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Soap Box Rants A WEEKLY COLUMN to CopyLine Magazine By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL ...

Archive for August 20th, 2010

“Swiftboating” President Obama and the American people

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Just A Thought

 

 

By Juanita Bratcher 

 

There are many Americans who don’t give a “hill of beans” about what “hatemongers and racists” have to say in their efforts to spin the truth and divide the country, yet the media ram their incendiary remarks straight down our throats on a daily basis as though it’s priority news when a leftover menu of “real priority news” can’t find its way to the front burner.

Americans are concerned and frustrated about a slow economy, slow as a turtle in bouncing back; whether they’ll still have a job tomorrow, whether money will be available to send their children to college, whether they can hold on to their houses, cars and other basic necessities, and hopefully, be able to meet the mortgage on their homes as opposed to foreclosure. Not what some “hatemonger” said while getting high on hatred.

And nowadays it’s become commonplace to say any ill-willed thoughts or any incendiary remarks that come to mind, and once said, come back and apologize for what never should have been said in the first place. Obviously, if an apology is in order, apparently no thought was given beforehand to what was being said. I call it the game of “Say it, just for the hell of it, see how much will stick, and go back and apologize later.”

There’s been a lot of that floating around in the atmosphere lately.  And frankly, it comes off as a game inasmuch as the damage has already been done, an indelible image was made, and the messenger got exactly what wanted – executing the hateful deed and then apologizing.

And a lot of those ill-willed statements and incendiary remarks are made toward President Barack Obama by “Birthers” and people at Tea Party rallies. A recent poll stated that 24 percent of Americans that participated in poll believe Obama is a Muslim when he says he is Christian. I say this, not as a negative to Muslims, but because of controverse surrounding it.

There’s a lot of negative, misconstrued talk, and a large stream of it is coming straight out of Washington. And those who do it intentions are ugly – they are demagogues practicing demagoguery, inflaming and polarizing the country – “swiftboating” President Obama and the American people.

It is what it is!

Recently, I came across the lyrics of a song by the great Stevie Wonder – “Heaven Help Us All”.

I was truly intrigued by this excerpt in the song:

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep.
In a troubled world, I pray the Lord to keep, keep hatred from the mighty,

And the mighty from the small
Heaven help us all.

And to that I say, Amen! Heaven help us all – the haters and the peacemakers.

 

Illinois Attorney General Madigan and Department of Revenue zero in on gasoline tax evaders

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 2 COMMENTS
 Aggressive Enforcement Effort Recovers $12.7 Million for State of Illinois
 
 
Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Revenue announced a sales tax fraud investigation that has resulted in the recovery of $12.7 million in unpaid gasoline sales taxes and the indictment of six gas station owners and operators for tax evasion.
 
The indictments, obtained last week in Cook, Peoria and Tazewell Counties are the first issued in an ongoing probe of businesses that are evading the payment of the taxes that they owe to the State of Illinois, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in State revenue. Madigan’s Office and the Department of Revenue expect to seek charges against additional violators in the coming months.  
 
“The indictments announced today, and our ongoing investigation, send a strong message to gas station owners: if you defraud the people of Illinois by not paying sales tax, you will be aggressively prosecuted,” said Attorney General Madigan. “In these very challenging economic times, we are committed to holding gas station owners accountable.”
 
“Our main objective is to obtain voluntary compliance but we will not back away from aggressive criminal enforcement if it is warranted.  Honest taxpayers and business owners must know the state will pursue tax cheats,” said John Chambers, chief of Criminal Investigation, Illinois Department of Revenue.  
 
Charged in the initial wave of indictments are:
 
Muzaffar Jameel, 47, Harwood Heights, IL – operates two gas stations: Mobil, 4000 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL and Phillips 66, 6001 W. 35th Ave., Cicero, IL. He was charged with 14 counts of sales tax fraud for activity from November 2007 through December 2008.
 
Joy Chemmachel,47, Skokie, IL – operates three gas stations: Hickory Hill Gas Depot, 8801 West 87th Street, Hickory Hills, IL; Dempster and Ozark Shell, 7736 W. Dempster, Morton Grove, IL; and Fullerton and Pulaski Shell, 3959 West Fullerton, Chicago, IL. She was charged with 19 counts of sales tax fraud for activity from November 2007 through May 2009.
 
