Washington, D.C. - Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) has introduced a bill to celebrate the contributions of millions of young Americans and their commitment to American agriculture. The National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Commemorative Coin Act would honor the contributions of millions of young FFA members over the past 85 years through the release of a commemorative coin.

The bill would direct the U.S. Treasury to issue a commemorative U.S. coin honoring the 85th anniversary of the National FFA Organization. Proceeds from the coin's sale will go to the National FFA Foundation to provide resources and continue outreach and agricultural education. FFA currently has over 500,000 members across the country and more than nine million former members. The bill will have no cost to U.S. taxpayers.

"FFA is an important organization that teaches our young Iowans about the importance of agricultural life," Braley said. "This bill would honor their work and the work of millions of former members of the FFA. I'm proud to represent many FFA members from Eastern Iowa and I look forward to supporting the organization in the future."


Now, becoming an art collector can be as easy as buying a candy bar or a bag of chips.

The first Art-o-mat in Iowa will start vending art and culture for $5.00 a pull at CornerHouse Gallery & Frame in Cedar Rapids, IA on July 14, 2011, 5-8pm. Artist Clark Whittington, from North Carolina, will give opening comments at 6pm that evening.

Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. Since 1997, Clark Whittington, has been making Art-o-mats that vend "Artists in Cellophane." He now has over 90 active machines in various locations throughout the country with approximately 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries. Most importantly, each Art-o-mat is one-of-a-kind, custom built to the host's desire.

Each "Artist in Cellophane" is art on a block of wood or in a box if it is 3D. It's then wrapped in a piece of cellophane to help it slide out of the machine like an old cigarette pack.

CornerHouse Gallery & Frame is now a host like the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian, Whole Foods, the Studios of Key West, the Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, the contemporary Art Center New Orleans, SUNY Cortland, and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, just to name a few.

Come by, pick your artist, plug, pull, unwrap and smile.

See more Art-o-mats at  www.artomat.org

Talent Search Program Providing Funds to Eight Iowa Schools

WASHINGTON D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that eight universities and colleges in Iowa have been awarded funding from the TRIO Talent Search Program, administered through the U.S. Department of Education.  The goal of the Talent Search Program is to increase the number of disadvantaged youth who complete high school and enroll in postsecondary education. The program helps identify and assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have potential to succeed in high school and continued education. The program provides financial information, career and educational advice including educating students about the availability of financial assistance for postsecondary education. The program also provides support to students who have dropped out of school and hope to enter or re-enter the education. The colleges and universities selected will use the funds to pinpoint communities in their area in special need and provide the needed assistance to potential students.

Senator Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the TRIO Talent Search Program and Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

"Providing access to educational and financial information to less advantaged students in Iowa is critical for our state's continued economic improvement and the improvement of Iowans' quality of life," said Harkin. "It is important we help those who wish to, and have the potential to succeed in high school and postsecondary education by giving them the information to improve themselves academically and financially."

The following schools were provided the corresponding funds:

Briar Cliff University                     $295,598.00
Central College                        $363,832.00
Graceland University                     $331,500.00
Iowa Lakes Community College                        $354,067.00
Iowa State University of Science and Technology    $337,333.00
Southwestern Community College                        $230,000.00
University of Northern Iowa                           $404,867.00
Western Iowa Tech Community College                   $237,039.00

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today questioned why the Justice Department declined to prosecute an Assistant United States Attorney after the department's Inspector General found at least one image of child pornography on the attorney's work computer.  The Inspector General also determined that the attorney had spent hours viewing adult content during work hours.   

According to the Inspector General's report, the Assistant U.S. Attorney acknowledged he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography.  The report also cited that at least one image of child pornography was recovered on the attorney's government computer.  The report indicates that the U.S. Attorney's office declined to prosecute the case and as of May 31, 2011, disciplinary action against the attorney was still pending.  

Grassley said he was concerned that the attorney, who admitted viewing pornography on the taxpayers' dime, was employed by the federal government at least two months after the allegations were outlined in the Inspector General report.   

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley questioned the department's decision to not prosecute and delay disciplinary action against the attorney.  He also asked the types of cases the attorney worked on and the steps the department has taken to update its technology to keep pornography off its computers.   

Last year, Grassley learned that 33 employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission who were found to have viewed pornography during work hours were not terminated and were given uneven and light disciplinary action.   

