MOLINE, ILLINOIS - Looking for something to do with the kids that doesn't cost anything? WQPT, the local PBS station will be bringing the much beloved Dr. Seuss character The Cat in the Hat to the Quad Cities. The Cat in the Hat will be greeting children at the Bettendorf Public Library on June 21

st from 1:30 to 3:00 pm and the Moline Public Library on June 23rd from 10 to 11:30 am.  The Cat will also appear at Blossoms at Butterworth on June 26th at the Butterworth Center in Moline, Illinois between 12 and 5:00 pm.

"'The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That' is one of our newest programs and focuses on math and science. We know kids will enjoy spending some time with this very well known character," said Ana Kehoe, WQPT Educational Outreach Director.  At each of the appearance by The Cat in the Hat, children will be able to take part in games and activities. Admission to the venues is free.

For more information call 309-764-2400 or log on to WQPT is a media service of Western Illinois University located in Moline, Illinois.

# # #

CANTON, MO. (06/16/2011)(readMedia)-- Bettendorf, Iowa, native Kaitlyn Gutheil was named to the Culver-Stockton College President's List for the spring 2011 semester.

To be named to an honors list, Culver-Stockton College requires students to meet high academic standards. President's List students have earned a 4.0 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours. Dean's List students have earned between a 3.5 and 3.99 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, with no grade lower than a C. Honor Roll students have earned between a 3.2 and 3.49 and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, with no grade lower than a C.

Culver-Stockton College is a private, liberal arts college located in Canton, Missouri.

On the web:

CANTON, MO. (06/16/2011)(readMedia)-- Sherrard, Ill., native Kirsten Sindelar was named to the Culver-Stockton College Dean's List for the spring 2011 semester.

To be named to an honors list, Culver-Stockton College requires students to meet high academic standards. President's List students have earned a 4.0 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours. Dean's List students have earned between a 3.5 and 3.99 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, with no grade lower than a C. Honor Roll students have earned between a 3.2 and 3.49 and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, with no grade lower than a C.

Culver-Stockton College is a private, liberal arts college located in Canton, Missouri.

On the web:

In considering stories or editorials about the federal deficit or current deficit reduction negotiations, I hope you find the following information on the tenth anniversary of the Bush tax cuts helpful.  Should you need any further information, do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 224-3254.

"The most recent projections from the Office of Management and Budget indicate that, if current policies remain in place, the total unified surplus will reach $800 billion in fiscal year 2011. . . . [We can expect surpluses] "well past 2030 despite budgetary pressures from the aging baby boom generation, especially in major health programs. . . . The most recent projections make clear that the highly desirable goal of paying off the federal debt is in reach before the end of the decade." - Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan, in testimony to Congress five days after George W. Bush took office as President.

"Tax relief will create new jobs, tax relief will generate new wealth, and tax relief will open new opportunities,"President George Bush, April 16, 2001.

Ten years ago - on June 7, 2001 - President George Bush signed into law the first in a series of tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the highest earners, with claims the tax cuts would stimulate the economy and that the government would still be expected to completely play off the national debt.

The opposite occurred.  In the years following passage of these tax breaks, the rhetoric of economic growth did not match the reality, and the fundamental legacy of the Bush tax cuts is debt.  In fact, during the decade after the Bush tax cuts were passed, "growth in investment, GDP, and employment all posted their worst performance of any post-war expansion."[1]

By contrast, the legacy of the Bush tax cuts is very different from the decade prior to Bush taking office, which resulted in large surpluses.  With the passage of the 1993 reconciliation bill through 2000, the size of deficits steadily declined, turning into growing surpluses in 1998 that steadily grew to a peak in 2000.

Similarly, compared to the economy under Clinton, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 did not result in employment growth.  In the three years after the passage of the 2001 measure, the U.S. actually averaged a 17,000 per month job loss.  In contrast, in the three years following passage of the 1993 Reconciliation Act, the U.S. gained 327,000 jobs per month.

The following charts illustrate how the Bush tax cuts have affected the deficit, the economy, and people's incomes.

