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Illinois Teacher of the Year to be named at annual banquet for top educators Oct. ...
Pro-Romney cartoon in Fox News mogul's tabloid might as well have been signed by the ...
CHICAGO, IL - Students from Lincoln Park High School will walk out of class and ...
Inspired by her observations of those living in her retirement residence, Brenda Elizabeth Rose’s ‘Selected ...
NAACP Chairman’s Award to be Presented to Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. at ...
The Alliance for Community Media and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Bestowed Honors ...
SPRING GROVE, IL—In honor of Labor Day, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti joined Acting Assistant Director ...
From pilsners to parking lots, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is aggressively tracking down ...
Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Opens at Goodman Theatre Steve Scott directs ...
Dr. Sarah Ferguson Releases a Memoir About Her Personal Triumph Over Heart Disease, and ...

Archive for December 30th, 2013

Why Americans have grown to hate Congress

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
By William Spriggs

Congress has itself to blame for its low ratings among the American people. Policymaking is all about choices; it is the calculus of weighing costs and benefits and the distribution of those costs and benefits. In theory, there are lots of policies that can make everyone better off, but they can only be accomplished by redistributing the gains of the policy.

Congress recently passed a budget deal that ended extended unemployment benefits for those unemployed for more than six months. Congress could choose to increase government expenditures-rather than their current stance of decreasing them-as was done in all other economic recoveries.

Republican members of Congress think America’s working families have forgotten that Republicans expanded real government expenditures (adjusting for inflation) in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan and 2001 under President George W. Bush by about 16 percent at this point in the business cycle.

The stalemate caused by Republican refusal to increase government expenditures has resulted directly in lower public sector employment-the loss of hundreds of thousands of public school teachers across the country; and more broadly in a tepid recovery.

The argument against restoring government is that it will increase the federal deficit, leaving unpaid bills for our children to pay and put pressure on interest rates that will hurt investment and homeownership by the middle class and tie the hands of future budgets with large interest costs. Well, of course, the failure to back President Barack Obama’s America’s Job Act back in 2011 has meant fewer teachers for our children today, rising class sizes and closed schools in many of America’s cities, meaning our children will pay with higher dropout rates, lower achievement and lower future earnings. So, that is a trade-off most people think is not sensible.

Currently the Federal Reserve, understanding the dire situation of the economy, has been aggressively pursuing a policy to keep long-term interest rates down.  Its efforts has moderated the loss of wealth in housing that most people experienced when the housing price collapse took away the savings America’s workers stored in their homes as equity.

The Fed policy also has meant a tremendous growth in the Fed’s holding of U.S. Treasury notes. The odd thing about that is that the Federal Reserve’s profits from receiving interest payments from holding those bonds go back to the U.S. Treasury. So, currently the structure of U.S. debt is at long-term low rates, and the net interest payments are lower because the Fed pays the interest back to the Treasury. This makes the arguments about interest rates silly.

Ultimately federal debt does have to be paid. Since 2009 and the current recovery, 95 percent of income gains have gone to the top 1 percent of American incomes. In the fairness category, most people would agree that if the net result of policies has benefited the top 1 percent only, then they should be the ones paying taxes. It follows directly from a belief that everyone can be made better off, but only if the people benefiting from the economic policy share the gains with others. But, Republicans have fought hard to protect the 1% from paying their share of policy gains with others. One example is of corporate CEOs who have boosted their salaries by shipping U.S. jobs overseas because of “trade” agreements favoring corporations over human, worker and environmental rights. Through the 1970s, CEOs made 20 times their typical worker; today they take home more than 230 times the pay of their typical worker. And, while the federal government isn’t taking advantage of low interest rates, CEOs are by using corporate borrowing to buy back the company stock and boost stock prices and CEO wealth and pay.

So, if the point of all this fiscal austerity is to protect us from federal debt in a time of low interest rates, we see who is benefiting. If we favor austerity over creating jobs, then we should at least compensate the people we are asking to suffer-those who are unemployed.

