Promote Civic Responsibility - and Start Young, Expert Says

Across the nation, people take to the streets in record numbers to overthrow the greed and politics they say has hijacked the American dream. No longer can you work hard and get ahead, they say: The system is rigged to promote the rich, the powerful, and the greedy.

The disenfranchised Occupy protesters and the citizens of Main Street have united in untold numbers. Time magazine names "The Protester" its 2011 Person of the Year. The young people who turned out in droves to vote in 2008 are now abandoning the political process; seeing hope in neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, they're disengaging out of disillusionment.

Former TV news anchor and reporter Mary Jane McKittrick, author of "Boomer and Halley -- Election Day: A Town Votes for Civic Responsibility" (, says it's time to remind people that civic duty is not solely the responsibility of elected officials.

"It's easy to blame Wall Street, the White House, Congress, the pundits, and everyone in between," says McKittrick. "But we fail to see the role we've all played in the fiasco. We voted for these people. We abdicated our responsibilities to them.  We let them have the power.

"Now we, the people, are powerless. No wonder our kids think the system is broken and they don't need to participate."

It's a problem she saw coming and why she wrote "Boomer and Halley - Election Day," winner of a Mom's Choice Award for Juvenile Humor. It's part of a series designed to help parents teach 4- to 8-year-olds civil values, including lifelong civic involvement. A successful Democracy depends on civic-minded citizens, but people don't get that way overnight, McKittrick points out. It's a value instilled in children from a very young age.

That's not happening.

"We're the 99 percent complacent; people have stopped being involved. America has stopped voting," McKittrick said, citing a Project Vote analysis of the November 2010 elections, in which a majority of registered voters did not go to the polls.

A study of American teenagers' civic participation from 1976 through 2005 found a general decline over the decades, according to the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood.

The high point for conventional participation, like writing to a public official, came in 1978. But even then, only 27 percent of 17- to 19-year-olds declared such intentions, according to a September 2009 article published by the MacArthur Foundation.

"Even alternative forms of engagement ? such as boycotting and demonstrating ? declined among high school seniors during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1986," according to the authors.

That number settled at around 20 percent during the late 1990s through 2005, they wrote.

The "Yes we can!" campaign of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 inspired record numbers of young people to get involved. But two years later, they dropped out of sight.

Young Americans, blacks and lower-income Americans participated in the election in historic numbers, according to the non-partisan non-profit Project Vote. But by 2010, 23 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds were "civically alienated," a Tufts University study found, and they mostly stayed home during the Nov. 2, 2010 midterm elections.

"Non-voters were the majority in 2010," according to Dr. Lorraine Minnite, who analyzed turnout for Project Vote.

Interestingly, people ages 65 and older - who have a rich history of civic involvement - constituted 21 percent of voters though they make up only 13 percent of the population.

"For the first time in quite awhile, we're seeing Americans in the streets," says McKittrick. "But no one's talking to the kids about the protests. Children should be taught what they mean and shown how the situation can be turned around. This is a very teachable moment."

Start now teaching children to pay attention, take responsibility and work through problems together, she says.

"Do that, and they'll probably never have to Occupy a park."

About Mary Jane McKittrick

Mary Jane McKittrick is the creator, author, producer and publisher of the Boomer and Halley series of children's books, comic tales that teach core values such as honesty and responsibility. McKittrick is a former broadcast journalist and holds a dual bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts and Speech Communication.

2011 National Film Registry More Than a Box of Chocolates: "Forrest Gump," "Bambi," "Stand and Deliver" Among Registry Picks

"My momma always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'"  That line was immortalized by Tom Hanks in the award-winning movie "Forest Gump" in 1994.  Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today selected that film and 24 others to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Spanning the period 1912-1994, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, home movies, avant-garde shorts and experimental motion pictures.   Representing the rich creative and cultural diversity of the American cinematic experience, the selections range from Walt Disney's timeless classic "Bambi" and Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend," a landmark film about the devastating effects of alcoholism, to a real-life drama between a U.S. president and a governor over the desegregation of the University of Alabama.  The selections also include home movies of the famous Nicholas Brothers dancing team and such avant-garde films as George Kuchar's hilarious short "I, an Actress."  This year's selections bring the number of films in the registry to 575.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.  "These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture," said Billington.  "Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams."

Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public (this year 2,228 films were nominated) and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB).  The public is urged to make nominations for next year's registry at NFPB's website (www.

In other news about the registry, "These Amazing Shadows," a documentary about the National Film Registry, will air nationally on the award-winning PBS series "Independent Lens" on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m (check local listings). Written and directed by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton, this critically acclaimed documentary has also been released on DVD and Blu-ray and will be available through the Library of Congress Shop (

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library's massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers.  The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation's library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (

The Packard Campus is home to more than six million collection items, including nearly three million sound recordings. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board and the National Registries for film and recorded sound.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library's rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

2011 National Film Registry

Allures (1961)   
Called the master of "cosmic cinema," Jordan Belson excelled in creating abstract imagery with a spiritual dimension that featured dazzling displays of color, light, and ever-moving patterns and objects. Trained as a painter and profoundly influenced by the artist and theorist Wassily Kandinsky, Belson collaborated in the late 1950s with electronic music composer Henry Jacobs to create elaborate sound and light shows in the San Francisco Morrison Planetarium, an experience that informed his subsequent films.  The film, Belson has stated, "was probably the space-iest film that had been done until then. It creates a feeling of moving into the void." Inspired by Eastern spiritual thought, "Allures" (which took a year and a half to make) is, Belson suggests, a "mathematically precise" work intended to express the process of becoming that the philosopher Teilhard de Chardin has named "cosmogenesis."

