Residents invited to attend meeting and share their concerns

DES MOINES- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that his aide, Alison Hart, will host a "listening post" for local residents in Scott County, May 13, 2010. Iowans are invited to come and learn about how Harkin's new Chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will benefit the state. 

Harkin staff members will hold the listening posts at area community colleges, private colleges and universities and community school districts to supplement the regular office hours at Harkin's five regional offices in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, and Sioux City.  These meetings ensure all Iowans have easy access to constituent services and information from the Harkin office.

"In order to better serve Iowa in the Senate, my office must hear firsthand from Iowans about how current laws impact them and their families," said Harkin. "This mobile office tour expands the reach of my state offices to connect us with residents and bringing information and assistance to the people of Iowa."

Each meeting will focus on the priorities for the Committee in the coming months, including efforts to strengthen K-12 education policy as well as higher education.  Last month, Harkin traveled across Iowa with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to hear from local education leaders, parents, students, business and community leaders on their ideas for a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

Scott County Tour Details - May 13, 2010

7:30 am       
JB Young Intermediate School
1709 Harrison Street
3rd Floor Conference Room
Davenport, IA

9:00 am       
St. Ambrose
518 West Locust Street
Ambrose Room
Davenport, IA

10:30 am       
Scott Community College
500 Belmond Road
Student Life Center
Davenport, IA

Call for Christian bands of all types: Booking the 2010 concert season; register your group with New Anthem at 563-359-7617 or by email: NewAnthem@aol.com
Website: http://www.newanthem.com

You are invited to: "Put a Smile on a Child"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Augustana College PepsiCo Center
1025 30th Street, Rock Island

Fun children's activities and • Free dinner!

Community agencies with useful information!

Bring your youth group, school group, neighborhood, friends and family.
All activities and food are free!

For more information call:
Churches United, 309/786-6494

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement today after attending a Congressional Committee hearing examining the safety and public sale of FEMA trailers. In 2008, after historic flooding in Iowa, it was discovered that more than 100 FEMA-provided trailers in Iowa were infected with mold. It was also reported the trailers contained high levels of formaldehyde.

In November of 2007, a federal court order suspended all sales of FEMA trailers until January 1, 2010. When the court order expired, FEMA sold over 100,000 trailers with warning labels indicating they were "not to be used for housing".

"With such a dismal record of providing unsafe housing, I am concerned about FEMA's sale of these units and how they will be used." Braley said. "I am not sure that the government should be selling trailers to the public that they have already been determined to pose risks to human health. It is important that we continue to examine this issue that has impacted hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast, as well as flooding victims in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest."

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April 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) spoke on the Senate floor today before the third scheduled procedural vote to bring financial reform legislation up for consideration.  The previous two attempts Monday and Tuesday failed due to Republican obstructionism.  Harkin's full remarks follow. 

"Mr. President, yesterday in the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, we learned more about the reckless actions of traders and executives at Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs was hardly the only bad actor in bringing our financial system to the brink of collapse in 2008.  Traders and executives at many other financial institutions got fabulously wealthy by gaming the unregulated casinos on Wall Street.  They walked away with fortunes, even as millions of Americans lost their jobs, their savings, and/or their homes. 

"Yet, as we witnessed in yesterday's hearing, Wall Street remains arrogant and unrepentant.  And it has the gall to believe that it should remain free to continue business as usual.  To that end, it has mobilized a legion of lobbyists - an estimated 1,500 of them . . . 15 lobbyists for every Senator - to try to kill or water down financial reform legislation. 

"It is deeply unfortunate that every one of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have joined with Wall Street in obstructing this legislation - every one of them is not just filibustering the bill, but even preventing it from coming to the floor for debate. 

"I say to my Republican colleagues:  Senator Dodd and Senator Lincoln have bent over backward to consult with Republicans and invite bipartisan cooperation.  Their good-faith efforts have produced solid, common-sense legislation.  Can it be improved?  Of course.  But we can only amend and improve this legislation if the Republican filibuster ends and the bill is brought to the floor.

"Mr. President, it is a bitter irony that, even as we spent a fortune in taxpayer dollars to rescue the global financial system, the self-appointed masters of the universe on Wall Street rewarded themselves with billions in bonuses and geared up to fight efforts by Congress to prevent a replay of the 2008 meltdown.

"Wall Street is all too used to living a different life - and playing by different rules - from Main Street.  And nowhere is this disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street more stark than in the area of compensation.  Over the last decades, compensation in the financial sector has skyrocketed, with some executives walking away with annual compensation of hundreds of millions of dollars, even as the inflation-adjusted incomes of ordinary working Americans have failed to rise. 