Oddly, the research on the effect of extending unemployment benefits has pointed to this anomaly-people getting the benefit are more likely to keep looking for jobs longer rather than give up and drop out of the labor force (disappearing from the statistics). By ignoring them, Congress wishes they would go away. By ignoring the imbalances in their choices, the American people are wishing Congress would go away.

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

Number of Black-owned TV stations plummets to zero

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Number of Black-Owned TV Stations Plummets to Zero

New America Media
By Joseph Torres and S. Derek Turner

We just experienced a shameful milestone in the history of U.S. media — and barely anyone noticed.

There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country.

This sorry state of affairs is the culmination of a trend that started in the late 1990s when Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. This policy shift crowded out existing owners of color and ensured that it would be nearly impossible for new owners to access the public airwaves. Recent FCC actions (and in some cases, inaction) have only hastened this decline in opportunities for diverse broadcasters.

From Little … to Nothing

When Free Press released its first report on the state of TV ownership in 2006, we found that there were only 18 African American-owned and operated full-power commercial TV stations — representing just 1.3 percent of all such stations.

By December 2012, those 18 had shrunk to just five. And now they’re all gone.

Roberts Broadcasting, a black-owned media company, just announced a deal to sell its three remaining full-power TV stations to ION Media Networks for nearly $8 million.

Once considered a phenomenal success story in an industry known for its stunning lack of diversity, Roberts Broadcasting was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2011.

This decline stemmed primarily from Viacom’s decision to shutter the UPN network, which Roberts had affiliated with due to UPN’s unique focus on programming featuring ordinary portrayals of African Americans.

Roberts Broadcasting’s exit from the market comes on the heels of the departures of two other prominent black owners.

In late October, the Sinclair Broadcast Group continued its buying spree by acquiring a Fox affiliate in Portland, Me., from a company helmed by Charles Glover, a funk musician turned broadcaster. That same month, Access.1 Communications agreed to sell its Atlantic City NBC station to Locus Point Networks.

New Jersey residents are up in arms about the deal: Locus Point is expected to close the station and give up its license as the FCC takes broadcast stations off the air and auctions those airwaves to cellphone companies.

Broken Promises

It’s hard to fathom the sorry state of broadcast ownership during the administration of our nation’s first black president. After all, during his first presidential campaign, President Obama pledged to “encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media.”

But that hasn’t happened.

Public interest and civil rights groups have warned the FCC that its policies allowing for greater media consolidation were going to push out the few remaining people of color who owned broadcast stations.

Media consolidation has made it harder for people of color to own broadcast stations because it raises entry barriers for small owners. Concentration makes it harder for any small owner to compete, and the few non-white broadcast licensees we have are far more likely to be small owners who control just a handful of stations or a single broadcast outlet.

Our nation’s history of discrimination created a lack of wealth in communities of color, and without access to capital, people of color find themselves permanently on the outside. And for those few owners of color who have been able to acquire stations, consolidation has made it harder for them to compete against larger and better-financed media conglomerates.

Can It Get Any Worse? Yes, It Can

If you think this situation can’t get worse, think again.

While owning a full-power TV station has been out of reach for most people of color, low-power TV has offered an opportunity to get into this otherwise closed industry.

Low-power TV commercial stations serve smaller areas than their full-power counterparts, and often lack legal protections, including guaranteed carriage by cable and satellite providers.

Consequently, they’re far cheaper to own.

At the end of 2011, the FCC reported that people of color owned 15 percent of all low-power TV stations, compared to just 3 percent of full-power TV outlets.

But this small ray of hope is expected to dim as the prospect of an auction to cellphone companies could drive out the owners of these low-power TV stations too.

The FCC is preparing to conduct that incentive auction in the next year or two. As a result, speculators have been buying up both low- and full-power TV stations in an effort to cash in.

This fervent speculation is creating a climate where many existing owners are forced to sell (as their creditors are more interested in pocketing a financial windfall than serving the community). We’re already seeing several full- and low-power owners of color exiting the market.

Will New FCC Leadership Bring Change We Can Believe In?

The FCC has a long and pitiful track record here, failing to promote or even preserve what little ownership diversity remains.