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley's letter to Holder.  Click here for a copy of the signed letter.     

July 7, 2011 

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.  

Attorney General 

U.S. Department of Justice  

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW  

Washington, DC 20530  


Dear Attorney General Holder:  


On May 31, 2011 I received a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) in response to a request Senator Coburn and I made to all Inspectors General to provide semiannual reports on closed investigations, evaluations, and audits that were not disclosed to the public.  


This report contained what appears to be an inexcusable mishandling of serious allegations against an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) which calls into question the DOJ's internal controls and prosecutorial discretion.  The report cites the following OIG investigation of an AUSA:  


"The OIG conducted an investigation concerning allegations that an AUSA was using his government computer to view inappropriate material on his government computer.  The investigation determined that the AUSA routinely viewed adult content during official duty hours, and that there was at least one image of child pornography recovered on the AUSA's government computer.  The AUSA acknowledged that he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography.  The U.S. Attorney's Office declined prosecution.  Disciplinary action against the AUSA is pending."     


This report relates to OIG investigations from October 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011 and was submitted two months later.  As the case for disciplinary action is "pending" as of May 31, 2011, this means that, at the very least, the DOJ has allowed an admitted serial viewer of pornography - possibly child pornography - to serve as an AUSA for two months, if not longer, and has yet to take action.  This is simply unacceptable and compounds the questions raised by the fact that this AUSA was found to have "at least one image of child pornography" on his government computer and yet he was not charged with a crime.  


Regarding the DOJ's decisions in this case, I respectfully ask the following questions:  


 1.       Is this individual still employed by the Department of Justice?  


 a.        If so, in what capacity?  


 b.       If not, when did this individual leave employment with the Department of Justice?  


  i.       Was this departure voluntary or were they terminated?  


 2.       Is this individual eligible for a government pension?  


 a.        If so, has the DOJ made any efforts to strip this individual of his or her pension?  


  i.       If so, what efforts have been made?  


  ii.       If not, why not?  


 3.       What types of cases did this AUSA handle?  


 4.       Did the cases this AUSA was assigned to handle ever lead to any interaction with children?  


 5.       Was the decision not to prosecute this individual made by the U.S. Attorney's Office in which he or she served?  


 a.        If so, did that raise any concerns regarding a conflict of interest?  


 b.       If not, what office made the decision not to prosecute this individual?  


 6.       How was this individual able to evade the DOJ's pornography filters?  


 7.       Has the DOJ made efforts to upgrade its pornography filters as a result of this individual's actions?  


a.       If so, what efforts have been made?


b.      If not, why not?


Thank you for cooperation and attention in this matter.  I would appreciate a response by July 21, 2011.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact (202) 224-5225.


Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

Improvements Require Universal Fare System and Web-Based Tracking,

Move Towards Free Wireless Internet and AEDs on Public Transportation

CHICAGO - July 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to reform mass transit in the Chicago region by creating a universal fare card for riders of the CTA, Metra and Pace, and taking the first step towards making free wireless internet available on buses and trains throughout the region. The new law also requires Metra to provide web-based, real-time train arrival information, and lays the groundwork for the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on Metra passenger trains.

"Millions of Illinoisans use buses and trains every day to get to work and school, or to enjoy everything the Chicago area has to offer," said Governor Quinn. "These improvements will make public transit a more robust and convenient travel option, boosting economic development and increasing access to schools and universities throughout the region."

House Bill 3597 requires the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to implement a universal fare card system for the CTA, Metra and Pace by 2015. A universal fare card would ensure fast and easy access to all forms of public transportation in the region by allowing seamless transfers between transit systems.

The legislation also takes an important first step towards making free wireless internet available to CTA, Metra, and Pace riders. Under the new law, the RTA will conduct a study to determine the feasibility of providing free Wi-Fi for laptop and mobile device users on buses and trains throughout the Chicago region. 

The new law requires the RTA to conduct a report on the feasibility of installing AEDs on Metra trains. User-friendly defibrillators can be used in the event of cardiac arrest and gives members of the public the ability to attempt to resuscitate a victim before responders are able to arrive.

Under the new law, all fixed-route transit in the Chicago area will be required to provide web-based, on-time arrival information by July 1, 2012. While the CTA currently provides this information, users of the other transit systems are often out of luck. The new law will ensure that riders of all of the region's transit systems will have access to critical on-time data that improves the ease of traveling by bus or rail.

