April , 2019

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Archive for July 25th, 2009

John Herman Stroger’s “Authorized” biography released

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on John Herman Stroger’s “Authorized” biography released


John Herman Stroger

“Beyond The Boardroom”, the long awaited biography of former Cook County Board President John Herman Stroger, Jr., has been officially released.

Stroger, former Cook County Board President, and an icon in Illinois politics, served 38 years as a public elected official – 36 continuous years as a sitting Commissioner and 12 as Commissioner and President, at the Cook County Board.

Stroger retired from the Board after suffering a debilitating stroke a week before the Primary Election. Although he won in the 2006 election, he resigned from the post before the November 7th general election, and Democratic committeemen – 50 from Chicago and 30 from Downstate – slated his son, Todd, a Chicago alderman at the time to replace him on the ballot.

As President of the Cook County Board, Stroger was the overseer of a more than $3.4-billion budget, 27,000 county employees, and several County agencies and healthcare facilities. He also served as a spokesman, Vice President and President of NACo (National Association of Counties), an organization with a membership total of more than 2,000 counties from across the country. He was the first African-American elected president of NACo. He was appointed by President William “Bill” Clinton to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and selected by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to serve as a member of a DNC Committee.

“Beyond The Boardroom” captures and capsules Stroger’s almost four decades in public office.

The book is written by author Juanita Bratcher, a former news reporter and journalist for 31 years. Bratcher is the published author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor”, a book that traces the grassroots’ efforts that successfully propelled Mayor Harold Washington into the 5th Floor of City Hall. He was the first African-American elected to the post.

Bratcher served as a “Personal Assistant” to Stroger in Cook County government, served as a Press Aide in his 1994 run for President of the Cook County Board, and Press Secretary to his 2006 re-election campaign.

For more information about “Beyond The Boardroom”, or to purchase a book, call (773) 375-8127. The cost of the book is $22.95.

Be careful what you ask for: Roland Burris should not resign

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Be careful what you ask for: Roland Burris should not resign

By Juanita Bratcher

Day after day, one politician after the other has urged U.S. Senator Roland Burris to resign from the senate seat he was appointed to by former Governor Rod Blagojevich. It’s not surprising that Republican politicians would ask for his resignation, that’s a coveted seat they would like to have placed in the Republican column. But many of these declarations are coming from politicians (elected officials) within Burris own Democratic Party.  And much of the rhetoric – if not all – appears to be political in nature. It’s unfair that a tainted medal is being placed around Burris’ neck simply because he was appointed by impeached Governor Blagojevich; but what’s fair in politics, anyway? And by asking Burris to resign sends a message to Illinoisans and to the U.S. Senate – whether directly or indirectly – that somehow he is not worthy of the seat, muddies up his name in the process, and probably, will make it impossible for him to win the seat in the 2010 election.

Many Illinoisans have voiced concern over the way Illinois law states that a vacant Senate seat should be filled – the governor appoints a candidate to serve out the remaining term; in this case the Senate vacancy left by President Barack Obama. Burris was chosen according to Illinois’ law.  There was also the fiasco in New York in filling the vacant senate seat left by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, just not as controversial as here in Illinois.
That said, the law in Illinois did not call for a Special Election to fill the vacancy, but rather that the appointment be made by the governor. And faced with a shaky economy and the state billions in deficit, Illinois can ill afford a Special Election that will sap-up, by estimates, upward of $50-million. Burris should remain a U.S. Senator until 2010, and then the voters will decide on whether to keep him in the post or choose someone else.

 But there are whispers going on within the African-American community that are saying “enough already,” and that those politicians asking Burris to resign just might find themselves in the mist of a political storm and end up on the losing end if and when they run for re-election; that Black voters will retaliate at the polls.

That scenario played out in 1983 when blacks decided to oust Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne from office because of her “cavalier attitude” toward the black community, her appointments to the Chicago Housing Authority, and insult after insult even though blacks had played a pivotal role in her successful win over the Powerful Democratic machine.
At a press conference this week, eight members of the City Council Black Caucus expressed that same sentiment, calling the declarations asking for Burris to resign a “feeding frenzy,” and warned there would be a price to pay.

