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Archive for July 3rd, 2011

House Medicaid plan would stunt California economic recovery

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

New America Media

By Viji Sundaram


SYNOPSIS: A new report shows that if GOP cuts become law, California would lose 28,000 jobs and millions in related business spending.


San Francisco, Calif. — California could lose as many as 28,440 more jobs, and up to $3.7 billion in related revenue, if federal budget cuts to Medicaid proposed by U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were enacted, according to a new report released Wednesday by the nonprofit health-advocacy group, Families USA.

The report, “Jobs at Risk” shows the impact on state economies of one part of Ryan’s sweeping national legislation aimed at slashing billions of dollars a year in federal spending. For one thing, the bill would dramatically change Medicare by not paying for care but instead only covering some costs of medical insurance.

The Ryan proposal also would fundamentally change the nation’s Medicaid program — called MediCal in the Golden State — which is the focus of the Families USA report. The MediCal program is central to health care reforms passed under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, because it would cover 30 million uninsured Americans starting in 2014.

During Wednesday’s media teleconference, Families USA’s executive director, Ronald Pollack, discussed the human and economic cost Ryan’s bill would exact on California and other states.

Besides the hit to California’s economy, the new report reveals that only a five percent reduction in federal Medicaid spending would cost New York 28,000 jobs, Texas 18,000 jobs and so on across the nation. The report also shows job-loss projections were the program cut by 15 percent, such as a loss of 85,000 in California.

Ryan’s plan passed the House of Representatives in April in an expected party-line vote, with no Democratic votes and only four Republican members of Congress opposing it.

Although it stands no chance of passing the U.S. Senate, much less being signed into law by President Obama, the Ryan proposal to cut federal entitlement spending in Medicaid and other programs provides Republicans a tough line-in-the-sand stance as they bargain with Democrats over how much to slash before the GOP agrees to increase the U.S. debt ceiling ahead of the August 2 deadline.

By not raising the ceiling in time, the United States would default on its international debt, which could send the economy into another tailspin.

According to Pollack, the Families USA report “gives a good pictures of the magnitude of what could happen.”

GOP Plan Would Transform Medicaid

The report indicates that Ryan’s GOP plan would fundamentally transform the current way of paying for Medicaid. Today, the federal government covers at least half of the cost and up to two-thirds for lower-income states. After that, each state covers the remaining cost.

Ryan’s bill would turn Medicaid into a block grant that would pay states a lump sum each year. The federal government would cap its share at roughly the current level, but only increase that amount by the nation’s annual inflation rate, which is lower than the inflation associated with medical care.

As a result, there would be a cut of five percent in the federal share of Medicaid spending in 2013, 15 percent in 2014, and 33 percent in 2021, according to the Families USA analysis. In addition, federal spending on Medicaid would fall by $1.4 trillion from 2012 to 2021. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under Ryan’s bill, federal payments to states would drop by 49 percent in 2030.

The declining sum would force many states to make up the shortfall either by increasing revenue, such as through taxes or higher fees, or reducing costs – for instance, by limiting eligibility and benefits.

For California, it would mean that as the Ryan cuts kick in, they would axe business activity generated by MediCal spending by $3.7 billion in 2013, rising to $10.3 billion in 2021.

“MediCal is not just a lifeline for over seven million Californians, but it’s also a major economic driver for our state,” asserted Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit health care advocacy group, Health Access California.

“Cuts of the magnitude proposed by the House GOP would not just do major damage to the health system all Californians depend on, they would undercut the fragile economic recovery of our state and our communities,” he added.

Aside from providing a safety net for the poor, people with disabilities, and elders, MediCal currently benefits 3.5 million children — half the state’s MediCal population.

“Members of Congress would be directly jeopardizing children’s health, if they cut federal Medicaid funding,” said Kelly Hardy, health policy director of the nonprofit group, Children Now.

A “Direct Blow”

Pollack noted that the health care sector would be the first to feel the “direct blow” if the Medicaid provision of the Ryan plan were enacted. For example, hospitals and clinics and home care agencies would hire fewer nurses and other health care workers.

“Every federal Medicaid dollar that flows into a state generates jobs,” Pollack said. He noted that cuts in Medicaid would have a “multiplier effect” — people would be likely to spend less on consumer goods, further stunting the economy.

