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Archive for February 5th, 2014

Winter Storm Nika Blasts Illinois Roadways, Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Winter Storm Nika Blasts Illinois Roadways, Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions

Officials Advise: Stay Home

If Travel Is Unavoidable, Take it Slow and Allow Extra Time

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that snow from Winter Storm Nika already is impacting roads and bridges from Central to Southern Illinois creating slick and dangerous travel conditions for motorists, with additional snow and drifting expected overnight across the state.

The National Weather Service forecasted snow accumulations of 5 to 9 inches throughout Illinois. Snow started to fall in late morning, impacting the southern 40 percent of the state. Forecasters also warn of high winds up to 25 mph overnight in some areas, which will cause whiteout conditions and poor visibility.

IDOT has deployed full crews in impacted areas, and crews are preparing throughout the northern part of the state as well. Approximately 1,755 snow plows and 3,700 employees are available statewide to remove snow and ice from state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public.

Due to current weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists to stay in one place if possible until the storm ends. Motorists who must travel should check road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com before heading out. Currently, all state routes and interstates are open, but travel is slowing due to weather conditions. Kampsville and Brussels Ferries remain closed, due to ice. IDOT will continue to monitor the winter weather statewide and respond accordingly.

“IDOT winter crews are deployed in impacted areas to clear roads and bridges throughout Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Roads are slick and dangerous, and motorists are advised to only travel if necessary, take it slow, buckle up and check winter road conditions before heading out.”

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit

http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/Pages/warmingcenter.aspx. Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

Safety tips to remember:

Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.

Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary – if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.

Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).

Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.

Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

Madigan: Congress must act to protect consumers from data breaches

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Madigan: Congress must act to protect consumers from data breaches

Attorney General Testifies in D.C. Calling for Comprehensive Legislation to Address Epidemic of Data Breaches

WASHINGTON – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade about her investigations into widespread data breaches reported by retailers in recent months, which have affected millions of American consumers. Madigan called on Congress to immediately take steps at the federal level to better protect consumers’ personal information.

“Over the past decade, we have faced an epidemic of data breaches that has affected almost every American and has inflicted billions of dollars of damage to our economy,” Madigan said. “The recent breaches have served as a wakeup call that government and the private sector need to take serious, meaningful action to curb this growing threat to our financial security.”

Madigan testified earlier today on Capitol Hill in a hearing titled “Protecting Consumer Information: Can Data Breaches Be Prevented?” Madigan and the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office are currently leading a multistate investigation into the recent Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores breaches.

Madigan said the epidemic of data breaches has grown over the past decade, now affecting almost every American consumer and inflicting billions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy. Since 2005, there have been over 4,000 data breaches nationally and 733 million records compromised.

In response, the Attorney General has launched numerous investigations into whether businesses and health care companies are adequately protecting consumers’ data. In 2005, her office worked to enact a state law to require companies to promptly notify their customers of data breaches to ensure consumers know when their sensitive data has been compromised. In 2006, she launched her office’s Identity Theft Unit, which staffs a statewide hotline (1-866-999-5630) to provide one-on-one assistance to victims of identity theft and data breaches. After receiving more than 40,000 requests for assistance, the ID Theft Unit has helped reverse more than $26 million worth of fraudulent charges on consumers’ accounts.

Madigan said past investigations into data breaches by her office have indicated that companies have repeatedly failed to take basic steps to protect Illinois consumers’ information maintaining consumer data without encryption, failing to install updated security patches for known software vulnerabilities and retaining data longer than necessary.

The Attorney General urged Congress to take action to better protect American consumers by adopting federal standards that, while not preempting state law, will require companies to:

  • Adopt reasonable data security practices;
  • Only collect information from consumers that is necessary for legitimate business needs;
  • Delete consumer data as soon as it is no longer needed; and
  • Notify consumers in a timely manner when a data breach occurs.

Madigan also called on members of the subcommittee to authorize a federal agency to investigate large, sophisticated data breaches, akin to the National Transportation Safety Board’s role in aviation accidents.

For more information, read Attorney General Madigan’s written testimony from the hearing.

