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Archive for May 9th, 2013

Senators move to block Iran’s access to Foreign Exchange Reserves

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
New sanctions prohibit foreign currency transactions and currency conversions for the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian economic sectors;
Banks and clearinghouses that process transactions involving non-local currencies would be subject to sanctions effective May 9, 2013
WASHINGTON – United States Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) introduced bipartisan legislation to block Iran’s access to billions of dollars worth of foreign exchange reserves and limit the ability of designated Iranian entities like the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to conduct transactions in foreign currencies, including euros.
The Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act would require the President to impose sanctions on any foreign bank that knowingly conducts or facilitates a transaction in a non-local currency for or on behalf of the CBI or any entity within the blacklisted Iranian energy, shipping, shipbuilding and port operator sectors if such transaction occurs on or after tomorrow, May 9, 2013.
“We are putting financial institutions around the world on notice that, effective tomorrow, you must halt all foreign currency transactions on behalf of blacklisted Iranian banks and sectors or risk being cut off from the U.S. financial market,” the Senators said.  “If you are facilitating a transaction for the CBI, NIOC or a host of other blacklisted Iranian companies, and the transaction is not being conducted in your local country’s currency, you will be held accountable.”
The Iranian Government, including the Central Bank of Iran, maintains bank accounts around the world filled with foreign exchange reserves – with the majority of those held in euros.  Reports suggest that Iran uses these reserves to circumvent the total impact of American and European sanctions by converting them into local currencies in order to finance imports and stabilize the country’s monthly budget.  Under the legislation, such currency conversions would be prohibited effective tomorrow; any transactions conducted from that date forward would retroactively be subject to sanctions when the legislation becomes law.  For example, a Chinese bank – and its European correspondent – would be prohibited from conducting a transaction with or for the Central Bank of Iran in euros; such a transaction would only be allowed in yuan effective tomorrow.  Asian clearinghouses that bundle such euro transactions would also be subject to sanctions.
On February 25, 2013, 36 Senators (19 Democrats and 17 Republicans, including majorities of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees) signed a bipartisan letter to the European Union urging the EU to take immediate action to close this “euro loophole” in our sanctions policy.  On March 23, 2013, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the budget supporting efforts to block Iran’s access to its foreign exchange reserves and limit the ability of designated Iranian entities like the Central Bank of Iran to conduct transactions in euros. 
“With the EU having taken no action and talks with Iran continuing to drag on without progress, the time has come for the Senate to take action to close this sanctions loophole,” the Senators said.  “Closing the foreign currency loophole in our sanctions policy is critical in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.  We urge international financial regulators, including those from the European Union, to issue regulations to comply with this legislation.”
While the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act would cut off Iran’s access to foreign exchange reserves, the legislation would still allow Iran to purchase food and medicine for the Iranian people using local currency accounts.  The measure is expected to be attached to Iran sanctions legislation in the House later this month.
A copy of the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act can be found online here.

Pat Brady resigns as Illinois GOP Chairman

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady announced he will be resigning his position effective immediately.

Carol Smith Donovan, the current Vice-Chairman will serve as interim Chairman until the Illinois Republican State Central Committee selects a permanent replacement.  The State Central Committee elected Brady as Chairman immediately after previous Chairman’s Andy McKenna’s resignation at Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair in August of 2009. 

In his resignation letter, Brady stated that during his tenure as Chairman Republicans in 2010 had their most successful election cycle in decades, electing Senator Mark Kirk to President Obama’s former Senate seat, four new GOP members of Congress, two GOP statewide constitutional officers, six new GOP members to the Illinois House and Senate and a Republicans to a number of down ballot offices throughout the state.

Critical to that success was the state party’s first ever-statewide get out the vote program that was the highest-ranking “Victory” program in the country that year.  Brady also noted that in his time as Chairman, the party raised records amounts of money, slashed operating expenses and instituted reforms such as term limits on State Central Committee Members.

Finally, Brady stated that he as Chairman developed relationships with national party leaders that resulted in funding and resources coming to Illinois for Republican candidates.