There’s hope this could change now that the agency has a new chairman.

But leaders have to lead.

In this case, that means the new FCC has to acknowledge that we’re well beyond a crisis point. Its own policies are responsible for the shameful state of minority ownership.

The elimination of black owners is a tragedy, but the FCC must take action to address its own failures.


Joseph Torres is senior external affairs director and S. Derek Turner is research director for the Free Press.

IDOT and Illinois Tollway Announce 70 mph Locations for New Law on Interstate Highways

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

New Law Increases Speed Limit to 70 mph on Interstates

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Tollway today announced the locations where Interstate speed limits will increase from 65 to 70 miles-per-hour when a new law takes effect January 1, 2014. Senate Bill 2356 was signed into law in August, increasing the maximum speed limit on Illinois Interstates from 65 to 70 mph, where deemed reasonable and safe. Drivers must to continue to watch for signs and obey the posted speed limits.

“IDOT crews will begin to remove the old 65 mph signs and install the new 70 mph signs in the designated areas early January to comply with the new law, but it’s very important that motorists obey the posted speed limits,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “We encourage motorists to respect and obey all Illinois traffic laws, buckle their seatbelts, and avoid distractions to help ensure everyone makes it to their destinations safely.”

“We remind our customers to always obey the posted speed limit while driving on the Tollway and all Illinois roads,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “The new 70 mph speed limit goes into effect on segments of our system that can accommodate the higher speed while still maintaining the safety of our customers, which is always our primary concern.”

Once the new law goes into effect, approximately 87 percent of Interstate highways and 98 percent of rural Interstates under IDOT’s jurisdiction will be increased to 70 mph. Approximately 28 percent of the Tollway’s 286-mile system will be increased to 70 mph.

IDOT and the Illinois Tollway will continue to review any roadway speed limit as needed, including monitoring changing traffic behaviors and the completion of construction projects.

IDOT fabricated approximately 900 new 70 mph signs intermittently over an approximate one month period. The signs were made with recycled materials at IDOT’s Central Sign Shop in Springfield. The signs have been distributed throughout the state and will be installed between January 2 and January 17, 2014, weather permitting. The total fabrication and installation cost for the 70 mph speed limit signs is estimated at $200,000.

For the Illinois Tollway, new 70 mph signs will be installed between January 7 and January 14, 2014, weather permitting, on a 64-mile segment of the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and on a 15-mile portion of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) at a cost of about $18,000.

The new law includes an additional safety provision, which lowers the limit by five mph at which drivers may be charged by law enforcement with excessive speeding. Currently, the threshold for penalties is 31 mph over the limit. The new law lowers that threshold to 26 mph over the limit, in an effort to increase safety on Illinois roads.


National Economic Council Director responds to 1.3 million Americans “abruptly” cut off unemployment insurance

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Statement from Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council

As the President has repeatedly made clear, it  defies economic sense, precedent and our values to allow 1.3 million Americans fighting to find jobs to see their unemployment insurance abruptly cut off — especially in the middle of the holiday season. These are our neighbors, our community members and often fellow parents who depend on this as a temporary lifeline while they are actively looking for new jobs to support their families and make ends meet.  Never before have we abruptly cut off emergency unemployment insurance when we faced this level of long-term unemployment and it would be a blow to these families and our economy.

While we remain disappointed that Congress did not heed the President’s call to extend emergency unemployment benefits for next year before the holidays, the President as well as the Democratic Congressional leadership have made clear the importance of extending the benefits immediately upon Congress’s return. Senator Jack Reed and Senator Heller have put forward bipartisan legislation to extend emergency unemployment insurance for three months which would prevent these 1.3 million workers and their families from losing benefits while giving more time for consideration of further extension through 2014, and Leader Reid will bring it to a vote as soon as they return. The President strongly encourages both the Democratic and Republican Congressional leadership and their members to support this bipartisan solution and to pass the Reed-Heller bill.