"Mr. President, I am dwelling on this matter of compensation because it points to a larger issue.  In my view, a big reason for the financial collapse of 2008 is that things got seriously out of balance and out of whack.  As Glass-Steagall was repealed, as special interests attacked the very idea of government regulation, and as the SEC and other watchdog agencies turned into permissive poodles, bad actors on Wall Street stepped into the void. 

"Pursuing fabulous riches, they drove our economy off a cliff.  And it is ordinary Americans, the ones who work hard and play by the rules, who have paid such a terrible price for Wall Street's recklessness.

"And that is exactly why we need financial reform legislation.  As others have noted, financial crises should not be things that happen every five to seven, much like periodic floods.  Just as we can build dikes to prevent floods, we can take common-sense steps to prevent future financial meltdowns.

"This legislation will protect consumers in their everyday transactions involving everything from mortgages to credit cards to payday loans.  It will safeguard families whose life savings and pensions can be devastated when a financial system collapses.  And it will guard against future massive meltdowns in the financial system that almost always cause collateral damage to millions of innocent bystanders and to the broader economy.

"By all means, strong financial reform must include regulation of the derivatives market.  I am very pleased that the basis for this regulation is the provision passed out of the Agriculture Committee under the leadership of Chairman Lincoln.

"Derivatives contracts have been at the heart of Wall Street's financial manipulation. From December 2000 to June 2008, the height of Wall Street's boom, the face-value of over-the-counter derivatives grew from $95 billion to $683 trillion.

"Now, I have no objection to derivatives as financial instruments. Many manufacturing companies use these financial instruments legitimately to hedge their risks.  But, we also know that many parts of this market amount to nothing more than pure-and-simple gambling. So, despite derivatives' usefulness in many circumstances, we also know that the current structure of the market is in dire need of fundamental reform.

"The derivatives legislation reported out of the Agriculture Committee, last week, is now a component of the larger reform bill that we hope will soon be before the Senate. This proposal would bring these transactions into the light of day by requiring that all transactions be reported to regulators in real-time. It would also bring the vast majorities of these contracts into clearinghouses and exchanges. These market mechanisms help to reduce the concentration of risk in the system and bolster public transparency.  This legislation also gets to the heart of the 'too big to fail' problem by prohibiting swaps entities from also being commercial banks. Commercial banks that are backed by the government should not be able to use that government backing to support their high-stakes gambling.  That only magnifies the level of risk in the banking system. It is unfair to taxpayers, and also to bank customers and community banks. 

"Mr. President, in addition to regulating derivatives, we also need a strong, truly independent financial consumer protection agency to guard against rip-offs and abuses in mortgages, credit cards, payday loans, and other financial products.

"We also need to slam the door on any future taxpayer bailouts of so-called 'too big to fail' financial institutions.  No more AIGs or Citigroups.  When companies make huge bets and lose, we need an orderly process for liquidating those companies.  Period.

"To further improve the bill, I am a cosponsor of legislation offered by Senator Cantwell that would re-create the Great Depression-era regulation that prohibited the mixing of commercial banks, investment banks, and insurance companies. I am also a cosponsor of the SAFE Banking Act offered by Senators Brown and Kaufman that would limit the size of the largest institutions.

"In addition, I am supportive of legislation by Senators Merkley and Levin that blocks institutions that are insured by the FDIC from proprietary trading with their own funds.  We can't have high-risk gambling with the government standing as the backstop if there are large losses.  

"Mr. President, America has been through financial collapses and deep economic downturns before. In charting the way forward, we can learn important lessons from the financial crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression.  FDR answered that crisis by implementing tough new regulations to stabilize the financial system, to rein in risk-taking and recklessness on Wall Street, and to make the economy work for ordinary Americans.  This led to decades of shared economic prosperity unprecedented in our nation's history. 

"That needs to be our model as we shape today's financial reform legislation.  Our aim should be a Wall Street that serves the interests of Main Street.  Our aim should be a financial system that makes possible a new era of economic stability and shared prosperity."

(QUAD CITIES) - The Network: Young Professionals of the Quad Cities, a program of the Illinois and Iowa QC Chambers of Commerce, will be hosting the i.network program in the Quad Cities for the second summer.

i.network is a program developed by young professionals for young professionals to showcase all the Quad Cities region has to offer beyond the four walls of the workplace. i.network targets young professional interns from all over the United States whom are interning in the Quad Cities during the summer months. The overall goal of the program is to retain young talent in the Quad Cities upon their graduation from college.

The i.network program has teamed up with the Illinois and Iowa QC Chambers and www.quadcitycareers.com to provide a newly enhanced summer program.  The program now includes information on how local companies can start an internship program, opportunities to recruit young talent from the Quad Cities and outside regions as well as affordable housing options for the interns during the summer.

