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Archive for October 1st, 2012

Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney’s problem

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney’s problem

“By no stretch of the imagination has Romney said anything significant about what his plans are for America or how he would be a better alternative to President Barack Obama” – Juanita Bratcher

By Juanita Bratcher

It’s 36 days before the November 6, 2012 election and it appears that Republican Candidate Mitt Romney is having a hard-sell trying to convince voters that he would be a better alternative to President Barack Obama, even with a sluggish economy and an 8.2 % unemployment rate. By now, Romney should have made the sell but he is still trailing behind Obama in most polls.

Most of the polls on the National level and in swing states show Obama with a lead over Romney – anywhere from 2 to 10 percentage points. And all polls show Obama ahead in the Electoral College estimate. But certainly these numbers are not etched in stone. A lot can happen between now and the November 6 election.

Nonetheless, Mitt Romney tends to place his political woes on others. But Romney should only take a real hard look in the mirror, and he will ably see where his nagging political problem lies – it lies with Mitt Romney himself.

Romney continues to dance and skip around the issues making it confusing for voters to figure out where he stands on issues. His campaign has been a continuous display of back pedaling, evasiveness, and void of any real answers pertaining to his agenda for America. Is he banking on winning the White House with Super Pac money and his evasive menu?

For a long time now, Romney has straddled both sides of the fence, making gaffe after gaffe. He has back-pedaled on key issues like health care reform, Immigration, the auto industry bailout among others.

When the auto industry was in a slump, Romney, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, said let Detroit go bankrupt. But after the bailout and the industry made a successful turnaround, Romney tried to take credit for it. After the turnaround, in an interview with a television station inside an auto parts maker in Cleveland, Ohio, he stated  that he deserved a “lot of credit” for it.

“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” said Romney. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”

Just recently, Romney said he was willing to keep parts of Obama healthcare law, which he had previously vowed to repeal if elected President.

By no stretch of the imagination has Romney said anything significant on what his plans are for America. He continues to dance and skip around the issues. Obviously he is banking on winning the White House on a very evasive menu rather than giving some real answers to questions about his agenda for America.

Yet, Romney points the finger at others for his barely getting off the ground campaign problems. In an article by Holly Bailey, a senior political reporter for Yahoo! News, she reported that Romney in separate interviews with both the USA Today and Politico accused President Obama and his allies of “personal vilification and demonization” attacks against him, admitting that their attacks have been effective.

Bailey quoted Romney as saying in the USA Today article: “There are plenty of weaknesses that I have, and I acknowledge that. But the attacks that have come have been so misguided, have been so far off target, have been so dishonest, that they surprised me. I thought they might go after me on things that were accurate that I’ve done wrong, instead of absurd things.”

In a Newsweek magazine article (7/29/12), entitled, “Mitt Romney’s Wimp Factor”, by Michael Tomasky, he stated: “Dodging reporters, fearing his base, hiding his taxes—is Mitt Romney just too insecure to be president?…” He noted that on Romney’s trip to England, the mother country on the eve of the Olympics, “…Mitt Romney managed to alienate just about every living Briton. He didn’t merely criticize the organizers or bureaucrats—he questioned the people of Britain themselves: “Do [the people] come together and celebrate the Olympic moment?” He wasn’t sure. The Sun even went so far as to dub him “Mitt the Twit.”

Recently, a secretly taped video surfaced in which Romney, at a $50,000 per person fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida with a group of millionaire donors, trashed and wrote-off 47% of Americans, calling them freeloaders and supporters of President Obama.

Said Romney in the secretly taped video: “… There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That…that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” The comments were met with dire negative converse.

Romney’s remarks in the tape were a total lack of regard and respect for the 47% he commented about. How can one be president of a country when they’ve already written off 47% of Americans, many of whom are hard working people making low wages, retirees, college students and seniors living on fixed and limited incomes?

Romney accused Obama of trying to divide the country, which is far from truth – maybe he was having another inaccurate moment – but his statement in the tape is absolutely divisive from a man who wants to be president of these United States of America. And it is a total lack of respect and a divisive tactic beyond reason.

First and foremost, Romney has a problem connecting with people, even some in his own Republican Party. And many of the lagging tag-a-longs who now support him in his 2012 presidential bid are those who hate the sitting president so much that their sole purpose of backing Romney is to try and get Barack Obama out of the White House.

Romney’s gaffes and off  key remarks, evasiveness, fumbling over issues, unclear messages with little or no details about how he would lead this country, if elected, are all glaring ingredients that make up an unfavorable equation about him.