During a 2001 address to Congress, Bush said, "At the end of those 10 years [in the 2001 budget], we will have paid down all the debt that is available to retire. That is more debt repaid more quickly than has ever been repaid by any nation at any time in history."[2] However, thanks in large part to the Bush tax cuts, the debt ballooned under Bush, with debt held by the public increasing from $3.5 trillion to nearly $6 trillion and gross federal debt going from $5.6 trillion to nearly $10 trillion.[3] As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found, "the tax cuts account for $1.7 trillion in extra deficits in 2001 through 2008, and is estimated to cost $3.7 trillion over the 2009-2019 period."[4] In addition, the extra debt-service costs caused by the Bush-era tax cuts, amounts "to more than $200 billion through 2008 and another $1.7 trillion over the 2009-2019 period ? nearly $330 billion in 2019 alone."[5]

Very simply, during the Bush years, spending rose as revenues dropped precipitously.  Over the last decade, government revenues fell from 20.6% of GDP in 2000 to 19.5% in the year of the 2001 tax cuts, and as the tax cuts phased in, continuing to fall in to 17.5% in 2008 before crashing, as a result of the recession, to 14.9% in 2009 and 2010.  Concurrently, spending rose from 18.2% of GDP in 2000 to 20.7% in 2008, and then, with the costs of the recession, escalating sharply to 23.8% in 2010, much of this increase due to the higher costs of existing programs and lower tax receipts.

Having already burdened the American taxpayer with this legacy of debt over the past 10 years, now both the House Republican budget and the House Republican "jobs plan" released in May include further reductions in the top tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. This plan ignores the facts of the past 10 years and asks middle class Americans to sacrifice so that the wealthy can benefit further.   As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein noted, "You could read [the GOP jobs plan] without knowing the past decade ever happened."[6]

Despite the performance of the economy in the 1990s, in the last 10 year, most Congressional Republicans have clung to an increasingly rigid ideology that any tax increase is bad and that sharp reductions in spending reductions do not cause economic harm.  This stance is in sharp contrast to that of Republicans of the past, who recognized that balancing the budget required a combination of spending reductions and revenue increases.   For example, after the 1981 tax cut, Reagan and many Congressional Republicans agreed to tax increases in both 1982 and 1984 because of deficit concerns.

Senator Harkin believes that Alan Greenspan's testimony over ten years ago reminds us that very good things can happen when our national leaders make tough fact-based decisions to both cut spending and raise revenue.  He believes there is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to make investmentsin areas that are important for maximizing job growth over the long term.  These include education, infrastructure and research for innovation, so crucial in our competitive world economy.

For more information, please visit

GAINESVILLE, GA (06/15/2011)(readMedia)-- Maryulett Charlaine Chestang from Bettendorf, Iowa, graduated from Brenau University with a Master of Business Administration degree after majoring in business administration.

Chestang was one of 750 Brenau undergraduate and graduate degree recipients in ceremonies May 6 and May 7 ceremonies at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Ga. All told, Brenau awarded 771 degrees - 341 graduate diplomas and 430 undergraduate diplomas - some in dual degree programs like occupational therapy and interior design.

For more information, go to

ABOUT BRENAU - Founded in 1878, Brenau University currently enrolls about 2,800 students in graduate, undergraduate programs on campuses and online. The main campus of the Georgia-based liberal arts institution, which includes the Brenau Women's College, is in Gainesville with other campuses in Augusta, Kings Bay and in two metro Atlanta locations, Norcross and Fairburn. The university offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Brenau's 2011 ranking as one of the top 15-best higher education values in the Southeast by U.S. News & World Report marks the university's sixth consecutive year in that position for the magazine's America's Best Colleges guidebook. Brenau University also has been cited as one of the best colleges and universities to work for by The Chronicle of Higher Education and one of the best universities in the Southeast by The Princeton Review.

On the web:

MARSEILLES, IL (06/15/2011)(readMedia)-- Lt. Col. Jodi Padavana of Monroe Center, took command of the 44th Chemical Battalion in Galesburg June 14 at Marseilles Training Center.

Padavana served as the operations officer for the battalion in 2005 during the early stages of the 44th's mission as part of the Illinois National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).

She later served as the unit's executive officer and interim battalion commander taking the unit to Mascatauck, Ind., for a full-scale exercise.

Brig. Gen. Robert Pratt of Hopedale, commander of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Chicago, spoke following the ceremony.

"Of the one percent of Americans who serve the military, fewer serve as officers and company commanders and even fewer as battalion commanders," said Pratt.

Padavana said she plans to continue the development of unit's mission and the Soldiers of the CERFP.

"I welcome the challenge and opportunity to serve as ... battalion commander," said Padavana. "My goal is to transform every Soldier into a valuable productive member of my team."