For more information on the i.network program, starting an internship program, recruiting interns or housing options; visit www.quadcitycareers.com.

 

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Asian Carp are a critical issue to the ecology of native species.  They have migrated from the Mississippi River to the Illinois River and now threaten Lake Michigan.  In the news on Mon, April 26, the state of Michigan's request to shut down major shipping locks in the Chicago area that may allow the fish to migrate into Lake Michigan was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. Asian carp can grow as large as 4 feet long and weigh 100 pounds.   Kelly Baerwaldt of the Army Corps of Engineers will lead a Channel Cat Talk to teach people how to identify the species, explain why they are dangerous to native organisms, and discuss what is being done to prevent their spread.  Register for this June 1 & 3 talk [9-10:45 a.m.] at www.riveraction.org.

Registration for the Explore the River summer education series is online as of today.  Explore the River consists of Channel Cat Talks and Riverine
Walks that are fun and educational for all ages.  Sessions are held from Jun 1 - Aug 28.

Many other new, fun, and informative classes that are taught by professionals and historians will be held rain or shine and require preregistration. 

* Channel Cat Talks aboard the water taxi are from 9-10:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; departing from Moline landing [2501 East River Drive] next to the Celebration Belle. Seating is limited and tours cost $12.

* Riverine Walks meet at various locations from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday evenings or 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday mornings and cost $5.  They are free for RA members - registration required.

To register or for more information, call (563) 322-2969; or visit www.riveraction.org. River Action Inc., the non-profit group dedicated to fostering the
environmental, economic and cultural vitality of the Mississippi and its riverfront in the Quad Cities

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April 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for more information about the agency's response to employees who used government computers to view pornography, noting that none of the employees identified by the Inspector General review was terminated, despite the Chairman's statement last Friday that termination would be the consequence for such violations.

Grassley also asked the Chairman to address claims made by an SEC employee that one of the employees was a supervisor received no more than a slap on the wrist.  The whistleblower employee said this same supervisor "bullied" examiners in an attempt to prevent them from pursuing "certain red flags" in an examination that uncovered a "massive fraud."  In his letter to the Chairman, Grassley said, "this complaint appears to allege a direct tie between a regulatory failure at the SEC and a supervisor who the SEC did not adequately discipline for viewing pornography on government computers and on government time."

Click here to read Grassley's letter to Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, along with the document containing allegations about the supervisor who was among the employees who engaged in misconduct.  Here is a copy of the letter Grassley received today from Inspector General David Kotz about the status of all the employees in question.

The town of McCausland now has a one stop shop for all things original, handmade and antique.  Peaceful River Trading Company is celebrating their Grand Opening on Thursday, May 13th from 4:00pm - 8:00pm.  The ribbon cutting will be at 4:30pm and there will be plenty of refreshments and door prizes throughout the celebration.


"We've been creating our pieces and selling them at craft shows for years.  We thought it was time to truly showcase our pieces in a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere," expressed Sheila Bosworth, president of Peaceful River.  Bosworth has eight years of experience organizing craft shows and has been involved in other retail businesses.  She runs Peaceful River Trading Co. with business partner Kit Gleason, a retired Army veteran and travel consultant.  "This store has a little something for everyone and I look forward to growing a thriving business in McCausland."


In addition to the many unique and artistic pieces, Peaceful River Trading Co. also has a room dedicated to outdoorsmen, as well as items on consignment and exhibits of artwork and crafts from area artists.  "We would also like to host a variety of events for people in the area involving the artwork we feature and the items we can create", said Bosworth.  The store will also be selling flavored coffee and tea.  Peaceful River Trading Co. will be sponsoring a small farmer's market weekly on Thursdays from 4-6pm starting May 13th as well.  "We are hoping to provide a broad range of products for the people in northern Scott County in a fun environment," says Bosworth.


Peaceful River Trading Co. is open from 10 am- 5 pm Wednesday through Saturday and 11 am to 4 pm on Sundays.  It is located in the former McCausland Savings Bank Building at 302 North Salina Street.

Washington, DC - (Apr 28, 2008) Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today voted to block a Congressional pay raise that would take effect on January 1, 2011.  The bill, H.R. 5146, will block the annual cost-of-living adjustment for members' salaries, saving taxpayers about one million dollars.

"Our nation is on the road to recovery after an historic economic crisis," Braley said.  "As Americans work to get back on their feet, our job in Congress is to strengthen the middle class and create jobs."

Congress' action today continues the pay freeze already in place for 2010. The Senate passed identical legislation last week.

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