Art Event

Star Dog Gallery and Studio for Regan Hatfield will be having its one year anniversary on Friday, May 27th from 6pm to 9pm at the Bucktown Center for the Arts.

The evening will featuring cake and treats from the Quad City Cake Lady.  We are also adding two new artists to our group, Erin Arch & Ann Meehan.

See you at 225 East 2nd St in downtown Davenport.

OMAHA, NEB.- (05/20/2011)(readMedia)-- Creighton University conferred the largest number of degrees ever at its May commencement - more than 1,500 - to students from 46 states and seven countries. Two ceremonies were held Saturday, May 14, at the Qwest Center Omaha - The undergraduate schools, School of Law and Graduate School ceremony were held in the morning. The ceremony for Health Sciences professional schools, including schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy and Health Professions, was held in the afternoon. University President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., presided at both ceremonies-his last as Creighton president.

The following students from your area received degrees during the commencement ceremonies:

Kelsie Knutsen of Bettendorf earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree

Stephan Marsh of Bettendorf earned a law degree

Special awards and recognitions were presented to leaders or groups who have made a difference locally, nationally and internationally.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana, Cuba received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for a life dedicated to promoting religious freedom in Cuba.

An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was presented to the Rev. John Foley, S.J., founder of Cristo Rey Schools and executive chair of Cristo Rey Network.

A Presidential Medallion was given to Omaha area survivors of the Holocaust who endured great hardship with dignity and faith in German concentration camps during the 1940s when six million Jews were killed. After the war, 200 survivors found their way to the Omaha area with fewer than three dozen currently alive. Accepting the award for the group was survivor Beatrice Karp.

Creighton's Alumni Achievement Citation - the highest award given to an alumnus - was presented to Cage S. Johnson, M.D., a 1965 graduate of the School of Medicine. Johnson is an international authority on sickle cell disease, a serious disorder in which the body manufactures misshapen red blood cells that block blood flow, causing severe pain and organ damage.

Also receiving recognition in the afternoon was Shirley A. Blanchard, Ph.D., associate professor of Occupational Therapy, who will receive the Creighton Students Union Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement. Blanchard has served in the health care field for more than 30 years as an occupational therapist, researcher and educator.

About Creighton University: Creighton University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution located in Omaha, Neb., enrolls more than 4,100 undergraduate and 3,200 professional school and graduate students. Nationally recognized for providing a balanced educational experience, the University offers a rigorous academic agenda with a broad range of disciplines, providing undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs that emphasize educating the whole person: academically, socially and spiritually. Creighton has been a top-ranked Midwestern university in the college edition of U.S. News & World Report magazine for more than 20 years. For more information, visit our website at:

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Congratulations to all the high school and college graduates who this month celebrate hard-earned academic achievements and scholastic success.  Enjoy the pomp and circumstance and school traditions, from the caps and gowns to the commencement speeches and graduation ceremonies.  By earning a high school diploma or advanced college degree, our young leaders have earned the accolades and support from their family and friends gathering to celebrate these milestones.

The United States also is celebrating a milestone this month against the war on terror.  After nearly a decade-long search for the mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks, U.S. military and intelligence forces found Osama bin Laden.  He was killed during a covert raid on what turned out be to be his hideaway in Pakistan, half a world away from the devastation and agony he unleashed in America on September 11, 2001.

Just consider the graduates of the Class of 2011 have lived half of their lives in an era shaped by terrorism.  Many members of this generation joined the military after 9/11, putting their lives on the line to protect their country and defend the freedoms for which it stands.  Following in the footsteps of World War II veterans who sacrificed life and limb to end a reign of tyranny shaped by Nazism, Imperialism and Fascism, our men and women in uniform today are once again fighting for liberty and justice to preserve freedom and our American way of life.

Thanks in large measure to the service and sacrifice of America's veterans and current soldiers and sailors, today's graduates have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and taste the fruits of freedom and free enterprise from the tree of liberty.

Plenty of uncertainties exist -- from the lukewarm job market, to high gas prices, school loans, national debt and natural disasters -- that arguably cast a shadow over the next chapter for the Class of 2011.

However, as smiling graduates walk across the stage to receive their diploma, the energy and excitement hanging in the air symbolize a collective sense of optimism and hope that will help them achieve their dreams.  Dwelling on what could go wrong instead of taking risks and putting in the extra effort to succeed would undermine the hard work and sacrifice that today counts them among the Class of 2011.

