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Archive for December 3rd, 2013

Juanita’s Perspectives: The Right to Vote Must Always be Protected

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on Juanita’s Perspectives: The Right to Vote Must Always be Protected

(Part One)

By Juanita Bratcher

Author, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine

“Literally, since the beginning of civilization, one of the things that the powerful has consistently denied the powerless throughout the centuries has been the right and the privilege to participate in their government, i.e., the right to vote…” – The Late Honorable Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham, in a yet unreleased book, “Lest We Never Forget: The Power of the Ballot,” by Author Juanita Bratcher

Some months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court was in the process of revisiting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the Shelby County vs. Holder case, which among other things, challenged Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

During oral arguments concerning the case, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia commented that the law was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” And Chief Justice John Roberts pointed to statistics that showed racial disparities as to some aspects of voting in Massachusetts and of that in Mississippi.

When the decision was finally handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court a few months later – June 25, 2013 – Section 4, an integral part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – looked upon as a powerful ingredient of the Act – had been gutted. The vote was 5-4.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called it “a serious setback for voting rights.” And civil rights and human rights activists agreed with Holder. They expressed disappointment and vowed to continue the fight to safeguard and protect the rights of every eligible American to vote.

Striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a stark reminder of a comment made by the late Mississippi U.S. Senator Theodore G. Bilbo in his bid for re-election in 1946. During his re-election campaign, Bilbo said “Niggers” (his word) should not be allowed to vote in this country.

Bilbo was in stark opposition to Blacks having the right to the ballot box.

Said Bilbo: “Do not let a single Nigger register and vote, If you let a few register and vote this year, next year there will be twice as many, and the next thing you know the whole thing will be out-of-hand.”

If out-of-hand meant that more Blacks would be added to the voter registration roll, then one can say he was prophetically accurate in that regard. But the fact that he felt Blacks shouldn’t have the right to vote in this country was evil, mean-spirited, racist and hateful. Every eligible American citizen, regardless of race, color or creed, should be able to exercise their right to vote at the ballot box.

And today, there are some conservative politicians in this country who are using all kinds of tactics to try and diminish the black vote.

“We cannot and will not go back to the dark era of yesteryear when certain citizens could not vote in this country. We must fight tooth and nail, every step of the way, to extinguish efforts by some who would try to disenfranchise voters’ constitutional right to the ballot box” – Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine

“African Americans encountered various barriers in their efforts to get the right to vote in America – hostile law enforcement officials that were indifferent to them having the audacity to pursue their goal of being added to the registration rolls, insulting literacy tests designed to be difficult, to deny them the right to vote, and the Grandfather’s clause and poll taxes. Voting was mostly under state control. The U.S. Justice Department established that in many counties the tests were ‘administered unfairly.’ Many of these incidences are pointed out in my book, “Lest We Never Forget: The Power of the Ballot.”

During the 2012 Presidential election during Early Voting, I went to three polling places to vote. Ultimately, because of long lines at several polling places, it took four visits before I was able to cast my vote in the 2012 General Election. But it didn’t matter to me; I was determined to cast my vote. And I did! Determined that I would not fail in my efforts to vote in the 2012 election, I finally sealed the deal on my fourth visit to the poll. I went to three different polling places on four different days before things clicked for me. But I would have gone a fifth or sixth time if that would get it done.

Patience is golden. There’s an old saying that states, ‘If once you try and don’t succeed, try, try again.’ And that should be the spirit of every American. We must make certain that the right to vote is protected for everyone that’s eligible.

Reportedly, there are about 34 states where legislation has passed or pending that would require a picture photo to vote (Voter ID). Other ways voters are being disenfranchised are through the abandonment of same-day voter registration, reduction of early voting periods (early voting prior to elections), and other voter suppression efforts. Many of these suppressive efforts are detailed in reports by the Brennan Center, New York University’s School of Law. The most recent one is titled, “Voting Law Changes in 2012”.

Conservative governors and Republican-controlled Legislatures across the country are trying to undercut and undermine the vote through Voter ID laws, purging of Voter Registration Rolls and shortening of voting hours, which, obviously, has the possibility of disenfranchising millions of voters – specifically Blacks, other minorities, senior citizens and young voters. Voter ID laws, purges and shorter voting hours are taking place in several states across the country.

