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Archive for November 11th, 2013

Palestinian American targeted for discriminatory selective prosecution, charge civil rights attorneys

Posted by Admin On November - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Legal representatives to speak out for first time on eve of arraignment for 65-year-old women’s rights activist who faces 10 years in prison and deportation on immigration charge

Press Conference will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at the People’s Law Office, 1180 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL – An attorney from the legal team for Rasmea Odeh will join her supporters at a press conference in Chicago at 11AM on Tuesday, November 12 to speak publicly about her legal case for the first time, as lawyers prepare for her formal arraignment on immigration charges the following day.  Michael Deutsch of the National Lawyers Guild and the People’s Law Office has expressed concern that this is a case of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) behaving in a discriminatory fashion.

Odeh is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, at 1PM EST on Wednesday, November 13th for arraignment.  She was arrested on October 22nd at her home in Evergreen Park and charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization for allegedly untruthfully answering questions on her immigration application to the U.S.

Odeh’s supporters, who range from members of civil rights groups and faith based institutions like Chicago’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to civil liberties attorneys and women’s rights advocates, argue that the charge brought against her is another example of the escalation of federal law enforcement repression against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in this country. Odeh is a well-known and respected activist in the Palestinian American community of Chicago who has been honored for her social services and women’s empowerment work by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Scores of organizations across the U.S. rallied to her cause after the arrest, and the media in the Arab world have also covered the news.

Supporters are preparing to travel from Chicago and other Midwest cities by chartered bus and car caravan to pack the courtroom and rally in her support in Detroit on November 13th.  Solidarity rallies and protests are also being organized in cities that include Oakland, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and New York.

“There has been a massive outpouring of love and support for Rasmea across the U.S. and the world,” says Rasmea’s friend and colleague Hatem Abudayyeh. “There is no justification for this political attack on a 65-year-old woman who has dedicated her life to progress and social justice.  We will stand with her to fight these charges.”

Prosecutors secure 95 Year prison sentence for 2009 Armed Robbery Case

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A Chicago man who shot two people and left a 16-year-old victim severely injured during a robbery near a convenience store on Chicago’s West Side has been sentenced to 95 years in prison, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

Regalardo Smith, 30, was previously convicted of felony charges including Armed Robbery, Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, Vehicular Invasion and Armed Violence, for the shooting that injured the 16-year-old and another man.

According to prosecutors, on May 2, 2009, at approximately 10:30 p.m., near 3555 West Roosevelt Road, Smith approached the two victims as they walked to their car after they closed the store where they worked. The defendant displayed a gun and reached into the vehicle where one victim was sitting in the passenger seat and demanded money. Smith then grabbed a bag from the victim and took money that was inside.

The 16-year-old victim, who was in the passenger seat, struggled with Smith and the defendant fired the gun three times, striking the victim in the legs and abdomen. The other man came to aid of the victim and also struggled with the defendant over the gun. The gun went off during the struggle and a bullet nicked the second victim in the leg. The man was able to wrestle the gun from Smith and the weapon was later recovered by police. According to prosecutors, after the shooting Smith fled on foot but was apprehended by police near the scene of the incident with proceeds from the robbery in his possession. As a result of the shooting, the 16-year-old victim suffered various internal injuries and had to undergo multiple surgeries as one of the bullets was lodged less than one inch from his spine.

Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson imposed the 95-year sentence during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago on November 7, 2013.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Boersma and Leanna Miehlich as well as the Chicago Police Department for their handling of the case.

Senator Kirk: “…It is clear to me that the proposal on the table in Geneva would do nothing to prevent a future with Iranian nuclear weapons”

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Kirk’s statement on negotiations with Iran

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement regarding ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program:

“Based on the latest information available and after discussions with our allies, it is clear to me that the proposal on the table in Geneva would do nothing to prevent a future with Iranian nuclear weapons. The agreement would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place while undermining the sanctions pressure we worked so hard to build. In short, it will increase the likelihood of war when we should be doing all we can to achieve a peaceful outcome. I will continue to press for intensified sanctions until I am assured we are not leaving our children a world with Iranian nuclear weapons.”

The Right Side of History

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By William Spriggs

A new day is arriving in America. After decades of being pushed around, America’s workers are standing up.

After the Nov. 5 ballot initiatives in New Jersey (and estimated soon in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac), voters sounded loud and clear, “We are fed up and we won’t take it anymore.” In New Jersey, voters raised the state’s minimum wage by $1 effective Jan. 1. After an earlier victory in the California Legislature to raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour, this is the second major state to push back against the stagnant wage growth hurting America’s families.

