With only one exception, the home of The Nutcracker in the Quad Cities has been the Capitol Theatre in downtown Davenport. "We love it there," said Joedy Cook, executive director of Ballet Quad Cities, the company that puts on the annual holiday production.

Every legislative session has its own feel, and its own rhythm. This fall's veto session feels like death - in more ways than one.

One should never predict anything about what could happen in a veto session, but nothing big seems to be moving or percolating this fall.

Raised in Illinois, the current show at the Quad City Arts Center in The District of Rock Island, is a great show, a must-see. The exhibit showcases works created by more than 25 graduate students, alumni, and faculty from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal.

It's often scary to realize how quickly time passes. It seems a lot less than two years ago that I was composing a commentary to commemorate the River Cities' Reader's 300th issue. And the really frightening thing is that when I went back to look at what I wrote then, I had to trash my plans for this piece; I would have been repeating myself, in some cases nearly word-for-word.

My buddy Jim Anderson over at the Illinois Radio Network mentioned the other day that he is seeing some eerie similarities between this governor's race and the last one. He could very well be right.

Back in 1998, George Ryan was the heavy early favorite.

Of all the November elections I have ever participated in, this is by far the most woeful in terms of candidates dealing with the issues that challenge America. The glaring lack of debates, surveys, interviews, and opportunities in general for the public to engage with the candidates exposes a strategy of nondisclosure on the part of the political parties' leadership.

I am writing in response to the ludicrous accusations of racism and possible voter fraud suggested by Judith Malone, Republican candidate for Iowa House District 86, in her letter to the editor on October 16 (see "Voters Should Be Leery of 'Early Voter' Campaigns," River Cities' Reader Issue 396).

A "get out the vote" drive targeting Scott and Waterloo counties is underway. In the Iowa House 86th District, the strategy is as follows: Paid employees, some masquerading as citizen activists, spent the summer rounding up absentee requests.

For Gwen and Dorty Hennessey, the two Catholic nuns from Dubuque who received the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) award from St. Ambrose University last Thursday for their service in promoting world peace, the wind knows no government.

Before Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein became icons of the 20th Century, they were dreamers. Steve Martin thinks so anyway. In his 1996 play Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Martin explores the unusual (fictional) meeting of young artist Picasso and science genius Einstein before they created history-changing works and ideas - during a time they had only the visions in their heads to rely on. Richmond Hill Players is performing the play in Geneseo through October 13.

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