Block the vote

In 2012, we witnessed the shenanigans of Republican governors and Republican Legislatures across the country engaged in passing Voter ID laws and purges of voter registration rolls which will disenfranchise thousands of voters. Voters should be running to the polls in large numbers to vote in order to counteract some of this madness.

Many of us remember during the 2012 Presidential election when Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, at a Republican State Committee meeting, confidently and arrogantly declared that Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law would allow Republican Candidate Mitt Romney a win in the State of Pennsylvania.

Pointing out his legislative accomplishments, Voter ID being one of them, Turzai told Committee members that with Voter ID, winning the state was a “done” deal for Romney.

Said Turzai: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done.”

Turzai’s well-laid out plans were crushed when a federal judge halted the Voter ID law to take place in the November 6, 2012 election.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson delayed the implementation of the law until after the November 6 election. He agreed with opponents of the measure that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls could disenfranchise some voters, although Republicans said the law was put in place to prevent voter fraud. Voters could be asked for photo ID but could not be barred from voting without it.

“There should never be barriers set-up to stop people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in this country,” said Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com. “We cannot and will not go back to the dark era of yesteryear when certain citizens could not vote in this country. We must fight tooth and nail, every step of the way, to extinguish efforts by some who would try to disenfranchise voters’ constitutional right to the ballot box. I urge all American voters to participate in the electoral process and vote for the candidate (s) of their choice.”

Bilbo was not alone in his efforts to stop Blacks from voting in this country. That notion exists even today. During the 2012 elections, several Republican governors and majority Republican Legislatures in states across the country enacted certain laws to suppress the vote and disenfranchise certain voters from casting a vote. It is a prime example of that old cliché: The more things change the more they remain the same. Some conservatives are still working on ways to suppress the vote and disenfranchise certain voters.

In years past, some lost their lives in the struggle to get equal voting rights for Blacks in this country.

The late Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham and the Honorable Emil Jones, then President of the Illinois State Senate, both wrote outstanding Introductions for “Lest We Never Forget: The Power of the Ballot” which deals with the importance of voting. I was honored to have their assistance, time and efforts, specifically considering their vast knowledge on the subject and in taking time from their busy schedules to accommodate my request. Yet, it was something they felt strongly about, and that was obvious in regards to comments made in their eloquent introductions.

Looking forward toward the 2014 and 2016 national elections, we must do everything in our power to fight the negative influences that seek to take away voting rights from any American citizen. The power of the ballot must always be protected.

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 37 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.


Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on “UNDRESSING THE N-WORD”

By H. Lewis Smith

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Over the past year or so, many events have been occurring in the Black Community at the hand of the Black Community that continues to bring continual shame and degradation to the honorable memories, sacred struggle and sacrifice of African-American ascendants. Some may argue against it, but these acts continue to adversely affect the growth, development, and progression of the Black community, on a whole, to this very day. For instance, in November 2013, former NBA greats Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and ESPN commentator Michael Wilborn bowed down to and pledged their allegiance to a word that dehumanized, stigmatized and objectified their ancestors on national TV. That word is the n-word (n**ga).

It is this sort of pervasive 18th century slave mentality, blindness to such behaviors, and misuse of influential power – much-made possible by the blood and sacrifices of their own ancestors, that prompted writing the book Undressing of the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games. It is high time that Black America stop the antics, halt the selfish mentality of “I got mines”, and really use all resources they have to demand respect for the entire race within and without the community. Ignorance is no longer acceptable or the calling card to bring attention to Black America; rather, Black America must take the time to educate themselves, and in so doing, reality will be made clear.

The following are excerpts from one of the chapters in my soon-to-be released book entitled, Undressing The N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games.

Forbiddingly, you learn today that your mother was brutally and unmercifully bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Now close your eyes and think about this for a moment: think about the heinousness in the act; see your mother screaming for her life and doing everything in her power to defend against and fight off her unrelenting attackers; think about all of the pain and anguish she endured as blow upon blow of the hammer welled down on her, before the final bit of life was unrightfully snatched with that last thud. Can you see it? Can you see the multiple plugs imprinted into whatever part of her body the hammer unforgivingly fell upon? Can you empathize with that dreadful moment in time?