Padavana takes over for outgoing commander Lt. Col. Marc Schwarzkope of York, Penn., who will be the force management branch chief with Joint Force Headquarters with the Illinois National Guard.

photo 1,2) U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs/ Brig. Gen. Robert Pratt, of Hopedale and the commander of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, passes the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Jodi Padavana of Monroe Center, who took command of the 44th Chemical Battalion in a ceremony June 14 at Marseilles Training Center.

Story by Sgt. Michael Camacho, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs

Bipartisan Group Urges Accelerated Transition of Forces

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today joined a bipartisan group of 27 senators in sending a letter to President Obama calling for a shift in strategy in Afghanistan ahead of next month's announced deadline to begin an accelerated transition to Afghan security forces. In the letter, the senators urge the President to use the 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.

In their letter, the senators noted that the primary objectives for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan have been largely met - including the removal of the Taliban government that sheltered al Qaeda, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the disruption of terrorist networks allied with Al Qaeda and those who planned the Sept. 11th attacks on the United States. Noting those successes and the ability to pursue counter-terrorism and humanitarian goals without a massive nation-building effort, the senators wrote, "the costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits. It is time for the United States to shift course in Afghanistan."

"We urge you to follow through on the pledge you made to the American people to begin redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan this summer, and to do so in a manner that is sizable and sustained, and includes combat troops as well as logistical and support forces. We look forward to working with you to pursue a strategy in Afghanistan that makes our nation stronger and more secure," the letter reads.

The full text of the letter is below:

June 15, 2011

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our strong support for a shift in strategy and the beginning of a sizable and sustained reduction of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, beginning in July 2011.

In 2001 the United States rightfully and successfully intervened in Afghanistan with the goals of destroying al Qaeda's safe haven, removing the Taliban government that sheltered al Qaeda, and pursuing those who planned the September 11 attacks on the United States. Those original goals have been largely met and today, as CIA Director Leon Panetta noted last June, "I think at most, we're looking at maybe 50 to 100, maybe less" al Qaeda members remaining in Afghanistan.

In addition, over the past few years, U.S. forces have killed or captured dozens of significant al Qaeda leaders. Then, on May 2, 2011, American Special Forces acting under your direction located and killed Osama bin Laden. The death of the founder of al Qaeda is a major blow that further weakens the terrorist organization.

From the initial authorization of military force through your most recent State of the Union speech, combating al Qaeda has always been the rationale for our military presence in Afghanistan. Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops.

There are those who argue that rather than reduce our forces, we should maintain a significant number of troops in order to support a lengthy counter-insurgency and nation building effort. This is misguided. We will never be able to secure and police every town and village in Afghanistan. Nor will we be able to build Afghanistan from the ground up into a Western-style democracy.

Endemic corruption in Afghanistan diverts resources intended to build roads, schools, and clinics, and some of these funds end up in the hands of the insurgents. Appointments of provincial and local officials on the basis of personal alliances and graft leads to deep mistrust by the Afghan population. While it is a laudable objective to attempt to build new civic institutions in Afghanistan, this goal does not justify the loss of American lives or the investment of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Instead of continuing to be embroiled in ancient local and regional conflicts in Afghanistan, we must accelerate the transfer of responsibility for Afghanistan's development to the Afghan people and their government. We should maintain our capacity to eliminate any new terrorist threats, continue to train the Afghan National Security Forces, and maintain our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. However, these objectives do not require the presence of over 100,000 American troops engaged in intensive combat operations.

Mr. President, according to our own intelligence officials, al Qaeda no longer has a large presence in Afghanistan, and, as the strike against bin Laden demonstrated, we have the capacity to confront our terrorist enemies with a dramatically smaller footprint. The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits. It is time for the United States to shift course in Afghanistan.

We urge you to follow through on the pledge you made to the American people to begin the redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan this summer, and to do so in a manner that is sizable and sustained, and includes combat troops as well as logistical and support forces.

We look forward to working with you to pursue a strategy in Afghanistan that makes our nation stronger and more secure.


Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

WASHINGTON, DC -  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved spending more than $3 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to protect an estimated 1,600 acres of waterfowl habitat on  3 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The Commission also approved $23.5 million in federal funding for grants to conserve more than 139,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitats in Canada through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

"Protecting North America's wetlands - which provide so many ecological, economic, and social benefits - is crucial," said Salazar, who chairs the Commission. "Besides providing habitat for fish, wildlife, and a variety of plants, wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fish and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance, and they provide hunting, fishing and other wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of Americans."