Representing Iowans in the United States Senate, I appreciate both the uncertainty and the fresh-faced optimism I see so often with new graduates and young job applicants.  While new graduates work to land a job or continue their education, I'm working in Washington to help better manage the federal budget, revive the U.S. economy and boost job creation.  During visits with students in school districts across Iowa, I've found younger generations want the federal government to work together and stop overspending.  They've figured out the national debt will fall disproportionately on their shoulders.  The $14 trillion dollar national debt translates into roughly $45,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

If Washington fails to rein in federal spending, graduates entering the job market today will face an unbearable tax burden throughout their lives in the workforce.

Consider a recent report issued in May by the Social Security and Medicare trustees. The findings shifted the projected insolvency dates earlier than before, finding Medicare's trust fund exhausted in 2024 and Social Security's in 2038.  Today's demographics simply can't support the status quo.  Consider life expectancy in 1930 was 59.2 years, whereas, someone born in 2006 can expect to live to 77.7 years.  A shrinking pool of U.S. workers is financing a growing pool of retirees collecting federal pension and health care benefits.

These two entitlement programs account for two of the largest drivers of projected federal deficit spending.  With combined annual budgets of $1.3 trillion, they also account for one-third of total federal spending.  What's more, Medicare costs are on track to soar as more baby boomers qualify for the program and health care costs rise faster than revenue.

Political leaders in Washington have a big job to do.  Let's hope we don't travel down the tiresome path of political demagoguery.  I'd like to raise the bar of expectations and challenge the White House and Congress to solve problems together for the good of the country.

I encourage the graduates from the Class of 2011 to set a high bar of expectation for themselves, as well.  America is built on the can-do spirit that challenges each successive generation to out-do the achievements of the one preceding it.  Whether setting their sights on working for or opening a business, or pursuing military or public service, graduates from the Class of 2011 have a chance to make a difference.

Please celebrate safely and responsibly.  America is counting on your generation of innovators and hard workers to keep the American Dream alive.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Q.  Can veterans access telehealth services?

A.  Telehealth uses telecommunications technologies to deliver health care services, including medical consultations, prescriptions, preventive care and curative medicine.  Using telehealth could mean a phone call with a doctor about symptoms, or a trip to a local hospital for a high-tech appointment or treatment with a specialty doctor located hundreds of miles away.  For veterans in rural areas of the country, telehealth services improve access to care.  Seeing a specialist in person, without telehealth, can require many hours of driving and overnight trips.  For some older or disabled veterans, these trips can be especially difficult and may discourage them from taking preventive measures or seeking necessary health care.  The telehealth programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enable veterans to access health care from home or a local or conveniently located medical center.  Telehealth also reduces costs for the VA.  I recently reintroduced legislation with Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, which would help more veterans to access telehealth services.

Q.  What would your telehealth legislation do?

A. Some veterans who do not have a disability related to their military service are assessed copayments for VA medical care.  The bipartisan legislation, which I also cosponsored in 2010, would waive veterans' copayments for telehealth services.  Right now, veterans' copayments can be as high as $50 when specialized care is needed.  The goal of our legislation is to encourage more veterans to take advantage of this user-friendly, lower-cost alternative.  Accessing care through telehealth helps us to meet the promise made to America's veterans that they would receive the care they need.   Already, thousands of Iowa's veterans have enrolled in telehealth programs, and many more could take advantage of this service.  The elimination of copayments for telehealth would lessen the financial burden on those enrolled today and encourage other veterans to use this high quality and cost-effective health care delivery system.  The option of telehealth is a win-win for veterans and taxpayers.


WHEN: 6-4-11

TIME: 1 - 3 p.m.

WHERE: Cool Beanz Coffee House, 1325 30th St., Rock Island, IL 61201

WHAT: Fiser, a resident of Milan, IL, will be available to sign copies of her Inspirational Memoir, Waiting for Pete to Go Home.

The first time I saw Pete, I thought he looked like a total fool. I was seventeen years old, out of high school, and working at my first job in Springfield, Illinois. Pete was a twenty-year-old college student, and he was thrashing about without any rhythm. It was obvious that he thought he was pretty cool. He was a total turn-off, but little did I know...we would fall in love. While Waiting for Pete to go Home, Donna Mander-Fiser experienced over a year of doubt and frustration. She treaded lonely and unfamiliar waters while caring for her husband in his dying days. She could never have imagined the unresponsive reaction of some friends and the fear of feeling single again. After Pete's death, Donna took comfort in memories of the life she and Pete shared by reminiscing about wedding anniversaries, family traditions, and Pete's fantastically told stories. Join first-time author Donna Mander-Fiser as she learns how to cope with illness, losing a loved one, and finally regaining her own life.