Brady’s Letter of Resignation can be read online at:

http://www.weareillinois.org/ connect/newsDetail.aspx? newsID=12969 


No Second Class Families

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

President/CEO of the NAACP 


African Americans have spent much of our history fighting for equal treatment. Just two generations ago, our parents and our grandparents were banned from eating at certain restaurants, attending certain schools, and working in certain professions.

So it is not difficult to empathize with the struggle of immigrants in our country. Like our ancestors who migrated from the former slave states of the Deep South, millions of undocumented immigrants move to the United States each year to find work and a decent education for their children. But when they arrive, they are confronted with blatant discrimination and racial profiling – with hardly any legal recourse and little public outrage.

As people of color, we have a responsibility to stand up for social justice whenever it is violated. That is why the NAACP has joined other civil rights and human rights organizations, including the Rights Working Group and the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, to support comprehensive immigration reform.


Across the country, an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in a permanent second-class status. Many immigrants come to the U.S. to find a better life, but find themselves living in the shadows, in constant fear of arrest and deportation. This segregation has a cost.


Undocumented workers are exploited on a regular basis. Many business owners pay low wages and provide dangerous working conditions for their undocumented workers, with little fear of retaliation. They know that their employees have too much at stake to risk contacting the proper authorities.


Undocumented immigrants are also targeted by police. Racial profiling has been legalized in states like Alabama and Arizona under the guise of immigration enforcement. Our national immigration laws, in conjunction with these state laws, encourage local police to stop people of color, whether they are undocumented or not.


Right now Congress is debating a comprehensive immigration bill that will offer a roadmap to citizenship and also deal directly with workplace discrimination and racial profiling. One proposed provision allows undocumented immigrants to have the full protection of American labor laws. Another one explicitly prohibits racial profiling by Homeland Security agents – which would make it the first federal law to do so.


The bill in its draft form is not perfect. The racial profiling provision needs adjustments that are being debated at the time of this writing. The draft bill also contains provisions that would eliminate the diversity visa program – which helps many African and Caribbean immigrants come to America – and dramatically expand the guest worker program. The NAACP and our allies will continue to make our voice heard as Congress debates the bill.


In August 1963 a sea of diverse activists stormed the National Mall to demand social justice and an end to segregation. In April 2013 a similarly diverse wave of legal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and activists of all backgrounds gathered at the United States Capitol to call an end to second-class citizenship. The March on Washington pressured Congress to pass the Civil Rights Acts. This year, we need to show Congress again that American of all stripes care about progressive reform.


As Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. African Americans have spent much of our history fighting for fair treatment and equal opportunity. We must also offer support to our immigrant brothers and sisters. If we want to escape the sins of our past, we must ensure there are no second class families today. 

Carnival worker pleads guilty in video taped sexual assaults on toddlers

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A traveling carnival worker from Chicago who video recorded his repeated sexual assaults on two toddlers has pled guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault charges and has been sentenced to 41 years in state prison following an investigation and prosecution by the State’s Attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today. 

Wilfredo Elias, 29, of Chicago, pled guilty to the charges of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault in connection with the assaults on the two children, which occurred multiple times in 2011 when Elias was babysitting the children, who were two and three years old at the time.

According to prosecutors, Elias had video recorded several of the sexual assaults and stored the images on an electronic memory storage device.  Authorities began investigating when the images were discovered by a family member and the police were contacted. 

Cook County authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Elias and he was taken into custody last September in Missouri while traveling with a carnival.  He was extradited to Chicago where he has been held without bond pending the outcome of his case. 

Task force investigators recovered multiple video images showing Elias assaulting both of the victims.  Investigators were able to identify both victims and learned that they had both been left in the care of the defendant at various points last year.

Elias received a 31 year sentence in one case and a 10 year sentence in the second case for a total of 41 years.  Under Illinois law, he will be required to serve 85 percent of the sentence. 

“Given the heinous nature of the sexual assaults against these defenseless children, we are pleased that this defendant will be behind bars for a very long time and unable to prey on any other potential child victims,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez. 

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Chicago Police Department and Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Ciaccia for their hard work with the investigation.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office administers the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes criminal acts such as child pornography, sexual solicitation of a child or missing child investigations.  The task force also offers guidance and information for parents and educators on internet safety.  To report a child-related internet crime call (312) 492-3655.

