Senators again ask administration if plans are underway for large-scale de facto amnesty

WASHINGTON -- In response to the administration's silence and lack of a denial, Senator Chuck Grassley and 11 other senators again have asked top government officials if the Obama administration has plans, as has been rumored, to unilaterally extend either "deferred action" or "parole" to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.  The senators are asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to reveal how many times the department has used its discretionary authority to let people who are illegally in the country to stay.  This authority is meant to be used only in unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances.

"The administration has yet to answer our letter about reports that it may be planning a large-scale, de facto amnesty program through deferred action and parole.  By shedding a little light on the numbers, we're working to get to the bottom of the administration's plans," Grassley said.  "If it wants to claim that discretionary authority is being used on a case-by-case basis, then let's determine if these cases are truly meritorious."

The letter was signed by Grassley, Thad Cochran, Johnny Isakson, Jim DeMint, Saxby Chambliss, Jim Inhofe, Tom Coburn, David Vitter, Orrin Hatch, Jim Bunning, Pat Roberts and Jeff Sessions.

Here is a copy of the text of today's letter, followed by the unanswered June 21 letter.

July 26, 2010

The Honorable Janet Napolitano

Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

Nebraska Avenue Complex

245 Murray Lane, Mailstop 0150

Washington, DC 20528-0150

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

We remained concerned about potential plans for a large-scale effort to offer parole or to defer action on undocumented aliens in the United States.  We realize that deferred action and parole are discretionary actions reserved for individual cases that present unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances.  However, we do not believe that such actions should be used for a large population of illegal aliens or used to bypass Congress and the legislative process.

News articles report that your department has denied the charge, stating that grants of parole or deferred removal are based on the merits of individual cases.  While we have not personally been assured that plans have not been drawn up, we are interested in data that will guarantee the American people that the Administration is not using these discretionary actions in cases that are not urgent or based on humanitarian reasons.

Therefore, we seek the following information about how the department is using its authorities. Specifically, we would like answers to the following questions no later than August 16:

· How many removal actions have been deferred each year over the past 5 years, including calendar year 2010, to date?

· How many times has parole been granted each year over the past 5 years, including calendar year 2010, to date?

· Of those granted deferred action or parole in the past five years, including 2010, how many have been provided work authorizations?  In what circumstances are work authorizations not granted?

· What guidelines and procedures are in place when the department considers using its discretionary power to defer action or grant parole?  Please describe the process from the initial request to the final approval, and please provide a copy of the written policies that employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Customs and Border Protection must follow.

Finally, in order to ensure that deferred action and parole are being used in a manner consistent with the law, we request to be notified in writing when the Administration defers removal action or grants parole to undocumented, deportable or inadmissible aliens.  We would further request a summary of the case and the rationale for using the discretionary action.  In that vein, we would like a summary (including demographic background) of the cases that so far have been approved in calendar year 2010.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

June 21, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear President Obama:

We understand that there's a push for your Administration to develop a plan to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States.  We understand that the Administration may include aliens who have willfully overstayed their visas or filed for benefits knowing that they will not be eligible for a status for years to come.  We understand that deferred action and parole are discretionary actions reserved for individual cases that present unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances.  Deferred action and parole were not intended to be used to confer a status or offer protection to large groups of illegal aliens, even if the agency claims that they look at each case on a "case-by-case" basis.

While we agree our immigration laws need to be fixed, we are deeply concerned about the potential expansion of deferred action or parole for a large illegal alien population.   While deferred action and parole are Executive Branch authorities, they should not be used to circumvent Congress' constitutional authority to legislate immigration policy, particularly as it relates to the illegal population in the United States.

The Administration would be wise to abandon any plans for deferred action or parole for the illegal population.  Such a move would further erode the American public's confidence in the federal government and its commitment to securing the borders and enforcing the laws already on the books.

We would appreciate receiving a commitment that the Administration has no plans to use either authority to change the current position of a large group of illegal aliens already in the United States, and ask that you respond to us about this matter as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Chuck Grassley

Orrin Hatch

Jim Bunning

Saxby Chambliss

Jim Inhofe

Johnny Isakson

Thad Cochran

David Vitter

DES MOINES, IA (07/26/2010)(readMedia)-- The 2010 Iowa State Fair free stage entertainment is packed with this year's hottest acts from all music genres. The line-up features some of the nation's biggest stars, all free with gate admission. The Fair is set for "Non Stop Fun" August 12-22.