John Kottoor, 54, Orland Park, IL and Joy Matthew Kottoor, 58, Morton Grove, IL – operate Stickney Shell, 3901 South Harlem, Stickney, IL. Each was charged with 10 counts of sales tax fraud for activity from November 2007 through September 2008.
 
Abdelmomen Abdallah, 33, Peoria, IL – operates Road Runner, 2412 N. Sheridan Road, Peoria, IL. He was charged with 16 counts of sales tax fraud for activity from November 2007 through February 2009.
 
Dineshbhai Patel, 57, Morton, IL – operates Shell, 2009 S. Main Street, Morton, IL.   He is charged with 16 counts of sales tax fraud for activity from July 2007 through October 2009.
 
Gasoline sales are reported to the State of Illinois on a monthly basis. The criminal charges are based on each month in which the defendants allegedly reported false sales figures. Each count of sales tax fraud is a Class 3 Felony, which can carry a prison sentence of two to five years. In addition to criminal penalties, the court can order the defendants to pay to the State the unpaid sales tax as restitution.    
 
The investigation, which began in 2008, has collected $12.7 million from 66 gas station owners across the state. Much of the back sales tax was collected from gas station owners who had been offered an opportunity to participate in a voluntary disclosure compliance program in October 2009. The voluntary participation in the disclosure compliance program does not eliminate the State’s ability to pursue criminal charges.
 
Bureau Chief Vincenzo Chimera, Supervisor Patrick Jennings, and Assistant Attorneys General Lori Jordan, Kristina Waldron, Kathleen Farrell, James Rustik and Gene Bian are handling the cases for Madigan’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.

The Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest to cite local politicians and business leaders during its Gala and Awards dinner

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Chicago, IL -The Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest (IACC) will present its coveted awards to local politicians and business leaders, honoring their work and community achievements during its 103rd Anniversary Gala & Awards Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 18. The black-tie event will be held at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe, in downtown Chicago, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The IACC is proud to announce that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will attend the Gala, accepting the “Excellence in Government Award.” In addition, Anne R. Pramaggiore, ComEd President and Chief Operating Officer, and the first female president in the company’s history, will be awarded the “Business Excellence Award” for her dedication and impact made in her industry.

Francesco Bettoni, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Brescia (Italy), will accept the “International Trade Award” for bringing hundreds of companies from the Italian region of Lombardy to the United States to do business, as well as opening a branch office of the Milan Chamber of Commerce in Chicago last year. Joseph G. Bisceglia, Jenner & Block LLP Partner, will receive the IACC’s “Humanitarian Award” for his outstanding charitable work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, his involvement in Jenner & Block’s pro bono program, and his humanitarian work as president of the Illinois State Bar Association. Terrance J. Hancock, president of Teamsters Local 731, will be awarded the “Labor Leader Excellence Award” for his vast contributions to the labor movement as well as to autism research. Previous IACC Award recipients have included Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC, in 2008 and Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine in 2009, with an award presentation given by Chicago-born actor Dennis Farina.

For the past century, the IACC has recognized the accomplishments of influential business leaders at this elegant affair, which hosts over 450 business people and officials from the Midwest and Italy. The Gala & Awards Dinner marks an important event for the state, as Italy is Illinois‘ fifth most important trading partner. Approximately 800,000 Italian-Americans live in Illinois.

Additionally, this year’s Gala & Awards Dinner will feature a Silent Auction that benefits the IACC Annual Scholarship Foundation, a runway fashion show featuring AGGA B., a Chicago-based designer whose “La Dolce Vita” collection has been exclusively designed for the Gala, and an exquisite menu that highlights Italy’s world-renowned cuisine and wine.

During this same weekend, the IACC also will host Italian Expo 2010 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall A, which will be attended by many of the Gala business professionals and VIP guests. More than 100 companies and vendors from Italy and the United States will introduce, display and sell their products at the Expo, showcasing the best of Italian and Italian-inspired cuisine, wine, fashion and jewelry, tourism, art and entertainment. For tickets and more information, visit www.italianexpo.us.

To RSVP to the Gala Dinner or for more information, contact Melissa Passalacqua at (312) 553-9137 ext. 15, or mpassalacqua@iacc-chicago.com.

