April , 2019

(From the Illinois GOP Party)                                                                                                                               A series of public hearings on the redrawing of ...
    Village consistently failed to submit required reports SPRINGFIELD, IL - Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka announced ...
A brief discussion of internships and externships for African American students who are considering what ...
  Chicago, IL - Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady announced an online petition for Illinois citizens ...
  CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the U.S. Department of Justice’s ...
Health Coverage Doesn't Translate to Health Care in Communities of Color As more families get health ...
                                                          By Dr. Sunni Ali   Why should African Americans celebrate allegiance to the U.S. Flag?   Many people ...
Op-Ed By Gery Chico, Chairman, Illinois State Board of Education Every child should have an ...
Historic installation is Sunday By Chinta Strausberg In an expanded move towards racial reconciliation, Rev. Dr. ...
Memphis, TN United States Remarks as Prepared for ...

Archive for December 19th, 2011

U.S. Senators Kirk, Wyden request probe of FBI usage of Wireless Tracking Software

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on U.S. Senators Kirk, Wyden request probe of FBI usage of Wireless Tracking Software

Senators to Inspector General: 4th Amendment Protects Americans from “Unlawful Search and Seizure”




Washington, DC – Following reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may be using mobile tracking software to monitor Americans’ cell phones and mobile devices without their knowledge, United States Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) today sent a letter to the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Justice requesting an investigation of the alleged secret surveillance.  The software, developed by Carrier IQ, has reportedly been pre-installed on nearly 150 million mobile devices and an FBI spokesman recently declined to say whether the FBI was collecting data generated by the software. 


The Kirk-Wyden letter requests that the Acting Inspector General determine: 


1)  Has the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency requested any data collected by Carrier IQ software, either directly or from a third party that received the data?


2)  Has the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency used any data collected by Carrier IQ software in any investigations?


3)  If so, what types of data have been used and how?


4)  Has this information ever been collected or used by a federal law enforcement agency without the agency having first obtained a warrant for such information?





In October, Sen. Kirk joined Sen. Wyden as a co-sponsor of the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act  which provides sorely needed legal clarity for the use of electronically-obtained location data that can be used to track and log the location and movements of individual Americans.  The GPS Act, which would update 25 year-old data surveillance legislation, requires the government to show probable cause and obtain a warrant before acquiring the geolocational information of a U.S. person, while maintaining clear exemptions in the case of emergency or national security situations or cases of theft or fraud. The GPS Act would make it a crime for the FBI to use electronically-obtained geolocation information, such as the information Carrier IQ collects, to track a suspect without a warrant.



The full text of the Kirk-Wyden letter to the Inspector General is below. 



December 16, 2011


Cynthia A. Schnedar

Acting Inspector General

U.S. Department of Justice








950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530






Dear Acting Inspector General Schnedar:


We are deeply concerned by the December 14, 2011, report in Forbes entitled “FBI May Use Carrier IQ to Track Suspects”.  According to the report, software developed by Carrier IQ, which has been automatically installed on millions of mobiledevices, collects and transmits potentially sensitive data from users’ devices.  If true, we view this as an unacceptable violation of users’ privacy.  However, we are even more troubled by the FBI’s refusal to clarify whether it has used this software for domestic surveillance purposes. 


The Forbes article also reported that the FBI denied a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for any materials used by the Bureau to analyze or access data gathered by Carrier IQ software, and an FBI spokesman subsequently declined to say whether or not the FBI was usingthis software for domestic surveillance purposes.  We are concerned about the possibility that the FBI could be using this software to obtain sensitive personal geolocation information, and thereby track the movements of Americans without a warrantissued by an independent Federal judge.  We would like to clarify whether this is the case. 


We, therefore, request that you investigate this matter to determine the following:


1)    Has the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency requested any data collected by Carrier IQ software, either directly or from a third party that received the data?


2)    Has the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency used any data collected by Carrier IQ software in any investigations?


3)    If so, what types of data have been used and how?


4)    Has this information ever been collected or used by a federal law enforcement agency without the agency having first obtained a warrant for such information?


Under the Fourth Amendment, every American is protected against unlawful search or seizure by the government.  We appreciate your timely response to this important matter as we seek to ensure that Americans’ constitutional rights are not being violated.