ICIRR releases report on Illinois’ Undocumented Immigrant Population

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on ICIRR releases report on Illinois’ Undocumented Immigrant Population

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has released a new report about the immigrant population in Illinois.

“Illinois’ Undocumented Immigrant Population” summarizes demographic research by Rob Paral and Associates, a research firm focused on families and communities[1]. The report examines the geographic distribution and major characteristics of our state’s undocumented immigrants.

Among the major findings:

  • Of Illinois’ 511,000 undocumented immigrants, 60% reside in the Chicago suburbs, with large concentrations in Kane, Lake, and DuPage Counties as well as suburban Cook County.


  • Three out of every five undocumented immigrants is between the ages of 25 and 44.​


  • Undocumented immigrants live overwhelmingly in family households, most of which also include U.S. citizen relatives.


  • Illinois’ undocumented immigrants participate in the state labor force at high rates, working  in a broad range of industries and occupations.

The report also discusses the implications of these findings for immigration reform. You can find the full report here.

This report is made possible through the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[2], the Polk Brothers Foundation[3], the Illinois Funders DACA Relief Initiative[4], and the Chicago Community Trust[5].






Washington Park Tenants to Protest “Slumlord” at Bible Study

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Washington Park Tenants to Protest “Slumlord” at Bible Study

Tenants from the  St. Edmunds Village Subsidized Apartment buildings in the Washington Park neighborhood will protest the building owner, Rev.  Richard Tolliver, at his bible study on Wednesday February 5.

Tenants are demanding to meet with Rev. Tolliver so that he can do something about their inhumane living conditions,  including: rodents, leaky windows, below freezing temperatures, busted pipes, and more.

Tenants will start the protest at their building, 6253 S. Michigan Ave.,  at 1 p.m., and will then march up Michigan Ave. to Rev.  Tolliver’s Church, St. Edmonds Episcopal Church, 6105 S. Michigan. They will hold a press conference outside of the church at 1:15 p.m.

Tenants said they have tried to meet with the building owner for over six months, but he has refused to meet with them. As temperatures dropped this past month,  pipes have busted and tenants say they have had enough.

“As a man of God we hope that Rev. Tolliver will do what is right and meet with the tenants” said Janet Wilson, a tenant leader from the building.

Tenants will be joined by allies from Southside Together Organizing for Power, the Chicago Housing Initiative, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, Fearless Leading by  Youth and others.

President Obama issues Presidential Proclamation on National African American History Month, 2014

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama issues Presidential Proclamation on National African American History Month, 2014


By Barack Obama, The President of the United States of America

Americans have long celebrated our Nation as a beacon of liberty and opportunity — home to patriots who threw off an empire, refuge to multitudes who fled oppression and despair. Yet we must also remember that while many came to our shores to pursue their own measure of freedom, hundreds of thousands arrived in chains. Through centuries of struggle, and through the toil of generations, African Americans have claimed rights long denied. During National African American History Month, we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey — from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people’s call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.

As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.

Every American can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African-American experience, but also lies at the heart of our Nation as a whole. This story affirms that freedom is a gift from God, but it must be secured by His people here on earth. It inspires a new generation of leaders, and it teaches us all that when we come together in common purpose, we can right the wrongs of history and make our world anew.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2014 as National African American History Month. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


Rev. Smith to ask alleged rapist to turn himself in during press conference today

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Rev. Smith to ask alleged rapist to turn himself in during press conference today

Offender tried to rape 95-year-old woman

Chicago, IL – Angry that an intruder broke into the South Side home of a 95-year-old woman and tried to rape her, Rev. Donald Smith, pastor of Holy Jerusalem Church, is holding a press conference Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in front of the victim’s home where he and her family are calling for the perpetrator to turn himself in.

Smith is holding a 10:30 a.m. press conference at 1104 West 110th Place to show support for the victim but also to send a message to the offender. “We know who he is, and he needs to know that,” said Smith.

Rev. Smith, who just eulogized the victim’s last surviving son, said the offender “posed as a friend of her late son claiming he did not know her son was dead and when she opened the door, he pushed past her, grabbing and hitting her in he face. He began groping in her private part. Smith doesn’t know what scared him but said the offender ran before actually performing the sexual act.

