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Archive for August, 2010

Former CTA Commissioner calls upon U.S. Attorney Holder to “Overhaul” U.S. Justice Department

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 

 In wake of Blagojevich’s trial and pending re-trial, entrepreneur-turned advocate urges Attorney General to “fix” broken justice system

 

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) – Howard Medley, a prominent Chicago businessman turned advocate for the innocent, has called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to overhaul the U.S. Justice Department, which he says has been virtually unchanged since its inception in 1870.

Medley made this plea in wake of the outcome of the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, which he characterized as “an example of what’s wrong with the justice system.”

Calling the judicial process a “travesty” where the scales of justice are more weighted toward sending innocents to jail, Medley appealed to the Attorney General to put a checks-in-balance system in place to prevent the type of “prosecutorial malfeasance” that was evidenced in the government’s case against Blagojevich and in thousands of others that do not gain notoriety.

As the government readies to retry the case, Medley asserted that he concurs with the Washington Post and other outlets calling for the prosecutors to drop the case. However, Medley instead is challenging the Department of Justice to funnel the millions of dollars being spent to re-prosecute the former Illinois government toward “fixing” the system.

Medley also assailed former presidents (Bill) Clinton and (Jimmy) Carter for making high-profile junkets to North Korea to free Americans when there are thousands of innocents in America’s prisons who need advocates and intervention.

Medley, president of Medley’s Movers, a retired Chicago Elections Commissioner, former Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board member who served under five Mayors, said the Blagojevich case is “another example of the failure of the justice system.” While he would not speculate on Blagojevich’s innocence or guilt, he says that the case underscores the fact that “we continue to rely on the same old dilapidated system that has remained almost virtually unchanged since its inception in 1870.”

Medley assesses that “the system did not work in 1870 and does not work now because since its inception, innocent people have been sentenced and even falsely executed under this system.”

Medley pointed out that the only improvement to the system has been the discovery and use of DNA to prove innocence or guilt. He added that DNA testing to prove innocence is most often a tool of advocates, rather than government prosecutors. He cited the tenacious college students from the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University whose reliance on DNA, and their own investigative skills, have freed 11 innocent men…five who were on Death Row.

A victim himself of what he classifies as judicial overzealousness, Medley blames the system’s failings on prosecutors who are driven by:

* a thirst to close high-profile cases – even when evidence is suspect or non-existent

* a vindictive craving to exact revenge or settle a score

* a quest for fame – even at the expense of justice

Medley said the situation is compounded because the fate of those accused is decided by a pool of jurors who are untrained to sift through such a mountain of “evidence.” He said this sets the stage for miscarriages of justice.

Referring specifically to the Blagojevich case – but concluding that these dynamics are pervasive in other cases — Medley assessed that:

* this case was decided by marginally compensated, poorly-trained jurors, who appeared to be overwhelmed by the complicated testimony and presentations

* jurors are more often swayed by the theatrics of attorneys

* Hard-working jurors must take time away from their jobs, lives and families while being marginally compensated. This magnifies their stress – often preventing them from rendering a true, unbiased verdict.

Medley says he is disturbed when he sees “current and former presidents, as well as other high-profile leaders venture to foreign lands seeking justice for purported innocents while innocent people languish in America’s prisons.” He said it appears they are “more interested in international events rather than America’s national crises.” He admonished them to address the same abuse that are flagrantly occurring right here in America. He dismissed these junkets as being PR driven bent on “seeking fame – not concern for justice.”

Medley said President Carter needs to go right up the highway to the Georgia Correctional facility to see the human rights abuses and injustice rather than embarking on a global junket to North Korea. Repeating his plea for sweeping reform, Medley emphasized that in a country as rich in resources as America that prides itself on its devotion to human rights, it is critical that the justice system be overhauled. He said the U.S. Department of Justice must “protect the rights of the innocent and stop the flow of innocent people from being hauled off to prison like cattle to slaughter.”

Giannoulias and General Wesley Clark: Clean energy critical to National Security and Economy

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Four-Star General Criticizes Congressman Kirk for Opposing Clean Energy Legislation that Would Decrease U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil


Chicago, IL – Four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark joined U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias today (August 30) in Chicago at one of the city’s only electric car recharging stations to endorse Giannoulias’ candidacy and highlight his forward-thinking leadership on clean energy reform that would decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil, improve its national security and create the jobs of tomorrow.

“America is addicted to foreign oil.  It’s that simple,” said Giannoulias. “We’ve got to stop sending our money overseas to the same regimes that fund the terrorists who are intent on doing harm to America.  The easiest way to become energy independent is to transition from dirty fuels to clean fuels that we produce right here in Illinois.  Congressman Kirk has been in Washington, D.C. for so long that he has been on both sides of this issue — first voting for the major energy bill for national security reasons, and then promising to vote against it in the Senate as he begged for Sarah Palin‘s endorsement.  He simply can not be trusted to put America’s economic and national security interests above his own political ambition.”

General Wesley Clark has been a vocal leader in need for clean energy development.  He supports reforms because they will not only be good for the environment and the economy, but because they are imperative to protecting America’s national security.  This was the same reason Congressman Mark Kirk cited when he voted for energy legislation in the House last year – legislation he now opposes.

“Investing in a clean energy economy will not only be good for our environment, but it will also strengthen our national security and jumpstart our economy,” said General Clark. “Congressman Kirk agreed with me when he voted for the energy bill last year, but now he stands starkly against it. That’s not leadership, and it’s not the type of forward-thinking advocate that Illinois voters should send to the U.S. Senate.”