Some of country music's favorite names are set to appear, including Jake Owen ("Eight Second Ride"), Love & Theft ("Runaway"), Colt Ford ("Chicken and Biscuits") and David Nail ("Red Light") as well as rising stars like Whitney Duncan, Bomshel, and Justin Moore. The Academy of Country Music named Owen Top New Male Vocalist in 2009 following the release of his album, "Startin' with Me."

Opening night will feature a special concert by country music star Lee Greenwood. Greenwood is known for his unique voice, insightful songwriting and enthusiastic patriotism coupled with his first major single "God Bless the USA." Greenwood takes the Jacobson Exhibition Center stage at 7 p.m.

Oldies fans will find their favorite acts in all genres performing each night on the Budweiser Stage, including rock legends The Family Stone, The Buckinghams, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik, and Davy Jones of The Monkees. In addition, Think Floyd USA, critically acclaimed as a "must see" for Pink Floyd fans, will take audiences on a musical and visual flight through the Pink Floyd galaxy, complete with a light show at the Anderson Erickson Dairy Stage.

Fans of 80s and 90s music can look forward to 80s hair band impersonation act Hairball as well as hip hop legends Vanilla Ice ("Ice Ice Baby") and Tone Loc ("Wild Thing"), who will take to the Anderson Erickson Dairy Stage together on Sunday, August 15. Vanilla Ice rose to hip hop stardom following the release of the single "Ice Ice Baby," in 1989 which sold over 17 million copies and was the first hip hop single to ever top the Billboard Charts.

Extreme Sunday shows include rising country music stars The Eli Young Band ("Always the Love Songs"), classic rock band The Grass Roots ("Let's Live For Today"), and Fair-favorite Richie Lee and the Fabulous Fifties. This year The Eli Young Band was nominated for an Academy of Country Music award for Top New Vocal Group or Duo and their song, "Always the Love Songs" reached the 11th spot on the Billboard Charts.

Fair and local favorites Vocal Trash, Jason Brown, The Nadas, The Blue Band and Sioux City Rockestra also appear on the free entertainment schedule. A complete listing of event dates, times and locations follows:

Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center sponsored by Chevrolet

August 12: Lee Greenwood (7 p.m.)

Anderson Erickson Dairy Stage sponsored by KCCI NewsChannel 8

August 12-14: The Nadas (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 15: Legends of Hip Hop featuring Vanilla Ice and Tone Loc (8 p.m.)

August 16-17: Think Floyd USA (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 18: David Nail (8 p.m.)

August 19: Love and Theft (8 p.m.)

August 20: Green River Ordinance (7 p.m.)

August 21: The Blue Band (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 21: The Blue Band (5:30 & 7:30 p.m.)

Anne and Bill Riley Stage sponsored by Pepsi

August 12: Sioux City Rockestra (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 13: Ryan Cabrera (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 14: Iowa State Fair Queen Coronation (7 p.m.)

August 15: Fastball (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 16-21: Vocal Trash (7 & 9 p.m.)

August 22: The Grass Roots (8 p.m.)

Budweiser Stage sponsored by ABC5

August 12: Davy Jones of The Monkees (8 p.m.)

August 13-14: Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 15-17: The Buckinghams (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 18-19: Atlanta Rhythm Section (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 20: The Family Stone (8 p.m.)

August 21: Richie Lee and the Fabulous Fifties (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 22: Richie Lee and the Fabulous Fifties (4:30 & 6:30 p.m.)

Susan Knapp Amphitheater with media sponsor KDSM FOX 17

August 12: Jake Owen (8 p.m.)

August 13: Bomshel (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 14: Whitney Duncan (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 15-16: Jason Brown (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 17: Justin Moore (8 p.m.)

August 18-19: Hairball (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 20: Colt Ford (7:30 & 9:30 p.m.)

August 21: Country Gold (6 & 8:30 p.m.)

August 22: Eli Young Band (8 p.m.)

Fun Forest Stage (all shows ASL interpreted)

No shows 11 a.m. - noon on Friday, August 13th due to VSA Opening Ceremonies

August 12-22: The Fast Horses (11:30 a.m., 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.)

August 12-22: Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop (12, 2 & 4 p.m.)

August 12-22: Doc Anderson's Traveling Medicine Wagon Show presented by VSA Iowa Fest (11 a.m., 1, 3 &

5 p.m.)

The Iowa State Fair is set for "Non Stop Fun" August 12-22, 2010. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

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One Hero Grasps For Hope

Lifelong Educator Wants to Help Kids Find Homes, Get Diplomas

Two things that are getting tougher for kids to get in America: A place to live and an education.