Smith is calling for heighten police and community awareness especially those who are single, elderly and living alone. To the perpetrator, Rev. Smith said, “He needs to be aware that we know who you are. It would be in your best interest to turn yourself in.” “We are not angry at him. We understand that he has a problem and we want to help you,” said Smith.

For further information, call Rev. Smith at: 773.454.1990.

Jackie Robinson Foundation giving away scholarships of up to $7,500

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Jackie Robinson Foundation giving away scholarships of up to $7,500

The deadline to apply is February 15, 2014

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) provides a multi–faceted experience designed to not only address the financial needs of minority students who aspire to attend college, but also to guide them through the process of higher education, molding them into dynamic leaders with a commitment to public service and Jackie Robinson’s humanitarian ideals.

The award is given to outstanding high school graduates who plan to earn a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education. Since its inception, the program has attracted the support of hundreds of companies, philanthropic institutions and individuals.

The JRF scholarship program awards students four–year scholarships of up to $7,500 per year to attend the four-year accredited college or university of their choice. The scholarships complement the financial aid students receive from their college or university for tuition and other education expenses (books, housing, etc.). Scholars are also financially sponsored to attend our annual four day Scholar’s Mentoring and Leadership Conference in New York City every spring during each of their college years.

The deadline to apply is February 15, 2014. No late applications will be accepted.

For more details and/or to apply, visit:

To search hundreds of other 2014 scholarships, visit:

This is Not A Cure For Cancer – First production under Collaboraction’s new “Incite Change” Mission – to debut February 20 – March 30, 2014

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on This is Not A Cure For Cancer – First production under Collaboraction’s new “Incite Change” Mission – to debut February 20 – March 30, 2014

New interactive live theater experience exposes the cancer industry, explores the meaning of life

A chance conversation with his dentist during a routine examination inspired Colllaboraction’s Anthony Moseley to create an interactive, live theater experience that examines cancer, its treatment and the way we live. The result, This Is Not a Cure for Cancer, a world premiere co-written by Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman, debuts Feb. 20-Mar. 30, 2014 at Collaboration.  Advance photos by Saverio Truglia.  Click any photo or here to download hi-res versions.

CHICAGO, January 24, 2014  – Following its success last season with Crime Scene:  A Chicago Anthology, Collaboraction is employing the same provocative, docudrama style to attack cancer, its treatment and the way we live with This is Not a Cure for Cancer, a world premiere live theater experience by Collaboraction Artistic Director Anthony Moseley and Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman.

Bouncing between his dentist’s office, the inside of his brain and memories with his deceased father, Moseley draws from his personal experience with his father’s battle with cancer as a theatrical lens for a meaning of life dramedy that takes a seriously funny look at cancer, the way we live and the value of life.

This is Not a Cure for Cancer is not a play,” explains Moseley. “It’s an interactive, experiential, live art installation that will demystify a terrible disease, leave a theatrical imprint on audiences and change the way they think about cancer and its treatment.”

Schedule your appointment with This is Not a Cure for Cancer today. Performances are February 20-March 30, 2014.  Press opening has been rescheduled to Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. There are added performances Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

Collaboraction’s newly renovated performance spaces are located on the third floor of the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in the epicenter of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are $10-$30, and are on sale now. Student and industry discounts are available with proper ID at the door. For tickets and information, visit collaboraction.org or call 312.226.9633.

This is Not a Cure for Cancer is co-directed by Anthony Moseley and Theatre Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler. The production features Collaboraction company members

Anthony Moseley, Carolyn Hoerdemann, Lisandra Tena, John Ross Wilson, Nate Card and Antonio Brunetti, along with Robbie Bersano, Shawn Casey, Laura Chernicky, Matthew Karl Krause, Patty Malaney, Roy Rainey, Jordan Shomer and Grace Wagner.

Designers include John Wilson (set), Michael Reed (lights), Livui Pasare (video), Elsa Hiltner (costumes) and Angela Campos (props). Andrew C. Donnelly is stage manager. This is Not a Cure for Cancer is produced by Sarah Moeller.