The new law was sponsored by Chicago Alderman Will Burns during his time as state representative, and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago).

"Reliable, robust and convenient public transportation is the key to many of our most important priorities, especially economic development and education," said Ald. Burns. "Everything we can do to have our transit systems work together to improve their service is a step towards a better quality of life for everyone."

House Bill 3597 passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and takes effect immediately.


Here is a comment from Sen. Grassley about the ethanol agreement announced today by Sens. Thune and Klobuchar:

"All things considered, it's good news that an agreement was reached that salvages some of the effort to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.  I wish it would have included a more robust investment in alternative fuel infrastructure and cellulosic ethanol.  Overall, the fact that this happened in a vacuum, rather than in an even-handed debate over all energy tax incentives, will always be a raw deal, especially for taxpayers and renewable fuel producers," Grassley said.

Jul 07 2011

Thune, Klobuchar Announce Bipartisan Compromise on Renewable Energy

Agreement would put savings toward deficit reduction, infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C.?U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today announced that a bipartisan agreement has been reached that allows for a transition to a more sustainable model of incentives for domestic renewable fuel production while reducing the nation's deficit by $1.3 billion. The agreement, based on Thune and Klobuchar's bipartisan Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act, would end the existing 45 cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit on July 31, 2011, instead of the current expiration date of December 31, 2011. The bipartisan agreement would dedicate two-thirds of the savings from existing money?$1.3 billion?to debt reduction and the remaining $668 million in savings to renewable fuel incentives, helping provide consumers with lower gas prices. The compromise can now be considered by the full Senate.

"After productive discussions with industry stakeholders over the past several weeks, we have reached a bipartisan solution that reduces the federal deficit and modifies current biofuels policy without pulling the rug out from under American renewable energy producers," said Thune. "Domestic biofuels production in South Dakota and throughout the country continues to play an important role in reducing our nation's dependence on foreign oil and creating American jobs. I look forward to moving our bipartisan plan through both the Senate and the House of Representatives."

"This bipartisan agreement is a major step toward providing our businesses a clear path forward and keeping the biofuels industry competitive while reducing our debt by over a billion dollars this year,"said Klobuchar. "With this agreement we can not only continue to support homegrown energy, we can also demonstrate that members with different viewpoints can come together to find common ground to reduce the debt. It is a model for reducing government subsidies going forward."

"I thank Senator Thune for his work in crafting a bipartisan path forward for the ethanol industry," said Lisa Richardson, Executive Director of South Dakota Corn. "Senator Thune continues to fight for rural America. With the significant budgetary challenges facing our country, it is important that the ethanol industry in South Dakota have common sense policies in place to keep the biofuels industry moving forward. The enhanced blender pump tax credit will help give access to the market place, and the extended small producer tax credit will help our farmer-owned plants compete against foreign oil imports. We appreciate the work of Senator Thune and thank him for his continued support of agriculture producers in South Dakota."

"ACE thanks both Senators John Thune and Amy Klobuchar for their support and leadership in negotiating this compromise, which represents the art of the possible given the fiscal mood in Congress,"said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol. "We are pleased with the three-year blender pump tax credit and will work with marketers to try and take full advantage of these increased incentives to convert to blender pumps. ACE is also grateful that the Small Ethanol Producer Tax Credit, which is crucial for many of our independent and farmer-owned members, was extended for one year as well as key cellulosic biofuel provisions. ACE will work with Senators Thune and Klobuchar to support enactment of this legislation by the end of July."

"Senators Thune and Klobuchar worked tirelessly to help shape a compromise that will benefit all Americans," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "This proposal will benefit consumers at the pump, reduce our dependence on foreign oil by investing in next generation biofuels, and make a significant contribution to reducing our nation's budget deficit."

"This bipartisan effort to find common ground is the kind of sensible policy making American voters desperately want from their elected leaders," said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. "We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Thune in doggedly pursuing a solution to this impasse. Walking away from investments made in America's ethanol industry cold turkey would jeopardize the future of biofuel production in America, including stifling the progress of advanced and cellulosic ethanol technologies. We look forward to seeing the details of the agreement and working with all renewable fuel advocates in Congress to move this industry forward."

