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Archive for September 14th, 2011

Despite claims of a "Post-Racial" society, widespread bias continues in America

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


By Marjorie Valbrun
America’s Wire


Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — Recent public opinion polls show that more whites than African-Americans believe that the United States has entered a “post-racial” era in which racial bias doesn’t exist. But social psychologists and experts on race relations dispute that, citing wide racial disparities in education, unemployment, housing, health, wealth, incarceration rates and other quality-of-life measurements as proof of persistent structural racism in American society.

“It’s time for us to change our approach to polling,” says Dr. Gail C. Christopher, vice president for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which promotes the welfare of children and works to strengthen families and communities. She believes that polls about race are overgeneralized and fail to address whether people understand more nuanced questions about what constitutes modern discrimination.

Christopher says most people are unfamiliar with the term “structural racism,” which has been defined as “a system of social structures that produce cumulative, durable, race-based inequalities,” and likely couldn’t define it if polled. However, most people, she says, could answer questions about specific racial barriers to opportunities.

“What we have done in our polling and in trying to educate the public is interview teachers, doctors, social workers, lawyers, people who have the most interaction with children of color,” Christopher says. “They may not know what structural racism is, but they know that there are barriers to opportunities for these children because of the daily interactions that they have with these children.”

Part of the problem is how Americans think about racial discrimination, says Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

“One of the legacies of the civil rights era is that we have a very powerful visual image of racism coming from media images of the civil rights movement,” he says.

These images make people look for obvious examples of racism that are no longer commonplace – identifiable and openly hostile and racist characters such as Bull Connor or Ku Klux Klan members in white hoods. “Not the sort of day-to day-discrimination that we have now,” Austin says.

“People look for these hateful angry people, but what’s more important is for people to look at these broad institutional practices,” Austin says. “While we have removed the laws that prevent black students from accessing integrated, high-quality education, we still have the same type of segregated and unequal schools there were in the 1950s. The same goes for housing patterns and criminal justice practices. While there are no legal barriers, we still have de facto barriers. By law, they have been removed, but by practice they’re still there.”

Austin says articles about race relations today often cite absence of blatant racism as an example of improved race relations but overlook less obvious but pernicious effects of institutional racism.

“It does have policy implications because if you believe there are no obstacles for African-Americans to get ahead, then you’re less likely to want to support programs that provide opportunities for African-Americans,” he says. “If you look at the research and look at American institutions, you will find significant and very powerful evidence of continuing discrimination against blacks.”

This is precisely why the “declarations of having arrived at the post-racial moment are premature,” Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, writes in the spring 2011 edition of Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, of which he has been a fellow since 2006.

“The central tendencies of public opinion on these issues, despite real increasing overlap, remain enormously far apart between black and white Americans,” Bobo writes in “Somewhere between Jim Crow & Post-Racialism: Reflections on the Racial Divide in America Today,” one of a collection of essays on “Race, Inequality & Culture” in Daedalus.

“When such differences in perception and belief are grounded in, or at least reinforced by, wide economic inequality, persistent residential segregation, largely racially homogeneous family units and close friendship networks, and a popular culture still suffused with negative ideas and images about African Americans, then there should be little surprise that we still find it enormously difficult to have sustained civil discussions about race and racial matters,” he writes.

“Despite growing much closer together in recent decades, the gaps in perspective between blacks and whites are still sizable.” Andrew Grant-Thomas, deputy director of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University that is focused on ending racial and ethnic disparities, says those gaps in perspective are based on people’s different experiences and life circumstances.

“Everyone agrees that there is less racial discrimination, but there’s a huge racial difference in opinion on how much racial discrimination there is and how much it matters,” Grant-Thomas says. “White people are more likely to believe that the socioeconomic status of black people is better than it actually is.

“African-Americans are in a better position to gauge what is happening to African-Americans than whites are, and they certainly bring different perceptions of race to the debate,” he says. “When whites are asked about their views, whites are more likely than blacks to think the playing field is level, while blacks will not agree.”

Therein lies the challenge of improving “race relations,” says Dr. Anthony B. Iton, senior vice president of healthy communities for The California Endowment, a private foundation focused on expanding access to affordable and quality health care.

“Race relations, what does that mean?” he asks. “How I get along with my neighbors or my co-workers, or how I understand the relative status of various groups with respect to their economic status, employment status and health status? The concept of racism is an enormous envelope that holds a lot of issues, some of which relate to racial legacy issues and structural issues. In some ways, we do suffer from an inability to express our feelings on this issue.”