The NAWCA Standard Grants awarded today will support six Canadian projects to benefit ducks, geese, and other migratory birds on more than 139,000 acres in 12 provinces and territories. Partners will contribute more than $23.5 million in matching non-federal dollars toward these projects.
A presentation summarizing 45 projects that were previously approved for funding by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council under the NAWCA

U.S. Small Grants Program was given to the Commission.  These grant awards total more than $3 million in federal funds.  Partners will contribute more than $12 million in matching funds toward these projects, which will protect and enhance 26,050 acres of wetlands and associated habitats in 24 states from Maine to California.

Each year, the Commission pre-approves the total amount of funding to be distributed to Small Grants projects in the next fiscal year. Final project selection authority is delegated to the Council, which then reports its selections back to the Commission.  For fiscal year 2011, the Commission authorized up to $5 million to fund projects under the Small Grants program.

Examples of projects funded with NAWCA Small Grants in fiscal year 2011 include :

Arkansas: Arkansas River Valley Wetlands Restoration Phase I
Grantee: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
This project will restore two highly degraded bottomland hardwood forests totaling 1,412 acres within the Arkansas River Valley.  Partners will restore a 411-acre bottomland hardwood forest block in the Galla Creek Wildlife Management Area in Pope County, and 1,001 acres of bottomland hardwood forest in the Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA in Yell County.  This project will benefit species such as mallard, wood duck, prothonotary and Kentucky warblers, and American woodcock.

California: Grasslands Wetland Enhancement
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
This grant project will enhance 397 previously restored acres and an additional 123 acres of seasonal wetlands by installing a water delivery pipeline that will allow habitat managers to independently flood certain wetlands while conserving water.  Species that use this habitat include mallard, northern pintail, green-winged teal, great blue heron, great egret, black-crowned night heron, and marbled godwit.

Minnesota: Madrena WMA Addition
Grantee: Pheasants Forever, Inc.
The purpose of this project is to protect key wetland-grassland complexes and provide waterfowl and grassland birds with high-quality nesting cover.  Pheasants Forever will acquire 160 acres and subsequently donate the property to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for enrollment in the DNR's Wildlife Management Area System.  This area provides critical staging and migratory habitats for lesser scaup, canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks, and other waterfowl.

New Hampshire: Pawtuckaway River Greenway, Phase II
Grantee: Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
This project will expand a block of conservation land along the Pawtuckaway River by acquiring and protecting a large, unfragmented parcel of land.  Protecting this parcel will preserve important wetland resources; protect diverse habitat for waterfowl, wetland birds, and other migratory birds; and provide public access for outdoor recreation, including hiking, skiing, fishing, and hunting.  These shallow marsh wetlands and associated uplands provide nesting, foraging, and migratory habitat for mallard and wood duck and migrating American woodcock, among other species.

Examples of projects funded with NAWCA Standard Grants in Canada in fiscal year 2011 include :

Canadian Prairie/Parkland and Western Boreal Habitat Program
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited Canada

This proposal is the next step in a multi-year commitment by Ducks Unlimited Canada to contribute to achieving the goals and objectives of the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture.  This proposal will secure 122,951 acres, enhance 7,411 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat, and influence another 4,637,887 acres through extension activities.

NCC Quebec & Atlantic: Protecting Wetland and Upland Habitat, Eastern Habitat Joint Venture
Grantee: Nature Conservancy Canada
Project activities will focus on preserving important breeding and migratory habitat, staging and molting habitat, and wintering habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland, and colonial bird species. Priority waterfowl species directly benefiting from these activities include American black duck, green-winged teal and Canada goose.

The Commission approved the purchase of wetland habitat that will be added to 6 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System to secure breeding, resting, and feeding habitat. These acquisitions are funded with proceeds from sales of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, otherwise known as the Federal
Duck Stamp. These acquisitions include :

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon - This is the first time that Nestucca Bay NWR is coming to the Commission.  Proposal is for boundary approval of 3,435 acres containing a mix of fee and easement acquisitions with 54 owners.  Price approval request is for 21 acres in fee from one owner.