Romney has not been upfront or definitive about what a Romney presidency will be like in regards to issues or anything in the way of an agenda. There’ve been more flip-flopping and etch-a-sketch moments than anything else. Maybe he’ll shed more light on his agenda during the first Presidential Debate, scheduled for Wednesday, October 3.

The Republican Presidential Candidate hasn’t talked about any real issues in regards to where he wants to take this country. And though he is seeking public office, his agenda is as slow coming as his income tax returns.

Americans want to know where both Romney and Obama stand on issues. Certainly, if Romney wins the presidency, they don’t want a January surprise – announcing policies that he has heretofore kept to himself, along with legislation he has already announced that he will kill-off, if elected,  which includes among other things, Planned Parenthood, the Dream Act and “Obamacare”. There’s also a lack of clarity on his plans for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The American people need and want some issues dialogue from Romney so they can make an educated choice and sensible decision about who they think can better lead this country for the next four years.

And while many of his Republican colleagues in Washington continue to espouse gloom and doom about the economy, the unemployment rate and other complaints against the Obama Administration, the economy could have been in much better shape now if not for their “aha” music saying ‘No’ to everything President Obama has proposed in the way of creating jobs and getting this country moving.

And although his Vice Presidential running mate Congressman Paul Ryan has said he has a plan to save America, by far it is a frightening plan when it comes to his proposed budget.

So rather than point the fingers at someone else, Romney should take a look in mirror at self. He should be more open about his agenda to the American people, specifically voters. He should clearly state his agenda for America and how he would be a better alternative to President Barack Obama.

Juanita Bratcher is an award-winning journalist and the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com. She is the author of several books, songwriter and poet. Bratcher has been a Journalist for more than 35 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.

Alderman Brookins supports Gardner, vows to hold hearings on lack of jobs for blacks

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Alderman Brookins supports Gardner, vows to hold hearings on lack of jobs for blacks

By Chinta Strausberg


Referring to Ed Gardner’s rally for jobs held Sunday at 95th and Western, City Council Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) Sunday said the Caucus is fully supportive of the goals of Gardner and his supporters in calling for blacks to be hired at construction sites across the city.

“I’ve expressed this exact same concern to the administration about the lack of African Americans working on public works jobs. It is incumbent upon the mayor of the city of Chicago to impress upon his commissioners that this is a city that cherishes diversity and that the administration expects to see diversity which includes and means African Americans on these construction jobs that are funded by city of Chicago tax dollars,” said Brookins.

When asked what can the aldermen do to ensure blacks are included on these job sites, Brookins said, “It has to deal with enforcement and sensitivity. The way our ordinance is written in order to pass legal muster says that we need minorities. That is the way the law is written,” he said. Explaining, Brookins said if lawmakers had used the word African Americans the law would probably have been in jeopardy of being stricken down in court.

“There is and should be a sensitivity towards these contractors who have been picked to work on these projects to know that when you are coming into these communities that are widely diverse that it should be natural and good business sense that the workforce reflect the city and the areas in which they are working,” Brookins said.

Asked if it is true that when some contractor’s claim they cannot find qualified blacks they seek waivers from the City Council, Brookins said, “We do need to tighten that part up,” he said referring to waivers being granted by the City Council when contractors claim they can’t find qualified African Americans.

“We’ve seen contractors doing is building in the fines when they don’t hire African Americans. Maybe increasing the penalty for doing that, debarring the companies that don’t hire minority workers would send a message that we are serious about it.” Brookins said that message is best delivered by the mayor. He said it is up to the mayor to say, “these shenanigans will not be tolerated.”

Told that my sources claim the city has not collected any of the fines, Brookins said he had not heard that. “We as a body can host a meeting to find out about this. I will lead such a charge,” Brookins said confirming he will hold hearings on this issue.

Agreeing was Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th)  said, “Marching is one thing. We have to actively protest, do some work stoppage, maybe go to jail, but we have to raise the attention that this has got to stop. We cannot continue to be disrespected in our communities by not working where we live. This is a good first step but we have to continue our focus to make sure we continue this all the way through. I’m willing to go to jail for the right reason,” Sawyer said.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com. 

Disenfranchisement News: 1 in 5 African Americans disenfranchised in Kentucky

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Disenfranchisement News: 1 in 5 African Americans disenfranchised in Kentucky

(A Reprint from the Sentencing Project) 

Kentucky Disenfranchisement Laws Prevent 1 in 5 African-Americans from Voting


As part of Voting Rights Watch 2012, a blog series that explores in-depth voter suppression efforts nationwide for the magazine The Nation, Meta Mendel-Reyes writes about the effects of felony disenfranchisement laws in the state of Kentucky. While nationwide one in thirteen African Americans is barred from voting, in Kentucky, a shocking one in five are prevented from participating in elections. Disenfranchisement laws in Kentucky are such that individuals with a felony conviction must petition the governor in order to have their rights restored.