Chicago, six other Metros add more than 60,000 jobs in November

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Temporary Layoffs Push Up Rate Outside Suburban Chicago

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Metropolitan Area

Nov.
2013*

Nov.
2012

Bloomington-Normal

7.0%

6.1%

Champaign-Urbana

7.9%

7.1%

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville

8.1%

8.3%

Danville

11.7%

9.4%

Davenport-Moline-Rock Isl.

6.5%

6.3%

Decatur

12.2%

10.1%

Kankakee-Bradley

10.7%

9.9%

Lake-Kenosha, IL-WI

8.0%

7.7%

Peoria

8.9%

7.5%

Rockford

11.0%

10.3%

Springfield

7.4%

6.9%

St. Louis (IL-Section)

8.4%

8.3%

* Data subject to revision.

CHICAGO, IL – The November unemployment rate in the Chicago‑Joliet‑Naperville Metro Division fell .02 to reach 8.1 percent while temporary layoffs pushed rates higher elsewhere, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Not seasonally adjusted data compares November 2013 to November 2012.

Illinois businesses added jobs in seven metros. Largest increases: Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+1.5 percent, +55,300), Lake-Kenosha (+1.2 percent, +4,700), Champaign-Urbana (+0.9 percent, +1,000). Largest decreases: Decatur (-3.0 percent, -1,600), Peoria (-1.7 percent, -3,100), and Bloomington-Normal (-1.0 percent, -900). Much of these decreases are connected to a temporary slowdown in global manufacturing demand. Industry sectors recording job growth in the most metros: Education and Health Services (11 of 12), Leisure and Hospitality (eight of 12), and Other Services (seven of 12).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares the current month to the same month of the previous year. The November 2013 not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 8.3 percent and 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in November and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits. Historically, the state unemployment rate is higher than the national rate.

Total Non-farm Jobs (Not Seasonally Adjusted) – November 2013

Metropolitan Area

November
2013*

November
2012**

Over-the-Year Change

Bloomington-Normal MSA

91,300

92,200

-900

Champaign-Urbana MSA

109,400

108,400

1,000

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville Metro Div.

3,823,300

3,768,000

55,300

Danville MSA

29,900

29,800

100

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island MSA

185,000

184,900

100

Decatur MSA

51,100

52,700

-1,600

Kankakee-Bradley MSA

44,700

44,600

100

Lake County-Kenosha County Metro Div.

396,100

391,400

4,700

Peoria MSA

183,600

186,700

-3,100

Rockford MSA

150,700

151,200

-500

Springfield MSA

113,200

112,600

600

Illinois Section of St. Louis MSA

230,000

230,500

-500

*Preliminary **Revised

Congress: Cutting Social Security isn’t an acceptable Budget Fix!

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(Letters to Editor)

For many older Americans, every dollar of their social Security retirement is absolutely critical.

But right now, Congress is threatening to use huge cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a means to address the sequester issues they caused!

That’s not a real solution. It’s not fair to the Americans who have paid into the system their entire lives, only to see their benefits cut to fix Congress’s budget woes.

It’s absolutely vital that we let Congress know: and changes to Social Security -an off-budget, self-financed program- must be done separately and carefully, not for purposes of reducing the federal budget deficit or as a bargaining chip for other government spending.

Send a message to your representative today: Don’t cut Social Security to makeup for their budget shortfalls!

care2 Thank you for taking action,

Ellen B.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team c

“Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money” premieres January 18 – March 2, 2014

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The cast boasts A-list Chicago actors Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (In the Heights), Travis Turner (Bud, Not Buddy), Alexis J. Rogers (Jeff Award-winner, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill), and Bear Bellinger (Miss Saigon).

CHICAGO, IL - Chicago Children’s Theatre announced casting for its world premiere of Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, an all-new, rhythm and blues family musical playing January 18 – March 2, 2014 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago.

