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Archive for February 18th, 2011

Braun offers solid solutions/experience to fix city’s ‘broken’ finances

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
Rahm bashed on immigration/Freddie Mac

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

During the final mayoral debate before Tuesday’s election, Carol Moseley Braun Thursday offered some solid fiscal solutions and restructuring proposals that included no new taxes for Chicagoans.

She was joined at the ABC 7 forum by mayoral hopefuls Miguel del Valle, Gery Chico and Rahm Emanuel during an hour-long debate on topics that ranged from views on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) to ending the pay-to-play politics.

In her opening statements, Braun, said, “I am a woman voter who also knows what it means to be in leadership. Born and raised in Chicago, I care deeply about the future of all of the children of this city.

“I am a candidate for mayor because I bring experience gained from elective leadership in local, state and national government as well as experiences on the international level and as an entrepreneur,” said Braun.

“I am uniquely qualified to be mayor in this time of history having overcome challenges by making them into opportunities,” said Braun. “I bring you leadership capacity to make our city reflect resourcefulness, productivity and straight forward determination of its people.

“Our city works very well for some and not at all for others,” Braun said. “There are villages of homeless people under the bridges at Sawyer and Belmont in sub-zero weather and yet our downtown is one of the most beautiful in the world. Our city’s financial deficit is a reflection of its leadership deficit.

“I have a vision of a great city that includes all and excludes none, a city that respects every person and I look forward to working with you to get to that point,” said Braun.

In his opening statement, Del Valle said voters could help “chart a difference course” for Chicago and one where neighborhoods will be serviced like the downtown areas. “We need to ignite democracy in the city of Chicago in order to ensure that course that will benefit all.”

Chico talked about being born in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood. “It’s time for our city to live within its means.

Emanuel spoke of the social problems and challenges. “We need a mayor who is strong enough, determined with a vision and a resilience to see that future…for the city so we can grow as one city….”

The candidates took pot shots at Emanuel for his alleged political influence they say helped to line his pocket with millions of dollars.

While del Valle called for an end to the “pay-to-play” political strategy by some of the candidates, Braun said it is time for Emanuel to disclose potential conflict of interests including whether he registered as a lobbyist, who he was representing at the time and who did he call. “He is neither a CPA nor an MBA nor a lawyer; yet he was able to go into a field that traditionally requires that set of credentials in relations to management,” she said.

Braun wants Emanuel to explain why he voted against the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) 128 times including efforts by that body to send $5 million for water for “drought-starved” sub-Saharan Africa.

 “He voted to allow people to sell meat from down animals,” said Braun again wanting to get answers from Emanuel who never responded. Braun was referring to Emanuel’s voting on a bill that protected sellers of “downed” animal meat. Emanuel, who allegedly leads in media polls, refused to take the bait and did not answer those questions.

When asked his opinion about the federal government wanting to increase collaboration with local authority to support undocumented people, Chico said, “I wouldn’t allow it. Chico said he supports the city’s executive order that labels Chicago as a sanctuary city “which means that we will not allow our police officers, our firefighters or city personnel to help enforce immigration laws in this country.”

Chico called it a “red herring” because “we ought to as a nation once and for all figure out federal immigration reform. It didn’t happen on Mr. Emanuel’s watch as chief of staff but I was so proud to see President Obama during the State of Union put it right back on the agenda and I believe he would push and make it happen.” Chico vowed to work with Rep. Luis Gutierrez “to make that happen because it is right and moral thing to do in our country.”

Emanuel said he is the grandson of an immigrant who came from Eastern Europe to Chicago in 1917 and the son of an immigrant who came here in 1959. “I worked tirelessly in Congress in making sure every year I co-sponsored and voted for comprehensive reform and also opposed public methods to politicize the issue….”

He supports keeping Chicago a sanctuary city and said he would introduce a Chicago version of the DREAM Act.

A somewhat stunned Braun told Emanuel: “You have shown that you were directly involved with killing the DREAM Act when it came through so to listen to you tonight is really surprising.”