Mendel-Reyes, a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a statewide, grassroots social justice organization that seeks to restore voting rights for individuals with past convictions, describes the organization’s efforts. The organization supported House Bill 70, which would grant automatic restoration of voting rights upon completion of probation, parole, or sentence. Although the bill passed in the House, it stalled in the State Senate; the bill will be reintroduced in 2013.


Oregon Voters and Felony Convictions

In a blog post for The Examiner, Jennifer Alexander explains that many potential voters in Oregon are not aware that they still retain a right to vote despite a felony conviction. Unlike some states, Oregon automatically reinstates an individual’s voting rights upon release from incarceration. In this year’s election, Oregonians will be voting on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012. The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana from state-licensed stores or to grow their own for personal use. Ms. Alexander stresses the importance of ensuring that those who have a felony record are aware that they are not barred from voting this year – and have a substantial voice in the referendum.


Despite 2003 Reform, Reclaiming Right to Vote in Wyoming Difficult

In the Casper Star-Tribune, Megan Cassidy reports that despite a 2003 reform that enabled certain individuals with previous felony convictions to have their voting rights restored, only 58 people have taken advantage of the act in the past nine years. The disenfranchisement rate in Wyoming remains at six percent. Under the reform, an applicant must have only been convicted of one nonviolent felony and must additionally wait five years from the completion of his or her sentence before applying to regain their voting rights. Many, however, are not aware of the change and thus remain disenfranchised.


The Effects of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws

In the Epoch Times, staff writer Gary Feuerberg discusses the effects of felony disenfranchisement laws. Citing a report from The Sentencing Project by Christopher Uggen and Sarah Shannon, he reports that in the 2010 election, 5.85 million Americans were denied the right to vote due to a current or past felony conviction. Within that number, however, those incarcerated constitute about one-fourth of the total disenfranchised; the other three-fourths, constituting about  4.4 million people, are people on parole, felony probation, and persons who have completed their sentences. The effects of felony disenfranchisement laws are profound regardless; about 2.5 percent of the total U.S. voting age population is presently disenfranchised and will not be eligible to vote in the November election.


Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial


Coinciding with the 225th anniversary of the Constitution, this editorial in the Philidelphia Inquirer discusses the fact that millions of Americans are denied the fundamental right to vote. Citing a statistic that 1 of every 13 voting-age African Americans are not able to vote as a result of such laws, the editorial points out that the voting bans weigh unfairly on the nation’s minority communities. The editorial concludes that voting is a “basic right of citizenship,” and that there is “no civic rationale for denying [those who have completed their time] their political voice.”


Federal Felony Disenfranchisement Reform Stalled


In an article for The Chattanoogan, attorney Lee Davis provides a look into the broad spectrum of disenfranchisement laws across states. He gives the example of Maine and Florida: while an individual with a felony conviction in Maine may continue to vote while incarcerated, an individual convicted of the same felony in Florida may never vote again. He points to an effort  in Congress to create a national standard through the Voter Empowerment Act, which proposed sweeping changes in how federal elections are conducted and would let all former offenders who have been released from prison, including those who are may still be on probation or parole, to register and vote in federal elections. He laments, however, that the measure went nowhere as “politicians eager to seem tough on crime” defeated it, and thus thousands will continue to be deprived of the right to vote.

Shell Oil presses Supreme Court to deprive torture victims of justice

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Shell Oil presses Supreme Court to deprive torture victims of justice

By Bashe Yousuf

America’s Wire Writers Group

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Will victims of distant genocides and crimes against humanity be allowed to continue using U. S. courts to seek justice against their persecutors, as well as the individuals and corporations that helped facilitate human rights violations across the globe?

In a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Shell Oil is sending a shocking message: victims of mass atrocities should have no standing in our nation’s courts.


The case, Kiobel v. Shell, concerns a group of Nigerian refugees living in the United States who sued Shell for helping Nigeria’s former dictator torture and kill environmentalists. Rather than simply deny the allegations, Shell is trying to deny the plaintiffs-and all victims of foreign human rights crimes-the right to seek justice in U.S. courts. Our courts, Shell argues, are powerless to hear claims that a foreign government slaughtered its own people in its own territory-even when the defendants who committed or financed these crimes find refuge in this country.


For victims of human rights abuses, the stakes couldn’t be higher. For decades, U.S. courts have given survivors what repressive regimes back home denied them: a chance to confront their abusers, seek truth, and obtain a measure of justice. I know because I am one of these survivors.


