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Archive for May 18th, 2011

Medicaid cuts would hurt 4.5 million California kids

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

Op-ed: by Mike Odeh


Two bills introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) recently would repeal a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health reform law passed in 2010, that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment criteria for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These provisions ensure stability and maintain enrollment levels in Medi-Cal — the sate’s name for the Medicaid program — and Healthy Families, California’s name for the CHIP program.

Both programs have played a central role in California successful efforts to reduce the number of uninsured children. That’s why repealing these important provisions of the ACA is absolutely wrong. It would jeopardize the health coverage of 4.5 million California children who rely on these two programs to get preventive care and see a doctor when they are sick. They are a lifeline to California families who continue to struggle with unemployment and reductions in family health coverage on the job.

The debate in Congress over federal spending and the debt ceiling limit have resulted in proposals to significantly restructure the Medicaid program. Its direct impact would turn Medicaid from an open-ended federal entitlement program to a block grant program. It would also cap the total amount of federal spending which, in turn, will cut back funding for Medicaid. Both the block grant and spending cap proposals would leave the state holding the bag.

Under the guise of fiscal soundness and ostensibly giving states more flexibility to operate their Medicaid and CHIP programs, these proposals would essentially encourage states to kick children (and their parents, and seniors, and the disabled) off cost-efficient health programs. Or, alternatively, the states could shoulder the additional costs shifted from the federal government in order to keep the programs intact. But for cash-strapped California, that could spell disaster.

Not only is this proposal seriously bad public policy, it is bad fiscal policy – especially at a time when families and governments across the country are trying to dig themselves out of the Great Recession. Furthermore, the decisions we make for our children today will have a lasting effect on their future and the future of our economy. We know that children without access to preventive care are more likely to use emergency rooms and be hospitalized for illnesses that could perhaps have been prevented. The resulting cost to taxpayers would be more than monthly premium payments to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

That’s why it seems so strange that there is even a discussion about finding “savings” and fiscal footing by making health care programs less able to take care of the children they were created to serve. And it’s not just me who feels this way. A recent national poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found a majority of voters opposed to allowing states flexibility with Medicaid dollars, if it could result in offering insurance coverage for children.

Members of Congress should listen to the people and to common sense and find ways to address budget and fiscal issues at the national level without sacrificing the health and future of our kids.

Mike Odeh is a health policy advocate with Children Now.

Madigan, 39 Attorneys General reach agreement to curb tobacco sales to minors at Circle K Stores

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined 38 other states and the District of Columbia today to announce an agreement with Circle K Stores Inc. and Mac’s Convenience Stores LLC to prevent the sale of tobacco to children and teens. The agreement will impose compliance checks and increase training for the companies’ 4,000 convenience stores nationwide, including more than 250 locations in Illinois, all of which sell tobacco products.

“Many adult smokers start their habit at an early age,” Attorney General Madigan said. “By preventing teens’ access to cigarettes, we’re working to deter them from picking up this deadly habit.”

Circle K, Dairymart and On The Run stores will now comprehensively train retail personnel, conduct independent compliance checks to monitor sales. The agreement comes as part of the attorneys general ongoing, multistate enforcement effort and incorporates methods to prevent underage tobacco access developed by the group and public health experts and tobacco control officials. 

Madigan said the multistate effort responds to studies that show the majority of adult smokers started before they reached 18, that youth show signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes and that the younger a person begins smoking the more likely they are unable to quit and will suffer from a tobacco-related disease. 

Previous multistate agreements reached by Madigan and the attorneys general have affected gas station convenience stores selling fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP Amoco, Shell, Valero, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and Walmart.

The agreement with Circle K includes the following terms:

  • ID must be checked on all persons who appear to be under 30 years old to protect against mistakes by clerks in evaluating a person’s age by their appearance alone.


  •  In-store tobacco advertising must be limited in ways intended to reduce the effect on young people, and outdoor advertising must be eliminated at stores within 500 feet of playgrounds or schools.