According to Pollack, Medicaid “is good medicine for state economies and job growth.” He added
“This is exactly the wrong time for Congress to cut a program that provides a boost to individuals and families facing hard economic times.”

With California’s economy already in the doldrums and cuts already in place to its health care system, “any additional loss would result in further reductions in eligibility, benefits and participation by health care providers, which in turn would send millions deeper into poverty and exacerbate health disparities,” said Lark Galloway-Gillian, executive director of Community Health Councils.

ATF warns consumers: Illegal explosives devices are not fireworks

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
Chicago, IL – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wants consumers to celebrate safely this Fourth of July and be mindful that illegal explosives devices are not fireworks.  Illegal manufacture or distribution of powerful fireworks not made for consumer use can result in tragedies.
 ATF wants to make consumers aware that illegal explosives devices are not fireworks.  Users risk property damage, loss of limbs or eyes, and even loss of life by manufacturing or using them.  Illegal explosives devices commonly referred to as M-80s, quarter sticks, or cherry bombs often come in plain brown or white wrappers, with no identifying marks.  Because they meet neither safety nor quality standards, they are extremely dangerous.  They can be highly unstable because heat, shock or pressure can trigger accidental detonation.  Consumer fireworks, unless restricted by state or local laws, are fireworks which can be sold to the general public.  Consumer firework are defined in 27 CFR 555.11 as any small firework device designed to produce visible effects by combustion and which must comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Some small devices designed to produce audible effects are included, such as whistling devices, ground devices containing 50 mg or less of explosive materials, and aerial devices containing 130 mg or less of explosive materials. Consumer fireworks are marked with brightly colored and decorated paper and include a trade name and manufacturing information. 
Display fireworks defined in 27 CFR 555.11 are large fireworks designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration, or detonation. This term includes, but is not limited to, salutes containing more than 2 grains (130 mg) of explosive materials, aerial shells containing more than 40 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, and other display pieces which exceed the limits of explosive materials for classification as consumer fireworks. Anyone importing, manufacturing, dealing in, or otherwise receiving display fireworks must have an ATF explosives license or permit. 
ATF is the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing federal explosives laws.  ATF actively works with the CPSC, industry partners and with state and local agencies through their fireworks enforcement programs to prevent trafficking of illegal fireworks and to protect citizens from the dangers of illegal explosives devices.
If you know of someone who is illegally trafficking in oversized or otherwise unlawful or dangerous illegal explosive devices, ATF asks you to contact your local law enforcement agencies or call ATF’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662), or email ATFTips@atf.gov.
More information on ATF and its programs can be found at www.atf.gov.

Honoring the 70th Anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen experience

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) will hold its 40th Annual Convention August 3-7, 2011 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center National Harbor, MD. The convention theme “70 Years of Aviation Excellence: Then, Now, the FUTURE” will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the start of the Tuskegee Airmen Experience in 1941 and honor the men and women who carry the torch and fight today’s wars. The East Coast Chapter of TAI is the host of this year’s event.

The Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. is a Non-Profit organization whose goals are to perpetuate the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen through historical research, documentations and presentations.

Another important goal of the TAI is to motivate youth toward aviation and aerospace careers and inspire them towards outstanding achievement and leadership in our democratic society. The Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation and the Chapters of TAI provide over $100,000 in scholarship and educational assistance grants each year.

The TAI 2011 National Convention will be the launch of a new initiative to develop the next generation of Tuskegee Airmen. Funds raised during the convention planning and execution will be used to expand Youth in Aviation Programs. For more information contact Clarence D. Smith Jr., Colonel, USAF (Retired), at cpo@ecctai.com, cell 703-967-4463.

Better Business Bureau alerts consumers about a “Questionable loan company”

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 1 COMMENT
Chicago, IL – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting consumers about EZ Loan Protection, a Utah based company that sells payday loan “protection”. More than one hundred complaints from northern Illinois and 31 other states have been filed with the BBB.


Complainants claim that they were not familiar with EZ Loan Protection, do not remember signing up for any sort of loan protection, and end up with $30 or more taken from their bank accounts. Several consumers also said that they have never taken out a payday loan in their life.


“Due to the high number of complaints, it’s evident that EZ Loan Protection is not being clear or conspicuous with consumers,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “It’s imperative that consumers research any company before providing any financial information.”