As a young businessman in Somalia in the early 1980s, I was tortured by the former Siad Barre regime. Accused of treason for the “crime” of volunteering in a civil society group, I was bound by ropes in excruciating positions, suffocated with water, and electrocuted. I spent most of the next seven years in solitary confinement in a small, windowless cell.


After my release, the United States gave me asylum. But it also gave me something that victims could not dream of in Somalia-the chance to bring my persecutor to justice. In America, I discovered that General Mohamad Ali Samantar-the former Somali Minister of Defense who exercised command and control over my torturers-was living in comfortable retirement in a Virginia suburb.


My lawyers at the Center for Justice and Accountability, a San Francisco-based human rights organization, helped me and other survivors bring a case against Samantar. In 2010, we fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court-and won. Samantar was denied immunity for his crimes, and in August 2012, a trial judge ordered him to pay $21 million to his victims. The judgment sent a clear message: there will be no safe haven in the United States for human rights abusers.


Our case against General Samantar is the latest in a long line of precedents brought under a 200 year-old law-the Alien Tort Statute-that allows victims to sue in federal court for violations of international law. In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld that law. But now Shell is asking the Court to ignore that precedent and roll back decades of progress in human rights.


I fear that our case-which has become a beacon for ending impunity in modern-day Somaliland-will be the last of its kind. Shell claims that human rights do not belong in U.S. courts. If the Court accepts Shell’s arguments, U.S. law will no longer give survivors of foreign genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity the right to hold perpetrators accountable.


But Shell is wrong. Mass atrocities are the business of our courts. International human rights violations know no borders. Cases like Samantar or Kiobel are not aboutdistant crimes in far-away lands. They are almost always about American lives. They are about the war criminal next door, seeking to escape responsibility for his past. They are about the torture survivor whose business suit, doctor’s coat, or factory uniform conceals her scars. And they are about the rogue company whose offices in America reap profits from abuses overseas.


Shell’s lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to shut the courthouse doors on these cases. I have faith that the Court will hold those doors open. We must not avert our eyes to the human rights abusers living among us and deny victims their day in court.


Bashe Yousuf, a torture victim from Somalia, was among plaintiffs who won a $21 million lawsuit against his Somali torturer in Federal Court. America’s Wire is a nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Articles can be published free of charge. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com.)

The black man’s burden: Exploding the myth of the “Dead Beat Dad”

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on The black man’s burden: Exploding the myth of the “Dead Beat Dad”

By Dr. Umar Johnson, Psy.D., NCSP, M.Ed.

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — You’ve heard the rumors, for they are everywhere, and although unproven, they still resonate as facts throughout much of American society. The untruth that Black men don’t want to care for their children has become a staple in American folklore. Even sadder, is the fact that these rumors are not only postulated by the numerically dominant white majority of this country, but are actually created, maintained and reinforced by the Black community itself.

Even President Obama, who rarely makes mention of the unique and unparalleled conditions facing Black men in this country, couldn’t help but join in on the carnage of the Black man’s image by telling Black church audiences during his first bid for the white house that “Black men need to take care of their children.” Obviously, trying to woe Black female voters, the Senator turned President is also guilty of reinforcing the image of the Blackman as a “dead beat dad.”

The question put forth to you today is whether or not this unsubstantiated rumor is true? The answer is a resounding “No!” Not only do Black men love their children, and want to be with their children, many go to great lengths trying to secure their “state guaranteed right” to participate in the lives of their offspring, only to be met with constant betrayal at the hands of the all-to-racially & gender biased family court systems that make up these United States.

As a therapist and facilitator of support groups and training programs for African-American men, I have seen first hand how so many Black men attempt to establish a relationship with their children only to have the proverbial door slammed in their face, even after being guaranteed “paper rights” to see their children, which are rarely enforced by the courts. The illusion and hypocrisy of unenforced “paper custody” decisions made by judges and hearing officers is made evident by the fact that, in many states and counties in the U.S., there is no credible enforcement process to ensure that men see their children when mothers decide otherwise. In other words, as long as primary custodial parents can evade the law by preventing non-custodial parents access to their children, without having to burden themselves with fines, warrants or transfers of custody by the courts, the Blackman’s fight to play a meaningful part in the lives of his children will continue to be an uphill battle. Most Black women love their children and are willing to put personal sentiments to the side for the sake of God’s greatest gift. Nonetheless, there is a growing population of Black mothers who are manipulating the family court system and/or are blatantly in total disregard for it, in an attempt to keep so many well-intentioned fathers from being a part of their children’s lives. The fact that Black parents cannot work out their problems in private without having to resort to intervention from the racist court systems, in the first place, itself is a significant indication that our relationship culture needs to be totally overhauled and reconstructed.