 

ITALIAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES 2010 HONOREES
FOR 103rd ANNIVERSARY GALA & AWARDS DINNER on SEPT. 18

Honorees include Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and ComEd President/COO Anne R. Pramaggiore

Illinois Act score is head of the class for states that test at least 90 percent of students

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Class of 2010: Most Illinois students in history take ACT 

  

Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the Graduating Class of 2010’s composite ACT score is the highest of the eight states that test 90 percent or more of their students. Additionally, Illinois ’ composite score of 20.7 reflects an upward trend over the past five years, despite mirroring the national average with a slight dip from 2009 to 2010.

 

“The ACT is a benchmark that helps us when we look at preparing students for college and career readiness,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “As we move forward with our newly adopted, more rigorous Illinois Learning Standards, we would expect college and career readiness to improve. It’s important that families and districts ensure students are not just in school but that they’re taking a rigorous core of classes necessary to succeed.”

 Although ACT is designed for students who plan to attend college, Illinois requires all 11th graders, unless they’re exempt, to take the ACT as part of the required state testing under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Illinois ’ composite average of 20.7 is the highest among the eight states in which 90 percent or more graduates tested. Other states with 90 percent or more of their graduates taking the ACT include Colorado , Louisiana , Tennessee , Wyoming , Michigan , Kentucky and Mississippi.  

ACT honored Illinois with its “Systems of Excellence Award” last fall for requiring that all Illinois students take the ACT as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) during their junior year. Illinois first required all students to take the ACT in 2001. 

The 145,520 students included in the Class of 2010 reflect the largest number of test takers in history for a given year and that number has increased by more than 8,000 since 2006 when 137,399 students took the test. Today’s results represent the latest scores achieved by all Illinois 2010 graduates in both public and private schools. 

Illinois’ average ACT composite scores for the past five years has improved, rising from 20.5 in 2006 to 20.7 in 2010. Nationally, there has been a slight dip in the composite score from 21.1 in 2006 to 21.0 in 2010.

 

Five-Year Trend Composite Scores 

2006                                  2010

 

·         20.5                                   20.7     Illinois

·         21.1                                   21.0     National

 

The year-to-year composite score for Illinois students mirrored the national average with a slight dip from 2009 to 2010. 

2009                                  2010

 

·         20.8                                   20.7     Illinois

·         21.1                                   21.0     National

 

Illinois students have made gains in all four subject areas from 2006 to 2010.  

Subject:                      2006                2010   

 

  • English            20.2                 20.3

 

  • Mathematics   20.3                 20.7

 

  • Reading           20.6                 20.8

 

  • Science           20.4                 20.5

 

Illinois recently adopted the internationally benchmarked Common Core Learning Standards in English and Math for grades K-12. The Standards, written under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices ( NGA Center ) aims to better prepare students for college and career. 

Miller: “Strongly disagrees” with Topinka’s assessment of George Ryan crimes

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

David Miller, Democratic nominee for State Comptroller, said he strongly disagrees with Judy Barr Topinka’s calling former Governor George Ryan’s crimes “penny ante”.

“Judy Baar Topinka is wrong to say that the crimes committed by former Governor George Ryan are `penny ante,” said Miller, alluding to Topinka’s August 17th interview on ABC-7 News.

In a prepared statement, Miller said “Perhaps she needs to be reminded that former Governor George Ryan, her longtime political ally, was convicted on all 18 serious charges against him by a federal jury. And perhaps she needs to be reminded that George Ryan was convicted of stifling an investigation into bribes paid for truck driver’s licenses – a crime that led to a van explosion that killed six children.”

“Judy Baar Topinka is wrong to call racketeering, bribery, extortion, money laundering, tax fraud and conspiracy – crimes Ryan was convicted of – ‘penny ante’,” Miller added.

“Corruption has been a bipartisan problem in this state, and we cannot minimize the cost of public corruption at any time – by any party – in Illinois,” said Miller, who helped lead the charge for Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment. “The cost, in public trust, is too high. No public crimes are ‘penny ante’ and the people of Illinois are sick and tired of that kind of politics-as-usual attitude.”

“I’m running for State Comptroller to end the politics of the past and bring new leadership to Illinois.”

“These cases also underscore the need for more transparency – the kind of transparency proposal I am promoting throughout the state this week. We can do better.”