Mark Kirk              Ron Wyden

US Senator          US Senator


IL GOP Chairman responds to court decision on Congressional Redistricting case

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on IL GOP Chairman responds to court decision on Congressional Redistricting case

Chicago, IL – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady released the following statement regarding the Federal Ruling on the Congresional Redistricting Case:

“I was very disappointed with the ruling today (December 15, 2011).  Not only did the Democrats blatently abuse the power granted to them by Illinois voters, but the serious issues in the case regarding Latino disenfranchisement were thrown by the wayside.”

“This map has never passed the smell test from day one –  Pat Quinn and Mike Madigan have been the only ones who have consistently said with a straight face that this is a fair map.”

“The partisanship that was on display during this process was sad considering that this map will affect legislation and taxpayers in Illinois and at the Federal level for many years to come. The consequences of this map are yet to be seen, but I’m sure that it will not result in the giant power grab that the Democrats planned when they schemed up this gerrymandered and completely unfair map.”

“We will continue to fight for the principles that drove us to fight for the fair map alternative to the Democrat map. At the end of the day, Springfield and Illinois Democrats have proven themselves so toxic that Republicans will still have a tremendous year in 2012.”

Illinois third in nation for number of new teachers achieving highest teaching credentials

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on Illinois third in nation for number of new teachers achieving highest teaching credentials

Sixth year in a row Illinois attains national ranking 


Springfield, IL – The State Board of Education announced that Illinois ranks third nationally for the number of teachers who achieved National Board Certification in 2011 with Chicago Public Schools District 299 boasting the second highest number of teachers per district earning this professional milestone. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) released the findings this week during an event at the White House recognizing the new class of teachers. This is the sixth consecutive year that Illinois has ranked among the top 10 states for the number of new teachers achieving the profession’s highest credential.

“We commend these teachers for undergoing this rigorous process to evaluate and strengthen their professional skills,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “We all remember our best teachers and they were usually the ones who put students first and constantly worked to improve their skills. National Board Certification is a proven route to help teachers become the best in the profession.”

In 2011, 461 Illinois teachers achieved National Board Certification, which is the highest credential in the teaching profession. Of that number, 141 teachers work in the Chicago Public Schools, District 299. The district ranks second nationally for generating the most new NBCTs last year and in total has 1,893 teachers with National Board Certification.

Illinois teachers are among those who bring the total number of teachers and school counselors certified by NBPTS across the country to more than 97,291 in 2011. Illinois ranks sixth in the country for its cumulative total of NBCT’s with 5,153 teachers to date who have achieved the prestigious certification.

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and retain great teachers – and make them better. Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, video tapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. Additionally, teachers are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach.

In May 2000, the Illinois State Board of Education began issuing Illinois Master Certificates valid for 10 years and renewal thereafter every 10 years through compliance with requirements set forth by the State Board of Education for NBCTs teachers.

To access more information about NBPTS and National Board Certification you may visit the NBPTS Web site at www.nbpts.org.

To search for National Board Certified teachers in Illinois by district, visit:


Federal Bill opposed by Madigan declared dead in Congress

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on Federal Bill opposed by Madigan declared dead in Congress

Automated Robo-calls Would Have Grossly Eroded Consumers’ Right to Cell Phone Privacy 


Chicago, IL – After overwhelming opposition mounted by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and their counterparts across the country, legislation to allow for robo-calls to consumers’ cell phones was taken out of consideration in Congress this week.

Madigan applauded the move, saying H.R. 3035, or the “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011” amounted to nothing more than a bad deal for consumers. The bill would have required consumers to pay for the cost of unwanted solicitation calls without their explicit consent.

“This legislation would have opened the floodgates for telemarketers to annoy us with robo-calls to our cell phones at all hours of the day,” Attorney General Madigan said. “I appreciate everyone who voiced their disapproval of this invasion of our privacy to Congress and stopped this bill.”

Madigan said the bill would have given businesses the green light to place automated robo-calls to any consumer who has provided their telephone number in the course of a transaction. Currently, federal law allows robo-calls to be placed only to people who have given their explicit consent to receive them or in case of an emergency. The bill would have particularly impacted consumers who pay by the minute or have a limited number of minutes.

Madigan and attorneys general nationwide sent a letter to members of Congress earlier this month urging lawmakers to reject the proposal.


Lt. Governor Simon supports campaign finance reform

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on Lt. Governor Simon supports campaign finance reform

CHICAGO, IL –  Lt. Governor Sheila Simon submitted testimony to the Governor’s Campaign Finance Reform Task Force during a public hearing in Chicago.