Braun is one of many immigrant advocates who believe Emanuel didn’t support passage of the DREAM ACT when he was in Congress. “To listen to you tonight is really kind of surprising,” she said. “Chicago should continue to be a sanctuary city. We shouldn’t allow families to get ripped apart because of the illogic of our immigration system and it is an illogical system.”

She gave as an example how the federal government mandates activity by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  “that they don’t pay for. It comes out of the city treasurer….  I still have floor privileges in the U.S. Senate.  I’m prepared to go back to Washington to press for a reform of the ways that immigration laws are enforced, reform the way that the State Department treats people because there is no reason why people standing out in the rain waiting for somebody to talk to them. We need to certain that we press for fairness in the area of immigration,” said Braun.

On the issue of immigration, del Valle said, “This question wouldn’t be an issue tonight if we had comprehensive immigration reform.” He said Emanuel “referred to immigration as the ‘third rail of politics’ when he advised his colleagues in Congress not to pursue immigration reform and then as chief of staff to the president of the United States he also advised the president not to pursue immigration reform in the first year of his administration.

“In Chicago, we need to do more than just protect the rights of immigrants in our city,” del Valle said. “The mayor of the city of Chicago has to also look at what is happening at the County level and also has to advocate at the state level so that we can make sure we’re doing what is right with immigrants in the city of Chicago.”

Emanuel said he would ask Chicago police to follow the law here and said under Obama “naturalization has dramatically increased” including making an historic appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Saying the last time immigration passed Congress it was in 1986 under President Reagan, Emanuel said, “We need a policy that reflects our values and also our laws and that means working together across party line to get it done.”

Braun said, “Our immigration policy is broken and we need to fix it. We need to fix in ways that respect people, provide the fairness that is fair to the city of Chicago and the people who live here whether they are documented or not.”

In fixing the broken policy, Braun said she would work with the administration “in behalf of comprehensive immigration reform in the first place but in the meantime, lobby to get the money back that we are right now having to pay as taxpayers here in Chicago for what is basically an unfunded mandate by the federal government. It is not right for the federal government to insist that we do a thing and then not send the money to let us do it,” she said.

Del Valle said many times people have been deported and children left behind. “This has happened quite often in the city of Chicago.”

He said the mayor should have all departments monitoring the activity and to establish a line of communication with the federal government about the status of those living here and “ensuring the federal government is respecting our local laws,” he said referring to the city’s ordinance. Del Ville said if the federal government is not respecting the law “then we need to take action….”

Asked about the city’s probability of soon facing a huge unfunded pension liability and would proceeds from a casino be an answer, Emanuel said, “I believe in preserving the pension. “ He said if nothing is done within a decade there will be no retirement pension. He also opposed raising property taxes to plug this projected deficit. He believes in negotiating collective to preserve the fund.

Braun said, “We have to protect the retirement security for city workers.” Referring to the time when she sat on the President’s Commission on Pensions and Retirement Security, Braun said they took a “deep look at this and the first thing I’d say to people is don’t panic. We do have to fix this problem, but we’re right now at the top of the demographic bubble where there is the most pressure on the pension system. That will change as the generation moves forward.”

Braun said the pensions need to be fully funded “and do better than we’re doing now” and that includes improving the leadership deficit. “The attention was not being paid to what was happening in our pension system as it was spending going on in other arenas. There was not enough planning and foresight to make the contributions sufficient. I refuse to increase property taxes, but we can address this if we grow the economy and create more jobs,” she said.

Del Valle said the pension problem was created by the city and the state “because of our failure to contribute the employer share at an adequate level.” He said it would be unconstitutional to take away employees current benefit. “We have to find a revenue source to support our pensions; so casino license is one of those possibilities and if that is not what goes, then we have to find another source” needed to make the pensions whole.