Attorney General Madigan distributes $500,000 to Illinois’ eight Regional Food Banks

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Pushing Lawyers Feeding Illinois Campaign to more than 3.7 million meals 

Funds from legal settlements to help feed needy in all 102 Illinois Counties 


CHICAGO, IL — Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office will distribute $500,000 in funding from several legal settlements to food banks across Illinois to help feed families and people in need. Madigan said the money will make food available to local food pantries that serve each of Illinois’ 102 counties.

Attorney General Madigan made the disbursement announcement today at an awards ceremony for Lawyers Feeding Illinois, the first-ever statewide food and fundraising campaign conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). The ISBA exceeded its goal of raising 1 million meals, with teams of lawyers throughout the state raising in excess of 1.27 million meals for Illinois residents struggling with hunger. The Attorney General’s office partnered with the ISBA on the campaign.

“No one should go hungry. The Lawyers Feeding Illinois campaign will help the food banks throughout our state provide meals to adults and children in need. This settlement funding from my office’s work will add to this important effort to bring hope to many who are facing tough times and struggling to make ends meet,” Madigan said.
“I am delighted that the funding facilitated by Attorney General Madigan will bring the total of meals provided through Lawyers Feeding Illinois to more than 3,777,560. The participation of our state’s chief legal officer demonstrates the strong commitment of the legal profession to this important cause,” said ISBA president John Thies. Thies’s wife, Terry, chaired the Lawyers Feeding Illinois campaign.      
The funds that the Attorney General distributed to battle hunger come from several settlements her office reached in which the funds were designated to be used to focus on health and nutrition. Specifically, $380,000 of the total distribution will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which annually provides food for 678,000 adults and children in Cook County through a network of 650 shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries. This money was recovered through an investigation into former Chicago Bears player Chris Zorich’s charitable foundation. Additionally, Madigan will distribute $120,000 from other settlements to the state’s 7 regional food banks outside of Cook County.
The following is a breakdown of the additional $500,615 distribution:
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago, serving Cook County: $380,000
  • Northern Illinois Food Bank, Geneva, serving 13 counties: $61,306.28
  • Central Illinois Foodbank, Springfield, serving 21 counties: $14,269.56
  • Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Urbana, serving 14 counties: $12,331.72   
  • River Bend Foodbank, Moline, serving 17 counties: $10,570.05
  • St. Louis Area Foodbank, St. Louis, Mo., serving 12 counties in Illinois: $11,852.36
  • Peoria Area Food Bank, Peoria, serving 8 counties: $5,285.03
  • Tri-State Food Bank, Evansville, Ind., serving 16 counties in Illinois: $5,000.  

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan responds to Governor Quinn’s veto of Senate Bill 9 (Smart Grid legislation)

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

With Illinois’ unemployment rate still one of the highest in the nation, the AFL-CIO is extremely disappointed that Governor Quinn would veto Senate Bill 9, which will create thousands of stable, good-paying jobs, strengthen our workforce and attract major investment to our state.

Senate Bill 9 would ensure that the Smart Grid program has the necessary funding to be completed. The project to update Illinois’ dated electrical infrastructure has already created more than 2,400 full-time jobs in Illinois and provided an economic boost to our manufacturers, suppliers and service companies.  Local companies are ready to expand and hire more workers to participate in the Smart Grid project.

This veto places future jobs and economic benefits in jeopardy, negatively impacting Illinois workers and businesses around our state.  

Our 900,000 members across the state now urge the General Assembly to continue its support of Smart Grid and override the veto of Senate Bill 9.    Illinois workers need this bill enacted into law.   As we work to rebuild our economy, it’s essential the Smart Grid program is completed.