When we talk about the War Against Black Children, we cannot exclude the primary role that their parents play in the psychosocial destruction of our youth. Developmentally and spiritually, the mother, within any species, is usually the main advocate of protection for her young. However, after years of mental conditioning through slavery, today we have some Black women who will consciously deny their children the affection of a loving father for personal selfish reasons. Behind closed therapy doors, I have had scores of Black mothers, benefitting from years of hindsight and maturation, admit, although all to late, that “yes, I kept my children from their father and I was wrong.” Although any admission of honesty must be granted its blessing, unfortunately, the years of damage created by this cycle of ignorance and emotional neglect cannot go unmentioned. So many Black children are literally being destroyed by their custodial parents, and way before the mis-education machine, and psychiatric exploitation cartel, has a chance to get their hands on them.

What are some of the unjustifiable reasons mothers keep their children away from their fathers: 1) Out of Sight/Out of Mind: The pain of relationship rejection causes many Black women to prevent the man access to his children in order not to repeatedly have to face the very person who rejected them. 2) Jealousy For What They Never Had: Yes, I have had mothers admit that not having a loving father in their lives can create a subconscious envy for their daughters leading them to disrupt the father-daughter relationship that they never had themselves. 3) A Woman’s Scorn: Revenge is often at the center of disrupted paternal emotional bonds. So many Black women lack the mature understanding that they and their children are not one and the same person anymore. Many women continue, for years after birth, to hold a pathological belief they what’s good for them is automatically best for their children; In other words, “If I don’t need him in my life, then he/she doesn’t need him in their lives.” 4) Child Support: Obviously if a man can find a job he should provide for his children. However, with so many Black men being undereducated and incriminated with felonies, it is quite difficult for many of them to find work. What children need most is the loving affection of their fathers, although it costs to raise children, it doesn’t help to keep a father from his child for financial concerns alone. Unfortunately, in many municipalities the court systems have effectively separated custody issues from support matters which now gives mothers the right to collect the father’s finances and at the same time continue to keep his children at bay. 5) Keeping the New Man Around: Although I find younger mothers much more guilty of this than older ones, it is also growing in prevalence amongst older mothers as well. So many Black women suffer from the emotional dependency of always having to have a man around to validate their womanhood (a condition often created by their own fatherlessness) that some will go to great lengths to guarantee “the new guy” a place in the sun by keeping the biological father on the outskirts and then trying to force the paramour upon the child as the replacement dad.

Getting revenge against their ex-lovers, at the children’s expense, is a frequent theme in many family therapy sessions that often leads to broken relationships later in life after adult children learn that their mothers were the true reasons behind the absence of their fathers from their lives. Many mothers are able to effectively disguise their oppressive tactics against Black men under a false mask of innocence projecting victimization by the father, when in fact they are the victimizers; playing the helpless victim in public who is raising children without the benefit of the father, but is a merciless oppressor in private deliberately keeping the father from his children. This Black child custody crisis is not without its impact upon Black marriage. Many Black men, having friends and family already involved in this trifling state of affairs, are fearful of being caught up in a similar situation and are electing instead not to have children, are refusing to get married, and are unfortunately opting for a lifetime of serial monogamy, rather than risking possible divorce and complicated child custody disputes. In fact, even older Black men, many of whom are still married, are beginning to advise the younger generation to consider a life of serial monogamy or companionship with African women who are not American born. The reaction of Black men towards the pain and agony of having their children used against them is also not advantageous towards building and maintaining strong Black families. Thusly, many Black men are rejecting Black women altogether as poor advice from older men is feeding the stereotype of Black women as vindictive “gold diggers” and “control freaks.”

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Black women, spurned on by the “We Don’t Need A Man To Raise Our Children” Movement that is growing in popularity in the Black community, are contributing to the war against Black men by spreading untrue myths and rumors about “dead beat dads” while at the same time knowingly being guilty of “hiding the children.” Unfortunately, the dead beat dad myth is so powerful that when others notice the peculiar absence of a caring father from the lives of their children, electing to ask why hasn’t he been around, mothers can readily put the “dead beat dad” myth into play by saying “he just gave up,” “he met another woman and forgot about my children, or “he doesn’t want to be bothered.” These lies are often enough to deflect suspicion. Since most already assume that the “dead beat dad” myth is true, a manipulative mother can benefit herself from the myth whenever necessary. The fact that she interrupts visitation, prevents telephone contact, and disobeys the partial custody agreement never figures into the equation. I have found, through therapeutic experience, that when a mother says the father doesn’t want to be bothered, this usually means he doesn’t want to be harassed with her particular “rules and regulations” that are often designed to complicate the custody arrangement (i.e., visitation on days when he works, visitation only when its convenient for her, cancelled visitations at the last minute when he had plans scheduled with the child, birthdays, holidays, etc.)