Consumers are unclear as to how the company obtained their bank account information.  Some state a representative from the company called and offered the product, but even after declining, they were still charged.  Other consumers state that they were on a website and there was a pop-up ad, which they closed – but were still charged.  Still other consumers are baffled by how the company got their information as they rarely do business through the Internet.


Matt Sweetland from LaSalle, IL states, “I’ve never even had a payday loan and have no idea how they got my information. It started out with me getting a confirming e-mail as if I had placed an order but I never did. They took $29, $244 and then $266 from my account. I kept trying to reach them to get it to stop. One guy promised me a refund but said it would take six to eight weeks. I told them since they had taken the money out instantly then they could put it back instantly. They did nothing but my bank helped me to stop the withdrawals so only the first one actually went through.”


The BBB offers the following tips for consumers to protect themselves fraudulent companies:

  • Verify the company’s contact information (name, address, phone numbers) before you give out any personal information.
  • Check the company’s Business Reviews for free at www.bbb.org
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully, and if you don’t understand them, ask. If you are unable to get a suitable response, don’t do business with the company.
  • Use a credit card for your purchase instead of a debit card.  Debit cards take money out of your checking account, immediately.
  • If a pop-up appears after purchasing an item, read the box carefully to see how you can close it out without agreeing to a purchase. 

For more information on finding businesses and consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org 



Avoid fireworks injuries during holiday weekend

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

A Message from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez


What started as a thirteen gun salute on the one year anniversary of the signing of the  Declaration of Independence has evolved into a national holiday, complete with picnics, backyard barbecues, patriotic decorations and full-blown professional fireworks displays.

 As the 4th of July approaches, please keep in mind that fireworks pose a serious safety hazard.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 7,000 people were treated for fireworks related injuries in 2008, with more than half of these injuries being burns.  And while you may see the occasional news story about a curious child being injured, the majority of these injuries happen to otherwise responsible adults.

Not only are fireworks dangerous, the vast majority of them are illegal in Illinois.  While neighboring states, such as Indiana and Wisconsin, may have more relaxed laws regarding fireworks, a good rule of thumb is this:  if it explodes or shoots a projectile into the air, it is illegal in Illinois.  This does mean that novelty fireworks, such as sparklers, snakes and party poppers can be sold in Illinois but, remember, any firework, legal or not, can cause injury if used improperly or without adult supervision.

Don’t risk injury to yourself or others this holiday weekend by trying to put on your own private fireworks display.  Visit one of the many municipal sponsored events in your area.  With the 4th of July falling on a Monday this year, there will be plenty of opportunities, all weekend long, to catch impressive, professionally conducted fireworks displays, from a safe distance.

Have a wonderful 4th of July Holiday Weekend!

 Anita Alvarez

Cook County State’s Attorney

Empowering homeowners to fight loan scams

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


An Alert from the National Urban League


Our communities have been targeted for predatory loans that have often left families facing foreclosure. Now we are faced with a new threat when looking for foreclosure help: loan assistance scams. To date, scam artists have stolen $38 million from distraught homeowners, and African American homeowners are once again a primary target. According to a recent report, although minorities make up 19.4% of homeowners, we make up almost half of all reported loan scams.

No one ever has to pay for foreclosure prevention assistance. If anyone requests money up front or guarantees they can keep you in your home these are warning signs of a scam and they should be reported. Help from highly trained, HUD-approved housing counselors is always FREE. National Urban League affiliates operate in 40 cities including all of the top 10 states for scam reporting. To find an Urban League housing counselor visit the National Urban League social mobilization platform, I am Empowered, here.

To Report a Potential Scam: If you or someone you know is the victim of a scam, you can report it by going to www.IAmEmpowered.com/LoanScams so your story can be sent to the proper authorities and can help stop these crimes from happening to others! Be empowered!

Mike Ernst elected to Better Business Bureau Board of Directors

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Chicago, IL – Mike Ernst, Director of Ticket Sales for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club has been elected to a one-year position as a member of the Board of Directors with the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. 

As member of the Board, Mr. Ernst will help guide the Better Business Bureau in its mission of advancing marketplace trust and promoting ethical business practices. 