Congressman Mark Kirk’s Flip-Flop on Cap-and-Trade

Then:    After voting for the cap-and-trade bill, Kirk explained his vote was for national security reasons – “As a Navy veteran, I think it is time to set America’s policy towards defunding Middle Eastern dictatorships by cutting our foreign oil bill, giving our troops less to worry about. In the coming Senate debate, I hope we can repeat this environmental success and aggressively back a national program to defund Iran and Venezuela by reducing America’s need for foreign oil.” [Kirk release, 6/29/09]

Now:     But during a Republican primary when he was trying to woo Sarah Palin’s endorsement, he dismissed the national security rationale and had a new reason – “I voted for it because it was in the narrow interests of my congressional district. But as your representative, representing the entire state of Illinois, I will vote ‘No’ on that bill coming up.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/09; Washington Post, Plum Line, 9/15/09]

In a memo to Sarah Palin soliciting her endorsement, Kirk recommends that she use the following talking point: “he will oppose Cap & Trade”. [The Fix, WashingtonPost.com, 11/4/09]

General Wesley Clark

During 34 years of service in the United States Army Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. In his final military command, General Clark commanded Operation Allied Force, NATO’s first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and he was responsible for the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. General Clark’s awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The State Department Distinguished Service Award, the US Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), The US Army Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), The Silver Star, the Bronze Star (two awards), the Purple Heart.

Congressman Mark Kirk Speaks in Peoria, Illinois

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Asia’s Importance to the US Economy and Our Future Security

Speech made on August 30, 2010

 
Peoria, IL – Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my views on some of the most important overseas challenges for American policymakers today and in the future.

 
Earlier this month, I discussed urgent military and diplomatic problems facing the United States in Europe and the Middle East.  Today, I want to talk about our relationships with Asia, and particularly with China and India.

 

I hope to be brief today because we have a town hall and I want to get to your questions.

 
Bipartisan congressional cooperation and international respect are essential to America’s security and growth. This is best achieved through dialogue.  That’s why town halls are so useful to American leaders.  They teach us to receive rather than transmit.

 


I have one observation from my speech a few weeks ago that I want to emphasize.  How we address foreign policy questions will affect the safety and incomes of Americans today and children tomorrow.  In short, trade and good relations play in Peoria…and help bring jobs to the heartland.  These issues are too consequential to be subjected to partisan exploitation.  Our salaries and the safety of our families depends on getting these policies right.

 

Asia now is more important than Europe to our economic and security future.  While much of our State and Defense Department assets are focused on Europe and the Middle East, Asia has already become America’s most important region for a generation.  Asia has forty percent of the world’s population; and accounts for half of all international trade, sixty percent of the world’s gross domestic product and sixty percent of all U.S. exports.


Millions of Americans would be unemployed but for customers in Asia.

 
Trade and investment from Asia created millions of new jobs here in the U.S.  Caterpillar – like other major Illinois employers – Boeing, Motorola, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere – is a company now built on exports, much of which are sold in Asia.  Our continued growth will depend in great measure on increased sales of products and services to these emerging markets, especially China and India.


But as important as these markets are to millions of Americans whose income depends on the Asia trade, the future we seek of peace and free markets is not assured.


The nation that presents both the greatest opportunities and the most daunting challenges is China.  While the Washington-Moscow hotline dominated the direction of the 20th century, the 21st century is one that will be directed from Washington and Beijing.  Running a long-ignored but close second is our relationship with New Delhi.


 

We must make these relationships work.  We have interests in China and cannot refrain from stating them clearly, especially when China proves, as it often does, reluctant to hear us.

 


Following the policies of Deng Xiaoping, Being’s senior leaders know China cannot pursue its own economic and security policies alone.  Many of us worry there are a growing number of junior leaders who are more nationalistic and troubling.


 

China should envision itself as a leading stakeholder in the rules of free markets and stability, especially in Korea and the Middle East.

 

 

The evidence that China is willing to demonstrate these policies commensurate with the size of its economy is discouraging.  China’s economic growth over the last three decades has been achieved through its increased access to world markets.  The biggest overseas market for Chinese products is the United States; followed by Japan, and Europe.  It would seem obvious then that China’s economic future is inextricably connected to the economic growth of its most important overseas markets.


 

Unfortunately, China is pursuing a growing list of mercantilist policies rather than liberalized trade that is the engine of economic growth.

 
U.S. and European companies that have been long time investors and even boosters of China now fear the government’s growing restrictions on foreign trade and investments; its vast regulatory bureaucracies with China-only standards; and its continued unwillingness to enforce intellectual property rights.


 

China will not reach its potential by abandoning international market economies for a kind of crude economic nationalism that repeatedly failed elsewhere.  And it is in our interest to work with Chinese leaders who know this, building partnerships with multilateral institutions to encourage cooperation.  There are a great many Chinese leaders concentrated in the eastern cities who know that the key to China’s growth is continued connection with the rules and norms of international markets, not separation.  They are our allies against a growing tide of economic and military nationalism.
 

 

We can also set a compelling example by approving the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.  This agreement will encourage a virtuous cycle of liberalization and international standards that China cannot leave herself separate from.


