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Archive for January 28th, 2014

10 things President Obama should say today (State of Union Address)

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on 10 things President Obama should say today (State of Union Address)
10 things Obama can do now; click here to share.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

On Tuesday, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address.

With the midterm elections approaching — elections in which we could lose the Senate and thus much of the president’s power to block the Republican agenda in Congress — this speech will lay the groundwork for what could be our last best chance to win progressive change during his presidency.

Despite the Republican obstructionism, there’s a lot the president can accomplish by issuing executive orders and prioritizing his administration’s agenda in the Senate. If you agree with this list, click here to share it with your friends.

  1. Reject the Keystone XL pipeline
    President Obama has said that action on climate change will be a centerpiece of his second term agenda. But he simply cannot make the necessary progress on climate changes as long as he allows tar sands production to expand. Sign the petition.
  2. Drop his offer to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in exchange for a grand budget bargain with Republicans
    In a preemptive cave to Republicans, President Obama made the offer as part of budget negotiations last year, in a deeply wrongheaded quest to strike a grand bargain on taxes and the debt. He shouldn’t make the same mistake – and should commit to not give away cuts to Social Security and Medicare to Republicans under any circumstances. Sign the petition.
  3. Bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan
    In his State of the Union address last year, President Obama said that Al-Qaeda was a “shadow of its former self,” and “to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations.” Yet after over 12 years and thousands of American lives, more than 30,000 troops still remain and aren’t scheduled to leave until the end of this year. It is long past time for President Obama to bring them home.
  4. Stop breaking up families, by ending the deportations of those eligible for a pathway to citizenship under pending immigration reform legislation
    The president doesn’t need to wait for obstructionist Republicans to take action on immigration reform. He should show he’s serious about it now by halting deportations of aspiring Americans who would qualify for a path to citizenship under the bill already passed by the Senate. Sign the petition.
  5. Fire National Intelligence Director James Clapper and stop warrantless NSA spying on Americans
    Clapper unambiguously lied to Congress about the NSA’s unconstitutional spying on Americans. But amidst this growing scandal, President Obama has so far offered no substantive reforms. He should fire Clapper and shut down the NSA’s shocking dragnet immediately.
  6. Fill all the federal judiciary openings with judges who will uphold the Constitution, enforce environmental laws, and fight corporate abuse
    Senator Majority Leader Reid’s filibuster reform finally stopped Republican obstruction on Judicial nominees. With over 90 vacancies this is a major opportunity to bring progressive champions to the bench, but President Obama needs to make sure he takes advantage.
  7. Issue a strong carbon rule on existing power plants
    President Obama has called for the first-ever rules to limit carbon pollution – long required under the Clean Air Act – but so far, all we’ve gotten are delays and watering down on his rule to cut pollution from unbuilt power plants, which does nothing to reduce actual current pollution, and is still months from being finalized. If the President is serious, we need a strong rule to cut the pollution that is causing climate change now. Sign the petition.
  8. Raise the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors
    The president has already said that income inequality is the defining issue of our time – and committed to take executive action to helping the middle class. Raising the minimum wage for the more than 2 million low-wage federal contractors would be a good step in the right direction. Share the petition.
  9. Instruct his FCC chair to save Net Neutrality
    Verizon killed net neutrality last week when a federal appellate court ruled in Verizon’s favor, and struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Internet providers are now free to discriminate – block or slow down – any web site or application they choose. But President Obama’s FCC chair has the power to save Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband internet access to require that it be regulated as a telecommunications service. Sign the petition.
  10. Close Guantanamo
    This January marks 12 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, and five years since President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut it down. Congress recently fulfilled the president’s request to make it easier to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo; it’s long past time for him to keep his promise, too. Sign the petition.

As progressives, we had high hopes for President Obama’s presidency. And time is running out for him to deliver on his campaign promises. Starting with these ten things that are in the president’s power to do. It’s what we’re hoping to hear, what you should be listening for, and how we’ll be gauging the success of his speech on Tuesday night.

If you agree with the priorities on our list, please share it with your friends. Regardless of what the president says, we look forward to continuing to stand with you in the coming fights for progressive change.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Take action now â–º

Fact Sheet: Opportunity for all – Rewarding hard work

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Fact Sheet: Opportunity for all – Rewarding hard work

Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order to $10.10 for Federal Contract Workers & Calling on Congress to Finish the Job for All Workers by Passing the Harkin-Miller Bill

Year of Action: Making Progress Through Executive Action

The President wants to work with Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller bill that would increase the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter, and he will continue to work with Congress to get that done. The President has also looked at what he can do through executive action to help raise wages for hardworking Americans. In the State of the Union Address, the President will announce that he will use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for those working on new federal contracts for services.

  • Hardworking Americans – including janitors and construction workers – working on new federal contracts will benefit from the Executive Order (EO). This action will cover workers who are performing services or construction and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour.  Some examples of the hardworking people who would benefit from an EO include military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.
  • A higher minimum wage for federal contract workers will provide good value for the federal government and hence good value for the taxpayer. Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government. When Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality.
  • The wage increase will be manageable for contractors. The increase will take effect for new contracts after the effective date of the order, so contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.