Bambi (1942)
One of Walt Disney's timeless classics (and his own personal favorite), this animated coming-of-age tale of a wide-eyed fawn's life in the forest has enchanted generations since its debut nearly 70 years ago.  Filled with iconic characters and moments, the film features beautiful images that were the result of extensive nature studies by Disney's animators.  Its realistic characters capture human and animal qualities in the time-honored tradition of folklore and fable, which enhance the movie's resonating, emotional power.  Treasured as one of film's most heart-rending stories of parental love, "Bambi" also has come to be recognized for its eloquent message of nature conservation.

The Big Heat (1953)
One of the great post-war noir films, "The Big Heat" stars Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin and Gloria Graham.  Set in a fictional American town, "The Big Heat" tells the story of a tough cop (Ford) who takes on a local crime syndicate, exposing tensions within his own corrupt police department as well as insecurities and hypocrisies of domestic life in the 1950s.  Filled with atmosphere, fascinating female characters, and a jolting?yet not gratuitous?degree of violence, "The Big Heat," through its subtly expressive technique and resistance to formulaic denouement, manages to be both stylized and brutally realistic, a signature of its director Fritz Lang.

A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, renowned for its CGI (computer generated image) animated films, created a program for digitally animating a human hand in 1972 as a graduate student project, one of the earliest examples of 3D computer animation. The one-minute film displays the hand turning, opening and closing, pointing at the viewer, and flexing its fingers, ending with a shot that seemingly travels up inside the hand. In creating the film, which was incorporated into the 1976 film "Futureworld," Catmull worked out concepts that become the foundation for computer graphics that followed.

Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)
Robert Drew was a pioneer of American cinema-verite (a style of documentary filmmaking that strives to record unfolding events non-intrusively).  In 1963, he gathered together a stellar group of filmmakers, including D. A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock, Gregory Shuker, James Lipscomb, and Patricia Powell, to capture on film the dramatic unfolding of an ideological crisis, one that revealed political decision-making at the highest levels. The result, "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment," focuses on Gov. George Wallace's attempt to prevent two African-American students from enrolling in the University of Alabama?his infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" confrontation?and the response of President John F. Kennedy. The filmmakers observe the crisis evolve by following a number of participants, including Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Gov. Wallace and the two students, Vivian Malone and James Hood.  The film also shows deliberations between the president and his staff that led to a peaceful resolution, a decision by the president to deliver a major address on civil rights and a commitment by Wallace to continue his battle in subsequent national election campaigns. The film has proven to be a uniquely revealing complement to written histories of the period, providing viewers the rare opportunity to witness historical events from an insider's perspective.

The Cry of the Children (1912)
Recognized as a key work that both reflected and contributed to the pre-World War I child labor reform movement, the two-reel silent melodrama "The Cry of the Children" takes its title and fatalistic, uncompromising tone of hopelessness from the 1842 poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  "The Cry of the Children" was part of a wave of "social problem" films released during the 1910s on such subjects as drugs and alcohol, white slavery, immigrants and women's suffrage.  Some were sensationalist attempts to exploit lurid topics, while others, like "The Cry of the Children," were realistic exposés that championed social reform and demanded change. Shot partially in a working textile factory, "The Cry of the Children" was recognized by an influential critic of the time as "The boldest, most timely and most effective appeal for the stamping out of the cruelest of all social abuses."

A Cure for Pokeritis (1912) 
Largely forgotten today, actor John Bunny merits significant historical importance as the American film industry's earliest comic superstar.  A stage actor prior to the start of his film career, Bunny starred in over 150 Vitagraph Company productions from 1910 until his death in 1915. Many of his films (affectionately known as "Bunnygraphs") were gentle "domestic" comedies, in which he portrayed a henpecked husband alongside co-star Flora Finch. "A Cure for Pokeritis" exemplifies the genre, as Finch conspires with similarly displeased wives to break up their husbands' weekly poker game. When Bunny died in 1915, a New York Times editorial noted that "Thousands who had never heard him speak...recognized him as the living symbol of wholesome merriment." The paper presciently commented on the importance of preserving motion pictures and sound recordings for future generations: "His loss will be felt all over the country, and the films, which preserve his humorous personality in action, may in time have a new value. It is a subject worthy of reflection, the value of a perfect record of a departed singer's voice, of the photographic films perpetuating the drolleries of a comedian who developed such extraordinary capacity for acting before the camera."