Now ask yourself this: in order to memorialize your mother’s life and honor her sacred and beautiful memory, would you start using a hammer as a symbol or in remembrance of your mother? Of course not! To the contrary, every time you saw a hammer, it would likely stir up strong feelings of sadness, disgust, and, perhaps, even anger. The hammer would symbolize the bashing murder of your mom and, because of this association, you would elect to never disgrace her memory or embrace the cruel acts carried out against her by adopting the hammer as a symbol of the love and respect you possess for your mother. As a matter of fact, even if her murder occurred over 50 years ago, your feelings would not change and no one could convince you that a hammer is just a tool that carries no real power; rather, because of your experience, you would always view it as a weapon that unjustly ripped away a core part of who you are and someone that was most significant in your world.

In parallel to the previous analogy, replace the hammer with the term n**ger”; replace the mother figure with Black/African-American ancestors and present time Black America. The word n**ger (or n**ga or n**gah in ghetto vernacular) symbolizes death, terrorism and dehumanization in the lives of untold millions of Black people. Men, women, AND children were butchered, slaughtered, severely beaten unmercifully, raped, disemboweled, and castrated all because they were considered valueless n**gers. They were murdered with the chant of “n**ger, n**ger, n**ger” ringing in their ears as they drew their last breath. Racial slurs such as coon, jungle bunny, sambo, Uncle Tom, jigaboo, or porch monkey didn’t trigger mayhem, terror and death into the lives of Black African-American ancestors; instead, it was ONE word and ONE word only: n**ger. The n-word is the most infamous and profane word in the English language. The origin, definition, and acts carried out under the guise of the term fueled the African-American Holocaust – a holocaust that, sadly, has been sanitized by American historians.

“I’m an American, not African-American” is often times an argument advanced by many of those lost ones who have chosen to walk in identity blindness, trying hard to fit in or align with a culture not their own. Hispanics have no problem identifying with their culture, Jewish people relate to their culture, Asians to theirs, Arabs to theirs, and so on. However, some Black Americans desire no part of identifying as an African descendant because they feel some sort of shame in being associated to Africa. It matters not if your black heritage is linked to Haiti, Jamaica, West Indies, Caribbean, or India; ultimately, all roads somewhere down the line lead back to Africa, the Motherland. Everyone with a color-filled complexion has some connection to Africa; and if one chooses to learn of their past and origins, he/she will find that their truest history is indeed a remarkable marvel in which to be proud and one from which they should be more than thankful to have been born.

Black people are the only people on the face of this earth who have been detached and separated from their ancient history and culture. Their acceptance of being defined as the n-word is not the mindset of a free people. Ironically, some black people will reject the notion of being referred to as an African but will embrace the n-word without hesitation, and will fight to defend their freedom of speech to use the pejorative word.

Is it racist to refer to self as “African-American” or to celebrate Kwanzaa? Some see the celebration of Kwanzaa as a racist act. Some propose that blacks should view themselves as Americans rather than African-Americans, and, thus, should have no separate holiday. Some promote rejecting the holiday completely, using the justification that blacks would protest a white racist if they created a holiday to celebrate whiteness.

Perhaps, people should conduct their due diligence and research the origin of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween and even the Christian religion itself which serves as an advocacy for White Supremacy. Ironically, the ethnocentrism celebrations of Cinco de Mayo (Hispanic and Latino), as well as Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah, just a few of the numerous Jewish holidays, are not considered racism. However, any attempt by Black African-Americans to introduce, acknowledge or celebrate any form of African culture is considered racist and taboo. Black African-Americans need to stop living within the confined boundaries of the 400-year-old anesthesia and start paying attention.

Acknowledging Kwanzaa would be one of the right steps to take in helping Black African-Americans re-establish their identities – unless of course Blacks choose to remain ashamed of being black as the indoctrination process was set in place to accomplish. Thriving black civilizations maintain dates of existence to well before the Aztecs, Mayans, Greeks and Romans even came into the picture. High time has come for Black America to take back the strong cultural identity that was stolen and contorted into some dishonorable, foul worthless sense of being. Black America must stop acting victimized and no longer remain powerless to an on-going 400-year-old mind control game.