In SeaTac, the home to Seattle’s airport, voters on Tuesday voted by a wide margin to set a $15 minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers, that includes paid sick days and protection for tipped employees. The mail-in votes in SeaTac are still being counted. Big Business spent big to defeat the will of the voters on these issues. Clearly they fear the 99 percent may finally stand up.

This is a movement that will continue to sweep the nation, like the workers at Walmart and McDonald’s who also fight for $15 an hour. And, those who stand in its way are going to be on the wrong side of history. In part this is old Yankee common sense that brought about the minimum wage 75 years ago in the depths of the Great Depression.

Stuck in an economic rut, clearly it was time to change decades of policies that let technological advances create millionaires but impoverish the workers who made the new products. New jobs like electricians, movie projection operators, telephone operators, recording engineers and automobile mechanics were created from 1895 to 1929. And while a tiny few bosses got rich, America’s workers saw little benefit from these new skills, and the system collapsed of its own weight after financial speculators crashed Wall Street, betting on the new economy.

This time, the Washington elite saved Wall Street, but turned their backs on reconstructing a new economic order to restore the middle class; instead, leaving working America the same fairy tale promise it has been hearing since the 1980s that the computer era would generate a new middle class. In 1935, tired of waiting for some invisible hand to lift up American wages to match the rising productivity of America’s workers, the Wagner Act passed to empower workers to organize, and in 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act was put in place to protect the wages of workers.

In 2013, while the Washington elite continue to debate downsizing the American Dream, people outside Washington are taking things in their own hands to right the ship and make the government work for them.  This is the new tide that is turning.

When 10 Republican members of Congress who get farm subsidy checks, like the family of Robert Aderholt of Alabama, voted to cut funds to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to help feed America’s children, people took note. His vote to keep his family’s share of a $66,891 subsidy shows that the tea party is more for the continuation of policies for the rich than solving the problems of America’s families.

Last month, a study out of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that workers in America’s fast-food industry are forced by their low wages to rely on more than $7 billion in public assistance to feed their families and for access to health care. This massive subsidy to multinational corporations earning billions in profits is inefficient. McDonald’s, the world’s second largest employer, had gross profits of more than $2.7 billion last year.

Clearly the subsidy McDonald’s gets from tax payers to help support the low wages of its workers isn’t to save the company from bankruptcy. And, given America’s trouble with obesity, it isn’t because people need help to keep McDonald’s prices low enough so we eat our way to heart attacks.

Now we see from Republicans in Congress their answer is to cut the subsidy by letting the workers starve. The voters in New Jersey and SeaTac know the correct answer is to tell American companies that America’s workers will not starve to make them profitable; the answer is to pay the workers.

America’s wages are out of sync with productivity and the minimum wage is additionally out of sync with prices. If the minimum wage of the 1960s was adjusted for prices, and to let those at the bottom get just half the productivity growth, then today the minimum wage would be around $15 an hour.

Some are looking at that wage with incredulity; testament to how we have gotten used to rotten wages. But, as the millions of America’s workers who lost jobs in manufacturing and construction during the Great Recession know, it matters how low you can fall.

We remain nearly 1.9 million below the 2007 peak employment in construction and 1.7 million fewer in manufacturing after the labor market peaked in 2008; but employment at general merchandise retailers and food service establishments is up almost a combined 900,000 since their 2008 peaks.

And, if you are among those who think that $15 an hour sounds too high because you don’t make $15 an hour, imagine what you would say to your boss if jobs at McDonald’s and Walmart paid $15 an hour if he didn’t give you a raise. You will be joining the wave of history soon.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

Three reasons why unpaid interns should not be paid

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By www.FindInternships.com

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — There has been a lot of recent controversy about unpaid internships, and many former unpaid interns have circled back to file lawsuits against the companies they once worked for. Many agree that interns should be compensated, and should not work for free. But here’s a different angle to consider.

The following are three reasons way “unpaid interns” should NOT be paid:

#1 – Because you agreed not to be paid. You applied for a non-paid internship, you were interviewed for a non-paid internship, you were accepted for a non-paid internship. And now you wanna sue the company for not paying you? You well knew what you were getting yourself into.

#2 – Because you had other options. It you wanted to be paid, why didn’t you just apply for a “paid” internship? Research shows that there are literally thousands of “paid” internship opportunities available throughout the country each year. Some offer salaries, some offer stipends – either way, they are paying you.

#3 – Because the experience may be more valuable than the salary. If you agree to do an unpaid internship, this does not mean that the experience itself can’t be more compensating than a paycheck. Some companies and organizations can give you a very valuable and educational experience that can lead to a high-paying job later. You may even pick up certain skills that others spend thousands of dollars to obtain, not to mention the amazing networking with other professionals that can help you reach your career goals. Even more, imagine how much more fuller and complete your resume will look. Not getting paid could still make the opportunity worth it!