El Mariachi (1992)
Directed, edited, co-produced, and written in two weeks by Robert Rodriguez for $7,000 while a film student at the University of Texas, "El Mariachi" proved a favorite on the film festival circuit. After Columbia Pictures picked it up for distribution, the film helped usher in the independent movie boom of the early 1990s. "El Mariachi" is an energetic, highly entertaining tale of an itinerant musician, portrayed by co-producer and Rodriguez crony Carlos Gallardo, who arrives at a Mexican border town during a drug war and is mistaken for a hit man who recently escaped from prison. The story, as film historian Charles Ramirez Berg has suggested, plays with expectations common to two popular exploitation genres?the narcotraficante film, a Mexican police genre, and the transnational warrior-action film, itself rooted in Hollywood Westerns. Rodriguez's success derived from invigorating these genres with creative variants despite the constraints of a shoestring budget.  Rodriguez has gone on to direct films for major studios, becoming, in Berg's estimation, "arguably the most successful Latino director ever to work in Hollywood."

Faces (1968)
Writer-director John Cassavetes described "Faces," considered by many to be his first mature work, as "a barrage of attack on contemporary middle-class America." The film depicts a married couple, "safe in their suburban home, narrow in their thinking," he wrote, who experience a break up that "releases them from the conformity of their existence, forces them into a different context, when all barriers are down." An example of cinematic excess, "Faces" places its viewers inside intense lengthy scenes to allow them to discover within its relentless confrontations emotions and relations of power between men and women that rarely emerge in more conventionally structured films. In provoking remarkable performances by Lynn Carlin, John Marley and Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes has created a style of independent filmmaking that has inspired filmmakers around the world.

Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
An expressive, sympathetic look at the everyday lives of young Mexican women who create ornamental papier m?ché fruits and vegetables, "Fake Fruit Factory" exemplifies filmmaker Chick Strand's unique style that deftly blends documentary, avant-garde and ethnographic techniques.  After studying anthropology and ethnographic film at the University of California, Strand, who helped noted independent filmmaker Bruce Baillie create the independent film distribution cooperative Canyon Cinema, taught filmmaking for 24 years at Occidental College. She developed a collagist process to create her films, shooting footage of people she encountered over several decades of annual summer stays in Mexico and then editing together individual films. In "Fake Fruit Factory," Strand employs a moving camera at close range to create colorfully vivid images often verging on abstraction, while her soundtrack picks up snatches of conversation to evoke, in her words, "the spirit of the people." "I want to know," Strand wrote, "really what it is like to be a breathing, talking, moving, emotional, relating individual in the society."

Forrest Gump (1994)     
As "Forrest Gump," Tom Hanks portrays an earnest, guileless "everyman" whose open-heartedness and sense of the unexpected unwittingly draws him into some of the most iconic events of the 1960s and 1970s.  A smash hit, "Forrest Gump" has been honored for its technological innovations (the digital insertion of Gump seamlessly into vintage archival footage), its resonance within the culture that has elevated Gump (and what he represents in terms of American innocence) to the status of folk hero, and its attempt to engage both playfully and seriously with contentious aspects of the era's traumatic history. The film received six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Growing Up Female (1971)
Among the first films to emerge from the women's liberation movement, "Growing Up Female" is a documentary portrait of America on the brink of profound change in its attitudes toward women. Filmed in spring 1970 by Ohio college students Julia Reichert and Jim Klein, "Growing Up Female" focuses on six girls and women aged 4 to 34 and the home, school, work and advertising environments that have impacted their identities. Through open-ended interviews and lyrical documentation of their surroundings, the film strived, in Reichert's words, to "give women a new lens through which to see their own lives." Widely distributed to libraries, universities, churches and youth groups, the film launched a cooperative of female filmmakers that bypassed traditional distribution mechanisms to get its message communicated.

Hester Street (1975)
Joan Micklin Silver's first feature-length film, "Hester Street," was an adaption of preeminent Yiddish author Abraham Cahan's 1896 well-received first novel "Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto."  In the 1975 film, the writer-director brought to the screen a portrait of Eastern European Jewish life in America that historians have praised for its accuracy of detail and sensitivity to the challenges immigrants faced during their acculturation process. Shot in black-and-white and partly in Yiddish with English subtitles, the independent production, financed with money raised by the filmmaker's husband, was shunned by Hollywood until it established a reputation at the Cannes Film Festival and in European markets. "Hester Street" focuses on stresses that occur when a "greenhorn" wife, played by Carol Kane (nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal), and her young son arrive in New York to join her Americanized husband. Silver, one of the first women directors of American features to emerge during the women's liberation movement, shifted the story's emphasis from the husband, as in the novel, to the wife. Historian Joyce Antler has written admiringly, "In indicating the hardships experienced by women and their resiliency, as well as the deep strains assimilation posed to masculinity, 'Hester Street' touches on a fundamental cultural challenge confronting immigrants."

I, an Actress (1977)
Underground filmmaker George Kuchar and his twin brother Mike began making 8mm films as 12-year-old kids in the Bronx, often on their family's apartment rooftop.  Before his death in 2011, George created over 200 outlandish low-budget films filled with absurdist melodrama, crazed dialogue and plots, and affection for Hollywood film conventions and genres. A professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, Kuchar documented his directing techniques in the hilarious "I, an Actress" as he encourages an acting student to embellish a melodramatic monologue with increasingly excessive gestures and emotions. Like most of Kuchar's films, "I, an Actress" embodies a "camp" sensibility, defined by the cultural critic Susan Sontag as deriving from an aesthetics that valorizes not beauty but "love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration." Filmmaker John Waters has cited the Kuchars as "my first inspiration" and credited them with giving him "the self-confidence to believe in my own tawdry vision."