Giannoulias highlights record of saving Illinois jobs

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Says Congressman Kirk Keeps Voting to Ship Them Overseas to Countries Like China

 

METRO EAST – Joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on the second day of his Illinois Jobs Tour, U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias highlighted the stark contrast between his record of standing up to corporate special interests to keep jobs in Illinois while his opponent Congressman Mark Kirk has been in Washington repeatedly voting to protect corporate tax loop holes that ship American jobs overseas to countries like China. With 75 days until Election Day, Alexi continues to highlight Congressman Mark Kirk’s failed record of supporting the Bush economic policies that led to the loss of 8 million jobs, the doubling of the national debt and the worst recession in 75 years.
 
“Just last week Congressman Kirk voted once again to protect tax loopholes that allow corporations to ship jobs overseas to countries like China,” said Giannoulias. “Unlike my opponent I have stood up to corporate special interests and Wall Street banks to keep American jobs right here where they belong — in Illinois.”
 
During the tour, Giannoulias continues to highlight his plans to create the next generation of good-paying jobs, helping small businesses access capital so that they can grow, and rooting out the corporate special interests that plague Washington. 

Giannoulias’ FutureWorks plan can be read in full at www.alexiforillinois.com.

“Illinois families can trust Alexi to fight every day to keep their jobs here in Illinois while Congressman Kirk will only continue to support the failed Bush policies that have led to jobs bleeding out of the United States to countries like China,” said Senator Durbin. “Illinoisans now more than ever need leadership they can trust, not more of the same typical politicians like Congressman Kirk, who take corporate special interest money hand over fist and then vote their way every single time.”
 
Senator Durbin is joining the tour for select stops on August 19 and August 20. Giannoulias will visit the following cities and towns in Illinois: Bloomington/Normal, Cairo, Carbondale, Chester, Decatur, Du Quoin, Alton, East St. Louis, Effingham, Harrisburg, Mascoutah, Metropolis, Mt. Vernon, Pana, Springfield, and Waterloo.

KIRK PROTECTS CORPORATE SPECIAL INTERESTS OVER AND OVER – VOTED FOR BILLIONS TO COMPANIES THAT SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS

  • Kirk voted for billions in tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and for oil companies.  [HR1586, Vote 518, 8/10/10; HR4213, Vote 324, 5/28/10; HR6, Vote 445, 7/28/05; HR 4297, Vote 109, 4/27/06; Vote 258, 6/17/04; HR3090, Vote 404, 10/24/2001; HR3529, Vote 509, 12/19/01]
  • Kirk voted to give benefits to corporations that locate offshore to dodge U.S. taxes.  [HR4520, Vote 258, 6/17/04]
  • Kirk voted against prohibiting corporate inversion.  [HR4931, Vote 247, 6/21/02]
  • In May 2010, Kirk voted against HR4213-the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act, which would extend unemployment benefits and Recovery Act provisions and close loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.  [HR4213, Vote 324, 5/28/10]
  • Kirk voted against penalizing companies that lay off a greater percentage of their U.S. workers than workers overseas.  [HR2871, Vote 120, 5/1/02]
  • Kirk voted to give billions in tax breaks to financial corporations that have overseas operations.  [HR3529, Vote 509, 12/19/01]
  • Kirk voted against providing extra assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs to outsourcing.  [HR27, Vote 47, 3/2/05]

Tavis Smiley brings youth together for Leadership Institute

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Speakers Include Antwone Fisher and Erica Campbell of Musical Group Mary Mary


Courtesy of the Tavis Smiley Foundation

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Young leaders from across the country will join Tavis Smiley, Antwone Fisher and Grammy-winning gospel artist Erica Campbell for five days of leadership training, education, community service, engagement and an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevention of youth obesity.

The annual conference themed, NEVER TOO YOUNG TO CHANGE THE WORLD, will be held Aug. 19-23 on the campus of the University of Los Angeles, California (UCLA). The 150 teen delegates, representing 16 states, were selected for participation based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership skills, an essay and a recommendation letter. A key component of the Institute is the foundation’s 13-member National Youth Advisory Council. These teen alumni help design and run the Institute.

The conference sessions will be at Tom Bradley International Hall and DeNeve Plaza, 351 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA. Student registration is closed.

Keynote sessions of the conference will be streamed live on the foundation’s website at www.youthtoleaders.org beginning with the Teen Town Hall meeting moderated by Smiley on Friday, August 20 at 7:30 pm PST.

Major funding for the Leadership Institute is provided by Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil.

