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Archive for January 20th, 2011

Black church leaders call for support of President Obama’s Health Care Reform

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

charles_e_blake_obamaCharles E. Blake, Sr.

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. released the following statement:
 
President Obama’s historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress last year, has greatly benefited many in the United States, and in particular those among us who have not previously had health insurance. As the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, one of the oldest and largest Holiness-Pentecostal denominations in the world, with an estimated membership of six million people in fifty-seven nations across the globe, I write in support of the law and urge Congress not to repeal the law or pass any amendments that will weaken it. I am joined in this position by our ruling council, our bishops and their Chairman. As I have argued before, based on our understanding of the Holy Scriptures it is not only our mandate to encourage men and women to come into right relationship with their Creator, but also to proclaim and advocate justice and compassion throughout all creation.
 
“Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” — Proverbs 31:8-9 NKJV
Therefore we petition Congress today, speaking on behalf of millions of Americans who have benefited from the health care law.
 
There are several historic provisions that we seek to preserve: the current restriction on insurance companies‘ ability to deny coverage to children on the basis of pre-existing health conditions, the extension of coverage to children under 26 through their parents’ health insurance plans, the mandate for every American to have health insurance by 2014, and the provision of subsidies for the needy to cover health insurance are among the most important.
 
In this, the richest country in the world, thirty-two million Americans were without health insurance coverage prior to the passage of this law. Today the elderly benefit, as the law will close the “donut hole” in prescription drug benefits through Medicare by 2020. And the poor, who are of particular importance to us as Christians, benefit immediately from the expansion of Medicaid coverage to those within 133% of the poverty level and ultimately from the expansion of coverage to childless adults by 2014. Because of this law many will be spared untold hardship and unnecessary suffering due to ill health and death.
 
It is of particular importance to us as Christians that the law does not require any health care plan to offer coverage for abortion, and requires that taxpayer funds not be used for fees related to the provision of abortions.
 
As Christians is also critical for us to urge fiscal responsibility among our national leaders. For this reason we support the health care law as currently enacted which will reduce the national deficit by $143 billion over the first 10 years.
 
We urge the members of Congress, and in particular the leadership, to resist the temptation to make this vitally important piece of legislation, which has such important benefits for needy Americans, the subject of divisive, partisan attacks. Finally, we call upon all Americans of faith and on all Americans of good will to stand with the President in support of this historic legislation.

Attorney General urges fans to beware of Bears Playoff Ticket scams online

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

 Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan warned fans purchasing Chicago Bears playoff tickets to take caution and properly investigate the ticket seller when making online payments. Madigan said ticket scams have surfaced during high-demand special events such as Sunday’s Bears playoff game, when fans have purchased tickets online only to learn they paid hundreds or even thousands for fake tickets.

“Football fans need to be careful if they buy tickets online,” Attorney General Madigan said. “Don’t get so caught up in the excitement of the playoffs that you wind up the victim of a con artist cheating you out of a lot of money.”

Madigan offered consumers the following tips regarding special-event ticket sales:

  • If dealing with a ticket broker, determine whether the broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (www.natb.org) and the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). Both organizations have membership standards that promote ethical business conduct.

 

  • If dealing with an Illinois ticket broker, consumers can contact the Illinois Secretary of State’s Index Department in Springfield to ensure that the broker is properly registered. Illinois law requires ticket brokers meet certain requirements, including maintaining a toll-free telephone number and a consumer rebate fund.

 

  • Avoid paying cash for tickets in person from a stranger as the tickets may be counterfeit. Consumers should deal only with a seller who accepts credit card payments or other secure payment methods. Consumers are urged not to buy tickets from an unsecured website. Consumers should also be wary of online escrow sites, especially those recommended by a seller. If an escrow site is suggested, the consumer should independently investigate whether the site is legitimate.

 

  • When buying online, consumers should always note whether they are buying tickets at face value. Consumers also should familiarize themselves with the policies of the venue where the event is being held to determine whether the consumer must have actual ticket in hand, or whether the venue has a mechanism for paperless tickets to gain admission.

 

  • Most importantly, consumers should never wire any payment to a seller for any reason. Buyers may be told that they will receive special-event tickets after wiring money to an unknown seller. In many of these instances, the consumer becomes a victim of fraud.

Madigan urged consumers affected by a ticket scam to file a complaint with her office by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline:

Chicago 1-800-386-5438

Springfield 1-800-243-0618

Carbondale 1-800-243-0607

Consumers also can file a consumer complaint by downloading a complaint form at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.