The Iron Horse (1924) 
John Ford's epic Western "The Iron Horse" established his reputation as one of Hollywood's most accomplished directors.  Intended by Fox studios to rival Paramount's 1923 epic "The Covered Wagon," Ford's film employed more than 5,000 extras, advertised authenticity in its attention to realistic detail, and provided him with the opportunity to create iconic visual images of the Old West, inspired by such master painters as Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. A tale of national unity achieved after the Civil War through the construction of the transcontinental railroad, "The Iron Horse" celebrated the contributions of Irish, Italian and Chinese immigrants although the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country legally was severely restricted at the time of its production.  A classic silent film, "The Iron Horse" introduced to American and world audiences a reverential, elegiac mythology that has influenced many subsequent Westerns.

The Kid (1921)     
Charles Chaplin's first full-length feature, the silent classic "The Kid," is an artful melding of touching drama, social commentary and inventive comedy.  The tale of a foundling (Jackie Coogan, soon to be a major child star) taken in by the Little Tramp, "The Kid" represents a high point in Chaplin's evolving cinematic style, proving he could sustain his artistry beyond the length of his usual short subjects and could deftly elicit a variety of emotions from his audiences by skillfully blending slapstick and pathos.

The Lost Weekend (1945)
A landmark social-problem film, "The Lost Weekend" provided audiences of 1945 with an uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism. Directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film melded an expressionistic film-noir style with documentary realism to immerse viewers in the harrowing experiences of an aspiring New York writer willing to do almost anything for a drink. Despite opposition from his studio, the Hays Office and the liquor industry, Wilder created a film ranked as one of the best of the decade that won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay and Actor (Ray Milland), and established him as one of America's leading filmmakers.

The Negro Soldier (1944)
Produced by Frank Capra's renowned World War II U.S. Army filming unit, "The Negro Soldier" showcased the contributions of blacks to American society and their heroism in the nation's wars, portraying them in a dignified, realistic, and far less stereotypical manner than they had been depicted in previous Hollywood films. Considered by film historian Thomas Cripps as "a watershed in the use of film to promote racial tolerance," "The Negro Soldier" was produced in reaction to instances of discrimination against African-Americans stationed in the South. Written by Carlton Moss, a young black writer for radio and the Federal Theatre Project, directed by Stuart Heisler, and scored by Dmitri Tiomkin, the film highlights the role of the church in the black community and charts the progress of a black soldier through basic training and officer's candidate school before he enters into combat.  It became mandatory viewing for all soldiers in American replacement centers from spring 1944 until the war's end.

Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-1940s)
Fayard and Harold Nicholas, renowned for their innovative and exuberant dance routines, began in vaudeville in the late 1920s before headlining at the Cotton Club in Harlem, starring on Broadway and performing in Hollywood films. Fred Astaire is reported to have called their dance sequence in "Stormy Weather" (1943) the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. Their home movies capture a golden age of show business?with extraordinary footage of Broadway, Harlem and Hollywood?and also document the middle-class African-American life of that era, images made rare by the considerable cost of home-movie equipment during the Great Depression. Highlights include the only footage shot inside the Cotton Club, the only footage of famous Broadway shows like "Babes in Arms," home movies of an all African-American regiment during World War II, films of street life in Harlem in the 1930s, and the family's cross-country tour in 1934.

Norma Rae (1979)     
Highlighted by Sally Field's Oscar-winning performance, "Norma Rae" is the tale of an unlikely activist.  A poorly-educated single mother, Norma Rae Webster works at a Southern textile mill where her attempt to improve working conditions through unionization, though undermined by her factory bosses, ultimately succeeds after her courageous stand on the factory floor wins the support of her co-workers.  The film is less a polemical pro-union statement than a treatise about maturation, personal willpower, fairness and the empowerment of women.  Directed by Martin Ritt, "Norma Rae" was based on the real-life efforts of Crystal Lee Sutton to unionize the J. P. Stevens Mills in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., which finally agreed to allow union representation one year after the film's release.

Porgy and Bess (1959)     
Composer George Gershwin considered his masterpiece "Porgy and Bess" to be a "folk opera." Gershwin's score reflected traditional songs he encountered in visits to Charleston, S.C., and in Gullah revival meetings he attended on nearby James Island.  Controversy has stalked the production history of the opera that Gershwin created with DuBose Heyward, who had written the original novel and play (with his wife Dorothy) and penned lyrics with Gershwin's brother Ira.  The lavish film version was produced in the late 1950s as the civil rights movement gained momentum and a number of African-American actors turned down roles they considered demeaning.  Harry Belafonte, who refused the part of Porgy, explained, "in this period of our social development, I doubt that it is healthy to expose certain images of the Negro. In a period of calm, perhaps this picture could be viewed historically." Dissension also resulted when producer Samuel Goldwyn dismissed Rouben Mamoulian, who had directed the play and musical on Broadway, and replaced him with Otto Preminger. Produced in Todd-AO, a state-of-the-art widescreen and stereophonic sound recording process, with an all-star cast that included Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll, "Porgy and Bess," now considered an "overlooked masterpiece" by one contemporary scholar, rarely has been screened in the ensuing years.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins and director Jonathan Demme won accolades for this chilling thriller based upon a book by Thomas Harris.  Foster plays rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling who must tap into the disturbed mind of imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in order to aid her search for a murderer and torturer still at large.  A film whose violence is as much psychological as graphic, "Silence of the Lambs"?winner of Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay?has been celebrated for its superb lead performances, its blending of crime and horror genres, and its taut direction that brought to the screen one of film's greatest villains and some of its most memorable imagery.

