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Archive for September 9th, 2011

President Barack Obama’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress – The American Jobs Act

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 1 COMMENT

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

September 8, 2011

7:09 P.M. EDT (Complete Speech)


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country.  We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse. 

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President?  What will it mean for Congress?  How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics.  They have real-life concerns.  Many have spent months looking for work.  Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college. 

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off.  They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while.  If you did the right thing, you could make it.  Anybody could make it in America. 

For decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode.  They have seen the decks too often stacked against them.  And they know that Washington has not always put their interests first. 

The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities.  The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours.  The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.  The question is — the question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.    

Those of us here tonight can’t solve all our nation’s woes.  Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers.  But we can help.  We can make a difference.  There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives. 

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.  It’s called the American Jobs Act.  There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.  Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here tonight.  And everything in this bill will be paid for.  Everything.

The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple:  to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.  It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for long-term unemployed.  It will provide — it will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services.  You should pass this jobs plan right away.

Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin.  And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t.  So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you. 

Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages.  Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year.  If you have 50 employees — if you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut.  And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012. 

It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal.  Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan.  You should pass it right away. 

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America.  Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country.  Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our skies are the most congested in the world.  It’s an outrage.   

Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower.  And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?  At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? 

There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work.  There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.  A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.  And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating.  How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart?  This is America.  Every child deserves a great school — and we can give it to them, if we act now. 

The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools.  It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows, installing science labs and high-speed Internet in classrooms all across this country.  It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures.  It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects all across the country.  And to make sure the money is properly spent, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place.  No more earmarks.  No more boondoggles.  No more bridges to nowhere.  We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible.  And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria:  how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy.

This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat.  The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization.  It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike.  You should pass it right away. 

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work.  These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher.  But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves.  It’s unfair to our kids.  It undermines their future and ours.  And it has to stop.  Pass this bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. 

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans.  We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to fight for our country.  The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. 

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and the dignity of a summer job next year.  And their parents — (applause) — their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job.  We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work.  This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job.  The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year.   If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy.  Democrats and Republicans in this chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past.  And in this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again — right away. 

Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a $1,500 tax cut next year.  Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your pocket will go into your pocket.  This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year.  If we allow that tax cut to expire — if we refuse to act — middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time.  We can’t let that happen.  I know that some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live.  Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.    

This is the American Jobs Act.  It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, for teachers, for veterans, for first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed.  It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief to small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle class.  And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know:  The American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit.  It will be paid for.  And here’s how. 
The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years.  It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas.  Tonight, I am asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act.  And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run. 

This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months.  In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts, by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.   What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet right away.  

Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns.  But here’s the truth:  Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement.  And millions more will do so in the future.  They pay for this benefit during their working years.  They earn it.  But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program.  And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it.  We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. 

I am also — I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it.  But here is what every American knows:  While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets.  Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — an outrage he has asked us to fix.  (Laughter.)  We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake and where everybody pays their fair share.   And by the way, I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.   

I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington.  By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.  Our tax code should not give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists.  It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs right here in the United States of America.   

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process.  But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are.  We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies?  Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers?  Because we can’t afford to do both.  Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?  Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.  

This isn’t political grandstanding.  This isn’t class warfare.  This is simple math.  (Laughter.)  This is simple math.  These are real choices.  These are real choices that we’ve got to make.  And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose.  It’s not even close.  And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.       

Now, the American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away.  But we can’t stop there.  As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future — an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security.  We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere.  If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth. 

And this task of making America more competitive for the long haul, that’s a job for all of us.  For government and for private companies.  For states and for local communities — and for every American citizen.  All of us will have to up our game.  All of us will have to change the way we do business. 

My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own.  For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do right now.  (Applause.)  We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly growing startup companies from raising capital and going public.  And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent.  That’s a step — (applause) — I know you guys must be for this, because that’s a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices. 

So, some things we can do on our own.  Other steps will require congressional action.  Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need.  Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.  If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.  I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words:  “Made in America.”  That’s what we need to get done. 