According to a study by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, an average of 3 in 10 high school students don't reach graduation, with that rate reaching half in some areas of the country. Combine that with the report by the National Center on Family Homelessness that found more than 1.5 million children were without a home, and it's not difficult to see a stark trend.

But Leon McKinney, a lifelong educator from a rural area of Washington, wants to do something about that. He has taken stories from his three decades of teaching kids and turned them into a book -- Heroes and Hope (www.heroesandhopebook.com) -- that he is now selling, with 90 percent of the proceeds going toward education funding for kids, and the other 10 percent going to Habitat for Humanity.

"I want to help people live better lives in the midst of difficult times," he said. "Throughout my more than two decades as a teacher, I have tried to make a difference for kids and families through some principles that have stood the test of time.  Over the years, I've amassed a wealth of stories that seem to resonate with people, and so I wanted to share these stories with others to help them find vision and inspiration, but I didn't want it to be some kind of vanity exercise. I wanted it to mean something. So, I'm passing down these values and lessons from my experience as an educator, parent, and counselor to people over the last forty years in a way that not only tells them what I've seen, but shows them what I've learned."

McKinney has already raised more than $100,000 for his cause, just through $5 gifts from other teachers he has come into contact with over time. He's not sure how much his book will raise, but he's hoping the value of awareness will mean more than the dollar signs involved.

"It's tough to admit that we're struggling, as a country," he said. "In 1996, the high school graduation rate was 66.4 percent, and nearly 14 years later, we've edged it up to 69.2 percent. That's 14 years, and not even three full percentage points. We can do better. I know we can, because I've seen kids with some of the toughest challenges you can imagine overcome them to get that diploma. The missing ingredient is hope. It's my intention to tell the stories of the heroes I've encountered as an educator, and of the hope they've inspired in me and in others. By raising our hopes, and the means to make good on those dreams, I think we can beat the expectations of the experts. When I have looked into the hearts of the students and teachers I have known, I have seen that the power of the human spirit is endless. This project is about tapping into that spirit on a grander scale, and setting our sights on nothing less than making dreams come true for those who have no hope left."

About Leon McKinney

Leon McKinney earned a BA in Education and a Masters in Music Education from Central Washington State University. After teaching music for four years at Pateros schools, he taught for 21 Years at Eastmont High School and served as the Director of Music for the Eastmont Schools. Leon was honored in 2006 as the Friend of the Year of Wenatchee Valley College. Leon is married to Bonnie McKinney and they have four children:  Jeff, Brent, Christy and Brian.

(Kansas City, Kan., July 27, 2010) - EPA has awarded the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) a total of $70,000 to assist with outreach, education and implementation of the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program. All fertilizer facilities that handle, process or store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are subject to EPA's chemical safety requirements.

"EPA wants to assure the continued safe handling of anhydrous ammonia which is a source of nitrogen fertilizer widely used for corn, milo and wheat," said Karl Brooks, regional administrator.

"This grant is designed to prevent releases and protect the health and safety of area residents, employees at the facilities, emergency responders and the environment."

IDALS is receiving this funding to conduct on-site audits, workshops and follow-up safety assessments at agricultural retail anhydrous ammonia facilities in Iowa. Anhydrous ammonia is generally safe provided handling, storage and maintenance procedures are followed. However, it is toxic and can be a health hazard. Inhaling anhydrous ammonia can cause lung irritation and severe respiratory injuries.

EPA Region 7 receives more accidental release reports for ammonia than for any other chemical. In addition to releases caused by transportation accidents, human error and equipment failure, a number of releases have been caused by anhydrous ammonia thefts. Anhydrous ammonia is a key ingredient in the illegal production of methamphetamine. When stolen, the toxic gas can be unintentionally released, causing injuries to emergency responders, law enforcement personnel, the public and the criminals themselves.

Retailers were first required to be in compliance with the Risk Management Program in 1999. EPA then started facility inspections and enforcement of the program, which includes five components: hazard assessment system, management, accident prevention, emergency response and submittal of a risk management plan.

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Learn more at: www.epa.gov/region07/toxics/arpp.htm

QCSO announces open auditions

The Quad City Symphony announces open auditions for positions starting in the 2010-11 season.

Auditions will take place on August 29, 2010, at Augustana College in the Bergendoff Fine Arts Building. Positions open include SECTION VIOLIN, SECTION VIOLA, SECTION CELLO, and UTILITY CLARINET.

All interested persons are encouraged to contact Rich Stodd, Director of Operations, for audition information and required excerpts. He can be reached by phone at 563-322-0931 or by email at rstodd@qcsymphony.com. Interested musicians should send a current, one-page resume.

