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Archive for October 15th, 2010

Banning menthol cigarettes will create a huge illegal, contraband market

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

(Distributed through BlackNews.Com)

By Jessie Lee, Executive Director
National Organization of Law Enforcement Executives

A civilized society has to have a strong commitment to equal treatment in the administration of justice even when the topic might be unpopular. One of the roles of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives is to sensitize government officials and others to the problems of the black community and to have the courage of our convictions in addressing those issues.

Anyone working in law enforcement today knows that cigarette smuggling is a significant problem. Contraband tobacco markets run deep and wide – operating not only in the United States, but also around the world. What few people know, however, is that the U.S. government is considering a regulatory action that could cause this market to explode.

Today, the U.S. government is considering whether to ban menthol cigarettes, which constitute nearly one-third of the U.S. market. Any action to ban nearly one-third of the U.S. market of a product that is currently legal is something of concern to everyone in law enforcement.

A contraband market of illicit and unregulated cigarettes will be inevitable – and large – if the government bans menthol cigarettes. Illegal menthol cigarettes will find their way to consumers.

What are the real-world ramifications of such a market? A look at the recent history of illicit trade in cigarettes reveals a troubling picture. In Canada, studies have shown that the size of the contraband market there – caused by substantial tax increases – is so substantial that it represents half of all cigarettes smoking in some provinces. It’s an amazing statistic. One of every two cigarettes sold in some areas are illegal.

But there’s more. Tax hikes in states like New York State have led to a surge of black market sales there from low-tax states.

Federal studies, such as one by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, note that organized criminal groups are running larger scale and more sophisticated diversion schemes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives describes the diversion of tobacco as “a global problem and believes illegal cigarettes are the number one black market commodity in the world.”

We all know that cigarette smoking is dangerous and leads to disease. The question is whether a ban on menthol will undermine public health goals while also exerting a damaging real-world impact on law enforcement.

If menthol cigarettes are banned, contraband versions would effortlessly enter a sophisticated black market system that already exists. Like in Canada now, contraband cigarettes would be easily available on street corners or from car trunks.

The ramifications of a “black market” economy are obvious.

First, a black market does not ask young smokers for their ID. Nobody wants underage youths to smoke. But that attitude does not extend to those who sell smuggled cigarettes. Counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes would be sold on the streets and in neighborhoods, not at retail outlets where minimum purchase age laws are enforceable. And if unregulated sales to minors spike through street sales in African American communities, it would create a problem for law enforcement – potentially even leading to prosecutions, and to what end?

There are other consequences. A black market will not pay taxes. It is a matter of concern to everyone in law enforcement if the federal government on one hand requires additional enforcement resources by creating a black market, but then takes away revenues with the other hand. And this will be especially true if a contraband market, as history has shown, creates flourishing criminal enterprises.

As a national police organization, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives is concerned that illegal activity associated with banning menthol cigarettes could burden our law enforcement systems and divert needed resources from more pressing problems. Enforcement activities also could lead to severe inequities in law enforcement in African American communities.

In Washington, a scientific advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering the menthol issue. Its role is to issue a recommendation early next year about whether to regulate or ban menthol cigarettes.

It is a great concern that there is no apparent effort being made by the Food and Drug Administration to assess the practical impact of creating a contraband market by banning menthol cigarettes and what that means to the black community. The unintended consequences of a ban on menthol deserve serious consideration.

Jessie Lee is Executive Director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). NOBLE represents more than 3,500 top federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement officials.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority launches National Asthma Management Program

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Campaign will help asthmatic children lead productive lives, reduce hospital visits, stem school absenteeism, and save nation $$$

Attorney Carolyn House Stewart, International President
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will embark upon a national multi-year campaign to educate and enlighten the community about how to manage asthma through its Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative. The program will be launched in Tampa on October 20 as part of National Head Start Awareness Month. The Sorority will then galvanize thousands of members who will fan out to the nearly 1,000 communities worldwide where Alpha Kappa Alpha has chapters. The initiative is expected to reach millions of people afflicted with the disease, with a particular emphasis on reaching minority children.

This campaign is being carried out in partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a program under the National Institutes of Health. NICHD conducts and supports research on all stages of human development, from preconception to adulthood, to better understand the health of children, adults, families, and communities.

Through AKA’s Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative and, in accordance with its collaboration with the NICHD and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Alpha Kappa Alpha will raise awareness among parents and childhood educators about the treatment of childhood asthma through educational activities, informational forums, health fairs and screenings. The NICHD will participate in the forums and educational outreach efforts and will disseminate information on treatment options as part of the thrust.