San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Texas - Proposal is for boundary addition and price approval of 1,544 acres in fee from two owners.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, West Virginia - Proposal is for price approval of 73 acres in fee from one owner.
For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, ninety-eight cents goes directly to purchase vital habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission oversees the use of Federal Duck Stamp funds for the purchase and lease of these wetland habitats for national wildlife refuges. To date, more than 5.3 million acres of wetlands have been purchased using more than $750 million in Duck Stamp revenue.
More information about the approved NAWCA grant programs and projects is available on the Web at:

The Commission includes Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Representatives John Dingell of Michigan and Robert Wittman of Virginia, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, as well as state representatives serving as ex-officio members who vote on projects located within their respective states.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck. Grassley
Before the United States House of Representatives
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
"Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes"
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thank you, Chairman Issa, for calling these important hearings and for the great work you and your staff have done. I am grateful to Agent Brian Terry's family for being here today and wish to express my sympathies for their loss.  I hope we can get them the answers they deserve. I also want to thank the federal agents who will be testifying from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  I know they are here to tell the unvarnished truth.  I also know that can be tough, since they still work for ATF.  These agents already risk their lives to keep us safe.  They shouldn't have to risk their jobs too.  Any attempt to retaliate against them for their testimony today would be unfair, unwise, and unlawful.

When I became Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee in January, this was the first oversight issue to land on my desk.  Several other Senators' offices contacted my office to pass along these allegations about an ATF case called "Operation Fast and Furious."  At first, the allegations sounded too shocking to believe.  But sadly, they turned about to be true.

ATF is supposed to stop criminals from trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels.  Instead, ATF made it easier for alleged cartel middlemen to get weapons from U.S. gun dealers. Agents were ordered to stand by and watch these middlemen ? these straw purchasers ? buy hundredsupon hundreds of weapons.  Agents warned that inaction could lead to tragedy, but management didn't want to listen.  We will hear from some of those agents today.

Inaction would be bad enough, but ATF went even further.

ATF encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw buyers.  Emails prove that at least one dealer worried prophetically about the risk.[1] He wrote to ATF about his concern that a border patrol agent might end up facing the wrong end of one of these guns.[2] ATF supervisors told the dealer not to worry.  So, the agents said it was a bad idea.  And, the gun dealers said it was a bad idea.

Who thought it was a good idea?  Why did this happen?

The President said he didn't authorize it and that the Attorney General didn't authorize it.  They have both admitted that a "serious mistake" may have been made.  There are a lot of questions, and a lot of investigating to do.  But one thing has become clear already ? this was no mistake.

It was a conscious decision by senior officials.  It was written down.  It was briefed up to Washington, D.C.  According to an internal briefing paper, Operation Fast and Furious was intentionally designed to "allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place."[3]

Why would the ATF do such a thing?

Well, the next line in the brief paper tells us.  It was, "to further the investigation and allow for the identification of additional co-conspirators[.]"[4] So, that was the goal.  The purpose of allowing straw buyers to keep buying was to find out who else might be working with them ? who else might be in their network of gun traffickers.  Of course, that assumes that they are part of a big, sophisticated network.  That kind of assumption can cause you to start with a conclusion and work backwards, looking for facts that fit.  Until you figure out that you've got the cart before the horse, you're probably not going to get anywhere.

Professor of Criminology Gary Kleck recently published an article in the Wall Street Journal called "The Myth of Big-Time Gun Trafficking."[5] Professor Kleck said that according to his study of national crime data, ATF handles only about 15 operations each year that involve more than 250 guns.[6] According to his study, a typical trafficking operation involves fewer than 12 guns.[7] 

So why would the ATF make it a priority to identify large networks of traffickers?  Why would senior leadership decide to explicitly elevate that goal above ATF's traditional work of seizing weapons that were illegally purchased?

On October 26, 2009, emails indicate that there was a meeting of senior law enforcement officials at the Justice Department.[8] It appears to have included the heads every law enforcement component of the Department, including directors of the FBI, the DEA and the ATF.[9] It also included the U.S. Attorneys for all the Southwest border states, the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and the Chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.[10]

Sounds like a pretty big, important meeting, doesn't it?

On the agenda at that meeting was a document describing the Department's strategy for combatting the Mexican cartels.  In a section called "Attacking the Southbound Flow of Firearms," it says:

Thus, given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico.  We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them.[11]

The message was clear.  Trying to identify networks of traffickers is more important than seizing weapons.  This document was transmitted to the head of the Phoenix Field Division on October 27, 2009.[12]

Four days later, the Phoenix Field Division began investigating Uriel Patino on suspicion of being involved in a gun trafficking ring.  Ten days after that, Patino was assigned his own case number.  In the first 24 days that the ATF was on to him, Patino bought 34 guns from dealers cooperating with the ATF.  That's nearly three times more than the typical gun trafficking operation, according to the study in the Wall Street Journal I mentioned earlier.

But that was just the beginning.