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Benny in Paramount Theatre’s fall opener In the Heights and currently playing the Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol at Theatre at the Center, leads the A-list cast of Chicago’s top professional musical theater performers as 10-year old Steven. Ashley Elizabeth Honore, seen in Southbridge at Chicago Dramatists and Home at Court Theatre, plays Steven’s friend Richelle. Travis Turner, who played the title role last season in CCT’s Bud, Not Buddy, and appeared in Porgy and Bess, Tartuffe and The Misanthrope at Court Theatre, will play Steven’s friend Russell. Acclaimed Chicago soul singer Yaw Agyeman is cast as Mr. Chickee. Alexis J. Rogers, 2013 Equity Jeff Award winner as Billie Holiday in Porchlight’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, will play dual roles – Steven’s mother Lynetta and Madame Director. Bear Bellinger, who appeared in Paramount’s Miss Saigon and Court’s Porgy and Bess, will play Steven’s father, Elmwood. Elena Flores, Lisa in the Broadway production and national tour of Mamma Mia, will play Agent 2. Brian Grey, recently in The Wheel at Steppenwolf and a veteran of CCT’s Bud, Not Buddy, plays Agent Fondoo. Puppeteer Sam Deutsch (Redmoon’s The Cabinet) will bring fun, funky life to Steven’s loyal dog, Zoopy.

CCT’s newest family musical is adapted from the best-selling young adult book of the same name by Christopher Paul Curtis, who also penned Bud, Not Buddy, the Newbery Award-winning book which spawned Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2013 smash hit play Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money features music and lyrics by Motown legend Lamont Dozier and his son, co-music writer/lyricist Paris Dozier. The book is by David Ingber, with musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Brian Usifer. Kevin Iega Jeff (co-founder and artistic director of Deeply Rooted Dance Company) will choreograph. Derrick Sanders (director of CCT’s recent smash hits Bud, Not Buddy and Jackie and Me) will direct.

Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money follows the misadventures of 10-year-old Steven, a self-proclaimed spy and president of the “Flint Future Detectives Club.” At the heart of this whimsical story is a highly intelligent, out-of-the-box thinker, and entrepreneurial boy, who discovers that family, friends, imagination and determination are the true keys to success and that sharing the spotlight with others can make one even richer.As Steven and his friends plot to save Flint from financial ruin, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money grooves to a diverse new set list of original songs all played by a live band and so high-energy and entertaining that kids won’t even know they’re being treated to a celebration of contemporary African American music through the decades, including Motown, disco, rap, rock, soul, jazz and hip hop. Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money brings generations of music lovers together in an adventurous story of mystery.

Single tickets to Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money are on sale now, and start at $25. To purchase, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555. For information on discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting organizations, visit GroupTix.net or call (773) 327-3778.  Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money is recommended for ages 6 and up.

American Rhythm Center hosts free dance classes January 6-11

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Resolve to dance in 2014 at Second Annual Free-4-All!

Inviting Chicagoans to start the new year with a fun way to get some exercise, the American Rhythm Center (ARC), a program of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), hosts “Free-4-All,” a week of free dance classes on the third floor of the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Avenue. The event takes place Monday–Saturday, January 6–11, 2014.

The Free-4-All features free classes for all ability levels in a range of genres and styles, including tap, jazz, hip hop, flamenco, classic Indian, modern, soul swing (Chicago steppin’), ballet, Mad Haus and more. Teaching the classes are professionals and young dancers representing the ARC’s community partners and other affiliated groups, including Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, (Isadora) Duncan Dance Chicago, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Gang of Toes, Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Dave Maxx, Muntu Dance Theatre, Onye Ozuzu of Columbia College Chicago, Stick and Move Dance Crew and more.

Students also will have the opportunity to “Tour the ARC,” trying one of each type of class, and enter a drawing for a free 10-class card and other prizes.

The ARC is Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s collaborative initiative to provide a shared, affordable and sustainable education, rehearsal and administrative facility for several leading Chicago arts organizations. The aim is to offer diverse, high-quality dance and movement classes to the general public while centralizing the education programs, rehearsal space and administrative offices of several core groups, as well as additional emerging companies and independent artists. The winter 2014 session of classes begins Monday, January 6.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Free-4-All takes place Monday, January 6 through Saturday, January 11 at the American Rhythm Center at the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., 3rd floor. For information or an updated class schedule, visit arcchicago.org or call 312-922-1272.