Out-of-state consumers should report fraudulent occurrences to local authorities and their state attorney general’s office.

 

State’s Attorney Alvarez honors citizens for their assistance with arson cases

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
 Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez will join other local law enforcement agencies to present the 2010 Illinois Arson Awards, given by the Illinois Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention, to citizens and law enforcement officers whose support and cooperation helped to convict criminals charged with arson.
 
The awards ceremony will be held today, January 20, 2011 at the Criminal Courts Building, 2650 S. California, 12th Floor library at 11:00 a.m.
 
Civilian award recipients nominated by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office include:
 
Armando Perex, Oscar Perez, Georgina Ramirez and Tanya Perez for their assistance and testimony at the trial of Sonia Lebron, convicted of starting a October 2006 fire in suburban Cicero, killing Raquel Perez, and her six-year-old son Cesar Camacho while they were sleeping. Victim Witness Specialist Edith Gonzalez will also be recognized for her work on the case. Lebron was sentenced to natural life in prison.
 
Dedric Scales for his assistance in the prosecution of Raymond Lee and Jonathan Mitchell, convicted of starting a deadly fire in January 2000 on the city’s far south side, killing two elderly men. Both victims were bound, gagged and doused with gasoline then left in the burning home. Both Lee and Mitchell were sentenced to natural life in prison.
 
Patrick Butler, and Christine and Siefried Luck for their assistance and testimony in the prosecution of Kristy Ballard, convicted of starting a June 2009 fire on the city’s south side. Ballard was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
 
Althea Robinson and Samantha Steele for their assistance and testimony at the trial of Tommy Lee Ferguson convicted of starting a July 2009 fire to an occupied apartment building on the city’s south side. Ferguson was sentenced to 9 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
 
In addition to the 13 citizens who will receive cash awards ranging from $500 to $1,000, 29 law enforcement officials will receive recognition for their assistance in providing information on cases that have led to successful prosecutions and suppression of arson in Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Illinois Students Selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Delegates to travel to D.C. and receive $5,000 scholarship

 

Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education joins U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin and Mark Kirk in congratulating the two Illinois high school students selected as delegates to the 49th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. in March. James Konsky of Troy and William Fernandez of Champaign were selected from applicants across the state to represent Illinois.

“It is a great accomplishment for these two students and an amazing opportunity to experience the democratic process up close in our nation’s capitol,” said Christopher A. Koch, State Superintendent of Education. “We congratulate our two delegates for Illinois, their teachers and their families.”

The U.S. Senate sponsors the USSYP, created in 1962, and The Hearst Foundations currently funds the program. The program aims to instill a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

Each year the competitive, merit-based program brings 104 outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long study of the federal government. The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship and encourages them to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

While in Washington March 5-12, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with senators and Congressional staff, the President, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and members of the national media.

William Fernandez is student body president at University Laboratory High School, where he also participates in basketball and track. He was selected as one of the top 10 high school journalists in Illinois and he helped his school paper win the National Student Press Association’s Pacemaker Award.

William tutors and coaches elementary students and also volunteers for Sail to Prevail, a New England-based program that helps people with disabilities learn to sail.

James Konsky serves as a Knights Council representative at Triad High School and as a Junior Board member of the U.S. Senator Paul Simon Museum. James’ love for politics began when he learned about Sen. Simon’s life. He continues to enjoy politics through his Model UN activities.

Anastasia Golovashkina, a resident of Naperville who attends Naperville North High School, and Nora Castrejon, a resident of Chicago, who attends Benito Juarez Community Academy, were chosen as alternates for the 2011 program.

Chief education officers in each state select the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, this year’s students rank academically in the top 1 percent of their states.

Among the many distinguished former program delegates are U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the first program delegate elected to the Senate; U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the first former delegate elected to the House; New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt; and former presidential Advisers Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove.

 

Better Business Bureau Cautions: Play Safe Buying Bears/Packers Championship Tickets

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
 (A Message from the Better Business Bureau) 
 

Chicago, IL – The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois alerts fans purchasing tickets to the upcoming Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers NFC championship game on Sunday to be cautious when buying tickets online.

According to StubHub.com the secondary-ticket market is a $10 billion dollar a year industry which includes professional brokers, speculators and season ticket holders. Because many of these sellers are not licensed or bonded and are often found on unregulated online auctions, online classifieds, and bulletin boards using person to person sales sports fans need to be more skeptical and on the alert.

 

Chicago Bears fans need to do their research before spending large amounts of money on NFC Championship tickets,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Sports fans are often blinded by their devotion to their team and run the risk of putting their trust in a seller that doesn’t deserve it.”

