Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on President Obama's Afghanistan speech:

"Last night, the President laid out his vision for withdrawal from Afghanistan. I don't agree with his plan. It's time for our troops to start coming home now - and to be out of Afghanistan fully by the end of this year. Afghan security forces must be able stand up and take control of their country, Bin Laden is gone and America simply can't afford this war anymore. We've spent a decade in Afghanistan, and our country has paid tremendous costs: the lives of our young men and women, the sacrifice of our military families and the crippling budget deficits that will burden our children and grandchildren. It's time for our brave troops to come home."  



Washington, D.C. - Today, the leadership of the Populist Caucus applauded President Obama's decision to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The president's decision comes almost a month after the Populist Caucus called on him to open the Reserve and bring relief to millions of Americans who are faced with sky-rocketing gas prices. 

Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01), Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"As the Populist Caucus made clear last month, opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a huge step towards bringing down gas prices and providing relief to millions of hard-working families that are struggling to make ends meet. I'm glad the President took this action. But we all know this is a temporary solution and more must be done to stop greedy oil speculators from driving up prices throughout the summer. That's why the Populist Caucus will continue to work to implement its "Gas Is Too Damn High" platform to bring down gas prices for middle class families and all Americans."

Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"This is good news for American consumers and bad news for speculators on Wall Street. Over 70 cents per gallon of gas is a direct result of excessive Wall Street speculation. The release of this oil undermines speculative trading and brings some relief to middle class families at the pump. This is a good first step, but more must be done to stabilize prices and rein in speculators gaming the system."

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-04), ViceChair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"I applaud President Obama's decision to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and relieve some of the financial burden caused by high gas prices. This is the first of three steps outlined by the Populist Caucus. Now, we must focus on ending greedy oil speculation and tax breaks for big oil companies. American families deserve to pay a fair price at the pump, and the Populist Caucus will continue to urge our Congressional colleagues and the President to join us in meeting this goal."

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"I am very pleased with the President's decision to release some of oil held in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This move will help calm the markets by making it clear that we do not have a supply problem?and will help to curb the undue speculation that has been driving the price of oil higher and higher. With the Republican budget cuts to the Commodity FuturesTrading Commission (CFTC), which could regulate unfair speculation if fully funded, the President's action is critical. Releasing oil from the SPR will help to protect American consumers at the pump, and I will continue to work with mycolleagues and the President to lower the cost of gas."

Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"No family should have to choose between filling up their tank or putting food on the table. I applaud President Obama for taking this bold action that will ease the burden facing Ohio families and help Ohio businesses put people back to work.


Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on the potential breakdown in budget talks between Congress and the White House:

"Last November, Americans spoke loud and clear: they wanted Congress to work with the President to create jobs, reduce the deficit and grow our economy. Now that Republicans are in control of the House, it's time for them to show leadership on these issues and work with the President and theSenate to get this done. Today, I was very disappointed to hear that Eric Cantor is dropping out of the budget talks and I sincerely hope my Republican colleagues in the House will find a way to lead on this issue. We can't afford to put our veterans, our seniors and our entire economy in jeopardy because a few members of Congress don't want to do the work they were sent here to do."


SPOKANE, WA (06/23/2011)(readMedia)-- Kassandra Sadlek of Davenport participated in Gonzaga University's graduation exercises during a Commencement Ceremony held on May 8 in Spokane's Veterans' Memorial Arena. Sadlek graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast and Electronic Media.

Gonzaga University is dedicated to its Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic roots, educating the mind, body, and spirit to create women and men for others. By thinking critically and acting justly students are encouraged to embody the Ignatian ideals of faith, justice, service, ethics and leadership. Gonzaga offers 75 undergraduate programs of study, 25 Master's degrees, a Ph.D. in leadership studies and a juris doctorate in law. More information about Gonzaga University can be found online: www.gonzaga.edu/.

On the web: http://readabout.me/achievements/Kassandra-Sadlek-Graduates-from-Gonzaga-University/2652810.

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senate Agriculture Committee
Farm Bill Accountability:  The Importance of Measuring Performance,
While Eliminating Duplication and Waste
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Madam Chairwoman, the focus of today's hearing is timely as we consider what policies to set in the next farm bill.  We have to make sure farm bill programs are being implemented the way we intended. 

And if they are not being properly administered, then we need to fix the problems.  I want to thank the undersecretaries and assistant secretary for coming today.  I am eager to hear their testimony on a variety of issues.

I know many farmers are probably eager to hear the department's comments regarding crop insurance.  Most farmers tell me crop insurance is crucial to their operations. 

But as we know, the crop insurance program has had a reduction in funds.  So it's more important than ever that we hear what the department is doing to minimize waste, fraud, and abuse in the crop insurance program.  We have to make sure those dollars go to those who really need it.

I am also eager to hear from the department about what they are doing to ensure individuals applying for farm program payments are truly actively engaged in farming.

I am also particularly pleased Assistant Secretary Leonard is here today.  Thank you Madam Chairwoman for requesting his presence on today's panel.  As you know Madam Chairwoman, I made a request back in March for a full committee hearing on the activities of the Department of Agriculture's Office of Civil Rights. 

