CALL TO ARTISTS:

MINIATURES:

The Phoenix Art Gallery is setting up an exhibit and sale of  Miniature paintings.

Medium:  Oil, Acrylic, Water, Pastel, Pencil or Mixed Media.

Sizes:  Maximum size is 11 inches in width or height. This INCLUDES frames if any.

Price: Please list the target optimum price and price margins along with your submissions.

Submission: Images of  the art can only be sent as cds or  photograph images.  Email attachments will not be opened.

Local artists can bring their paintings in personally if they wish.

Please send 1) your resume and 2)artist's statement, the vision and scope of  your art along with your submissions.

A copy may be sent by email, but not as an attachment, in anticipation of your cds or photograph images. Please include this in your cd or photograph submission.

Please note:  we need BOTH your resume and artist's statements.

Cost of  submission:  Free.

Date Deadline for final submission:  November 9th. 2010

Please submit to:

PHOENIX Art Gallery

1530 Fifth Avenue. Moline.Illinois:  61265 Tel: 309-736-0006

Email: thephoenixegg@gmail.com

Or contact the Owner: narveen@qcinstitute.org

Owner and director: Narveen Aryaputri

www.atthephoenix.com

 

(Costa Mesa, CA. October 15, 2010)   Hurley is now offering a very special and a fashion and music collaboration bringing the best of both worlds together.   Available NOW through Sunday October 24, 2010 fans can buy ANY Weezer Hurley product at selected PacSun stores and get the new Weezer album titled "Hurley" for FREE!

 

The collection available exclusively at select PacSun stores includes limited edition gear such as Weezer inspired men's and women's wovens, t-shirts, and hoodies. Reaching out directly to their fans, the band will offer unique access, new music and an exclusive line of clothing making

for a perfect convergence between artists and fans.

 

The clothes, designed especially to capture the casual and comfortable style of America's indie rock heroes, make a perfect addition to Hurley's beloved collection of youth apparel. The collection reflects a simple color pallet based on a quirky, yet classic green tone, that feels both retro and futuristic all at the same time. Hurley designed every day items, with the creativity and freedom of Weezer's music and the Hurley lifestyle in mind that make these pieces feel fun and new.

 

This collaboration and contest unites music, clothes, and user generated designs into a perfect storm of excitement for all Weezer fans!

 

Stay tuned to www.hurley.com and Go to www.PacSun.com for participating doors

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley, along with Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, has sent a letter to defense Secretary  Robert Gates questioning whether a new loophole has been created in the administrative discharge system which results in erroneous discharges of members of the Armed Forces who are experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), instead of making sure they receive medical care worthy of their service and sacrifice.

"The men and women in America's armed services put their lives on the line day in and day out for our freedom," Grassley said.  "We worked to close a loophole where many of these honorable service members were being discharged without medical and disability benefits for supposedly pre-existing personality disorders that may in fact have been undiagnosed PTSD or TBI due to service in combat. Now it appears that a new loophole may have taken its place and we need to get to the bottom of this situation so our service members are treated fairly."

Click here to view Grassley's letter to Secretary Gates.

Click here to read the October 20th, 2009 press release regarding a letter Grassley, along with Senators Kit Bond, Blanche Lincoln and Sam Brownback, sent to President Barack Obama to renew his commitment to ensure that returning service members are provided medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs for what may have previously been diagnosed as a pre-existing personality disorder instead of combat-related post traumatic stress disorder.

Click here to read the August 5th, 2009 press release regarding Grassley's letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee advocating for legislation that guarantees that PTSD and TBI are diagnosed and those diagnoses are considered in any future discharge proceeding.

Click here to read the June 22nd, 2007 press release regarding a letter to Secretary Gates sent by Grassley and a group of bipartisan senators, including Senator Obama, calling for an independent review of the personality disorder discharge process in the Armed Forces.

 

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Sends letter to Securities and Exchange Commission, urging crackdown on bonuses

Waterloo, Iowa - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) sent a letter today to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro expressing outrage over the recently announced excessive Wall Street compensation and benefits.  This week, it was reported that Wall Street firms are expected to award $144 billion in bonuses to their executives.