Grant-Thomas says the key to bridging the racial divide is not endlessly talking about it or polling people but working together to find real solutions for decreasing or ending structural barriers that have discriminatory results.

“Polls have a lot of problems,” he says. “For one thing, they assume a sort of static opinion or attitude and that people have more or less fixed opinions and I’m just going to ask them what that is. But most of our opinions are fluid. If you ask white people about affirmative action, you’re more likely to get a much different answer than if you ask them about equal opportunity.

“We’re not going to lead to anything by just having conversations. We need policies behind them and to acknowledge specific problems that are there and identify possible solutions and how we can implement those solutions.”

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.

Bipartisan, House-Senate Coalition introduces legislation to prevent Medicare waste, fraud and abuse

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 2 COMMENTS


Wilfred Brimley, AARP Back Medicare Common Access Card Act


New Medicare card protects identities, takes printed Social Security number off front of the new Medicare card



Washington, DC – To combat a reported $60 billion lost to waste, fraud and abuse within the Medicare system, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA-06), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) and John Shimkus (R-IL-19) introduced legislation today to use existing “smart card” technology to protect seniors. 


Similar to the 20 million “Common Access Cards” issued by the Department of Defense, the new Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011, S. 1551, would establish a pilot program to develop a secure Medicare card using smart card technology to protect seniors personal information, prevent fraud and speed payment to doctors and hospitals.  According to a Government Accountability Office report, fraudulent Medicare claims robbed taxpayers of $48 billion in 2010. 


AARP and senior rights advocate, Wilfred Brimley, joined the bipartisan Members of Congress in announcing their support for the legislation.


“Building on the smart cards already issued to all Americans in uniform, we can offer seniors more protection for their identities while reducing fraud and waste in the strained Medicare system,” Senator Kirk said. “By removing a senior’s Social Security number from the front of the card and including the security upgrades used on the cards of our troops, this Secure Medicare Common Access Card will also help end Medicare’s current “Pay then Chase” policy that allows so much fraud and waste.  I am thankful to have the support of AARP and Wilfred Brimley who has been so active in promoting the health of seniors.”


“If you looked at the card carried by every Medicare beneficiary in America you would find their name and their full social security number there for all to see,” Wyden said. “In an age of identity theft, this is simply asking for trouble. The legislation will not only make the identity of America’s seniors more secure, it does so in a way that will ensure that Medicare is paying for the services that are actually being provided. Giving providers and insurers the tools to reliably weed out fraud will only help to improve the experience of dealing with providers and insurers for those acting in good faith. This is an approach that has proven to reduce fraud and abuse and is a common sense approach to safeguarding taxpayer spending.” 


“I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill which would take a step to eliminate the $60 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program,” Senator Rubio said. “Medicare is already facing long-term challenges, so we need to protect seniors and prevent people from abusing the system. I am proud to be working with Senator Kirk on this critical issue.”


“Cutting fraud, waste and abuse is critical to strengthening Medicare and making sure seniors continue to have access to the care they need,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District). “Taxpayers and seniors deserve the protection against identity theft and fraud that this legislation provides, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to bring the Medicare card into the 21st Century.”


“Millions of beneficiaries depend on Medicare for their healthcare needs and depend on Congress to ensure the vitality of that program,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “This is a simple and elegant solution to save money and guard against fraud and I look forward to working with Health and Human Services, Medicare beneficiaries, and other stakeholders to ensure Medicare’s continued integrity.”


“Medicare wastes 60 billion dollars each year by making fraudulent payments,” said Congressman John Shimkus.  “It’s possible that we could save half of that just by updating the Medicare card and verifying the recipient’s identity, who the provider was, and the service that was provided.  This legislation will set up five test areas around the country, then we can determine whether it should be implemented nationwide.”


The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011 establishes a two-phase system for developing and implementing secure smart card technology for Medicare beneficiaries and providers based on the 20 million cards issued under the DoD program. 


Phase one would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to design and implement a smart card pilot program in geographic regions considered to be at high programmatic risk in an effort to increase the quality of care, improve the accuracy in the Medicare billing system, reduce the potential for identity theft and prevent waste, fraud and abuse. 


The second phase, expanded implementation, would occur one year after the start of the pilot program following a HHS report to Congress on the results of the pilot program and the viability of the nationwide expansion and implementation of Medicare Common Access Card technology. 