Sixth Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle who also serves as the city chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, suggested to “those people who seek to run in the wards of the city of Chicago where there are people of color living that they should tone it down because some of us are taking notes…I can’t go to the residents of my ward and ask them to vote for someone who they feel have disrespected them…”

The chairman of the Black Caucus, Alderman Carrie Austin (34th), said it was time for the Burris bashing to stop. “To just muck up somebody’s 30-plus year record of loyalty to the Democratic Party – for all of them to turn on him – we say it’s time for this to stop. And if it does not, we shall remember this at the next election.”  

Burris has said he won’t resign. And regardless of the circumstances under which he was appointed, he is an excellent choice for the U.S. Senate. He is a man of integrity, ethical, and a no non-sense politician, capable and certainly able to serve and represent the citizenry of Illinois.
But since being appointed to the senate seat by former Governor Blagojevich to serve out the remaining senate term of President Barack Obama, Burris finds himself in the middle of a fiery political storm, a hornet’s nest.

So those calling for his resignation should be careful what they ask for because they may face a political backlash in their re-election efforts from Black voters when they go to the polls in the next election.

Housing is still out of reach in Illinois

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Housing is still out of reach in Illinois

According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Housing Wage for the state of Illinois is $17.17 for a two-bedroom apartment, while the actual wage a renter in Illinois earns is $15.33.  The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment renting for $893- the average rent in Illinois.  The Housing Wage in Illinois has increased 32.5% since 2000.

The report, Out of Reach 2009, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group, and Housing Action Illinois.

Federal guidelines state that no one should spend more than 30% of their income on housing, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes and insurance.

“The increase in the housing wage compared to a year ago suggests that the foreclosure crisis and the economic slowdown have actually driven up rental costs overall as competition for affordable rental units increases as fewer people are buying homes and people who lost their homes to foreclosure have reentered the rental market,” said Mimi Chedid, Policy Coordinator for Housing Action Illinois.  The housing wage for Illinois in 2008 was $16.23.

In Illinois, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.75. In order to afford market-rate rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Illinois, a minimum wage earner must work 89 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.  Or a household must have 2.2 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

In Illinois, among metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, the lowest Housing Wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $10.50 in the Bond County metropolitan area. The highest housing wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $19.31 in the Chicago metropolitan area.

An estimated 49% of renters in the Illinois area do not earn enough income to afford a two-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent.

Housing Action Illinois’ mission is to increase and preserve the supply of decent, affordable, and accessible housing in Illinois for low-and moderate-income households through advocacy, public education, and technical assistance to nonprofits.

Data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country is available online, at www.nlihc.org/oor.


Blagojevich, five others indicted

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Blagojevich, five others indicted

“A terrible day in Illinois history”

Calling it a “terrible day in Illinois history,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the indictment of former Governor Rod Blagojevich by the U.S. Attorney’s Office “serves to confirm the public’s long-standing distrust” of Blagojevich and his administration and that “it underscores the culture of corruption that has afflicted our state for far too long.”

In a released statement by Madigan, she stated that “While this is a terrible day in Illinois history, it is also a moment in which we can recognize an opportunity for real reform. Today provides us a chance — not just to bring to justice former Governor Blagojevich — but also to move forward by putting into place changes that will enable state government to establish a true sense of accountability and restore the public’s trust. I am thankful for the extraordinary work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature and the executive branch to enact positive changes that end this dismal chapter in our state’s history.”

Blagojevich was indicted on 16 federal corruption charges of racketeering, fraud and extortion. Others indicted were Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, fundraiser Christopher Kelly, Alonzo “Lon” Monk, a former chief of staff to Blagojevich; John Harris, Blagojevich’s chief of staff; who was arrested on charges the same day as Gov. Blagojevich; and William Cellini.

Blagojevich was also accused of a “Pay to Play” deal with the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama


Playing the “Bully” card with U.S. Supreme Court nominee

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Playing the “Bully” card with U.S. Supreme Court nominee

by Juanita Bratcher


It is appalling that President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, is being subjected to unwarranted attacks by a bunch of bullies labeling her a “racist” and “bigot.” And many of these amplified, strident and incendiary voices are coming from people on the sidelines – not from elected officials who will ultimately make the decision to confirm or not to confirm her – but by some who themselves are looked upon by others as racists.

