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Archive for February 1st, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivers State of the State Address; Republicans Topinka, Pat Brady respond

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivers State of the State Address; Republicans Topinka, Pat Brady respond
 Quinn’s speech: State of the State: Moving Illinois Forward 


SPRINGFIELD, IL – President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Leaders Radogno and Cross, Attorney General Madigan, Secretary White, Comptroller Topinka, Treasurer Rutherford, Members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests and fellow citizens of Illinois, I’m here today to report to you on the state of our state.But before I begin, I know I speak for all of Illinois in wishing our Senator Mark Kirk a speedy recovery. We’re all pulling for you, Mark.And I also know I speak for all of Illinois and all of America in thanking our servicemembers in every branch of service who have volunteered to protect our democracy.

We’re here today because of you.

We are especially proud of the servicemembers of our Illinois National Guard. In the early morning last December 18, a convoy of the Illinois National Guard’s 1644th transportation company led by their commander Captain Michael Barton, crossed the desert of Southern Iraq into Kuwait.

Their unit had made 73 dangerous convoy trips between Kuwait and Iraq.

They drove nearly 4 million miles. Their convoy was one of the very last to leave Iraq. The war was over.

And today, Captain Barton’s wife Kelli, and their daughter Myleigh are with us.

On behalf of a grateful nation and a grateful state, thank you Kelli, thank you Myleigh, thank you Captain Barton and thank you servicemembers of the Illinois National Guard.

You are our heroes.

I’m very proud to be the Commander in Chief of the Illinois National Guard and I’m proud to be governor of Illinois.

Almost exactly three years ago to this day, I took the oath of office at this podium during one of the darkest moments in Illinois’ history.

One former governor was in jail. Another was under arrest, impeached and removed from office.

Both my predecessors had disgraced themselves and brought profound embarrassment to the people of our state.

At the same time, our entire nation was in the throes of a massive economic crisis, caused by disgraceful conduct and greed on Wall Street.

Our large and small businesses were reeling.

Our automakers were in dire straits.

Across Illinois, families were losing their jobs, losing their homes, watching their savings disappear.

We were off course and adrift, lacking leadership, and weighed down by a culture of corruption.

On the day I became Governor three years ago, I promised to restore integrity to Illinois government.

And we have.

Through tough new ethics laws, campaign finance reform, and establishing the ability to recall a corrupt governor, we have made Illinois a more ethical state.

But we didn’t stop there. By legalizing civil unions, by raising the standards of nursing home care, by abolishing the death penalty and by protecting the funerals of our military men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion to our democracy, we have made Illinois a better state.

All the while, we have helped everyday people by building and growing Illinois.

We have invested in our state, making it a better place to do business.

And we have invested in the people of Illinois, helping our working families and improving education.

The results are in from major export growth and the largest public works construction program in state history to solid gains in education.

We’re back on course – Illinois is moving forward.

Now we all know that the economic storm is far from over. While we have downsized Illinois government more than ever before, we continue to face very difficult decisions to restore financial stability to our state.

Suffice it to say, we must have Medicaid reform and public pension reform in the coming year.

We took the first step on pension reform in 2010 when we enacted landmark changes that will save taxpayers billions of dollars.

But there’s much more to do.

Fixing the pension problem will not be easy, but we have no choice.

We must do it together in a way that is meaningful, constitutional, and fair to the employees who have faithfully contributed to the system.

That’s why I’ve assembled a pension working group to propose a solution that can be enacted this year.

I will have more to say about these serious matters during my budget address three weeks from today.

But we must always remember that strong economic growth is essential to resolving our fiscal challenges.

Cuts alone will not get us to a better budget. We must build and grow our Illinois economy like never before to keep Illinois moving forward.

In the past three years, we’ve worked together to strengthen our economy and make Illinois a better place to do business.

We’ve reformed our workers’ compensation system. The reforms we put in place will protect the safety of our workers and save Illinois businesses at least a half billion dollars every year.

We’ve also reformed our unemployment insurance system. We’ve preserved benefits for unemployed workers while saving businesses $400 million dollars.

We’ve cut red tape for employers that need environmental permits.

And we’ve worked with our union partners to overhaul workplace rules at McCormick Place to lower the cost of conventions.

Already, new conventions are picking Illinois and putting our people to work. Each of these landmark reforms shows the power of bringing everyone to the table to repair broken systems.

That’s moving forward.

But we’ve not just made Illinois a better place to do business, we’ve also invested in our public works – our highways, our bridges, our railroads and our schools – to make Illinois stronger.

We’ve created good-paying jobs while laying the foundation for future growth.

Thanks to our Illinois Jobs Now! plan, Illinois has the largest capital construction program in our history.

Over the past three years, we have been building, repairing, and modernizing.

Every day, you see the fruits of our labor… all across Illinois.

We have improved 5,948 miles of highways and 842 bridges.

In southern Illinois, we’re building new lanes on Route 13.

In Rockford, we’re building a new Morgan Street Bridge.

And in East Peoria, we’re building Technology Boulevard.

We’ve also built and renovated more than 400 schools from Western Illinois University’s new riverfront campus in Moline to the new Transportation Education Center at SIU in Carbondale and from the repurposed Cole Hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb to the new electrical and computer engineering building at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

We’ve also invested in more than 40 public transportation projects.

We’re working with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to rebuild the CTA’s Red Line. We’re working with Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey to build new passenger rail from Chicago to Rockford. We’re working with elected officials in the South Suburbs and Will County to build a new airport.

And we’re building high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis and a new bridge across the Mississippi River.

All these projects and many more have created thousands of jobs.

Thank you to the men and women of Illinois who are doing this hard work.

Here in Illinois, unlike other states in the Midwest, we believe in the right of working people to organize.

Your hard work is why Illinois is moving forward.

Speaking of hard work, I would like to salute Secretary of State Jesse White. For the first time in history, we kept fatalities on Illinois highways below 1,000 for three consecutive years.

Thank you Secretary White for your commitment to highway safety and saving lives.

Now, we all know that automobiles are essential to the success of the Illinois economy.

Our automakers and their suppliers are thriving today because state government has helped meet their needs.

Three years ago, the Ford plant on the South Side of Chicago had only one shift.