Simon stated: “I would like to commend the Campaign Finance Reform Task Force for continuing the important work of the Illinois Reform Commission, which helped pass the first campaign finance limits in the history of this state. As a logical next step, I support a public finance system for judicial elections in Illinois that does not use general revenue dollars but is instead funded through an increase in court filing or lawyer registration fees. The perception that any judges could be unduly influenced by campaign contributions is something that our democracy and judicial system cannot afford to ignore.”

Simon is a former Jackson County prosecutor and served on the Illinois Reform Commission, which was created by Governor Quinn in 2009 in the wake of former Governor Blagojevich’s arrest. Governor Quinn created the Campaign Finance Reform Task Force in 2010 to review the implementation of the first phase of campaign finance reform and to study the feasibility of public financing or other reforms.

42% Jump in Complaints Against Credit Card Processing Companies Prompts Concern from the Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on 42% Jump in Complaints Against Credit Card Processing Companies Prompts Concern from the Better Business Bureau


Chicago, IL  -  Selecting a credit card processing service is a very important decision for a business and can be a vital component to the overall success of the business. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has seen a 42% rise in complaints against credit card processing services and advises business owners to do their homework before choosing a merchant processor.


Complaints are up for this 12 month period compared to the previous 12 months-110 now as compared to 77 or an increase of 42%. One of the most important ways to make your business thrive is to please your customers and, many times, that means offering a variety of payment methods.


 Accepting credit cards can be one of the options available to customers along with using a debit card or writing a check. By offering these options businesses are opening the door to increased revenue,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.  “However, before selecting your merchant processing service, it’s imperative that you do your research to avoid putting your business and its success at risk.”


The BBB offers the following advice when selecting a merchant processing service:


Ask around. As with any important business decision, make sure to get at least three estimates and check the BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org of the merchant processing service. It may also be worth asking other fellow business leaders what service they use to get a feel for its track record.


Know where to turn. Make sure the merchant processing service has a solid support team. Can you contact them 24 hours a day? This is very important to business owners who are trying to process a card outside of the typical business hours. In any case, technical support is a must and it’s vital to your business’ success to make sure that the merchant processing service you choose has it.


Try them out. Don’t settle without a trial period. Make sure that the merchant processing service you choose has a 100 percent money-back guarantee before selecting them. See how the service works for your business. Did they keep every promise that they made to you?


Sign a “month-to-month” agreement. Never commit to a long term agreement, make the processor earn your business each and every month.


Get a large list of references during the proposal process. Be sure to actually call the people on the list. The references should be local and in a similar industry type. Processors that won’t provide this list throw up a red flag.


Make sure every penny you spend is necessary. If you have a question regarding a fee that you were charged, ask! Staying competitive with other merchant services is the name of the game for these processors so they will want to keep you happy. 


For more business information you can trust, visit www.bbb.org 

Bemoved Dance Fitness' Sherry Zunker's First Total Mind-Body Dance Workout DVD, Bemoved Bollywood! on sale now

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on Bemoved Dance Fitness' Sherry Zunker's First Total Mind-Body Dance Workout DVD, Bemoved Bollywood! on sale now

Chicago, IL  – Just in time for the 2012 “New Year’s Resolution” fitness craze, an exciting new workout DVD, BeMoved Bollywood has been released and is on sale now. “So you think you can’t dance?” BeMoved® founder Sherry Zunker says “yes you can” with this new dance fitness DVD, the first in a series for adults of any skill level.

BeMoved® is the newest workout inspiring people to dance! It’s one of the fastest growing fitness movements in the country. Designed by renowned director and choreographer Sherry Zunker, the BeMoved® DVD series is geared for adults age 40 and over who want an invigorating, pain free and full body workout. BeMoved® uses 14 different genres of music, including Disco, Motown, Latin and Swing…and in the first of the BeMoved® DVD series: “Bollywood!”

“I realized that for myself and for people in my age demographic, there really needed to be something that spoke to us at this point in our life,” says Zunker. “I really wanted to be able to take a dance / movement class that I could physically do and not hurt myself. At the same time I wanted it to be stimulating and challenging and I wanted it to MOVE ME.” This is the inspiration behind BeMoved® and the philosophy behind “BeMoved Bollywood.”

BeMoved® Dance Fitness – Series One DVD Bollywood is designed with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions, close up video shows details of several of the dance movements and stretches. Sections include:

• The Warm Up, a combination of therapeutic movements activates your breathing, central core strength and balance, while improving your flexibility, coordination and musicality.