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What: Schoeneman Sculpture Dedication

When: Sunday, August 8, 12:00 pm

Where: Schwiebert Park 17th Street at the Mississippi River Rock Island, IL 61201

Contact: Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, Visual Arts Director, 309-793-1213 ext.108, dwmetallo@quadcityarts.com

The press and public are invited to join us for the dedication.

Please join Quad City Arts and the family of Lloyd Schoeneman for the dedication of the sculpture in his honor, on Sunday, August 8, 12:00 pm at Schwiebert Park in Rock Island, Illinois. The sculpture, created by artist and Lloyd's friend Stuart Morris, commemorates the life and work of arts leader Lloyd S. Schoeneman who passed away in 2001.

Lloyd founded and worked for Quad City Arts for 22 years and was an early proponent of the community built process for public art. He was revered as an expert in the field by colleagues across the nation and encouraged any and all interested community members be they artists, bicycle riders, historians, or bankers to get involved in the planning, designing and building of the environment in which they live, work and play. His most notable successes using this model are the Navigation Steps at Leach Park in Bettendorf, The Nature Spiral at Illiniwek Forest Preserve in Hampton and Lindsey Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport.

Local artists of many genres who were mentored by Lloyd, family, friends and community members have all been contributors to the sculpture project. The design for the piece evolved over five years of meetings with the involved individuals and embodies Lloyd's love of nature and his work in the arts community.

Come and join us as we announce the title of the sculpture, honor this memorable arts leader and remember his many accomplishments in the community. A potluck luncheon will follow after the dedication.

Davenport NEW  Neighborhood Summit -  July 29, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. -   Fairmount Branch Library, 3000 N. Fairmount St.

Join us and learn about the recommendations from the Davenport in Motion Transportation Master Plan and how they may improve the quality of life in your
neighborhood!

Meet the new City Arborist!  Status Report on the West Side Sewer Diversion Tunnel Project.  Davenport NEW (Neighborhood Empowerment & Wellness) Update.  Neighborhood Planning Process Highlights.  Talk About Community Needs with City Staff.

Every attendee gets a FREE Neighborhood   Resource & Problem-Solving Guide!

For accommodations contact 326-7748.

Will update information in real time, provide assistance to Iowans

NOTE: Updated times for Davenport and Buffalo events

Washington, DC - After a weekend of historic flood levels in the First District, Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) unveiled a new website to keep constituents up to date as flood relief moves forward. Constituents can click on the Disaster Relief link on Braley's home page, or go to www.braley.house.gov/disasterrelief to find helpful resources and information that will be updated with new information about federal assistance as it becomes available.

Braley spent the day traveling across the First District to meet with local officials about the historic flood levels impacting several communities. Braley is visiting nine towns and cities to receive briefings, survey the damage and hear from constituents about the help they need to rebuild their homes and small businesses.

"Many communities across Iowa are still recovering from the Floods of 2008," Braley said. "Rising flood waters are wreaking havoc across Eastern Iowa and I want Iowans to know that my office is here to help. Since Friday night, I have been in close contact with officials from Speaker Pelosi's office, the White House, FEMA and other agencies that will likely be involved in federal assistance efforts. We are doing everything we can to ensure Iowa's families receive the assistance they need to rebuild after yet another summer of record flooding.

"We are currently in the process of acquiring a federal disaster declaration. In the meantime, our primary focus is maintaining the safety and security of families near the flood zones and providing immediate disaster assistance. As we move forward, my office will continue to coordinate efforts and do everything we can to assist the families who have been impacted.  My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by these overwhelming swells."

The list of towns Braley is visiting today is below. Friday night, Braley visited local officials in Manchester.  On Saturday, Braley visited the Lake Delhi dam, Independence and Monticello.

8:00 CDT

Braley to visit Anamosa, meet with local officials about flooding

Tapkin's Convenience Store

Corner of South Elm Street and Cemetery Road, Anamosa, Iowa

8:45 CDT

Braley to visit Olin, meet with local officials about flooding

Olin Fire Station

105 West Cleveland Street, Olin Iowa

9:30 CDT

Braley to visit Monticello, meet with local officials about flooding

Monticello City Public Works Building

Corner of Hwy 38 and 11th Street,  Monticello, Iowa

10:30 CDT

Braley to tour Lake Delhi Dam site, meet with local officials

Meet on north side of dam on County Road X31.  You must approach the bridge from the north.  There is no way to cross at that point from the south.