Stand and Deliver (1988)   
Based on a true story, "Stand and Deliver" stars Edward James Olmos in an Oscar-nominated performance as crusading educator Jaime Escalante.  A math teacher in East Los Angeles, Ca., Escalante inspired his underprivileged students to undertake an intensive program in calculus, achieve high test scores, and improve their sense of self-worth.  Co-produced by Olmos and directed by Cuban-born Ramón Menéndez, "Stand and Deliver" became one of the most popular of a new wave of narrative feature films produced in the 1980s by Latino filmmakers. The film celebrates in a direct, approachable, and impactful way, values of self-betterment through hard work and power through knowledge.

Twentieth Century (1934)
A satire on the theatrical milieu and its oversized egos, "Twentieth Century" marked the first of director Howard Hawks' frenetic comedies that had leading actors of the day "make damn fools of themselves."  In Hawks' words, the genre became affectionately known as "screwball comedy." Hawks had writers Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, who penned the original play, craft dialogue scenes in which lines overlapped as in ordinary conversations, but still remained understandable, a style he continued in later films. This sophisticated farce about the tempestuous romance of an egocentric impresario and the star he creates did not fare well on its release, but has come to be recognized as one of the era's finest film comedies, one that gave John Barrymore his last great film role and Carole Lombard her first.

War of the Worlds (1953)
Released at the height of cold-war hysteria, producer George Pal's lavishly-designed take on H. G. Wells' 1898 novel of alien invasion was provocatively transplanted from Victorian England to a mid-20th-century Southern California small town in this 1953 film version. Capitalizing on the apocalyptic paranoia of the atomic age, Barré Lyndon's screenplay wryly replaces Wells' original commentary on the British class system with religious metaphor. Directed by Byron Haskin, formerly a special effects cameraman, the critically and commercially successful film chronicles an apparent meteor crash discovered by a local scientist (Gene Barry) that turns out to be a Martian spacecraft. Gordon Jennings, who died shortly before the film's release, avoided stereotypical flying saucer-style creations in his Academy Award-winning special effects described by reviewers as soul-chilling, hackle-raising and not for the faint of heart.

Films Selected to the 2011 National Film Registry

1. Allures (1961)
2. Bambi (1942)
3. The Big Heat (1953)
4. A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
5. Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
6. The Cry of the Children (1912)
7. A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
8. El Mariachi (1992)
9. Faces (1968)
10. Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
11. Forrest Gump (1994)
12. Growing Up Female (1971)
13. Hester Street (1975)
14. I, an Actress (1977)
15. The Iron Horse (1924)
16. The Kid (1921)
17. The Lost Weekend (1945)
18. The Negro Soldier (1944)
19. Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s)
20. Norma Rae (1979)
21. Porgy and Bess (1959)
22. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
23. Stand and Deliver (1988)
24. Twentieth Century (1934)
25. War of the Worlds (1953)

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"List shows veterans which colleges are a good fit"

(December 28, 2011 --- Bettendorf, IA)  For the second consecutive year, Brown Mackie College ? Quad Cities  has received the honor and was selected as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The school now appears on the 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools. The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools which are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students. The common bond that the schools listed have is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

Brown Mackie College ? Quad Cities has always held the deepest respect for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country," says Kao Odukale, President of Brown Mackie College ? Quad Cities. "This ranking further acknowledges our long-term commitment to providing our military and veteran students with access to a quality education. We are extremely pleased to once again be included on this list and in the company of other distinguished colleges and universities."

The list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last April during which G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Colorado State University, Dallas County Community College, Old Dominion University, Cleveland State University, Lincoln Technical Institute and Embry Riddle; as well as Keith Wilson, Veteran Administration's Director of Education Services; Michele Spires, American Council on Education's Assistant Director of Military Programs; Janet Swandol, Associate Director for College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Derek Blumke, President of Student Veterans of America. A full list of board members can be found at

Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.

G.I. Jobs (, a veteran-owned business, is published by Victory Media, which also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation's "Military Friendly Employers," "Military Spouse Friendly Employers" and "Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses."

To learn more about how Brown Mackie College ? Quad Cities can support the education needs of military and veteran students, call K.L. Allen at (513) 830-2052, toll free (866) 696-1222, e-mail, or visit


Brown Mackie College ? Quad Cities is one of 27 school locations of the Brown Mackie College system of schools (, which is dedicated to providing educational programs that prepare students for entry-level positions in a competitive, rapidly-changing workplace. Brown Mackie College schools offer bachelor's degree, associate's degree, certificate, and diploma programs in health sciences, business, information technology, legal studies and design technologies. See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
In Case You Missed It:Ron Paul Talks Veterans Issues in Des Moines Register Op-Ed

Also tees up tonight's 'Salute to Veterans' rally

ANKENY, Iowa - 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul authored an op-ed in today's print and online versions of the Des Moines Register.  Appearing in Iowa's largest circulation newspaper, the op-ed focuses on his record of service to veterans ahead of a rally he will hold tonight in Des Moines highlighting similar themes.