“We are very pleased to have Mike Ernst with his extensive business knowledge and experience on our Board,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “His experience with management and revenue development will greatly assist us in creating a community of trustworthy businesses that both consumers and businesses throughout northern Illinois can rely on.”


Mr. Ernst currently works as the Director of Ticket Sales for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club Ticket Sales and Service team. His primary focus is leading the strategic planning for revenue development and overall management of the customer service plan. In 2011, he assisted in doubling the Fire’s supporter season ticket base. 


Prior to joining the Fire, Mr. Ernst was a Senior Account Executive with the Seattle Supersonics of the NBA. While with the Sonics, he was responsible for the Corporate and Courtside Ticket sales. Mr. Ernst earned his MA in Sports Management from the University of Iowa, and a B.A. in Marketing & Public Relations from Saint Ambrose University.


Mr. Ernst, 31, currently lives in Chicago with his wife Rachelle and their daughter.

No Child Left Behind law fails to remove inexperienced teachers from classrooms of poor and minority students

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

By Kenneth J. Cooper
America’s Wire


Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Nearly a decade after the No Child Left Behind law was enacted, studies have shown little progress in reducing the number of teachers of low-income students who are inexperienced or teaching classes outside their subject areas.

The law, which was supposed to stop school districts from putting less qualified teachers in classrooms with low-income students, is best known to the public for requiring more standardized testing. According to studies, considerable progress has been made in reducing the number of uncertified teachers in all schools.

“Overall, the news is not terribly optimistic,” says Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C., which advocates for poor and minority students. “There was the effort and the right intent, but the way it’s played out, I would not say it has made much difference to the kids in question.”

A 2009 report by the National Council on Teacher Quality concluded that “few states have shown much interest in telling their (school) districts they need to assign teachers differently, despite language in No Child Left Behind designed to rectify inequities.”

Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, says No Child Left Behind meant “for the first time ever, people were talking about the inequitable distribution of teachers in new ways.” She cites statistical and anecdotal evidence from some states and districts indicating that teacher assignment has become more equitable in those places.

In 2006, states were required to submit “teacher equity” plans to the U.S. Department of Education. By the deadline, Almy says, only Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee filed full plans for monitoring fairness of teacher assignments. She also praises district-level initiatives in Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C., to address the imbalance.

Because of the change of administrations in Washington, why the Department of Education has not succeeded in making states do more to disperse good teachers is a sensitive issue. The teacher equity plans were reviewed under President George W. Bush, who signed the education law in January 2002.

Ali, an appointee of President Barack Obama, says some states submitted plans “so lacking in strategies and data” that “they had to resubmit their teacher equity plan multiple times before department approval. The last state didn’t get approval until August 2008, more than two years after the original plans were submitted.”

Many states did not measure or report progress on teacher equity, leading the department to pressure them to submit additional plans, yet still not all have complied, Ali says.

During the Obama administration, the department has taken other steps to address the problem. Officials have leveraged competitive grants, convened representatives of 40 states to share strategies and conducted reviews of possible civil rights violations, Ali says.

Between late 2008 and last year, the department’s Office for Civil Rights has opened 11 investigations of whether schools serving poor children have comparable resources, including quality teachers, she says. The investigations involve districts in New York, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, Texas and California.

States have done a better job of meeting the education law’s requirement that by 2006 all teachers be “highly qualified,” which was defined as having a college degree, full state certification and proven knowledge of the subject they teach.

By 2008, 95 percent of high school teachers in core academic subjects met that standard, according to the department’s analysis of state reports.

“Just about everybody now is highly qualified,” Almy says. By that sole standard, low-income students in schools where they are concentrated are unlikely to be shortchanged.

But an Education Trust study that Almy coauthored last year found that high-poverty schools were almost twice as likely to have core academic classes taught by instructors working outside their specialty – 20 percent versus 11 percent. That phenomenon is known as teaching “out of field.”

That study, titled “Not Prepared for Class,” also found that low-income students in cities and small towns were twice as likely to be taught by first-year teachers. In suburbs and rural areas, there was almost no difference where rookies were assigned.

Las Vegas has adopted a policy of denying requests from “out-of-field” teachers for transfers into high-poverty schools.

“As far as out-of-field teachers, I pretty much have zero tolerance for that,” says Andre Yates, director of licensed personnel, licensure and recruitment for the Clark County School District there. He estimates that about 12 of the district’s 18,000 teachers were in that situation briefly during the current school year.