I will note I also made the same request to the past two chairs of the Agriculture Committee as well. 

While I'm glad Mr. Leonard is here today, I still believe the civil rights and discrimination issues facing the department are a big enough concern that this committee needs to take up the issue in a separate hearing. 

I do hope you will consider conducting a separate hearing on civil rights and discrimination issues at the Department of Agriculture in the near future.

As for today's hearing Mr. Leonard, I hope you will shed some light on how the department is handling some of the problems that have plagued it over the years.

Specifically, I would like you to speak on what the department is doing to address complaints made by employees.   I continue to hear from Agriculture Department employees that they have to wait a long time to have their complaints heard and processed. 

I have also received reports about retaliatory behavior by managers after complaints are made.  What is being done to address these concerns? 

I am not passing judgment on the validity of any employee's particular claim.  My concern is that their claims be considered in a timely and appropriate manner, because that is what they deserve.

I hope the department will provide us with some idea of how it is making sure that happens.

Thank you Madam Chairwoman.


FORT KNOX, KY. (06/23/2011)(readMedia)-- June 14, Spc. Scott Vanduker of Marion and Staff Sgt. Jimmy Ressel of Urbana were preparing for another day of training at Fort Knox, Ky. Instead, the Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers came across a privately owned vehicle overturned on the side of the road. The troops noticed there was a passenger in the vehicle and jumped into action. Both Soldiers were at Fort Knox for their annual two-week training, but this was real life.

"The biggest thing was all the Soldiers that were involved did the right thing," said Ressel, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion,130th Infantry Regiment in Marion. "Other Soldiers in the area got out of their vehicles and made sure the vehicle wasn't going to tip over the rest of the way. People helping people, doing the right thing."

The overturned SUV had been westbound, while Ressel and Vanduker were heading the opposite direction. The victim overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle, causing the crash.

"We just ran up to the vehicle, opened the door and another Soldier cut his seatbelt and hoisted him out," said Vanduker, also of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion,130th Infantry Regiment in Marion. "The victim did not appear to be injured, just a bit dazed."

An Army medic also assisted at the scene before Fort Knox fire and rescue arrived.

"The thing I'd like people to take from this story is that we do more than just shoot and blow stuff up," Ressel said. "We're community minded and we did what needed to be done."

Photo: Photo by Spc. Jeffrey Granda, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Staff Sgt. Jimmy Ressel of Urbana (left) and Spc. Scott Vanduker (right), both with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion,130th Infantry Regiment in Marion recently pulled a crash victim from an overturned car June 14 during annual training at Fort Knox, Ky.

For high resolution photos, please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at ngilstaffpao@ng.army.mil

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Annual Local Capital Investment Will Repair Infrastructure, Create Jobs

CHICAGO - June 23, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $100 million capital investment to address local transportation needs and put people to work throughout Illinois. The $100 million in Illinois Jobs Now! funding will be distributed to local officials to repair municipal, township and county infrastructure, and  improve public safety.

"The important capital investment will help communities throughout our state to address their infrastructure needs directly and create jobs at the same time," said Governor Quinn. "Our local communities are the backbone of Illinois and need to stay strong and keep our economic recovery going."

Today's announcement is through the six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program and represents the second of five $100 million annual investments to fund municipal, township and county projects statewide. Projects will be selected and managed locally, with the Illinois Department of Transportation providing oversight. The types of projects that will be performed include street and bridge maintenance, upgraded traffic signals, new storm sewers and bike baths, sidewalk replacement and pothole repairs. A complete list is available at www.dot.il.gov/blr/mftbooklet.pdf.

"We are extremely proud to work with our communities so they can fix their roads and bridges and address other needed projects," Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. "This local component of the Governor's capital program will not only stimulate the economy and create jobs, but improve the quality of life of residents for years to come."

The local component of Illinois Jobs Now! is distributed to local governments based on the same formula as the state motor fuel tax. The funding announced today will boost the annual distribution of the motor fuel tax by 17 percent. A breakdown of the distribution of the $100 million by county, road district and municipality is available through an interactive map at www.dot.il.gov/FY2011/map.aspx.

Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in state history. Under the direction of Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation from 2009 through the end of 2010 invested approximately $7 billion to repair or rebuilt 4,800 miles of roads and more than 500 bridges, creating an estimated 135,000 jobs. This momentum is continuing with more than $2.5 billion in road construction projects scheduled for in 2011.


WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has introduced legislation to extend a program he established to help children who are in foster care or at risk of such placement because of a parent or caretaker's abuse of methamphetamine or another substance.  The program encourages innovative regional partnerships to prevent and minimize the children's time in foster care and helps parents get needed treatment so families can be reunited whenever possible.

"Many of the children in foster care are there because of substance abuse at home," Grassley said.  "The regional partnerships are meant to keep the children safe and ideally get the parents back in a position to care for their children as soon as possible." 