In 2010, Ford added a second shift and now they have started to hire for a third shift. Thank you, Ford.

Tomorrow I’m traveling to the Chrysler plant in Belvidere to announce the creation of hundreds of new jobs to manufacture the new, 21st century Dodge Dart. That’s moving forward. Thank you, Chrysler.

The reason that Ford and Chrysler are creating new jobs here is because of our skilled workforce.

Illinois is not only a land of skilled workers. It’s also a land of creative entrepreneurs.

People like Karrie Gibson and her company, Vintage Tech Recyclers in Romeoville.

Our investment helped Karrie grow her recycling technology business from 1 person to 77 employees.

Thank you, Karrie.

Illinois is also a land of technology. We’re in the process of laying 4,100 miles of new broadband fiber optic cable to light up 5,000 of our schools, libraries, businesses and hospitals with world-class information networks.

We started Illinois’ first venture fund to encourage investors to jump into cutting-edge technologies.

We’ve renewed the Research and Development Tax Credit, which helps businesses bring new ideas to market.

And our Innovation Council launched an Open Data Initiative which has made more than 5,200 Illinois data sets available online.

We’re going to lead the nation in putting more public data online – in one place – from communities and universities across the state.

Already, young innovators like Touré McClusky and Elizabeth Park have designed smart phone apps using our data to help everyday people.

That’s moving forward.

Thank you, Touré and thank you, Elizabeth.

We’re going to continue to think big in Illinois.

Today, I’m announcing a $2.3 million dollar investment in “1871,” a new technology center at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to foster and launch digital start-ups.

Today, I’m also announcing a $6 million dollar statewide competition to build ultra-high speed broadband in neighborhoods across Illinois.

Through this challenge, we want our neighborhoods to become Gigabit communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than today!

Our goal is to build smart communities that will foster the job engines of the future.

Illinois is already a leader in green technology.

We lead the nation in operating wind turbines with 404 and growing.

We’re also working with Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, to develop the next generation of energy efficient batteries.

Even as we’ve fostered innovation and the industries of the future, we’ve also increased export opportunities for Illinois businesses to move their goods to new global markets.

The Illinois economy is the 18th largest in the world – and our state has tremendous potential to grow a whole lot more.

We have aggressively pursued export opportunities, from our mighty agriculture to our mighty manufacturing.

A quarter of our soybean crop is sold to just one country – China.

Illinois farmers are feeding China’s new middle class.

Our manufacturers like John Deere in the Quad Cities and Caterpillar in Peoria had outstanding years.

Caterpillar’s increase in sales and revenue last year was record-breaking, the largest percentage increase in the last 64 years.

And a lot of it was driven by foreign demand for Caterpillar products made by Illinois workers.

More exports to more foreign markets means more jobs for more Illinois workers.

Our exports have jumped 30 percent this year – almost double the national average.

And today, to strengthen that growth, we are announcing an Export Advisory Council made up of private sector leaders and chaired by Navistar CEO Dan Ustian.

This Council will help us reach our goal of doubling our exports by 2014.

Navistar has recently added more than 500 new jobs – and it employed more than 2,000 union construction workers to renovate its new corporate headquarters in Lisle.

Since 2010, employers like Navistar have added almost 100,000 jobs to our economy.

Illinois businesses have created almost 20,000 manufacturing jobs during this time.

US News & World Report placed Illinois in the top 5 “business friendly” states that are gaining businesses.

CareerBuilder ranked Illinois as one of the top ten states to find a job.

And last year Money Magazine rated Illinois as the top state for making a living.

Now that is moving forward.

And definitely, in an age of big bureaucracy, big corporations and big money, we can’t overlook the millions of Illinois consumers who need advocates to look out for them.

I want to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan for joining me in our never-ending battle to protect Illinois consumers. Thank you, Lisa.

We all believe in fighting for the moms and dads and children of Illinois.

That’s why for the first time in a decade, we significantly increased tax relief for working families.

Thank you Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Rep. John Bradley, Rep. David Harris and Sen. Toi Hutchinson.

By doubling the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit and improving the personal exemption, we are providing targeted tax relief to a million working families and their children.

People like Rhonda Jones. Rhonda is a single mom who is raising five children on the South Side of Chicago.

She works as a public high school counselor for a modest salary.

She knows what it’s like to live from paycheck to paycheck.

Year after year, the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit has been her saving grace.

She uses that extra money to help pay bills and support her kids through school. Three of her children are now in college – and two more are on the way.

Thank you, Rhonda.

From the moment I took office, my goal has been to advance education for everyone.

So we passed landmark education laws that are a model for the nation.

Laws that improve school report cards so that parents have more information about the schools that educate their kids.

Laws that set clear benchmarks for teacher evaluation and put performance above tenure.

And laws that lay the groundwork for a longer school day and a longer school year.

Our education reforms put the children of Illinois first.

That’s moving forward.

So, thank you to Sen. Kim Lightford, Rep. Linda Chapa La Via, and the many others who helped lead this effort.

We also took a big step forward by passing the Illinois DREAM Act to help high school graduates from immigrant families.

In the years to come, more kids will go to college.

More kids will chase their dreams.

More kids will grow up to be Illinois residents who work hard and contribute to society because of the DREAM Act.

We all have a stake in the future of Illinois. Indeed, we are custodians of that future.

We owe it to the next generation to continue our progress of the past three years.

To create jobs and grow our economy, we must continue to invest in Illinois and help everyday people.

With this in mind, I am proposing the Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 so we can build and grow our economy today and tomorrow.

The Illinois Jobs Agenda includes three targeted tax cuts that will build and grow our economy by helping our employers, our working families, and our veterans.

First, I propose that we permanently abolish the natural gas utility tax in Illinois.

This tax is an unfair, regressive tax that is not based on the ability to pay.

Regardless of income or whether or not you’re making a profit, you pay this tax.

By abolishing it entirely, we can provide targeted tax relief to both consumers and businesses.

The elimination of this tax will save money for households and cut costs for employers across Illinois.

Illinois will be the only state in the Midwest without a natural gas utility tax on manufacturers, retailers and everyday families.

In addition, we need to establish a Child Tax Credit in Illinois for parents raising children.

There’s no more important mission in life than raising a child.

Investing in our families is good for Illinois.