 

In 2005, Congressman Rick Larsen and I formed the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group in the House of Representatives to encourage dialogue between Congress and China.  We have no test for membership and joke that we have all three warring tribes of Congress on China issues in the Working Group: “Panda Huggers”, “Dragon Slayers” and the increasing number of very hard line “Panda Slayers”.  While the White House has a nuanced view of China and the Senate sees some good and bad, the House saw only bad, much of it poorly informed.


 

We learned that the top issue for Americans selling American goods in China was not the currency issue but the routine theft of intellectual property.  We learned that while China’s position on Iran is disappointing at best, its navy now is a new partner in suppressing piracy in the Gulf of Aden. It’s a start for a power that needs to back global stability.
 

As we like to say, sometimes we translate Chinese into Congress – but most times translate Congress into Chinese.

 
I also joined with Rick Larsen and others to sponsor the U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda – whose legislative priorities I believe would strengthen U.S. influence in China and America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.


 

Our first priority is to increase the U.S. diplomatic presence in China that is currently far too small for a country of such size and importance.  We have only five consulates in China, and no diplomatic presence in many Chinese cities with populations over a million.  If we are serious in our intentions to protect intellectual property rights, expand U.S. exports and make America more competitive, than we must have a presence in the country that reflects the importance of those issues.  I’ve sponsored legislation that would open a new consulate in Fuzhou, and ten smaller diplomatic posts in Chinese cities with populations over a million.


 

With Rick Larsen and others, I’ve supported legislation to open offices in China to promote U.S. exports, and provide American small businesses with the information and assistance they need to sell their goods and services in Chinese markets.  


 

We have more than a trade deficit with China.  We have a knowledge deficit.  There are far more Chinese students learning English than American students learning Chinese.  I co-sponsored legislation authored by Representative Susan Davis to increase Chinese language and cultural studies in the U.S.


 

China’s unquenchable need for energy poses one of the greatest threats to international stability and one of the greatest potential opportunities for U.S-China cooperation.  China is the world’s greatest polluter.


 

In its pursuit of ever more sources of oil, China has aggravated the fears of other Asian countries that dispute its claims to waters with sizeable reserves of oil, and has prioritized its relationships with countries such as Iran, Sudan and Venezuela that threaten our security or have caused some of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time, and which potentially puts it on a collision course with the U.S. and our allies.


 

On the other hand, China is investing far more resources into developing alternative energies than we are.  The challenge for us, then, is to develop the kind of cooperation with China to reduce the world’s consumption of fossil fuels that will encourage Beijing to be part of the solution rather than one of the biggest causes of the problem.  That’s why I joined Representative Steve Israel on legislation to authorize and fund joint research and development programs with China to advance carbon capture and sequestration technology; improved energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.


 

China has to understand that a great world power must accept great world responsibilities if it wants to avoid becoming an international pariah.  Iran poses a profound threat to the security of the U.S. and its allies, and, whether it recognizes it or not, to China, which clearly has as much of an interest in a stable Middle East as we do.


 

Even more urgent is the question North Korea, with its nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, poses to China.  No country has greater influence on North Korea than China.  Indeed, China might be the only country that has any influence at all on that unpredictable and belligerent regime.  If Beijing does not help us to compel North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal and cease its frequent provocations against South Korea, Japan and others, it, too, will suffer the consequences of Pyongyang’s dangerous behavior.


 

If the status quo continues, Japan may one day have no choice but to develop its own nuclear arsenal, and that should be the least of China’s concerns.  Given North Korea’s record for exporting arms and weapons of mass destruction technology to some of the most dangerous actors on the world stage, the problem of nuclear proliferation, a problem that threatens the peace, security and economic progress of the world, will become as precarious and perilous as any the world has ever confronted.


 

Lastly, although China reacts poorly to what it considers interference in its internal affairs, the U.S. must never refrain from forthrightly making the case for the liberty and inherent dignity of people wherever those ideals are threatened.  I have defended the human rights of Tibetans, the political autonomy of Hong Kong, and the rights of every Chinese citizen to be governed by their consent and will continue to do so.  I believe that is the honor and responsibility of Americans, who live in a country that declared its independence by proclaiming the universality of those rights.


 

It is also in the best interests of China.  For no country, however fast its economy grows, however powerful its military, will ever achieve a position of lasting influence and prestige in the world, if its people are denied the freedom to think and act for themselves.  With one party rule, where government sets itself above the governed, comes corruption, unresponsive bureaucracies, and ultimately international hostility and isolation. To be truly great, China must become truly free.


 

If I’m privileged to represent Illinois in the Senate, I’ll continue to promote a bipartisan, problem solving approach to the major foreign policy challenges of our time, especially the challenges – and opportunities – China poses for U.S. policymakers.


 

Let me close by touching on the other big relationship we must develop in Asia – the U.S.-India partnership. When India became independent, our relationship got off on the wrong foot.  For the Cold War, India was an anomaly.  Its military was equipped by the Soviet Union and its economic policy was designed by the British Labor party.  Under that economy, India stagnated.


 

When the Soviet Union collapsed and India adopted free markets, we had a rare chance at a do-over.  In hindsight, it was inevitable because despite our differences, India was the planet’s largest democracy with English common to many of its leaders.


 

We now have growing commercial, military and cultural links to India.  I am constantly struck by how quickly Indian and American leaders establish rapport because we are part of multi-ethnic, vibrant democracies.  We also share a support for stability.  Many Americans do not know that India currently struggles against over a dozen terrorist organizations, highlighted by the recent attack on Mumbai.


