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Archive for August 23rd, 2012

State’s Attorney announces “Operation Cookie Jar” corruption charges

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on State’s Attorney announces “Operation Cookie Jar” corruption charges

As parents and children begin the start of the new school year, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced charges against multiple former public education employees who are alleged to have used their positions of trust and authority in schemes to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding from the coffers of school districts and taxpayers, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced.

In cooperation with educational Inspectors General at the local, state and federal level, the State’s Attorney’s Office announced charges against a total of six defendants.  They include a former superintendent of a south suburban school district and the district’s board of education secretary; a former City College’s professor and employee, and two former Chicago Public School employees. 

The defendants face varying charges of theft, bribery and official misconduct including several Class X charges of Theft from a School or Theft of Government Property.  The charges are part of “Operation Cookie Jar,” the State’s Attorney’s ongoing investigative operation targeting public or government employees accused of corruption at the local level. 

Alvarez was joined in making the announcement by Inspectors General from the U.S. Department of Education’s North Central Regional Office; the Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago. 

“The theft of public money by individuals who are in a position of public trust is always egregious, but the theft of monies from schools is exceptionally outrageous and extremely offensive when the ultimate victims are school children,” Alvarez said.  “We are pleased to report that corruption will no longer be a part of the curriculum at the schools and school districts victimized by these defendants.” 

Among those charged are Alex Boyd, 65, of Richton Park, and Mable Chapman, 58, of Harvey.  Boyd served as the Superintendent of Illinois School District 147 for 11 years until his resignation in June of 2011.  Chapman worked with Boyd in her role as the Secretary for the District 147 Board of Education, an elementary school district that serves many underprivileged students and their families from the south suburban communities of Harvey and Dixmoor.   

According to prosecutors, Boyd is charged with engaging in a variety of schemes to misappropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds from SD 147 with Chapman’s assistance.  Boyd is accused of converting his district-provided term life insurance policy into a whole life insurance policy that allowed him to make more than $50,000 in early withdrawals.  He is also alleged to have improperly sold back in excess of 560 sick and vacation days allowing him to pocket more than $350,000. 

He is further accused of improperly using his school-district issued credit card to make more than $57,000 in unauthorized purchases that included grocery store and restaurant purchases, renting formal wear, alcohol and women’s apparel. 

According to prosecutors, Chapman assisted Boyd in many cases by signing off on his transactions as the Board Secretary.  In exchange, it is alleged that Boyd also used the district credit card to purchase airline tickets for Chapman to vacation in Florida and California as well as visit relatives in Texas and Mississippi.  The investigations also found that at least five friends and relatives of Chapman’s had been hired by the school district in recent years, including the husband of her supervisor at ComEd where she was employed. Chapman is also alleged to have directed maintenance staff at the school district to use the district’s snow removal equipment to plow her home’s driveway after storms.  

Boyd is charged with Theft from a school in excess of $100,000 (Class X); Theft from a school in excess of $10,000 (Class 1); Theft from a school in excess of $500 (Class 3), and Official Misconduct (Class 3).  Chapman is charged with Theft from a school in excess of $100,000 (Class X); Theft from a school in excess of $10,000 (Class 1); Theft from a school in excess of $500 (Class 3), and Official Misconduct (Class 3).  

Other charges include:

~~ Louis James, 58, of Chicago, a manager of sports administration for Chicago Public Schools.  James is charged with Theft of government property $300-$10,000 (Class 2), and Official misconduct (Class 3).

According to prosecutors, James’s job responsibilities included authorizing purchases and CPS officials discovered a number of suspicious invoices associated with the defendant.  A closer look found that the defendant had used the forgeries to obtain checks payable to various retailers and then purchased different items than were specified.  Some of the items were later returned by the defendant who then pocketed the cash and used store credit to purchase items that included champagne, flowers, chocolates, condoms, and a king size mattress.

~~ Carol Howley, 64, of Fort Collins, CO, a former Professor at City Colleges of Chicago.  Howley is charged with Theft of government property (Class X).  According to prosecutors, Howley told school officials that she was in the process of earning her doctoral degree when she was hired as a full time faculty member in 1995.