However, this behavior is not without its sometimes dangerous consequences for the women who enter into this game of manipulation and deceit. As a prison volunteer, I am increasingly encountering men who are being jailed for breaking under the pressure of having their ambitions to see their children maligned at every turn, and with an apathetically racist court system that couldn’t care less, issuing visitation orders with no teeth behind them, are instead choosing to seek vigilante justice against the guilty parties. Although unacceptable, many Black men find it difficult to “turn the other cheek” and are putting hands on women, and their property (cars, homes, etc) as retaliation for being kept out of their children’s lives. Still further, many grandparents and relatives are standing by and watching this game of cat and mouse, with tongue in cheek, and are putting their relationships with custodial parents ahead of the best interest of the growing children. Even professional Black men, who have so much to lose, are suffering from psychological breakdown, and are being charged with domestic abuse and battery. Attacking any woman should and must never be tolerated, under any circumstances. When Black men result to physical enforcement of paper custody orders, by attacking Black mothers, this perpetuates another myth, that of the “Angry & Violent Black Male,” which is used as cannon fodder by the mother’s family as further proof that he shouldn’t be allowed to see his children. Being a felony charge in most states, even threats of retaliation for violation of verbal or legal custody orders is enough to give a Blackman a felony record, which doesn’t sit well with his child support responsibilities. As you can see, this is a dangerous cycle of revenge and hostility that only affects our children and leads to disastrous psychosocial outcomes for the children involved. It is time for the Black community to stand up in defense of non-custodial parents, whether they be male or female, and fight for their God-given rights to participate in their children’s lives. Until we do, the collective community karma of Black America will continue to bring us more unhappy and violent youths.

Dr. Umar Johnson is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Child Therapist, Political Scientist, Pan-Afrikanist & Parent Advocate. An expert presenter, Dr. Umar, as he is known to the African-American community, is an informational and motivational speaker, who will be releasing his first book, “Psycho-Academic Holocaust Against Black Boys: The Diary of a Mad Black Psychologist” on November 11, 2012. He can be reached at www.DrUmarJohnson.com/ (215) 989-9858. He will be speaking at Tom Joyner’s Health Festival in Philadelphia on October 19th; the Children’s Wholistic Health Fair in Atlanta on October 20th; National Tour of England (UK) Oct 21-November 1st; Los Angeles at Charles Drew University’s Ebonics Conference on November 3rd, 2012; Paterson New Jersey’s Black Ladies Breakfast on Mental Health & Self-Care on November 10th; and the National Hair Expo in Jackson MISS on April 12-14th, 2013.

Photo Caption: Dr. Umar Johnson

State Senator Trotter denounces cuts in DCFS funding

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on State Senator Trotter denounces cuts in DCFS funding

Hearing set for Tuesday showdown

By Chinta Strausberg


Illinois State Senator Donne Trotter (D-17th) Friday denounced the slashing of funds for the embattled DCFS saying it will have a negative impact especially on minorities and will make it even more difficult for already overburden case workers to do their jobs.  

Referring to the Illinois Senate hearing being held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, in Room C-600 in the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle St., Trotter said besides discussing the closure of Dr. Car. C. Bell’s 37-year-old mental health facility, lawmakers will also talk about the lack of funding for DCFS.

The hearing is being called by Majority Caucus Whip Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd), chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee.

 “The state has cut the funding for DCFS along with so many other essential programs like Dr. Carl Bell’s mental health program that impact minorities and disadvantage populations disproportionately,” said Senator Trotter.

“The state is going to start laying off DCFS workers and at a time when there aren’t enough frontline workers in the first place. We read every day that a child goes to the hospital with old bruises, and the question always comes up why is this child still with the family?

“But because of the overwhelming caseloads we have, DCFS workers can’t follow up on these cases.  It’s hard for them to do their jobs because they are so overloaded so by laying them off, it will only make their jobs even harder,” Trotter pointed out.

“The Governor wants to take the $57 million earmarked for keeping the prisons open to go to DCFS, but everyone knows that $57 million is not half the amount needed to get DCFS running effectively.

“Throughout the years, we have been under federal scrutiny to correct the deficiencies in our DCFS division and we finally did. Now they are dismantling it all over again,” said Trotter.

“This DCFS issue deserves its own hearing but because of the urgency of the imminent DCFS pending layoffs, the discussion needs to begin now, not later.”