 

If U.S. diplomatic relationships could be compared to stocks, then the U.S.-India relationship is the growth stock of the 21st century.  Over the next 20 years, it will be difficult to keep track of the ways the U.S. and India will partner on projects.  This not only will help reduce unemployment in America but will also form a new collaboration of democracies to guide the 21st century.


 

There are many other important issues I haven’t mentioned today.  But in order to get to the most important part of this event — your questions – I’ll stop now.  I hope we can explore these and other challenges and opportunities in Asia during the town hall.


 

Let me close by repeating my central point.  Our relationships in Asia, particularly with China and India, will determine not just our future, but the progress of humanity and whether the 21st Century will be a less violent and more prosperous one for all peoples of the world than was the 20th Century.  Such a responsibility, such an historic achievement will require all Americans, of both parties, to think and work together, as the world’s leaders; as Americans, and defenders of the values and practices of free people and free markets.

Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards’ applications deadline is approaching

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Applications due in mid-September for nation’s premiere neighborhood development recognition awards

 

 Chicago, IL  – No city in the nation is better known than Chicago for the vitality of its neighborhoods.  Seventeen years ago, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC/Chicago, created The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) to celebrate Chicago ‘s neighborhoods, the best community development projects, and the community and for-profit organizations behind them.

 

Each year, as a result of an extensive juried process involving architects, funders and, community leaders, awardees are selected for five separate community development and three architectural excellence awards.  Eligible nominees include for- and non-profit developers and organizations, as well as architectural firms. They include both self-nominated entities as well as those nominated by others.

Applications for the five Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards are due Monday, September 13, and applications for the three Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design are due Thursday, September 16. Nominations can be easily completed online at www.lisc-cnda.org. 

Categories for the five CNDA awards are:

·        The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award recognizes the development and successful implementation of an initiative that promotes and/or is integral to a comprehensive community development strategy. Winner receives a $20,000 grant.

·        The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project honors a community development corporation for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the community. Winner receives a $15,000 grant.

·        The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award recognizes a non-profit or for-profit community development organization for a specific real estate project that has preserved affordable rental housing at risk because of expired subsidy contracts or physical deterioration. Winner receives $15,000.

·        The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award recognizes a for-profit developer for a real estate project that meets community needs.

·        A Special Recognition Award is given out to a group that has shown promise as a new or emerging organization, or has achieved a pivotal or innovative community development project or has been a critical provider of services to the community development field.  Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.  There is no application process for this award, however nominations for the Awards Committee to consider may be sent to cnda@lisc.org.

Nominees for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation first, second and third place awards (which carry with them cash awards of $15,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively) are juried separately and are awarded to those projects that demonstrate superior design, respond to the community served, enhance the overall development of the community and exhibit a creative design solution that could become a model project in other neighborhoods. Projects must be located in low- to moderate-income or population neighborhoods in Cook County , and must have been completed within the last three years.  

Award-winners will be notified in December, and recognized at CNDA Awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. To apply and for more information on project eligibility and rules, please visit www.lisc-cnda.org. 

New book theorizes that the election of President Obama has served as a catharsis for the resurgence of racism and hate groups

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 

i_hope_he_failsIn a new book, “I Hope He Fails”, the author theorizes that the election of Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States of America has served as a catharsis for the resurgence of racism and hate groups in America and that these two entities are being fueled by the rightwing media. Courageously taking on the biggest names in conservative talk radio and TV – going where even politicians and the mainstream media dare not go.

 

  

Walls, MS (BlackNews.com) — Robert J. Walker announced the release of his new book, I Hope He Fails. With all the paraphernalia being sold on the internet using the slogan, “I Hope He Fails,” referring to Rush Limbaugh‘s statement, made shortly after Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election to become the first African American elected President of the United States, at first glance one would probably conclude that this new book, I Hope He Fails was yet another rightwing attack on President Barack Obama. However, when you read the subtitle you instantly get a clear picture of the content of this book.

When asked what inspired him to write the book, the author Robert J. Walker, who considers himself a working class educator states, “I am not a politician or a media pundit. I am an educator, a working class teacher. I was not in the country during the 2008 election. I was in Ethiopia, Africa training teachers. I voted in the 2008 election by absentee ballot. When I returned to America, I was surprised and hurt by all the anger and false accusations hurled at the President by the conservative right. That is what inspired me to write this book. I wrote I Hope He Fails as a play on Rush Limbaugh’s words – to defuse his statement and as a trumpet call to awaken people of faith and goodwill who have fallen asleep after the 2008 election. If those of us who went to the polls in 2008 to elect President Obama, especially those of us in a minority group; whether religion, race, gender, or sexual preference, if we want to continue to have a voice in this government, we must recharge the zeal we had during the 2008 campaign. We must rally around the President and push back against those on the radical far right and Tea Party movement who want to take the country back to the 1950s when everything in America was, ‘for whites only.’ “

Throughout the pages of this controversial book, the author walks the sensitive tight rope of the three most divisive issues in America: Race, Religion, and Politics to make the argument that hate in America towards President Barack Obama is being fueled by the rightwing media. The author believes that Rush Limbaugh leads the Republican Party and the rightwing attack against President Obama.