"While our economy is still struggling to get back on its feet, I believe that such excessive compensation in an industry that contributed to our financial collapse is unconscionable," states Braley's letter.  The letter also states, "I firmly believe these firms could put these funds to better use as investment capital to assist small businesses, for job creation, and to put our economy back on track."

Braley urged Chairwoman Schapiro to expedite strict regulations to protect shareholders, consumers and investors, by cracking down on these excessive bonuses.  Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Braley supported, the SEC is instructed to create regulations that give shareholders more say over executive bonuses, increase the transparency of those bonuses, and allow for companies and shareholders to recover excessive executive bonuses under certain circumstances.

Braley's letter is below:

October 15, 2010

The Honorable Mary L. Schapiro

Chairwoman

Security and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549

Dear Chairwoman Schapiro,

I'm writing to express serious concerns over recent media reports suggesting Wall Street firms are on track to provide $144 billion in compensation and benefits, which is a record high for a second consecutive year.  While our economy is still struggling to find its feet, I believe that such excessive compensation in an industry that contributed to our financial collapse is unconscionable.

For the past several years, I have urged Secretary Geithner and the Administration to crack down on excessive compensation and provide accountability for the use of taxpayer funds.  I've also called on Attorney General Holder to investigate the potential criminal misuse of funds by AIG to provide bonuses to many of their most senior executives.  In Congress, I have worked hard to provide accountability for consumers and investors and I supported strong regulations in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to provide transparency and executive accountability to their investors as a means of reigning in risky decisions in pursuit of short term profits.

With the authority under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, I urge you to expedite the issuance of strict regulations to protect investors and consumers and ensure that any compensation provided by these firms is warranted and not harmful to investor or consumers.  Furthermore, as some of the drivers of the economic collapse, I firmly believe these firms could put these funds to better use as investment capital to assist small businesses, for job creation, and to put our economy back on track.

Once again, I urge you to expedite the regulations contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and to ensure strong protections for shareholders, consumers and investors from such irresponsible executive compensation.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

QUAD CITIES - Congressman Phil Hare today announced the Quad Cities will receive a $10 million federal TIGER II grant "for the construction of an intermodal station in downtown Moline," which will be the future Quad Cities Amtrak Station.

The funding is a result of a TIGER II funding application submitted in August 2010 by the State of Illinois Department of Transportation in collaboration with the City of Moline to support intercity passenger rail service between Chicago and the Quad Cities.

"The Amtrak Station funding is the culmination of years of hard work by Quad Cities' community leaders and elected officials who took action in response to the outpouring of public demand for passenger rail service," said Paul Rumler, Executive Director of the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition. "Today's announcement would not be a reality without the leadership of Senator Durbin, Congressman Hare, and Congressman Braley who pushed hard for this funding at the federal level, and Governor Quinn who identified the Quad Cities Amtrak station as a top state priority for Illinois.  Passenger rail service will lead to new jobs and economic growth while adding to our region's quality of life."

Construction of the Amtrak station is expected to generate nearly 750 temporary construction jobs and result in the retention or creation of 1,100 private sector jobs.  An additional $47 million in private investment will come to the Quad Cities as a result of the transit oriented development centered on the Amtrak station.  When passenger rail service is realized, studies show that Quad Cities passenger rail service will create between 550-825 jobs, increase household income by $11-16 million, and boost property values by $52-75 million.

"Area residents, community and business leaders, and elected officials united through QC Rail to advocate and support passenger rail service, and together it's time to celebrate its return to the Quad Cities," said Rumler.

The Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition (QC Rail) was established by the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce to advocate on behalf of the greater Quad City region for restored passenger rail service.  Over 10,000 area residents, community, labor, and business leaders, and elected officials have joined QC Rail since May 2007.

FROM JEROME CORSI'S RED ALERT
By Dr. Jerome Corsi
(c) 2010 RedAlert.WND.com

9 million Americans predicted to lose homes by 2012

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) have halted home foreclosures in 23 states after it came to light that bank employees were rubber-stamping thousands of court documents without checking them for accuracy or getting them notarized as required by law in foreclosure proceedings, the Financial Times reported.

The disruption in foreclosures is expected to be temporary, delaying foreclosures but not giving homeowners facing disclosure any permanent relief.