  • Employee training will focus on how to eliminate underage tobacco sales, and will emphasize the serious health issues that give rise to the legal efforts to restrict youth access to tobacco.


  • Circle K will test itself on the effectiveness of its own safeguards against underage sales by conducting “mystery shopper” compliance checks at 500 of its stores every six months.


  • Circle K voluntarily agreed to pay the attorneys general a total of $225,000 to be used for consumer education, public protection or the implementation of programs protecting against tobacco use by minors.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Initiative to be launched in East New York, Brooklyn

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Brooklyn, NY (BlackNews.com) — The World Academy For Total Community Health High School and Concerned Community 4 Change is hosting a Health, Food and Fitness Expo with the focus on childhood obesity.

The event, in line with First Lady Michelle Obama‘s national initiative, will launch on the campus of Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn on Saturday May 21, 2011 from 10am-3pm. The ultimate goal is to equip the community with the tools to tackle obesity.

The expo will feature Dr. Judy E. Marshel (formerly of radio station WEVD) as the keynote speaker. Attendees will be able to shop for an activity organization, determine their health status, sample healthy foods from local supermarkets and restaurants, and shop for services and resources in the East New York area provided by The Community Coalition of East New York.

For more information about this event or to schedule an interview, call 347-323-3844.

Black doctors present a discussion about the wellness initiatives from H.R. 3962: The Health Care Bill AKA ObamaCare

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Drs. Reverend Aldridge and Ruth Locke of the Chicago area, with a combined experience of 50 years in health care, have started a series of discussions on the Health Care Bill starting with the Wellness and Prevention component of the bill. They believe that their background in nursing, Chiropractic science, ministry and business offer them a unique perspective to share in the conversation about the health care bill.

The two doctors are committed to the process and believe knowledge and understanding of the bill is essential for the health and welfare of our communities. Dr Locke comments, “If you ask most people about the health care bill, they are misinformed, confused or fearful because of the television coverage and voices of opposition and repeal that drown out any logical examination of this bill; it is not perfect stated Dr Locke, but it is a good blue print to build upon.”

Their experiences as nurses in the city emergency rooms have revealed the crisis of people without other means of treatment, flooding the emergencies rooms leading to 12-18 hour waits with over burden and over worked staffs that at times gives minimal treatments to major problems that can lead to needless deaths and injuries of Americans, which is unacceptable and unsustainable to the health welfare of this country. They believe the public should have a clear understanding of this bill that has been signed into law that addresses some of these issues. The discussion of the bill must start in our homes, churches, communities and organizations that are concerned about the health care of our country.

They have produced a video at www.drlockeobamacare.com as a forum to begin the discussion, their intention is to produce a quarterly video of different topics of the bill and how it will impact and benefit the community and the consumer. Drs Locke will develop a health care newsletter featuring current news and topics, and all are invited to join them in the discussion of this new law that will affect your health.

Protect yourself from home burglary scams

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Guest Post by Anita Alvarez

Cook County State’s Attorney


There have been numerous reports in the media lately of unsuspecting homeowners becoming the victims of scam artists.  While the set-up may vary, the end result is the same:  while the homeowner is distracted by one person, their partner sneaks in and steals money, jewelry, credit cards, and other easily grabbed valuables.

By being cautious and safety minded, you can lessen the chances of becoming a victim:

  • Keep doors and windows locked.  With the warmer weather, it is a relief to open our doors and windows to let the fresh air in.  Before leaving doors and windows open, however, you should make sure your screens are not torn and remember to keep the doors and windows locked. This will make it difficult for someone to easily enter your home while you are momentarily distracted.


  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone at your door for identification.  If someone shows up at your door, without a scheduled appointment, claiming to be from a utility company, ask to see their work identification.  Utility workers should be in uniform and have their i.d. displayed.  If you are not sure someone is actually from a utility company, don’t let them in.  Make sure the door is locked and then phone that particular utility, they will be able to tell you if someone is scheduled to be in your neighborhood.