According to Attorney Carolyn House Stewart, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s newly-installed International President, Alpha Kappa Alpha was motivated to wage a public education offensive when the Sorority became aware of the pernicious effect asthma has on children’s quality of life and on the nation’s economy.

According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), asthma accounts for more visits to the Emergency Room, costs the nation $3.2 billion to treat annually, afflicts 5.6 million school-aged children and can lead to death. Asthma disproportionately afflicts low-income, minority children, a population most vulnerable to the ravages of the disease but a population with few outlets where parents can be informed about the disease and how to manage it. Reaching this population is the core mission of AKA’s Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative.

By definition, asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease in which the airways of the lungs constrict, causing wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. It is a potentially debilitating disease that results in “episodes” when the disease is triggered. The NCCDPHP reports that tobacco smoke, dust mites, furred and feathered animals, molds, chemicals and strong odors in the school environment can trigger asthma attacks.

However, according to the NICHD, children with asthma can lead full and productive lives through proper diagnosis, control of triggers that spark episodes and through overall management. This can be achieved through an aggressive public outreach effort, which is the purpose of the Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative

Mrs. Stewart said Alpha Kappa Alpha was motivated to wage a public campaign because of her familiarity with the disease, because asthma was becoming an epidemic and because it is a disease that is manageable, with a few lifestyle adjustments. With this knowledge, Attorney Stewart contacted the National Institutes of Health for statistical support. As a result of this outreach, the partnership with NICHD and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) evolved. With the data the agencies provided, Stewart galvanized the Sorority’s membership around this program. The overarching goal of the campaign is to improve the quality of life of children afflicted, boost their attendance in school, and save the country money. The initiative is a major program under AKA’s new administration, whose theme is “Global Leadership Through Timeless Service.” The effort is being spearheaded by the Sorority’s Program Committee, which is chaired by Attorney Sharon Bridges of Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Diane Adams, MD, a member of the Sorority, is Project Director of the campaign.

“Every child should be afforded the opportunity to live life to the fullest, including those with asthma,” said President Stewart. ” By marshaling AKA’s members around asthma management, we will impact the quality of life of all affected by the ravages of this disease. In so doing, Alpha Kappa Alpha will live up to its 102-year mission of providing service to the community.”

State Treasurer’s Office hosts Smart Women Smart Money in Chicago

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS


Conference focused on credit, budgeting and financing higher education


Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ office held a free money management conference Thursday in Chicago geared toward helping women take control of their finances.  

Smart Women Smart Money aims to empower women financially by providing practical advice and real-life examples of how women can budget, save and invest wisely. The 10th annual conference, held at the UIC Forum, featured financial experts who led seminars on credit management, budget basics and paying for college. More than 500 people attended the conference.

 State Treasurer’s Chief of Staff Robin Kelly, who spoke during the conference, said it’s important that women help each other further their professional and financial goals. 

 “I’m a huge advocate for education that’s by women and for women. No offense to the guys, but to be a successful woman, you need to stand on the shoulders of other women,” Kelly said. “It’s something I try to do in my life, empower the women around me to be leaders, to make sure they always have a seat at the executive’s table.”

 Keynote speaker Rosie Rios, United States Treasurer, discussed the importance of financial empowerment for women and shared her secrets for success. In addition, two Chicago businesswomen were recognized for their professional accomplishments and community service.

 Leticia Velez-Hudson received the Woman on the Rise Award for her success as President/CEO of Chicago Mini Bus Travel and for her work with civic organizations such as Mujeres Latinas En Accion and A Safe Haven Foundation.

 Merri Dee, President/CEO of Merri Dee Communications, received the Woman of Excellence Award for a career in broadcasting that spanned four decades and for her work as an advocate for children and education.

 SWSM is presented by Dollars and Sense Inc., a nonprofit organization. Major sponsors include COUNTRY Financial, State Farm and VISA.

Figueroa, former assessor candidate endorses Berrios

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS


Chicago, IL – Ray Figueroa, who ran in the February 2010 Democratic Primary, announced his endorsement of Joe Berrios for Cook County Assessor in the upcoming General Election.

 “Joe Berrios is the duly elected nominee of the Democratic Party, and the overwhelming choice of the Latino community in Cook County,” said Figueroa, a former Cook County judge and Chicago alderman. “I am supporting him in the November 2nd election, and encourage others to do the same.”

 Figueroa, a reformer, ran against Berrios and Robert Shaw, a former Cook County Board of Review Commissioner, in the February election. He was endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times in that race, which was won by Berrios, also a Board of Review commissioner.