Continuing to Work With Congress to Help All Workers

The President is using his executive authority to lead by example, and will continue to work with Congress to finish the job for all Americans by passing the Harkin-Miller bill. The bill would raise the Federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter, while also raising the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in over 20 years.

  • Businesses like Costco have supported past increases to the minimum wage because it helps build a strong workforce and profitability over the long run. Low wages are also bad for business, as paying low wages lowers employee morale, encourages low productivity, and leads to frequent employee turnover—all of which impose costs.
  • Raising the minimum wage will make sure no family of four with a full-time worker has to raise their children in poverty. It has been seven years since Congress last acted to increase the minimum wage and, adjusted for inflation, today the real value of minimum wage is roughly the same as what it was in the 1950s, despite the fact that the typical American family’s income has doubled since then. And right now a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet. Even after accounting for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a family of four supported by a minimum wage worker still ends up living below the poverty line.
  • Indexing the minimum wage to inflation would help lower-income workers keep up in the future. Since it was first established in 1938, the minimum wage has been increased 22 times, but was eroded substantially over several prolonged periods because of inflation. Democrats and Republicans agree that indexing the minimum wage to inflation would ensure that working families can keep up with expenses and will not suffer if Congress fails to act. Indexing would prevent a repeat of the 34 percent decline in the real value of the minimum wage from 1978 to 1989 and the 19 percent decline in real value from 1998 to 2006.
  • Helping parents make ends meet. Around 60 percent of workers benefiting from a higher minimum wage are women.  Less than 20 percent are teenagers.  Also, those workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage brought home 46 percent of their household’s total wage and salary income in 2011.  Raising the minimum wage directly helps parents make ends meet and support their families.
  • Raising the minimum wage is good for government, good for business and workers and key to a stronger economy. A range of economic studies show that modestly raising the minimum wage increases earnings and reduces poverty without jeopardizing employment.  Higher wages can also boost productivity, increase morale, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Across the country, Americans are saying it’s time to raise the minimum wage. The President believes that it’s time for action, and people across the country agree. Since the President called for an increase in the minimum wage in last year’s State of the Union, five states have passed laws increasing their minimum wage. And many businesses, from small businesses to large corporations see higher wages as the right way to boost productivity and reduce turnover and therefore boost their profitability.

(From whitehouse.gov)

Rethink Your Drink 2014 ramping up with events targeting after-school programs and non-profits throughout Illinois

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Rethink Your Drink 2014 ramping up with events targeting after-school programs and non-profits throughout Illinois

CHICAGO, IL – Following a flurry of activity by health departments across the state, the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity’s (IAPO) month-long Rethink Your Drink awareness campaign continues this week with non-profits raising awareness in their local communities.

IAPO non-profit partners are able to reach many different types of people – families, kids, older adults – with the Rethink Your Drink message because of the broad array of services they offer.

EverThrive Illinois, formerly the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, is integrating Rethink Your Drink messaging into the curriculum for their Cooking Matters program, which provides healthy cooking and nutrition courses that empower families to provide nutritious food at home.

The Rethink Your Drink campaign is urging people to “go on green,” drinking plenty of beverages such as water, seltzer water and skim or one-percent milk and to “stop on red” by rarely drinking (if at all) beverages such as regular sodas, energy or sports drinks and sweetened coffee or tea.

“Promoting healthy nutrition – including healthy beverages –  is a priority for the Illinois Ys, which are working in collaboration with community leaders in more than 20 communities across the state in an intentional effort to ensure that healthy living is within reach for all people living in our communities,” said Meg Cooch, Executive Director of the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs.

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA provides one example of that work, showcasing a bulletin board in the facility’s lobby demonstrating the sugar content of certain food/drink items with sugar cubes.  Staff members reported hearing disbelief among patrons at the amount of sugar in common sports drinks.

“On an individual level, cutting down on sugary beverage consumption is one of the easiest changes a person can make to move toward improved health,” said Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI), the convener of IAPO, “but this is an issue with many roots. The places we live, work and learn dramatically impact the choices we make and implementing policy-level strategies such as price disincentives, improved product placement to highlight healthy choices and public education campaigns are essential. IPHI, a non-profit, has been committed to a sugary-beverage free policy for meetings and events for some time.”

Other non-profit IAPO partners participating in Rethink Your Drink month include Healthy Schools Campaign and the genHkids coalition. The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity is made up of more than 140 organizations across the state and has focused on raising awareness of the health harms of sugary beverages since 2010.

Rethink Your Drink events will continue in key sectors throughout the month, with subsequent weeks highlighting activities schools/universities, worksites and hospitals:

Health Departments/Local Government Education Week:

Monday, 1/20-Friday, 1/24

After-School Programs/Non-Profits Education Week:

Monday, 1/27-Friday, 1/31

School/ University Education Week:

Monday, 2/3-Friday, 2/7

Worksite/ Hospital/ Healthcare Education Week:

Monday, 2/10-Friday, 2/14

To learn more about the Rethink Your Drink campaign, visit IAPO’s website at www.preventobesityil.org and ‘Like’ IAPO’s Facebook Page for event updates. To learn more facts about sugary drinks, visit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/.