Shortly after U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement, it was obvious that the battle lines would soon be drawn for verbal combat over his successor. And no matter whom the nominee, there was bound to be a shootout of words between various factions – pro or con, but certainly not expected to accelerate to the ugly level of name calling it has now come to be. President Obama wasted no time in naming Souter’s replacement. That was the beginning of a vicious war of words about his nominee on blog sites across the Internet, talk radio and TV.

There’s nothing wrong with constructive, valid criticism, but in this case, some have gone beyond the pale. Criticism should focus on Sotomayor’s 17-year record on the bench – her judicial career overall – judicial decisions, opinion papers, character, and qualifications. It should never involve name calling, disrespect and bullying.

A lot of the rhetoric is much ado about nothing, just plain political spin talk - character bashing, distorting her words, using selective quotes while omitting some of the content, or not giving the full quote that was made.


Then again, perhaps it’s not just about her judicial opinions or persona. Maybe it’s an issue of racism, that she is not entitled to this post because of her ethnicity. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court and the third woman, coming behind Sandra Day O’Connor, who announced her retirement in July 2005 and was replaced by U.S. Justice Samuel Alito on January 31, 2006; and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Ginsburg replaced U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White. She was confirmed by a 96-3 vote.


Some people just can’t swallow change so easily.

When President Lyndon Johnson nominated Justice Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967, he was the first Black to be nominated for the post. The nomination didn’t sit too well with several southern senators on the Judiciary Committee. His appointment was met with strong opposition from them, but he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a 69-11 vote and was seated on Oct. 2, 1967. Once in an interview, Marshall said he would serve on the court until he was 110 years old. He died at the age of 84.

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the 102nd person to sit on that august body, appointment infuriated conservatives because of her support for the Equal Rights Amendment. However, President Ronald Reagan, in nominating her for the Court, said he saw a sense of fairness in O’Connor. In the end, O’Connor was confirmed by a vote of 99-0.


In her 17 years on the bench, Sotomayor has made many decisions and opinions. These are the things she should be judged by.

When President Barack Obama won the presidency, he vowed that change would be coming to America. And indeed it has in a short period of time. There are some who cannot accept change, and change to them can be a bit hard to swallow. Diversity on the court is ideal, certainly a far stretch from its status of many decades ago.

During President Obama’s weekly radio and Internet address Saturday (May 30, 2009), he said of Sotomayor:  ”I am certain that she is the right choice.”

Sotomayor’s confirmation should be decided on her merit, and not a speech she delivered in Berkeley, California, in October 2001, where she reportedly stated that, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The White House said Sotomayor admitted that she made a poor choice of words. But even that won’t stop the bullies from attacking; they’ll find something else to whine about.


109-year-old still believes in smiles

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on 109-year-old still believes in smiles

 By Juanita Bratcher

The invitation to Ethel B. Darden’s 109th Birthday Party appropriately stated that she was “feelin’ fine at 109.” When I went to interview her, her yearly Birthday celebration had already taken place some three months earlier.

She was neatly dressed – thanks to her caregiver Betty Miller – and wearing eye-catching jewelry – a white pearl necklace and earrings. She was in a jovial mood, her eyes bright and ever alert. Before the interview started, she asked questions of me. And if the answers weren’t clear enough for her, she had no problem asking the questions again.

“What did you bring for me?” she asked, smiling. “Did someone send me something by you?” Those questions didn’t surprise me at all; Darden is subject of a lot of attention from friends, sorority, and alumni of Howalton Day


Darden has probably had more birthday celebrations than the average person. Her friends make certain of that. Some 200 people attended her 108th Birthday Party. And some of the same familiar faces that come by yearly were there to celebrate her 109th birthday celebration with her on February 22, 2009, 2 to 4 p.m., at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, an assisted living facility where she resides. She has an excellent attitude about life. But don’t tell her she’s “cute.” Monkeys are cute, she says.