In the op-ed, the 12-term Congressman from Texas and former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon argues that he has been fighting for America's heroes while in Congress, and will be their strongest ally as President. 

Backing veterans is a must
By U.S. Rep. Ron Paul

America cannot remain strong if our servicemen and women have reason to doubt that our nation will not honor the promises it made to them when they enlisted.

My campaign is holding a Salute Our Veterans Rally today in Des Moines. I hope this rally will help drive that point home.

Of all our government's shortcomings, few issues are more distressing than the inadequate treatment our veterans receive. I'm a veteran myself, having served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force during the turbulent 1960s. So, unlike some of my "armchair general" opponents, I have a firsthand understanding of our veterans' needs.

I have supported numerous pieces of legislation in Congress to better look out for our veterans, and I am proud to have helped many veterans in my district finally receive the medals and benefits they fought hard to earn. I intend to use the bully pulpit as president to advocate even more strongly for their issues. Our veterans fought hard for us, so we should fight hard for them.

For instance, I have always supported giving employers tax credits for hiring veterans, narrowing the gap in pay that exists between private and military sector pay scales, and finally reversing the trend of disproportionately high veterans unemployment, which is a sky-high 27 percent for vets ages 18 to 24, according to a recent New York Times article...

For the complete Des Moines Register op-ed, please click here

For information on Dr. Paul's 'Salute to Veterans' rally including how to RSVP, click here.

Ron Paul Campaign Releases New TV Ad 'Machine'
Ad condemns harmful Washington atmosphere and presents Ron Paul as leader with a bold plan to solve our economic crisis
LAKE JACKSON, Texas - The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released today a new television ad titled 'Machine' airing on television in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.  The ad begins airing today.

The 30-second ad condemns the dysfunctional Washington-insider atmosphere created and furthered by slick politicians, and presents Ron Paul as a leader who has stood apart and above such an environment. 

'Machine' suggests that the self-serving actions of serial flip-flopping politicians brought about the current period of government-imposed economic weakness.  These politicians are ones that supported corporate bailouts and mandates on businesses, to the detriment of our overall economic health.  In glaring contrast, Ron Paul is showcased as a different kind of politician who has always been outside of the well-oiled machine that works for itself rather than for America's needs.  Included in the ad are details of the 12-term Congressman from Texas's 'Plan to Restore America,' which makes the hard choices and sets the nation on a path to recovery and lasting, sustainable prosperity.

"Our new ad 'Machine' argues the point that Washington is populated with politicians and well-connected interests that serve themselves rather than a vulnerable public that relies on politicians to create the proper atmosphere for fair competition and growth.  In contrast Ron Paul has always been above the fray and promotes policies and initiatives such as his 'Plan to Restore America,' an economic blueprint to help Americans recapture their constitutionally-guaranteed economic and civil liberties," said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.

To view the television ad online, please click here.
Ron Paul Endorsed by Eminent Pastor Rev. Phil Kayser, Ph.D.
Dr. Kayser says, "Ron Paul's strictly Constitutional civics is far closer to Biblical civics than any of the other candidate's on a whole range of issues."
ANKENY, Iowa - 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul was endorsed today by renowned pastor, theologian, and prolific author Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, Ph.D.

Rev. Kayser is the Senior Pastor of Dominion Covenant Church based in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Church has a national footprint including in Iowa where Ron Paul, the 12-term Congressman from Texas, is competing in the January 3, 2012 caucus. 

In making his endorsement, Dr. Kayser mentioned he was doing so as a private citizen and not on behalf of his congregation and the organizations with which he is affiliated.

"We welcome Rev. Kayser's endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.  We're thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely," said Ron Paul 2012 Iowa Chairman Drew Ivers.

Dr. Kayser has degrees in education, theology and philosophy/ethics.  He is the author of over 40 books and booklets.  The name of one organization that he founded describes well his ministry: Biblical Blueprints.  His passion is to see the comprehensive blueprints of the Scriptures applied to science, civil government, education, art, history, economics, business, and every area of life. 

For 15 years Dr. Kayser has been involved in coaching church planters, mentoring seminary students, and teaching seminars on Biblical leadership internationally.  President and founder of the Providential History Festival, he is desirous of seeing a more Biblical philosophy of history being taught at every age level.  Phil is the pastor of Dominion Covenant Church, a very conservative, evangelical church that teaches the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.  His parents were missionaries in Ethiopia for 30 years, with SIM, International, and he continues to have a passion for missions, making teaching trips to other countries and mentoring international leaders.  He has provided leadership to the Heartland Christian Ministries Conference, Evangelical Ministries Fellowship, CELNet, the National Strategy Council, and other evangelical organizations.  He is the professor of ethics at Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida.