Read the main Rethink Your Drink press release here.

Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity: www.preventobesityil.org

The primary goal of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity is to ensure that trends in obesity in Illinois are stable by 2015 and moving downward by 2018.The statewide coalition of over 140 organizations works to implement solutions to the obesity epidemic through coordinated and comprehensive policy, systems, and environmental changes.

*This message was funded in part by a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association

Kirk and Durbin introduce their Bill to bring fairness to Federal Disaster Declaration Process

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Kirk and Durbin introduce their Bill to bring fairness to Federal Disaster Declaration Process

Bill would ensure that downstate Illinois communities devastated by severe weather are not penalized based on total state population

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today introduced their bipartisan legislation to bring consistency and fairness to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s disaster declaration process. Kirk and Durbin first introduced their Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act after FEMA denied federal assistance to communities – including Harrisburg and Ridgway – following devastating storms and tornadoes that swept through Southern Illinois in late February 2012.

FEMA is currently reviewing its process for Public Assistance as required by law in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. In a letter to FEMA earlier this month, Kirk and Durbin asked the agency to also fix their funding formulas for Individual Assistance which was denied to local governments in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties following deadly storms and tornadoes in November 2013.

“Over $6 million in damages were incurred following November’s deadly tornadoes, and hundreds of families are still struggling to rebuild and recover,” Senator Kirk said. “A disaster is a disaster, regardless of what state it happens in. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that families who have had their homes and communities destroyed are given the help that they need.”

“In many other states, the amount of damage sustained by Central Illinois communities last November would easily qualify for federal assistance,” said Senator Durbin. “I am encouraged that, since we first introduced our legislation in 2012, FEMA has begun reviewing a portion of the disaster declaration process. While our legislation would go further – forcing FEMA to bring fairness to the entire program – these changes may not come soon enough for communities in Central Illinois where more help is needed now. I will continue working Senator Kirk and our Illinois colleagues to support Governor Quinn’s appeal of FEMA’s initial denial of Public Assistance.”

The Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act would ensure consistency by requiring FEMA to give a specified weight to each of the factors considered when determining which communities are eligible for two types of federal assistance – Individual and Public. It also would require FEMA to take into consideration local economic factors including: the local assessable tax base, the median income as it compares to that of the state, and the poverty rate as it compares to that of the state.

Last week, the legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan group of members from the Illinois Congressional Delegation including: Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Bill Enyart (D-Ill.).

In a severe storm or natural disaster, communities in a state, like Illinois, with a large population – more than 10 million people – must incur a relatively higher level of damage than communities in a state with a smaller population. This is true in determining whether both Individual Assistance and Public Assistance is warranted. The Durbin-Kirk bill would require FEMA to take into consideration local economic factors in order to ensure that communities struck by disaster are not denied federal assistance because of the population of the state.

Though FEMA has never revealed an exact formula for determining a disaster declaration, FEMA has confirmed that the agency considers six factors to determine eligibility for both Individual Assistance and Public Assistance. The relative weight of each factor remains unknown and may even fluctuate with different scenarios. The Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act would make clear and consistent the criteria for emergency designation and the weight each is given for both Public Assistance and Individual Assistance, as laid out below:

Public Assistance Program

1. Estimated cost of the assistance – 10%
2. Localized impacts – 40%
3. Insurance coverage in force – 10%
4. Hazard mitigation – 10%
5. Recent multiple disasters – 10%
6. Other Federal assistance – 10%
7. Economic considerations – 10%.

Individual Assistance Program

1. Concentration of damages – 20%
2. Trauma – 20%
3. Special populations – 20%
4. Voluntary agency assistance – 10%
5. Insurance – 20%
6. Average of individual assistance– 5%
7. Economic considerations – 5%.

FEMA makes recommendations for federal disaster declarations allowing individuals, businesses and local governments to apply for federal grants or loans. Individual Assistance funding provides assistance to individuals and businesses to help with temporary housing, home repairs or replacement and other disaster-related expenses. Public Assistance funding provides assistance to local and state governments for extraordinary costs for response and recovery to the disaster. This can include emergency work, debris removal from public roads and repair and replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities or infrastructure.

Following the November 2013 deadly storms,  Governor Quinn requested federal aid for local governments in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties. On November 26, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the State of Illinois making residents and businesses eligible for federal Individual Assistance funding which provides financial assistance to help with temporary housing, home repairs or replacement and other disaster-related expenses. Though more than $12 million in federal aid has been approved to help people and businesses affected by the November tornadoes and severe storms, Governor Quinn’s request for Public Assistance to cover the repairs or replacement of infrastructure (roads, bridges, public buildings, etc.) and other local government costs was denied last week.