Davenport, IA - The Quad City Symphony Orchestra is once again bringing their performance season to a rock 'n' roll conclusion with this year's Spring Pops featuring Michael Cavanaugh performing the music of Billy Joel and more. The Spring Pops concert, sponsored by Courtesy Car City, The Planning Center, and Sears Manufacturing will be at 7:30 PM on Saturday, June 4, at the Adler Theatre in Davenport. Amplified by a full rock band, Conductor Mark Russell Smith will lead the QCSO in concert. The 2-hour concert features all your favorite Billy Joel tunes with a few surprises along the way.

Michael Cavanaugh is the New Voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook. A charismatic performer, musician and actor, he became famous for his piano and vocals in the Broadway musical Movin' Out. Michael Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in title role and evokes a style that rivals the Piano Man. Michael appeared in the show for 3 years and over 1200 performances, receiving accolade after accolade, which culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

The QCSO is also hosting its third annual pre-concert Spring Pops Block Party from 5 to 7 on June 4 at the corner of 4th and Brady. Admission to the party is free and concessions will be sold by Thunder Bay Grille. You will also be able to purchase raffle tickets to win an Apple iPod 2 donated by KJWW Engineering. Attending the party will be Michael Cavanaugh and members of his band, QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith, and Dwyer and Michaels from the 97X morning show.

Performing at the Spring Pops Block Party will be one of the most contagious bands in the Quad Cities - Deadroots. Every Deadroots show is a collage of Rock, Funk, R & B, Bluegrass, Jam, and Jazz. Over the years, Deadroots has gained a reputation for its incredibly catchy and well-crafted original tunes as well as its original takes on cover tunes.

Tickets for the concert start at $18 and are available through the Adler Theatre box office, the QCSO box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, 800.745.3000, or at
Volunteers needed. MVBS Blues Fest, July 1-3, 12pm-1am, approx. 3-hr. shifts.  Vol's get free admission & t-shirt.  Early responses get wider time and site selection.  Register at (blues fest home / volunteer information) or leave message at (563) 322-5837.  Help us keep the blues alive!

Network Gets Boost from Partnership with Startup America

CHICAGO - May 20, 2011. CHICAGO - May 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today launched the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to give our entrepreneurs the resources needed to build and grow their businesses and create more jobs. The IIN, which includes business and educational leaders, is the first initiative created by the Governor's Illinois Innovation Council, a public-private partnership launched in February to accelerate innovative economic development and job creation efforts in the state's flourishing startup sector.

Also today, the Governor announced Illinois is joining in the national effort to promote high-tech entrepreneurship by connecting the IlN with Startup Illinois, a component of the Startup America Partnership announced by President Obama earlier this year. Startup Illinois will let Illinois-based affiliates and entrepreneurs leverage technology, content and tools to access national resources, and celebrate local startup successes on a national stage.

"Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global marketplace, which is why we must do everything we can to help our businesses develop new and innovative ideas and technologies," said Governor Quinn. "Given our commitment to fostering innovation and helping businesses grow, it is only fitting that Startup America chose Illinois as its first Startup region."

The Governor announced the creation of the IIN today at Chicago's Merchandise Mart with members of the state's vibrant startup community. The IIN is a new effort to nurture creativity in the state's high-tech entrepreneurial sector, and galvanize collaboration between companies, educational institutions and community leaders to create sustainable jobs in the cutting-edge industries of the future. The Governor also unveiled the Network's website,, which will be expanded over the summer, to serve as a one-stop-shop for connecting entrepreneurs to services.

"There is nothing more important for Illinois' economic future than creating an environment throughout the state that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship on a daily basis. Governor Quinn and I both believe that Illinois has all of the assets and attributes to continue thriving on the world stage, but we must keep pushing the envelope in both the public and private sector to make this a reality," Illinois Innovation Council Brad Keywell said.

"Illinois has already built an incredibly promising ecosystem for entrepreneurs, due to the great work of organizations like the Illinois Innovation Council and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity," said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. "We're thrilled to work with Startup Illinois as the first local organization to utilize our resources and reach. Ultimately, entrepreneurs in Illinois will have access to not only a national platform through the Partnership, but exposure to the best practices of successful startup regions from across the country."

The Illinois Innovation Council is chaired by Groupon Co-Founder and Chairman Brad Keywell and is made up of key business executives across a variety of critical sectors, along with science, technology and university leaders. The council's mission is to promote, develop and attract innovation-driven enterprises and individuals to Illinois and to also develop policies to cultivate and retain entrepreneurs, innovative researchers and other enterprises.

Governor Quinn created the council based on a recommendation by the Governor's Economic Recovery Commission. For more information please visit


WASHINGTON - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley is reiterating the need for a timely response from Attorney General Eric Holder to his Questions for the Record for Holder during the Attorney General's May 4th appearance before the Judiciary Committee.