Community partners for This is Not a Cure For Cancer include(at press time) Gilda’s Club, the American Cancer Society, the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization and Dr. Timothy Dotson, Perfect Smile Dental Spa. These partners will co-host post-show town hall discussions with Moseley after every Thursday and Sunday performance throughout the run.


Anthony Moseley serves as the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of Collaboraction, where he has produced over 50 productions, 13 SKETCHBOOK Festivals and over 250 events since the company’s founding in 1999. Moseley’s most recent production, the 2013 debut of Crime Scene:  A Chicago Anthology, was a community-sourced new theatrical reaction to Chicago’s history of violent crime and a call to discover what it might take to create lasting change in our city. Crime Scene was met with overwhelming critical and audience acclaim, subsequently toured and set up week-long residencies last summer in inner city neighborhoods in partnership with the Chicago Park District, and is now one of the five recent Chicago storefront theater productions set to tour the Midwest in 2014-15 as part of the Chicago Commercial Collective’s new Off-Loop Tour.

In 2000 Moseley co-founded the annual SKETCHBOOK Festival, which was lauded by Kerry Reid of the Chicago Reader as “the premiere short play festival in the Midwest.” Under Moseley’s direction, SKETCHBOOK has produced 158 world premiere short plays in a mixed media environment with music and visual art.  Moseley’s other Collaboraction directing credits include the world premieres of El Grito Del Bronx (a co-production with Teatro Vista in association with the Goodman Theatre), The Pull Toy (and His Pasian), and Heroes and Villains; Chicago premieres of dark play or stories for boys by Carlos Murrillo, Be a Good Little Widow by Bekah Brunstetter, Refuge (2000 Jeff Citation nomination for Best Direction),The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, Trueblinka and Guinea Pig Solo; as well as Mud, To Kill a Mockingbird, and numerous world premiere short plays for the SKETCHBOOK Festival.

Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman
is a playwright new to the Chicago area. She was one of the writers on Collaboraction’s Crime Scene Chicago: A Chicago Anthology and her piece Hospital premiered at Collaboraction’s 2013 SKETCHBOOK and will be touring festivals in Canada in the summer of 2014. Originally from Toronto in 2011, she was one of three people shortlisted from across Canada for the RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwrights Award.  Other writing credits include The Guilty Party (New Voices Festival and Cue6 Productions) Pieces (Cue6 Productions) The Apartment Trilogy (Sound It Out Festival – Thesp) Mirror Me (Project: Humanity) The Golem (WORKhouse Theatre) and The Ball (Bechdel Fest – Broken Nose Theatre). Upon finishing her work with This Is Not A Cure for Cancer, she will be assistant director to Amy Morton for Steppenwolf’s spring show, The Way West.


Collaboraction celebrates its 18th year as a Chicago-based arts organization and has recently moved its theater and operation headquarters to the historic Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in the heart of Wicker Park. By incorporating innovative artists and interdisciplinary collaboration, Collaboraction creates groundbreaking theatrical and art-based experiences.

The overwhelming response to Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology last season was the first step in Artistic Director Anthony Moseley’s new vision for Collaboraction to be used as an artistic tool to explore critical social issues in an effort to create dialogue and incite change. With This is Not a Cure for Cancer, Collaboraction continues collaborating with artists, health professionals and citizens from throughout the city to create original theatrical experiences that push artistic boundaries and explore critical social issues with a diverse community of Chicagoans.

Collaboraction has worked with more than 2,500 artists to bring more than 60 productions and events to more than 50,000 audience members. Production highlights include 2013’s Crime Scene:  A Chicago Anthology, 2010’s Chicago premiere of 1001by Jason Grote, 2008’s world premiere of Jon by George Saunders and directed by Seth Bockley, and 2007’s critically acclaimed production of The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow: an instant message with excitable musicby Rolin Jones.