Tell Congress: Make the NFL pay its fair share of taxes

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Tell Congress: Make the NFL pay its fair share of taxes

Letters to Editors

(From Evan Sutton via CREDO Mobile)
Sign the petition â–º

Did you know that the National Football League is considered a “nonprofit” by the IRS, and hasn’t paid a dime in taxes since 1966? As a lifelong football fan, I was shocked to discover that I haven’t just paid to watch games and bought NFL merchandise since I was 6 years old — I’ve been paying higher taxes as an adult to make up for the NFL’s share.

At a time when right-wing politicians are cutting food stamps and blocking emergency benefits for our nation’s jobless in the name of balancing the checkbook, we can’t allow a multibillion-dollar operation like the NFL to get away without paying its fair share of taxes. That’s why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Congress, says the following:

There’s no reason sports fans or any other Americans should pay the National Football League’s taxes. Professional sports leagues with billions in annual revenues don’t need tax exemptions — revoke the NFL’s “nonprofit” status and demand the league pay its fair share.

Demand the NFL pay its fair share of taxes.

Some of my best memories are football-related. I remember standing in line in 1987 to get John Elway’s autograph, and the famous playoff drive. I love the parity of the NFL, and I believe the league provides an important service by ensuring that the league remains strong and that competitive games are well-organized. But that service doesn’t justify continuing to grant the NFL nonprofit status — like soup kitchens and other charities — that allows it to avoid paying taxes, especially as top executives are paid up to $29 million per year.

I was shocked to learn that the last time the NFL paid taxes was 1966, when lobbyists convinced Congress to pass an obscure provision that expanded the definition of 501(c)6 not-for-profit organizations in the Internal Revenue Code to include “professional football leagues.” The 1966 law gave the NFL a way to skirt taxes, while also granting it an uncommon antitrust exemption that gave the NFL a monopoly to negotiate TV rights.

Since then, the NFL has shelled out big money to keep its sweetheart deal. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NFL has spent $2 million in campaign contributions since 1992 and spent $12.7 million on lobbying efforts since 1998, knowing that its fair share of taxes would be many millions more.

Though the NFL has successfully held back efforts to make it pay its fair share for nearly 50 years, Congress has the opportunity to change that by updating the Internal Revenue Code. Legislation to do just that was introduced last fall, but we need Congress to get behind it.

As the biggest game of the year approaches, millions of casual fans are paying more attention to football than at any other point in the year. Now is the perfect time to put pressure on Congress to revoke the NFL’s nonprofit status.

Will you join me and add your name to my petition to Congress and demand it revoke the NFL’s nonprofit status and make the league pay its fair share of taxes?

Sign the petition â–º

Top 10 Black History Month Scholarships – now accepting applications

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Top 10 Black History Month Scholarships – now accepting applications

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — February is here again, and Black History month is being celebrated all around the world. Many television channels have launched special programming for the month, companies have launched special advertising campaigns, and many of their foundations have launched scholarship programs.

Below are the top 10 Black history month scholarships with deadlines in February 2014:

#1 – The Frito-Lay “Create to Celebrate” Black History Month Art Contest encourages applicants to submit online an original piece of art created in any medium (video, song, photo, sculpture, painting, etc) that celebrates African American achievement.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/frito-lay-create-to-celebrate-black-history-month-art-contest.html

#2 – The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program offers scholarship awards and once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship experiences to African American youth looking to pave the way for their futures.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/coca-cola-pay-it-forward-scholarship-program.html

#3 – The RBC Black History Month Student Essay Competition is offered by the Royal Bank of Canada for Canadian students. The essay consists of writing in 750 words or less on how black Canadians have contributed toward the heritage of Canada.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/rbc-black-history-month-student-essay.html

#4 – The 100 Black Men of America Future Leader Scholarship Program is open to high school seniors as well as college freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. The scholarship is based on academic achievement and community service.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/12/100-black-men-of-america-future-leader.html

#5 – The Jerry Bartow Scholarship Fund, offered by the Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP), awards three scholarships each year for undergraduate students who are attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). Students must major in business, engineering, technology, or education.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/02/black-executive-exchange-program-jerry.html

#6 – The Kroger “I Can Make History” Contest will award more than $71,000 in prizes in the categories of art, essay, music and poetry. Celebrating Black History month, Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, is using the contest to recognize the contributions of African Americans in the past and in the future.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/kroger-i-can-make-history-contest.html

#7 – The GEICO Achievement Award Program helps current college students who are sophomores and juniors earn scholarship money to complete their education. Eligible students must be enrolled in a business, computer science, or mathematics program.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/01/geico-achievement-award-program.html

#8 – The Regions Riding Forward Black History Month Scholarship is awarded each year to high school students and college students. Interested students may apply by writing an essay about African-Americans who have inspired them.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/regions-riding-forward-black-history.html

#9 – LAGRANT Foundation Scholarships are targeted toward minority undergraduate and graduate students, offering scholarships for students interested in careers in advertising, marketing or public relations. Students must be American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black (non-Hispanic) or Hispanic.
Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/02/lagrant-foundation-scholarships.html

#10 – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation General Mills Health Scholarship Program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who plan to major in health-related studies. Academic achievement, leadership qualities and service to the community are required.

Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/02/congressional-black-caucus-general-mills-health-scholarship.html

To search hundreds of more 2014 scholarships, visit www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

Casting is set for the World Premiere of the Tech-Noir Comedy Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, running May 24 – June 22 in the Owen Theatre

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Casting is set for the World Premiere of the Tech-Noir Comedy Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, running May 24 – June 22 in the Owen Theatre

Henry Wishcamper directs the cast of five, including Marc Grapey, Jennie Moreau, Meghan Reardon, Robyn Scott and Alex Stage as Aunt Susan

CHICAGO, IL -  Casting is complete for Playwright-in-Residence Seth Bockley’s irreverent new comedy, Ask Aunt Susan, the final production of the Goodman’s 2013/2014 Season in the Owen Theatre. Loosely based on Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, Ask Aunt Susan is a no-holds-barred examination of anonymity, authenticity and the unwieldiness of the wild, wild web. Bockley wrote the play in 2010, during his time in the Goodman Playwrights Unit—a year-long program designed to support and develop new works—and further developed it in the 2011/2012 New Stages Festival. Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper directs the world-premiere production featuring an ensemble cast, many of whom worked with Bockley in the initial development stages: Alex Stage, who currently appears in Bockley’s production of hamlet is dead. no gravity at Red Tape Theatre, portrays the title character of Aunt Susan; Marc Grapey as Steve; Meghan Reardon as Betty; Jennie Moreau as Lydia; and newcomer Robyn Scott as Jill. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (set), Richard Woodbury (sound), Alison Siple (costumes), Keith Parham (lights) and Mike Tutaj (projections). Kimberly Osgood is the production stage manager. Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room. Ask Aunt Susan runs May 24 – June 22 in the Owen Theatre (opening night is Monday, June 2). Tickets ($10-$40; subject to change) are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Bank of America is the Owen Season Sponsor. Edelman Worldwide is the Corporate Sponsor Partner. Baxter and Blue Cross Blue Shield are Contributing Sponsors.

“Ask Aunt Susan is a kind of satire of the early Internet startups, where cultish celebrity self-help meets good old-fashioned American greed,” said Bockley, a Chicago-based playwright, director and performer and 2009 Ofner Prize winner.  “I’m thrilled to be working again with Alex Stage, Marc Grapey, Jennie Moreau and Megan Reardon in roles they have come to define in my imagination, as well as a newcomer, the hilarious Robyn Scott.”

Ask Aunt Susan introduces Aunt Susan, a twenty-something man who moonlights as an online advice guru. When his column, “Ask Aunt Susan,” becomes the web’s hottest spot for self-help, Aunt Susan’s boss, Steve, a reckless funder, begins to rake in the profits from women’s everyday woes. But as the online reputation mushrooms, so does “Aunt Susan’s” web of deceit—and soon the phenomenon is much bigger than anyone could have imagined.

The “ever quirky” (Chicago Sun-Times) Seth Bockley‘s plays include February House, a collaboration with lyricist and composer Gabriel Kahane which premiered at The Public Theater (2012), and was hailed as “funny and quick, but also has something on its mind,” (Entertainment Weekly); The Elephant & The Whale (with Redmoon and Chicago Children’s Theatre); 2666, adapted with Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls from the novel by Roberto Bolaño; adaptations of George Saunders’ short stories CommComm (commissioned by the Goodman and further developed by New York’s Page 73 Productions) and Jon, which won the 2008 Equity Jeff Citation for Best New Adaptation; The Twins Would Like To Say for Dog & Pony Theatre Co.; and Laika’s Coffin and Winter Pageant 2010 for Redmoon, where he spent two years as a directing apprentice through Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations program. Directing credits include Ewald Palmetshofer’s hamlet is dead. no gravity at Red Tape Theatre; Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story at Victory Gardens Theater; Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) for Clubbed Thumb (NYC); Jon and Jason Grote’s 1001 for Collaboraction; numerous Redmoon events and spectacles; and the clown play Guerra, developed with Devon de Mayo and Mexico City-based troupe La Piara.

Henry Wishcamper (Director) is an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre, where he recently directed the critically acclaimed  36th annual production of A Christmas Carol. Previous Goodman credits include Other Desert Cities, his own adaptation of Animal Crackers (Jeff nomination) and Talking Pictures. New York directing credits include Spirit Control at Manhattan Theatre Club; Graceland at LCT3; Port Authority at Atlantic Theater Company; Elvis People at New World Stages; The Polish Play at Katharsis Theater Company; and Pullman Car Hiawatha at Keen Company (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play). Regional theater and other directing credits include Animal Crackers at Williamstown Theatre Festival; the American premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Birds at the Guthrie Theater; Engaging Shaw and The Mystery of Irma Vep at The Old Globe; Art at Barrington Stage Company; The Seafarer and Speech & Debate at TheaterWorks; and The Good Thief at Portland Stage Company. He has served as the assistant director of the Broadway productions of August: Osage County and Shining City. His adaptation of Animal Crackers has been produced by Baltimore Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Lyric Stage Company. Wishcamper is the artistic director of Katharsis Theater Company and was previously the artistic director of the Maine Summer Dramatic Institute (MSDI) in Portland, Maine. While there, he founded Shakespeare in Deering Oaks Park, a free Shakespeare festival in Portland’s primary public park featuring students from MSDI’s education program. He is a Drama League directing fellow and a graduate of Yale University. Wishcamper is set to direct The Dance of Death at Writers Theatre, April 1 – July 20, 2014.

