It feels like 2010 arrived at breakneck speed. Perhaps this is due to the fast-tracking of legislation that, by its very design, will financially impact American lifestyles in ways we cannot yet comprehend. The time has come for Americans to truly question the lawfulness of the legislation that is being passed in Washington, and what we are willing to do about it. Make no mistake: The next three years will shape for generations to come how we define ourselves as Americans.

Reader issue #717 The River Cities' Reader is shifting to publishing bi-weekly. Our next print edition will be distributed on Wednesday, January 21, and a new Reader will hit the streets every two weeks after that.

It's critical to understand that bi-weekly publication of the physical Reader does not mean that we're eliminating content.

All of the features you expect will be available weekly online: an in-depth "cover story," Mike Schulz's movie and theatre reviews, feature articles on musicians and other artists, previews of upcoming events, Joe Collins' City Shorts column, John M. James' Music News column, Amy Alkon's Ask the Advice Goddess, Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology, Max Cannon's Red Meat, and a crossword. Those last four features will be debuting online this week.

The
two major contenders for the 2008 election are experience (McCain)
versus inexperience (Obama). Obama's inexperience is disturbing in
that he appears to have disregarded the elected seats he occupied to
continue climbing the political ladder. Once elected, he effected
little, if any, change. Obama's political career is one of meteoric
trajectory from an obscure Illinois legislator to a short-lived U.S.
Senator (only two years into his six-year term before he hit the
presidential campaign trail) to the Democratic nominee for president
with a very good chance of winning the highest office in the land -
all with nothing backing his eligibility except good communication
skills and nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.

The
crushing lack of leadership, underscored by the absence of even a
rudimentary understanding of the factors that contributed to the
current economic crisis, begins to unfold in the wake of a
demoralizing vote by the U.S. legislature for a $700-billion bailout.
The House of Representatives originally voted it down, obviously
holding out for earmarks from the Senate. Incredibly, the Senate
obliged, attaching an additional $125 billion worth of such bribes to
ensure the House majority vote in favor of bailing out Wall Street,
and indefinitely indenturing future generations with impossible debt.

Make
no mistake, the $700-billion request from the Bush administration
including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chair
Ben Bernanke, is very much a bailout of Wall Street first and
foremost. The tactics used here are familiar ones. Create shock and
fear, and amplify it by fast-tracking legislative action. Create a
profound sense of urgency, coupled with vague but absolute solutions
with no time for verification or alternatives. Threaten the core
security of every citizen to justify, and obtain approval for, the
transfer of power being sought. In this case, the request is an
unprecedented transfer of power to the U.S. treasurer's office,
with virtually no oversight, regulatory control, or checks and
balances of any kind.

My
guess is that many of you are as enraged as I am over our elected
leaders' latest financial abuses. How much is enough for each of us
to take action? By action I mean, at a minimum, a phone call or
e-mail to each senator and congressman in your district expressing
your outrage, accompanied by a committed declaration that if he or
she does not act to stop these subsidies, bailouts, and wholesale
giveaways of our republic's future, then they will absolutely lose
your vote next term.

The
United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. On
August 2, 1956, in commemoration of this revolutionary document,
Congress set aside the week of September 17 to 23 as Constitution
Week, with September 17 designated as Citizenship Day.

I cannot resist weighing in on the City of Davenport's new "Rules of Conduct" as they apply to certain aldermen and the mayor.

Included in the rules is the mandate to "Be honest and truthful. Tell the truth.

The ongoing abuse of Davenport taxpayers by elected officials, city administration, and DavenportOne is reaching critical mass.

On the heels of the disgraceful development agreement between the city and the Isle of Capri comes another vague, taxpayer-unfriendly project - a public market in the Freight House - to suck the financial life out of Davenport's already strained coffers.

There's good news for taxpayers and "smart riverfront" advocates relative to the Isle of Capri's (IOC) efforts to build an 11-story casino hotel and five-story parking ramp at the foot of Lock & Dam 15 in downtown Davenport.

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