Phil Kayser is a frequent conference speaker on many subjects, and he has applied Scripture to politics in three presidential candidate campaigns.  He also has been an occasional guest teacher and consultant at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

If ministering in Iowa, local pastors interested in discussing an endorsement are invited to email the Iowa Director of Voter Outreach, Meghann Walker, at

Dr. Kayser's full statement of endorsement follows.

Statement from the Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, Ph.D.

I support Ron Paul as the Republican candidate for president for a number of reasons.  The first reason is that he is the only candidate who holds to a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution (i.e., that the Feds can only do what is explicitly enumerated in the Constitution) whereas the other candidates hold to a broad constructionist interpretation (i.e., that the Feds may do whatever is not explicitly forbidden in the Constitution).  It is broad constructionism that has gotten us into the mess we are in today, and you cannot fight liberal broad constructionism with conservative broad constructionism.  Both lack integrity.

The second reason is that he is the only candidate that has a consistent philosophy of economics that will truly resolve America's problems.  The economics of each of the other candidates is flawed, and in my opinion grossly unbiblical.

The third reason is that Ron Paul's strictly Constitutional civics is far closer to Biblical civics than any of the other candidate's on a whole range of issues including non-interventionism in international politics, limitations on what can be a crime, limits of jurisdiction, the rights of interposition and civil resistance, inflation, banking cartels, the national identity card, the American Community Survey, the use of torture by the military, etc.  

As a Biblical ethicist I am very concerned about overturning Roe v Wade (something that Ron has sought to do), but I am also extremely concerned about all the areas of lawlessness that have destroyed nations in the past.  What candidates take these things seriously?  I know of only one candidate who obeys God's clear-cut prohibitions against interventionism in politics: "do not meddle with them" (Deut. 2:5), "do not harass them or meddle with them" (Deut. 2:19), but instead "buy food from them" (Deut. 2:6) - in other words, engage in free trade.  Biblical issues like this should be as easy to understand as Ron Paul's positions are easy to understand.  He is by far the best candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America.  Even though I strongly disagree with him on some issues, he is the only candidate that I can endorse.

Ron Paul Iowa Team Names Additional "Homeschoolers for Ron Paul" Families
Member families hail from Story, Washington, Johnson and Clayton counties
ANKENY, Iowa - Expanding on recent growth in Iowa for the "Homeschoolers for Ron Paul" nationwide coalition, the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign announced today additions to the pro-Paul families that value education choice.

Melinda Wadsley of Ames has chosen to homeschool her three children since day one - six years and counting. 

"Ron Paul is the only candidate who is going to extend and protect my personal freedoms.  I believe in Ron Paul and trust that he knows what is best for this country," said Ms. Wadsley.

Wellman-area home educator and father of three Aaron Fleming has been homeschooling for seven years now, and offered why he as a homeschooling dad supports Ron Paul.

"Ron Paul has always been focused on civil liberties and bringing control of education closer to home instead of leaving education in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.  Whether you homeschool or not, I believe you can stand with Ron Paul's values of freedom, choice, and accountable education," said Mr. Fleming.

Dustin and Derricca Krutsinger of Coralville are proud parents of a five-year-old daughter and a 15-month-old son.  Using organized curriculum, they've been teaching their daughter for two years and explained their thoughts about Dr. Paul's candidacy.

"We support Dr. Ron Paul for many reasons but the main reason is education freedom.  While our children are very young, we have choices in educational pathways.  As they get older, our government places more and more restrictions on our options, and so we trust Ron Paul to limit government and expand freedom in our private lives, including the freedom to choose how to best educate our children," wrote the couple.

Chelsy Askren of Garnavillo, homeschooled by her parents, shared her thoughts on the 12-term Congressman from Texas's record.

"Ron Paul has long been a strong supporter of homeschooling.  That's why while in Congress, he has introduced legislation to make diplomas earned through home education equal and provide parents a tax credit to help offset costs," said Ms. Askren.

"When protecting life and healthcare choice, Ron Paul does not pick and choose when he will defend the Constitution - he defends it across the board, and as president there would be no greater friend to the homeschooling community or our Constitution than Dr. Paul," added Ms. Askren.

As a first basic step, those interested in joining the "Homeschoolers for Ron Paul" nationwide coalition should visit the official page by clicking here.  If residing in the Hawkeye State, they may send an email inquiry to Meghann Walker, Director of Iowa Voter Outreach for the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign, at

For more information on Ron Paul's stance on education freedom, click here.

Shake into shape after the holidays with Ashley from New York! Beginner veils and bellydance for all ages. Great for toning away the holiday fat!  $15.00  Tuesday, December 27th from 6:30pm until 7:45pm at the Moline Club, 513 - 16th St, Moline IL 61265.  Just west of the I-74 bridge.

(Rock Island) It is with great pleasure that Rock Island County announces that it is in receipt of back payments from the state of Illinois for Hope Creek Care.  Within the last two weeks, Rock Island County has received a payment of $914,029.24 for Medicaid payments due from July, August and September 2011 and another $1,750,656.80 was received just this week which was due from October 2009.

Receipt of these payments is due largely to the assistance of Representative Pat Verschoore (D), Milan, District 72, from Senator Mike Jacobs (D), Moline, District 36 and from Representative Rich Morthland (R), Port Byron, District 71.  These legislators have supported Rock Island County and our nursing home, Hope Creek Care, for a great number of years.