Walker says, “The book also gives my somber and revealing assessment of how I believe the rightwing media has joined forces with the Religious and Political Right in establishing a ‘Legion’ for the purpose of destroying the Presidency of Barack Obama. I compare the rightwing media to the demon named Legion as found in Mark 5:1-18 and Luke 8:28-39. Throughout the book, I give current event examples to support my hypothesis that the rightwing media has polarized the country on the lines of Race, Religion, and Politics so much to the point that nothing is getting done in Washington, D.C. for the good of the American people.”

Walker concludes, “With a Black man in the White House, the conservative rightwing media has a perfect hate target to attack each day on their radio and TV talk shows. If anything should happen to President Barack Obama, his blood will be on their hands.”

 
About the Author:

 
Dr. Robert J. Walker is the recipient of the 2009 President’s Volunteer Service Award and was selected the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) organization Outstanding Educator of the Year 2008-2009 for the year he served in Ethiopia, Africa training college teachers. He is chair of the Department of Education at Southwest Tennessee Community College – the largest community college in the state of Tennessee.

 About the Book:

I Hope He Fails
By Robert J. Walker
$14.95 paperback 164 pages
ISBN 978-0-557-40752-1

Attorney General Madigan launches new initiative to crack down on child porn operations across Illinois

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Announces Arrest of Carbondale Child Porn Trafficker

 
Carbondale, IL - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a new initiative of her office to crackdown on the trafficking of child pornography. As a result of the first wave of investigations under the initiative, Madigan said a Carbondale man was arrested on multiple counts of possessing child pornography.
 
William Wilson, 21, of Carbondale was arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
 
“Child pornography is an escalating epidemic – here in Illinois and across the nation. My office is committed to protecting children from this scourge. Today, I want to put child pornographers in Illinois on notice that we will track you down and punish you to the full extent of the law,” said Attorney General Madigan.
 
Madigan commended the Carbondale Police Department and Jackson County State’s Attorney Mike Wepsic’s office who assisted in the arrest of Wilson on Thursday – the first arrest under this new push.
 
Investigators from the Attorney General’s office can track pornographers using Internet protocol – IP – addresses, which are unique identifiers for individual computers.
 
This new push to track down child pornographers is in direct relation to the enormity of the problem. In the past 30 days, more than 8,000 Illinois IP addresses were seen trading child pornography images and videos.
 
“Unfortunately, child pornographers are in every community in Illinois – from Chicago to Carbondale, Danville to Quincy,” said Madigan. “Through this new initiative, we are working with local law enforcement to target child pornographers in Illinois. Let me be crystal clear – we know who you are. If you are dealing in child pornography, you need to ask yourself, ‘Is today the day I will be arrested — the day I will be handcuffed and taken from my home and charged with felony offenses?’”
 
Madigan stressed that pornography is not a victimless crime. A majority of those depicted in child pornography images have yet to reach the age of puberty, and many are literally infants and toddlers.
 
“Aside from the initial horror of these crimes, each time these videos or images are viewed, these innocent children are victimized yet again,” said Madigan.
 
A total of 24,494 sex offenders are registered in Illinois. More than 81 percent of those are child sex offenders.

Federal grant helps expand Cook County State’s Attorney’s fight against human trafficking

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has been chosen as one of only four governmental agencies in the nation to receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to expand efforts to combat the human trafficking of minor children, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced. 

The grant will provide the State’s Attorney’s Office with $300,000 over the course of two years to be used for training, programming and support for social service agencies to link children at risk or those involved in commercial sexual exploitation to essential services.

“We are honored to have been selected as one of the four agencies to receive this important grant after a nationwide submission process,” Alvarez said.  “This funding will help us greatly in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute the sex trafficking of minors and to help provide important social services to children who become caught up in the sex trade.”

The announcement of the grant comes on the heels of passage of the Illinois Safe Children Act, a new law that enhances protections for juveniles caught in the sex trade and provides new legal tools to police and prosecutors to target those who prostitute children. Alvarez was instrumental in passage of the legislation and her office has led the charge in efforts to address the issue, forming a first-of-its-kind Human Trafficking Initiative to investigate and prosecute these cases. 

Funding from the grant will be used to provide specialized training for assistant state’s attorneys to help them identify potential human trafficking victims when they come to court on seemingly unrelated cases.  Resources will also be designated to establish a new staff position to monitor trafficking cases as they go through the criminal justice system and to help ensure that victims are put in touch with appropriate counseling and support services.

Beyond Sport releases 2010 Summit programme

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Beyond Sport released its detailed programme for the Beyond Sport Summit 2010 in Chicago, September 29-30.

The annual event brings together those who use sport as a vehicle to create social impact with influencers from the world of business, government and federations whose attitudes and decisions can have substantial impact.

 Now in its second year, over 750 individuals are expected to take part in the Summit, lead by a list of speakers that includes Olympic legends Michael Johnson, Frank Fredericks, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Ian Thorpe; HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan; former South African soccer captain Lucas Radebe; and US Senator and former Presidential Candidate Bill Bradley.  

Among the organisations from across this spectrum of influence that have already confirmed their attendance including Chicago Bulls; Cisco; HSBC; JP Morgan; Kellogg Foundation; LIVESTRONG; NFL; United Nations; U.S. Department of Education; Women’s Sports Foundation, and many more.  

The Summit schedule outlined below includes the announcement of the winners of the Beyond Sport Awards 2010 which celebrate the best initiatives from across the world that use sport to create social change. Selected from over 400 entries covering 115 countries, the winning projects will receive a substantial package of funding business support to help them grow and become sustainable in the future. 