Acclaimed writer and director, Antwone Fisher, will discuss his new book, A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie: and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life. Fisher’s autobiographical screenplay, Antwone Fisher was directed by Denzel Washington in 2002. Erica Campbell, a member the gospel group Mary Mary, will share life lessons from the book she wrote with her sister, Tina Atkins-Campbell, called Be U: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, Be You!

The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to train young people for leadership through action-oriented workshops, plenary sessions, interactive activities and a community service project. Delegates will have a unique opportunity to compete for start-up seed funding to start a youth-led business or community service program. And, the students will paint and beautify the campus of the New Designs Charter School in Los Angeles.

Regarding youth and health issues, this year’s program will include a workshop on healthy eating and exercise to prevent youth obesity to coincide with the foundation’s Walk Like a Leader Campaign.

Since May, the foundation staff and 100 supporters nationwide pledged to collectively walk 5,000 miles in their communities by Aug. 16 to show their commitment to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. The team surpassed its goal with a total of 5,432 miles on Aug. 15. The youth delegates will complete a two-mile fun walk in celebration of the campaign.
About the Tavis Smiley Foundation
The Tavis Smiley Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by Tavis Smiley to enlighten, encourage, and empower youth by providing leadership skills that will promote and enhance the quality of life for their lives, their community and the world. Since its inception, more than 6,000 youth have participated in the foundation’s leadership workshops and conferences. The foundation is based in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.youthtoleaders.org.D

World’s Famous “Impressions” to highlight Probation Challenge’s Annual Extravaganza Event

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On August - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Alsip, IL - The world’s “Famous”, “Fabulous”, “Never Ending Impressions” will light up the International Stage at Probation Challenge’s Annual “Portraits of Achievers” gala extravaganza this weekend at the Condesa del Mar.

Probation Challenge will celebrate 31 successful years – and counting – in helping troubled youth, and the organization, along with hundreds of attendees, will be “Ridin’ High” in the spirit of the Impressions’ nostalgic repertoire of doo-wop, gospel, soul and R&B. Gospel Singer Calvin Bridges will also perform on the “Show of Shows” stage, a popular segment of the annual event.

The “Portraits of Achievers” Gala/Awards event will be held Friday, August 20, 2010 at the Condesa del Mar, 12200 S. Cicero Ave. in Alsip, Illinois, beginning at 7 p.m. Parking is free.

Reverend Harold E. Bailey, Founder and President of Probation Challenge, said he’s elated and overwhelmed that his program has helped thousands and thousands of young people since its inception in 1979, and strongly noted that it will continue steadfast in that mission even though the program has been scaled back since leaving the Olive-Harvey campus after twenty-seven years of being there.

Bailey, former Chairman of the Cook County Corrections Board, said he never gets tired and weary of working with young people because “they are our future.”

This year’s honorees are Clarence Glover and Marvin Forbish. Both awardees have been “a blessing down through the many years with Probation Challenge,” said Bailey, noting that many of those years were absent of dollars and of “charging us anything…they’ve worked hard in the trenches with us.” Presidential Awards will be presented to some doctors. Award presenters are Journalists Juanita Bratcher and Chinta Strausberg.

When asked what has been the hardest thing the program has encountered in 31 years, Bailey said it was the “illegal eviction” of his program from the Olive-Harvey College campus.

“For 27 years, we were located on the campus of Olive-Harvey College. And you know, sometimes we take things for granted. We were sending thousands, and thousands and thousands of young people back into society as meaningful and productive people. That was a joy of my work.

“It was a downside when we were illegally evicted from the campus, not for me, because I was at the point of retirement. But I saw these young people being thrown back into the streets. And as they were put back into the streets, it viciously hurt me because I know the inside of these young folk…what they’re thinking. I know how they tick. And many of them went back into the streets and resumed old behavior, crime, etc.

“One time, while watching TV, I saw two of my young folk that had been arrested for a crime. That hurt. That went straight to the fabric of where I am spiritually with this thing. That’s when I decided that I would resume (the program). I would do it on a limited scale, and we did. That’s because all of these people, my sons and my daughters are now out there in the streets, and they’re not getting the love, care and concern that they have an entitlement to have…and that really hurts.” 

Bailey has dedicated 35 years to helping young people.  He emphasized that he has no intentions of calling it quits or walking away from his vision that has helped so many.

For more information about the event, call (773) 978-3706.

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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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