Chico is also opposed to cutting city worker’s pensions; rather he vowed to sit down with labor and hammer out an affordable solution for all “but we should honor the principle that a pension benefit level earned is a promise we need to keep.”

He supports a casino in Chicago because he said the city needs the money.

Asked if their first budget would be smaller and would there be higher taxes and fees, Emanuel stuck with his campaign promise of offering a comprehensive health enrollment plan he says saves $50 million, consolidating procurement would save $40 million and “doing garbage collection different saves $35 million to $40 million.”

Braun rejected any new taxes, favors a balanced budget and said the budget must be fair and transparent. “I believe we should put every dime on line so the citizens of Chicago can see where the money is going….” She believes the budget will be smaller next year.

Del Valle agreed saying the cuts should begin in the mayor’s office and the City Council including cutting committees. “We have to lead by example. They would have to look at the upper level of management and start getting rid of some of these deputies who report to deputies.”

He proposed there would be from $50 million to $100 million in cuts coupled with the use of the Taxing Increment Financing (TIF) surplus funds. Del Valle also suggested a change in how garbage is picked up and who is and who is not paying for water. “We need to refinance debt….”

Saying that the city’s budget will not be balanced with line-item measures, Chico said, “This budget is due for an overhaul.” He too believes the budget will also be smaller next year. He offered to cut his own mayoral salary by 20 percent.

Asked when prosperity returns why should the sellers of retail items be the only ones required to charge the sales tax and why shouldn’t those who sell services including dog groomers, barbers and others, Chico accused Emanuel of proposing the largest expansion of the sales tax on services. He wants to know what will replace this tax. “It’s a phony claim to say that somebody is going to get $200 savings when you have to make $600,000 a year to get $200 in savings. No one is going to be eligible for that in the city. It doesn’t hold water….”

At times, the debate got personal.  When asked to expand on his allegation that Emanuel is a “pathological evader of the truth,” Chico said, “I agree with Mr. del Valle.” Chico said, “I have a daughter who is a single mom. I have a 2-year-old grandson. She’s not going to benefit from this tax. She doesn’t make $600,000,” he said Emanuel’s proposal to reduce the sales tax by 20 percent.

In defense, Emanuel said he proposed three separate tax cuts—one an employee head tax, a change in the natural gas tax, and a sales tax reduction of 20 percent. He said Chicagoans “are being nickel and dimed by taxes. We have the highest sales tax in the country” and said it’s time to lower it in order to be economically competitive.

Braun, who is against raising new taxes, said Chicagoans “have been taxed enough…. I am a former member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. I ran the budgets of an Embassy. I ran the budget of the Recorder of Deeds Office; so I am familiar with this taxation issue.

“I believe the way we get this budget under balance is that we reform city government. We make it accountable and then we grow our economy here in Chicago. We create jobs, and when we create jobs it will grow our revenue base and that will let us fund essential services in the city without putting a greater tax burden even a tax swap on the people of Chicago,” said Braun.

Del Valle said, “It’s ludicrous to be talking about changing the sales tax when it’s not going to go anywhere. We should be talking about how to protect those businesses that are struggling out there in the neighborhood who have seen huge increases in their property taxes and are about to close their businesses because of that….”

In closing, del Ville said Chicago “is ready for reform” and while he says the city is on the right path, it has a long way to go because “we don’t have world class neighborhoods. Do we do it by electing an individual who has made millions of dollars and has profited from their association with government, or do we start with a reform government that is going to once and for all put the people first before special interests in the city of Chicago….”

Braun said, “As we grow our economy, we have to remain focused on fairness. Chicago’s three percent minority contract participation is a travesty in a city that has a 47 percent minority population and a sad commentary on race and diversity in this city.

“By streamlining city government and making it more responsive, government can become an ally of the people who create businesses in this town…jobs in this town so badly needed. By protecting the kind of security, we preserve the standard of living for our workforce that a workforce has earned and deserved. By holding the line on taxes, we can ease the burden on working people,” said Braun.