 

In the past twelve months alone, there have been 171 complaints filed and more than 20,000 inquiries to the BBB about companies in the “Ticket Sales – Events” category.

 

If you are considering buying tickets on the secondary market, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to ensure a successful transaction: 

  • Check to make sure the broker is licensed as required in the state of Illinois.
  • Avoid paying cash for tickets in person from a stranger in case the tickets may be counterfeit.
  • Do not ever wire funds for payment.
  • Deal only with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction.  For instance, you should know up-front the amount of the surcharge for each purchase; whether the tickets are guaranteed; how they will be sent to you and the timeframe for delivery; and the broker’s refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies. 
  • Check if the ticket broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Visit several Web sites to compare prices and ticket availability for the event you’re interested in attending. 
  • Do not buy tickets from Internet sites that are not secure or lack a privacy policy; fail to disclose their refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies; do not provide a telephone number and fixed place of business; or insist on cash payment.
  • Verify the location of the seats on a seating chart provided by the venue to avoid purchasing non-existent seats or seats with obstructed views.
  • Pay with a credit card or another secure form of payment so you can dispute the charge with your credit card issuer or bank.
“The most common way sports fans are getting scammed online is by either paying for counterfeit tickets or tickets that never arrive,” added Bernas. “Even if the tickets do surface, they are sometimes not for the seats the seller advertised – which can mean being stuck with seats that aren’t next to each other, up in the nosebleed section, or with an obstructed view.” 

For more information on finding ticket brokers you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

 

Campaign for Better Health Care urges legislators not to repeal healthcare reform legislation

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
“Illinois deserves integrity from all its public servants:
talk the talk on repeal?  Then walk the walk, Congress”- Campaign for Better Health Care 

 
Springfield, IL – After a press conference in Springfield, prior to the repeal of healthcare reform legislation yesterday (January 19, 2011), Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care said, “Today the Campaign for Better Health Care is announcing that the people of Illinois expect integrity from Illinois’ members of Congress. We issue this demand to any legislator that votes for repeal of the ACA: If you vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, we expect you to issue a public statement stating that you and your family will not take part in the taxpayer subsidized, government administered health insurance plan that is available to you as a member of Congress. Your vote for repeal is taking away the same health care protections and benefits from your constituents that you and your family enjoy at their expense.” 
 
He continued, “It is only right for our members of Congress to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, so we expect them to be principled and take personal responsibility for their legislative actions.
 
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) identified repeal of the Affordable Care Act as the Republicans’ “#1 legislative priority,” according to Politico.  The double standard is hard to miss.  The push for repeal means the American people would lose protection for people with pre-existing conditions, subsidies to make health premiums affordable, a prescription drug benefit with no coverage gap, and protection against catastrophic health care costs, among other benefits of the Affordable Care Act – benefits the very people voting for repeal would keep for themselves.  
 
“I find the double standard of this vote revolting,” said Midge Hough, a Campaign for Better Health Care member.  “That any members of Congress would see the stripping of these benefits from the American people as a positive action is astounding enough – but the fact that they would then retain those benefits for themselves is beyond comprehension.  What’s good enough for them is good enough for us.  Why aren’t they using their time in Washington to work on creating jobs instead of taking away benefits that will help millions of Americans?”
 
“Since coming to Congress in 1999, I’ve literally heard thousands of personal stories from constituents about how our deeply flawed health care system has wreaked havoc on their lives — from kids being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition to insurance companies dropping people when they get sick to families going uninsured because they cannot afford coverage,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “With the Affordable Care Act, we stand up for Americans and begin to solve those problems. Yet Republicans are working aggressively to repeal the law and take these life-changing health care protections away.  I absolutely will not stand for repeal and neither will the millions of Americans who are already benefitting from the law.”
 
The Affordable Care Act would not just create new jobs, but will provide other positive fiscal impacts for the country.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that repeal will add directly $230 billion to the U.S. Governments deficit this decade and another $1 trillion+ in the decade after that. In addition, repeal will add nearly $2000 annually to family insurance premiums. “Republicans are saying that an increase in the deficit and higher health care premiums for my family and yours are the way to go?  It makes no sense whatsoever,” said Carmen Velasquez, Executive Director of Alivio Medical Center.
 
Despite Republican claims, “major health insurance companies are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.  Why?  Because the tax cut created in the ACA providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working,” reported Rick Ungar in Forbes magazine.  He noted, “38% of the businesses that are signing up had not offered health benefits before.”
 