Over the next 15 years she repeatedly lied to officials that she was continuing to work towards her doctorate and eventually presented them with a forged transcript from Rush University purportedly showing she graduated. Her scheme unraveled when a prospective employer in Colorado attempted to verify her credentials.  The defendant’s deception about her education qualified her for a higher salary and allowed her collect an extra $307,000 in pay during her employment.

~~ Natatia Trotter-Gordon, 43, of Chicago, a former director of Business and Industry at Kennedy-King College.  Trotter-Gordon is charged with eight counts of Forgery (Class 3).  According to prosecutors, Trotter- Gordon’s responsibilities included coordinating a conversational Spanish program for employees of Northwestern Memorial Hospital taught through Kennedy King College.

The defendant directed hospital officials not to mail checks to her at the school but instead hold them for her to personally pick up.

Trotter-Gordon further directed that the checks be made payable to “Kennedy-King College, c/o Natatia M. Trotter-Gordon”. The investigation revealed that the defendant cashed two checks at a bank and deposited two checks into her in her own personal bank account totaling more than $51,000.

~~ Sonia Lopez, 49, of Chicago, a former teaching assistant at Thurgood Marshall Middle School.  Lopez is charged with Theft from a school (Class 1).  According to prosecutors, Lopez worked in various positions for the school since 1994. Part of her responsibilities included collecting student fees, making bank deposits, and paying bills. The investigation found that Lopez had issued 14 fraudulent checks to herself totaling over $21,000. The defendant hid her thefts by changing school records to reflect they were for legitimate purchases. The defendant was also found to have pocketed nearly $3,000 in cash collected from students for fees and other payments. The investigation found that the defendant had used the stolen money to pay her credit card bills.

Since the start of ‘Cookie Jar’ investigations in 2010 and including today’s cases, a total of 27 defendants have been charged.  Of the 27, 14 of the defendants have pled guilty or been convicted on felony charges receiving sentences ranging from probation and restitution to up to six years in prison.  ‘Cookie Jar’ prosecutions have also led to the collection and reimbursement of more than $3 million in restitution payments for local governments and other agencies that were victimized. 

“The type of local corruption targeted in ‘Cookie Jar’ investigations puts a ridiculous burden on local taxpayers, who are already struggling to make ends meet in these difficult economic times,” Alvarez said.  “We are very pleased with the sentences we have received in these cases and the fact that we are regularly securing restitution for those agencies that have been robbed of funds.  It should send a strong message that there will be very serious consequences for this type of crime.”

The following bond amounts were set:

Alex Boyd, 64, of Richton Park

Charges:  Theft from a School in Excess of $100,000 (Class X)

Theft from a School in Excess of $10,000 (Class 1)

Theft from a School in Excess of $500 (Class 3)

Official Misconduct (Class 3)

Bond:   $150,000D on Aug. 21. 

Next court date: Sept. 6

Mable Chapman, 50, of Dixmoor

Charges:    Theft from a School in Excess of $100,000 (Class X)

Theft from a School in Excess of $10,000 (Class 1)

Theft from a School in Excess of $500 (Class 3)

 Official Misconduct (Class 3)

Arrest warrant issued on Aug. 21.

Louis James, 58, of Chicago

Charges:  Theft of Government Property $300-$10,00 (Class 2)

Official Misconduct (Class 3)

Bond:   $30,000D on Aug. 22.

Next Court Date: Aug. 28

Carol Howley, 64, of Fort Collins, CO

Charges: Theft of Government Property (Class X)

Arraignment pending

Natatia Trotter-Gordon, 43, of Chicago.

Charges:    Forgery (Class 3)

Bond:    $75,000 I-Bond

Next Court Date: Oct 1

Sonia Lopez, 49, of Chicago

Charges:   Theft from a School (Class 1)

Bond:  $30,000D on Aug. 22.           

Next Court Date: Sept. 24

The public is reminded that the charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Blacks still struggle to qualify for personal and business credit: New website wants to help

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Blacks still struggle to qualify for personal and business credit: New website wants to help

Web site educates small and minority business owners on how to obtain small business credit

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — A recent Washington Post article emphasized how poor credit makes it much tougher to secure loans and gain access to credit, especially for African-Americans. The article entitled, “For Black Americans, Financial Damage From Subprime Implosion is Likely to Last” (see link below), sheds light on what has been an ongoing problem for many decades: Minorities, particularly African Americans, continue to make up a huge population of people and business owners who are unqualified for credit.