The common access card technology would be used by both Medicare patients and health care providers at the point of service to verify identity and make secure billing transactions.  By creating an electronic record between the beneficiary and the provider, it ensures that services and equipment were not only provided but also received, signaling that it can then be paid for by CMS.  This type of technology is currently used by the Department of Defense (DoD), who have issued over 20 million of the secure ID cards.  To date, DoD reports not a single common access card has been counterfeited.  


The Medicare Common Access Card pilot program would be funded by transferring funds from the Medicare Improvement Fund (MIF).  The MIF was established by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008 to make funds available to HHS for the purpose of making improvements under the Medicare Parts A & B programs including program integrity improvements. 


Following introduction, the Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011 will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  The Congressional Super Committee, created in the July debt limit deal, is in a position to include a package to combat waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system in their report to Congress, due November 23. 


With bipartisan, bicameral backing, the Members introducing the bill urge inclusion of the Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011 pilot program in that report. 


The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011 has been endorsed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the SecureID Coalition.

Better Business Bureau warns consumers of ATM scams

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 2 COMMENTS


(A Message from the Better Business Bureau)                                  



Chicago, IL Card skimming is becoming a common problem.  Before getting money out at the ATM or filling up your gas tank, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) advises consumers to take a minute to inspect the machine before swiping a credit or debit card.  


According to the ATM Industry Association, card skimming is defined as the unauthorized capture of magnetic stripe information by modifying the hardware or software of a payment device, or through the use of a separate card reader. Once a consumer swipes their card through the fake card reader, their account information is sent to the scammer, leaving the consumer vulnerable to theft. In addition, thieves may use hidden cameras attached near a machine to record the consumer’s hand movements to obtain their personal identification number.


“Identity theft can happen to you whether you’re shopping online or at the mall, making it critical that we all take specific steps to fight both low and hi-tech id thieves,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Chicago and northern Illinois.


To help reduce ATM skimming, The BBB offers the following tips:

  • Inspect the ATM – Avoid using ATMs in poorly lit or low trafficked areas. Experts often recommend choosing a bank ATM over standalone ATMs in public places. Look for new or suspiciously placed cameras and unusual signage. Don’t hesitate to walk away and use another ATM if something appears out of the ordinary.
  • Protect your PIN – When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to protect your private information from any cameras in the vicinity. Periodically change your PIN.
  • Monitor your statements – Even the most careful person can fall victim to skimmers. Keep a close eye out for suspicious charges on the itemized breakdown of your accounts. Through your financial institution, you can also sign up for alerts that will notify you when certain types of transaction occur.
  • Report fraud immediately – Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer protections for debit and credit cards vary but depend largely on when the fraudulent activity is reported.
  • Consider using an RFID sleeve-Many credit/debit cards and driver’s licenses contain RFID chips with personal data. By using this sleeve, you can keep your personal data secure by preventing unauthorized access.

For more information on how to avoid scams, visit www.bbb.org

Jesse White to hold Illinois’ U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day Celebration today at Noon

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


 More than 100 people from 36 countries Sworn- In As Citizens


Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will hold Illinois’ third official U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day at the Richard J. Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St, today (September 14, 2011) at Noon.

More than 100 people from 36 countries will be sworn-in as citizens by U.S. Federal Judge George W. Lindberg.

The U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day Celebration is held to observe the many freedoms the Constitution guarantees and honor the bond shared with those becoming citizens of the United States of America.

White will honor Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Allen Lynch for his heroic actions in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the United States military’s highest decoration.

Bay Area Author's Best-selling Novel Advances to the Stage

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

“Sweet Bye-Bye” The Stage Play
Sept. 15-18, 2011 | Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre


Each Show’s Proceeds Benefit a Bay Area Non-profit Organization



“With her high-paying job, all the money and clothes she wants, as well as the “perfect” fiancé, Chantell Myers thinks she has it made. Sure, she’s never really at peace with herself, but Chantell learned long ago how to hide her pain, and she almost believes looking good is more important than being real.  Then, her father has a near-fatal heart attack. Suddenly, Chantell is promising God she’ll be a better person if her dad pulls through …,” explains “Sweet Bye-Bye” author Denise Michelle Harris.




SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA / STOCKTON, CA – Stockton, CA native and current San Francisco Bay Area resident, Denise Michelle Harris continues to break new artistic grounds. Her gripping, amusing and inspirational inaugural novel “Sweet Bye-Bye” earned its place on the Amazon.com Top-seller List just two weeks after its debut, and also found a home among Walden Books African American Bestsellers. The book’s popularity, entertainment quality and compelling message were key to Harris being offered an opportunity to develop a script for a theater production adaptation of her bestselling novel.  Performances of “Sweet Bye-Bye” The Stage Play will run from Thursday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept.18, 2011 (six performances) at the Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA. For tickets, group sales and theater information, visit brownpapertickets.com or 510-652-2120.


Denise Michelle Harris

The play’s cast of superb Bay Area performing talents include Ayo Robinson, gifted actress and granddaughter of baseball icon Jackie Robinson (as lead character diva “Chantell Meyers”); Elisha-Micah Butler IV, Oakland native acting, modeling and voiceover artist (as “Eric Summit,” Chantell’s imperfect boyfriend); Robert Brown-Miller, actor and veteran runway model (as “Keith Rashaad Talbit,” Chantell’s long lost male friend); and Jeanene Cannon, “She’s Got the Look” modeling competition reality show finalist (as “Tia,” Chantell’s closest girlfriend). Season 10 “American Idol” finalist Johnas Street will have a walk-on role.



Meet Chantell Meyers. She’s a twenty-something successful advertising executive who is all about appearances. Chantell was just five years old when her mother died, twelve when her grandmother died and a year later her best friend Keith Rashaad Talbit moved away. Chantell remembers being told that bad things happen in threes and by the age of 13, she had suffered three major losses. To further complicate things, she was taught not to cry and not to talk about her mother. These are the things that shaped Chantell’s life.


Because she was so afraid of losing someone else she loved, she had problems developing relationships. She had one person she could call a true friend, Tia. Her relationship with her boyfriend Eric was empty at best, but due to her fears she suffered through the relationship that was going nowhere.


Chantell found herself attending church and making changes in her life after her father suffered a near fatal heart attack. The most unpopular change was when she decided to cut off the sexual encounters with Eric. She began to take a deep look inside her life and found she needed to bring closure to those things troubling her, mainly regarding her mother. Also, during this time, Keith Rashaad Talbit returns to her life. He sees potential in Chantell that she cannot see in herself. Unfortunately, until she is able to come to terms with her past she is unable to move forward.



“Harris delivers the quintessential chick lit heroine… She shows us how to become a woman after God’s heart!”Romantic Times Book Club Magazine

“Compelling…Breezy…Laced with humor…We embark on a spiritual journey with Chantell as she finds peace in her spirit through God.”
Atlanta Daily World


“Sincere, authentic, heartfelt, sweetly powerful: These are just a few words that describe Harris’ depiction of Chantell’s journey … quiet and unimposing this is Christian fiction at its best … In her debut novel Denise Michelle Harris bestows upon the literary community a gift: A beautifully realistic story of a woman who learns when to say bye-bye.”   The Rawsistaz Reviewers



“Sweet Bye-Bye” The Stage Play is a Sean Vaughn Scott Production; written by author and playwright Denise Michelle Harris; co-directed by Harris and Tavia Council; adapted from Harris’ best-selling novel “Sweet Bye-Bye,” a Warner Books – Hachette Book Group 2004/2007 novel.



Denise Michelle Harris is a national best-selling author. Born and raised in Stockton, California, Harris earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from California State University, Hayward and Masters Degree in Creative Writing from New College of California.


She has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. since 1996, and served as one of its first chapter Connection Committee Chairpersons. Additionally, Harris was named among Who’s Who in America in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Book tours with her debut novel “Sweet Bye-Bye” have taken Harris to numerous cities throughout the continental United States, and numerous local and national publications have featured Harris and her works. She is currently working on her sophomore literary offering—a follow up to Sweet Bye Bye—and also looking forward to taking her play on tour. www.denisemichelleharris.com


Inner City Media Corporation reaches agreement on pre-negotiated financial restructuring

Posted by Admin On September - 14 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Inner City Media Corporation (the “Company”) announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with its senior lenders, pursuant to which the Company will implement a consensual pre-negotiated financial restructuring that will result in a restructured balance sheet.

The agreement provides that the Company and the senior lenders will file a chapter 11 plan of reorganization by mid-October, which is anticipated to, among other things, provide for the payment in full of all allowed administrative and general unsecured claims, subject to confirmatory due diligence by the senior lenders. The Company expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of 2011 and looks forward to working with the senior lenders in its emergence from bankruptcy.

More information about the reorganization may be found at www.gcginc.com/cases/ICBC.

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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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