  • Always be leery of someone trying to lure you out of your home.  Some con artists will tell you about a home repair they specialize in and that they can do for a low price.  They then insist you come outside so they can show you it is needed on your house.  This is the standard set-up for these types of scams:  one person gets you to exit, while the other, who you most likely won’t see, enters and steals whatever valuable items they can quickly grab.


  • Don’t leave valuables out in the open. Make sure you keep money, credit cards, checkbook, jewelry, etc. in a safe place and not out in the open where it is easily accessible to someone trying to grab and run.


  • If you feel threatened, call the police.  Con artists can be persistent.  If you decline their request and ask them to leave and they don’t, tell them you are calling the police.  You will save yourself from becoming a victim and quite possibly also prevent your neighbors from becoming a victim by alerting authorities to their presence in the neighborhood.

Keeping these few safety tips in mind can make you more aware of the attempt of a potential scam and hopefully prevent you from becoming a victim.

Enjoy the warmer weather!

Lt. Gov. Simon re-launches Rural Affairs Council

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Residents, farmers spur focus on local food markets


Springfield, IL – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon unveiled the Governor’s revamped Rural Affairs Council, with a mission and membership that focuses on developing markets for local foods, improving emergency services in rural areas and other emerging rural issues.

“The Rural Affairs Council provides our rural neighbors with an outlet to strengthen the rural economy and increase the capacity and viability of rural areas,” said Simon, who chairs the Council. “I am excited to have more input from rural residents and farmers on the Council so we can best serve this community.”

Members of the Council, established by Governor’s executive order, serve on a voluntary basis and aim to improve the quality of life and access to state resources for rural residents throughout the state. Senate Bill 840, for example, would remove barriers to food entrepreneurship and allow for small family farms to more readily participate in local food markets. The Council will take an active role in the legislative process by reviewing applicable bills and voicing support for laws that would allow for greater opportunities for rural residents.

“Locally-grown, fresh food is becoming more prevalent, but I am working for it to become common practice,” Simon said. “Purchasing from and promoting local foods producers will not only lead us to healthier eating habits and lifestyles, but we can also boost our economy and create sustainable jobs.”

Under Simon’s leadership, the Council will also encourage compliance with the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act in advance of its 2020 statutory requirement. The Act outlines thresholds for purchasing of local foods and food products such that state agencies are required to spend 20 percent of all food and food product expenditures on local foods. State-funded agencies that spend more than $25,000 on food annually are required to purchase 10 percent of their food or food products from local providers. An overall increase in local production, processing and purchasing by 20 percent would generate $20 billion to $30 billion of new, annual and sustainable economic activity in Illinois.

“Rural areas are becoming very important to consumers as a local source of fresh foods and to local farmers as an alternative marketing opportunity to improve farm sales,” Pat Stieren, Illinois Farmers’ Market Network Coordinator, said. “Policy makers are also very concerned about the limited availability of affordable, nutritious foods in low-income, sparsely-populated rural areas. The timing is right for government and the private sector to provide support and resources to local communities to help farmers and consumers in strengthening their economy and helping their communities.”

Council applications are available at www.appointments.illinois.gov and will be accepted on a rolling basis when positions are open. To fill the current vacancies, applications should be submitted by June 8. The next meeting of the Rural Affairs Council will be in July and more information will be available on the Lt. Governor’s website.

Lt. Governor Simon made the Rural Affairs announcement on the opening day of the Old Capitol Farmers’ Market in Springfield. The 12th season of the market will run on Adams Street from 2nd to 5th Streets on Wednesdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until October 29.

State officials join to promote summer reading and ‘Find a Book’ search tool

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Governor Quinn, Secretary White and State Superintendent Koch urge educators and parents to keep children reading during summer vacation


Springfield, IL – Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White and State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch are urging educators and families to help students retain and develop academic skills by reading during summer vacation. The free online “Find a Book” utility at www.lexile.com/findabook provides a way for parents and children to quickly and easily search books that match a child’s reading level and interests as well as to locate the local library carrying each title.