The Illinois Child Tax Credit will provide $100 of direct tax relief every year to the typical family of four.

This targeted tax relief will stimulate consumer demand, which is 70 percent of our economy.

And it will create jobs for our local merchants.

Finally, we must adopt a tax credit that helps our veterans find employment.

Unemployment for young returning veterans in our country is 30%.

That’s shameful.

Our military men and women are heroes who have served our country and they deserve our everlasting gratitude.

Veterans are committed, disciplined, and experienced.

They know leadership, and how to accomplish a mission.

We need these heroes in our workplaces!

So today I propose a Hiring Veterans Tax Credit.

We will provide a significant tax credit for every unemployed veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan that a company hires.

This tax credit will help businesses create jobs.

And it will give those jobs to the veterans who have sacrificed so much in serving our state and our country.

The Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 will also move Illinois forward by investing in education.

The best economic tool a state can have is a strong, innovative education system.

Jobs follow brainpower.

So I want to thank Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon for doing an outstanding job on her community colleges report.

Having visited all of Illinois’ 48 community colleges, Sheila has proposed many good reforms that need to be implemented in the coming year.

Sheila and I have a mission in Illinois – by 2025, we want at least 60 percent of adults in our state to have a college degree, an associate degree or a career certificate.

Right now, we’re at 43 percent – better than the national average, but not good enough.

If we want 60 percent of Illinois adults to have a meaningful career certificate or degree by 2025, we must invest in our students from birth to higher education.

That starts with investing more dollars in Early Childhood Education.

Learning begins at birth and those first years of a child’s life are the most important.

Our youngest and most vulnerable citizens need our strongest support.

Research has shown that without an early learning foundation, children fall behind in school. Illinois, we can’t leave our youngest behind.

That’s why I’m calling for a major investment in early childhood education this year.

Last week, President Obama called for states to raise the minimum attendance age of students in schools to 18.

President Obama, we hear you in Illinois.

We know how important it is to do everything possible to keep our kids in school to earn that diploma.

And that’s why we must answer the President’s call. We must raise the minimum school attendance age to 18 and we must work together this session to do it.

Now, at a time when student loan debt is more than credit card debt, too many deserving students don’t have access to higher education.

While nearly 150,000 Illinois students received state MAP scholarships last year to attend college, just as many qualified applicants were denied because of lack of funding.

So today I ask the members of the General Assembly to invest in our students.

I urge you to act in the coming year to make a significant investment in more state MAP scholarships to help our bright young students attend college.

We cannot leave our high school graduates unprepared to compete for the jobs of the future.

But our students won’t be prepared for college and 21st century jobs if we don’t educate them in 21st century schools.

So I also call today for a major investment in our classrooms.

This investment will create jobs now as we upgrade classrooms with modern labs, smart technology, digital books, high-speed Internet access, and 21st century efficiency.

These investments in our students will keep Illinois moving forward.

The Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 also includes a commitment to affordable housing, which is vital to our economic recovery.

While we’ve helped thousands of families stay in their homes and find affordable housing, we must do more.

So today, we’re launching the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network to connect struggling homeowners with every resource available, from counseling to legal assistance to mortgage relief.

Also, in the coming week, I’ll join with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to announce a major housing initiative that will help return vacant properties to good use.

That will move us forward.

Finally, we must move forward on clean water.

Clean Water is the lifeblood of our people and our communities.

Illinois is blessed with abundant water from Lake Michigan, to the Illinois River, to the Mighty Mississippi.

But many Illinois residents are living with aging water mains that are nearly 100 years old.

And scores of wastewater treatment facilities are in dire need of repair.

The Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 will put thousands of people to work replacing broken water mains, building treatment plants, upgrading sewers, and cleaning up environmental threats.

Working with mayors from Chicago and the suburbs to every part of downstate, we must invest in our Clean Water Initiative.

Members of the General Assembly, the Illinois Jobs Agenda for 2012 is a comprehensive jobs initiative for the people of our state.

To create jobs and grow the economy, we must enact targeted tax relief for Illinois employers, families and veterans.

We must invest in college scholarships, early childhood education, and 21st century schools.

We must invest in affordable housing for our residents and clean water for our communities.

I look forward to working with you to find the proper funding to meet these urgent needs.

By investing in Illinois and investing in our people, we are building and growing our economy.

We are moving Illinois forward.

No reform is easy.

Reforming our Medicaid and our public pension systems will require political courage.

By the same token, no major investment is easy.

Moving forward on the vision that I have laid out today will require true partnership.

We have real challenges to tackle.

Like all of you, I recognize the severity of our fiscal situation.

But cuts alone will not resolve this situation.

We must build and grow our economy.

Now is not the time to pull back, to abandon our children, our parents, and the unemployed among us.

Their well-being is our common cause.

And our commitment to them requires that we join as partners to invest in our state and in our people.

I am proud of what we accomplished together these last three years.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

After three years of hard work and tough decisions, Illinois is back on course.

Illinois is moving forward.

And Illinois is a place that we can be proud to claim as our own.

I look forward to working with you in the coming year to make the people of Illinois even prouder of our state.

Together, we can make the will of the people the law of the land.

Thank you very much.


Republicans’ Response

Statement by Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady in response to Quinn’s State of the State Address 

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady issued the following statement in response to Governor Pat Quinn’s State of the State Address:

“Since 2010, Republican and Democrat Governors across the United States have implemented sweeping reforms and made tough choices to improve their states’ financial conditions. Unfortunately, Governor Quinn’s State of the State Address today confirms that he has no comprehensive plan for dealing with the near catastrophic fiscal condition of our state or the political courage to make the reforms necessary for Illinois to have a government that it can afford.”

Illinois Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka’s response: Get fiscal house in order first  

Reform needed now for state to lower taxes, as promised

 “First let me say that I appreciate the Governor laying out his agenda today. His speech was full of heart, and I think most of us appreciate his sincere concern for those who are struggling. But his approach is a little like putting desert on the table before the vegetables. We must get our fiscal house in order before we can even talk about more tax breaks and incentives. Instead of targeting certain segments of the population, we need to remain focused on the needs of the entire state. All of Illinois benefits from lower taxes and the jobs that a better tax climate will create. To that end, the ultimate goal of our leaders should be to put us in position to eliminate last year’s tax increase, while balancing our books.