To search hundreds of PAID and UNPAID internship opportunities, visit www.FindInternships.com

Jobs Are The Issue

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Opening ReMARCs

By Marc Morial

President of the National Urban League

With an economy that is still treading water, job creation should be the number one priority for elected officials in Washington.

Numerous reports indicate that corporate profits have made a comeback, but the trickle down onto Main Street remains strikingly elusive.  The Dow has soared to new heights as we’ve witnessed an extended case of suspended animation in the broader recovery, which remains stuck in neutral largely because of political gridlock in Washington.

Black unemployment remains 12.7%, which is still twice the unemployment rate among white workers — a gap that has not changed since the recovery began four years ago.  The current policy of austerity reflected in the sequester and reduction in federal government spending are restraining growth, blocking job creation and exacerbating inequality as the income gap widens between the top 1% and the middle class.

Going forward, uncertainty about a possible second shutdown in January and debt default in mid-February 2014 may restrain holiday consumer spending and business investment in inventory, which would further reduce GDP growth and contribute to a rise in unemployment.

As work continues towards creating a responsible budget, nothing should be done to negatively impact an already rocky recovery – and that includes enacting any irresponsible, ideological-based budget-slashing measures.  It’s time for the folks in the Beltway to get back in touch with the needs of the American people, and right now, Americans need jobs.

Marc Morial is the President of the National Urban League

Revolution Brewing and Active Transportation Alliance team up for year-round partnership

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Revolution Brewing takes a stand in support of walking, biking, transit advocacy

Chicago, IL — Active Transportation Alliance announces a 2014 partnership with Revolution Brewery as its Preferred Beer, making the Chicago-based craft brewery a sponsor or host at a number of Active Trans large-scale and smaller events.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to connect our supporters with great local beer from Revolution Brewery,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance.

As the Preferred Beer of the Active Transportation Alliance, Revolution Brewery will team up with its key accounts to support Active Trans annual events and smaller workshops and social events at Chicagoland bars and restaurants. As a sponsor, Revolution will donate beer for two large-scale events; Active Trans will sell the beer at the events and put the proceeds toward its mission.

“Advocacy for sustainable transportation is a paramount concern,” said Josh Deth, Chairman of the Party, Revolution Brewery. “Many of Revolution’s patrons and staff bike, walk, and use transit, so we’re happy to partner with Active Trans to make a difference.”

To celebrate this partnership, Active Trans and Revolution are teaming up for a new ride and party in summer of 2014. The event will be a short, social bike ride and parade ending in a party at Revolution Brewery. Revolution beer will also be available for sale at the post-ride festival for Four-Star Bike & Chow on Sunday, September 7.

Working with Revolution beer accounts, Active Trans plans to celebrate Bike to Work Week June 13-20 by encouraging bike commuters to enjoy an after-work stop at bars in Chicago and suburban communities near Metra stops as part of its week-long Bike Commuter Challenge event.

“We know people love bikes and beer,” said Ethan Spotts, Deputy Executive Director for Events and Marketing at the Active Transportation Alliance. “Of course Active Trans and Revolution recommend responsible consumption and transportation. If you are drinking, please lock up your bike and take a bus or cab home.”

Revolution Brewing just celebrated its third year in business and was recently named Beverage Maker of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Revolution operates a brewpub at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. and a 40,000-square-foot production brewery with a tap room at 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. Revolution brews more than 50 styles of beer each year, including the popular Anti-Hero IPA, seasonal favorites and the Deep Wood Series of barrel-aged beers. Revolution brewed more than 8,000 barrels of beer in 2012 and projects to brew 24,000 barrels in 2013. For more information, visit revbrew.com.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff.

For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

Lee Stark, Shane Kenyon and Eric Lynch cast in the Chicago Premiere of “Buzzer” by Tracey Scott Wilson and Directed by Jessica Thebus

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Buzzer – FEBRUARY 8 – MARCH 9; Tickets on sale January 3

Chicago, IL – Gentrification comes to a head in Tracey Scott Wilson’s Buzzer—a “taut, well-structured work about the difficulty of moving past history” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), making its Chicago premiere at Goodman Theatre, directed by Jessica Thebus. Three people encounter “the complexities of human relationships in a world where race doesn’t mean what it used to, but where it’s still enormously relevant” (Twin Cities Daily Planet): Eric Lynch plays Jackson, a young, successful African American attorney returning to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of his youth. Lee Stark plays Suzy, his white girlfriend who teaches at a tough inner city high school, and Shane Kenyon plays Don, his white, troubled best friend who finds himself at home among the neighborhood’s rougher edges. The design team includes John Culbert (lights), Mikhail Fiksel (sound), Birgit Rattenborg Wise (costumes) and Walt Spangler (sets). Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room. Buzzer runs February 8 – March 9 in the Owen Theatre (opening night is Tuesday, February 18). Tickets ($10 – $40; subject to change) go on sale to the general public Friday, January 3 and are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Buzzer, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Bank of America is the Owen Season Sponsor and the Goodman Scenemakers Board is a Sponsor Partner. A full performance calendar follows.