Two funerals being held for Bishop Roy A. Holmes

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Two funerals being held for Bishop Roy A. Holmes

A.M.E. Bishop loved by millions
By Chinta Strausberg
Two funeral services will be held for Bishop Roy Anderson Holmes, the Presiding Prelate for the Northeastern Episcopal District A.M.E. Zion Church, who passed away peacefully at his home last Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Farmington, CT at the age of 62.
A memorial will be held in Connecticut, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, and an international funeral will be held at 11 a.m. in Chicago on Monday, May 13, 2013.
A memorial service will be held for Bishop Holmes on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, 2051 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06120, where Rev. Terry L. Jones, Sr. is pastor.  Public viewing will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by service from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Monday, May 13, 2013, the second service, an international funeral service for Bishop Holmes will be held 11 a.m. at the Greater Walters A.M.E. Zion Church, 8422 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago IL, where Rev. Joel D. Miles is pastor.
Monday’s funeral will be streamed live at: ShineproductionsLLC.com, according to Londa McDaniel, Chairman of the A.M.E. Board of Trustees.
The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will hold a tribute from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday, May 13, 2013, in honor of Bishop Holmes followed by the viewing from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. when the funeral services begin.
Bishop Holmes was born on April 13, 1951 in Greenwood, Mississippi to the late Tommy and Ruby Holmes. He married Lovetta Goodson 36-years ago and the couple bore two daughters, Krista M. Holmes and Kimberly M. Strickland.
Bishop Holmes was consecrated the 92nd bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church on August 3, 2004 and has served in several Episcopal Districts.
In 2012, Bishop Holmes was assigned to serve the Northeastern Episcopal District, which includes: New York, New England, Western New York, the Bahamas Islands and London-Midland.
His pastorates included churches in: Chicago, Illinois, Pittsburg, PA, Elizabeth City, NC and Whitmire, SC.
Bishop Holmes has held positions with the AME Zion Connectional Budget Board, the Ministerial Relief, delegate to the General Conference, delegate to the World Methodist Conference, presidents and secretary of the Hood Alumni Association and a life member of the NAACP.
Bishop Holmes was also a recipient of the UNCF Alumni Award, Morris Brown College, City of Chicago Honorary Street naming sign in June of 2000 designating “Roy A. Holmes Blvd.,” Who’s Who in Executive and Businesses 2002 and the 2003 Monarch Award in the category of Religion from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Bishop Holmes was a graduate of the Morris Brown College and the Hood Theological Seminary. He received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2002.
Reflecting on his mentor, Rev. Joel D. Miles, pastor, pastor of the Greater Walters A.M.E. Zion Church, 8422 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, Illinois said, “Bishop Holmes was a dynamic leader having led many of our denominational churches.
“He led the Greater Walters A.M.E. Zion Church for 16-years in a tremendous fashion including leading his members and building additions to the current locations. He continued the progressive leadership after he became a bishop in 2004.
“Bishop Holmes led us in a direction to understand that stewardship is a way of life,” said Miles. “It was embraced by all those who followed his leadership and it has made a dramatic change in the way that many approach living now.”
A close friend, Josephine “Mother” Wade, owner of the Hardtimes Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant who has known Bishop Holmes for more than three decades, said, “We loved serving him. I knew Bishop Holmes before he was a minister and after he became a bishop. He did not change. He remained a people person.
“Bishop Holmes was a God-fearing man, a dedicated husband, a loving father who adored his girls. He was everybody’s mentors including our cooks. Everyone loved him.
“Bishop Holmes showed his love in so many ways especially for the homeless,” she said recalling one day when a homeless man came into her restaurant and loudly announced that he was hungry. “Bishop Holmes told the waitress to feed him and when the man finished and asked if he could have a slice of cake, Bishop Holmes ordered him an entire cake. That was the kind of man he was always reaching out,” said Wade.
She recalled one of Bishop Holmes’ favorite lines when she disagreed with him. “The bishop would say, ‘I’m going to do this and you e-mail.com that, touch your neighbor and tell all your friends,” Wade said.
Bishop Holmes leaves to mourn a wife, Lovetta Jean Holmes, two daughters, Krista and Kimberly, and granddaughters, Niya Marie, Teirra and a host of friends and family.
Interment for Bishop Holmes will be held at the Mt. Hope Cemetery, 11500 S. Fairfield Ave., Worth Township, IL 60655.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to:
The Hood Theological Seminary
1810 Lutheran Synod Drive,
Salisbury, NC 28144
For online condolences, please click on: www.carmonfuneralhome.com

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.

What’s Up With THATCamp?

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Soap Box Rants

A Weekly Column to CopyLine Magazine 


By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.


