. It has been a long journey to complete the books, get them illustrated, and published, but we’re finally there! The first in the series, “Lost!”, is available as a free e-book at because we believe its message can save young lives. The second, “I Can Do It!”, is available for purchase on the site, and the entire series of five will be available on or about Thanksgiving Day.

We wrote our stories in honor of all victims of violence. We wrote them with compassion and love in our hearts for all of our world’s children in the hope of making a positive difference.

We created our characters knowing we first had to capture the young child’s imagination. They needed to be fun and different. So, the Tukies are from another planet and they have special powers that humans don’t have -- telepathy, telekinesis and invisibility. They use these to help others – well, most of the time! The youngest Tukie is very mischievous and likes to play little tricks on his friends, much to the delight of young children.

Each book is a complete story using positive reinforcement to teach children important life lessons. The stories give valuable insight that doing good makes us feel good, and they help enable children to build their life on a secure, solid foundation of safety, positive values and caring about nature. All the stories leave the child feeling empowered and eager to repeat the positive values.

We believe today’s parents are ready for something different, and “Tukie Tales” is ready to deliver. Imagine a world where people treat each other with respect, kindness, and care about other living things. Some may say this ideal is not possible in today's world. We believe it is.

Humanity can achieve great things when we all strive to make it happen. Children hunger for knowledge and acceptance. We need to be proactive and uplift them to give them the tools they need to succeed. Having strong, positive values is so important. Together, we can all make a difference for our children's future. Join us on our mission to make a better world for them.

About Debbie Burns & Patty Cockrell

Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell were determined to instill honest and wholesome values in their children after establishing their families. Deeply affected by the bad news of the world, they decided to promote a better experience for children. The “Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow” series is written with compassion and love for all of the world’s children in the hope of making a positive difference.

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