“This is a new play about America,” said playwright Tracey Scott Wilson, whose previous Goodman Theatre credits include a reading of Buzzer in the 2012 New Stages festival, The Good Negro and The Story. “As our cultural and political landscapes change, we’re forced to confront issues of race, class, privilege and belonging—we see complications arise in this play because of who each person is in respect to the neighborhood and their openness to change.”

Added director Jessica Thebus: “Tracey is an extremely passionate and articulate playwright, and I’m excited to be working with her for the first time. I’m also thrilled to be back at the Goodman, where I’ve done two of my favorite projects—Stage Kiss and The Clean House—and to be working in the Owen, which is one of my favorite theaters in the country.”

Kirk seeks Obamacare Website refund for taxpayers

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)  called on the agency which oversees healthcare.gov, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to release the contract for the failed Obamacare website and is demanding a refund for taxpayers.

“Americans deserve a clear explanation and a refund of their money,” Sen. Kirk said.  “It’s time the Administration came clean on a deal that spends $400 million of taxpayer money, especially when that deal results in a disaster like this website.”

In addition to Kirk, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) also signed the letter. A copy of the letter can be found here.

During a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday regarding the failed Obamacare health insurance exchanges, Sen. Kirk demanded that the American people know the details of the $400 million contract awarded to CGI Federal, Quality Software Services Incorporated (QSSI) and others. CMS Administrator Tavenner agreed to release any and all information including the documents but is yet to do so. A video of Senator Kirk questioning Administrator Tavenner can be found here.

On thanking my cousin, a teenage Englewood War Hero, for paying the ultimate price

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His blood spilled in Vietnam continues to heal today
By Chinta Strausberg
On this Veterans Day, I salute all men and women who have and are serving in the U.S. armed services—people who literally gave their lives to protect this nation including and especially my cousin, Milton Lee Olive, III, an 18-year-old Englewood Vietnam War hero who paid the ultimate price.
The irony of his brief life is that he went to Lexington, Mississippi to stay with his paternal grandfather and while there joined a civil rights voter registration group dedicated to registering African Americans.
Because it was ten-years after the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippii, ten-years earlier, his father, Milton B. Olive, II, gave him three choices: go back to school, get a job or join the military. It was on a Friday, October 22, 1965, when young Olive, nicknamed “Skipper,”  who was raised by my grandmother, Zelphia Wareagle and Jacob Augustus Spencer, spotted a live grenade during a search and destroy mission in Vietnam.
Skipper, who had already received a Purple Heart as a result of a heroic parachute action, came home and told his father he was going back to the Army and finish his job.
On October 22, 1965, Skipper did just that when he spotted a live grenade, placed it on his stomach and allowed it to explode. This time, his heroic act saved the lives of retired Jimmy B. Stanford, Sgt. Vince Yrineo, John Foster and Lionell Hubbard. Of the four, only Stanford is alive.
Since 1965 and since being a reporter, I have spoken to all of the survivors and all said they were grateful that this teenage Englewood hero willingly gave his life to save them. Because of Skipper, all have grand children and great-grandchildren.
But while their generations continue to multiply throughout the years, one of their lives is especially precious to me and that is of Capt. Stanford because it was he who used to be a racist having grown up in Texas.
Since then, Stanford has grown, matured since October 22, 1965 and today is a living example to his grandchildren of how important it is to love all mankind. When I received a message from one of his granddaughters, I almost cried for it was at that moment I truly knew that the blood my cousin spilled on that fatal day was not in vain and that through his survivors his spirit will never die.
There will be wreath-laying ceremonies today and visits to grave sites by politicians and family members, but my uncle Milton asked me as a deathbed wish to remind the nation of what his only child did. Uncle died in March of 1993 of cancer, but I always thought he grieved himself to death. He and his son were like a hand in a glove…inseparable; that is until God stepped in and took Skipper back home.
So, happy Veterans Day not just to Skipper’s memory but to all those men and women who are serving and who have served our nation and may elected officials begin to seriously address the social, economic and psychological needs our veterans have upon their return. We owe them that much; after all, they gave so much to us especially those like our Skipper who paid the ultimate price.

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.

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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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