She still gets a kick out of singing one of her favorite songs, “When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” However, if you’re in her presence, she wants you to sing along with her. So when I was asked to sing along, I chimed in, without hesitation. It was a fun moment for both of us and those who were looking on.

Darden is not the oldest living person in the world; but she is the oldest living AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha) member in the country, and the only living founder of the Graduate Chapter of AKA in Dallas, Texas. She has a lifetime membership in the sorority and keeps her membership in Texas even after years of residing in Chicago. Further, she is the oldest living graduate of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.

Darden received her Bachelor’s Degree in 1921. She did graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Roosevelt College, Hampton University and the Art Institute. She was the assistant principal at Howalton Day School (founded by her sister), and a longtime member of United Church of Hyde Park which she loves being part of, and enjoys going to church, she noted.

When she spoke of her church in a biographical sketch, Darden said “Through the inspirational sermons, music, and the warm fellowship of our congregation, I have seen the beauty and felt the joy of living. This stage in my life has given me a new outlook on life…”

She is a centenarian and several months away from being a super centenarian (those that are110 and more). She has many memories…good memories, and not many people get the opportunity to “live as long as you,” I pointed out to her. She attributes her key to longevity to being “a very careful person and of having many years of prosperity that led to living a good life.”

She is a resident of Hyde Park. President Barack Obama also hails from Hyde Park. According to her caregiver, Darden voted for President Obama in the Primary and General Elections.

Her favorite foods are Chicken wings, wine and cheese, chocolate/vanilla ice cream, chocolate candy and peaches, especially Georgia peaches, she emphasized. “And when she eats her food, she enjoys it; but she wants you to eat with her,” said Miller. “If she has a piece of chicken, she will offer you a piece of chicken. She’ll say, ‘Girl, I want you to eat something. Do you have a plate over there?’ She is a sharing person, a wonderful sharing person. And she loves her students.”

During the interview, most of Darden’s conversation focused on family history. She noted that she came from a family of educators and preachers. “My marriage name is Darden,” she said. “His first name was Lloyd,” referring to her husband. When I got married, I became Ethel Darden. I taught school. We (she and her twin sister Esther) were known as the Boswell twins.”

Darden said her contributions to society and community were made primarily through her career – in the field of education.

When she talked about her tenure as Assistant Principal at Howalton School, she emphasized that “Having family connections with the project, she felt a great responsibility for its growth and success…”

“This tenure (at Howalton) was the highlight of my career, as I have lived long enough to see and hear of the beautiful results of our labor through the successes of alumni and the length of the school’s existence…”

Her caregiver engaged her in a numbers game to show that she was still alert in adding numbers. “What’s 10 and 10? What’s a 100 and 100? What’s 1400 and 1400?” Asked Miller. She answered all correctly.

Josie Childs, Darden’s friend, said Miller is good to Darden, “and Darden thinks of her as her little girl.”

I shared some research with Darden. I told her that through research, I found a person that had lived to be 130 and several had lived to be 127 years old. “You’re a baby to them,” I said to her. She smiled, and responded, ‘Yeah.’

What was one of the most frustrating things that happened in her life? She was asked. “When my hat was getting away from me,” she said. “The wind was blowing strong and my hat was getting away.” And, it took some doing to retrieve it, she said.

Childs said Darden’s family is “interesting African-American history.” Her parents – Charles Roby and Mary Ella Boswell – met at Talladega College and subsequently got married in the college chapel there.

The Boswells were the parents of five children – all girls – Esther, Ethel (twins); Doris, Alberta and Bessie. They were all born in Dallas, Texas. “Darden outlived her family,” Childs said. “None of the five girls had kids, so she has no nieces or nephews.

“She is a lifetime member of AKA’s Dallas Chapter, and kept her membership there even after coming to Chicago to live,” said Childs. “And she still knows the (AKA) song.”

Childs’ husband was the Dardens’ accountant. “I met her through my husband. I knew her but not that well.”