Another shortcoming with the federal law’s definition of highly qualified teachers is that, despite their credentials, they may not be effective in the classroom, as measured by academic progress of their students.

Ali and Almy agree that the definition in the federal education law, which Congress is rewriting, should be more performance-based.

The Obama administration’s proposal for the rewritten law, Ali says, will insist on “real reporting of teacher equity by race and poverty” and prod states to differentiate teachers based on their effectiveness, including some measure of their students’ growth.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina has taken that approach to assessing teacher quality as the district has assembled new teams to uplift academically faltering schools with high percentages of low-income students.

The principal chosen to take over a school in the “Strategic Staffing Initiative” is permitted to bring along five effective teachers – those whose students have made more than a year’s academic progress. The principal can also oust five teachers. As a result, high-poverty schools have gained more than 100 effective teachers and lost about the same number of less effective ones in four years.

The initiative started in 2007 and has expanded gradually to include 24 schools as of this coming fall. At the first 20 schools, academic gains have generally been much higher than those in the entire urban-suburban district. On average, 88 percent of students in those schools are from low-income families, according to an analysis of district figures.

The program has attracted considerable national attention. Ann Clark, the district’s chief academic officer, finds it dismaying that more school districts do not strategically assign their best teachers.

“It’s putting your talent where your need is,” she says. “The fact that that’s not happening on a scale that we need is ironic. I hope it becomes the norm.”

Targeting teachers is expected in all of the district’s 178 schools, Clark says. “We expect every principal in every school to put their best teachers in the classes with the neediest students.”

America’s Wire is an independent, non-profit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. America’s Wire is made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com

NYC school teacher empowers everyday people with powerful prayers and stories

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Real Life Prayers for Real People, In Life’s Real Situations – A Must Prayer Book


Brooklyn, NY (BlackNews.com) — Rosemarie Baker a native of Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn is an educator on a mission. She has seen it all as a teacher, mother, wife and sister-friend; Drugs, adultery, gangs, murder, unemployment, despair, hopelessness and most importantly — dreams deferred.

Her debut motivational/inspirational book is aptly titled – Real Life Prayers for Real People, In Life’s Real Situations (ISBN# 978-0-9800606-0-7, $10). The book covers everything from marriage, terrorism, horoscopes, poverty, forgiveness, unemployment, cancer, heart disease, temptations, and distractions. “Many people are walking around seeking guidance and answers, however, can’t seem to figure out next steps. The answer is real simple — pray, fast, observe, act, and know that your life has purpose,” says Rosemarie Baker.

“I personally share how God has infused miracles and provided solutions to my life and empowered me to become a writer. This book speaks directly to real people — as I was going through my trials and searching for a book, I found many books written by religious leaders, however, nothing written from an everyday person’s point-of-view until Real Life Prayers for Real People, in Life’s Real Situations,” sings Baker.

Baker felt like giving up – the demands of quality teaching require passion and proficiency but God whispered to her to keep writing and pursue her passion. With no contacts and confidence she found herself following “the voices” guiding her step-by-step on how to break into professional writing for newspapers and magazines. It was through persistence and prayer she received her first assignment from a local paper, soon after Baker was interviewing iconic groups and singers in the company of syndicated and veteran journalist like David Hinckley from NY Daily News. Baker says, “You must realize that God is in the miracle business and he speaks to all of us daily.”

“This book was delivered to me over a period of six years as I went through my own struggles. I walked with verses in my hands, taped to my desk at work, and on mirrors at home. I wanted God to bless me with a gift that would bring joy into my life,” shares Baker.

Baker’s objective for Real Life Prayers For Real People, In Life’s Real Situations:

1) Empower everyone to fast and pray. Talk to God and let him know how serious you are.

2) Focus. Be clear in your thoughts and prayers.

3) Believe. Ask for the moon and stars, our God is limitless and his dreams for you are colossal.

4) Stop Judging. We are imperfect beings – you don’t know a person’s situation, offer prayer and support to your fellow man.

5) Achieve. The life you desire will not happen overtime, however, be prayerful and get to know God through his teachings.

For additional information, please contact minarose@aol.com or 646-464-3964.

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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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