Some may have a problem with Kwanzaa’s founder Professor Maulana “Ron” Karenga and, perhaps, these concerns do not go unfounded. However, one should not lose the spirit, meaning, and intent of the holiday based on popular opinion of its founder. As well, before one chooses to immediately cast away any credibility in the holiday and founder, lest not forget that America itself initially consisted of England’s undesirables, crooks, murderers and thieves; they were shipped to America because there was no hope of their rehabilitation. Now, America is the greatest country on earth, many thanks of course to the sweat, blood and tears of African enslaved ancestors.

Black America must not jump on the train of continual sabotage; rather, Black America must find the good in efforts such as Kwanzaa to use as a tool in re-gaining the much-needed collective self-awareness.

Many opponents of Kwanzaa reject the holiday and question its significance, but will openly accept and embrace the n-word without question – even while well-knowing the history of the n-word. How preposterous is that? A word connected to the mutilating, butchering and slaughtering of countless millions of black ancestors is used with no end by those same ancestors’ black descendants. Regardless to its newness or past life of its founder, for the liberated mind, accepting Kwanzaa as a “real” holiday should be a no-brainer, and realized as a step in the direction of black unity, liberation, and progression.

The book Undressing The N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games, will be available in book stores nationwide and in eBook versions shortly after the first of 2014. Also, to learn more about UVCC and its mission, visit www.theunitedvoices.com.

H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com); and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word“. Follow H. Lewis Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1

Federal disaster assistance to help unemployed

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on Federal disaster assistance to help unemployed

Residents in 15 Illinois Counties Might be Eligible

CHICAGO, IL – Individuals and business owners out of work as a direct result of tornadoes and high winds on Nov. 17 might be eligible for federal disaster unemployment assistance, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said today.

The disaster unemployment assistance is part of a series of programs available after President Barack Obama agreed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s request of a federal disaster declaration. Two EF4 tornadoes killed at least seven people and injured many more. Twenty-four tornados were reported. The tornadoes and wind destroyed or damaged at least 2,441 homes, left thousands of people without power and closed miles of roads until power lines, trees and other debris could be safely removed.

The counties declared disaster areas are Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermillion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties. Individuals whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of tornados might be eligible for financial assistance. The federal disaster declaration enables people in the area to access temporary housing, grants or loans to help with losses. Businesses might qualify for low-interest loans.

Applications are available at IDES offices. Office locations are below. Office locations also are available by calling IDES at (800) 244-5631 and at ides.illinois.gov/myoffice. Internet access is available at Illinois libraries and WorkNet centers. Deadline to apply is January 2, 2014.

To apply, individuals will need their Social Security number; the name and address of their employer; and proof that tornados interrupted the opportunity to work. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stub might also be required. Self-employed individuals also should provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F from their tax returns.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency designated this disaster FEMA-DR-4157. Individuals generally can receive benefits as long as their unemployment continues to be a result of this disaster. Eligibility for benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis. Maximum eligibility is 27 weeks.

IDES supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development.

Applications for DUA must be filed by January 2, 2014.

To be eligible for DUA benefits under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA-DR-4157, individuals:

Must be unemployed or self-unemployed whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by the President;

Must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and

Must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; and

Must have worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, one of the counties listed above; and

Must establish that the work or self-employment they cannot perform was their primary source of income.

Also eligible to apply for DUA are individuals who Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or

Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or

Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or Cannot work or perform self-employment due to a closure of a facility by the federal government.

Individuals will need their Social Security number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer to file for DUA. Applicants are required to provide proof (at the time of filing or within 21 days of filing the DUA claim) that they were employed or self-employed at the time the disaster occurred or were scheduled to begin (or resume) a job or self-employment when the disaster occurred. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs might also be required. Self-employed individuals also should provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F.

Applications filed after January 2, 2014 will be considered untimely unless the individual provides good cause. Individuals generally can receive up to 27 weeks of DUA benefits as long as his/her unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. Eligibility for DUA benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis.