To view the full Summit schedule, list of speakers and participating companies and to find out details on how to attend the event, visit www.beyondsport.org. 

BEYOND SPORT SUMMIT 2010 – PROGRAMME

* The schedule detailed below is subject to change if deemed necessary by the organisers.

DAY ONE

Wednesday, September 29:

Noon-2 pm: Summit begins; Networking Lunch

2 pm: Opening of the Beyond Sport Summit : Welcome – Nick Keller , Founder Beyond Sport and Patrick Ryan, Executive Director, World Sport Chicago

2:15 pm: My Journey Beyond Sport – Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner, Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints

2:30-3:30 pm: Panel 1 – Looking back and looking forward: Have we stepped up event legacy delivery?

Facilitator: Julie Foudy, former President, Women Sport’s Foundation and two-time World Cup winner 

Panellists include: 

·        Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner, Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints

·        Scott Blackmun, CEO , US Olympic Committee

·        Tim Leiweke, CEO, AEG Worldwide

3:30–3:45 pm: Beyond Sport Awards 2010 Winners Part I

3:45-4:15 pm: Networking break 

4:15- 4:20 pm: Humanitarian in Sport Award, Supported by United Airlines

4:20-4:45 pm: Interview – Senator Bill Bradley, NBA Hall of Fame inductee and former US Presidential Candidate, and Dikembe Mutombo, NBA All-Star and philanthropist

4:45-5:35 pm: Panel 2 – Sporting celebrities and doing good: What’s possible and what’s not?
Supported by Athletes for Hope

Facilitator: Ivan Blumberg, CEO, Athletes for Hope 

Panellists include:

·        Kathy Behrens, Senior Vice President, NBA

·        Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Multi-Olympic Gold Medallist and legendary athlete

6:30-8:30 pm: Welcome Reception, hosted by Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley, and Announcement of the winner of the United Airlines Chicago Impact Award


DAY TWO

Thursday, September 30

9:00 am: Opening of the Beyond Sport Summit Final Day

9:10 am: Keynote Address

9: 20-10:20 am: Panel 3 – Playing Hardball: Can sport tackle youth violence in urban communities?

Facilitator: Jeff McMullen, Foreign Correspondent, ABC and Reporter, Sixty Minutes

Panellists include:

·        Daniel Varner, Program Officer, Kellogg Foundation and Co-Founder, Think Detroit PAL

·        Alberto Vollmer, Founder of Project Alcatraz , Sport for Social Inclusion Award 2009 Winner

·        Lucas Radebe, Former Captain of South Africa Football Team, and FFH World Cup Ambassador

10:20 am: Beyond Sport Awards 2010 Winners Part II 

10:35-10:45 am: My Journey Beyond Sport – William Scherr, Olympic Gold Medallist and Chairman, World Sport Chicago

10:45-11:45 am: Panel 4 – It’s Her Move: How can sport provide opportunities for girls’ and women’s education?

Facilitator: Donna De Varona, Co-Founder, Women’s Sports Foundation

Panellists include:

·        Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Department of Education

·        Auma Obama, Special Adviser, CARE International

·        Ana Arizabaleta, Director, Colombianitos, UNICEF Children’s Rights Award 2009 Winner

·        Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Multi-Paralympic Gold Medallist

11:45-12:15 pm: Networking break

12:15-1 pm: Special Session: Who Cares, Wins: Why is the intersection of sport, business, and philanthropy so important?

Panellists include:

·        Lesa Ukman, IEG, LLC Chairman

·        Ethan Zohn, Co-Founder, Grassroot Soccer and Winner of ‘Survivor’ 

1-2 pm: Lunch

2-2:30 pm: My Journey Beyond Sport (TBC)

2:30-2:40 pm: Beyond Sport Awards 2010 Winners Part III

2:40–3:40 pm: Panel 5 – Fair Play: Are there no-go zones when addressing peace and sport?

Facilitator: Michael Elliot, Editor, TIME International

 

Panellists include:

·        HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan

·        Eboo Patel, Head, Interfaith Youth Core

·        Nomfundo Walaza, CEO, Desmond Tutu Peace Centre

3:40-3:50 pm: Beyond Sport Awards 2010 Winners Part IV

3:50-4:20 pm: Networking Break

4:20 -4:35 pm: My Journey Beyond Sport – Michael Johnson, Multi-Olympic Gold Medallist

4:35–4:45 pm:  Presentation of the Leadership in Sport Award, Supported by Heidrick and Struggles; Presented by Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley 

4:45-5:15 pm: A Conversation with a special guest…

5:15 pm – Closing Remarks and Handover to Host City 2011

5:30-7:00 pm: Closing Reception

Further speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Beyond Sport is partnered with Barclays Spaces for Sports, United Airlines, TIME International and UNICEF. 

 
Beyond Sport is a global organisation that promotes, develops and funds the use of sport to create positive social change across the world.

 We do this primarily in three ways: 

Beyond Sport Awards

The Beyond Sport Awards programme provides support worth $1 million annually to projects across the world that use sport to address issues within their communities. The Beyond Sport Awards 2010 were open for entries from January to April with more than 400 projects entering this year’s Awards.

 

Beyond Sport Summit

The Summit is an annual event that brings together the best sport-led social innovators with influential, global leaders to address sport’s role in driving positive social change. The Beyond Sport Summit 2010 will be held between September 29-30 in Chicago . 