Other articles from TheGriot.com and The Black American News Network (TBANN) share the same devastating news, but one new web site aims to make a change.

Launched in 2011, BusinessCredit.org is a free online resource that features the best tips and guidelines on how to obtain and build small business credit – that is, business loans, business credit cards, and business lines of credit. Visitors are also educated about business credit reports. The web site is available to help anyone regardless of their ethnic background, but it aims to especially reach African Americans and other minorities who are most in need.

Visitors to the site will learn exactly what to do and what to avoid when applying for new credit, and how to effectively plead a case when credit is being taken away. There is no other resource online like this, and most of all – it’s 100% free to use.

The site features well-written informative articles, descriptive how-to videos, exclusive listings of useful resources, and detailed comparison charts of options offered by different banks. It also features the latest news and trends pertaining to small business funding and credit.

For more details, visit www.BusinessCredit.org

About African Americans and Small Business Credit:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 27 million businesses in the United States that generate billions each year in combined revenue. However, amongst those, only about 1 million or 7% are Black-owned businesses. Even worse, federal statistics show that Black-owned businesses are 5 times more likely to fail than their white counterparts. Many are closing because they lack credit to keep themselves afloat during the time periods when their cash flow is low or non-existent.


For Black Americans, Financial Damage From Subprime Implosion Is Likely to Last
Washington Post

African-Americans and Credit Scores: How the Mortgage Meltdown Permanently Impacts Many Blacks’ Finances
The Griot

Credit Scores: The Silent African American Killer
The Black American News Network

Local organization “tip off” aims to stop youth violence

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Local organization “tip off” aims to stop youth violence

Sports The Business Hosts Anti-Violence Basketball Tournament to provides outlet for Chicago youth
CHICAGO, IL – In an effort to stop the violence impacting inner city youth and to promote education, Sports The Business, an organization created to positively impact the lives of inner city youth, will host an anti-violence citywide basketball tournament on August 24 through 25 to kick-off their “Start the Elevation-Raise the Expectation” initiative.
 A total of twenty-eight teams which include young men between the ages of 16 to 20 from inner city neighborhoods will participate in the tournament competing for the title. The event, open to the public, will also provide additional activities for attendees to enjoy such as free haircuts, free back to school physicals and local entertainment.
Since 40 percent of African-American students don’t graduate from high school1, Sports The Business is committed to engaging African-American youth in a fun way – through basketball – to reconnect with them in their current life stage to provide the infrastructure necessary to promote education and ensure students have the opportunity to excel academically to prepare for college or higher education.
“The youth are our future and we feel it is our obligation to start the process of elevating them, using basketball as the catalyst,” said Konyia Clark, Executive Director. “We will use this popular sport to expose kids to tools that will help them make informed decisions while teaching them the business of basketball and showing the endless opportunities that the sport has to offer, not just on the court.”
As a part of the “Start the Elevation-Raise the Expectation” initiative, participants will take part in seminars and workshops through a 12-month period and will learn how to use the skills and drills of basketball in practical life application to help them build a solid infrastructure for life. Sports The Business has recruited volunteers that will speak the language of the young adults to help get them excited about the program activities that are on and off the court.  Workshops and seminars will promote education, team work and a strong self esteem.
“I’m excited to be partnering with this organization to help our youth. It is important that we give students an alternative to hanging out on the streets and Sports The Business is committed to doing just that. They are not only engaging the students in the community, but their parents and teachers as well;” Said Sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer.
To keep students motivated, parents are encouraged to invest time and resources in their child’s overall success in the program. Sports The Business will collaborate with schools, parents and students to monitor and motivate educational progress.
For more information on the Anti-Violence Citywide Basketball Tournament and Sports The Business Initiatives, visit www.sportsthebusiness.org.  
About Sports The Business
Sports The Business is an organization formed by the community for the community to positively impact the lives of inner city youth using the popular sport of basketball as the vehicle.  The goal of the organization is to cultivate and expose individuals who wouldn’t necessarily have access to tools to help them make better informed decisions. We emphasize basic life virtues, values and disciplines and show the parallels that they have to sports in an effort to stop violence, remove the spirit of lack and fear and ultimately elevating the thought processes of our inner city youth. For more information on Sports The Business visit www.sportsthebusiness.org 