White House Announces Additional Guests in the First Lady’s Box — State of the Union Address

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on White House Announces Additional Guests in the First Lady’s Box — State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – In addition to the six individuals previously announced, the following individuals will be seated in the box with the First Lady, Dr. Biden and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, at the State of the Union Address. More guests will be announced in the lead-up to the President’s State of the Union Address tomorrow night.

The guests who have been invited to sit with the First Lady represent the stories of millions of Americans across the country, who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all.

Information about these guests and news about the State of the Union is available at WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.

Aliana Arzola-Piñero (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
2013 Kids State Dinner Attendee

Aliana Arzola-Piñero, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in fourth grade at the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas. Aliana is an avid reader and gymnast who loves to cook with her grandma, something she’s done since she was two-years-old. She participated in the 2012 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge sponsored by the First Lady. While she didn’t win, she worked hard, tried again, and her perseverance paid off as she proudly represented Puerto Rico at the 2013 Kid’s State Dinner hosted by the First Lady. Her winning recipe “Yummy Eggplant Lasagna Rolls,” incorporates the “My Plate” guidelines. Aliana has worked hard to translate her experience visiting the White House into concrete steps to benefit her community, championing healthy eating and an active lifestyle for kids.

Cristian Avila (Phoenix, AZ)
DREAMer, “Core Faster” and Voter Engagement Coordinator, Mi Familia Vota

Cristian Avila, 23, was brought to the United States with his younger brother and sister when he was nine-years-old. Though Cristian became an All-American scholar by 7th grade and received a full scholarship to a private Jesuit high school, he was limited by his undocumented status. Last year he received temporary relief from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The 23-year-old Arizona resident started volunteering with Mi Familia Vota, a non-profit Latino civic engagement program, at the age of 16, and he was one of the core fasters in the Fast for Families demonstration late last year at the foot of the Capitol, which the President, Vice President, First Lady and Cabinet and Administration officials visited. After 22 days, he passed on the fast to others but has continued to push Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform.  Cristian is fighting for commonsense immigration reform so he can one day join the US Marine Corps and serve our country in uniform.

Mary Barra (Detroit, MI)
Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company

Mary Barra was named Chief Executive Officer of General Motors effective January 15, 2014. In this role, she leads the company’s overall efforts to strengthen GM globally as an industry leader in automotive design and technology, product quality, customer care and business results. She is also a member of the GM Board of Directors and the first female CEO in the company’s history.

Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1990, Barra graduated with a master of business administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988. Barra has held a number of positions with GM, most recently as executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply chain – in this role she was responsible for the design, engineering, program management, and quality of GM vehicles around the world.

In 2013, Fortune Magazine named Barra one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” and Forbes Magazine names her one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Barra lives in the Detroit area with her husband, Tony, and their two children.

Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY)
After serving three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, and as Kentucky’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor, Steve Beshear was elected Governor in 2007. Governor Beshear has worked closely with the Obama Administration to provide affordable health care to the people of Kentucky.  In his second term, the Governor extended access to affordable health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians by expanding Medicaid and setting up a new health insurance Marketplace, “Kynect.” If the remaining states that haven’t expanded Medicaid coverage did so like Kentucky, about 5.4 million uninsured Americans would gain access to health insurance coverage by 2016. Governor Beshear is a native of Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, in western Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Kentucky and served in the U.S. Army Reserve. He and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1969. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

Tyrone Davis (Winston-Salem, NC)
Fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps

Tyrone Davis, from Winston-Salem, NC, has been legally blind since the age of nine. Despite his vision loss, he ran cross-country and track in high school, and received a political science degree and Masters of Public Administration from North Carolina State University. He developed an interest in environmental issues during his time as an undergraduate, which led to a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2010, placing him at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black university.  His recommendations showed the school how to achieve savings of more than $31,000 a year, resulting in nearly 200 tons of carbon emissions reductions annually. Tyrone’s father owns and operates a small office cleaning service, while his mother is a cost clerk for the county’s school transportation department. He has one younger brother currently attending North Carolina A&T State University. Now in his third year at Elon University School of Law, Tyrone hopes to use his skills to benefit the environment and make communities safer.