Kim Schultz, who works with the Policy and Budget staff, told this writer public comments would be accepted via e-mail. Written testimonies and remarks can be sent to her at: kschultz@senatedem.ilga.gov, or the public can attend the hearing which begins at 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 160 North LaSalle in Room C-600.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Emerging ChangeMakers Network launches community loan fund

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Emerging ChangeMakers Network launches community loan fund

Mobile, AL (BlackNews.com) — The Emerging ChangeMakers Network (“ECN”) announced the launch of a rural wealth creation initiative to create a community loan fund targeted to Alabama’s historically under-served Black Belt, said Jessica Norwood, ECN Founder and Director.

The community loan fund will present opportunities for impact investing in the support and expansion of rural food systems in Alabama’s Black Belt, both for financial institutions and individual investors.

The Black Belt is a rural farming area consisting of almost two dozen contiguous counties where most of Alabama’s local food is produced. ECN’s Community Loan Fund Initiative is the first project to target support for food production and distribution in the Black Belt.

The Ford Foundation began funding ECN’s rural wealth creation plans in 2010 to implement ECN’s goal of connecting emerging leaders in Alabama, first to each other, then back to their communities. “We now have a network of activists who can stay involved with their home or adopted communities, even if they have moved from the area,” Ms. Norwood said.

“The great tragedy for rural underserved communities is that they lose so many young local activists as they become young adults. Emerging leaders who once could have stayed and established continuity and growth are now moving away to find jobs. Yet our emerging leaders tell us there is a longing to improve the communities that nurtured them and made them what they are today,” she said.

“ECN was created in 2007 to identify and connect those emerging leaders to their communities and to each other, as well as to share strategies for local support and problem solving. Thanks to the Ford Foundation and our community partnerships, ECN is a force for progress, both for the region and for its emerging leaders,” Ms. Norwood said.

About Jessica Norwood, ECN Founder and Director

Jessica Norwood is a political consultant who has managed campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Following Hurricane Katrina, she founded the Emerging Changemakers Network in 2007 to organize native professionals and activists and re-patriate them with their home communities through local leadership initiatives.

Photo Caption: Jessica Norwood, Founder & President of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network


Top 5 indications a grooming problem might be a medical concern

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on Top 5 indications a grooming problem might be a medical concern

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) — Men’s typical grooming routines are quick and straightforward: a daily shower and shave, a comb through the hair, and a clipper to the nails when needed. However, according to Paul W. Wallace, M.D., a dermatologist specializing in ethnic skin care and the medical half of the Bump Patrol Smooth Crew, if a man notices a change to his nails, hair or skin, it should give him pause.

Dr. Wallace, who is an attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Medical Chairman of the National Psoriasis Foundation, recommends that men make a special visit to their dermatologist beyond the recommended annual skin exam if they notice any of these five skin, hair or nail issues:

1. When NAILS show a change in texture or shape, it could be an early sign of arthritis or dietary deficiency. A change in color, be it a small dot or change to the whole nail, could be a sign of a fungus, which should be addressed early to prevent nail-root involvement. It could also be a sign of melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease. For African-American men, melanoma is found most often under the fingernail or toenail.

2. When HAIR unexpectedly changes in texture, color or rate of hair loss, it could indicate underlying medical issues. Hair can serve as a window to the general health of an individual and provide an early warning of medical problems, such as thyroid disease or vitiligo.

3. When the SCALP feels tender to touch or grooming, it is not normal. If it becomes pink, red or white (depigmented), feels soft or lumpy, or develops bumps, pustules or sores, visit a dermatologist.

4. When the BEARD feels overly irritated, has unexpected hair loss or changes in texture, shaving might not be the cause. However, when bumps or whiteheads go untreated, shaving could exacerbate the problem.

5. When a MOLE changes in size, color or shape, it could be a warning sign of evolving skin cancer. Also, when a mole experiences any trauma, bleeding, pain or constant itch, a dermatologist should examine it. Even the darkest-pigmented skin runs the risk of skin cancer.

Aside from the obvious health advantages to early detection of diseases, early intervention could also save hair and nails and minimize scarring. While keeping these five signs in mind, Dr. Wallace suggests that men also reexamine their basic grooming routines and make simple adjustments where needed. For example, a proper shave – which includes everything from the direction of shaving to the aftershave used – can prevent irritation in the first place. He recommends products that calm and treat the skin with the help of anti-inflammatories, antiseptics, humectants and emollients, like Bump Patrol’s aftershave formulas. “Without irritation, there’s no inflammation,” he explains. “And without inflammation, there’s no threat of razor bumps that could become infected.”