Individuals who might be eligible for assistance must file a claim with the Illinois Department of Employment Security. IDES offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

IDES Office Locations

1307 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign

1300 S. 9th St., Springfield

2311 Hoffman Drive, Effingham

1550 First Avenue – South Towne Mall, Ottawa

250 N. Chicago St., Joliet

8195 Express Drive, Marion

406 Elm Street, Peoria

207 E. Hamilton Road, Bloomington

333 Potomac Blvd, Suite E, Mt. Vernon

1010 Dixie Highway, Chicago Height

Other IDES offices can be found at www.ides.illinois.gov/myoffice

Federal assistance also might be available. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers assistance programs, has a toll-free telephone number (800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired) for victims to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Available assistance to people and businesses in the 15 approved counties affected by the Nov. 17 storms include:

Grants of up to $32,400 to help with disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs, such as replacement of personal property and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.

Low-interest loans for up to $200,000 for homeowners to cover uninsured property losses, including repair or replacement of homes, vehicles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Renters and homeowners can receive loans of up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc.

Crisis counseling, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and Veteran benefits.

Businesses and private not-for-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans also are available to some businesses for economic losses.

Governor Quinn is committed to helping communities across Illinois recover following the deadly storms on Nov. 17. For more information about disaster recovery resources, including shelters and ways to help tornado survivors, visit ready.illinois.gov.

Black Pie Maker Popularizes Coconut Pie

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on Black Pie Maker Popularizes Coconut Pie

Move over sweet potato: Coconut pie popularity is on the rise

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Life is about possibilities; remixing old tradition and offering a dose of love in the name of scrumptious coconut pie. Meet Russell Dilligard (www.russelldilligardscoconutpie.com), television/film actor; songwriter; and now in-demand pie maker. His coconut pie is positioned to become the next must-have dessert sensation, prepared to rival sweet potato, red velvet and apple pie as the go-to dessert and holiday staple.

Dilligard’s pie is made from coconut – rich in antioxidant properties: 100% from scratch, no fillers, no custard – simply a soft buttery crust, fabulously flaky, exotic coconut, hint of citrus, super moist and sweet for the discriminating coconut lover. Dilligard says, “Once you’ve tasted my coconut pie you will say it’s the best you’ve ever had. Not only is it made with the finest ingredients, it’s made absolutely with love to melt your heart, warm your soul and reasonably priced at $35.”

Dilligard has been a foodie all his life and cooking since he was a teenager. It began as part of a family ritual, enjoying the soul-enticing flavors of traditional southern recipes handed down from generation to generation. Sunday dinners, holiday meals and desserts were a big deal growing up in the Fort Greene Housing projects in Brooklyn, NY. Dilligard knew that life was bigger than a concrete jungle and if his acting career ever stalled, he would simply pivot to his entrepreneurial passion and start baking coconut pies. After enjoying moderate success acting, jobs were far and few, however, the demand for homemade coconut pie were growing.

A passion for baking, his momma’s coconut pie recipe remixed has made Russell Dilligard the go-to pie maker with stellar reviews: “I finished the whole pie in less than 2 days and it was simply amazing and yummy,” says Giovanna Aguilar, Writer/Producer/Director. Samantha Taylor laughs, “I can’t begin to tell you how much I love coconut, and this pie is good.”

Dilligard has turned his passion into a culinary experience and is ready to share his coconut pie with pie lovers around the country. Move over sweet potato, coconut pie is here to stay.

To schedule an interview with Russell Dilligard and order the ‘best you’ve ever tasted’ coconut pie, visit the website: www.russelldilligardscoconutpie.com, 800-304-5772 and contact@russelldilligardscoconutpie.com.

To follow on social media: www.facebook.com/RussellDilligardsCoconutPie and @RDcoconutpie on Twitter.