Since the dealers were cooperating, ATF received notice of each purchase right away.  Analysts entered the serial numbers into ATF's Suspect Gun Database, usually within days of the purchase.  On November 20th, one of the 34 guns Patino bought turned up in Mexico ? just 14 days after he bought it in Phoenix.  ATF learned of the recovery through a hit in the suspect gun database on November 24th.[13] That same day, Patino brought Jaime Avila into a cooperating gun dealer and they bought five more guns.[14] ATF had real-time notice from the dealers and agents rushed to the store to follow them, but arrived too late.

Over the next six weeks, Avila bought 13 guns at dealers cooperating with the ATF.[15] The dealers notified the ATF of each purchase right away.  Analysts entered the serial numbers into the ATF database, usually within about 2 days of the purchase.

Yet ATF did nothing to deter or interrupt the straw purchasers.  Avila went back to the cooperating dealer and purchased three more AK-47-type weapons on January 16, 2010.[16] ATF simply put the serial numbers in its database.  Still, ATF did nothing to stop Avila and Patino.

11 months later, two of those three rifles were recovered at the scene of Agent Terry's murder.[17] During those 11 months, Avila purchased another 34 firearms.  Patino purchased 539.

Again, cooperating gun dealers notified ATF of each purchase. It usually took about 5 days to enter the serial numbers into ATF's database.  But ATF often had real-time or even advanced notice of the purchases from the dealers.

ATF even specifically approved particular transactions. 

For example, in August of 2010, a gun dealer cooperating with the ATF asked for guidance.  Patino wanted 20 more weapons, but the dealer only had 4 in stock.[18] The dealer told ATF that if he were to sell the guns, he would have to "obtain the additional 16 specifically for this purpose."[19] An ATF supervisor wrote back, "our guidance is that we would like you to go through with Mr Patino's request and order the additional firearms[.]"[20] At this point, ATF already knew that he bought 673 guns from cooperating dealers and that many had already been recovered at crime scenes.  I want to be clear that we don't know whether this particular order was actually filled.[21]

However, these new emails support what agents and dealers have been telling us for months.  According to them, dealers notified ATF whenany of the straw purchasers bought guns ? either before, during, or shortly after the sale.

We don't know what the exact totals are.  But, we know the Suspect Gun Database had at least 1,880 guns related to this case.[22] At least 30 of them were high-power, .50 caliber rifles.[23] The straw purchasers bought 212 guns in just six days in December 2009.[24] 70% of all the guns in the database were bought by just 5 straw purchasers.[25] If ATF agents had been allowed to stop just those five buyers, most of the guns in this case would not have fallen into the wrong hands.

Finally, I want to say something about the politics of gun control.  This investigation is not about politics.  It is about getting the facts.  No matter what side of that issue you are on, the facts here should be disturbing.  There will be plenty of time for both sides to argue about policy implications of all this at some point.  But I hope we can do that another day.

Today is about these agents not being allowed to do their job.  Today is about the Terry family and their search for the truth.  Too often, we want to make everything about politics.  We pick sides and only listen to what we want to hear.   At least for today, let's just listen to what these agents and this family has to say.  Let's hear their stories.  Then let's work together to get answers for this family and the other families who may have suffered.  It's time to get to the truth and hold our government accountable.


Encouraging teenage family members to find jobs is one way a family can increase its income during tough times. Many part-time jobs are available that fit into student schedules.

 Evaluating Employment Options
Researchers have studied individuals who grew up during the Depression and worked to help their families. They found work had a positive effect. As adults they were healthier psychologically and were better off for the work experience.

Teens who have goals for the use of their earned income do better, according to recent studies.

Youth who have no clear goals for the use of their earnings spend more on luxuries and develop extravagant spending habits that lead to financial problems in adulthood. Also, these young people are more likely to spend earnings on alcohol and drugs, according to the studies.

Here's a list of ways a teen's income can be managed. Use it to guide a discussion with your teen on how his/her paycheck will be spent:
§ Use a portion for routine expenses incurred by the teen such as school lunches, clothes, gifts, dues and recreation. Save the remainder as an education fund.
§ Contribute a portion to the family household budget and keep a portion for the teenager's personal expenses.
§ Contribute the entire wages to the family budget and give the teen an allowance.

Teen Contributions to Family Budget
An ideal way for the teen to become familiar with the expenses of the whole family is to assist with developing the family budget. Have your teen figure the family budget without any of his/her earnings included. Then, add in a portion of the additional earnings under income and adjust selected expense categories, particularly in areas where the teen normally has expenses. You could also have your teen figure the budget including his/her total earnings.

Sharon M. Danes, Family Resource Management Specialist, University of Minnesota
phone: 612-625-9273