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A diverse crowd of protesters gathered at the corner of Brady and Locust streets in central Davenport today, unified in their contempt for last year's bailouts and this year's stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by Obama last week. (The bill is the H.R.1?American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and can be read at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1/show.  The following story includes a 4 minute video log of interviews at the protest.)

Between 60 and 75 people, in all age brackets from 10 years old and up, gathered with handmade signs signifying their disapproval of the recent legislation that they believe seriously threatens and undermines the country's future. Protesters came from Davenport, Bettendorf, and Buffalo, Iowa, and from as far away as Hampton, Silvis, and Rock Island, Illinois, to participate. The protest signs ranged from "Bailout is Robbery" and "Commander in Thief" to "Teaser Mandates" and "I Love My Country But am Afraid of My Government." Many people stressed that this was the first time they have ever attended such an event.

Between noon and 1pm, many drivers and passengers in cars honked and waved to the cheering crowd who were making their presence known on this sunny, but cold February Iowa. Occasionally, passing cars rolled down their windows screaming "Obama, Obama!" One Davenport Police officer appeared briefly to remind people to stay off of private property and out of the street. Protesters were present on all four corners with the majority on the southwest and south east corners.

Anti-stimulus protest rallies have been popping up nationwide ever since CNBC's Rick Santelli's harsh criticism of congress' out-of-control-spending was heard around the world last week. He unleashed his rant from the Chicago Board of Trade floor, calling for a Chicago Tea Party ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA ) to protest the bailouts in July.

Susan Frazer, a Scott County resident, said she had planned to go to Chicago in July for the Tea Party, but was excited to hear that communities were already organizing their own Tea Parties this weekend, including one in the Quad Cities. Word about the protest was primarily spread via blog postings and email networking. When asked what she would have happen other than the bailouts and stimulus bill, Ms. Frazer said, "I would like a return to the Constitution."

One Rock Island man's sign read, "Braley Hare Out in 2010", referring to Bruce Braley, Iowa's First District congressman and Phil Hare, Illinois' 17th District congressman. "I see several long time democrats I know here. They have had enough too," he observed.

Chris Sweatman recently moved here from South Carolina for a new job and had only been in the Quad Cities for a month. He held a sign that read: "Obama Stimulus Destroys Dollar." "I think the economy has proven that it will rebound on its own, if the government stays out," said Sweatman. He encouraged people to read the book The Forgotten Man as evidence of Roosevelt and Hoover's mistakes and their prolonging of the Depression. "To say that we need to do what Roosevelt did is a big mistake," he warned.

Iowa Senator David Hartsuch, Davenport 5th Ward Alderman Bill Lynn and 2nd Ward Alderman candidate Bill Edmonds were the handful of politicos present amongst a mostly non-partisan protest.

Local artist John Bloom said, "All my so called Liberal artist and musician friends... they think they're all liberal. But they know this is wrong, they're really moderates." Bloom pointed out his friend's sign as a good summation of how he thinks most people feel. It read: "I love my country, but fear my government." "That's true," said Bloom. "I do. Right now, I really do."

One protester stated, "The lean towards socialism is so obvious. To not respond in some way [is wrong]. The irony is at my age, I retire and then do this? I got money, I don't need to be here. There's something wrong. To not see it, to not smell it?"

His friend stated, "I look after my kids and grandkids. I can't see them having this burden on their shoulders. They say no taxes, but you know it's coming. Somebody's got to pay for this. There's no free lunch."

Many people questioned out loud if there was going to be another Tea Party protest and how could they find out when and where. James Getmann and Mike Angelos shared with several attendees that their local group, SuperLiberty.com, meets the first and third Saturday's of each month to educate citizens about the Constitution and encouraged Tea Party protesters to come to the next meeting.

New Rules. New Tools.

That seems to be the theme of the last several months at the Reader.
We hope you kick the tires well on the Reader's new website and all the tools we are deploying to make it easier and more fun to plan your day, week or life in the Quad Cities.

We've had some great premises over the years for this website, but never before have the tools been so accessible to achieve them. So in 2009 there are no excuses if we cannot help you find what you want, when you want it.

Please not the red "Feedback" tab to the left on your browser. Click it and you will have a pop up come up showing you the ways you can vote for site enhancements suggested by others, or suggest your own.  And there's a link to submit any "bugs" you find in the site.

Fair warning to all....if you are using Microsoft Explorer (which I lovingly refer to as "Exploder") you could be experiencing a less than 100% perfect experience at the Reader website. We are constantly striving to make all the scripts and tools we are so excited for you to use, compliant with Microsloth (I mean Microsoft, sorry)... but at some point we have to move on and get the site up.  I recommend Firefox at www.getfirefox.com for all. Not just for browsing this site, but for the entire internet.

Thanks for using the Reader site, and remember... we are updating the site daily with new content.

New Rules. New Tools.

The Quad Cities' lost a treasure on February 15, 2009 when community leader John Kiley died at the age of 58 years young.

On Wednesday February 18, his great friend Randy Richards soothed the full house at Sacred Heart Cathedral with an insightful eulogy -- seasoned appropriately with song lyrics from the soundtrack of Kiley's life.  Kiley touched too many souls to count in his career as a social activist, culture and music fan, marathon runner, United Way leader, teacher and most recently development director at the Catholic dioceses.  Richards deftly summarized the challenge with reconciling all that Kiley accomplished in his life, explaining that in his estimation, Kiley had to really be 108 years old to have achieved so much and touched so many people. He had in fact been lying to us about his age.

Especially poignant was Richards' call to prize and praise Kiley's life as well lived.
"Praised for his courage. For when courage goes, honesty is the next casualty and soon after we witness the death of integrity."

Our world needs more Kileys with his courage and integrity.  May we all recall Kiley's smile, laughter, words and deeds often in our own efforts to do what Kiley did every day -- make our community and world a better place to live.

Another of John's great friends, Victoria Navarro, shared her poem about John. It too elicited both tears and laughter and was equally as insightful about John Kiley and all the roles he played in our lives.

Richards' eulogy and Victoria's poem are both reprinted below, in their entirety, with the authors' permission.
In addition, Linda Cook authored a fine memorial to John Kiley, in her piece in the QCTimes.
Photos may be submitted for the gallery to the right by emailing support@rcreader.com.

The Raw Story Reports - The Republican consultant accused of involvement in alleged
vote-rigging in Ohio in 2004 was warned that his plane might be
sabotaged before his death in a crash Friday night, according to a
Cleveland CBS affiliate.

45-year-old Republican operative Michael Connell was killed when his
single-passenger plane crashed Friday into a home in a suburb of Akron,
Ohio (PREVIOUS REPORT).

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions - both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

DOWNLOAD THE FEDERAL COMPLAINT BY CLICKING HERE

Rich Miller's ongoing coverage can be found HERE.

Congressman Ron Paul declined to participate in the recent bailout hearing for the big three automakers. In this Fox News phone interview, Neil Cavuto claims that when it comes to these type of finance driven hearings, Congressman Paul "walks the walk". Why didn't Ron Paul show up to Thursday's hearing?

This is one of my fave songs from the Daytrotter sessions by Pepi Ginsberg, called The Waterline.

mp3

We can adjust the look and feel of this audio player somewhat too.

District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra argues that special treatment is being given to the high-profile defendants by the judge and asks for his recusal.


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