Grassley's bill, the Partners for Stable Families and Foster Youth Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse Act, would reauthorize a grants program that he drafted and saw through to enactment in 2006.  The grants support regional partnerships for services including family-based, comprehensive, long-term substance abuse treatment services; early intervention and preventive services; child and family counseling; mental health services; parenting skills training; and replication of successful models for providing family-based, comprehensive long-term substance abuse treatment services. 

"This program is meant to prevent the substance abuse and dissolution of families that have a very great cost to society and state and federal treasuries over time," 
Grassley said.  "Children who come from families with substance abuse are in danger of repeating the behavior, so breaking the cycle is important.  Through partnerships, we can reduce the time children spend in foster care and ensure that parents are provided the treatment needed to keep the family together."

Nationally, nearly 900,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect and more than 300,000 children entered the foster-care system due to methamphetamine use in 2005, according to a report by the RAND Corporation. Additionally, the cost associated with this number of children in foster care exceeded $900 million.

Grassley is founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

The text of his statement on the bill's introduction is available here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) tonight issued the following statement after President Obama's primetime address on his proposal to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.  

"The men and women serving in our armed forces have more than succeeded in accomplishing the mission we asked them to do. They have served honorably and heroically and they should be commended. But, we must remember that we were in Afghanistan to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, to take down the main base of al Qaeda and to remove the Taliban from power.  Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda's true base of power is now decentralized and in areas like Yemen, Somalia and North Africa; and the Taliban is no longer in charge of Afghanistan.   

"We cannot justify the continued loss of life when we have already lost thousands of men and women in our military, including 71 Iowans since 9/11; we also can't sustain the nearly $10 billion we are spending each month in Afghanistan this year.

"The President is taking the right action in redeploying troops from Afghanistan, but as I and several other senators urged him earlier this month, there should be more troops coming home sooner."

Last week, Harkin joined a bipartisan group of 27 senators in sending a letter to President Obama calling for a shift in strategy in Afghanistan, urging the President to use next month's deadline as an opportunity to begin a "sizable and sustained" drawdown of troops that puts the U.S. on a path toward removing all regular combat troops from the country.


The Clubhouse Indoor Golf & Lounge (The Clubhouse) celebrates its grand opening on Friday, June 24. Patrons who have never played an aboutGolf PGA TOUR Simulator can enjoy a free 30-minute simulator session through June 26.

Founders Chris Larson and AJ Paul played in a winter golf league at a friend's home using an aboutGolf Simulator. It was there that the idea for The Clubhouse was born.

"We wanted to offer the same type of entertainment and golf destination we had to the entire community," says Larson, Ownership Partner of The Clubhouse and World Top 100 Clubfitter since 2008.

The Clubhouse features four widescreen PGA TOUR Simulators by aboutGolf, as well as a full bar, comfortable lounge and pro shop. Patrons can participate in nightly and weekly closest-to-the-pin contests to win prizes such as a custom fit KZG wedge.

The 7,700-square-foot facility provides an opportunity for game improvement with its PGA TOUR Simulators, aG Balance weight transfer analysis system, clinics and lessons, club repair shop and custom fittings.

Simulator leagues and tournaments, private meetings and parties, a pool table, ping pong and darts offer something for everyone - all ages, all skill levels and golfers and non-golfers alike.

"Our mission is to use our technology to promote golf participation in all regions and enable substantive learning for golfers," says Chuck Faust, President and COO of aboutGolf. "As such we are pleased to be part of increasing the accessibility of golf to residents in the Quad Cities with the opening of The Clubhouse.

"The Clubhouse is located in the Crow Ridge Plaza at 2501 53rd Ave, Bettendorf, Iowa 52722. The grand opening activities include a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 pm on Friday, June 24, followed by an open house with complimentary food and drinks and activities including closest to the pin and long drive contests from 10 am to 2 am on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26.

About The Clubhouse Indoor Golf & Lounge
The Clubhouse is the first and only indoor country club in the Quad Cities. It is an upscale indoor golf facility with a luxurious country club atmosphere, featuring state of the art PGA Tour golf simulators by aboutGolf, a full bar and lounge for both golfers and non-golfers, a proshop with custom fit golf clubs, club repair, apparel and more, and a private board room for corporate events and private parties. The Clubhouse will host regular leagues, and tournaments and contests with amazing prizes, as well as golf fitness clinics, and private golf lessons for all ages and experience levels

2501 53rd Ave,
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722
Phone (563) 332-1561
email qcclubhouse@gmail.com

About aboutGolf
aboutGolf is a world leader in golf simulator and golf performance technology. The more than 20-year-old, Ohio-based company is committed to developing and applying innovative, state-of-the-art technology to enhance and improve the game for golfers at every level. Its products, including PGA TOUR Simulators, aG Studio and Henry-Griffitts Custom Fit Golf Clubs, enable substantive learning and improvement in the game of golf. Learn more at www.aboutgolf.com.

For more information and product images contact:
Mary Beth Lacy at: 760-346-6942, email: mb@mblacy.com

aboutGolf Ltd.
352 Tomahawk Drive
Maumee, OH 43537
Phone: 419-482-9095