Referring to the Egyptians who protested until they received a new government, Braun said, “We should do no less in the city of Chicago…. Here in this city, they try to tell you this election is over, that the money has won it, but I want to tell you something it is not over until you, the voter, speaks. I think if the voters on the 22nd vote for themselves, we will fight the power. We will have democracy in Chicago.”

Saying, “we need to go in a new direction in our city and that is the reason that I am running for mayor. The city that we love has lost its momentum.” Chico offered his experience as a venue of change. Chico spoke of his background and said, “I am not going to let the city rummage through your pockets to pay for waste and inefficiency. I’ll force the city to live within its means just like our working families are around the city….”

Rahm said, “Denial is not a long-term strategy and for too long on the issue of facing crime on our streets to the strength of our schools and making sure “ that schools are adequate along with the economy, he said “we have been operating in denials of long-term strategy.” He said Chicago is at the fork in that road and believes he can transform Chicago.

The moderator was Ron Majors and the panelists were ABC7 political reporter Charles Thomas and Univision anchor/reporter Paula Gomez.

Here are the links to Thursday’s ABC 7 Chicago mayoral debate.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&id=7964072

PART I

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=7965785 

PART II

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=7965787

PART III

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=7965788

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist and Investigative News Reporter for more than 30-years and currently a talk show host on the PCC Network.

Attorney General Madigan collects nearly $1 Billion in state revenue in 2010

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 Report shows Attorney General’s office generated $30 for every tax dollar spent 

 

Chicago, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that her office collected nearly $1 billion on behalf of the State of Illinois in 2010, bringing total collections since 2003 to more than $7 billion. Through a mix of litigation and collection of estate tax revenues, Attorney General Madigan’s office generated almost $30 for every tax dollar spent.

“As the state’s chief legal officer, I work not only to represent the state and protect the public interest, but also to generate revenue to help fund critical programs important to the people of Illinois,” Madigan said. “Throughout the state’s fiscal crisis, my office has consistently saved taxpayer dollars and yet continues to generate needed revenues for the state.”

In 2010, Madigan’s office collected more than $922 million on behalf of the state. Through litigation, the Attorney General’s office collected almost $402 million, including funds for damage to state property, child support, unpaid educational loans, fines and penalties. In addition, the Attorney General’s office collected approximately $236 million in estate tax revenues and nearly $284 million through tobacco litigation.

Last year, Madigan’s office operated with an appropriation of $30,705,700—the lowest level of funding from the state’s general revenue fund since 1997. For every state general revenue tax dollar that the office received in 2010, Attorney General Madigan’s office generated $30.03.  The more than $922 million collected on behalf of the state does not include the millions that Madigan’s office successfully generated through litigation and distributed directly to impacted Illinois residents and to organizations that provide critical services throughout the state.

The Attorney General’s office handles the legal representation in litigation for the State and all state officers, boards, commissions, agencies and employees. Madigan’s Government Representation Division, which consists of 11 bureaus, handles a diverse case load, including all lawsuits relating to the work of state agencies and revenue litigation. Through litigation to collect taxes owed to the state and resolve disputes over tax liability and the tax laws, the office collected more than $63 million.

Among the largest revenue-generating areas of the office last year, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit recovered more than $30 million in taxpayer dollars, including a $10 million settlement against Astra Zeneca for the company’s illegal marketing of its antipsychotic medications. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes medical provider fraud, nursing home abuse and neglect, as well as fraud in the administration of the Illinois Medicaid Program.

Madigan’s Environmental Enforcement Division also secured more than $7 million through cases against the state’s worst polluters in 2010. The Environmental Enforcement Division investigates and files suits to ensure that polluters, not taxpayers, pay the cost of cleanup and to stop ongoing illegal polluting. Among the cases in 2010, the Division successfully recovered $2 million from companies accused of illegally dumping waste in Harvey and secured more than $1 million from Exelon to resolve a lawsuit over hazardous radioactive leaks.