Still, the problem shows the disarray in the U.S. home market as a record one million Americans are expected to lose their homes this year.

By 2012, the Center for Responsible Lending predicts 9 million more home foreclosures will occur nationwide, with 92 million families losing $1.9 trillion in their home values.

One in every 78 households in America got at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of this year.

Although little noticed, more than 25 percent of first-quarter 2010 home sales were foreclosures, as statistics show foreclosure home sales have increased by 320 percent since 2007.

These statistics again indicate that a rebound in the market for new home sales is not imminent, a conclusion that reveals more bad news for constructors and building suppliers working in the new home market.

Obama mortgage modification program fails

In January 2009, the Obama administration announced its Making Home Affordable Program, or HAMP, to commit $75 billion to help 3 to 4 million homeowners refinance their homes.

The HAMP effort from the beginning was hampered by the program design.

HAMP does not allow judges in bankruptcy cases to modify home loans, and HAMP government employees do not have the authority to insist that banks reduce outstanding home loan principal amounts to a level where the borrower might be able to stay in the home.

Instead, HAMP is limited to bringing down interest rates in an effort to reduce home borrowers' monthly mortgage payments to no more than 31 percent of their income.

As of May 2010, HAMP had reworked only 340,000 mortgages, a number experts consider to be only about one-fifth of the homes eligible for a loan modification under the program.

Treasury Department officials report only 4 percent of troubled homeowners have received long-term help under the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program.

Red Alert has consistently warned that the Obama administration mortgage modification plans are doomed from the start, largely because market forces must be allowed to operate.

The inevitable economic reality is that the bursting of the mortgage bubble demands home prices must devalue, to come back in line with true market values, with the unavoidable result that losses in inflated home values must be taken by someone - the homeowner, the bank or the government.

There is no solution to mounting home foreclosures, despite Obama administration efforts.

Red Alert continues to predict that housing prices will have to fall to 50 percent their peak 2006 values before the housing crisis reaches bottom. So far, home mortgages nationwide are only approximately 30 percent below top 2006 values.

Housing prices to drop even more

Yale economist Robert Shiller created an index of U.S. home prices going back to 1890, estimating the price of a standard home over that period of time.

The goal was to track the value of housing as an investment over time, presenting housing values in consistent terms over more than 100 years and factoring out the effects of inflation.

Shiller's analysis demonstrated home prices peaked in 2006, at prices that began rising dramatically as Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan and the Federal Reserve held interest rates at or near 1 percent, in 2003 and 2004.

If a standard home sold in 1890 for $100,000, with inflation adjusted to reflect today's dollars, the house dropped to $66,000 in 1920, a level that more or less persisted until end of World War II and the housing expansion that accompanied the post-war baby boom. In 2006, the standard house was priced at $199,000, up to 199 on the index scale, or 99 percent higher than the standard house in 1890.

What this means is that the housing bubble had approximately doubled the value of the standard home in the United States by 2006.

The hard news here is that homeowners may have to take the estimated price of their home in 2006 at the maximum point of the bubble and divide that value in half to get a true estimate of the home's value in a normal market valuation.

As housing markets have adjusted downward since 2006, most homeowners have felt the pain with even a 10 percent drop in values.

Underwater mortgages increase when homeowners make small down payments, 10 percent or less, to purchase the home, and the home decreases in value by 10 percent or more.

The housing market in the U.S. will not stabilize until home values reduce to 50 percent of their 2006 peak market value, making unfortunately realistic the prediction that that one million homes will be foreclosed this year, plus an additional 9 million homes foreclosed by 2012.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerome R. Corsi received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling books THE OBAMA NATION: LEFTIST POLITICS AND THE CULT OF PERSONALITY and the co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND: SWIFT BOAT VETERANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST JOHN KERRY. He is also the author of AMERICA FOR SALE, THE LATE GREAT U.S.A., and WHY ISRAEL CAN'T WAIT. Currently, Dr. Corsi is a Senior Managing Director in the Financial Services Group at Gilford Securities as well as a senior staff writer for WorldNetDaily.com.

Library of Congress Receives Lost American Silent Films from Russia

WHAT: Librarian of Congress James H. Billington will be presented with digitally preserved copies of 10 American silent movies considered lost for decades? from the Russian Federation, represented by Vladimir I. Kozhin, Head, Management and Administration of the President of the Russian Federation.