Meanwhile, Collaboraction continues to produce and present its “must-see” annual SKETCHBOOK Festival, a whirlwind showcase of world premiere theater pieces, each ranging from seven to 50 minutes in length and featuring a combination of established playwrights and up-and-coming new talents. Celebrating its 14th year, this season’s SKETCHBOOK 14, May 12-June 16, 2014, will be guest curated by Ike Holter (Hit the Wall, Loom and B-Side Studio), feature a designed social environment in Collaboraction’s Pentagon theatre, and dovetail the company’s new mission by exploring important social issues in innovative and provocative ways.

For more information, visit collaboraction.org.

Microsoft & HBCU to host VIP event for Black HR Professionals in Washington, D.C. area

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on Microsoft & HBCU to host VIP event for Black HR Professionals in Washington, D.C. area

The professional networking event will be held March 13, 2014 at Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria, Virginia. There will also be door prizes and a drawing for one lucky attendee to win a new Microsoft Surface 2 tablet!

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – Will Moss, founder of HBCUConnect.com, the largest portal and career site targeting the community of students, faculty and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, has announced a new partnership between with Microsoft, one of the world’s largest software and technology companies.

Members of the HBCU Connect team and Microsoft’s HR team will host a professional networking reception for experienced African American HR professionals in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to network with senior HR leadership within Microsoft (who is currently hiring), and also the opportunity to connect with their peers within the HR community as well as learn more about HBCU Connect.

This will be a very valuable opportunity for African Americans working in Human Resources to make new connections, expand their network, and explore new career opportunities.

Senior leaders that will be attending the event include the President of the DC, Baltimore and Richmond NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in Human Resources) chapters, some of Microsoft’s senior leaders in HR, and Will Moss himself, CEO and Founder of HBCUConnect.com.

All Guests Must RSVP

This is an RSVP only event and space has been reserved for HR professionals with a minimum of 5 years’ experience at Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria, VA on Thursday, March 13, 2014. There will be an open bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres provided for registered and confirmed guests. There will also be door prizes and a drawing for one lucky attendee to win a new Microsoft Surface 2 tablet!

To be considered for attendance, please RSVP online at:

All questions and concerns should be directed to event manager Aliya Thompson. She can be reached at 614-416-5522 or athompson@hbcuconnect.com.

About HBCUConnect.com
Founded in 1999, HBCUConnect.com is the first and largest media outlet targeted towards the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) community.  Boasting over 1.5 million registered members and encompassing a complete web portal, magazine, recruiting engine, social networking site, forums, blogs, news feeds and shopping, HBCUConnect.com serves the needs of HBCU aspirants, students, alumni, faculty and staff by providing a single destination and launching point for the entire diaspora. For more information, visit: www.hbcuconnect.com

The chief cause of unhappiness in America is the pursuit of happiness, says Scientist and Physician Dr. L.A. Lemmons

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2014 Comments Off on The chief cause of unhappiness in America is the pursuit of happiness, says Scientist and Physician Dr. L.A. Lemmons

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – “The pursuit of happiness is hazardous to our life and liberty,” says Dr. L. A. Lemmons, naturopathic physician and author of America Never Promised Us Happiness (Only the Right to Pursue It) and Needles, Drugs, Liars, and Thieves: What Doctors Failed to Tell Us about Staying Healthy.

Since its introduction into legal history in 1776 by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness has been hailed as one of the greatest gifts to humankind. “But everybody knows you cannot trust everything politicians tell us,” says Lemmons.

Behind the glowing façade of happiness lies a disturbing history of corporate tyranny, social control, and political corruption. For example:

1. Throughout history, dictators like Stalin and Hitler have used the concept of happiness to advance their agendas. Stalin called himself the “Gardener of Happiness,” and Hitler’s youth campaigns promoted “security, comradeship, and happiness.”

2. U.S. citizens haven’t always assumed the right to pursue happiness. The Declaration of Independence originally gave Americans the inalienable right to have property. Government officials later decided that property should not be an immutable right, and should be taxed as a way to finance a society.

3. The ubiquitous yellow smiley face commonly used to adorn text messages was created, not to spread happiness over the land, but to increase work productivity in Middle America. As part of a campaign to get disgruntled workers at State Life Mutual Assurance of Massachusetts to smile whenever they answered a phone, paid a claim, or typed a report, in 1963, graphic designer Harvey Ball was hired to come up with the visual symbol.