12:00 CDT

Braley to visit Manchester, meet with local officials about flood recovery efforts

Maquoketa River bridge

Corner of River Street and Main Street, Manchester , Iowa

1:00 CDT

Braley to visit Dyersville, meet with local officials about flood recovery efforts

Meet at 1st Ave bridge

Corner of 1st Ave East and 1st Street SW, Dyersville, Iowa

3:00 CDT

Braley to visit Maquoketa, meet with local officials about flooding

Meet at corner North Main and North Street, Maquoketa, Iowa

UPDATED

5:00 CDT

Braley to visit Davenport, meet with local officials about flooding

Meet in downtown Davenport at corner of Brady Street and East River Drive, Davenport, Iowa

6:00 CDT

Braley to visit Buffalo, meet with local officials about flooding

Clark's Landing Restaurant

Corner of West Front Street and Jefferson Street, Buffalo, Iowa

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Davenport, IA - Friday, July 23, 2010 - On Friday, August 20th, the "Pinta" and the "Nina" replicas of Columbus' ships, will open in Davenport.  The ships will be docked at the Oneida Street Landing, at the foot of Bridge Street, until their departure early Monday morning, August 30th.

The "Nina" was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools and was called by Archaeology magazine "the most historically Columbus replica ever built."  The craftsmanship of construction and the details in the rigging make it a truly fascinating visit back to the Age of Discover.  The "Nina" was used in the production of the film "1492" staring GerardDepardieu and directed by Ridley Scott.

The "Pinta" was built in Brazil to accompany the "Nina" on all her travels.  She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel and offers larger deck space for walk-around tours and has a 900 sq. ft. salon down below to view slide shows of the ship's construction.  The "Pinta" is available for private parties while in dock.

Both ships will be touring together as a new and enhanced "sailing museum" for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the "Caravel," a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for walk-aboard self-guided tours.  The prices are $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors and $5.00 for children.  Children 4 and under are free.  The ship is open every day from 9:00 am until 6:00pm.  No reservations necessary.  Teachers or groups wishing to schedule a 30 minute guided tour with a crew member should call the ship directly at 787-672-2152.  Minimum of 15 per tour, $4.00 per person.  Visit our website at www.thenina.com for additional information.  The ships arrive Thursday, August 19th and there will be a private viewing for the media after docking.

 



July 22, 2010

Singer-Songwriter Jamie McLean Brings His Exhilarating Musicianship, Burning Guitar, and Propulsive Band to Gabe's on August 3rd

In just a few short years, Jamie McLean has transformed himself from six-stringed sideman of the celebrated, New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band into a full-fledged bandleader with plenty of rock & roll swagger to live up to his first-rate musicianship. McLean is an astounding songwriter, vocalist and player in that place where Southern and streetwise rock, roadhouse blues, downtown R&B and swampy soul music find communion. With a backing band lending smooth-groovin' muscle to his hook-filled guitar chops and soulful vocals, McLean comes to Gabe's touring behind his latest release, Completely, which sees him ooze romance and heartache through roots-rock blues and guitar-pop. Fresh off a tour with Greg Allman and a smattering of dates with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, the Jamie McLean Band is poised to take their music to great heights. And with McLean's wailing guitar, driving rhythms, and dynamic showmanship on display at Gabe's on August 3rd, this is one show that's sure to be memorable.

More about Jamie McLean Band:

From Madison Square Garden to Bonnaroo to Japan's Fuji Rock, Jamie McLean's musical footprint has marked every corner of the globe. Performing alongside musical icons such as Elvis Costello, Widespread Panic, and Dave Matthews, he has shared the stage with scores of prevalent names in the industry. Always in high demand, McLean has also lent his studio chops to everyone from Norah Jones to Chuck D, proving he is the quintessential workingman's guitarist. Backed by a dynamic voice loaded with soul, McLean's transformation from sideman to front man has been seamless. With drops of southern roots rock, blues, R&B, funk and soul oozing from their amplifiers, the Jamie McLean Band offers "honest rock and roll" that pulls no punches. Night in and night out, Jamie McLean's performances are smothered in soul and confident command of the six-string. Take the straightforward, no-nonsense rock of the Rolling Stones and The Black Crowes and mix in the personal sincerity of Ryan Adams and Tom Petty and the result is the Jamie McLean Band.

Show Details:

JAMIE MCLEAN BAND

Tuesday August 3, 2010

9:30PM doors, 10PM show

$8 Advance and Day of Show | 21+

Presented by Majestic Live

JAMIE MCLEAN BAND:

http://jamiemcleanband.com/

http://www.myspace.com/jamiemcleanband

 

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