“Unconference.” If you haven’t heard the word yet, I’m almost certain that eventually you will. That is, if you are an active participant in keeping up with an industry that is constantly changing or evolving. A couple of weekends ago, I attended an “unconference” at Case Western Reserve University. It was called THATCamp Games II.

THATCamp stands for “The Humanities and Technology Camp.” It is a very interesting concept. In this case, members of the games and education community develop the conference in real-time from the onset of the announcement and while it is live. The programs are developed, announced and driven by participants.

We went there to explore ways that games could be used effectively in education. There were workshops in game design for the classroom, HTML5, a 2-hour game jam and other topics. It was a meeting of the minds of educators, game designers, scholars and enthusiasts to innovate.

Members of our team completed a proof of concept for a video game testing one’s knowledge of current facts or lies in the media. The questions were a combination of true news put out by the press and facts that could be easily misconstrued. There was also some analog game development taking place at the event too. That included board games, card games, word games, etc.

THATCamps are held annually and internationally. You can even host your own. If you are interested in humanities and technology, and exploring the possibilities with a group of passionate people, this is the event for you. You can choose a related topic and develop it from there. It does not have to be games. That was the topic Case Western chose to focus on this year. If you are not up for hosting yet, check out some of the many other THATCamps that take place across the globe.

Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.


Illinois Senate takes first major step to passing a State Based Health Insurance Marketplace

Posted by Newsroom On May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


(From Campaign for Better Health Care)


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The State Senate Insurance Committee passed HB3227, formerly SB34, a major step in establishing a health insurance marketplace that helps small businesses and individuals in Illinois.

State Senator David Koehler (D-46 Peoria), chief sponsor of SB34 which was folded into HB3227, said, “To live up to the intention of the Affordable Care Act, we need to expand our help and support for the small businesses and consumers who will be using the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.  My bill does this, and I am pleased that my colleagues on the Insurance Committee were able to pass it.”

Mark Burris of Springfield, the owner of MCCE Investments and owner of seven Subway Sandwich franchises, said, “Small businesses need a level playing field and there must be checks and balances with the insurance companies.”

Burris continued, “In this bill, financing of the health insurance exchange under is through assessments of the insurers, as it should be.  The insurance industry will benefit from the tax dollars used to create the infrastructure of the how the exchange is set up.  It is only appropriate that they finance the day to day operations of the insurance health marketplace when an estimated one million new insurance customers will be purchasing private health insurance.”

HB3227, formerly SB34, establishes a pro-consumer and pro-small business health insurance marketplace in Illinois. The health insurance marketplace will be the one-stop insurance shop for more than a million Illinoisans.

Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, said “This new marketplace will offer small businesses access to more affordable health insurance plans.  Instead of paying 18% more than larger businesses, they will have a chance to compete for and retain good employees by providing affordable insurance.  A win-win for small businesses and their employees because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare.”

HB3227, formerly SB34, ensures that the marketplace is governed by a diverse board that represents women, small businesses, communities of color, labor, public health, people with disabilities, and consumers, and provides for accountability of the insurance industry selling plans on the new marketplace.

Speaking on behalf of the National Association of Women Business Owners Chicago (NAWBO Chicago), Linda Forman said, “Who sits on the insurance exchange governing board is very important.  We believe that a statewide governing board will be better able to understand the needs of women and the diversity of backgrounds and geography of small businesses throughout this state if the governing board is composed of the types of people who will be using the health insurance exchange marketplace.”

“We can all agree that what we had has not worked very well, and to continue to do nothing is a bad mistake.  We are excited to support HB3227, formerly SB34, and proud to be part of the Small Business Health Care Consortium.  Our members are proud to see us take a step in the right direction on behalf of small business all across the state,” said Larry Ivory, President of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce.  “We congratulate the members of the Insurance Committee for taking that step for Illinois small businesses and individuals today.” 


HB3227 (containing SB34 language) Fact Sheet

About Campaign for Better Health Care 

We believe that accessible, affordable, quality health care is a basic human right for all people.  The Campaign for Better Health Care is the state’s largest coalition representing over 300 diverse organizations, organizing to help create and advocate for an accessible, quality health care system for all.  For more information, visit www.cbhconline.org.

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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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