Other major areas of revenue collections in 2010 included child support, recovery of illegally obtained unemployment insurance benefits and welfare litigation awards. Madigan’s Child Support Enforcement Division works closely with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and other agencies and advocacy organizations to ensure that families throughout the state receive the support they need to raise their children. In conjunction with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Child Support Enforcement Division handles child support enforcement in 89 counties across the State of Illinois.

The following chart shows the breakdown of funding collected through litigation:

 

Breakdown of Litigation Collections (by bureau)

TOTAL COLLECTIONS

Environmental enforcement

$7,192,059.50

State government representation

$1,001,697.58

Medicaid fraud

$30,522,823.05

Child support (public aid)

$266,054,852.00

Revenue litigation (state taxes)

$63,556,655.48

Special Prosecutions-Revenue

$5,184,349.61

Unemployment insurance

$14,725,918.00

Welfare Litigation

$13,616,690.94

Litigation Collections Total

$401,855,046.16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, Madigan’s office enforces the terms of the state’s settlement agreement with tobacco companies and files suits to ensure that tobacco companies adhere to that agreement and follow the laws. The office also collects the state’s estate tax.  The following chart shows the breakdown of total collections on behalf of the State in 2010:

 

 

2010 Collections

TOTAL COLLECTIONS

Litigation Referrals

$401,855,046.16

Estate Tax Collections

$236,347,699.33

Tobacco Litigation

$283,887,102.82

TOTAL

$922,089,848.31

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Citywide Get-Out-To Vote rally this weekend at Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
By Chinta Strausberg
 

A Citywide Get-Out-To-Vote rally will be held Saturday, February 19, 2011, at the Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, 116 S. Central Avenue, Chicago, IL, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Never forget the bridge that brought us across,” said Rev. Paul Jakes. “We have come a long way as a community. Years ago, we had to tell how many bubbles were in a bar of soap and how many marbles were in a jar before we could exercise our right to vote.
 
“We now can make history by electing two first African American women, Carol Moseley Braun for mayor of Chicago and Patricia Horton for City Clerk,” said Jakes. “We have 650,000 registered African Americans on the voter rolls which is more than any other ethnic group in Chicago. We have the power to make the difference in the upcoming election.”
The rally is being sponsored by the Citizens for Davis, Rev. Joseph Jones, Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr., U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th), Senator Rickey Hendon (D-5th), Rep. Annazette Collins (D-10th), Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-78th), Rep. Karen Yarborough (D-7th), former Ald. Ed Smith (28th), and Ald. Jason Ervin (28th).
Invited speakers are and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).
Any and all aldermanic candidates who attend will have an opportunity to speak. 
For further information, call 773-626-8481.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist and Investigative News Reporter for more than 30-years and currently a talk show host on the PCC Network.

ComplianceTech Study finds wide discrepancy in home mortgage credit betwen minorities and whites during housing downturn

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

maurice_jourdain-earlMaurice Jourdain-Earl, co-founder and managing director of ComplianceTech

 
Arlington, VA (BlackNews.com) — ComplianceTech, a leading provider of technology and mortgage data analysis for government agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions, released a study documenting a significant decrease in home mortgages to African Americans and Latinos in comparison to non-Hispanic whites since the onset of the housing downturn.
 
The analysis of data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) disclosed that African Americans and Latinos borrowed 62 percent less to buy or refinance homes in 2009 than they borrowed in 2004, which was before the housing market collapsed. Mortgages to whites declined only 17 percent, while Asians obtained nearly an equal amount in mortgages.
 
“This is the first comprehensive research on the distribution of prime, subprime and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans by race leading up to and after the housing market collapse,” said Maurice Jourdain-Earl, co-founder and managing director of ComplianceTech, which is based in Arlington, Va. “The purpose of the report is to shine a bright light on the facts regarding the distribution of loan types by race, the impact of loan types on the cost of credit, loan performance and the disparities in access to credit for home mortgages.”
 