Grassley said he wanted to reiterate his hearing questions for the record in a letter because of the timely nature of his oversight work on Operation Fast and Furious.  He said that generally, the Department of Justice takes at least five to eight months to respond to Questions for the Record.   Questions for the Record are additional questions to witnesses that appeared before the committee that are not able to be asked during a committee hearing or follow-up questions for the witness based on information provided during the hearing.

"I'll keep pressing for answers from the Attorney General.  The oversight work we're doing on the ATF's policy to let guns walk is incredibly important, and these questions should be answered in a timely manner, not the night before the Attorney General comes before the Judiciary Committee the next time," Grassley said

In January, Grassley began questioning the ATF policy that allowed guns to walk across the Mexican border after whistleblowers from within the ATF came to him to express dismay and concern about the ill-advised policy.  These whistleblowers had warned their higher-ups that the strategy would end up getting someone killed.  Their prophecy may have come true when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a gunfight with suspected cartel members on December 14, 2010.  The senator has sent 13 letters to the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of State, nearly all have gone unanswered, including instances where the Justice Department provided inaccurate information.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley's letter.  Here is a copy of the letter and the Questions for the Record.

May 16, 2011


The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

Last week I submitted Questions for the Record (QFRs) following the Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Historically, the Justice Department generally takes five to eight months to respond to QFRs.  However, because of my ongoing investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), I would appreciate receiving responses to questions on this topic much sooner.  Attached is a copy of those questions.  Please provide responses as soon as possible.

Additionally, I would like to reiterate the requests that have remained unanswered from my previous letters on this matter.

a)      In my letter of February 16, 2011, I requested that you provide:

1) All records relating to communications between the ATF and the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) who sold the weapons to Avila, including any Report of Investigation (ROI) or other records relating to the December 17, 2009 meeting "to discuss his role as an FFL during this investigation."

2) All records relating to communications between ATF headquarters and Phoenix Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell from December 1, 2010 to the present, including a memorandum, approximately 30 pages long, from SAC Newell to ATF headquarters following the arrest of Jaime Avila and the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.

3) A copy of the presentation, approximately 200 pages long, that the Group 7 Supervisor made to officials at ATF Headquarters in the Spring of 2010.

4) Copies of all e-mails related to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jaime Avila case, or the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry sent to or from SAC Newell, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) George Gillette, Group 7 Supervisor, or the Case Agent between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2011.

I requested that these documents be provided on a rolling basis as they are identified and located.  I also requested that you please prioritize your search for documents and produce them in the following order: (1) documents in response to requests one through three, (2) documents in response to request four dated between December 13, 2010 and January 31, 2011, and (3) documents in response to request four dated between November 1, 2009 and December 13, 2010.

b)      After ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was brutally murdered in Mexico on February 15, I was shocked to learn that, like Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Agent Zapata had been killed with a weapon traced to an individual in the U.S. that the ATF had been aware was trafficking firearms.  Accordingly, in my March 4, 2011 letter, I requested answers to the following questions:

(1) Although the gun used in the assault on Agent Zapata that has been traced back to the U.S. was purchased on October 10, 2010, how can we know that it did not make its way down to Mexico after the November investigation, when the arrest of these three criminals might have prevented the gun from being trafficked and later used to murder Agent Zapata?

(2) When did law enforcement first become aware that Morrison purchased the gun?

(3) Given that the likely recipients of any trafficked guns were so close to the border, did any ATF personnel raise concerns about the possibility of those guns being used against U.S. law enforcement? If so, how did the ATF address those concerns?

(4) Did any ATF personnel raise concerns about the wisdom of allowing individuals like the Osorio brothers or Morrison to continue their activities after the November weapons transfer? If so, how did the ATF address those concerns?

In addition to answering those questions, I also requested all records relating to:

(5) When law enforcement officials first became aware of the trafficking activities of Otilio and Ranferi Osorio and Kelvin Morrison;

(6) Surveillance that may have been conducted on the Osorio brothers or Morrison prior to the November transfer of weapons between the ATF's confidential informant and the Osorio brothers and Morrison;

(7) The November transfer; and

(8) Any surveillance that law enforcement continued to conduct on the Osorio brothers or Morrison after the November transfer.

Finally, I requested a briefing on the Zapata matter.  I reiterated these requests in my letter of March 28, 2011, and am still awaiting both a response and a briefing.

c)      In my letter of April 8, 2011, I requested written answers to three questions.  The third read:

(3) What steps have you taken or do you plan to take to ensure that employees are aware of their right to communicate directly with Congress if they so choose?