For more information on Dr. Wallace and proper shaving techniques, visit www.bumppatrol.com.

Photo Caption: A man’s basic grooming routine should include being mindful of any changes to his nails, hair or skin.


David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook added to the 48th Chicago International Film Festival

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 Comments Off on David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook added to the 48th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO, IL — The 48th Chicago International Film Festival announced that David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro has been added to the Festival’s line-up. Silver Linings Playbook will be screened Wednesday October 24 at 7:00 pm at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.). A Q&A with David O. Russell will follow the screening.

Three films have also been added to the schedule: Leslie Zemeckis’ intriguing new documentary Bound by Flesh (Friday October 19, 5:00 pm); Liv & Ingmar (Saturday October 13, 12:30 pm) and Student (Monday October 15, 8:30 pm; Tuesday October 16, 6:00 pm; Monday October 22, 3 pm). Leslie Zemeckis is scheduled to attend the screening of Bound by Flesh. All three films will also play at the AMC River East 21.

Complete descriptions follow:

Silver Linings Playbook USA (Director: David O. Russell): Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything – his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert De Niro) after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet – and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Bound By Flesh USA (Director: Leslie Zemeckis): Superstars who got their start in the sideshow, Daisy and Violet Hilton were America’s sweethearts. Starring in Tod Browning’s notorious classic Freaks (1932) and the 1950s exploitation film Chained for Life, they were at one time the highest paid act in vaudeville. At their peak, they worked alongside the biggest names in entertainment. But they were also financially exploited, robbed, and, at one time, kept as virtual prisoners. The Hilton sisters’ incredible story begins in England in the early 1900s when their mother, after discovering she had given birth to conjoined twins, sold the babies to a woman who viewed the girls exclusively as “cash cows.” Their new caretaker/manager put the young pair on display in the back of pubs, eventually taking them on tour in carnivals and circuses. When the twins came to America, they instantly became a gigantic success, but they never saw the money. Eventually they were forced to sue for independence – a suit they won after a sensational trial. Having lived a sheltered existence, the 23-year-old sisters were unable to cope with the dishonest agents and managers that would exploit them over and over again throughout their lives. Leslie Zemeckis’ compelling documentary explores the colorful, tragic lives of the world’s most famous conjoined twins.

Liv & Ingmar Normay/UK/India (Director: Dheeraj Akolkar): This feature documentary is an affectionate yet truthful account of the 42 years and 12 films long relationship between legendary actress Liv Ullmann and master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Told entirely from Liv’s point of view, this rollercoaster journey of extreme highs and lows is constructed as a collage of images and sounds from timeless Ullmann-Bergman films like Persona (1966), Shame (1968), Cries & Whispers (1972), and Autumn Sonata (1978), along with behind the scenes footage, still photographs, passages from Liv’s book Changing and Ingmar’s love letters to Liv. Ultimately this film is a homage – a candid, humane look – not only at two of the greatest artists of our time, but also at two wonderful human beings, two inseparable friends and soul mates.

Student Kazhakstan (Director: Darezhan Omirbayev): Following up his adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Darezhan Omirbaev returns to Russian literature, this time adapting Crime and Punishment to modern-day Kazhakstan. Goaded on by a lecture on modern capitalism, a philosophy student murders a local shopkeeper and must ponder the moral and philosophical implications of his actions. This much-adapted story is brought to new light in Post-Communist Kazhakstan, where crime and corruption have lingered following the transition to capitalism. Shooting on location in the capital city of Almaty, and featuring a lead performance by one of Omirbaev’s actual students, the film paints a bleak picture of modern Kazhak life that perfectly suits the story and the character’s internal struggle. A fresh look at a classic tale, Student confirms Omirbaev as a leading voice in Central Asian cinema.

Ticket Info
Tickets for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale starting September 20th and can be purchased online at the Festival Store: http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/catalog/; via Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com/chicagofilmfestival; by phone at 312-332-FILM (3456); or by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.).

Festival Sponsors
Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s sponsors include: Official Airline – American Airlines; Producing Partners: AMC Theaters, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Major Partner: Intersites;

Supporting Partners: DePaul University School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Stella Artois, Chris Pagano – Realtor, Land Rover, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 AND 105.9FM, ShutterBox Photobooth, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: iN Demand, EC Charro, Brugal Rum, Creative America, Gibsons Restaurant Group, Second City Computers, Optimus; and the Festival’s Headquarters Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago.

   About Cinema/Chicago

Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is part of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include the International Screenings Program (May-September), the Chicago International Television Competition (April), CineYouth Festival (May), Intercom Competition (October) and year-round Education Outreach and Member Screenings Program.

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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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