Beyond Sport World

Beyond Sport World is an online networking platform that allows any organisation across the globe involved in sport and development to promote their activities and connect. Visit www.beyondsportworld.org. 

Tony Award Winner Mary Zimmerman adapts Voltaire’s Candide in a major musical revival

Posted by Admin On August - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Will Open Goodman Theatre’s 10th year in Chicago’s Theatre District      

Nearly 30 songs in Leonard Bernstein’s Triumphant Score include “Candide Overture”, “Glitter and be Gay”, “The Best of all Possible Worlds”, and  “Make Our Garden Grow” 

 

Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre celebrates its 10th season in Chicago’s North Loop Theatre District with a fresh take on an enduring masterpiece – Candide, Voltaire’s effervescent, picaresque adventure, newly adapted and directed by Chicago’s own Mary Zimerman, the Goodman’s Manilow Resident Director. A cast of 19 and an orchestra of 12, under the direction of Music Director Doug Peck, bring to life nearly 30 songs in Leonard Bernstein’s glorious score, and recreate Voltaire’s satirical story of Candide (Geoff Packard)—a young optimist shipwrecked, soldiered, swindled and separated (repeatedly) from his true love, Cunegonde (Lauren Molina). For this major revival, Zimmerman has tapped her signature design team—Daniel Ostling (Set), Mara Blumenfeld (Costumes), T.J. Gerckens (Lighting) and Richard Woodbury (Sound). Danny Pelzig choreographs the cataclysmic events that ensue. Candide runs September 17 – October 24 in the Albert Theatre; tickets are $25 – $85. JP Morgan Chase & Co. is the Major Corporate Sponsor; ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor; Abbott and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP are the Corporate Sponsor Partners. Chicago Tribune and WBEZ 91.5 FM are Media Sponsors. A September 26 Season Opening Benefit takes place at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing—the location of the theater’s former home of 75 years—followed by a performance of Candide. Honored will be those who paved the way for the Goodman’s new home, making possible its myriad artistic, economic and community engagement achievements. Tickets are $1,000; call 312.443.5564.

“Mary Zimmerman’s reinvention of Candide represents, to borrow a phrase, ‘the best of all possible worlds’!” said Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Her singular insight and vivid imagination—as we’ve seen in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Journey to the West, The Odyssey, Pericles and three highly successful productions for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, among many others—distinguish Mary as a leading contemporary adapter of classic texts. I am thrilled that she is now bringing her unique artistry to this funny, insightful and irresistibly theatrical work—a glorious way to launch our 10th anniversary on Dearborn Street.”

As previously announced, the cast of Goodman Theatre’s production of Candide features Geoff Packard in the title role; Lauren Molina as his princess love, Cunegonde; Larry Yando as Candide’s mentor, Pangloss; Hollis Resnik as the Old Lady; Jonathan Weir as the Governor; Erik Lochtefeld as Maximillian; Margo Seibert as Paquette; Jesse J. Perez as Cacambo and Tom Aulino as Martin. Ensemble members include Spencer Curnutt, Rebecca Finnegan, Govind Kumar, Rob Lindley, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Emma Rosenthal, Thomas Adrian Simpson, Joey Stone, Tempe Thomas and Joseph Tokarz. Visit the Goodman Theatre Press Room for photos and bios.

“Candide is exquisite entertainment, a blend of opera, comedy, travel adventure and romance,” said Adaptor and Director Mary Zimmerman, whose major revival for the Goodman will be made using her signature style of collaboration with her company and creative team. “Its gorgeous music and lyrical wit act as proof of the very best potential of human beings and the beauty of this life—while at the same instant, the story is revealing some of the worst and most difficult aspects of that life.”

Candide chronicles, in lightning-fast progression, the story of a young man banished from his home, drafted into the Bulgarian army and forced to endure relentless disaster. Voltaire’s satiric genius is found in Candide’s earnest attempts to trivialize the tragedy and uphold the contention of his mentor, Dr. Pangloss, that all things happen for the best in this ‘best of all possible worlds’. Although Candide’s journey is described with humor, Voltaire raises serious questions: How can mankind deal with disaster without surrendering to despair? Can optimism prevail in a world that frequently seems randomly cruel? How is survival itself possible in an environment that often gleefully refutes Pangloss’s hopeful axiom?

About Mary Zimmerman’s Adaptation

Few modern musicals have enjoyed the extensive exploration and reexamination that Candide has in the years following its 1956 Broadway debut. Mary Zimmerman, “a specialist in literary spectacle (from whom) theatrical fireworks are expected” (The New York Times), has opted to create a new book for this production by returning afresh to Voltaire’s original 1759 Candide, Or Optimism. She has ordered the sequence of events in Candide’s adventure—many of which had been altered for previous productions—to align more closely with the novella’s original structure.

Music Director Doug Peck has tailored Bernstein’s score for the cast of 19 and orchestra of 12, “wrapping the music around Mary’s adaptation, blending Bernstein and Voltaire in a way that emphasizes them both.” Audiences will be treated to such popular songs as “Candide Overture,” “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” “It Must Be So,” “I Am Easily Assimilated,” “We Are Women,” “My Love,” “Quiet,” and the heartfelt finale, “Make Our Garden Grow.” Bernstein’s score reflects a variety of classical influences, including Mozart and Verti (“Auto-da-fé”), Gilbert and Sullivan (“Bon Voyage”), Gounod’s Faust (“Glitter and Be Gay”) and even Schoenberg (“Quiet”).