In response, you provided me with information about the ATF providing its agents with information about the Whistleblower Protection Act in order to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers.  While that is appreciated, it does not respond to my question.  I asked about making employees aware of the appropriations provision that protects their right to communicate directly with Congress.  As I outlined in that letter:

[A]ttempts to prevent direct communications with Congress are not a lawfully authorized activity of any officer or employee of the United States whose salary is paid with appropriated funds.[1] Specifically, no officer or employee may attempt to prohibit or prevent "any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from having direct oral or written communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress" about a matter related to his employment or the agency "in any way, irrespective of whether such communication or contact is at the initiative" of the employee or Congress (emphasis added).[2]

I wrote to you on January 31 to ensure you were aware of these provisions and to express concerns that without proper guidance, managers might inappropriately intimidate employees to discourage them from speaking with Congress and thus unlawfully interfere with a Congressional inquiry.[3] In order for Congress to exercise its oversight authority and act as a check on Executive power, it is crucial that agency employees are free to communicate directly with Members and Committee staff.  Direct contact means contacts that do not necessarily involve Congressional liaison or agency management. Without such direct, unfiltered communications, Congress would still be unaware of, and unable to inquire about, the serious allegations involving the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the sales of weapons to known and suspected gun traffickers.

Accordingly, please provide responses to the questions attached, as well as those outlined above, by May 30, 2011.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please have your staff contact (202) 224-5225.  Thank you for your prompt attention these important issues.



Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member


[1] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, P.L. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034, § 714 (2010), as continued by §101

of continuing resolutions P.L. 111-242, 124 Stat. 2607 (2010) and P.L. 112-6, 125 Stat. 23 (2011)–which

extends the funding levels in the 2010 appropriations bills, as well as "the authority and conditions

provided in such Acts," through April 8, 2011.

2 Id.

3 18 U.S.C. § 1505 (providing criminal penalties for obstructing or impeding the power of Congressional


International Trade Commission Report Shows China's Practices Cost U.S. Billions in Economic Activity, Millions of Jobs 

Washington, DC - May 18, 2011 - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senior Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today demanded an end to China's violations of U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) that cost the U.S. tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and millions of jobs.  The Senators' comments follow their release of a report they requested last year from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) quantifying the impact of China's unfair policies on the American economy and jobs.

"China's unfair practices cost the U.S. billions of dollars and millions of jobs," said Baucus. "Time and time again, China has failed to protect and enforce American intellectual property rights, and it continues to discriminate unfairly against American businesses.  We cannot pretend that there aren't real consequences to these violations when these numbers show that millions of American jobs are on the line."


"American job creators and workers cannot afford to lose $48 billion to Chinese intellectual property piracy.  Our nation plays by the rules - so too must China," said Hatch. "I hope the report's findings spur the Administration to deepen their efforts to meet this challenge."

"China  wants the benefits of an economic relationship with the United States but won't hold up its end of the bargain," Grassley said. "Protecting a trading partner's intellectual property is Trade 101.   When China looks the other way on intellectual property theft, or unfairly favors Chinese-owned firms, it damages its credibility as a trading partner.  The effects on U.S. businesses and workers are real.  This report quantifies how extensive the damage is on the American economy.   It shows the importance of negotiating strong intellectual property protections in trade agreements and enforcing those rights once the agreements are in place."

According to the ITC report, China's IPR infringement cost the U.S. economy approximately $48 billion in 2009 alone.  Of that total, more than $26 billion came from the information and service sector and more than $18 billion came from the high-tech and heavy manufacturing sector, in addition to billions more from other sectors.  Although IPR infringement most commonly affects large firms, small and medium-sized firms are also affected.

The ITC report stated that if China complied with their current international obligations to protect and enforce IPR, 2.1 million jobs could be created in the U.S.  The most direct jobs impact would come in high-tech, innovative industries.

China's discriminatory indigenous innovation policies, the report said, also give preferential support to Chinese companies in a manner that may lead to additional U.S. job losses.  For example, the Chinese wind power market is skewed in favor of Chinese-owned firms to an extent that has dramatically reduced the market share belonging to foreign-owned companies.  China places local-content requirements on new wind farm construction that effectively locks foreign firms out of new contracts.  The Chinese government has not awarded a wind farm contract to a foreign-owned firm since 2005.

The report the Senators released today is the second in a pair they requested from the ITC. The first report, released in December 2010, outlined the structural and institutional impediments that undermine IPR enforcement and described China's indigenous innovation policies that discriminate against American companies.

The Senate Finance Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over international trade.  The full ITC report is available here.