The study, which used HMDA data collected from 2004 to 2009, shows that disparities exist for the three types of loans—prime, subprime and those insured by FHA. Specifically, the study found that:
 
* African Americans and Latinos have significantly less access to prime loans than whites.
* Between 2004 and 2009 the number of white prime loans decreased 31%, while prime loans made to African Americans and Latinos decreased 76%. Prime loans to Asians decreased 28%, slightly less than whites.
 
* Whites were the largest users of subprime loans, and their share totaled more than all those of borrowers of color combined. Between 2004 and 2009, whites received 4.1 million subprime loans, followed by Latinos, 1.3 million; African-Americans, 1.2 million; and Asians, 179,000.
* The drop in the number of subprime rate loans was greatest for African Americans and Latinos. For example, in 2004, African Americans received 218,665 subprime rate loans. By 2009, the number was down to 10,416, a decrease of 95%. In 2004, Latinos received 190,335 subprime rate loans, which went down to 14,774 by 2009, a decrease of 92%.
 
* Whites had the largest dollar volume and number of FHA loans in each year, from a low of 227,445 FHA loans in 2006 to a high of 1.2 million in 2009. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of FHA loans to whites grew 238%, compared to African Americans and Latinos at 80% and 119%, respectively.
 

Mr. Jourdain-Earl said he conducted the study because of his belief that the disparity in access to credit is exacerbated by the erroneous assumption that lending to borrowers of color was the root cause of the mortgage market meltdown. The HMDA data directly refute that contention.“I was also motivated by the demographic shift in FHA lending and the false accusations that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributed to the housing crisis by purchasing loans from borrowers of color to meet their affordable housing goals,” he said. “Many political leaders don’t realize, or don’t want to recognize, that it was mainly the volume of defaulted loans from white Americans that impacted the housing crisis. Minorities simply did not generate enough loans to have that kind of universal impact.”

 

Mr. Jourdain-Earl said unfortunately there are no public data available to ascertain the racial distribution of defaults and foreclosures. “There is a dire need for foreclosure data to be collected by race and other demographic criteria, such as borrower income and income of census tracts,” he said. “It would be easier to address the foreclosure issue if this type of information were available.”
A complete copy of the report is available for download at www.compliancetech.com.
(To book print or broadcast interviews with Mr. Jourdain-Earl, please contact Nicole Germain at 443-540-3121 or ngermain@mjgcommunications.com.)

About ComplianceTech
Since 1991, ComplianceTech has provided specialized lending intelligence services to financial institutions nationwide. With its multi-disciplined expertise in lending, research, statistical analysis, law and economics, ComplianceTech is uniquely equipped to identify market patterns, unveil opportunities, formulate lending benchmarks and implement best practices for all aspects of consumer lending.

Dear Tamara: Can men and women be just friends?

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

ask_tamara

By Tamara Rallen

(Distributed through BlackNews.com)

 

My husband has a close relationship with a female friend whom he communicates with often. They talk on the phone, text each other and communicate quite a bit on Facebook. I am growing more and more uncomfortable with their close friendship. My husband has assured me that they are just friends and that I don’t have anything to worry about. I have tried to be open minded about their relationship, but it really bothers me. I do not understand why they have to communicate so much. Should I insist that he cut off this friendship? — His No.1 Friend

 
Dear: No. 1 Friend,
Believe it or not, men and women can be “just friends.”Healthy platonic friendships do exist. That being said, I am a firm believer that there is a “right” way to be friends with someone who is married or in a committed relationship.

As the spouse who has a friend of the opposite sex, it is your primary responsibility to protect and uphold your marriage relationship. The marriage relationship should trump any friendship that you may have. You know your spouse and their tolerance level. You should take the necessary steps to make your spouse feel comfortable. Be mindful of how often you communicate with your friend and how that may look to your husband or wife. You don’t want to create an atmosphere of jealousy and suspicion. Nor do you want your spouse to feel as if you have a closer relationship with someone else. Your friendship should also be public! Don’t close the door or leave the room to have a “private” conversation. Let your spouse know that you are open and honest about your friendships and comfortable including them.