Russell Dilligard’s tips for selecting the ultimate dessert this holiday season:

1) Know your pies. Select a pie with the finest natural ingredients made from scratch and love
2) Be Healthy. Coconut is an antioxidant which can increase metabolism, ward of germs and build cells
3) Keep it simple. Each pie is homemade and handmade with no after taste from being factory produced
4) Purchase today. Sample a slice of pie heaven today with Russell Dilligards’ mouthwatering coconut pie at www.russelldilligardscoconutpie.com

Photo Caption: Russell Dilligard,  Go-to pie maker with stellar reviews

IEMA highlights holiday safety in December

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on IEMA highlights holiday safety in December

Encourages holiday shoppers to give preparedness gifts this year

SPRINGFIELD, IL – If you’re trying to find the perfect holiday presents for everyone on your list, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering gift ideas to help your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. IEMA is focusing on holiday safety throughout December as part of its annual preparedness campaign.

“The Nov. 17 tornado outbreak across Illinois really illustrates how disasters can happen anytime, often with little warning,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “While you’re shopping for gifts this holiday season, consider gifts that can help friends and family stay safe during all types of emergencies. You can give something small, like a flashlight or first aid kit, or surprise someone with a home or vehicle preparedness kit you assembled yourself.”

Monken said preparedness gift ideas include:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radio with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology. In addition to alerting for weather warnings, these radios also broadcast warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit with sterile bandages and gauze pads in assorted sizes; antiseptic; latex gloves; tweezers; scissors; soap and moistened towelettes; and thermometer.
  • Home emergency preparedness kit stocked with a three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food; battery-powered radio, weather radio and flashlights with extra batteries; first aid kit; shut-off wrench (to turn off household gas and water); manual can opener; and fire extinguisher.
  • Vehicle emergency preparedness kit stocked with a flashlight with extra batteries; first aid kit; water and non-perishable snacks; blankets; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables; sack of sand or kitty litter; tool kit; and shovel. The items can be packed in a backpack or rubber tub.

Most preparedness gift items can be found in hardware and department stores. For additional information on emergency preparedness, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

CMS extends Retiree Dependent Audit Deadline until January 31st

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on CMS extends Retiree Dependent Audit Deadline until January 31st

Extension allows for more time to obtain needed IRS Documentation

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Department of Central Management Services (CMS) announced that it is extending the deadline for the state’s dependent eligibility verification audit until Jan. 31st, 2014. The deadline had been previously extended to Dec. 6th as a result of the federal government shutdown.

“In order to ensure that retirees have the time necessary to obtain and remit documentation from the Internal Revenue Service, the deadline has been pushed back until the end of January,” Acting CMS Director Simone McNeil said. “We must ensure that no retirees or dependents inadvertently lose access to their eligible benefits.”

The audit, by an independent firm, HMS Employer Solutions, is being conducted to ensure that only eligible dependents are covered under the state’s group insurance programs.

By law, the state retirement plans can only cover eligible members and dependents.  While most dependents are eligible, some dependents in the plan may no longer meet the eligibility guidelines.

For more information about the process, including a link to an FAQ page, members should go to the CMS Benefits Choice website and pick the relevant plan:


A Taste of Poetry

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On December - 3 - 2013 Comments Off on A Taste of Poetry

Poet’s Corner

(Poetry by Juanita Bratcher)

The System Never Fails

You can’t beat the system

The system’s as old as apple pie

It knows all the tricks of the trade

And its powers you will never defy

So don’t think for one moment

That the system can be skated around

Because those who tried to buck the system

Found it to be profoundly sound

No matter who sits at the helm

They must bend to the system in place

And when they get too big for the system

It’s the system that will win the race

With all its faults, the system will always prevail

And any dream to knock it down, undoubtedly is destined to fail

The system is strong and sound, rock solid at its best

And no one can muster the power to put it to the ultimate test

Copyright (C)  By Juanita Bratcher

Never Give Up On Freedom

No matter how hard the struggle

No matter how long the fight

Never give up on your efforts

To make sure freedom is everybody’s right

Never give up on freedom

Be determined to bring change about

Never turn your head and ignore injustices

Or fumble the ball when in doubt

Sometimes the battle may seem quite laden

At times it may seem quite off-cue

But always hold on to perseverance

Because perseverance and determination will see you through

Never give up on freedom

Never give up on your dream to bring change about

Always stay focused and determined

And make sure your mind is free of any doubt

Copyright (C)  By Juanita Bratcher

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 37 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.

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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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