“We must all work together to encourage children to read throughout the summer,” said Governor Quinn. “Summer reading is a key to building knowledge and to preventing students from losing hard-earned progress gained during the school year.”

Research indicates that struggling learners score significantly higher on standardized tests taken at the beginning of the summer than they do on the same tests taken at summer’s end. The academic loss is particularly evident in reading, and most pronounced among students from low socioeconomic families who may not have access to books. Studies show children who read through the summer months maintain more of their academic skills and are better prepared when school resumes.

“Parents want their children to succeed academically and are often looking for ways to support their children’s educational journey,’’ said State Superintendent Koch. “The `Find a Book’ search tool makes it easy to put books in the hands of children as part of their summertime fun and helps prepare children to succeed in the fall.’’

The “Find a Book” utility at www.lexile.com/findabook uses a student’s reading score reported as a Lexile® measure from state standardized tests, including the ISAT. Users of the search tool can also find appropriate books without a Lexile measure through a search using the child’s grade level and comfort with the typical reading materials at that grade level. The search utility will produce a starting Lexile range that can be further refined.

“Find a Book” also offers a Spanish option that allows users to search all of the titles with Spanish Lexile measures. More information on Spanish Lexile measures is available at http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/el-sistema-para-leer.

Librarians, who have long promoted summer reading, are also encouraged to use “Find a Book.” Library staff can assist parents and students with the “Find a Book” utility and Lexile measures to help them find appropriate books.

“Many of our Illinois libraries have outstanding summer reading programs, and the `Find a Book’ search tool complements those efforts by locating books that children might be interested in reading and directing them to local libraries that carry those titles,’’ said Secretary White who also serves as State Librarian. “When children begin reading independently, they are not only making academic gains but developing a lifelong love of reading.”

State officials urged school administrators, parents and librarians to promote summer reading with letters and informational flyers posted online at the State Board of Education’s summer reading website: http://www.isbe.net/htmls/summer_reading.htm. Schools are encouraged to print the letters and flyers to send home with children before the end of the school year.


Why more African Americans turn to Twitter

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(Northwestern University News)

 Race, interest in celebrities and Internet skills may determine who uses Twitter


Evanston, IL –  It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. If you’re interested in celebrity and entertainment news, you’re more likely to start using Twitter, according to a new Northwestern University study.

But, African Americans in general report more interest in celebrity and entertainment news and were found to be more likely than whites to start using Twitter. The research, which focused on first-year college students attending the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), found 37 percent of black students were using Twitter in 2010 compared to 21 percent of white students. The study was published online by New Media & Society, May 2011.

Researchers also found that despite all of the hype around Twitter, less than 20 percent of the college students surveyed were using the website in 2010.

“This is a reality check,” said Eszter Hargittai, associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern and lead author of the study. “While Twitter certainly can be very exciting and can offer a lot of opportunities, we found that the majority of students are not using it and certain types of people are more likely to start using Twitter compared to others.”

Hargittai and Eden Litt, a graduate student at Northwestern and second author of the study, surveyed the same group of UIC students in spring 2009 and again in spring 2010.

Both surveys asked students to share their awareness and use of Twitter as well as their gender, race, Internet skill level, interest in topics such as international news, politics, entertainment and celebrity news, sports, science, technology, arts and crafts, and their parents’ educational backgrounds. Only 3.6 percent of the students were using Twitter in 2009, but that percentage jumped to 17.8 percent in 2010, as Twitter gained more worldwide popularity.

“Students with higher Internet skills were more likely to start using Twitter and so were African Americans, who we found report more interest in celebrity and entertainment news than their peers of other races,” said Hargittai. “Students of all races with an interest in celebrity and entertainment news were more likely to become Twitter users whereas someone with an interest in science and research was less likely to become a Twitter user.”

Twitter has become a popular way for government agencies, public officials, businesses, celebrities and teachers to collect and disseminate information, but Hargittai said their tweets may only be reaching certain types of people and an often vulnerable set of non-Twitter users could be missing out.