"The final compromise reflects both the importance of the ethanol industry to achieve energy independence and the need for fiscal responsibility," said Bart Schott, President of the National Corn Growers Association.

Recent votes in the Senate on this issue have sought to end the current Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit while still continuing to fund blender pumps. This agreement is consistent with those votes and would end the existing 45 cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, provide funding for homegrown energy infrastructure and reduce the nation's deficit, based only on remaining 2011 funding.

Additional details of the compromise include :

Deficit Reduction

Immediately allocate $1.3 billion toward deficit reduction.

Blender Pump and Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Tax Credit

Extends the existing alternative fuel station tax credit to include blender pumps and extend the credit through 2014 by using 2011 funding only; modify the tax credit to allow for ethanol blends between E15 and E85; and clarify that entire cost of dual-use blender pumps qualify for the credit rather than the incremental cost. 

A taxpayer may take a 20 percent tax credit for the installation of alternative fuel infrastructure, up to $30,000, including E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) infrastructure. This credit is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2011. Other fuels that are eligible for the credit include electric charging stations and natural gas refueling stations.

Small Producer Ethanol Credit

Extend through 2012 the small producer ethanol credit by using 2011 funding only. This credit is currently scheduled to expire December 31, 2011. The small ethanol producer credit is valued at 7 cents per gallon of ethanol produced. The credit may be claimed on the first 15 million gallons of ethanol produced by a small producer in a given year. It applies to any ethanol producer with production capacity below 60 million gallons per year.

Credit for Production of Cellulosic Biofuels and Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuels Plants

Modify and extend through 2015 the existing $1.01 per gallon tax credit for cellulosic biofuels that would otherwise expire on December 31, 2012. This is done by using 2011 funding only.

Includes a depreciation allowance for cellulosic plants, and the definition of cellulosic biofuels will include fuels made from algae.

Calling ALL youth in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas! Come celebrate with Davenport Parks and Recreation and many partnering organizations at our 19th annual YOUTHFEST!


This year we will be holding YOUTHFEST at the Centennial Park Recreation Corridor from 9:00am-2:00pm. Rain location is River's Edge.


There will be all types of environmental, cultural and physical activities including an obstacle course, bounce houses, basketball, skateboarding, chalk art, recycled kite making, and youth gardening information.


Sponsored by B100, Davenport Noon Optimist Club and Ascentra Credit Union.


When: Wednesday, July 13, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Where: Centennial Park

Cost: FREE

WHAT:   Quad   City   Arts Art @ the Airport

WHEN:          now through August 31st  

WHERE:       Quad City International Airport Gallery,   2200 69th Ave. ,  Moline ,  IL    

WHO:             Steve Banks, painting & sculpture and Aaron Tinder, painter  

In July and August, Art @ the Airport features sculptures and paintings by

Steve Banks of   Davenport   is an artist whose work is about finding meaningful identity and individuality within popular culture. In his work, he strives to make energetic images that explore relationships and interactions through compositional juxtapositions. His image-making process is fueled by curiosity regarding the process of partial cultural assimilation. Bank's images address how the search for individuality often leads to how we attempt to form interpersonal connections while our souls simultaneously float in an isolating sea of cultural white noise.

Aaron Tinder of   Indianola ,  Iowa  , is an artist and professor at   Grand   View   University  . His work revolves around the exploration of personal narratives as a resident of the rural  Midwest  and how they collide with political and social themes. Tinder's work combines multiple layers of images and symbols which are forced to reconcile into compositions filled with spatial tension; encouraging a visual narrative-based conversation.

Both of these artists address the human connection to culture; popular, political and social.  Once focuses on the personal narrative as a Midwest  resident, while the other focuses on the overall complex of identity and culture for the general public.

Don't miss this is exhibit just because you don't have a plane to catch-the lights in the gallery are always on and the airport offers free parking for the first hour. Meet a friend for lunch and enjoy the art!   Quad   City   International airport gallery is easy to access with one hour of free parking to allow plenty of time to browse the exhibit.

  Quad   City   Arts is a nonprofit local arts agency dedicated to the growth and vitality of the   Quad City region through the presentation, development, and celebration of the arts and humanities. All Quad City Arts programs are funded in part by Festival of Trees, Quad City Arts Partners and operating grants from the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency) and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. This gallery and exhibit is generously sponsored by the Quad City International Airport.


Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Senate Committee on Finance
Executive Session to consider the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, and the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let me start by saying I am glad we are here today trying to work out these trade deals.

We all know how important these agreements are.  We can all cite to statistics and data that tell us how much they mean to our economy.  I don't need to recite numbers, because we already know them.  We have heard the same speeches on the benefits of these agreements for four years.  But these deals have been kicked around and delayed over partisan fights.  The American people simply can't afford that anymore.

The Obama administration has finally gotten the message that increasing trade has to be a part of growing our economy.  That is why they are willing to move these deals forward.  But now, as we are on the brink of real action, President Obama has moved the goal-posts once again.  Not only are we told that these deals won't be sent to Congress without a deal on Trade Adjustment Assistance, but we have the unprecedented move of putting TAA into an implementing bill.

There are parts of TAA that I support.  As Ranking Member of this committee, I helped draft some of the reforms Congress passed in 2009.  But the political gamesmanship with these deals by the administration has to stop.  TAA is a spending bill that should be debated and passed on its merits. 

It's a violation of the process to put a program like this in an implementing bill.  But I know that the Chairman has spoken of some flexibility that might be in that, and I've told him that I'd like to help with that process of having a separate and open and fair debate.  I hope we can move forward with that flexibility.  In telling the Chairman that, I'd also like to urge the administration to reconsider its current approach.  Instead, we should come to terms on an agreement for sequencing four separate bills -  including the three separate implementing bills -  And a fourth bill that addresses TAA, trade promotion authority, and the generalized system of preferences.

I was just contacted by an Iowa cattleman who took a trip to Korea less than three weeks ago.  He had a tremendous trip promoting U.S. beef.  But one of his takeaways was that all of Asia is watching how the United States handles these trade deals.  And want to know if the United Sates wants to be in a leadership role for international trade.  They want to know if we are people of action, or just words.  They want to know if we will follow through with these agreements or will we let them languish even longer.  This cattleman came away with the message loud and clear.  Either we get this done, or our trading partners will be looking at other places for the trading terms that they desire.

We don't want to let that happen.  American farmers, businesses, and workers need greater access to these markets.  They need these trade deals.  I appreciate the Chairman scheduling this session today, and scheduling it so we have an adequate amount of time to address these important issues and at a time when more members of the committee are able to be present.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Wednesday, July 7, 2011

The June unemployment figure is expected on Friday, and this morning there's a meeting of Finance Committee members about pending international trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.  Approval of those agreements needs to be part of the economic recovery effort.

These three agreements have been ready for congressional action for more than four years.  Demands made by congressional Democrats were accommodated to get the agreements ready back in 2007.  Even so, the Democratic leadership of Congress has refused to allow a vote.  Since President Obama took office, trade got sidelined even more.  That's a mistake.  Jobs supported by exports pay 15 percent more than the national average.  Manufacturers, farmers, and the service sector need new markets for their products.  It's a matter of retaining and creating jobs.

Getting to a congressional vote has been a frustrating process.  A year and a-half ago, President Obama said he wanted to double exports within the next five years.  Still, he let the three trade agreements languish.  This spring, the United States Trade Representative said the trade agreements were ready, but then the administration changed the terms and insisted that the Trade Adjustment Assistance program be passed with the trade agreements.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program needs to be voted on separately, rather than used to bog down job-generating trade agreements.  The focus needs to stay on helping to spur manufacturing, services and agriculture-related jobs in the United States.  Today, U.S.-Colombia trade is a one-way street.  None of our ag products have duty-free access to the Colombian market, but more than 99 percent of Colombian ag exports enter the U.S. market duty-free.  With a trade agreement, Korea is expected to absorb five percent of total U.S. pork production.  The insurance and financial services industry in the United States, including Iowa, says Korea represents the largest insurance market yet in a free-trade agreement and presents enormous opportunities for domestic job growth.  Panama has tariffs on U.S. beef and corn that would go to zero under a trade agreement.  These trade agreements need to be implemented without delay.

HALO Tournament

The Bookworm Cyber Cafe presents Last Man Standing 7/11 HALO Tournament. 

Saturday, July 9th.  10:00am sign-up, starts at High Noon!

$150.00 Grand Prize

$25.00 each for the Final Four.

$5 entry fee, limited to 64 contestants!

The Bookworm Cyber Cafe, 239 N 2nd St, Eldridge, IA. 563-285-WORM (9676)