“I stand ready to work with the Governor to tackle the greatest issues of our day: Medicaid, pensions, and a slowly recovering economy.”

President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address: A Recap

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address: A Recap

By Madeline Sanders

Political Analyst


CHICAGO, IL – In one hour and five minutes, President Obama made a convincing case before the American people about his successes and the challenges that remain, and, as he implied, if everyone would work together, for the good of the American people; the Republicans, the Tea Party congressional officials, the blue dog democrats and everyone in between, his proposals would pass and the winners would be the American People.  Following is an analysis of what he said:

The Foundation Has Been Laid

He began by saying Bin Laden is DEAD, and General Motors (GM) is ALIVE.  In fact, thanks to the bailout that he insisted on giving to the auto industry, rather than allowing it to fail, GM is now the world’s largest auto maker.  President Obama noted that:   We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What are at stake are American values.”  Of course, the question that must be asked is:  Whose values; there are Americans who subscribe to the notion of every man for himself; no government hand-up or handout.  This is, however, hypocritical because EVERY person in Congress pushes their agenda for their constituents.  Consequently, no politician in Congress can argue that (s) he is not receiving hand-ups or handouts; it is really a matter of semantics! 

What Caused The Current Economic Mess

President Obama correctly put the current economic meltdown in proper prospective when he said:  Long before this recession, jobs began leaving the US.  Certainly, some of us are cognizant that as early as the 1960s civil servants were getting laid off because their jobs were being outsourced.  Moreover, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with its policy in place of outsourcing even more jobs to Canada and New Mexico, exasperated the “jobs leaving America” fiasco. Further, instead of retooling the manufacturing sector to accommodate all Americans who wanted to work, many large corporations outsourced jobs to places like Chin and India.  Today, because the American economy is primarily a servicer, we accordingly have millions of Americans out of work.  No country can have a healthy economy built on servicing its products to the exclusion of manufacturing and research and development.  As a side bar, we have helped create many millionaires and billionaires in China and India!

Financial Crisis and Regulation

President Obama talked about the toxic mortgages that millions of Americans received that they could neither afford, nor should have they received them in the first instance.  Unfortunately, most people want the experience of home ownership and, sometimes as an act of desperation along with failing to critique what they are getting into, people will settle for what is offered to them.  In too many instances, and as the President maintained:  Regulators looked the other way, plunged our economy into an abyss, and eight million jobs were lost even before he took office as well as before his policies were implemented.  However, as he further noted, since he took office, businesses have created more than three million jobs, and that is more jobs created at one time since 2005.  Significantly, he also maintained that he will oppose and fight any policies designed to return us to the position that got us into this mess in the first place.

Blueprint Going Forward

The President did not engage in rhetoric and promises.  Rather, he mapped out a very clear and concise blueprint about what he wants to do to continue reinvigorating the American Economy and thus create jobs, jobs:  President Obama wants to reinvent the manufacturing sector:  For example, he noted that GM is not only the top auto maker in the world, but with the quality of manufacturing between them, Chrysler and Ford, 160,000 jobs have been created.  He cited a company named Master Lock whose CEO invested the company’s financial resources to bring jobs back to America.  And, using that example as a backdrop, he called on business leaders to ask themselves what they can do to bring jobs back, and he promised that the government will do everything to help them bring jobs back to America.  Doing so means, in part, ending tax breaks and credits for jobs being shipped overseas.  The President further maintained that we should pay the moving expenses of companies bringing jobs back, and there should be big tax cuts for making jobs on our shores.  Unfortunately, premised upon the facial appearance of the Republicans that cameras beamed on, they were clearly unenthusiastic about the President’s proposals, thus signaling their intent to continue fighting the President at every turn.  President Obama’s resolve is, however, strong, and it was evident as he spoke about his hopes, aspirations and commitment to restore America back to its place as the unquestionable economic powerhouse.  His resolve was ever so evident when, for example, he talked about American cars being on the streets of Seoul, Korea.  Going forward, and to put some real muscle behind bringing jobs back to America, President Obama will: 

(1)        Create a Trade Enforcement Unit, which will have, among its responsibilities, checking for unsafe goods coming to our borders

Establish a policy prohibiting foreign companies from shipping unsafe goods to America

 2)      Push his commitment to ensure that two million Americans are trained in skills leading to jobs

(3)     Give community colleges more resources to train workers resulting in the unemployed becoming re-employed

(4)     Push his commitment for education by giving schools the resources to empower good teachers  

(5)     Establish a national requirement that youngsters must stay in school until the age of 18

(6)     Stop interest rates on student loans from spiraling out of control

 (7)      Create more work study jobs for students attending school and

(8)     Push for the termination of sky rocketing tuition – education is an economic imperative

Immigration Reform

President Obama promised to address the problem of students who, because of their parents being in the United States, were born to illegal immigrants.  Comprehensive immigration reform is a problem that he intends to address – he wants a citizenship bill on his desk which he said he will sign immediately. 

Equal Pay for Equal Work

President Obama wants women to earn equal pay for equal work

Innovation and Research and Development

President Obama fully appreciates the marriage that must exist between economic growth and the significance of innovation via research and development.  His message:  Don’t let other countries win the technology battle.

Clean Energy

Six hundred thousand (600,000) jobs can be created as the result of US participation in clean energy.  Accordingly, President Obama was very clear for those who have or are establishing clean energy businesses when he said:  I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  He further maintained:  {We have} subsidized oil companies for 100 years.  Relative to providing subsidies, one hundred (100) years is way over the top!  We concur with the President that the umbilical cord must be cut.

To further the cause of clean energy, the President proposed that clean energy fields be established to provide alternative energy to 3,000,000 homes.

Additionally, he wants the federal government to help manufacturers upgrade their factories.  Retooling is indeed the only make sense approach.  Remember we are in the twenty-first century!

Rebuild Our Infrastructure, Our Rail System

President Obama wants a bill creating construction jobs for workers who would repair our crumbling roads and bridges and every aspect of our infrastructure.  He made the important point of reminding some and educating others that both the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge will built via President Roosevelt’s massive infrastructure rebuilding bill to bring the country out of the Great Depression. 