Slopjar: African American Writer, Ingrid Jennings, releases soul-touching Book of Poetry

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Slopjar: African American Writer, Ingrid Jennings, releases soul-touching Book of Poetry

 Presented in a unique and enlightening format, Slopjar takes its readers into a compelling world that fuses prose and poetry like never before


West Palm Beach, FL – From laughter and love to lust, Lucifer and the Lord – Ingrid Jennings’ new book takes a single letter of the alphabet and propels it to new literary heights.

Slopjar, Jennings’ first major release, contains seven chapters of beautifully inspirational poetry. As some have now guessed, each chapter starts with the letter ‘L’; a facet that makes the book unlike anything ever released before.

While each chapter provides a fresh escape into new subject matter, Slopjar is unique in that each poem comes together to form a larger story.

“Everything is written to be profound, seductive and to allow words to melt in readers’ mouths like butter. I wanted to provide people with an escape into an insane mind and a battered soul,” Jennings explains.

She continues, “Readers will find their heart-strings pulled as they immerse themselves into the pure pleasure of a dazzling page-bound work of art. With this in mind, it is time to open up the Slopjar.”

Since its release, the book has garnered consistent five-star reviews.

“These poems dove straight down to hell, exposing the ravings of a crazed mind, but a mind still able to put words on paper, to show us her mental state and to take us there, too. Every time I read these poems, every time I open this book and read another poem, my heart beats faster and my palms sweat,” says Maragret Fieland, reviewing the book on Amazon.”

Another reader, also reviewing the book for Amazon, was equally as impressed:

Slopjar is an amazing book. While reading Slopjar, I laughed, I cried, and I didn’t stop reading until the end. It was inspirational at some parts and it reminded me of my own life at other parts. Great Book!” they wrote.

Slopjar, published by Lioness Publishing House, is available now from Amazon – as well as the author’s official website.

Jennings’ progress can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Author

Originally from Shreveport Louisiana, Ingrid Jennings is what one would call a true Lioness. As a wife and a mother, she is loyal and a protector, as a publishing guru, she is a team player and works with her clients toward their success. As a teacher, she is passionate about education and as a business woman, she is always on the hunt for new opportunities to learn and grow. She wears many hats and handles each situation with stride and ease.

 With a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Palm Beach Atlantic Christian University, Ingrid decided to go a step further, to get a step closer to her true passion by excelling with her Masters Degree in reading education from Nova Southeastern University, where she graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
Ingrid spent three years working as a public school teacher in Palm Beach County teaching Integrated Science to ninth graders. While teaching, Ingrid self published her poetry into her first book titled “Slopjar.” With rave reviews on not only her creativity, excellent writing and self expression, “Slopjar” was also well recognized for its excellent publishing and marketing.

 Through the experience and knowledge gained while publishing and marketing her own book, Ingrid took not only a liking but a deep understanding of the inner workings of the publishing world and ultimately birthed her own publishing company Lioness Publishing House.

 As an author and publisher, Ingrid is sensitive to all the needs of her clients. She has reached her pinnacle and gives all her gratitude to God. She remains vigil in her vision and steadfast in her motto to “give God all the glory.”Ingrid currently lives in West Palm Beach, FL with her husband and her son. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, bicycling and spending time with friends and family.

 Lindsey is eternally thankful for the gracious gift of God as revealed to us in Ephesians 2:8-9

For more information, contact Ingrid Jennings at 561-386-9381 or E-mail:  lionesspublishing@ymail.com

DJ Rogers & Renee Spearman debut #1 on Billboard!

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on DJ Rogers & Renee Spearman debut #1 on Billboard!

 “Whoa to WOW!” – #1 Most Added Song & #1 Most Increased Airplay

Hollywood, CA (BlackNews.com) — Debuting #1 on Billboard with their hit “Whoa to WOW!” (#1 Most Added Song & #1 Most Increased Airplay – Indicator Chart), legendary soul singer D J Rogers (“Say You Love Me”, “God Favored Me”) and Stellar Award nominee Renee Spearman are gearing up for tour dates to support the release of the CD nationally on Sept 25th.