WHEN: 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

WHERE: Members Room, first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Media should enter through the ground-floor carriage entrance under the marble stairs.

WHO: James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress

Vladimir I. Kozhin, Head, Management and Administration of the President of the Russian Federation

Nikolai M. Borodachev, Director General, Gosfilmofond, the Russian State Film Archive

Alexander Vershinin, Director General, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library

Patrick Loughney, Chief, Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation

BACKGROUND:

Due to neglect and deterioration over time, America has lost more than half of the films produced before 1950. In addition, more than 80 percent of movies from the silent era (1893-1930) do not exist in the U.S. In the past 20 years, the Library of Congress and others have made great efforts to locate and repatriate missing U.S.-produced movies from foreign archives.

As part of its partnership with the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, the Library of Congress will receive a gift of 10 movies that constitute the first installment of an ongoing series of "lost" films produced by U.S. movie studios that will be digitally preserved by Gosfilmofond and presented, via the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, to the Library of Congress. Preliminary research conducted by the staff of the Library's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation indicates that up to 200 movies produced by U.S. movie studios of the silent and sound eras may survive only in the Gosfilmofond archive. Digital copies of these films will eventually be sent to the Library of Congress.

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Keeping Government on a Short Leash

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

The health of the U.S. economy typically serves as a good yardstick to gauge the public's approval or disapproval towards Washington. This year, the public's distaste for Washington's appetite to tax, spend and borrow our way back to prosperity exposes a major disconnect between the political leadership and the grassroots.

Inch by inch, Washington's cure for fixing health care, the economy, the environment, higher education, housing, Wall Street and Detroit has involved unprecedented taxpayer bailouts and unrealistic promises.

Many Iowans share how fed up they are with this Washington-knows-best approach to governance. From mandating individuals to buy health insurance to phasing out conventional light bulbs and shutting local lenders out of the school loan market, Washington is taking American consumers out of the decision-making process.

A Washington-knows-best philosophy undermines personal responsibility and weakens genuine accountability and effective transparency that are fundamental to upholding our government "of, by and for the people."

I work to keep Washington on a short leash.  It's not always popular, but I relish my job as a watchdog in Washington. It demands long haul oversight work that I have pursued as a representative for Iowa in the U.S. Senate. Holding the federal bureaucracy accountable, protecting the integrity of hard-earned tax dollars and keeping the people's business open to the public are non-negotiable principles.

Recently, I've focused my oversight work on several federal agencies to give voice to the concerns of Iowa farmers, retirees, taxpayers and investors, including:

·         The EPA's proposed federal rule that would dictate how much dust could reach beyond the ditch to the roadside when farmers harvest their crops;

·         Inadequate scrutiny of health care contractors by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Fraudulent claims and improper payments paid by Medicare siphons scarce tax dollars and further weakens the long-term solvency of this important health insurance program for retirees and disabled individuals. Consider one example in which a durable medical equipment supplier in Florida was ordered by a federal court in February to repay $445 million to the U.S. government. I want to know why CMS failed to detect suspicious billing activity (the investigation was launched by the FBI) and have serious concerns regarding how many cases of fraud go undetected.

·         The internal auditors at the Department of Defense are failing to follow the "money trail" and conduct full-scale contract audits. Unless the Inspector General commits to returning to the core mission of connecting the dots between a contract and a payment, the taxpaying public and military readiness risk losing even more to waste, fraud and abuse.

I also use legislative tools to establish accountability and transparency in government.

·         More than a decade ago, I secured passage of the landmark "Congressional Accountability Act" which holds the legislative branch of the federal government to the same civil rights, workplace safety and employment laws as the rest of the country.

·         My bipartisan effort to end the practice of so-called "secret holds" would end the ability of a single lawmaker to anonymously hold the people's business hostage by preventing a nomination or bill from coming to a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

·         My Witness Sunshine Resolution would require individuals who testify before Senate committees to disclose outside affiliations and financial interests in organizations which have ties to the issue under consideration. The public deserves to know about special interests witnesses might have that could influence the outcome of public policy.