Redirection of Previous War Money

President Obama noted that since the billions that were being spent to support the Iraq War is no longer the case because the war is officially over, one-half of that money can go towards paying down our debt, and one-half can go towards rebuilding economy.  Sounds like a brilliant idea. 

Americans and Their Mortgages

President Obama wants every American who has a mortgage that needs refinancing to have the opportunity to do so.  That will re-infuse the mortgage industry with a badly needed shot of adrenalin and, it will spur real estate growth of new and existing homes over the long haul. 

Moreover, the President wants a special investigative unit created to ensure that bad loans do not happen again, ever. 

Payroll Taxes

President Obama asked Congress to pass legislation authorizing a payroll tax cut.  Employers would certainly appreciate that. 

Tax Reform

Persons earning in excess of $1M annually should be willing to pay their fair share of taxes, and thus participate in the thirty percent (30%) tax bracket which is reasonable.  The President correctly articulated that if the richest people are not paying taxes, somebody else must pay.  It is indeed a no brainer.

Simple Up or Down Vote Within Ninety (90) Days

The President wants to end gridlock with the congressional authorization to execute a simple up or down vote on legislation, a procedure that would occur within ninety (90) days.    This, according to the President, would make our government leaner, quicker, more responsive and void of impasse because of rigid ideologies.   

Partnership With Afghanistan

President Obama wants to build a partnership with Afghanistan; we have the ability to stand against tyranny which is no match for the resources available via the US.  Peace time personnel:  Ready to go to Afghanistan, and offer our skills, talent and expertise? 

Veterans Hired By Companies

President Obama reminded business owners that when they hire a veteran, their business is entitled to tax credits.  Also, to further the cause of veterans being hired, he has authorized the creation of a Veterans Job Corp.  As a veteran of the US Navy, we wholeheartedly endorse such positive moves to stabilize the lives of those of us who have served our country

Madeline Sanders is owner of ES21, a solar energy startup business and The Hilliard Project, a research and public policy business serving the needs of organizations, businesses, foundations and institutions shaping and legislating global policy.   

Justice Joy Cunningham to hold Informational Roundtable with the African American media

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Justice Joy Cunningham to hold Informational Roundtable with the African American media
Illinois Supreme Court Justice hopeful Joy Virginia Cunningham will host an Informational Breakfast Roundtable with the African American media Friday, February 3, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m., at Josephine’s Hardtimes Restaurant, 436 East 79th Street, in Chicago. 
Besides celebrating Black History month, Justice Cunningham wants the Black press to get to know her not just as a candidate but from whence she comes.
Her story is one of excellence and goals she has made doing it the old fashion way—hard work, and she wants to share her stories with the Black media.
The meeting is befitting given the kick-off of Black History Month especially since if the Justice wins she will be the first African American woman to sit on the Illinois Supreme Court in 194-years since this branch of government was created.
This race will attract national and international attention.
According to her campaign, Justice Cunningham is the first African American Woman to be on the Democratic primary ballot for the Supreme Court. “It is our belief, that there has never been two African American to serve on any state supreme court in the history of the United States simultaneously.  
“With changes in the region demographics, this may be the last opportunity to elect an African American to the Supreme Court. 
“We are also requesting an editorial board interview from each paper for a possible endorsement. Please advise us on your process.
A continental breakfast will be served on Friday. For more information, please contact Al Kindle, Political Director, at 312-566-6829 or e-mail confirmation at aldophus@gmail.com.


State Board of Education members selected to serve on national technology task force

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on State Board of Education members selected to serve on national technology task force


Study group will develop policy recommendations on the use of technology in classrooms across the country


SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that two Board members have been selected to serve at the national level for a study group on the expanding use of technology in K-12 education.

Dr. Vinni M. Hall and Lanita J. Koster were selected by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to serve on the year-long study group “The Role of Technology in Schools and Communities.”

“It is vital that we have a presence at the national level on important issues shaping the face of education, including the ever-changing role of technology in our schools,” said Gery J. Chico, Chairman of the Board. “I would like to congratulate my colleagues on the State Board of Education.”

The NASBE study group will prepare a comprehensive report after meeting with other board members, researchers and policy analysts to examine the impact of technology on teaching and standards, as well as the social and emotional health of students in relation to technology. Policy recommendations will include how to best use technology to personalize teaching and learning for all students, preparing students for computer-based assessments, developing student’s media literacy and sense of responsibility when using digital tools, and increasing a teacher’s skill at using technology in the classroom.

Dr. Vinni M. Hall of Chicago, who serves as Board Secretary, was first appointed to the State Board of Education in September 2004. She brings years of education experience, in both instruction and administration, to the State Board of Education. Dr. Hall has served as a consultant to Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Center for Education and Rehabilitation. Dr. Hall also served as an Associate Professor/Special Education Chair at Chicago State University and Director of the Inclusive Schools Project for Chicago Public Schools. She began her teaching career at CPS in 1967.

Lanita J. Koster of Chicago was appointed to the State Board of Education in May 2008. Koster brings more than 35 years of Illinois educational experience to the Illinois State Board of Education. Most recently, she served as the educational issues director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. She began her career as a school social worker in East Aurora School District 131.

NASBE is a nonprofit association based in Arlington, Va., that represents state and territorial boards of education. For more information, visit http://www.nasbe.org.

The State Board of Education consists of nine members who are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. The board sets educational policies and guidelines for public and private schools, preschool through grade 12, as well as vocational education. It analyzes the aims, needs and requirements of education and recommends legislation to the General Assembly and Governor for the benefit of the more than 2 million schoolchildren in Illinois.

A Warning from the Better Business Bureau: This Valentine's Day express yourself with Care-Complaints against Florists up 47%

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on A Warning from the Better Business Bureau: This Valentine's Day express yourself with Care-Complaints against Florists up 47%



CHICAGO, IL – Valentine’s Day means big bucks for florists. It is a bigger holiday than Mothers Day, Easter, and Christmas; making it their busiest day of the year. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) cautions those looking to send flowers for their special someone to be careful when selecting a florist.


Complaints about Florists increased 47 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. Last year 588 individuals filed complaints; in 2010 that number was 398 according to the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.


“When buying flowers consumers should be especially careful when making the purchase online or over the phone,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Consumers need to review the description of the floral arrangement or any other gift purchased online or in conversation with the florist or sales person.”