Darden’s husband, before his death, asked Childs’ husband to look out for his wife and look at her affairs. “Her husband took good care of her. One of the things I regret about the timing of my husband’s death in December 1999 was that he wanted to celebrate her 100th birthday with her. But he died on December 6th after we returned from our trip to the Holy Land on November 30. That was our last trip together.

“She is such a delightful person and is still a southern belle,” Childs said of Darden. “She gave all the money paid to her at Howalton School back to the school to help.”


Alpha Kappa Alpha mourns the loss of Michael Jackson

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Alpha Kappa Alpha mourns the loss of Michael Jackson



Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is joining the world in grieving over the loss of entertainer extraordinaire Michael Jackson.

Speaking on behalf of its 225,000 members in 975 chapters worldwide, AKA’s International President Barbara A. McKinzie characterized Jackson as “a rare talent who comes along only once in a lifetime.”

McKinzie noted that from the moment Jackson burst onto the musical scene as the youngest member of the legendary Jackson Five, through his decades as a solo performer, he was a groundbreaker.

She noted that his album Thriller remains the highest-grossing record of all time — testimony to the power of his appeal. She added that in addition to his compelling musical sound, Jackson’s signature moonwalk, and his ability to command the stage and captivate his fans only contributed to his dynamism.

“The world is united in mourning his passing because of the joy he brought to the millions who were touched by him,” declared McKinzie.

In reflecting on his legacy, McKinzie said: “Michael Jackson was an icon whose musical genius earned him the moniker ‘King of Pop’. As musical royalty, he ushered in a new sound that opened the musical gates for so many others who came behind him. His pioneering role in shaping R&B and an entire musical era is the gift he leaves behind.”

McKinzie extended condolences to his parents, Katherine and Joseph, his siblings, his children and to Michael Jackson’s legion of fans , including all members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Quotes of the Day

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Quotes of the Day



“If one has to pray in order to love his fellowman, then his/her intentions are not sincere from the start. Love is a natural process.”


“Every word spoken is not always an honest assessment.”


“For every mistake made, a lesson should have been learned.”


“Remember, when you think you know how to play the game real good, there’s always that chance that someone else can play it better than you.”

 All quotes by Juanita Bratcher. They appear

 in “Straight-Up True Blue: My Two Cents Worth”


Health insurance costs to increase 85 percent in Illinois by 2016 without reform

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 25 - 2009 Comments Off on Health insurance costs to increase 85 percent in Illinois by 2016 without reform



Report Details the Cost of Inaction


As the health care debate in Washington resumes this week, a report from the New America Foundation finds that without reform, health insurance premiums in Illinois will nearly double by 2016 – to $25,409 for a family insurance plan obtained through an employer.  As a result, families in Illinois will see health care costs consume nearly half their income.


The report, written by health policy experts at the New America Foundation and co-released in Illinois by the Campaign for Better Health Care, explores the current cost of the health care system to families in Illinois, as well as the consequences of potential inaction by Congress.


According to the report, Illinois’ economy lost more than $8 billion as a direct result of the effects of uninsurance in 2007 – a total of $4,728 per uninsured resident.


“With health reform, we can raise the quality of care and bring the costs down,” said Vincent D. Keenan, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians. “The current path is unsustainable and we’re all paying the price – we have to fix this problem now.”  Michael Carrigan, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO said, “The full details aren’t even public yet, but already the opposition is trying to make the current proposals look like catastrophes.  The real catastrophe for America’s working families would be to do nothing about health care.”


Individual insurance plans purchased through an employee-sponsored plan currently cost $4,800 annually but will rise to nearly $8,400 in 2016, according to the report.  Average deductibles will increase 56.5 percent in Illinois, from $1,484 to $2,323 without health reform.


According to Jim Duffett, executive director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, “We’ve waited too long already, and now opponents of reform argue that we can’t afford it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.”  He continued, “We’ve all felt squeezed by the cost of health care, and it will only get worse.  Illinois literally can’t afford to wait any longer for national reform.”


The full text of the report and accompanying state profiles can be found here.  To reach an author of the study, please contact Elizabeth Carpenter, Associate Policy Director, Health Policy Program, New America Foundation at (202) 596-3408.


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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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