And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side by side with America’s businesses.  That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs. 

Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training.  Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges.  And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America.  (Applause)  If we provide the right incentives, the right support — and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules — we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world.  That’s how America can be number one again.  And that’s how America will be number one again.   

Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy.  Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations. 
Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I’ll work with you, with Congress, to root it out.  And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that do put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it.  That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations.  So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years.  We should have no more regulation than the health, safety and security of the American people require.  Every rule should meet that common-sense test.  But what we can’t do — what I will not do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades.  I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.  I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients.  I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards.  America should be in a race to the top.  And I believe we can win that race.

In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own — that’s not who we are.  That’s not the story of America.   

Yes, we are rugged individualists.  Yes, we are strong and self-reliant.  And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and the envy of the world.

But there’s always been another thread running throughout our history — a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union.  Founder of the Republican Party.  But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future — a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad — (applause) — launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges.  And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set. 

Ask yourselves — where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports?  What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges?  Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the G.I. Bill.  Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance?   

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip?  What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?  How many Americans would have suffered as a result? 

No single individual built America on their own.  We built it together.  We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another.  And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.  

Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past.  Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for.  And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities. 

Now, I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan — or any jobs plan.  Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth.  Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences.  And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.  

But know this:  The next election is 14 months away.  And the people who sent us here — the people who hired us to work for them — they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months.  Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day.  They need help, and they need it now. 

I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose.  What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet.  It’s been a commitment to stay at it — to be persistent — to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it. 

Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we will have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now.  You should pass it.  And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.  And I ask — I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice:  Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now.  Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option.  Remind us that if we act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.

President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made –- therefore they can be solved by man.  And man can be as big as he wants.”

These are difficult years for our country.  But we are Americans.  We are tougher than the times we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been.  So let’s meet the moment.  Let’s get to work, and let’s show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. 

Thank you very much.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Is the black unemployment rate already 20%?

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 1 COMMENT

By Anthony Quiñones

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of August 2011 the national unemployment rate is 9.1%. When you add those who are employed part time for economic reasons, others marginally attached to the labor force and those who have stopped looking for work, that rate jumps to 16.2%. But there’s one group not included among the unemployed that no one talks about – the incarcerated. And this group has an effect on the true unemployment rate, especially the true black unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the unemployed by the total labor force. What makes you unemployed or a member of the labor force is another story. However, let’s look at the following tables:

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Black unemployment rate is and has historically been about twice the rate of whites since the government began tracking these numbers in 1972. The current Black unemployment rate is at its highest level since 1984. Now, let’s look at the number of people incarcerated in the United States as of June 2009:

* Sources: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Census

Ironically, Blacks make up nearly 40% of the incarcerated even though they make up only 12.6% of the total population.

“Even when the economy was supposedly good, unemployment was above the national average in the Black community. That’s what drove a lot of us to become self-made entrepreneurs, illegally and legally. Unemployment has a way making some people pursue and create opportunities they normally wouldn’t have,” says Randy Kearse, author of Changin’ Your Game Plan. Now, let’s fast forward to 2011. Since the number of inmates has more than quadrupled since 1980, let’s assume that the number of incarcerated doesn’t go down. For simplicity, let’s keep these numbers the same and add them to the unemployed and the total labor force (assuming they would be eligible if they weren’t incarcerated) and see how the unemployment rates change by race:

Because the Black prison and jail population is higher in number and much higher in proportion to the total population the unemployment rate goes up by about 4% to 20.9%. The differences for Hispanics and whites are much lower.