Funding
CHRP’s ARC has raised more than $1 million to date as part of a multi-phased $2.5 million capital start-up campaign. Major funding for capital and/or start-up operations has been provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Elaine Cohen and Arlen Rubin, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Charlie Gardner and Patti Eylar, Jane Ellen Murray and Ed Wentz, The Boeing Company, The Joyce Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Pamela Crutchfield, with additional support from David Sensibar, Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, the James. S. Kemper Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, matching funds from the Polk Bros. Foundation through IFF and many generous individuals. Pro bono contributions have been made by Jenner & Block LLP and Baxter Insurance.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project
Founded in 1990, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) builds community by presenting American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts in world-class and innovative performance, education and community outreach programs. During the last 23 years, CHRP has produced multiple community-based collaborations involving shared revenue programs, concerts and touring opportunities, including:

  • annual National Tap Dance Day concerts, featuring an array of tap and percussive dance artists
  • a shared revenue program designed to assist Chicago’s budding tap community to build capacity through audience development, created in 2001
  • Thanks 4 Giving, another innovative shared revenue program launched in 2005 as part of its annual Global Rhythms concerts at the Harris Theater, through which CHRP has partnered with more than 100 Chicago-based nonprofits to raise funds for a wide variety of service agencies
  • participation in the 5th Anniversary Beijing International Dance Festival, assembling 70 artists to represent the United States
  • establishment of the American Rhythm Center (ARC), providing a shared, affordable and sustainable education, rehearsal and administrative facility for several leading Chicago arts organizations in the historic Fine Arts Building
  • curating the first ever, full-length performance of concert tap dance on a main stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 7, 2012
For information visit chicagotap.org.

IDES stops $1 million in unemployment fraud in Group’s first three months

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A real example of fighting fraud and abuse


CHICAGO, IL – A new working group to fight fraud stopped more than $1 million in unearned benefits in its first three months of operation, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said. The effort was made possible through an on-going reorganization to emphasize re-employment services and workforce development while fighting waste, fraud and abuse.


Between September and November, more than 120 individuals applied for benefits in Illinois when they already were collecting benefits in another state or applying for benefits. In the past, IDES’ anti-fraud efforts would have uncovered the improper activity after several weeks of payments. Doing so before any benefits are paid better protects the Trust Fund and allows IDES to reinvest staff time in additional efforts to identify waste, fraud and abuse.


“The unemployment insurance program is a balance between paying workers enough to tide them over until they find another job and keeping taxes low so small business owners can invest and grow. Every time we stop benefits before they are wrongfully paid truly is a win-win-win for taxpayers, business and labor,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said.


In 2012, IDES launched a long-term reorganization plan that emphasizes returning people to work and workforce development while recognizing smaller operational budgets from federal officials. The reorganization includes IDES’ transition to provide employment services in a face-to-face setting and unemployment insurance services through telephone call centers and the internet. The transition also includes behind-the-scenes working groups to improve efficiency, productivity and training, which allowed for the new emphasis that saved more than $1 million in its first three months.


Unemployment benefits come from the Trust Fund. Employers pay into the Trust Fund based on several factors, including the Fund’s balance, the business type and the number of workers the business laid off in the preceding year. Stopping improper payments increases the Fund’s balance, which applies downward pressure on business taxes.

Congressman Danny Davis to hold community meeting on the Affordable Care Act today at Noon

Posted by Admin On December - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-7th) is holding a community meeting today (December 30, 2013) to discuss the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) at Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant (formerly known as Captain Hardtimes), 436 East 79th Street, Chicago, beginning at 12 Noon.

Davis will talk about community outreach of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A number of elected officials will be present, including State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st) and Lt. Governor candidate Paul Vallas.

Flowers will give an update on bills that could enhance the Affordable Care Act but are being held in committees. Some of the provisions are vital to the lives of the elderly but are being opposed by some elected officials.

For more information, contact Chinta Strausberg at 773.667.5165 or 312-371-7730.

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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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