4. Five years after the first commercial aired in England in 1955, happiness campaigns began to flood the airwaves, one of the first being “Happiness Is a Cigar Called Hamlet.” In the United States, 1979 brought the McDonald’s Happy Meal and the slogan “Have a Coke and a Smile.” Soon the market was saturated with happiness advertisements. Walmart incorporated the smiley face icon in its “Rolling Back the Prices” campaign. Coke opens happiness. Disneyland is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Honda offers an “Extended Happiness Guarantee.” Ben & Jerry’s offers a “Scoop of Happiness.” “Hershey’s Makes S’more Happiness.” Employers have a happy hour. Moviemakers have happy endings. Happiness is even a dream of Fisher Price. And the list goes on.

The pursuit of happiness is not a method for people to get happy. It is a cash cow for Fortune 500 companies: a marketer’s wet dream.

For 200 years and counting, Americans have been on the bliss treadmill, going nowhere fast, and are none the happier for it. Westerners have all the trappings of corporate happiness. Our houses are getting bigger, our cars more luxurious, our incomes are rising, we have the latest in modern conveniences and beauty aids, yet the numbers speak for themselves.

The polls indicate that American citizens are no happier than they were in 1946. One in 10 people is on antidepressants, about 12 million people reported that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their lives (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2005), and chronic loneliness for adults over age 45 has increased from 20 percent to 35 percent over the last decade (AARP The Magazine, 2010).

So what makes people happy? The very same things that have made them happy since the beginning of human history: food, shelter, and family. Human beings are prehistoric creatures with longstanding genetic habits. Two centuries of being hypnotized by the cult leaders of happiness is not enough to alter this biological reality. It is the simple things that matter to the human body.

Without technology, modern sophistication, or expendable incomes, cash-poor Bangladesh and clan-centered Ghana topped the list of happiest nations in the world (World Happiness Survey, 2009), while a 2010 global Gallup poll placed Nigerians as the happiest people on the planet. Similarly, a 2013 UK study found that rural folk were happier than city dwellers: 62 percent of countryside couples stayed together five or more years, compared with 42 percent of couples in the city.

The old-world model of eat, drink, and be merry is often confused for the modern-day pursuit of happiness. But the two are not the same. Here’s why: the pursuit of degrees, perfect jobs, travel, cars, education, money, Internet, TV, shopping (all things happiness) leaves us impatient with, disconnected from, and with little time for our friends and family.

Fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. American children are being raised by baby-sitters, day care, and public school systems, and 1.5 million elderly Americans are in nursing homes.

But family is crucial to the misery-thwarting equation.

Over and over, the research shows that people with a strong base of friends and family suffer less depression. Friends and family can offer a shoulder to cry on, physical protection from harm, and financial assistance; they can help brainstorm solutions to problems, give you a sense of purpose and belonging, or watch the kids so you can take a break. Members of our tribe, in essence, function as our loan officers, advisors, therapists, lovers, chiefs, baby-sitters, nursing homes, comedians, and Friday night entertainment. They offer the same resources for which corporations charge an arm and a leg.

It is time to wake up from the American dream. The pursuit of happiness is not working, at least not for the lay public. The very steps we take to find happiness isolate us from the element that fills human life with joy: our families. It is time to try something new – or, in this case, something old.

Can unhappiness in the United States be curtailed simply by pulling the plug on digital life and reconnecting to the land of the living? By shopping, not for more stuff to clutter the home, but for high-quality friendships? By chasing, not an American ideal, but a biological reality? Human beings thrive best in groups. It worked for indigenous cultures and other social animals for thousands of years; why wouldn’t it work for us today?

For more tips for getting off the happiness treadmill, sign up at www.drlemmons.com.

About Dr. L. A. Lemmons
Dr. Lemmons gave up her day job as a scientist to dissect America’s love affair with happiness. She holds a doctorate in alternative and complementary medicine and is trained as a midwife.

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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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