The Mark of a Criminal Record, a University of Chicago study by sociologist Devah Pager, concluded that white men with criminal records (17%) have an easier time getting called back on a job application than Black men without a criminal record (14%). When you factor in that Blacks with a criminal record have a much tougher time finding work than those who don’t and that those who have criminal records have a much tougher time assimilating into mainstream society after serving time, the Black unemployment rate is much closer to 20.9% than 17.0%. Then when you add those who are employed part time for economic reasons, others marginally attached to the labor force and those who have stopped looking for work, you probably have an unemployment rate that’s closer to 30%.
So will the Black unemployment rate hit 20% soon? I think it already has. And it’s still climbing.
Anthony Quinones is a midlife transition expert. His passion is to empower those 35 and older to use their gifts, talents and expertise to get unstuck and make successful transitions in their later years. He serves as an inspirational speaker, an author and a radio host. He was recently quoted in MSNBC.com and NEWSONE for Black America on the subject of black male unemployment. He is also the author of “REPACKAGE YOURSELF!: The 10-Step Process to Get Unstuck and Successfully Transform Your Future”. For more information, visit www.AnthonyQuinones.com.

Anti-Gun Group, Father Pfleger, Hatch warn State Rep. Ford not to vote for Concealed Gun Bill

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Hatch: ‘More guns, less safety’

Ford: “I have a job to do as an elected official and that job is to represent the needs and the will of the people that elected me.”


By Chinta Strausberg 

Chicago, IL – Mark J. Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Thursday plans to meet with Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-8th) who said he’s leaning towards voting for controversial concealed carry weapons bill, and Father Michael L. Pfleger warned Ford if he does, it would be a big mistake.

Disturbed by Ford’s comments in Mark Brown’s Chicago Suntimes article that he is leaning towards voting for HB 148, Walsh said Ford stated he was leaning towards backing this bill, which earlier this year was six votes shy of passage.

Ford told the reporter he would vote for the legislation if it were amended to include a provision mandating the National Rifle Association pay for training for police officers. Speaking to the reporter after he recently held a hearing on HB 148, Ford said he believes the majority of his constituents are in favor of the right to own a gun.

That was troubling for both Walsh and Pfleger both of whom attended that meeting which was held on the same night as a similar forum at WVON and hosted by pro-gun groups.

Pfleger, who opposed HB 148, said, “I was at the meeting. Most of the folks there were not from his district; rather they were NRA members. I think Rep. Ford will be making not only a major mistake if he votes for this bill, but it will not be the will of this voters,” said Pfleger.

Agreeing was Walsh who said more than half of those attending Ford’s meeting “lived outside of his district.” Walsh wants to set the meeting up to include not only Ford by his constituents to get a true consensus reading on the level of support by Austin residents. “We’ve seen in polling in the Chicago area that over 82 percent of people are opposed to” to the bill.  “

HB 148 troubles Walsh who said, “Our concern is to make sure that he does hear from his actual constituents and not people that the State Rifle Association and the National Rife Association brought in from other communities.”

“We are concerned because the argument that more guns on the street will make the community safer we thought to be very flawed.”

Referring to the six votes that blocked passage of HB 148 coupled with Ford representing already a high level crime area of Austin, he said, “One vote won’t pass the bill.” Walsh said Ford’s voting in favor of the bill isn’t a viable solution. “Having more guns in the community will only add to the problem.” Walsh wants to meet with Ford since he made his remarks, and Pastor Marshall Hatch, chairman of the Leaders Network and pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, said more guns result in less safety.

When contacted, Rep. Ford said he’s just doing his job. “Father Michael Pfleger and Pastor Marshall Hatch both serve in different capacities as ministers. I have a job to do as an elected official and that job is to represent the needs and the will of the people that elected me.

“I encourage Pastor Hatch from the West Side to drum up his base in the 8th District and have the people write letters, call the 8th District Service Center and make their position known,” said Ford. “The people with opinions must get engaged in the process.

“I want to serve as an effective legislator and the only way to do so is to do the will of the people, and be open to possibilities of change,” Ford stated.

“I respect the engagement of the pastors, but it is unfair and a mistake as a legislator not to be open to the issues of HB 148 during the process of getting public opinion. I look forward to being a part of this process whether I vote for the bill or not,” said Ford.

However, both Father Pfleger and Walsh warned that Ford is travelling down the wrong road and against the will of the people.