·         The president signed into law my bipartisan legislation to repeal blanket exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Considering the SEC's failure to investigate the ponzi scheme cooked up by Bernard Madoff, it's obvious the American public deserves more disclosure, not less.

It's pretty clear that Washington sticks to the adage "if you give an inch, it'll take a mile."  Considering the $13 trillion national debt and fragile economic recovery, it's more important than ever to make sure the federal government measures up to the highest standards of service, integrity and accountability.

 

Friday, October 15, 2010

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today asked the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Inspector General who oversees the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to address evidence from statements made by immigration officers that senior U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services leaders are putting pressure on employees to approve more visa applications, even if the applications might be fraudulent or the applicant is ineligible.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

Grassley first brought attention to this issue in a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas in September.  Since then, additional agency insiders have provided new information suggesting that the director is responsible for fostering an environment in the California Service Center that encourages the approval of as many applications as possible, regardless of eligibility or potential fraud.  According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees, a "visibly agitated" Mayorkas asked employees, "Why would you be focusing on [fraud] instead of approvals?" and, on a separate occasion, at a conference in Landsdowne, Virginia, said that there are some "managers with black spots on their hearts" in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services because they would not approve more visa applications.

"The American people need to know that the rule of law isn't being undermined by political leaders," Grassley said.  "The safety of America's citizens is the Department of Homeland Security's primary duty, and I expect Secretary Napolitano and Inspector General Skinner to address this situation quickly and thoroughly."

Grassley first raised concerns over U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services visa policy after whistleblower accusations that supervisors directed staff at the California Service Center to "find a way" to approve visa applications and expressed a desire to "instruct generosity" when processing immigration benefits.  Since then, additional agency staff has come forward with allegations of retaliation and pressure asserted by leadership.

Grassley's September 10, 2010 letter to Director Mayorkas is available here.

Director Mayorkas's September 24, 2010 response is available here.

Grassley's October 14, 2010 letter to Secretary Napolitano is available here.

Grassley's October 14, 2010 letter to Inspector General Skinner is available here.

 

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ROCK ISLAND, IL (10/14/2010)(readMedia)-- Music enthusiasts are invited to join the Augustana Symphony Orchestra for their free fall concert on Saturday, October 16, at 8 p.m. in Centennial Hall (3703 7th Ave.). The concert will feature the debut performance of contemporary composer James Romig's "Percussion Concerto," as well as classical pieces by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Maurice Ravel.

The orchestra's first piece, "Symphony in 'Italian' Op. 90," was inspired by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's trip to Italy in the early 1830s. Today, it is considered one of Mendelssohn's most famous and fascinating works. Culver says, "This piece is perfect for the orchestra because the complexity requires such musical discipline."

For their second piece, the Symphony Orchestra will debut James Romig's newly composed "Percussion Concerto." The piece features a highly intricate percussion solo, which will be performed by professional percussionist and Augustana music faculty member Tony Oliver. Romig, who is an associate professor at Western Illinois University, will attend the concert to celebrate the official launching of his new piece.

The final piece of the concert will be the colorful "Ma Mère L'Oye," composed by nineteenth century French musician Maurice Ravel. The piece's title, which translates to "Mother Goose," gives a hint at its style and theme; each of the five movements is based on a different children's fairy tale. Ravel originally composed the piece as a piano duet for his children and developed it into a full orchestra piece several years after.

Symphony Orchestra members participating in the fall concert from our area include :

Nicholas Kendell from Davenport, IA. Kendell is a first year majoring in liberal studies.

Abigail Jones from Milan, IL. Jones is a first year majoring in liberal studies.

P.J. Wiese from Davenport, IA. Wiese is a sophomore majoring in psychology and mathematics.

Anne Van Speybroek from Rock Island, IL. Van Speybroek is a sophomore majoring in liberal studies.

Guy Iaccarino from Davenport, IA. Iaccarino is a junior majoring in music general and anthropology.

Martha Ade from Moline, IL. Ade is a junior majoring in music general and English.

The Augustana Symphony Orchestra is a full-size orchestra, which performs several classical concerts throughout the year under the direction of Dr. Daniel Culver. Culver received his doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Iowa. In addition to conducting the Symphony Orchestra, he teaches and serves as the co-chair in the Department of Music.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty members and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.

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