Vice Admiral Michelle Howard (Washington, DC)
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans & Strategy

This year, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard will become the first female four-star Admiral in the 238-year-history of the United States Navy, and the first African-American female to achieve four-star rank in the history of the military. She was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate in December. Howard’s initial sea tours were aboard USS Hunley (AS 31) and USS Lexington (AVT 16). While serving on board Lexington, she received the secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award in May 1987. This award is given to one woman officer a year for outstanding leadership. She took command of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) on March 12, 1999, becoming the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. In 2010, she was the Maritime Task Force commander for BALTOPS, under 6th Fleet. Her shore assignments include: J-3, Global Operations, Readiness and Executive Assistant to the Joint Staff director of Operations; Deputy Director N3 on the OPNAV staff; Deputy Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, OPNAV staff; Senior Military Assistant to the secretary of the Navy; Chief of Staff to the director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, Joint Staff, and Deputy Commander, US Fleet Forces Command. Vice Admiral Howard is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998, with a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences.

Sabrina Simone Jenkins (Charleston, SC)
Sabrina Simone Jenkins – through obstacle after obstacle – has persevered in getting herself educated, determined to make a better life for herself and her family. Sabrina is a single mother to her teenage daughter Kenya. After serving in the Air Force, Sabrina took classes at DeVry University while working full time, graduating with a 3.7 GPA at the age of 42 – all while caring for ailing family members and becoming seriously ill herself. Sabrina then earned her master’s degree in human resources in 2012. Sabrina is currently saddled with nearly $90,000 in student loan debt, something that will only worsen as she pays for Kenya to go to college. Sabrina’s remarkable resolve through incredibly difficult circumstances brought her to the attention of The Shriver Report, which seeks to highlight the 1 in 3 American women living on the brink of poverty.  The President is determined to help people like Sabrina – Americans who are working hard and doing the right things – get ahead.

Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA)
Mayor Edwin M. Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants and the first Asian-American Mayor of San Francisco, a position he’s held for more than three years. He previously served as San Francisco’s City Administrator and Director of the Department of Public Works.  In 2013, he hosted a series of town halls to mobilize the Silicon Valley business community in support of immigration reform.  Mayor Lee is also working on a proposal to significantly increase San Francisco’s minimum wage.  In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a five-year, up to $30 million Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant to support school improvement and revitalize the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco.  Originally from Seattle, Washington, Mayor Lee graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 1974 and Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1978.  He and his wife, Anita, have two daughters, Brianna and Tania.

Andra Rush (Detroit, MI)
Founder and Chairperson, The Rush Group, Detroit Manufacturing Systems

Andra Rush is a descendant of the Mohawk Tribe from the Six-Nation Reservation, and the founder and chairperson of the Rush Group family of companies, which include Rush Trucking, Dakkota Integrated Systems, and Detroit Manufacturing Systems. This consortium of manufacturing, trucking, assembly, and distribution is one of the largest Native American-owned businesses in the country. Rush started her first company, Rush Trucking, in 1984 with only three trucks and successfully grew the company to include 800 tractors and 1,350 trailers. In 2012, Ms. Rush launched Detroit Manufacturing Systems Ltd., LLC (DMS), a joint venture between Rush Group Ltd, LLC and Faurecia. DMS manufactures and assembles automotive interior components in the City of Detroit and grew to more than 600 employees in its first year of operations, the largest new manufacturing employer in the City of Detroit in decades. The company’s first customer was the Ford Motor Company, building interior components for the Mustang and F-150 pickup truck. In 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. Manufacturing Council, which is the principal private-sector advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on manufacturing matters. She was also appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve as a trustee for Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund. Ms. Rush has a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (1982) from the University of Michigan. She has three sons.

Amanda Shelley (Gilbert, AZ)
Physician Assistant

For years, Amanda Shelley, a 37-year-old physician assistant from Gilbert, Arizona, was unable to get insurance due to a pre-existing condition. That all changed on January 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Two days later, Amanda began having severe pain in her abdomen, which at first she ignored – something she was used to doing because she was previously uninsured. The next day, when the pain became too much to bear, she went to the emergency room and eventually had emergency abdominal surgery. Amanda is one of millions of Americans who now knows the security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.

Antoinette Tuff (Atlanta, GA)
DeKalb County Bookkeeper

On August 20, 2013, the world learned of the compassion and heroism of Antoinette Tuff, the DeKalb County bookkeeper who prevented a shooting at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, an elementary school in the suburbs of Atlanta. Tuff, a mother of one daughter and one son, talked the would-be shooter down, sharing her personal struggles, discussing love and doing her best to connect with him until he surrendered before harming anyone. Now, instead of being known for another tragic school shooting, August 20, 2013 is remembered for one woman’s grace under pressure. The President called Tuff after the ordeal and has said what she did was “remarkable.” Antoinette has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism.

Better Business Bureau Consumer Alert: Growing concern over new cell phone scam

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Better Business Bureau Consumer Alert: Growing concern over new cell phone scam

CHICAGO, IL – Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless statement.

It’s called the “One Ring” scam because the scammers program computers to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once and then disconnect. The scammers then hope you are curious enough about the call that you return the call right away.

“As of yet, we have not had any complaints filed but given how rapidly this scam is spreading and growing across the country our opinion is it won’t be long.” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

When the cell phone owner returns the call, they are charged $19.95 for the international call fee. After that, there is a $9.00 per minute charge. “Often they will first hear music then maybe advertising but it’s easy to see how quickly these charges can add up,” noted Bernas.