“Students from underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds were much less likely to use Twitter,” said Hargittai. “This study is a good reminder that just because college students are young, that doesn’t mean they’ve adopted Twitter. And if they do decide to use Twitter, it’s likely because they’re either very Internet savvy or they’re very interested in celebrity tweets.”

NORTHWESTERN NEWS: www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/

GOP clamor to release Bin Laden photos just another ploy

Posted by Admin On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson


President Obama made the right decision not to release the photos of the body of bin Laden. The reasons he gave initially were that releasing the photos would endanger US security, inflame Muslim hardliners, and turn the bin Laden killing into an exercise in prurient, bloodlust voyeurism still stand.

But that hasn’t satisfied a pack of GOP lawmakers. They loudly demand that Obama parade the bloody photos before the nation. They say releasing the photos will protect our national interests, bring closure to the family victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, and provide concrete verification of his death.

None of these reasons make sense. His death has been convincingly verified by DNA and other evidence. And the Taliban leaders and Al Qaeda have issued statements that publicly declared that bin Laden is dead. A number of the family members of the 9/11 attacks have said that killing bin Laden did not ease their pain and trauma from the deaths of their relatives and loved ones.

But the GOP clamor for the release of the bin Laden death photos is not just frivolity taken to the extreme. There’s a method to the ploy. The bin Laden killing dealt two huge hammer blows to the GOP. It snatched from the GOP’s arsenal one of the major weapons it has employed to blast Democrat’s and that’s their alleged softness on the military and the war on terrorism. Reagan, Bush Sr., and George W. Bush used this with devastating success to whipsaw Democratic presidential contenders. Bush especially masterfully exploited this falsehood to pound his Democratic presidential foe John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. He practically declared that a Kerry win would be a major threat to national security and open the floodgate to further terror attacks.

GOP Presidential contender John McCain used the same ploy against Obama in the 2008 campaign. He repeatedly attacked him as too young, liberal, inexperienced, and thereby too soft on the issue of combating terrorism. He didn’t win with this charge. But polls still showed that a decisive majority said that McCain was tougher on terrorism and military preparedness than Obama.

The bin Laden killing decisively changed the public’s perception of Obama and the Democrats on the terrorism issue. To the GOP’s horror, Obama’s approval ratings which had plummeted in the days before the bin Laden kill, have gotten a major boost. More Americans now say that Obama has done a better job in the war against terrorism than Bush. The high praise and newly found respect Obama has received in the war against terror burnishes his credentials as a tough and decisive military commander and leader.

This comes at a bad time for the GOP with the start of the 2012 presidential campaign. Many moderate and conservative independents that deserted Obama in droves the last year are coming back, and they are crucial to the GOP’s presidential candidate’s chances to win back the White House. It’s not just the shift of the independents back to Obama, though, that’s worrisome to the GOP. Polls show that a majority of the GOP’s rank and file are either clueless about the crop of GOP contenders, frustrated with them, or flatly disgusted with the clownish, media grandstanding antics and juvenile attacks antics and attacks of presumed candidates Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman that have reduced the GOP to a three rink circus. GOP leaders have horrific vision that the slender chance they had of taking the White House is fast slipping away.

But with much of the public approving of the bin Laden take down and intensely interested in the events surrounding the killing, the GOP shouting for the release of the pictures is a natural hit issue to try to wipe away some of the political luster that Obama got from the action.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration made a minor stumble that gave some ammunition to the GOP to make the photos an issue. It bowed to the pressure and showed them to some GOP ranking Senate and House Members. This was just enough for the GOP to turn the desire of many Americans to see the photos into a political strategy to hector Obama.

Obama will likely continue to hear the loud chorus from those in the GOP and others that won’t be satisfied with anything less than a chance to gander at the gruesome pictures of bin Laden’s corpse. It will be part blood thirst voyeurism, part retribution for the 9/11 terror attacks, an in the GOP’s case, another ploy to diminish Obama. That’s all the more reason to keep the photos permanently locked up.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast onthehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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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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