For instance, Walsh referred to HB 148 and said the bill “would allow people to carry concealed loaded guns in most public places including parks and playgrounds, city streets and sidewalks, restaurants, street fairs, grocery stores…which only increases the danger of gun violence.”

But Pastor Hatch made it clear; “Anything that adds more guns on the streets will make everybody less safe.”

According to the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (ICPGV), “neither the Illinois State police nor municipal law enforcement is allowed to reject a Concealed Carry of Weapons (CCW) applicant or even make a recommendation for a denial.”

The ICPGV issued reasons why HB 148 is an unsafe bill stating: “it does little to address the extremely dangerous aspects of this bill.” Under the amended version, it stated “out-of-state individuals would be allowed to hold Illinois CCW permits if they have CCW permits in their home state.

“An individual can be granted a CCW permit in Illinois if they are eligible to carry a gun in their home state and are eligible under federal regulations. It is well documented that many states have extremely lax regulations for concealed carry and gun ownership and, like Illinois, do not sufficiently report mental health and other records to the federal NICS background check system. It is estimated that nationally, over one million mental health records are missing from the NIC system.”

Why is concealed carry bad for Illinois? “It’s dangerous,” the ICPGV stated. “Recent studies have demonstrated that firearms possessed in public places present significant safety concerns for law enforcement, property owners, and members of the public. Concealed carry increases the chances that firearms will be used to settle disputes and increases the risk of accidental discharge in places where large numbers of people are gathered.”

Also, mentally ill people will be able to carry guns in most public places. According to the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, HB 148 does not require law enforcement to conduct an extensive mental health screening on CCW applicants, which includes a check of personal references and a psychological examination. Rather HB 148 relies on the validity of the background check that is currently required to obtain the Firearm Owner’s Identification Program (FOID) card process.

However, according to the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “reports from the Illinois State Police show that both state and federal records fail to account for thousands of Illinois residents with mental illness that are prohibited purchasers.”

The organization said the state police “should have reported an estimated 120,000 mental health records to the FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS) to prevent dangerously mentally ill persons from obtaining guns over state lines, but has only reported 5,000.” “States are failing to keep CCW permits out of the wrong hands” and more important “The evidence does not support the claim that CCW laws reduce crime” and “65 percent of Illinois voters are opposed to concealed carry.”

You can reach Rep. Ford at these numbers: 773-378-5902 or fax, 773-378-5903.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. 


"A Rise Among Thorns: A Tribute to Rosa Parks" starring Ella Joyce, coming to Washington, DC, September 21-24

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 1 COMMENT


Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Actress Ella Joyce, remembered for her co-starring role of Eleanor on TV’s “Roc”; Jasmin on “My Wife & Kids; and Detective Waller in the classic ladies’ action film “Set If Off”, captures the famous moment in the life of Rosa Parks, affectionately called “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” in her highly acclaimed, one-woman play A Rose Among Thorns: a Tribute to Rosa Parks.

The show is stopping in Washington, DC after recently headlining Stage Aurora’s 4th Annual Black Arts Festival in Jacksonville, FL last July. Glowing reviews proclaimed it a “Smash Hit in Jacksonville” [Examiner.com]. Four shows will be presented by The Essential Theatre in Washington, DC. Performances will be located at Under Croft Theatre Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Sept. 21 through 24th.

Highlighted visits where the show has played include The Rosa Parks Museum in historical Montgomery, Alabama; YALE African American Affinity Group in New Haven, CT; and this past MLK Day was celebrated by Judge Mablean Ephriam Foundation at West Angeles Performing Arts Theatre in Los Angeles. It played as part of the Rosa Parks Sculpture Project and ArtPrize Celebration presented by the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Shows are already being scheduled up through Black History Month 2012, stopping in Detroit, MI, Lexington, KY, and Memphis, TN. Many sponsors have invited the show back each year.