• The Bollywood dance sequence is an energizing and upbeat low impact cardio workout that builds into an entire Bollywood dance routine. The sequence introduces dance steps and arm movements that are not only fun but burn off calories, too. Before you know it, you are building endurance and toning your body, while simultaneously unleashing your inner dancer.

• The Cool Down and final stretch segment incorporates dance steps, movements and stretches from the entire class, leaving you feeling invigorated, renewed and fit.

 “I think America’s new found love affair with dance, really has shifted the perception that only professional dancers can dance,” says Zunker. “I feel like the world is now embracing the fact that everybody can dance and everybody can find dance to change the way they live to enhance their health and well-being.”

DVD’s are just $24.99 (plus shipping and handling) and can be ordered now by visiting bemoved-dance.com.

About Sherry Zunker

Sherry Zunker is Founder of BeMoved® –a movement product designed for adults of all movement abilities—Director of “Chicago the Musical” for RCCL and Co-Artistic Director Emerita of River North Chicago Dance Company,.

Zunker is an established director and choreographer whose work covers the concert dance realm, musical theater, corporate entertainment, production shows, television, video, and film. Her teaching career spans 30 years and is as diverse as the works she has created.

Sherry Zunker is also known for her work as Co-Artistic Director of River North Chicago Dance Company. Sherry joined River North Chicago as artistic director in 1990. She choreographed numerous works for the company, one of them being the signature piece “Reality of a Dreamer” which also became the finale piece for the award winning televised documentary of the same name. Sherry also commissioned the work of many choreographers to compile the Company’s diverse, engaging repertoire. Ms. Zunker has set her works on several companies including The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago.

Before taking on the roles of director and choreographer, Zunker had a diverse performance career. She danced with Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, was a principal dancer with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, performed as a soloist in Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and also danced under Tony Award-winning choreographer Ann Reinking in the Goodman Theater’s production of “Pal Joey.” Zunker has also danced in several musical stage productions, commercials and films including “The Blues Brothers” and “A League of Their Own.”

For more information about Sherry Zunker and BeMoved®, visit bemoved-dance.com.

Father Pfleger: "We've abandoned the poor"

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on Father Pfleger: "We've abandoned the poor"
By Chinta Strausberg
In the spirit of Christmas and braving some very frigid weather, Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger Saturday handed out 837 turkeys and said if a church can’t help feed the hungry “they ought to close their doors and go home.”
With Christmas music piped in over the loud speakers and his helpers unloading and bagging 13-pound turkeys in frigid weather, Pfleger first held prayer before passing out the turkeys.
“We do this because it’s what we believe this is what the church is supposed to do,” he told the patient crowd. “Our desire is to serve the community. That’s why we’re here. If we can’t do that, we should close up and go home. That’s why we’re here,” Pfleger said then prayed. “We ask you to bless each and every person in this line, bless their families and may 2012 be a wonderful year of blessing and prosperity…for each one….”
Those with yellow vouchers received their turkeys first and after 1:30 p.m. all others were able to get a turkey; that is all but the last man who walked up. He was too late. All 836 turkeys were gone.
Smiling and saying, “God bless you, Merry Christmas,” at the stroke of noon, Pfleger began to hand out the turkeys.  “We know at least 836 families will have a Christmas dinner.” He said Saint Sabina bought most of the turkeys with Jewel’s donating a few hundred.
When asked why does he do this annually, Pfleger said, “We do this every year because people are hurting. I don’t think people realize what this means to somebody that they can get a free dinner. When you don’t have anything, when you’re hurt, when you feel abandoned and disposable in this society,” it is a sign that “we’ve turned our backs on the poor.
Looking out over the crowd, Pfleger added, “We want them to know that we see them. We care about them, and we will do our best to help them.” Many of the people gave Pfleger a lot of hugs, kisses, thank you’s and wishes of Merry Christmas as they accepted their turkey.
Recently, Pfleger gave away 800, 10-pound chickens, another 250 turkey giveaway for Thanksgiving, a food giveaway through the Saint Sabina Social Service Center, a week-long toy giveaway, and he is having the Homeless Christmas dinner Sunday, December 25, 2011 at noon. “We want people to know that we care and that we’re going to do what we can.”
Asked about the shortages in some Chicago food pantries and how it may be affecting Saint Sabina, Pfleger said, “We keep begging. Our shelves have been empty twice, but we keep begging for more food and we will continue…”
According to Pfleger, four of the seven food pantries have closed but he vowed to keep his open because he said the need is there.
And, to his critics who say his food giveaways are “a drop in the bucket,” Pfleger has a message for them: “If you’re hungry, it’s not a drop in the bucket. People were standing in line at 8 am. for a turkey that we‘re giving away at noon; so to those folks out there,” he said waving his arm towards a line more than a block long, he added, “it means a lot.”
One of the first arrivals was Jackie Cleves who was in line at 8:00 a.m. “This means a lot to me because I’ll be able to feed my family. I’ll be able to feed my grand babies and my friends,” she said referring to the 11 people she will have over for Christmas dinner.
Also grateful was Cynthia Williamson.” This means a lot to me. I’ll be able to feed my family. It is wasn’t for this church, I don’t know what we would eat for Christmas.”
Pfleger motioned to a man and his son who brought 36 turkeys which added to Pfleger’s 800 as a gesture of goodwill, but instead of just dropping them off, they stayed and helped bag all 800 turkeys. The man, who lives on the North Side, did not want to be identified. He said he just wanted to help with the turkey giveaway.
Neither the father nor the son had gloves on yet they not only bagged the frozen turkeys but help take them out of the cardboard boxes as well.
Also helping Pfleger distribute the turkeys were: Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th), Chazz Clark, 8, the son of Vincent Clark, assistant to Pfleger who collected the vouchers, Malchi Hunter, 9, the son of Phillip Hunter, the team leader for the armor bearer’s at Saint Sabina, and Annette Nance-Holt, who lost her son, Blair, 16, in May of 2007 while riding a CTA bus.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