194,000 small businesses in Illinois alone may be eligible for the new tax credit since passage of the Affordable Care Act.  “Throughout our 35 years in business, Illinois Times has provided health insurance to our full time employees – and covered 50% of those costs.  Regardless of the cost, we’ve always felt it is just the right thing to do,” said Sharon Whelan, publisher of Illinois Times.  “It’s good to know that beginning this year there will be a tax credit to cover some of these costs – the credit makes it easier for us to offer other benefits like disability coverage and providing access to a local fitness facility.  Our small business couldn’t function without a healthy staff, ready and able to do their work each day.”
 
CBHC’s Duffett concluded, “Republicans know that this repeal effort is not going to be successful, and rightfully so.  This pandering to their extremist wing of their base is a huge waste of time, when there are so many serious problems that the American people face right now.  I fail to understand how closing the donut hole and offering free preventative care to our seniors, guaranteeing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and children up to age 26, or prohibiting the most egregious abuses of the insurance industry like taking your coverage away when you get sick and need it most are what the Republicans find worthy of support for their constituents.  If they believe that repeal is the best thing for the American people, then certainly they should have to face the same challenges as a result as the rest of us will.”
 
Editor’s Note: The House voted 245-189 yesterday (January 19, 2011) to repeal health care reform legislation. 
 

Coalition urges tougher sentence for former Police Commander Jon Burge

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
15-21 months not enough for unapologetic torturer, ICAT contends
 
 
Chicago, IL – Members of the Illinois Coalition Against Torture (ICAT) today delivered 1044 petition signatures to Judge Joan Lefkow, objecting to the U.S. Probation Department’s recommendation that former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge be sentenced to just 15-21 months of incarceration. 
Last June, after a 25 year battle for justice, Burge was found guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury for lying about the torture of more than 100 African American men and women at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters in the 1970s and 1980s. Burge will be sentenced on Thursday, January 20, 2011. He faces a maximum sentence of 45 years imprisonment.
 
Despite the egregious nature of the crimes underlying the perjury conviction – including systemic torture perpetrated by officers of the law – the U.S. Probation Department in its Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) used sentencing guidelines to recommend that Burge be sentenced to only 15-21 months in prison. 
 
Those familiar with the Burge torture cases found these recommendations shocking. “This sentencing recommendation fails to address the devastating harm Burge wrought on individuals and families in the African-American community in Chicago, as well as the lack of remorse he has shown for the horrendous crimes he committed,” said Larry Redmond, an ICAT member and former criminal defense attorney representing death row inmates. “Systematic torture by state actors is not acceptable, but such a minimal punishment would indicate that it is.”
The petition presented to Judge Lefkow calls for a sentence commensurate with the harm Burge inflicted, and that he has, for decades, also failed to acknowledge and mitigate. The suffering for victims and their families has been compounded by decades of silence. Even after this federal conviction, Burge has refused to name his criminal collaborators, take any responsibility, or show any contrition. On the contrary, this week he has pled that his sentence should be reduced further because of his military service in Vietnam. ICAT members point out that he brought the torture practices and tools he used overseas,  including the notorious electric shock box, to interrogation rooms on the South side of Chicago.
The coalition urged the Court to recognize that Burge did not merely lie during the course of a civil rights proceeding; rather, the underlying crimes of systemic torture and abuse under cover of law that Burge instituted over a twenty year period must be considered. Alice Kim, an ICAT member and advocate for Burge torture survivors, explained: “Burge was a police commander, entrusted to ‘serve and protect,’ when he carried out these acts of torture. As one person who signed the online petition noted: He was supposed to be a guardian of justice. More than that, Burge has failed to admit to his crimes. He’s failed to apologize for his crimes. And he failed to testify about the torture practiced by other police under his command – testimony that might provide modest relief to torture survivors. His sentence should send a message that Black lives matter and torture is not acceptable.”
In addition to this petition, ICAT released a broadside called the Jon Burge Torture Index, adapted from the Harper’s magazine index, which illustrates the extent of the torture and the lack of accountability on the part of Burge and the officers under his command. It also describes the horrific nature of the torture (22 men electrically shocked, 23 men suffocated with plastic bags, 32 men whose genitals were injured), the human cost to Burge’s victims, and the financial cost to local taxpayers. 
The petition was delivered to Judge Joan Lefkow’s clerk, with copies provided to the U.S. Attorneys’ office and Burge’s defense team in anticipation of the January 20 sentencing hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.

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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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