Pay careful attention to the options offered such as size of arrangement, color of flowers, color of vase, delivery in a box or vase, and inclusion of an enclosure or gift card. Note that all the options mentioned may not be available on all sites or may involve additional charges. While you think you’re ordering from a local florist, you may actually be on the phone with someone hundreds or thousands of miles away.


“Another important point is to make sure that your order is clear and detailed. Review the guarantee on the site or with the salesperson. This will help alleviate your concerns about quality or delivery,” states Bernas.


The BBB offers the following advice for safe and successful shopping for Valentine’s Day:

  • Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, chocolates or any other gifts for Valentine’s Day check out the company’s Business Review at www.bbb.org in order to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service.
  • Allow time for shipping. Check with the retailer or check the web site to make sure that you have allowed enough time for delivery by your specified date. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.
  • Be wary of any email received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited email and do not click on any links provided. Fake e-cards coming from scammers/hackers may send you an infected card or send you to a link where you are could compromise your computer’s safety.

For more information on shopping with companies you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

Comcast's Xfinity celebrates Black History Month with special entertainment choices across screens and devices

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Comcast's Xfinity celebrates Black History Month with special entertainment choices across screens and devices

Movies, Documentaries, Features, Bios, News, Music and Specials Available


Philadelphia, PA (BlackNews.com) — Comcast’s Xfinity is celebrating Black History Month on Xfinity On Demand, XfinityTV.com, Xfinity.com and through the Xfinity TV app available on the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® with special programming to recognize African-American culture and contributions. This February also marks the second anniversary of the launch of Black Cinema on Xfinity On Demand, a year-round offering that features themed movie collections that highlight African-American films, filmmakers and actors.

“We are proud to celebrate Black History Month with a variety of entertaining and educational programs that highlight historic events, timely perspectives and cultural contributions by African-Americans,” said Marcien Jenckes, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Services, Comcast. “This offering is available all month long and we encourage customers to take part in the celebration by watching. In 2012, we will continue to bring more African-American lifestyle and educational programming designed to entertain, inform and inspire.”

Xfinity’s Black History Month offering is available on Xfinity On Demand, XfinityTV.com, Xfinity.com and through the Xfinity TV app. Programming features historically-themed movies, TV series, documentaries, biographies of African-American entertainers and artists, news, slideshows and trivia. Highlights include: The Color Purple; Ray; The Help; Amistad; Roots: The Mini Series, Part 1-6; The Black List: Volume 1-3; MLK: The Assassination Tapes; biographies of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner; a slideshow featuring the 20 Most Influential African-American Women; and historic trivia.

Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, Comcast has had a longstanding commitment to diversity and focuses its efforts in four key areas: attracting and retaining a multicultural workforce, developing a diverse supplier group, offering a wide selection of multicultural programming and pledging significant community investments. Today, Xfinity brings customers a variety of entertainment and educational choices from various networks that focus on African-American audiences, including Black Entertainment Television (BET), Centric, Music Choice and BET Jazz. Comcast’s Xfinity also recently expanded the distribution of The Africa Channel and TV One and plans to launch two new African-American-owned and/or operated networks by February 2013.
About Comcast Cable
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.

Xfinity On Demand – Historically-Themed Movies
(available on 2/1/12 in the Top Picks section under Black History)

* Amistad (available on 2/7)
* Antwone Fisher
* Cadillac Records
* Malcolm X
* Miracle at St. Anna (available on 2/7)
* Notorious
* Precious
* Pride
* Ray
* Roots: The Mini Series, Part 1-6
* The Color Purple
* The Help
* The Last King of Scotland
* The Lena Baker Story
Xfinity On Demand – Specials
(available on 2/1/12 in the Top Picks section under Black History)

* MLK: The Assassination Tapes, an immersive documentary from The Smithsonian Channel created almost entirely through the use of television and radio news footage from the weeks leading up to Dr. King’s murder.

* TV One’s The Black List: Volume 1-3, African-American notables share candid stories and revealing insights into the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in the U.S.

* Biographies of African-American entertainers and artists including: Aretha Franklin, Bill Cosby, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Tyler Perry and Whitney Houston.

* The Golf Channel’s Uneven Fairways, a documentary that reveals the history of African-Americans forbidden to play golf at its highest level, but who refused to take “no” for an answer, paving the way for the game’s future.
XfinityTV.com – Movies

* Biggie & Tupac
* Hoop Dreams
* The Jackie Robinson Story
* The Cotton Club
* Too White for Me
XfinityTV.com and Xfinity TV app – Movies

* Classified-X
* Soul Food
* The Jackie Robinson Story
* Waiting to Exhale (available until 2/17)
* I Can Be President: A Kids Eye View
* Jumping the Broom
* Way Down South (1939) (available until 2/18)
* Sugar Ray Robinson: Bright Lights and Dark Shadows
XfinityTV.com – Specials and TV

* CBS’ 60 Minutes: First Christmas without MLK (1968), this segment reflects the troubled mood of the nation that year and shows a somber Christmas story from the family room of Martin Luther King, Jr. just months after he was killed.

* TV shows such as Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and biographies of entertainers Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder.
Xfinity.com – Short-form Videos, Slideshows, News, Health and Trivia Highlights

* Slideshow: 20 Most Influential African-American Women
* Slideshow: Greatest African-American actors
* Slideshow: Martin Luther King, Jr.
* Slideshow: Greatest African-American athletes
* Trivia: General Black History
* Trivia: Jackie Robinson
* Short-form videos: Black History Month
* Short-form videos: Black History
* Short-form videos: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chicago Detours launches "Good Times Historic Bar Tour"

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Chicago Detours launches "Good Times Historic Bar Tour"

Limited Run Tour Stays Primarily Indoors  for February


CHICAGO, IL – This evening (February 1) Chicago Detours launches its new “Good Times Historic Bar Tour,”  a walking tour which takes place 95% indoors and shares hidden history around the Mag Mile area. Tour visits the present and former spots of grand balls, Jazz Age shows, elite soirees, speakeasies, theater performances, and more, as Chicago Detours founder Amanda Scotese shares stories of both scandalous and wholesome forms of entertainment. A video of the tour shares a peek at this memorable, cultural experience, which digs into stories and locales that locals don’t even know.