Releasing on highly regarded JDI/Universal, critical acclaim for “Whoa to WOW” has been unanimous. With Stevie Wonder’s urban AC powerhouse KJLH 102.3 FM adding the song instantaneously, program director Aundrae Russell raves…”Whoa to WOW!” is the breakout hit of the year! Combining the trademark vocals of D.J. Rogers with Renee Spearman’s formidable gift of pen, Whoa to WOW! is crossing boundaries and radio genres to bless souls everywhere. Every time we play “Whoa to WOW!”, our phones light up!”

A twelve-track project of inspirational music, “Whoa to WOW!” also features a bevy of all-stars including the incomparable Beverly Crawford, “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” guitar virtuoso Paul Jackson Jr, and more.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work with soul legend DJ Rogers, one of the truly great male vocalists of our time” said Renee Spearman. “Whoa to WOW is a song God gave me to let people know that, even in the midst of these tough economic times and all the trials of life, He is still in control! And the great thing about God is He can turn things around instantaneously – doesn’t take him a long time! So while the devil meant it for bad, God turned it around for my good – hence the title Whoa to WOW!”

In addition to the CD, “Whoa to WOW!” is also available in Songbook/Sheet Music format as well as Sing-Along Performance Tracks.

JDI / Universal: www.amazon.com/Whoa-Wow-Renee-Spearman/dp/B008JEJUIW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1342995369&sr=8-3&keywords=renee+spearman

Year of Discovery: The 48th Chicago International Film Festival Announces First Round of Titles

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Year of Discovery: The 48th Chicago International Film Festival Announces First Round of Titles

CHICAGO, IL – Cinema/Chicago and The Chicago International Film Festival, the oldest competitive film festival in North America, announced the first 22 films out of more than 150 films from over 50 countries that will be presented during the 48th Chicago International Film Festival, October 11- 25, 2012.

“Our programmers have been working non-stop all year in search of the best films from around the world,” said Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival. “These first films are just a taste of the strong line-up we have this year which include award-winning films, quirky comedies, spine-tingling thrillers, eye-opening documentaries, emotionally charged dramas, and innovative shorts. Chicago audiences will have the chance to see some of the most exhilarating films the world has to offer.”

“The line-up includes brilliant new work from such Festival alumni as Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami, Italy’s Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, France’s Leos Carax, Denmark’s Bille August and Romania’s Cristian Mungiu, along with exciting debuts from young filmmakers from around the world,” added Mimi Plauché, Programming Director for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival.

Films to Date Include:

  • As Goes Janesville (Director: Brad Lichtenstein • USA): The recession hits home in Janesville, WI, where the shutdown of a GM plant has devastated the town. Following laid-off employees struggling to make ends meet and local business owners trying to lure back investors, this intimate verité-style documentary supplies refreshingly human insight into America’s economic crisis.
  • Benji (Director: Coodie & Chike • USA): In 1984, all eyes were on Ben Wilson, one of Chicago’s top high school basketball prospects. But in his senior year, Benji’s story was suddenly cut short. Interviews with family and friends give fresh insight into Benji’s life and untimely end, illuminating one of sport’s most tragic “what if”s.
  • Beyond The Hills (Director: Cristian Mungiu • Romania): Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) returns to feature filmmaking with this gripping existential drama. Inspired by the real-life horror of a modern-day exorcism-gone-wrong, the film follows two women, close friends whose lives have taken them down drastically different paths: one into a convent, the other much further astray.
  • The Cleaner (Director: Adrian Saba • Peru): In the midst of a mysterious, devastating epidemic, Eusebio – a forensic cleaner who sterilizes the apartments of the dead – discovers an eight-year-old boy hiding in an uninhabited house. A grizzled loner all his life, Eusebio suddenly finds that he must care for this young boy as civilization crumbles around them in this quietly compelling dystopian drama.
  • Caesar Must Die (Director: Paolo & Vittorio Taviani • Italy): The top prizewinner in Berlin, this docudrama from the legendary Taviani brothers depicts the preparations for a staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by inmates in Rome’s Rebibbia Prison. The performers, many of whom are in jail for violent crimes, bring powerful new layers of meaning and emotion to the canonical play.
  • Coming of Age (Director: Sabine Hiebler & Gerhart Ertl • Austria): In their 80s, Rosa and Bruno meet and are suddenly reminded what it means to love and live fully. The two – knowing that their time is limited – run off together, leaving much and many in their wake. This unconventional romantic drama paints a powerful portrait of love by turns stark, passion-filled and heart-breaking.
  • Consuming Spirits (Director: Chris Sullivan • USA): A melancholic, mesmerizing vision of backwoods gothic Americana that was 15 years in the making, Consuming Spirits weaves together a spell-binding blend of animation techniques. Folksy storytelling tinged with the dark surrealism of David Lynch, this atmospheric, multi-layered tale of outcasts and misfits is haunting, funny and occasionally heart-breaking.
  • Don’t Click (Director: Kim Tae-Kyeong • South Korea): When cyber junkie Jung-mi learns of a sinister new “forbidden” internet video, she’ll stop at nothing to find it. However, the morbid video has strange effects on its viewers, and soon Jung-mi and her sister seem to be under a bizarre and terrifying curse in this disturbing take on 21st-century technology, surveillance, and internet fame.
  • Holy Motors (Director: Leos Carax • France/Germany): Several lifetimes pass in the span of a few hours for Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who effortlessly transitions from one realm to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. This mysterious, hallucinatory epic has ignited passions around the world for its bold, euphoric virtuosity.
  • In Their Skin (Director: Jeremy Power Regimbal • Canada): A relaxing trip to the country takes a dark and disturbing turn when a seemingly friendly visit from the neighbors turns into a terrifying and potentially deadly situation. Skillfully building the claustrophobic atmosphere with masterful control over mood and pacing, In Their Skin is a chilling, sophisticated slice of terror.
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (Director: Chris James Thompson • USA): By the time he was arrested, Jeffrey Dahmer had killed and dismembered 17 victims, mostly in his nondescript Milwaukee apartment. Using a mixture of archival footage, new interviews and recreations, this documentary paints a complex, intimate portrait of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
  • Keep the Lights On (Director: Ira Sachs • USA): A one-night stand between Erik and Paul quickly grows into something more, but their differences – along with Paul’s struggles with addiction – soon chip away at their relationship. This sensitive, subtle account of an intense, nine-year on-off relationship tenderly reminds us that love is not always enough.
  • Like Someone In Love (Director: Abbas Kiarostami • France/Japan): Iran’s greatest living filmmaker travels to Tokyo for this understated, enigmatic romantic drama. Unbeknownst to her boyfriend, the enchanting university student Akiko secretly moonlights as an escort. An encounter with a client – a shy, elderly academic – leads to an unconventional, unexpectedly intimate relationship in which nothing is quite as it seems.
  • Marie Krøyer (Director: Bille August • Denmark): Married to one of Denmark’s most celebrated 19th century painters, Marie Krøyer’s life is both privileged and fraught. Struggling to discover her own identity while managing her husband’s increasingly erratic behavior, Marie begins to look outside of her marriage for affirmation and autonomy. But at what cost?
  • A Modest Reception (Director: Mani Haghighi • Iran): Tasked with giving away huge sums of money by whatever means possible, Kaveh and Layla drive through the remote, war-torn mountains of Iran with a trunkful of cash. What begins as a seemingly harmless game soon reveals itself to be a twisted bout of charity as the power, humiliation, and shame inherent in their act plays out between the privileged couple and the impoverished villagers.
  • Out in the Dark (Director: Michael Mayer • Israel/USA): Nimer, a Palestinian student, dreams of a better life abroad. One fateful night he meets Roy, an Israeli lawyer. As their relationship deepens, Nimer is confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects his nationality.
  • The Scapegoat (Director: Charles Sturridge • UK): The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men who have one thing in common: a face. Near exact replicas, these doppelgangers meet by chance, each at a major crossroads in his life in this adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, which recalls the productions of Merchant- Ivory at their finest.
  • The Sessions (Director: Ben Lewin • USA): Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.
  • Shameless (Director: Filip Marczewski • Poland): In an incendiary story of love, desire, and betrayal between siblings, the rebellious young Tadek returns to sister Anka’s home in search of solace and affection. Bound together by a painful shared family history, brother and sister must find a way to break free in order to survive.
  • Tey (Director: Alain Gomis • Senegal): What would you do if you knew today was your last? A joyous, impressionistic celebration of life and death, Tey follows Satché from the moment he wakes, with full knowledge of his imminent passing. Wandering through the streets of his hometown, Satché reflects on the choices he has made and their consequences.
  • Valley of Saints (Director: Musa Syeed • India/USA): Gulzar, a boatman on Kashmir’s gorgeous, peaceful Dal Lake, plans to leave for the city when a military curfew forces him to remain in his hometown. When Gulzar meets Asifa, a pretty young scientist studying the lake, a romance develops against a backdrop of jealousy, competition, and ongoing political turmoil.
  • Short Films: Highlights of this year’s programs include: Paraíso, in which three Chicago window cleaners wax philosophical as they work on a high-rise; the animated Oh Willy…, in which the hero returns to the naturist community where he spent his youth; and Yardbird, in which a young girl uses special powers against bullies.