Consumers who have been duped by these calls report that they are coming from the Caribbean Islands including Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.

If a person thinks they may have fallen for this scam, they should immediately alert their cell phone carrier and keep an eye on their cell phone bill. The earlier they document the fraud, the better their chances of having some or all of the charges removed.

Bernas added, “To be as safe as possible the best thing to do if your phone rings and it’s an international number you don’t recognize don’t answer and don’t call back.”

For more information on scams, go to www.bbb.org

Illinois Update from RNC Winter Meeting

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois Update from RNC Winter Meeting

(Letters to Editor)

Jack Dorgan, Chairman, Illinois Republican Party
Demetra DeMonte, Illinois National Committeewoman
Richard Porter, Illinois National Committeeman

Republican National Committee: Growing our Party to Win

This week, Republican leaders traveled from every corner of our country to attend the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee.

The Committee met to discuss plans for winning elections here in Illinois and across the country, and strategies to get our country back on the right track after years of runaway government, disastrous laws like ObamaCare, and trillion-dollar budget deficits.

The committee also voted to streamline the presidential primary calendar, and elected members of the 2016 Convention Site Selection Committee. Among the cities vying to host the convention in 2016 are Las Vegas, Kansas City, Phoenix, Denver, and Columbus.

Illinois was proudly represented by Jack Dorgan, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party (right), Demetra DeMonte, Illinois National Committeewoman and RNC Secretary, and Richard Porter, the newly elected Illinois National Committeeman.

Chairman Priebus: RNC Growing Stronger

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus addressed the committee on Friday with a message of growth and expansion.

Priebus focused on three goals: “to build a permanent ground campaign, to close the digital divide, and to engage with voters of all backgrounds.”

Read the full transcript of Chairman Priebus’ speech here.

RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day followed with a reminder about the importance of women to a strong GOP: “We’re not a group to be ‘outreached to’; we’re 53 percent of the vote! … If we as Republicans want to win elections, then we as a party need to start delivering women votes.”

Victory in November Starts Right Here, Right Now

Much of the focus in Washington boiled down to two fronts: growing the party, and the critical importance of the grass-roots. Elections are won and lost on the front lines, and Republicans have an all-important task of turning out Republican voters wherever they are.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to volunteer your time and efforts in the battle ahead. I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded of the stakes at play – the importance of taking the reins away from Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Pat Quinn – but you might need to know where to make your presence felt.

Our website has an easy link to sign up to help – just click here – and we can always be reached at (312) 201-9000 and info@ilgop.org.  It’s as easy as volunteering to place a sign in your yard or make phone calls, and it will make all the difference.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, please consider supporting the party with a financial contribution, which can be made on our website: ILGOP.org.

Illinois Republican Party Update:

The races here in Illinois have been heating up in the past few weeks, and the Illinois Republican Party has been front and center. Here’s what you may have missed:

Frerichs Fact Check: Tall Tales, Big Problems in Campaign Rollout

This week, state Sen. Mike Frerichs rolled out his campaign for state Treasurer with a resounding thud. His announcement video was riddled with factual errors, forcing Frerichs to retract the video and apologize for his mistakes.

[Infographic] ObamaCare in Illinois: Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Republican Party Slams Gov. Quinn for GOP Primary Manipulation

Over the past few weeks, multiple reports have pointed to an interference campaign by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in the Illinois Republican gubernatorial primary. Vulnerable Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is a board member and current labor chair of the DGA, and former finance chair.

ObamaCare Hurting the Middle Class under Cheri Bustos

With ObamaCare poised to become one of the biggest issues of the 2014 election, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) is notably absent from the debate. Instead, she’s trying to play both sides to save her political career, while Illinois’s middle class is stuck waiting in the middle.

[Infographic] Obama’s Home State On Track to Miss ObamaCare Goals

GOP Governor Debates:

Chicago Sun-Times: GOP gubernatorial rivals stress being reasonable and electable in first TV debate

Quad Cities Times: GOP governor candidates debate economic issues

ABC 7: Republican candidates for Illinois governor meet in first formal debate

Upcoming debates/forums:

Feb. 4: Illinois Manufacturers Association Candidate Forum

Feb. 18: Citizens Club of Springfield

March 4: NBC5/University of Chicago

Other Debates/Forums

YOU’RE INVITED: Gov. Jindal Coming to Chicago

The Illinois Republican Party is pleased to welcome potential 2016 presidential candidate and outstanding Republican Governor Bobby Jindal to Illinois.

On Tuesday, February 25, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be hosting a dinner fundraiser for the Illinois Republican Party. The event starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Union League Club in Downtown Chicago.

Additional information can be found at ILGOPEvents.com. We hope to see you there!

Important Dates:

Tuesday, January 28: State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 29: State of the State Address

Wednesday, February 19: Governor’s Budget Address

Tuesday, March 18: Illinois Republican Primary

Tuesday, April 16: County Conventions

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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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