With the receipt of these funds, Hope Creek Care is on the way to being back on solid financial ground.  We look forward to continued timely payments from the State and appreciate greatly the work Representative Verschoore, Senator Jacobs, and Representative Morthland put forth.


(Rock Island) The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial been awarded to Rock Island County by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).  The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment be a government and its management.

An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to April L. Palmer, Rock Island County Auditor, as the primarily responsible individual for preparing the award winning CAFR.  Ms. Palmer has been an employee of Rock Island County for over 18 years and has been serving in the capacity of the County Auditor since April of 2011.  She was formally appointed to the office on May 18, 2011 after serving as Chief Deputy to former Auditor Diana L. Robinson prior to that time.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.  The GFOA is a non-profit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, DC.

The Rock Island County Board is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Ms. Palmer and commends her for the achievement.  The CAFR is available for review on the Rock Island County website,


Maquoketa Art Experience announces a photography workshop for beginners led by MAE Affiliated Artist Sindi Mueller on January 21 and 22 for a two-day workshop exploring the fundamentals of photography in a hands-on environment. This workshop, held on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will cover the effects of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO (speed and sensitivity to light). Students will learn about shooting modes, auto focus, file-formats, depth-of-field, composition, quality-of-light, critique, and will receive tips a bout choosing equipment. Skills mastered in the workshop can be applied to any genre of photography including portraiture, landscape, abstract, photojournalism, and more.

Sindi Mueller is a Maquoketa Art Experience Affiliated Artist and has permanent gallery space at MAE. She also owns Luxe Photography portrait studio and is the only Certified Professional Photographer within 25 miles of Maquoketa and one of only 55 in the entire State of Iowa. Her love of photography led her to the Chicago Photography Academy where her mentor and teacher, William Benson, inspired her to create photographs that did not look like  photographs. This opened a whole new world of surrealism, abstraction and interpretation for her. She began exploring kinetic photography, which is photography in which the camera is moved while the shutter is open, and her collection of images began growing by leaps and bounds. You can often find Sindi huddled in a dark closet with a collection of lamps, lenses, lights and mirrors feeling her way to the next "perfect shot".

Sindi's kinetic images were featured in her first show, December 2010 in Chicago and unveiled her first collection at a solo exhibit at Maquoketa Art  Experience, Maquoketa, Iowa in April 2011.

In addition to her growing catalog of kinetic and abstract images, Sindi also appreciates the beauty of nature in her home state of Iowa, as well as the magnetism of the Chicago urban landscape. Sindi's landscape images have been published in the Maquoketa Sentinel Press and Bellevue Herald Leader.

Her fine art photography is currently represented by Maquoketa Art Experience.  The cost for the two-session workshop is $150 and is open to adults 18 or older. Registration materials are available at For more information contact Paula Neuhaus at or call 563.652.9925.

Quad Cities, USA: The Red Kettle Campaign is still $65,000 away from making its 2011 fund raising goal.

To assist with final donations of the year, NorthPark and SouthPark Malls will allow The Salvation Army to continue collecting donations in the four-foot tall red kettles through the end of the year. The kettles can both be found at or near Younkers Court.

Holly Nomura, Development Director states, "Please help us make this goal. If you make your tax-deductible, year-end gift to The Salvation Army by check or credit card, you can trust that your donation will doing the most good assisting people who have lost hope. I witness it every day."

The 2011 Red Kettle Campaign goal is $700,000. This may not be The Salvation Army's final plea to the community for red kettle donations.

There are many ways to share your blessings with others:

An online gift to:

Call to 1-800-SAL-ARMY for a credit card donation.

DES MOINES, IA (12/27/2011)(readMedia)-- Iowa State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald was elected by his peers to serve as the new Chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN). "It is an honor to accept the position as CSPN Chair," said Fitzgerald, who is also the administrator of College Savings Iowa and the Iowa Advisor 529 Plan. "As Chair, I will work to preserve the federal tax exemption on 529 plans. Billions of dollars are invested in these plans nationally and CSPN is the primary voice for families saving for college."

CSPN, a non-profit association that advocates for 529 college savings plans, provides a great online resource for families as they determine the best way to save for college. Affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurer's (NAST), CSPN brings together state administrators of 529 savings and prepaid plans as well as their private sector partners and is dedicated to framing national policy affecting 529 plans. Fitzgerald will begin his leadership role on January 1, 2012.

Treasurer Fitzgerald has been the administrator of College Savings Iowa, Iowa's 529 plan, since 1998. "With over $2 billion invested in College Savings Iowa, we're very proud of our program," stated Fitzgerald. "We've continually received high marks from organizations rating 529 plans across the nation, including and Morningstar."

529 plans are a convenient tax-advantaged way for families to save money for their children's future higher education expenses. It usually takes as little as $15 to $25 per month to start a plan, and anyone - parents, grandparents, friends and relatives - can invest in state-sponsored 529 plans on behalf of a child. Investors can withdraw their investment federally tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, books, supplies and certain room and board costs at any eligible college, university, community college or accredited technical training school in the United States or abroad.