 “The political landscape has grown increasingly hostile to the aspirations of Latino immigrants,” Figueroa said. “The candidacy of Commissioner Berrios reaffirms the Democratic Party’s steadfast commitment to politics of inclusion.”

 Figueroa also criticized Claypool for failing to cast a ballot in the February 2010 election.

 “How can we rely on a public official to protect our right to vote when he fails to exercise his own? While Mr. Claypool stands on the sidelines, Commissioner Berrios is a trailblazer for Latino empowerment,” Figueroa said.

Midwest peace mobilization to mark 9th Anniversary of Afghanistan war with call to end U.S. Wars abroad, at home

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS
Activists traveling from eight states will mark surging public opposition to Afghanistan occupation and growing government assault on right to dissent at home
Chicago, IL – Activists from Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, South Dakota, Indiana and Illinois will gather in Chicago on Saturday, October 16 to mark another anniversary this month of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and to call for an end to the increasingly unpopular occupation — and the federal government’s war on dissent at home.
 Marchers will assemble for a kick-off rally at 12:30 PM at 450 S. Michigan Avenue — Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway — and march through some of Chicago’s busiest thoroughfares, along State Street and Michigan Avenue to Chicago Ave. and Tower Court in Chicago’s Gold Coast for a closing rally.
Planning for the action has been under way for months. Organizers seek to build opposition to the deadly consequences of the Afghanistan occupation, and to parallel U.S. sponsored military actions in countries that include Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and to raise awareness about the consequences at home, from funds denied to human needs like jobs and education to the stepped-up federal attack on peace activists and the broader right to dissent.
On September 24, the FBI raided the homes and offices and served grand jury subpoenas to 14 anti-war and solidarity activists, claiming they were seeking evidence of links to ‘material aid to terrorism’. The FBI has continued to target peace activists for ‘questioning’ in the wake of those raids, and all of the FBI targets have refused to obey the grand jury subpoenas. A growing number of civil liberties advocates have called the federal actions the most serious threat to the right to dissent since the McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950’s. 
Activists from arenas that range from disability rights to public education have signed on to endorse the effort, arguing that every penny spent on U.S. military endeavors abroad denies funding for basic needs at home. They argue that while the economy continues to stumble, foreclosure rates spike, wages stagnate and millions remain out of work, President Obama has pledged a domestic spending freeze at the same time that he’s brought U.S. military spending to its highest level ever. Today, 57% of the federal budget is spent on war and U.S. military expenditures.
Activists will also hold a teach-in Friday evening on the costs of war at home and abroad beginning at 6:30 PM at Grace Place, 637 S Dearborn Street in Chicago. Speakers will include Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report; Palestinian author, activist and scholar Dr. Ghada Talhami; Joe Iosbaker, one of the targets of the FBI raids; JR Fleming of Southside Together Organizing for Power — STOP — which organized against the Chicago Olympics; a representative of La Voz de Los De Abajos, which has been closely monitoring the deadly consequences of the U.S.-backed coup in Honduras; and Chilean activist Maria Pizarro, who was forced into exile after the 1973 U.S.-backed coup in Chile.
Endorsers of the Friday teach-in and Saturday protest include: 8th Day Center for Justice; Albany Park, Mayfair, North Park Neighbors for Peace & Justice; American Muslims for Palestine; ANSWER Coalition; AWARE (Anti-War, Anti-Racism Effort─Champaign, IL); Bloomington-Normal Citizens for Peace and Justice; Chicago Area CodePINK; Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism; Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights; Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five; Chicago Single-Payer Action Network; Chicago Vietnam Veterans Against the War; Chicago World Can’t Wait; Comité Anti-Militarización (CAMI); Cook County Green Party; Dan La Botz Socialist campaign for U.S. Senate in Ohio; DuPage County Green Party; Episcopal Veterans Fellowship; Faith on the Front Line; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Four M’s Company; Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice; Gay Liberation Network; Industrial Workers of the World─Chicago; International Socialist Organization; International Solidarity Movement─Chicago; Jewish Voice For Peace─Chicago; La Voz de los de Abajo; Labor Beat / Labor Express; National Lawyers Guild, Michigan/Detroit Chapter; Near West Citizens for Peace & Justice (NWCPJ); Neighbors for Peace; News and Letters Committees; Nicaragua Solidarity Network; North Shore Coalition for Peace Justice and the Environment; Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition; Northwest Suburban Peace & Education Project; Palestine Solidarity Group─Chicago; People Who Care About Peace; Peoria Area Peace Network; Sangat; Socialist Organizer / El Organizador; Socialist Workers Party; St. Clement’s Church Peace Committee; Students for a Democratic Society─Wilbur Wright College; Students for Justice in PalestineNortheastern Illinois University; Veterans for Peace; Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Workers World Party.