As the friend of a married or committed person, I think it is your responsibility to have consideration and respect for the friend’s spouse. Be mindful of when and how often you communicate with that friend. You should want to avoid putting that person in a position to have to defend or explain your friendship. You should also try to forge a relationship with your friend’s spouse. If you call the house, hold a conversation with them as well. Include their spouse in your relationship. This will help them be more at ease and allow them the opportunity to know you as a friend as well.

As the spouse, you too should try to develop relationships with your spouse’s friends. Get to know them and understand the dynamics of their friendships. If in fact you are uncomfortable with a relationship, you have to be open and honest about your feelings. Don’t pretend to be comfortable with something or someone when you are not. That is a recipe for disaster. Be honest. Also, you have to be careful trying to dictate your spouse’s relationships and giving ultimatums. I think it is unfair to ask someone to sever a relationship, especially if there have been no trust issues in the relationship. Your spouse might become resentful of you for forcing his or her hand. I think we all have the right to choose our own friendships. One of my best childhood friends is a male. We grew up together and have shared many life experiences. Our relationship has always been strictly platonic, but now that we are both married, thy dynamics of our relationship has changed. We no longer talk on the phone into the wee hours of the morning. We are no longer each other’s sole confidants. We include our spouses in our relationship. So much so, he was an usher in my wedding party. I would rather make the necessary adjustments to my friendship rather than be forced to sever it completely.

Author of the upcoming book “Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It” (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to asktamara@tamararallen.com. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.

Senator Kirk announces first “Silver Fleece” Award for Government Waste; $998,000 for Poetry in Zoos

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

Thousands Vote on ‘Wastebook on Facebook’ for Silver Fleece Award: Biggest Wastes of Government Spending
 
 
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) unveiled the first winner of the “Silver Fleece” Award for government waste profiled in “Wastebook on Facebook,” a joint initiative of Senators Kirk and Tom Coburn (R-OK).  On Wastebook, thousands across the country voted to give the Silver Fleece award to a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) of $998,000 to provide poetry for signs in zoos.
 
The Silver Fleece award pays homage to Senator William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece” award given for government waste between 1975 and 1988.  “We named our award the ‘Silver’ Fleece because in these times of austerity and we can no longer afford a Golden Fleece award.  I started the Wastebook on Facebook’s Silver Fleece Award with the intention of highlighting examples of Washington “fleecing” American taxpayers,” said Senator Kirk.
 
As Congress reviews the White House budget proposal for 2012, Wastebook on Facebook will continue to profile government waste.  With 1,087 votes (63%), the first Silver Fleece Award goes to a $998,000 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for signs with poetry in zoos.  A $615,000 grant to build a Grateful Dead archive got 412 votes (24%).  In last place with 217 votes (13%) was a $456,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to Stanford University for a study of online dating and why political figures were vague on social networking sites.
 
In the next round of Wastebook on Facebook, fans will vote on giving the Silver Fleece award to one of the following items:
1- $460,00 for the National Science Foundation to investigate why people lie in text messages  
2- $150,000 for Monkton, Vermont to put up “critter crossing” signs warning drivers not to run over salamanders, frogs and other amphibians
3- $508,253 from the National Science Foundation to the Minnesota Zoo to create a vide game called “WolfQuest”
 
Senator Kirk’s Wastebook on Facebook page will host regular guest choices by other Senators and Congressmen to pick monthly Silver Fleece Award winners while also posting regular Op/Ed pieces, news stories and videos that expose Washington’s wasteful ways.
 
To view Wastebook, visit here: Wastebook on Facebook 
 
The signs for poetry in zoos grant was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through their National Leadership Grant project.   The recipient was “Poets House and Public Libraries” in New York.  Poets House in turn sent the money out through its “Language of Conservation” project, which is described here: http://poetshouse.org/librarieszoos.htm.    

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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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