Words continue to describe Ella Joyce’s performances as: “mesmerizing” [Susan Gilmore, Winston-Salem Journal]; “…spellbinding” [Ed Bumgardner, National Black Theater Festival]; “…classy” [Jack Zink, South Florida Sun Sentinel]; The Muslim Journal proclaimed it “Simply Amazing”, and encouraged communities to bring the show to their area. “Incredible performance” says Mary Montoro, Los Angeles Sentinel; “…full of love” [The Grand Rapids Press]. “Powerful”, and “a must see” is echoed by all. A Rose Among Thorns continues to be booked throughout the year, between film projects that Ms. Joyce appears in such as Warner Bros. “Preacher’s Kid”, an hilarious cameo in the comedy “Our Family Wedding”, “Hopelessly In June”, and recently finished “California Solo”.

The show has traveled to 27 cities since 2007, performing in limited engagements appearing in churches, schools, various organizations, special events, and theatres of all sizes, receiving an NAACP Theatre Nomination, The Key To The City of Ft. Lauderdale, an Appreciation Award from Concerned African Women (CAW), Actor Of The Year from The Houston Ensemble Theatre, Testimonial Resolutions, and many standing accolades warming and enlightening hearts along the way. For more info, visit the official website www.aRoseAmongThorns.com, or the “Current Appearances” page at www.EllaJoyce.com.

A Rose Among Thorns, created, written and performed by Ella Joyce, directed by film actor and photographer, Dan Martin (Lt. Baker on The Bold & The Beautiful), takes audiences on a mesmerizing time travel, exploring the deeds of many other unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of Rosa Parks.

To book, contact: Helen Sugland, Landmark Artists Mgmt., (818) 848-9800.

Protect your identity at 'Shred It & Forget It' free event

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 2 COMMENTS


(A Message from the Better Business Bureau)             



CHICAGO, IL -On Saturday, September 17, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois, in conjunction with various government agencies, invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents for FREE at the annual “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day at West Suburban Bank, 8001 S. Cass Avenue, in Darien, IL from 9AM-2PM.  Electronics recycling also will be available.     


Crime statistics show that last year alone, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, costing them roughly $5 billion.


Hosts of the annual event include the Better Business Bureau along with West Suburban Bank, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Federal Trade Commission, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, United States Postal Inspection Service and NBC 5 Chicago.

This year an electronics recycling service is provided by Vintage Tech Recyclers. TVs, monitors, laptops, PCs, servers, data storage devices, printers, fax/copy machines, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras and game consoles are among the types of electronic equipment that will be collected for recycling at the event. To learn more about the electronics you can recycle at this event, visit www.chicagoshreds.com      


Paper shredding services are being provided by: Beaver Shredding Inc., Chicago Shred Authority, Docu-Shred, Inc., Proshred and Shred-It, Inc.


Participants are asked to limit the material they want shredded to 10 boxes of documents per vehicle. There will also be some free home shredders given away during the event.  


Representatives from the participating organizations will be available at “Shred It and Forget It” to offer guidelines for shredding documents and to answer questions about how to keep your personal information safe.     


Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:


  •  A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.
  • Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
  • Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
  • Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.
  • Bills should be kept for one year or until the cancelled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
  • Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
  • Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
  • If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!


More information about the “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day event can be found at www.chicagoshreds.com; once there, consumers may also sign up for notification on future Shred Day events.


For more information on how to protect your identity, visit www.bbb.org


Sec'y of State Jesse White To host Family and Senior Health Fair

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 Mobile Unit to Provide Driver and Vehicle Services to Attendees


On Saturday, September 10, 2011,  Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and the state’s mobile unit will host a Family and Senior Health Fair. The mobile unit will provide driver’s licenses and state identification cards, including renewals, replacements and corrections, and vehicle sticker sales to attendees.

Professional healthcare workers will volunteer to provide free health information, vaccines and screenings for all attendees.

The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m., at Thorek Memorial Hospital, 850 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL.

The event is also hosted by the Secretary of State’s Asian-American Advisory Council.  The Jesse White Tumblers will also be performing.

The Secretary of State’s mobile unit frequently assists Illinoisans with driver and vehicle needs while on location.