Like Chicago Detours’ signature “Inside the Loop” architectural walking tour, guests share iPads with historic photos and video clips. For this special tour, tickets also include light appetizers. The tour will be offered for the month of February only. This top-rated tour company, which has five-star ratings on both Yelp and TripAdvisor, will offer the February run as an antidote to the cold weather and a great pre-dinner activity during Restaurant Week.

Tour stops include the famous Billy Goat Tavern, Phil Stefani’s 437 (once a jazz club and speakeasy), and Lawry’s Restaurant (a 19th-century mansion). Groups also enter the opulent social club that is now the magnificent Intercontinental Hotel. Schedule for February 1-29: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 5:45pm-8:00pm. Because Saturday tours have sold out so quickly, Chicago Detours has also added more Saturday tours at 8:30pm. Guests must be 18 or over, and reservations are required via www.chicagodetours.com. All tours are expected to sell out.

Tour starts inside Argo Tea at 435 N. Michigan Ave (Tribune Tower), ends at 100 E. Ontario (inside Lawry’s) and includes guide commentary, shared use of iPads with photos and video clips, light appetizers, and valuable gift packets. Cost is $29 for regular tickets, $27 for students and seniors. Guests are advised to bring cash for drinks.While the public tours are scheduled only for February, this fun, cultural tour will always be available for private group tours. Chicago Detours can accommodate family reunions, birthday parties, and corporate group outings with the “Good Times Historic Bar Tour.” Interested parties can email amanda@chicagodetours.com or call 312.350.1131 for the private tours catalog.


Scotese has 8 years experience as a tour guide, and especially honed her skills while employed as a guide and guidebook researcher with Rick Steves, one of the nation’s most well-known travel authors and television personalities. She enriched her knowledge of architecture, urban studies, and art history through her M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Further information on Amanda Scotese and Chicago Detours is available on the website, www.chicagodetours.com.

Amanda Scotese


To escape self-persisted captivity: Emphasis on Black History & action is essential

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on To escape self-persisted captivity: Emphasis on Black History & action is essential

By H. Lewis Smith

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — On February 13, 2012, renowned actor Laurence Fishburne will narrate a PBS documentary, Slavery By Another Name. The documentary will show that slavery in America did not end in 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation as the majority of people have been led to believe. Rather, with the federal government’s quiet complicity, slavery actually ensued for almost another 100 years with all of the evil, horror, and brutal aspects of race-hate escalating to even greater heights.

To maintain the status quo in society, the South’s judicial system was wholly reconfigured, and one of its primary purposes was to coerce African Americans to comply with the social customs and labor demands of whites by any means necessary. As such, the spirit and ways of life under slavery, as well as the inferior mentalities, also continued; and now, even at the hand of the Black community.

Whatever “education” and deformed self-image the slave master imposed upon blacks during slavery has persisted, and been handed down – by Blacks – throughout the generations. The continued self-hatred and minute or unfound self awareness that permeates throughout the Black community is a direct result of 400-plus years of mind control.

The mentality or beliefs that the majority of African Americans presently and voluntarily adhere to is the same unfortunate policy of inferiority and self-hatred Blacks were forced to subscribe to when enslaved: Anyone who is convinced his or her past is empty, backward, shameful or, indeed, totally negative, will normally resist any attempt to revisit that past. Such a person will have no true identity, despise self, and have no real awareness of his/her culture and heritage. This same person will refuse to consciously participate in or relate to any cultural customs, and will resist any attempt to validate any “facts” discovered. They remain in the darkness, helpless, and dependent. The doctrine hasn’t changed one bit.

In order to correct the problem, Blacks must consciously and sub-consciously realize that what they were taught was not for their liberation, but was and still is only in the best interest of the ruling class. History translates into “his-story” – the manner in which one understands or interprets history from his or her own perspective to his or her own benefit. Today, Blacks are living witnesses as to how real black history has been – by “his-story” – distorted, misleading, deceptive and mind controlling. American history teaches that slavery ended in 1865; this misinformation is a blatant example of how the truth can be and is tampered with to seemingly save face for America, “the dream country”. However, the obvious suppression of or disregard for such a critical piece of American history makes one question what other aspects of history, in general, have the people been lied to and deceived about.

Evidence all around the world suggests that Black civilizations were far more advanced than the images portrayed to the black community by the ruling class. The ruling class would have Black America believe that the Black race is limited to huts, spears and jungle life with no trace of civility, culture, organization, and self-sufficiency. Research exposes this as a gross fabrication.

Further, Black America must confront and correct the lies that have destroyed the group as a people. With the exception of the Black man’s image as presented by academics, the average African American knows very little, if anything at all, about his or her African heritage, and has, more than likely, been misinformed. The American-born black man and black woman are completely brainwashed beings who only know, recognize and comprehend or experience what their slave master has decided for them. It’s incumbent upon Black America – as a group – to liberate their own minds.

Secular and non-secular people who have spent centuries strategically and heinously orchestrating the black community’s physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual enslavement are not going to just turn around and set Blacks free; Blacks must remove the shackles of mental enslavement themselves.

Consider a white hunter who sets out to capture a baby elephant. He approaches a baby elephant and its mother. Sensing danger, the mother charges at the hunter who raises his rifle, pulls the trigger, and kills the charging elephant. The baby elephant is captured, tranquilized, and with a cable wrapped around its neck, taken into captivity where it is tied to a post. For five years, it remained tied to that post even though it is now full grown and could have uprooted the post at any time. However, the elephant did not realize it possessed this strength as it had been trained to accept enslavement and that bondage was the norm. Finally, one day, it unintentionally broke free of the cable, and rather than scuffling off, the elephant chose to remain close to the post even though it was now free.

The elephant elected captivity, which is unnatural, because it was so accustomed to being tied down and stuck in one spot. This story is analogous to Black America’s predicament and its use of the n-word. Black Americans’ use of the n-word is a result of being conditioned, programmed and trained to carry out the bidding of a manipulative racist society.