Immigration Detention – A growth sector for private prison companies

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Immigration Detention – A growth sector for private prison companies

(A Reprint from the Sentencing Project – Race & Justice News)


U.S. immigrants are primarily people of Hispanic origin.

According to a new report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, immigration offenses accounted for 70% of the net increase of the total federal felony cases filed from 1994 to 2010. Federal defendants whose most serious offense was an immigration offense increased steadily from 1994 to 2010, nearly equaling the number of defendants charged with drug offenses in 2010.

A new report by The Sentencing Project shows that people being detained for violating immigration laws are a major growth sector for for-profit prison companies. Budget crises and policy changes have led some states to reduce prison populations and private prison contracts in recent years. The losses for private prison companies have been more than offset by expansion of their management of federal detainees under the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of detainees in for-profit facilities increased by about 3,300 people while the number of prisoners held in for-profit facilities decreased by only about 1,300.

Black author tells true life story to educate single moms on how to protect their children from sexual predators

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2012 Comments Off on Black author tells true life story to educate single moms on how to protect their children from sexual predators

Detroit, MI (BlackNews.com) — Through a Child’s Eyes tells a true-life story that references the importance of protecting your child against sexual predators. Author Phillis T. Forrest opens her old wounds and shares a touching story in order to structure a guideline for single mothers in hopes to help them protect their children from sexual predators.

Through A Child’s Eyes speaks on the process of a sexual predator that stalked and preyed his way into the author’s life at the young age of seven. This nightmare began the day that her mother broke her household rules that she put into place to protect the author and her siblings. The consequences of her actions allowed a complete stranger to abuse and manipulate the author over a period of 14 years that ultimately led to mothering two of his children.

Forrest comments, “I told my story because I wanted to show the world exactly how this man manipulated his way into my existence and to show mothers how this sort of situation can happen.”

The story is written in a guideline format with plenty of examples of the experiences that the author encountered each time the protection of her mother lessened. The story of the author is told to gain the credibility of her readers which in turn shows them that the opposite of her mother’s actions could have saved her from her nightmare.

In chapter 14, entitled “Mother’s Let’s Have a Conversation”, the author breaks away from her story to have a heart-to-heart with mothers. The chapter touches on subjects that are often not discussed in the homes of sexually abused children. With subtitles such as: “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”, “Flipping the Script”, and “Knowledge Is Power” (to name a few), the author begins to break down the psychological awareness that parents need to become educated on when dealing with a child that has been preyed upon by a child molester.

A paperback copy of Through a Child’s Eyes can be purchased online at www.throughachildseyes290611.com and Amazon.com, and a e-book copy can be downloaded via the Kindle.

“There are so many times that I have read a book and wished I could have had a conversation with the author to answer perplexing questions,” says Forrest. Because of this, she has given the public an opportunity to speak with her through her website (www.throughachildseyes290611.com), scheduled radio talk show segments, and book signings in California, Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia.

Forrest has been an amazing mother to two beautiful girls despite the circumstances. Her dream is to share her story with the world; in order to educate mothers, protect children, and help victims let go of their pain.

Photo Caption: Author Phillis T. Forrest and bookcover

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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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