First ever calendar illustrating African-American history in Paris launched by Walking the Spirit Tours of Black Paris

Posted by Admin On December - 19 - 2011 Comments Off on First ever calendar illustrating African-American history in Paris launched by Walking the Spirit Tours of Black Paris

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Walking The Spirit Tours, who pioneered tours of historical and contemporary Black Paris, has published the first ever calendar illustrating the African-American experience in Paris. The 12-month 2012 calendar features original artwork by Paris artist Ealy Mays as well as key dates, inspirational quotes, and informative historical summaries.

The full color Spirit of Black Paris calendar provides a strikingly original daily journey to the Paris of African-Americans who found opportunity in France over the past 200 years. From Sally Hemings in 1787 to Richard Wright in the 1950s, expatriates and visitors are illustrated in their favorite places as well as among the familiar sites of the City of Lights.

For example, in September, stand outside the formidable Sorbonne University with Anna Julia Cooper while she prepares her doctorate in 1925. Perfect for sunny July, catch a glimpse of James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Chester Himes in Les Deux Magots café in St.Germain-des-Pres. And in the dreary month of March, admire the lesser-known but exhilarating works of women artists Lois Mailou Jones, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and Meta Vaux Warrick.

More than an evocative and beautiful visual celebration, the calendar functions as a daily tool to improve knowledge of African-American history in Paris. It was created in the spirit of educating and inspiring adults, students and children. The rich contents invites previous visitors to relive the inspiring stories; the abundant details pique the curiosity of those dreaming of following the footsteps of a still existing dream of Paris; and for those preparing a trip, it stimulates a sense of belonging where expatriates have left their mark.

The artwork was commissioned to renowned artist Ealy Mays. Texas-born Mays has lived permanently in Paris since 1996 and he is uniquely positioned to provide heartfelt depth to the subject. Since 2008 he has also guided visitors and locals through the narrow streets and past famous sites for Walking The Spirit Tours, telling the stories of the African American expatriate experience.

“It was an honor,” says Mays, “to be a part of the first of a kind calendar, and to put my input into such an endeavor.”

Created by Julia Browne, founder of Walking The Spirit Tours this project is a rewarding extension of the passion that she holds for Black Paris. Browne founded the company in 1994 following her studies with the late Professor Michel Fabre at the Sorbonne. Fabre is the author of ‘From Harlem to Paris: Black Writers in Paris 1840 to 1980’. Browne created the indepth series of walking and bus tours as a way to share her expertise on Paris, history, and Black culture. The fascinating tours provide appealing and new understanding for people of all cultures and backgrounds. Now a certified French Specialist, designated by Tourism France, Browne creates culture rich excursions to Richard Wright’s Normandy, Josephine Baker’s Dordogne and James Baldwin’s Nice.

The 2012 African Americans In Paris calendar is the first of a series. It is available to order immediately. For more details, visit www.walkingthespirit.com

Photo Caption: Spirit of Black Paris 2012 Calendar – front

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