“With Candide, Bernstein composed something wholly unusual; the singing style is more complex and challenging than most musicals,” said Peck, who bases his orchestrations on those used in the Royal National Theatre’s production, and uses underscoring for scenes that Zimmerman selected from the novella but that were never set to music.

About Leonard Bernstein and the History of Candide

“There is more of me in that piece than anything else I have ever done.” (Leonard Bernstein, on Candide)

The idea for musicalizing Voltaire’s novella came to Bernstein and playwright Lillian Hellman in the midst of the anti-Communist Congressional purges of the early 1950s; both agreed that the political excesses of 18th century France mirrored the assault on individual rights that they were experiencing. Collaborating with lyricist John Latouche, Hellman and Bernstein began work in 1954, eventually involving young poet Richard Wilbur as lyricist, and Dorothy Parker and James Agee contributing to the book, as well. Candide premiered on Broadway in 1956. The show’s cast recording attracted a cult following among musical theater aficionados, but few new productions were attempted until 1974, when director Harold Prince created a new version of the show for Brooklyn’s Chelsea Theater Center. Hugh Wheeler created a new book which emphasized the loopy humor of Voltaire’s satire. In 1982, again under Prince’s direction, the New York City Opera presented a greatly expanded Candide, and Prince revived Candide on Broadway in an opulent 1997 production. A year later, British director/playwright John Caird created another new iteration of the show for a production at London’s Royal National Theatre. Although Bernstein’s score remained intact, both Sondheim and Wilbur provided slightly revised lyrics for some songs. A 2004 semi-staged New York Philharmonic concert version starred Kristin Chenoweth as Cunegonde and Patti LuPone as the Old Lady. In honor of the show’s 50th anniversary in 2006, Candide was revived at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet and at La Scala in Milan.

Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was a world-renowned musician, conductor and composer throughout his entire adult life. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world’s major orchestras, recording hundreds of these performances. His books and the televised Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic established him as a leading educator. His compositions include Jeremiah, The Age of Anxiety, Kaddish, Serenade, Five Anniversaries, Mass, Chichester Psalms, Slava!, Songfest, Divertimento for Orchestra, Missa Brevis, Arias and Barcarolles, Concerto for Orchestra and A Quiet Place. Bernstein composed for the Broadway musical stage, including On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide and the immensely popular West Side Story. In addition to their West Side Story collaboration, Bernstein worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins on three major ballets, Fancy Free, Facsimile and Dybbuk. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including the Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Theater, 11 Emmy Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Tickets to Candide are on sale now. Call 312.443.3800, click GoodmanTheatre.org or visit the box office (170 North Dearborn). Mezztix are half-price mezzanine tickets available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX) day of performance; Mezztix are not available by telephone. 10Tix are $10 mezzanine tickets for students available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online on the day of performance; 10Tix are not available by telephone. Valid student I.D. must be presented when picking up the tickets. Limit four per student with I.D. All tickets are subject to availability and handling fees apply. Discounted Group Tickets for 10 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820.

Parental engagement in school makes a difference

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

State Board urges families to get involved in students’ academic life during new school year 

  

Springfield, IL  – The Illinois State Board of Education is encouraging parents to volunteer in their children’s schools and monitor students’ academic progress as schools around the state open their doors for the start of a new year. Studies show parental involvement improves students’ learning experience and academic performance.

 

“Parents and family members can significantly impact their children’s attitude and performance in school by getting involved with school events and activities,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “A parent doesn’t need to spend every week at school to make a difference. Even a few hours each year can enhance your children’s learning experience and benefit their school.’’ 

The Illinois Parent Teacher Association promotes “Three for Me,” a National PTA program that encourages families and community members to pledge three hours a year volunteering on school-related work in or outside the school building. National program results have shown that parents generally spend at least three times the goal – or nine hours per year – once they make the commitment.  Volunteer work can take place in or outside of school. For more information on the program, visit the Illinois PTA site at http://www.pta.org/three_for_me.asp.

 

“Good family involvement requires schools working as partners to identify a variety of opportunities for family members in the community to engage in,’’ said Debra Strauss, President of the Illinois PTA. “Research shows that family involvement positively impacts student success regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or education level because they’re focused on their children and that attention reaps positive results.’’ 

There is widespread consensus that family engagement is a critical ingredient for children’s success from birth to career and offers an economic benefit. A 2009 Harvard Family Research Project report noted that schools would have to spend $1,000 more per pupil to reap the same gain in student achievement that an involved parent brings.

 

The key to success, experts stress, is for both families and educators to develop ways to generate more family and community involvement. Some ideas for parents include: 

  • Volunteer to read in your child’s classroom.
  • Volunteer to help teachers organize their classrooms before the school year, during breaks or at the end of the year.
  • Chaperone for a field trip.
  • Serve as a translator during school-family meetings.

 

Some ideas for administrators and teachers include: 

  • Make family engagement part of the core instructional strategy.
  • Establish a monthly breakfast or lunch between parents and school faculty.
  • Host a school-family event off the school campus.
  • Host family movie, reading and game nights.
  • Invite local businesses owners, older adults and other residents who may not have children to the school for events and activities.
  • Identify tasks that can be done by working parents before or after the school day such as cutting or organizing supplies.

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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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