Award-Winning Journalist examines her racial roots and long-held family secrets

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Michele Norris, co-host of NPR’S All Things Considered, examines her racial roots and long-held family secrets in new book, “The Grace of Silence”


Encourages Communities of Color to Participate in 2010 National Day of Listening (www.nationaldayoflistening.org) on Friday, November 26th — The Day After Thanksgiving

“How well do you really know the people that raised you? Have you captured their history? Do you fully understand YOUR legacy?”

“The Grace of Silence is an insightful, elegant rendering of how the history of an American family illuminates the history of our country.” –- Toni Morrison

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — The Terrie Williams Agency is pleased to announce that award-winning journalist, Michele Norris, has joined its roster of purpose-driven talent.

Most will know Norris’s name from her exceptional journalism career. She has served as a correspondent for ABC News, and has reported for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times on education, poverty, and numerous other social issues. She is a frequent guest on Meet the Press and The Chris Matthews Show. And her voice is heard by millions every weekday as co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered. Last year, Norris was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists.

In The Grace of Silence (Pantheon Book/Sept. 21), Norris confronts hard truths about her own family’s racial history that had been left unsaid by her parents – from her grandmother’s work as an itinerant Aunt Jemima peddling pancake mix to her father’s shooting by the Birmingham police within weeks of his discharge from service in World War II.

Norris kicked off a 35-city book tour on Sept. 21. October dates/locations include:

WASHINGTON, DC: Tuesday, October 12, 7:00 PM, Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW.

PHILADELPHIA: Thursday, October 14, 7:30 PM–Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine Street.

AUSTIN: Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16 — Friday Evening, Texas Book Festival, Opening Night Gala — 2:45 PM (Sat). Texas Book Festival with Isabel Wilkerson. C-Span Tent.

ANN ARBOR: Monday, October 18, 7:00 PM, Border’s Books, 612 E Liberty.

IOWA CITY: Friday, October 22, 7:00 PM, Prairie Lights Bookstore at the Public Library, 123 South Linn Street.

Norris is also encouraging families, particularly of those of color, to participate in the 2010 National Day of Listening (www.nationaldayoflistening.org) by recording family stories on, Friday November 26th, the day after Thanksgiving. Participants are also invited to share their story on the “Your Stories” link at www.michele-norris.com.

BLACKDOCTOR.ORG takes the lead in fight against breast cancer

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — BlackDoctor.org (BDO) is stepping up their fight against breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute reports that the five-year breast cancer survival rate for African American women is 69%, compared to 84% for white women. These statistics prompted BlackDoctor.org to take the lead in fighting breast cancer with the transformation of their website into a “go-to” resource for culturally accurate breast cancer information for Blacks. While the entire site will maintain thousands of culturally accurate articles and resources dedicated to all aspects of Black health, the site’s homepage will change into a portal dedicated primarily to addressing breast cancer from an African American perspective.

“While there aren’t more incidences of breast cancer in the African American community, the mortality rates for Black women diagnosed with breast cancer are significantly higher,” said BDO Editor Whitney Greer. “Dedicating the site to all things breast cancer from a Black perspective, including stories of survival and prevention tips is really what BDO is all about—supplying our community with the tools to get on and stay on the road to a healthy lifestyle.”

During the month of October, BlackDoctor.org will:

* Show our unwavering support for breast cancer survivors by featuring the signature pink ribbon logo throughout the site during the entire month of October, as well as incorporating the traditional pink breast cancer awareness color throughout the entire website on two key days in October: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day (October 13th) and Mammography day (October 22nd).

* Promote breast cancer prevention by highlighting key health strategies and treatments throughout the website.

* Run specialized banner ad links throughout the site urging users to support breast cancer research and treatment facilities.

* Feature stories written by everyday BDO users who have been personally affected by breast cancer.

Greer added, “Our commitment to redefining black health is unwavering. Breast cancer may seem strong, but our will to fight it is stronger.”
About BlackDoctor.org
Chicago-based BlackDoctor.org (www.BlackDoctor.org) is the leading resource for African-American health, nutrition, weight loss and fitness information in the United States. Key features that BDO delivers daily include: The BDO Health Library, Symptom Checker, Find-A-Doctor Search Tool, Culturally Accurate Health News and the Weekly Housecall newsletter.

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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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