“Let’s keep it real”: Inflammatory talk, mudslinging and personal attacks should not be part of political landscape in 2012 Presidential Campaign

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On September - 9 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Why is it so hard for Presidential Candidates to deal with facts instead of making things personal and inflammatory?


By Juanita Bratcher


I have to laugh every time I see polls pitting one name or another against President Barack Obama for President in 2012. I laugh because many of the names mentioned are not capable or even qualified to run this country, let alone make pertinent or heart-wrenching decisions on the many challenges facing this country. But, you know what? That’s politics!

But many of the candidates who have announced their intention to run for President and many possible candidates that are still sitting on the fence seem to think that inflammatory talk, mudslinging and personal attacks will win an election. Believe me, it won’t. There are many conscientious voters that not only take into consideration candidates’ platforms and agendas, they also take note of candidates’ character and the words that they speak.

Of course personal attacks and mudslinging have always had a knack of lifting their ugly heads in presidential campaigns and campaigns in general. It happens in most campaigns/elections, yet, it appears that this time around it’s a bit more widespread and prevalent in the 2012 campaign than in previous presidential campaigns.

Some polls have pitted President Obama against generic candidates – no name, no face – and with hypothetical issues. What’s up with that? Well, my never-ending motto has always been “Let’s keep it real.” I’m an avid reader like many other Americans. We like articles and polls that deal with the facts, not hypothetical polls or issues; it’s a waste of precious time.

That precious time and energy could be used on focusing and concentrating on strategies and goals to move this country forward – create jobs and put people back to work. Last I read there are millions of unemployed Americans looking for work. Presently, we’re in the midst of a sluggish economy (been that way now for a while), people don’t want to hear “crap” from public servants, they want action…remedies…dialogue between the various “warring” factions, and not excessive ranting and raving (talk comes cheap). Inflammatory talk and personal attacks will not bring about constructive and corrective remedies but more ranting and raving.

Some months ago, one online news apparatus was steadily running survey articles pitting one contender or another against Obama, conducting about three polls and floating names against the president that had never voiced a desire to run for president.

As of yet, no Democrats’ names have surfaced as challengers to President Obama, and there were no generic polls of possibly Democrat challengers pitted against the Democrat incumbent. No names from Obama’s own Democratic Party have been tossed around as of yet, but there’ve been several former or current Republican politicians’ names that are making the rounds for a run in the 2012 presidential contest. Nothing is wrong with that. No one should get even a remote tongue-lashing for expressing their desires to run and following their dream. This is a competitive world and everyone is entitled to go after their dreams and ambitions. But the fact is, some will run for public office even when knowing they’re not qualified to run and don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning. But again, that’s politics! And this is America; competition is a part of the American landscape – not only in the field of politics but other competitive areas of forays as well.

Even so, there are rules and qualifications that candidates must follow and abide by when seeking public office. And certainly, inflammatory talk or incendiary remarks against opponents should not be a part of the political landscape, yet this has become an integral part of expressed rhetoric coming from some who run for political office. American voters are interested in issues. In general, they want candidates to explain their position to voters and the American people their plans and policy agendas for America, if elected. They should stick with issues that are pertinent and prevalent, and steer away from personal attacks against opponents or say what is expedient at the moment.

There’s always been that knack by some to try and plant seeds in voters’ minds even when it’s inaccurate and misleading information. Many times this information is trotted out – leaked or purposely disseminated in some form or fashion by a culprit or culprits in the way of a “trial balloon,” to arouse feedback, hoping or wondering will it stick, and knowing full-well that there’s no possibility of it ever happening.

The other day I ran across a quote from the late singer Ray Charles, Brother Ray, 1978. His quote is as follows:

“Politicians are necessary, and it’d be foolish to blame them for our troubles. They’re just doing what they’ve always done – looking to survive, looking to climb, trying to please everyone at once and grinning and lying while they’re doing it.”

There’s an old cliché: Don’t believe everything you hear and only half of what you see. That you can bank on! Which reminds me of another cliché: Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

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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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