There are many Black African Americans who really do not want or know how to be free, for with freedom come accountability and responsibility. Just as White America continued promoting slavery well after the Emancipation Proclamation – a supposed hard and immediate stop to all forms of slavery, the Black community has [also] allowed the slave mentality to continue: Blacks have continued to promote and keep alive the demise of the Black community and stifled progression by use of the n-word, which was created to hold blacks in an inferior place in society. As such, this has caused learned helplessness, docility and passivity in the black community, keeping many Blacks cerebrally anesthetized no matter the extent of education attained.

Many Blacks have chosen not to move away from the post, and, frankly, that’s quite bewildering. How is it that so many in the black community have chosen to remain captive and stationary? The RIGHT mix of KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, and WISDOM enables one to move away from that post and toward progress. These three essential components that are necessary for resurrection and empowerment are defined as:

1) Knowledge: awareness of the facts, truth, and reality. Black America must undo fables, lies and fantasies. Blacks as a people are more committed to fables, lies and fantasy than facts, truth and reality, which is a tremendous problem.

2) Understanding: comprehending the “right” knowledge, and manifesting it into action.

3) Wisdom: the optimum combination of knowledge and understanding expressed in the ability to make things happen.

Acquiring this enlightenment will automatically cause one to deviate from the norm and move away from that post or bondage. However, many remain captive because they have consciously chosen not to acknowledge and garner the elements needed for resurrection and empowerment.

Until African Americans as a group are ALL free, none are truly free. Need the name Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. be raised? Or the 2004 political incident where the Black Caucus was virtually told to be quiet and sit down by a combined show of force from the Democrat and Republican parties?

Black America has taken non-black man made doctrines – rather, white man made doctrines – as the inflicting rule and guide over and above facts and reality. Blacks have literally accepted that which does not even make sense as fact and truth.

The modern day equivalent of remaining tied to the post is to verbally acknowledge that you are a n**ger/n**ga. The Whoopi Goldbergs, Sherri Shepherds, and Byron Pitts of television land could never publicly deny the n-word and keep their coveted positions. Embracing the word assures them of acceptance. The irony of it all is that they are not feigning or doing it for show – they truly have accepted their so-called place as the n-word.

When listening to the lyrics of rap music, the n-word is used in the same context with violence, drugs, and misogyny. Rappers such as Jay Z, P. Diddy, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and many others have all benefited exponentially by reassuring the systemic that they are doing their part of keeping Black America in its place and tied to the post. No longer is there a need for the hooded white sheets. Black ventriloquists have voluntarily replaced the KKK , and, to be perfectly honest, are doing a far more masterful job of maintaining the mental enslavement of the Black race.

Black African Americans unhealthy willingness to self-sabotage serves as a testimony to the effectiveness of 400 years of mental abuse (mind control). To overcome! A process that never took place, must and needs to take place… DE-PROGRAMMING!
H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com); a writer for the New England Informer Online, Staff Writer for ThyBlackMan.com, and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow H. Lewis Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1

Ballet Hispanico celebrates multiple Latin cultures

Posted by Admin On February - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Ballet Hispanico celebrates multiple Latin cultures


Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro Returns to Chicago March 22–24


CHICAGO, IL —The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago concludes its 2011–12 season with the celebrated Ballet Hispanico, helmed by Eduardo Vilaro, Columbia College Chicago alumnus, former Dance Center artist-in-residence and founder and former artistic director of Chicago’s Luna Negra Dance Theater. Performances are March 22–24 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The company also concludes the 2011–12 season of The Dance Center’s FamilyDance Matinee series, featuring a free workshop with the artists and a family-oriented performance March 24.

The program features the Chicago premiere of African-American choreographer Ronald K. Brown’s Espiritu Vivo, commissioned by Ballet Hispanico, which examines the intersection of the African and Latino diasporas in the Caribbean and Latin America, set to a suite of four songs performed by Peruvian singer Susana Baca.

Also new to Chicago, Vilaro’s most recent work, Asuka, honors salsa legend Celia Cruz, “the voice of many immigrants,” according to Vilaro. “I want to expand awareness of the culture and celebrate the new and the past. Asuka is not about the life of Celia Cruz; it is about her music and how she captured the emotions and spirit of a culture.”

Also on the program are Naci, choreographer Andrea Miller’s investigation of the Moorish influences on Sephardic Jewish culture of Spain, and Locked Up Laura, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s exploration of the human struggle to maintain authenticity in the face of routine.

Residency Activities

 Vilaro will participate in Dance & Revolution, A Cafe Society Event co-presented by The Dance Center and Critical Encounters, moderated by Critical Encounters Fellow Amy Mooney, Monday, March 19, 4–6 p.m. at A+D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash. This event, part of a series of conversations on important social issues relating to this year’s Critical Encounters focus on Rights, Radicals & Revolutions, is free and open to the public.

There will be a post-performance conversation with the artists Thursday, March 22, and Vilaro will give a pre-performance talk at 7 p.m. before the Friday, March 23 performance, both free and open to ticket holders. Ballet Hispanico Rehearsal Director Michelle Manzanales will lead the final DanceMasters class of the season Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd. DanceMasters is a series of community master classes presented by The Dance Center’s division of Community Outreach and Education (COE), in partnership with the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Classes are for dancers at the intermediate level or higher.

Ballet Hispanico

Founded in 1970, Ballet Hispanico explores, preserves and celebrates Latino cultures through dance. The mission unfolds in the work of the professional Company, the School of Dance and the Education & Outreach programs. Together, these divisions celebrate the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic Diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities.


The Dance Center’s presentation of Ballet Hispanico is funded, in part, by the Sara Lee Foundation and the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council, General Mills Foundation and Land O’ Lakes Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust.

The Dance Center

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Sara Lee Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts and Arts Midwest. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Special thanks to Athletico, the Official Provider of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy for The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and the Friends of The Dance Center.

Ticket Information

Ballet Hispanico performs Thursday–Saturday, March 22–24 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Single tickets are $26–30; subscribers who order tickets to three or more performances from the 2011–12 season save 20%. The DanceMasters class with Michelle Manzanales Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd., is $15, $10 for students; space is limited. The FamilyDance Matinee Saturday, March 24 at 3 p.m., preceded by the workshop with Ballet Hispanico artists at 2:15 p.m., is free for children younger than 12, $15 for adults. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information, call 312-369-8330 or visit colum.edu/dancecenter.

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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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